L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 144, October 22, 2001
I Hear America Dying
Will We Let the Real America Die?
by L. Neil Smith
Exclusive to TLE
All of my life I have wanted nothing more than simply to be proud of my country. Understand that -- believe it -- or nothing else you read here will make sense. All of my life -- and it's dismaying how long it took me to realize this -- I've been ashamed of my country, instead.
The first time I remember feeling this way was when it became clear that we would never know who killed Jack Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. I'm no more inclined to conspiracy theories than anybody else (although I'll point out that our own Revolution began with five dozen anti-government terrorists meeting in what they later rechristened Independence Hall) but if you knew anything about ballistics, just to name one relevant field of endeavor, you knew that the official explanations of those murders amounted to no more than gibberish.
Then came Vietnam and with it more lies, evasions, and government lawbreaking than the average person in those days believed possible. Over seven long years, I learned that America was fighting an illegal, undeclared war in Southeast Asia to cover up a mess made by France and Great Britain (especially the latter), that it wasn't the first time nor would it be the last, and that the Brits have always been willing to fight bravely to the very last drop of Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, or South African blood. (Rent a copy of Gallipoli to see what I mean.) If they got to expend American blood instead, so much the better. And because the only great presidents are war presidents, Roosevelt's most successful protege, that murderous wallowing drunken pig, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was more than willing to go along with the gag.
World War II is another case in point. It isn't popular to say it these days, when Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Rush Limbaugh have rehabilitated one of the most unnecessary wars in human history, but the inescapable fact is that it was not a conflict between freedom and tyranny, but between competing brands of fascism. Look up the National Recovery Act of you don't believe me. It would never have happened at all if it hadn't been for the unfair, humiliating, and cripplingly burdensome Treaty of Versailles, imposed by the Allies on Germany after World War I. That arrangement virtually gave birth to World War II by making National Socialism seem like a good deal to the German people.
The excesses that followed were as much the fault of the Allies (who compounded their unutterable stupidity by letting the American Medical and Bar Associations lobby them into refusing to allow Jewish refugees -- meaning doctors and lawyers educated at Heidelberg and the Sorbonne -- to settle in America) as they were of the Axis. And if the war had gone worse in the Pacific, who can doubt that there would have been voices in Roosevelt's Administration demanding a "Final Solution" to dispose of thousands of unconstitutionally imprisoned Japanese Americans?
Think I'm exaggerating? Then I challenge you to look up Operation Keelhaul.
As for the First World War itself, and despite having read Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August on more than one occasion, it's one of the few things in life that I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Dylan about:
In spite of Woodrow Wilson's much-vaunted academic background (or more likely because of it), it appears to me that he was nothing more than an unsophisticated New World bumpkin, conned into sacrificing American lives in Europe by the continental four-flushers that his kind, suffering a perpetual cultural inferiority complex, secretly worship. In any case, thanks to a sack of lying collegiate excrement -- who'd been elected on the strength of his promise to keep America out of the war -- there were lots of kids, including a father that my father never got to know, who wouldn't be back when it was "over over there".
Simply to make the world safe for an Adolf Hitler.
All this prepared me (as much as anyone who wants to believe in something can be prepared) to learn the truth about the War Between the States and Abraham Lincoln. I've written about it elsewhere, how "Honest Abe" overthrew the principles of the American Revolution and killed 620,000 people in the name of keeping the federal Union bound together, whether it wanted to be bound together or not. Suffice it to say that the unsatisfied customers who think I enjoyed doing it don't know me. I'd be happier today if Lincoln had been revealed as someone worth admiring, instead of the homicidal megalomaniac he turned out to be.
In the end, however, as in the beginning, I am an individualist. It's more than just an ideological stance, it's the way I look at the world. I began to feel better when I realized that there are -- and always have been -- two separate and distinct Americas: my America, the America of Thomas Paine, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights; and another America, the America of Alexander Hamilton and his rapacious, bloodthirsty, cannibalistic descendants to whom power is more important than money or sex or food or any moral, ethical, or legal principle ever known to humankind, and who will do anything -- absolutely anything -- to obtain, enhance, and consolidate it.
