L. Neil Smith's
Number 109, February 19, 2001
All the Presidents' Wars

Letters to the Editor

Send Letters to TLE@johntaylor.org

From: "Jim Richardson" <warlock@eskimo.com>
To: John@JohnTaylor.org
Subject: Re: TLE #108
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2001 12:29 PM

> From: Swftl@aol.com
> Subject: Re: TLE #107 - original recipe
> <<Silicon Valley is a hotbed of entrepreneurs and, supposedly,
> Libertarians. Perhaps we should be going there for talent as
> well.>>
> Absolutely!!
> <<I'm not saying "Bill Gates for President," ...>>
> We could certainly do worse. And he has the money to run an
> effective campaign.
> - - -

Are you sure that a man that runs a company which steals other peoples property (see the Stacker case) or breaks contracts (IBM and OS/2) whilst hiding flaws in their systems (see buqtraq et al) whilst attempting to prevent reverse engineering (see DMCA) is a good choice for pres?

I don't personally believe MSFT is a monopoly, but I sure as hell don't want BGas pres. (not that I think anyone was serious, but that's my 2c worth.)

Jim Richardson

From: "Henry E Blake" <hblake@tyrannosaur.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Facial Recognition Software
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2001 12:56 PM

In TLE #108, Jack Jerome <paratime98@yahoo.com> writes in part:

> Visage Programming (visage.com) has developed a facial recognition
> software...
> The altruistic creators of this orwellian software hope to market
> it to internet companies, banks, telephone services, anyone who
> will pay for it.
> What would be the defense aginst this?

I saw something on this the other day. It seems that a pair of sunglasses that deny the image processor access to the eye measurement is an effective deterrent to the recognition process.

Hmmm. "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades."

—Hank Blake

From: Swftl@aol.com
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Browne and Hornberger
Date: Sunday, February 11, 2001 5:12 PM

<<Mr. Hornberger will do one of two things in response to me. He may choose to ignore what I've written, thinking I'm not of his status level, and therefore not worth responding to. Or, he may choose to dissect my letter, and come up with a bunch more unsubstantiated attacks that can only be answered by this theoretical audit he's proposing.>>

Maybe Mr. Browne and some other people with the LNC ought to sue Mr. Hornberger for slander. Or is it libel since it's in print?

Susan Wells

From: "JACK JEROME" <paratime98@yahoo.com>
To: "John Taylor" tle@johntaylor.org
Subject: NRA HCI merger pending.
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 1:14 AM

Howdy J C, I enjoyed your latest foray into the de-bunking of the NRA. These whoresons have been backpedalling and squandering our rights for years, but people are afraid to tell the emperor he needs a new Taylor (Ha).

Just like rock and roll has gone downhill since Buddy Holly died, the 2a has been slowly gutted since the Sullivan Act, and little remains but a pile of bones. Fortunately, a fitting museum exists to enshrine it in Virginia, the NRA national headquarters.

The NRA has, only when convenient or when neccessary to raise funding, given hue and cry about "gun rights". That's a crock, these are human rights that these corporate suits should be talking about. Human rights that are enumerated alongside of the Rights to speak freely, not incriminate one's self, to not be searched unreasonably, to worship (or not) as one pleases, to be faced by one's accuser, and to be tried by one's peers.

For reasons known to none, apparently, the NRA has assisted in separating the right to bear arms from the common public conception of human rights. By remaining mum during prior assults against the 2a, the NRA hopes to change media based opinion of itself by backing victimless crime laws like Project Exile.

I agree with you that it's more than a stupid law, it's a law that every Libertarian should openly detest. This law presupposes all guns are REGISTERED. Most of us in the LP have been against registration from the beginning of such proposals. One can expect many Libertarians possess firearms that are not registered, and this law targets them as well.

Many otherwise law abiding members of the party could be looking at 5 years manditory in the state calaboose. Unless they register the rest of their firearms now. That includes great grandpaw's hunk of iron you have hanging over the fireplace as a decoration. The current verbiage of the law applies to weapons on violator's persons, but you can expect that to change to include vehicle, trunk, garage and the house attached thereto. You know politicians, they love to change things.

