L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 141, October 1, 2001
HOPE? OR GLASS?
Please consider this as a letter to the editor in response to Columbine and Bloody Tuesday. I asked for permission and got it -- with a small caveat. Her letter follows this.
Dear L. Neil -
I, too, maintain that the problem is not too many guns, but too few. My last child graduated from private school this year (valedictorian, TYVM). Not only is this a great school educationally - in her four years at college for a biology major, she needs only to take one math course - but it has a great policy. All of the kids are allowed to bring their guns on the property. Ouch! Weird, do you think? Not hardly. We live in a very rural county (population 28,000) where hunting is not merely sport but a way of life. The kids have their weapons in their gun racks in their trucks because they go out for a little early-morning hunt and go back into the woods in the afternoon. Everybody knows guns, everybody respects guns and the damage that they can do - and anyone who accidentally shoots him or herself is snickered at with "Well, you know, they were never all that bright anyway."
The differences between this private school and public schools is even greater, in that discipline is not merely requested, but demanded and strictly enforced. When my daughter entered sixth grade there, she was set upon by two boys who wanted to flex their muscle. They did not know that she had been taking karate for three years. She beat the crap out of both of them. In public school, she would have been suspended for participating in a fight, whether she started it or not. Instead, when the boys went running to the headmaster, he simply looked at them and laughed. "Let's see, you attacked a girl that you did not know and tried to beat her up. Instead, she beat both of you up. Seems to me like you got what you deserved. If I were you, I wouldn't be whining about this; I would be embarassed that a girl beat me and my buddy up!" My daughter was not punished for standing up for herself; in fact, she gained respect from her peers and the teachers because she was fair and honest - and would allow no one who could not defend themselves to be attacked.
It is this common-sense attitude that our country has wandered away from. Now we find scapegoats and blame everybody else except the perpetrators and bullies who perform the heinous acts. We even punish those people who, victims of crime, stand up for themselves and shoot or harm those 'poor, misguided' criminals. We make everyone the problem, instead of those few who perpetrate the actual acts. When everyone is the problem, then no one is at fault, and there is no solution.
Then when we have terrrorists at Columbine or in the airplanes, everyone is so shocked. They are stunned that someone could do such a thing. I'm not shocked at all, not suprised, not stunned. Duh. What did they think would happen when we insisted that we lived in Never-Never Land?
Keep writing. Dig your stuff.
- - -
L Neil Smith wrote:
Absolutely. However, tell them to advise everyone to not leap up and move right away! We are in the County of SC that has the lowest educational level in the State - which makes us the lowest in the nation. Which means that we have 67% dependency on the government for everything. The private school is a bright spot in an otherwise sad, pathetic, Democrat-controlled darkness.
Although I'm troubled by some of the speculation about what "incited" the terrorists, I'm even more concerned about the factual errors itemized in Vaughn Treude's letter.
Assuming that the best defense against terror is self-defense by armed citizens (in planes, schools and churches) it would be gross foolishness to alert hijackers by requiring that guns have a "little electronic alarm on it in case the owner tried to remove it surreptitiously." Such a restriction -- as much as the ban against all firearms on aircraft -- is a ticket to oblivion.
Vaughn fears "an armed suicidal nut" might cause harm, but that can occur anywhere with any weapon. Allowing a suicidal nut to convert an airliner into a weapon of mass destruction is insane.
However, the fear that an accidental discharge would "at the very least, rupture the cabin" is simply a gross error, bred from a fanciful scene from the James Bond thriller "Goldfinger". A single bullet cannot cause the kind explosive decompression portrayed in that scene. In fact, a hundred bullets through the fuselage would cause decompression, but the only risk is a minor case of oxygen deprivation for a short period of time. There's a documented instance of a massive decompression at high altitude: a large cockpit windshield had been replaced, but not bolted down, and it simply flew off at 30,000 feet. Injuries? The pilot suffered some abrasions and a broken arm.
Mind you, I have no problem with any airline deciding to allow and accommodate frangible ammunition, but an airline hijacking is an imminent threat to the lives of every person on board. Each and every one of them has a right to defend their lives.
Oddly, it is currently legal for any pilot or crew member to arm themselves after airline certification, which does *not* include the "psychological screening" proposed by Vaughn. Sadly, the statist bureaucrats in the FAA are actually considering a change to the law to *forbid* any crew from carrying a weapon!
Vaughn imagines that the strict policy of "cooperation" with terrorists was an airline policy. It's not. The "hostage mode" is strictly dictated by FAA regulations, which some passengers and crew members on Flight 93 decisively violated. Rather than being considered criminals, they should be awarded Purple Hearts for exceptional bravery in combat. The bureaucrats who summarily disarmed these citizens should be locked up for life.
