L. Neil Smith's
Number 104, January 8, 2001
Back in the Saddle

From: "Doug Heard" <doug@stone-soup.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: I voted for Harry Browne, but....
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000 6:47 AM

I voted for Harry Browne, but ...

I disagree with the fact that he thinks that 80% of the libertarians think that he is too radical. Fully 80% of the libertarians I know (and I have been hanging around with libertarians sense before Ed Clark) think that he is not radical enough.

People who commit crimes against the constitution should be prosecuted. While I admit that it is hardly practical to dig up FDR and put him on trial the most important thing a libertarian candidate can stand for is holding those criminals who have voted for or enforced any crime against the constitution accountable. It seems to me that the best way to do this is starting with those whose crimes are the most recent and work our way back. Another valid approach would be to start with those whose crimes are the oldest where you can get them before they die. Some might like to rate the crimes and start with those who have done the "most" harm to individuals. Which ever rating you chose a libertarian candidate should make prosecution of those individuals who have committed crimes against the constitution a top priority.

My other big gripe against the Harry Brown response "Why Not Attack the Real Enemies?" is that he doesn't list his e-mail address. While not all posters to TLE list post their e-mail address most do, while I don't expect an answer to a personal note to a poster, I do appreciate being able to send them.

[Editor's Note: Actually, Mr. Browne did include his e-mail address. It's HarryBrowne@HarryBrowne2000.org]

And while I don't attack any "libertarian like" candidate to non-libertarians I feel free to attack them with in the libertarian community.

Thank you,
Doug Heard

From: "Dan" <dgroves@tiac.net>
To: John@johntaylor.org
Subject: a few nit-picks about Harry Browne's article
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000 10:48 AM

Harry wrote:

"He goes on, " ... The first is a matter of corruption: the well-documented misuse of political contributions by Harry and his Watergate cronies. I won't reiterate them here, except to say that less than 2% was spent on campaigning [in 1996], while two thirds went into the pockets of the usual suspects as 'consulting fees'."

I'm not familiar with any "well-documented misuse of political contributions by Harry and his Watergate cronies." I know only of some rumors that have circulated by people who have offered no real evidence to support them."

I recall Liberty did a special report on these accusations. It came out around the time of the LP National convention. Unfortunately I don't have my copy anymore, maybe there are some Liberty readers out there that can provide a month and year for me. Basically their conclusion was that the accusations, while exagerated, had some solid factual basis to them.

Harry also wrote:

"My experience indicates that at least 80% of Libertarians believe my campaign stands are too radical. I want to reduce the federal government to just its constitutional functions, with a budget of only about $100 billion, and do it in a hurry. I want to do away with the income tax immediately, not gradually. I want to end the Drug War completely, not just legalize medical marijuana. I want to free you completely and immediately from the Social Security tax. I want to repeal all the gun laws, not enforce them. I want to bring all the troops home and stop foreign interventions by our government. I want to treat the Bill of Rights as a literal document and end all the discussions of whether the government has a "compelling interest" in overruling the Bill of Rights in some instance.

These positions may "embarrass" Mr. Smith, but I can't help but wonder in what way they are "flaccid and cowardly." I wonder to whom he has to "apologize" for them."

Harry, your positions aren't "flaccid and cowardly". It's the way you presented them. Why didn't you follow the advice Ken Sturzenacker (apologies if I mis-spelled your name Ken) gave in several issues of Liberty? That is, staging some publicity stunts instead of hiding out on talk radio? Talk radio is preaching to the converted, they're going to vote for you. Your job is to get the people that are "in play" to vote for you.

Dan Groves

From: "Jeff Greenspan" <greenspj@yahoo.com>
To: John@johntaylor.org
Subject: Comments on Harry Browne's Response to L. Neil Smith
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 1:55 PM

Dear Mr. Taylor,

I have enjoyed reading the TLE for many months now. I have to admit, I found L. Neil Smith's note about Harry Browne interesting. It did make me question how committed and true Harry Browne was to libertarian principles in the campaign.

However, I must also point out that Mr. Browne, in his response to Mr. Smith laid bare the arguments that Mr. Smith used. Mr. Browne is correct. Mr. Smith accused, used embellishments, and did NOT support his assertions.

Based on the well-written, well-reasoned, and well-mannered response of Mr. Browne to Mr. Smith, I have to conclude that L. Neil Smith has produced nothing more ad hominem allegations (personal attacks) that are unsubstantiated. Hence, my respect for him has gone down while my respect for Mr. Browne has not only rebounded but increased.

If Mr. Smith were able to clearly and concisely bullet-point out his allegations and provide substanitating evidence for them, I will change my mind (provided it's true). Until that time, Mr. Smith has a lot of positive, constructive work to do in the party if he wants to gain back my respect.