Peace out, Jack

From: "E.J. Totty" <echeghlon@seanet.com>
To: "John Taylor" <John@JohnTaylor.org>
Cc: Swftl@aol.com
Subject: Re: TLE #108
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 2:02 AM


In reply to this:

>THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE .............................. ISSUE 108
>February 12, 2001 .................... Plenty of Abuse to Go Around
>- - -


Harry Brown responded:

> <<As to demolition materials and chemicals, this is like the
> "Would you want your neighbor building a nuclear bomb in his
> basement?" argument. If my neighbor is going to build a nuclear
> bomb (or fool around with demolition materials or deadly
> chemicals) in his basement or anywhere else, he isn't likely to
> make that known to me or to the police -- whether these things
> are legal or illegal. Making them illegal is similar to making
> drugs illegal: it gives the puritans the opportunity to feel that
> they've done something constructive, when in fact they've done
> nothing to make us safer.>>

Susan Wells <Swftl@aol.com> countered:

> There's a big difference, though. If the neighbor is growing
> cannabis there's no danger to his/her neighbors. If the neighbor is
> an amateur chemist trying to produce meth then he/she is a danger to
> the neighbors because of the risk of fires and explosions. Meth
> should be produced by licensed chemists in licensed facilities.
> Nuclear materials should be handled by those with degrees in nuclear
> physics and licenses and should be dealt with on licensed
> facilities. It's just common sense.
> - - -


In reply to Susan Wells:

Common sense???

And, in order to masturbate, you will need a degree in Human sexuality: can't be having a pack of random jerk offs running around now, can we?

The first effort of any government is to CONTROL the population.

Degrees? What if those degrees are controlled so that you cannot obtain one? Then what?

Need we discuss licences? Let me mention those States of mind -- and location -- that are called New York, California, Massachusetts, to name a few ...

License this!

Susan, your ideas represent the typical human female response to self-respect, self-reliance, self-accountability and self-responsibility.

It is the chief mindset of the socialist nanny state.

That mentality follows along the lines of: can you get hurt doing it?

And if the answer is yes, then that thought of yours allows for regulating the piss out of it -- which, NOT coincidentally, is just where we are presently.

And, now that I think about it, it is also the frame of mind of someone who suspects their neighbors of the worst. Seems to me that we may recall some incidents that have generated more than a little heat, and a few that generated a lot of light by way of neighbors and government that got a wee bit too nosey and oppressive in the way of 'regulations', and lies.

Let's see: New Hampshire, Waco, Texas, Ruby Ridge, Idaho, Philadelphia (the MOVE headquarters), and that is just for starters for the more onerous examples of what meddling in your neighbors business brings.

In essence, the idea you express is one that essentially gives the local government the wherewithal to crash down your doors upon the simple suspicion that your be doing something 'illegal'. It also opens the door the government demanding to see the insides of your house and make decisions about what you may keep -- and not. Yup! let's invite the local idiots who 'feel' compelled to interfere in every aspect of your life.

Way to go, Susan! Typical female response to liberty.

Bad odor IS a reason for complaining to your neighbors, and if there is indeed a chemical hazard, you DO have the right to seek redress.

But then, if the hideous WOD wasn't in effect, the idea of making METH likely would NOT be an issue either.

And, to tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time that a neighbor destroyed his his house with an explosive event, even though I know of several who like to make their own firecrackers -- and the flash powder for them. It seems that Knowledge is the friend of Liberty, and Ignorance is the handmaiden to Oppression.

The Libertarian Ideal is to act only when there is a deed which adversely affects your life, liberty, or property. Lacking any of those, you are left to your suspicions only.

A comment here, from the author of the DOI:

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
—Thomas Jefferson

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

I can't recall the last time I had too much liberty, maybe because it has been regulated to hell, by people with small minds. Know what I mean?

In Liberty,

From: "Doug Heard" <doug@stone-soup.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: In response to Susan Wells
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 8:21 AM

Licensed by who?

Common sense? Licensing by government has given us doctors more dangerous than guns, lawyers more dangerous than anything, and government more dangerous than the plague.

doug heard

From: "Doug Heard" <doug@stone-soup.com>
To: john@johntaylor.org
Subject: Response to your "Will Freedom Livers..."
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 8:34 AM

As a dog trainer for many years. I object to you implying that the crate is punishment.

"Bad NRA! Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad! Go get in your crate!"

A dog's crate is his place of safety, his personal space. My new 9wk old Chessie uses his most often to get away from the grumpy old cat.

How about: Bad NRA! Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad! Go sit in the corner!

doug heard

[Correction accepted without a whimper (he said from deep within the recesses of his crate). — ed.]

From: "Mitchell McConnell" <mitchmcc@yahoo.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Re: Incrementalism
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 8:35 AM

In TLE #108, Kent Van Cleave argues, with some success, that current Libertarian efforts to win "mind share" are a failed form of incrementalism that will not "uncook the frog". He argues that a better approach would be to appeal to Americans innate sense of fair-play (part of their nature) by reminding them of the rules of the game (so to speak).