Yes, Vaughn is correct about changing the policy and correcting the tort liability presumptions against airlines -- who are as much victims as any of those injured by the terrorists. In fact, the prompt compensation to the airline industry approved by Congress is an effective admission that the entire harm was caused by malicious and stupid federal restrictions. In my opinion, the proper restitution would have been to march the entire Department of Transportation into federal jail for the duration of the "Infinite Justice" campaign.
Bill Westmiller (email@example.com)
In response to Mr. Treude's letter in TLE #140:
Why, in a Libertarian society, would you not expect to be able to carry a firearm any place you chose including an aircraft? Rupturing the cabin in flight with a defensive weapon round is next to impossible. Decompression maybe, explosive, no. (see https://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2475)
Accidental discharge? In a Libertarian society lawsuits by any person harmed (or his or her family) against the person discharging the weapon. The same remedies you would expect on the ground, in similar circumstances.
As far as arming the crew, why would you limit them to non lethal weapons? If someone is on board attempts what was done on 9/11, I want them dead, dead, dead, before we have many more thousand on the ground in that condition.
If you really want to know how, in a Libertarian society, traveling on aircraft might be, check out L. Neil Smith's "The Probability Broach", where at a security checkpoint, the weapons check consists of making sure your ammunition complies with company policy.
Dennis Kabaczy [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Vin Suprynowicz wrote:
Perhaps this is precisely correct, but (to pick a nit) when noting "his own unprecedented interventions in the economy", it seems most appropriate to note that he only took office in March of 1933, so they were at most a month of such interventions.
Of course I agree with the substance of the article.
- - -
Vin Suprynowicz wrote:
Guns are good. If I could spare the cost, I might have one myself. And if we had one, my wife and I would insist on our 7 year old daughter learning to handle it safely.
However, my sons (now grown up) never played with guns. Kids should not be taught to think of guns as toys. About the first thing they should be taught is that guns kill (followed by when and why it is sometimes appropriate to kill).
Bill Bunn [email@example.com]
I promise I won't sound as a broken record (remember what those were?)
This whole incident of Sept. 11, 2001, is being taken completely out of context, at least by the mass media, and a few other press organizations (if organization is what they really have).
It seems that no matter what happens here is the US, that the 'situation' is isolated to the point that nothing else matters, even though what should be considered is ignored to the point of distraction -- at least until someone mentions what might have led up to it. But even then, those with credible comments are treated as pariahs, conspiracy theorists, or worse: Part of the problem.
American news is situational, that is, it doesn't comprehend that there are leading factors which contributed to the current situation.
Remember: Almost everything is taken out of context, and presented as though it were an isolated incident. When you can isolate something and expound upon it to the point of mind numbing repetition, then you can achieve a goal: reaction.
It's as though the 'journalists' covering the 'story' are brain dead, having no innate ability to comprehend the essence of the whole picture, and this is strange, because in the land of the 'situation comedy', the people who watch are almost always assessed of what leads up to the comedic happenstance.
Why the disconnect between the news and the comedy?
I think I know why. It's because the news orgs don't want to complicate matters to the point of distraction. If you were to REALLY cover the news, you'd expose a whole bucket of worms that would require more time than the allotted, and you would as well offend your benefactors (not to mention lose the audience of Americans who tune in, as their attention spans are usually less than a minute long).
When one carefully considers it, the so-called 'news' programs are nothing more than expensive productions, staffed by people who are trained to deliver a message. Consider it to be nothing more than another form of advertising. News isn't supposed to 'educate', since most Americans aren't really that well educated, and 'education' is almost always looked down upon by those who don't have it, at least to the extent of being critical thinkers.
I know this for a fact, especially where I reside -- and work as well. If you tell the what is the truth, you are derided, spoken of behind your back, and essentially regarded as some kind of nut case.
If you tell people that your sources are on the 'Internet', the first words out of their mouths are, "Well, that figures!!" Even if you tell them that not only is the US Government on-line, but so isn't every news organization which has network broadcasting ability, they still deride you as some kind of 'quack'.
Obviously, if you don't quote one of their 'preferred sources', you have no validity.
This is what passes for American news:
So, that's why we are never assessed of the 'why's' of what happened. Basically, this leads to reactionary movements. It leads to the uneducated pronouncements by the man on the street. It leads to uninformed comments by people who should know better, and it fosters actions by the government (perhaps premeditated) that in essence are prefabricated opinions. So, what's new?
The bottom line?