I've been describing this pathology for years but I never thought a day would come when someone like George Bush would make someone like Bill Clinton -- who apparently likes sex more than power -- look normal. Then again I never thought I'd see the day when you simply aren't anybody, dahling, if you haven't been sent some anthrax in the mail. Bush is happily conducting an illegal, undeclared war that is an absolute dictator's delight -- a war that is exactly like the war on drugs which apparently provided insufficient excuses for snuffing out liberty once and for all -- a war that is completely open-ended, without realizable objectives or any criteria for drawing it to an end.
Because it never will.
There are plenty of people willing to believe that Bush lost the last general election, and no way to know for sure if he did or not. I was willing -- chiefly on account of the typical disgusting behavior of his opponent's supporters -- to give Bush the benefit of the doubt. But given his appallingly illegal conduct since September 11, I'm no longer willing to do that. I see him now as a man who's pulled off a coup d'etat from the inside, and -- using this Frankenstein's monster he's creating called the Office of Homeland Security, or more aptly, Heimatlandsicherheitsdienst -- is about to try to rule us through a junta.
Osama bin Laden is the Lee Harvey Oswald of our time. Nobody has ever offered any real proof he "did it". It doesn't matter whether he did or not. What's important is that the deed got done, supplying the Bush junta with everything it needs -- an excuse it's been impatiently awaiting for a decade -- to carry out what might be called a "security coup" and declare a phony war whose only purpose is to destroy what little Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson left of the Bill of Rights. Let me put this bluntly: if it continues, it's the end of America.
Freedom is not a privilege bestowed by a beneficent government, or a luxury to be confiscated whenever it's asserted that society can no longer afford it. Anyone who claims otherwise is your enemy, no matter how fiercely he denounces the nation's current foes or how sweetly he sings "America the Beautiful". Freedom is a basic necessity of life. Correction -- freedom is the basic necessity of life. If you doubt it, consider the 1930s, when Europeans were persuaded to give up their freedom, and over the next decade died in historically unprecedented numbers.
It's time for those who believe in being something other than "good Germans" to roll their sleeves up and go to work to save their country. Republicans must admit (to themselves) that they've put a low-key, blue-suited would-be fuehrer in the White House and do something about it. If they wonder what, they can ask Congressman Ron Paul.
(Some of our would-be fuehrers aren't so low-key. Take the "Mayor of America", New York's Republican gungrabber Rudy Giuliani, a liar and hypocrite who wouldn't recognize individual liberty if it came up and flicked him on the end of his pointy nose. The nasty little fascist pout you see on so many magazine covers these days, the phony tears, the pompous arrogance with which he demands that we take sides with him against the inconvenient Bill of Rights, reminds me so much of Benito Mussolini, I'm going to label him "Il Douchebag" from now on.)
Democrats must come to see that the reason the 2000 election map looked the way it did is because Americans are tired of having their liberty -- to speak freely, to obtain, own, and carry the means of self-defense, to keep every penny they earn, to drive the size and kind of car they want -- taken away bit by bit. They can read the Bill of Rights themselves. They understand what the Founding Fathers meant by it. They're less and less willing to be told otherwise by thugs in jackboots or lawyers wearing suits that cost more than the cars they love.
Democrats should go see Ron Paul, too -- after they've stripped Charles Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, Henry Waxman, Diana DeGette, and everyone else like them of their power, covered them in molasses and feathers, and run them out of the Beltway on a rail. More than anyone else, they're the evil culprits who made September 11 inevitable, and they are now making you their accessories after the fact.
Special notice to the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association: you can play a big part in making America work again the way it was supposed to, but you'll have defend the entire Bill of Rights, not just the parts you're fond of. You got us into this mess, too -- mainly by pushing victim disarmament and the war on drugs -- and you have a lot to make up for. Start now, while it's relatively safe and easy. Before you know it, it won't be any more.