While this approach might very well work better than the current one (what wouldn't?), I do not see how it will work on the average American (read: Palm Beach County, or even Al Gore, voter).

Clearly, the statist approach (starting with FDR and continuing in an unbroken line of Democrats and Republicans) of creating dependent subjects by socializing and subsidising all aspects of American's lives has worked successfully beyond their wildest dreams. I get a kick whenever I receive Libertarian literature that speaks about how we should "sell" liberty. Friends, our foes are not "selling" their program, they're paying people to take it.

A more complete look at human nature, however, indicates that this approach will also not be likely to succeed. Human nature dictates that in any group, some of the people will try and use political means (i.e. force) to subsist, while most others will simply take the easiest way, even if that allows only a modest existence. Only a few are willing to take responsibility and work hard, letting a free market determine their rewards. (For more on this idea, re-read Ludwig Von Mises "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality".)

I am afraid that when a society reaches the level of affluence that our has, the cause of liberty is probably doomed, barring some natural or man-made disaster to put everything back on an equal footing. (For more on this idea, see the book "Spoiled Rotten: Affluence, Anxiety, and Social Decay in America" by Brian Goff and Arthur A. Fleisher III.)

I want to emphasize that I am not trying to be a spoil-sport here. I am only noting that when you fail to take human nature into account, you are bound to fail. Until we take away, cold turkey, the dependent systems which allow millions of Americans to continue to vote out of OUR pocketbooks instead of voting their own, we will continue to decay into either outright socialism or (at best) what has been called "Friendly Fascism" (see book of the same name by Bertram Myron Gross). As Charles Murray pointed out in "Losing Ground", people make quite rational economic decisions when given the choice of (say) 1. A modest subsistence through hard, manual labor; or 2. The same subsistence without working at all. Before that choice was there, people everywhere and always made the same choice: to work and live rather than starve and die. Until the choices are that stark again, our voting map will stay divided between the red and the blue.

Mitchell J. McConnell
Brookline, NH

From: "John" <zebastian@mindspring.com>
To: kvc@tima.com; TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Boiling Frogs
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 7:05 PM


Wanted to send a note of thanks as your recent TLE article "Incrementalism For Liberty: What Works and What Doesn't" provided a catalyst for me to write this abstract, that I'd been putting off for ever.

Being a scientist, I like to test hypothesis whenever possible. Just because a statement is repeated does not make it true.


Dissertation on Cooking a Frog by Slowly increasing the Temperature


Testing the assumption that a frog will allow itself to be boiled should the temperature in the pot be slowly increased, showed that the frogs in the test sample would not allow themselves to be boiled under any circumstances.

A representative sampling of 200 South Eastern Frogs were gathered. 100 Frogs were to serve as controls, and 100 as test subjects. Each group was sorted to provide a mix of juvenile and adult frogs of both sexes, tadpoles were excluded for obvious reasons.

Frog behavior was found to be universally uncooperative in both the test group and the control group. Frogs avoided capture to the best of their ability, attempted to escape from their containers at the first opportunity, and refused to stay in any pot no matter what the temperature, unless a lid was firmly placed on the pot. The placement of the lid on the pot would seem to violate the "frog will allow itself" caveat of the test procedure.

In fact frogs dispersed themselves about the laboratory facilities at any and all opportunities and are still being found in a generally dried and desiccated state by maintenance personnel.

A lab assistant was however successfully boiled to death by being provided a combination of television and NPR, but he may have died of boredom and despair before being boiled.

Frogs will not allow themselves to be boiled under any conditions. Lab assistants do however taste like chicken.

Sebastian, RRPT, PG

From: "James J Odle" <jjodle@earthlink.net>
To: "LIBERTY" <letterstoeditor@libertysoft.com>; "John Taylor" <TLE@johntaylor.org>
Subject: Gun Rights
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 9:41 PM

February 12, 2001

James J. Odle
Phoenix, AZ

R.W. Bradford
Liberty Magazine
PO Box 181
Port Townsend, WA 98368

Dear Sir:

I have found the last two issues of Liberty magazine both amazing and revolting at the same time. Amazing in that here we are more than two hundred years after the founding of the republic and we¹re still arguing over the proper interpretation of the Second Amendment! In a Libertarian magazine no less! This is especially amazing in view of the fact that the original purpose of the Second Amendment is as clear as a bright sun on a cloudless, summer day. (More on this in a moment)

Doesn't anybody in this country remember their basic high school history?