If Americans were assessed of ALL of the leading factors which lead up to the 9/11/01 incident, well, we would never have sent any troops anywhere, and most certainly, the dolts in office would be swinging from more ropes than we make in a year.
- - -
Dear John, and David [M. Brown],
I know I've already commented on the above situation, but allow me this additional commentary:
Any discussion of the events which took place on 9/11/2001, must of necessity also include all events which led up to those incidents. As I said previously, to discuss only that which happened on that aforementioned date, as though out of context, merely excuses the inexcusable. To wit:
Suppose, that you go out into another's neighborhood, and raise hell there. Let's say that you severely beat-up someone, merely that s/he said something that irritated you -- or worse yet, one of your companions.
Now, the neighbors of the victim are going to want justice -- in some form. However the people in your own neighborhood are entirely unaware of your actions.
Then again, maybe they aren't so unaware.
Let's say that you do this several times. Let's also say that you have a propensity for not minding your own business. Let's also say that you are funding some kind of racket, where one of the neighbors in that other neighborhood is taking unfair advantage of his own neighbors, and periodically instigates harmful incidents with them.
Sooner or later, the chickens (or turkeys) are going to come home to roost. Maybe you disagree with this analysis, maybe not. But the old saying of 'I was totally ignorant' doesn't play well in a court of US law, when there was a prosecutable crime going on right under your own nose.
So, you might say that you either agree with what the US has been doing in other people's neighborhoods all these years, or you can pretend ignorance.
The WTC and the Pentagon are virtually NOTHING compared to the death and destruction wrought by the US government, in other people's lands.
The US government is a damned bully. It has been trashing other people's homes on a fairly regular schedule -- almost from the beginning.
If you even THINK that acts against others have no consequences, THINK again. If I punch you in the face, what are you gonna do, turn the other cheek? That works only a few times, after which the creator invokes the severance clause, and demands that self-defence take over. The term 'arse holes and elbows' then becomes the most operative: severe arse kicking time.
Bin Laden is the one dude who has decided to take on Goliath, and kick ass.
A bit more than a small part of me is cheering him on, because it he can manage to drain the military resources of this fascist/communist/pretorian government of ours to the point that no American wants to get involved anymore -- because their sons and daughters are dying by the hundreds of thousands in some creator forsaken place, as well as at home as in somebody else's land -- then he will have achieved a Libertarian goal: Getting us to mind our own bloody damned business, and telling the whore of commerce to peddle her wares elsewhere. The whore is what got us into this mess to begin with: The oil companies, the banks, and other 'special interests' who were attempting to screw with the foreign locals.
Get a life -- a real life -- and go read:
Chances are that if bin Laden is successful, then the rest of the world will actually experience some kind of liberty. But, I'm not holding my breath, because people in the US haven't opened their eyes to the realities -- yet.
E.J. Totty [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Regarding L. Neil's column in TLE #140:
Granted a single person with a 5 shot .38 could have an excellent chance of stopping adversaries armed with box cutters. However, in the scenario you mention, "-- the unalienable, individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right of every man, woman, and responsible child to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon, rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything, any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.", it is without a doubt, the terrorists would have been armed with more than box cutters.
But then, so would the passengers.
The more pervasive problem, is that refuted by a few of the passengers on Flight 93 that crashed outside of Pittsburgh. In our society today, we have been conditioned to "go along to get along". Give the thief, mugger, terrorist, what he wants so you don't get hurt.
Well, the passengers on Flight 93 got hurt, but how many hundreds of people on the ground didn't, because of the passengers bravery and honor? Would there have been some of their ilk on the other three flights.
It is not only the encroachment of the Bill of Rights that is to blame for this tragedy, it is also the cultural war that has been waged by the statists, that has cost us so much.
Much has been said in this forum and in others as to what we need to do, politically. The time is now, for our freedoms have never been more at stake.
Dennis Kabaczy [email@example.com]
How to Turn a "Libertarian" Into a Monster
It's easier than you'd think, to win the war against freedom. Not just by convincing mewling, "moderate" totalitarians of the Republocratic Party to abandon soccer-mom Fascism in favor of a more muscular Prussian variety--that's beyond easy. That's giving them the opportunity to do what they wanted to do all along, but didn't have the chutzpah to try until now.
Winning the war against freedom means taking those who have most rationally, most consistently, and most passionately argued for individual rights and getting them to adopt and publically advocate policies more totalitarian than any of their political opponents. By this standard, Osama bin Laden has all but won.
When Leonard Peikoff, the Intellectual Error of Ayn Rand advocated ruthless suppression of militias and the use of America's "most potent and destructive" weapons--multimegaton thermonuclear warheads--against Arab nations if terrorists carried out an attack with weapons of mass destruction, it's fairly easy to dismiss him. He's been a parasite on Rand's corpse and waged repeated Stalinistic purges of the movement she created for decades, and hates Libertarians to boot.