The tyranny of National Socialism lasted a dozen years; Germany was destroyed and had to be rebuilt from the ground up before it was over. The tyranny of the Soviets lasted 72 years and there's hardly anything left of Russia. A whole world was against those two regimes. Except for a few neolithic peasants squatting in caves, Bush's America is completely unopposed. How long will we have to suffer the tyranny he plans for us, how will we get out of it, and what will we have left?
Tell everyone you know, everyone you work with, do business with, go bowling with, that terrorism is a diffuse threat that can only be met with a diffuse defense. The way to combat terrorism, religious, state, or any other kind, is with individual human action. Individual human liberty. Tell everyone -- and keep telling them until they get it.
Don't vote for anybody -- Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, whatever -- who approves of the anticonstitutional acts being committed by the Bush regime. Instead, vote for anybody -- Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, whatever -- who opposes them. Make sure the politicians know about this policy. Write them letters and e-mail, call them, take out ads, do whatever you can. I belong to a generation -- and so do many of you -- who put an end to an ugly war in Southeast Asia that we didn't like, and we can damn well do it again.
It begins with a universal nationwide insistence on Bill of Rights enforcement. It continues in the creation of a genuine Bill of Rights culture. It ends in only one of two ways, the happier of the two being an enlightened culture in which the events of September 11 could never have happened because none of the potential victims were helpless. Or harmless.
The unhappier of the ways will ultimately make Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia look like civilized bastions of decency and freedom by comparison.
Those who do know me know that I'm not a pacifist or any kind of "peacenik" in the ordinary sense of the word. (Try reading a few of my books.) I opposed the war in Vietnam because I understood that Lyndon Johnson was a vastly greater threat to my life, liberty, and property than Ho Chi Minh could ever be, and I also insist on choosing my own enemies.
Yes, whoever attacked the Trade Towers, damaged the Pentagon, and killed thousands of innocent victims should pay for it with their lives. Many of them have been dead since September 11. Nor will I accuse Bush of having engineered those atrocities for the sake of power -- although there are plenty of writers doing exactly that right now.
I do accuse him, his father, and their vile cronies and allies of making totalitarian plans for us and then waiting, just like vultures on a cactus, for some horrific event that would appear to justify them.
Like World War II, this war won't be a struggle between decency and something else. It will be between religious terrorism and state terrorism, and there'll be no side in it for rational people to take. Items like Echelon and Carnivore -- ways the government spies on our e-mail -- demands to surrender our encryption keys, more warrantless searches and seizures, secret trials involving secret laws and secret evidence, means of peering through the walls of our homes or counting the change in our pockets, cameras on every street corner and metal detectors in every public place, all of these things have been in the works -- or in actual operation -- for years, their proud owners and operators biding their time until enough people had died to make them acceptable to a frightened population ruthlessly indoctrinated by the public schools and the mass media to have not an inkling of their rights.
It's indisputable that nothing -- absolutely nothing -- that Bush has done since September 11 is a truly appropriate response to what happened. He and his, in fact, have avoided things that must be done. Things like arming airline passengers and mandating national Vermont Carry. If they resent or deny what I've said here about them, let them reply with acts of good faith: let them put an end to the idiotic war on drugs and nullify every gun law in the county. Nothing less will suffice.
I say now -- you'll never know how much I dread saying it -- that it's time to let the Democratic and Republican Parties finish merging into the indistinguishable mush they are, abandon minor parties that haven't worked, and start putting together a real live Bill of Rights Party.
Will we let Tom Paine's America die, instead?
I say too -- although it's painful to do so -- that if, to remove the excuses being used to turn us into a replica of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, justice had to remain unsatisfied in the matter of September 11, in order to save Tom Paine's America, it would be worth it.
When they send us to the camps, you tell me I was wrong.