I am revolted by the contributions by the lawyers in that they continue to demonstrate their ability to ignore the plain English language with which the Bill of Rights is written. IT IS NOT Written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, for Christ's sake!

The purpose of the Second Amendment is crystal clear. Let¹s us review our history.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, the British had this nasty habit of quartering their troops in the homes of the civilian populace against their will. In turn, this practice produced a great distaste and distrust among early Americans for permanent standing Armies. (This is why the Third Amendment prohibits this practice.) When the Constitution was being written, the nation was financially and militarily weak. The Founding Fathers did not want a permanent standing Army, but they did see a need for one for a short period of time. This is why the Constitution specifically says in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.

Let me emphasize. The Founding Fathers fully intended the people as a whole to be the permanent Standing Army. For a further elaboration on this please read my article, "Those Horrid, Horrid Guns!" at: http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe56-19990930-01.html. I highly recommend the source material I mention at the end of the article.

Now since the legal profession has demonstrated their complete inability to read, understand and apply the plain English language with which the Second Amendment is written, let us translate for their benefit:

  • A well regulated (In the parlance of the time, this meant 'well-trained'.)

  • Militia (James Madison, the author of the Constitution defined the word militia as 'The whole body of the people.' I think he would know.)

  • being necessary to the security of a free state (Guns in the hands of private citizens are necessary in order to secure our liberty.)

  • the right (It says 'Right' not 'privilege'!)

  • of the people (That's everybody, pal)

  • to keep (This means 'to own')

  • and bear (This means 'to carry')

  • Arms (This means 'personal weapons of all types, shapes and varieties including assault weapons')

  • shall not be infringed. (Shall not be interfered with in any way.)

The Second Amendment is no more complicated than this.

May I remind the legal community of three other things:

Congress has no authority to alter the Constitution by changing the definitions of the words that the Constitution uses. There is even a Supreme Court decision to this effect. Although I can¹t cite it off hand.

The Bill of Rights is supposed to be the highest law of the land even when there is a conflict between it and the remainder of the Constitution.

The Bill of Rights does not bestow upon us our rights the way a king bestows upon a serf a privilege. Nor is it an exhaustive list of the rights we have.

Do you remember the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, people? We have the individual right to keep and bear arms regardless of what the Second Amendment says.

When it comes to translating any portion of any law, our guiding principle should be: Keep it simple, stupid!


James J. Odle

From: "Jacob G. Hornberger" <jgh@erols.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org; lneil@lneilsmith.org; vin@lvrj.com
Subject: Letter to the Editor of the TLE
Date: Monday, February 12, 2001 9:47 PM

Dear Editor:

I shan't respond in detail to Press Secretary Babka's somewhat windy article, not because he's on a different status level (his term) but because everything he says is based on what Perry Willis and Harry Browne have said to him. Willis and Browne can speak for themselves. If they decide to resurface and publish another article, I will determine at that time whether a response is warranted.

I do have two general observations, however. I believe that Press Secretary Babka is incorrect in suggesting that Browne's second electoral debacle (.4 percent in 2000, down from .5 percent in 1996) is due to my exposing and opposing his ethical wrongdoing. (I also reject the close-vote theory and the mass-media conspiracy theory.) The responsibility for repeated failure, in my opinion, lies squarely with the paradigm of unethical conduct in which Browne and his coterie of supporters, including those in the national LP hierarchy, have been operating within the LP. I have said this before, but it bears repeating: The American people will never -- repeat never -- embrace a third party whose candidates and officials are deliberately engaged in unethical behavior. This is why I am doing my best to persuade LP members to adopt a new paradigm of ethics at the 2002 LP national convention, with the goal of making the Libertarian Party not just "the party of principle" but "the party of integrity and principle."

My second observation is simply to note an interesting phenomenon. Every time I post new questions about the mysterious entity known as "Optopia" on my website [www.jacobghornberger.com], the level of nervous attacks on me increases proportionately. What gives?

Jacob G. Hornberger

From: "Dan Sanders" <ldans@mindspring.com>
To: TLE@johntaylor.org
Subject: Field Trip!
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2001 10:08 PM

Dear John,

I urge all "good libertarians" to visit the following website, if they have not already done so...


...in order to better understand those who believe that 1) individuals have no rights; 2) the collective's desires override the individual's desires; and 3) we shouldn't bitch about it when (2) happens.

To paraphrase P.T. Barnum: "There's an asshole born every minute, and he's at this website, by Cracky!".

Dan Sanders
Huntsville, Alabama

Next to advance to the next article, or
Table of Contents to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 109, February 19, 2001.