It's a bit harder to deal with Jack Wheeler's proposal to threaten to nuke Mecca--and however many hundreds of thousands of non-terrorist people visiting that city to worship as they choose--if terrorists make another mass-destruction strike against the United States. Jack Wheeler, an individualist adventurer whose life story reads like a combination of Indiana Jones and Marco Polo, architect of the "Reagan Doctrine" to defeat the Soviet Union by supporting the many insurgencies in its vast empire, seems to be the kind of person the word "hero" was invented to describe.
Maybe he can be forgiven for thinking that a policy of Mecca Assured Destruction can turn gangs of fanatical religious zealots into Soviet Politburos who would rather wage a Cold War than a die in a hot one. Maybe he thinks it's a good gamble that we could make every single Muslim into a mortal enemy of the United States without some group of ten or a hundred of them ever thinking that glow-in-the-dark ruins might be the perfect thing to really get the Jihad going. Maybe he's just brainstorming. Or maybe we can just define him out of libertarianism due to his work with the Reagan Administration and blame him for helping arm the mujihadeen in the first place.
But the worst, most shocking and sickening betrayal of libertarianism
I've seen to date is an article called "Tear Down the Taleban...Not
the Bill of Rights" allegedly written by Vin Suprynowicz right here
in The Libertarian Enterprise.
Just as he was about to finish another well-written article, an orbital mind-control laser came on and made Suprynowicz (or perhaps the vicious barbarian thug who's impersonating him) write:
Does Suprynowicz really think it's moral to rape women and girls just because they happened to have been brutalized by our enemies first? The Taleban is the most repressive regime to women on the planet. Does the once-vaunted Vin propose something sensible like smuggling in compact, concealable handguns in a variety of stylish colors? No, he advises that we conquer the Taleban and continue their reign of terror in America's name.
Vin, do you think terrorists hate us now because the U.S. practiced a foreign policy based on the half-hearted wussy barbarism of Bill and Hillary Clinton? How will they feel--how should any human being feel--if we adopt a foreign policy modeled on that of Genghis Khan?
OK, let's say it's perfectly moral for American soldiers to rape women and girls in foreign lands so long as they don't do the same to American girls. Let's say that individual rights and non-initiation of force aren't principles that apply to everyone and that totalitarianism is just fine as long as it's something we do to foreigners.
Vin, do you really, honestly think that a US military with the "strength and resolve" to ravage millions of women and set up a new Empire of the Golden Horde abroad would not do the same thing here? As if the willingness to rape women en masse was some kind of heroic quality America ought to call for in its young men in uniform! As if rape and brutality can be paired with teaching kids to play baseball as a wholesome family activity!
Do you have a daughter? How would you feel, a few years down the road, when one of these soldiers come home from his noble "service" and starts looking at her? How can you expect a million serial rapist veterans of the Afghan War to come home and become civilized, freedom-respecting men?
Or do you want to leave them there, forever, as a permanent Army of Occupation, keeping their harems in abject submission and "teaching the resulting brats to play baseball?" Under those circumstances, there won't be any possibility of spreading the ideas of individual liberty and freeing everyone, man, woman, and responsible child to buy, own, carry, concealed or openly, the firearm of their choice, without asking anyone for permission. The Red White and Blue Horde wouldn't last long if that were the case. Which is the whole point. This leads to the basis for a sane policy that could actually work, which I will address in another article.
The nostalgic Taliban pray for a return to the conditions of the 13th century. Time to oblige them. No thanks. I don't want to oblige them. I don't want to live in a 13th Century Mongol tyranny. I would rather see them dragged, kicking and screaming, into a 21st Century--no, a FIRST Century A.L.--of reason, enlightenment, and unbreached individual liberty. That's what libertarians in general, and The Libertarian Enterprise in particular are supposed to be about. Says so right on the masthead.
By this definition, Vin Suprynowicz is not a libertarian regardless of what he may claim. If TLE is to retain its credibility as a libertarian publication, Vin Suprynowicz has to go. He should no longer be an honorary editor, having dishonored both himself and TLE. Future articles from him should be treated the same way as a submission from any other non-libertarian, such as Janet Reno.
Even the Waco Killers had enough shame, enough vestige of civilization to try to cover their atrocities up instead of publicly advocating the same be done on a scale of millions. Heck, even the bloody Nazis tried to hide their crimes. A President Suprynowicz would conduct terrorism and genocide openly and proudly! If this article represents Vin's thinking, the only thing keeping him from joining the ranks of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and his new hero Genghis Khan is the lack of an army at his command.