Best Regards,

Jeff Greenspan
Provo, Utah

From: "Francis A. Ney, Jr." <n4zhg@icqmail.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Re: Issue 103
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 8:34 PM

It's interesting to note that Harry Browne chose to confront Neil well after the campaign was finished. I wonder why that was ...

Frank Ney

From: "Chris B." <chrisnb@ccnet.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Harry & Neil
Date: Sunday, December 24, 2000 4:49 PM

Dear Neil,

Harry Browne's article seemed to me to be reasonable; I look forward to your response. It is my hope you two can work out your differences, or, better yet, find out you really haven't any serious ones. Reading Harry's article, I don't see any major disagreements with your positions as I understand them.

I, too, have some differences with Harry, but they are mostly of timing. If his policies were adopted tomorrow I could live with them, and I think most of us could as well.


Christopher Britten

From: "William Stone, III" <wrstone@wrstone.com>
To: tle@johntaylor.org
Subject: TLE Article Submission
Date: Friday, December 22, 2000 12:51 PM

I suppose the emotional experience I'm having is akin to what occurs when one realizes that one's heros are human, just like anybody else.

Specifically, I am deeply disturbed by what is going on between L. Neil Smith and Harry Browne.

First, a bit of relevant back-story: Eleven years ago, I was a "small-c" communist actor (is there any other kind?) based out of Chicago. My "day job" was as an international courier, and in that capacity, I spent a lot of time listening to Rush Limbaugh's radio program while making pick-ups. I have to say that for all his faults, Rush is the person responsible for making me see communism for the truly evil thing that it is.

By the 1992, I could clearly see Bill Clinton for the moral cripple that he is. I was not, however, a libertarian. That didn't happen until 1995, when I was exposed to Harry Browne. Love him or hate him, I credit Browne with turning me into a libertarian.

By 1995, however, I'd been neither a communist nor an actor for some time. I'd become an Internet engineer, working first for Lucent Technologies and then a regional Chicago ISP. I naturnally started to use the Internet to search out other libertarians.

I've also always been a science fiction fan. I was a huge fan of Star Trek for the first thirty years of my life, and only forsake it when I became a libertarian. The reason was simple: I came to realize that it was more of the same statist drivel. The ideology spewed in virtually every epsiode really started to bug me. The lasting impact of the show seems to have been to further the statist cause among those who might otherwise be disinterested.

I have no love for the ninety percent of crap that passes for science fiction today. Swords and sorcery, tenuous ties to science, and darkly depressive moods are not my idea of a good time. Why a paying customer would shell out cash for such junk is beyond me.

Being a computer scientist, I tried reading Gibson and Sterling: they were simply depressing. I gave up in despair. I started counting myself a fan of Star Trek Classic more than any other incarnation. I began re-reading my old Heinlein, Niven's "Known Space" series, Asimov, even a little Gerrold. I wished that someone had been heir to their kind of writing.

Then I stumbled across the Libertarian Futurists' Society (http://www.lfs.org) and noticed that L. Neil Smith's name ranks highly. I recognized some of the award-winners as favorites. I ran off to Barnes and Noble and picked up PALLAS.

To my delight, I discovered a literary style that felt like early Heinlein! I was so thrilled that I went back within a couple of days to buy a copy of THE PROBABILITY BROACH.

I'm not over-stating the case to say that THE PROBABILITY BROACH changed my life.

I don't think I've ever felt so elated when reading a book. Here was a world that I would actually and unabashedly like to live in. The North American Confederacy is the free society I want to fight for. It is the world the way it SHOULD be—or, rather SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

A bit more searching disclosed that Mr. Smith had written not one, but EIGHT books (and a short story) set in the same universe. Sadly, they were all out of print. I have since made a career of visiting every used bookstore I happen to pass, regularly checking Amazon.com, eBay, and Altavista, just to see if I can find more of Mr. Smith's books. It's taken a long time, but I now own a battered copy of everything listed on his book page with two exceptions: Open Space (a marvel comic), and BRIGHTSUIT MACBEAR. I was even able to get a copy of ALTERNATIVES, which includes a copy of "The Spirit of Exmas Sideways," of the North American Confederacy series.

Not surprisingly, the North American Confederacy (or Galactic Confederacy, as I prefer to think of it) are my favorite books of all time. I'm particularly fond of TOM PAINE MARU as an alternative to the Star Trek franchise.

Mr. Smith's embrace of the Non-Aggression Principle ultimately inspired me to run my own liberty-oriented Web site, SYL Ranch (http://www.wrstone.com—though it may be http://sylranch.wrstone.com by the time you read this). There is a small amount of my own writing there (I'm rather proud of the constantly-evolving article "What Does the Second Amendment Mean (Long Form)"— http://www.wrstone.com/firearms/wrs3/rkba_long.html). Mostly, however, it's an archive of other peoples' work, and L. Neil Smith's essays are at the heart of it. In addition to my own site, I'm now negotiating to take on Web hosting chores for other freedom-oriented Web sites.

Perhaps more importantly, I am an operator in DALNet's #libertarian-politics chat channel, under the nickname "DakotaSmith." On any given evening after 22:00 CST, you'll find DakotaSmith arguing his personal philosophy of Non-Aggression. I take questions from other users and answer them in the context of the Non-Aggression Principle, as well as argue with others about what are percieved as contradictions within the Principle.

All of this is because I have been inspired by L. Neil Smith's work, both his novels and his essays.

I've always understood that Mr. Smith had some kind of bone to pick with Harry Browne. I was aware of it in 1996, when TLE did not endorse Mr. Browne, apparently on the same grounds that he outlined in his article "Why I'm Doing It."

In early 1999, I relocated my family from suburban Chicago to southeastern South Dakota. This was, in part, an effort to get away from what I felt was a rather stifling air of statism. It's the topic of a totally different article, but it's clear to me that large cities breed statists, something that libertarians need to confront.

However, as a South Dakotan, I have little connection with an organized political party. There are FOUR registered Libertarians in my county: I met them while helping the 2000 LP Congressional candidate get his ballot access petitions signed. I've never had any connection to the National LP other than what I've seen on C-SPAN's coverage of the national convention.

The practical upshot is that I'm completely ignorant of L. Neil Smith's charges against Harry Browne. In fact, Mr. Smith's statements about him are the only place I've ever heard such charges. Now that Mr. Browne has had an opportunity to refute these charges in the pages of TLE, I am totally confused.

I'm also emotionally torn. On the one hand, I have an author whose work I love, adore, and recommend to friends. I recommend Mr. Smith's body of work as superior to that of even Robert Heinlein (with the possible exception of Heinlein's THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS). On the other, I have a political candidate that—while he does really poorly at the ballot box—seems far more on-track than any other candidate in the field.

The truth is that I have no way to judge the facts in the case at all. I'm completely ignorant. There's no evidence that I've seen. Internet searches turn up no references to documented wrongdoing.

Out of ignorance, I've been placed in the position of having to come out in support of Mr. Smith in the #libertarian-politics channel on the basis of trusting Mr. Smith over Mr. Browne. I don't like having to take rational positions on faith.

Essentially, I want to know the facts in this case. If it exists, I want to see documentation of the corruption Mr. Smith alleges. If Mr. Browne isn't an appropriate philosophical libertarian, I want to know what the problem is.

According to his recent article, the only problem I have is that he doesn't want to prosecute former Bill of Rights violators. While I understand the inherent difficulty in doing so given nearly a century of violations, I'd like to see all of these people brought to justice as an object lesson.

Personally, I don't want to see anyone made out to be the bad guy. Indeed, I am deeply distrurbed to find two people that have been so influential in my personal philosophy at odds. I'd far prefer if everyone could say that it's all been a miscommunication and they'd kiss and make up. If, however, that's philosophically impossible, so be it.

I just want to know the facts.

From: "Joel C Simon" <JOEL.SIMON@prodigy.net>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Letter to Mike
Date: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 12:08 PM


This is a "faux" letter I sent to a friend in Michigan recently, in an "attempt" to explain the California assault rifle ban. I'm still not sure if it's written tongue-in-cheek, or just in a state of understandable confusion.

Dear Mike,

You asked me to explain this California "assault rifle" thing you've heard about in the news. As you know I've only been in California for a few years. I've tried to keep up with this, but it's a little confusing and I might not have all the details right. Here goes:

Once there were these crazed packs of rifles roaming the streets of Californian cities, assaulting people at random. Since the rifles were of different breeds and were a little difficult to identify, people just called them "assault rifles." You could tell an assault rifle from the regular kind not from what they did, since few people ever saw them actually assaulting people, but from the way they looked. You know, the way affirmative action works. If they had protruding hand grips or detachable magazines or folding stocks or flash suppressors or bayonet lugs, they were bad. The state insisted that all these rifles be "registered." I think that meant they had to wear collars with tags, so that they could be taken to the rifle pound, or maybe have their Hoppes #9 rations cut, if they acted up. None of the rifles' owners wanted to be thought of as bad people, so of course every single one of them trooped down to their nearest Gun Owner Observation Network station and registered their "assault rifles" without delay.