I can't think of any way to justify or excuse this article. It's not a visceral reaction expressed in shock and anger the day of the attack by a shrunken arch-conservative/nationalist mentality, along the lines of "let's nuke the bastards 'till they glow!" It was written--and published--over a week after the attack. Time enough to reflect and seriously consider what ought to be done. Time enough to think on one's principles and apply them to the situation.
Placed as it was, as one of a list of proposals including things like "Restore the right of all law-abiding Americans (including air crews) to carry firearms whenever and wherever they travel." it cannot be dismissed as hyperbole, metaphor, or jest. Vin Suprynowicz has got to go. It's either him or that quote by El Neil on the masthead and the "L" of TLE.
How do you turn a "libertarian" into a monster? Just commit a large enough atrocity and watch them start to abandon their principles. So far, "libertarians" like Peikoff (well, the ARIans don't like that label), Wheeler, and Suprynowicz have offered "solutions" far more vicious, collectivist, and totalitarian than anything I've seen from the "moderates" of the political Establishment on CNN and Fox News, with Suprynowicz arguably the worst of the lot. I doubt even Pat Buchanan or Jerry Falwell would offer Genghis Khan as a role model for America.
The fact that noted commentators with the sharpest minds and deepest knowledge of the principles of individual liberty and the evidence of their validity default to savage, totalitarian primitivism in the face of a terrorist attack has dire implications for the survival of a libertarian society.
Kevin Crady [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The following appeared in one of my mailing lists. It might bear repeating in a Letter to the Editor of TLE.
Phil Zimmerman has long been one of the victims of government run amok. I won't recount his various problems here (you can find those for yourself). This letter was posted in the hope of countering a recent interview with Zimmerman in which his views regarding the PGP encryption algorythm were completely mistrepresented. The paper in question was clearly attempting to make it appear as though Zimmermen were distraught over what he felt was "Complicity" in Bloody Tuesday because his encryption program may have been used by terrorists.
This was a tissue of lies, manufactured by the "free press" to drum up support for forthcoming illegal and Unconstitutional legislation to criminalize the use of encryption algorythms that cannot be easily decrypted by the FedGov.
Here is Zimmerman's response:
William Stone, III [email@example.com]
[Get your copy of PGP at: pgpi.org -- Webmaster]
While the events of September 11 opened up several 'windows of opportunity' for the Libertarian cause, already we see some of those windows closing. While several contributors to these pages, rightfully mentioned that an armed American population would easily protect our airspace, I do not think the general American public considered this option at all. While 72% of the American public support the concept of arming commercial pilots, apparently the Victim Disarmament movement has also foiled this noble idea.
The situation in Afghanistan appears to be one of 'bombs and bread'. The United States is rightfully holding the terrorist cells and the Talaban regime accountable for their deeds; however, there seems to be a justifiable sympathy for the Afghan population as a whole, as mostly innocent bystanders. With the elimination of the Talaban however, these bystanders will become a chaotic mob of refuges, with well armed factions and 'tribal associations' that have been the cause of great disruption and suffering in the recent Afghanistan past.
These people themselves, are being charactized as hardy and self-sufficient and well armed. These are valuable traits for a Libertarian society. I suggest, and solicit your opinions, that perhaps these people could be willing to embrace the Libertian pledge of non-initiation of aggression to others, understanding the Libertian collorary, that response to aggression IN others, can be met with responses up to, and including deadly force. If "More guns, less crime" is really true, what better testing ground than Afghanistan in the Post-Talaban environment.
Of course this idea will meet resistance to the world community, who will want to immediately 'disarm' the victims; however, chaos will obviously be the first result in Afghanistan, if it is not already. An armed truce, probably requiring American committment of troops will be required to maintain order. Neverless, it is in our own selfish self-interest to see a stable community rise from the ashes of the current Afghanistan, if only to protect ourselves from more terrorist attacks. Since the people are divided and fiercely independent, engaging in constantly shifting alliances, it is almost impossible to impose a 'world order' externally. I ask, Why should we? These people seem an ideal candidate for a Libertarian civilization if we can committ to supporting them from external influences while they order and establish themselves and work out the details amongst themselves. Yes there may be a little 'collateral damage' as the idiots and thugs learn the Libertarian response to violation of the Libertian pledge, but honestly, it has to be fewer casulities than the current situation is spawning.
Greetings, Mr. Taylor;
See below an article published by the Portland Orgonian, authored by Marie Botchie. I asked her for permission to post to some other lists. If you think it's appropriate to yours, please do so.