Well, this was supposed to solve all the problems caused by these vicious, inbred rifles, but I guess it didn't. I'm not sure what the problem continued to be; it might have been that the rifles were leaving their collars at home when they went out at night. The state decided that stronger measures needed to be taken. So they passed another law outlawing the rifles entirely. They ordered the Gun Owner Observation Network to round up all the evil rifles immediately. But then something really bad happened. One of the GOONs apparently saw an HCI ad that informed him that assault rifles were only made to kill people, and it occurred to him that if he started going systematically to all the addresses of the people who had registered their rifles, one of the rifles might just kill HIM.

Why he thought this would be a bad thing, I can't tell.

Anyhow, the rifles were outlawed, and now only outlaws have them, but the actual confiscations never happened. What DID happen was an "amnesty" period in which all those with registered but now illegal rifles could turn them in for destruction (no compensation) "no-questions-asked." My understanding is that relatively few have. Of course, all these people are known to the police since they did obediently register their firearms.

Now there's been a second, more stringent wave of rifle registration laws passed, and the deadline for registration is Dec. 31. Last I heard, only about 32,000 of maybe half a million owners have registered their rifles. I just don't understand these people.

From: "EXT-Morrison, Russell L" <Russell.Morrison@West.Boeing.com>
Subject: Thoughts on the Black Vote, 2000
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000 9:35 AM

News item: 90% of blacks who voted did so for the Democratic Party.

Some observations:

90% of blacks voted for the party of slavery. (Lincoln was a Republican; the newly created Democratic Party was the party of States' Rights.)

90% of blacks voted for the party of the Ku Klux Klan. (Until the 1960's, most whites in the so-called "solid South" were Democrats.)

90% of blacks voted for the party of Jim Crow. (Segregationist laws were enacted by Democratic state governments in the South.)

90% of blacks voted for the party that was against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (More Republicans than Democrats voted to pass that law.)

90% of blacks voted for the party that believes them incapable of succeeding at anything without the help of white government.

Just a few thoughts that make you go, "Hmmm!"

— Russ

Letter from Eric C. Johnson, proclaiming The Libertarian Enterprise as "Free-Market.Net's Freedom Home Page of the Week", for December 18, 2000

From: "Eric Johnson" <mises@earthlink.net>
To: lneil@lneilsmith.org, TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: The Libertarian Enterprise is Freedom Home Page of the Week!
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000 9:47 PM

Dear Neil and John:

Congratulations! The Libertarian Enterprise is this week's Freedom Home Page of the Week on Free-Market.Net.

I've included the review below, but you can also read it online at: http://www.free-market.net/features/pageoftheweek/

Your site is also linked from our main home page, and the review went out, via e-mail, to subscribers of our Freedom Home Page of the Week list.

I hope it gives you a little extra exposure.

In case you want to display it, I've attached our new award icon.


Keep up the great work!


Free-Market.Net's Freedom Home Page of the Week
Edited by Eric C. Johnson. To subscribe or unsubscribe to this and other lists, click to: http://www.free-market.net/features/lists/

December 18, 2000


"Of holiday wishes this season
Mine must occasion mirth;
I wished for a new age of reason
To sweep all over the Earth."

—Fran Van Cleave, A Libertarian Christmas

The above verse is the opening of a fantastic holiday poem which also wishes for "A stake driven through Marx's heart / By Smith's invisible hand" and "No Algore cries of deforestation / Ruining private farms." The poem was written in 1997, and in 2000 we may have finally gotten that last wish, but the other wishes remain standing. "A Libertarian Christmas" is just one of many treats to be found at a Web magazine that has earned its second Freedom Page of the Week award, The Libertarian Enterprise. (The last one was awarded during Christmas week of 1996 and, after all, Christmas is a time for tradition, i.e. repetition.)


The Libertarian Enterprise is one of the best libertarian magazines around. It is published by perennial gadfly L. Neil Smith, and features his uncompromising work as well as that of John Taylor, honorary editor Vin Suprynowicz, and many others. Smith is one of the great libertarian sci-fi authors, but many LP'ers may only know him as the recent spoiler of the Arizona presidential ballot. If you want to know why he did it, you can find out here and, since Smith is such a fair-minded and reasonable fellow, Harry Browne's response is also published here.

The magazine, once published only monthly, now offers fresh original commentary every week. And if you've been missing it, much of the content is archived and searchable from the home page. [Much? Much! It's ALL here!—Ken Holder] If, like me, you're unfortunate enough to live in the recently snowed-under midwestern United States, and looking for reasons to stay inside and avoid shoveling, you'll find plenty of them at The Libertarian Enterprise. I think there may even be enough here to keep you busy until spring.



Please forward and copy freely, but include the following message:

The Freedom Home Page of the Week is a feature of Free-Market.Net.
Opinions expressed are purely those of our writers and editors.
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