L. Neil Smith's
Number 152, December 17, 2001

I thoroughly enjoyed Wendy McElroy's piece last week. In fact I love everything she's doing on FoxNews.com, I've even turned my conservative Freeper friends on to her. There is something wonderfully subversive about having an Anarchist working for a bastion of conservatism like Fox.

By the way, I just ordered two copies of The American Zone; one for myself and one for my brother as a Christmas present. I enjoy all Neil's books that are set in the "North American Confederacy", just keep 'em coming.

apple3 apple3@bellsouth.net

L.Neil Smith said:

[...} If you support drug law repeal, private weapons ownership, equal rights for gays, or any other expression of personal self-ownership, and you don't support the moral right of two individuals to enjoy "coffee and pistols at dawn", you're a 24-karat, glow-in-the-dark hypocrite. [...]


[...] The mental picture of Janet Reno struggling to hold up a heavy dueling piece in her shaking hand as spectators scatter is absolutely irresistible. [...]

That is too, too much! (Uncontrolled laughter!!)

Although I dare say that you sincerely underestimate the woman. I hazard that given half a chance, she would surely surprise you. Given the proper circumstances, she would be on our side, and be more a formidable foe to our opponents, than to us. We owe it to ourselves to seek that ground which her kind seeks as well, and to cultivate it; better to have those whom are motivated by personal interests, than by power, as the lust for power knows no limits. Personal interests are just that.

Otherwise, I could not have said it better, even were I to have done it in a 20K word essay, et sic ulterius.

In Liberty,

E.J. Totty echeghlon@seanet.com

William Stone, III wrote (in part):

There will also be instances in a free society when an individual cannot make appropriate restitution (such as a murderer), and the victim is unwilling to allow the force initiator to be left to the market. In such circumstances -- bereft of government regulation to interfere with the natural process -- the victim might choose to call the force initiator to a duel.

This is perhaps the stickiest point of a true "libertarian" legal system.

And one which our detractors often use to show that it is impractical, claiming that it cannot manage to handle "extreme" cases such as rape and murder without some type of government involvement (such as prisons or the death penalty).

In the case of someone who committed murder, or rape or child molestation for that matter, it is highly unlikely that they would be able to offer any type of appropriate monetary restitution that would be acceptable to the victim. (After all, as the victim was the one who had something taken from them, they would be the one to set an acceptable price for what was taken.) It is quite likely that someone who had suffered the death of a family member due to murder would be unwilling to allow the murder a "fair duel" (with the possibility of the murderer walking away) to settle matters. However, with the absence of any government intrusion, many possibilities could exist to "settle the score". Possibilities could include:

  • A more extreme form of "excommunication". One in which it would be publicly announced what crime the criminal had been found guilty of, and that as "restitution" for that crime, they gave up all of their rights as a human being. By definition, that would mean that people could use them for target practice as they walked down the street if they felt like it. This could be combined with a bounty for the return of their head ..... suitably preserved and mounted.
  • The criminal could be summarily executed by the victim or their survivors. Note that this would not be a duel.
  • Another more extreme form of "excommunication". Again publicly announce what crime the criminal had been found guilty of, and that as "restitution" for that crime, they gave up all of their rights as a human being. The difference being that the criminal could be removed to the border of the country and ejected, with the knowledge that they could be killed without reprisals if they returned to the country again.
  • A agreement where the victim would be allowed X number of minutes or hours to exact revenge on their attacker. This could be quite popular with rape victims (say 10 minutes with their attacker in manacles and they get 1" thick rubber clad steel rod).

These are just a couple of examples, other possibilities exist. The point would be that the victim of a crime where the criminal was not able to provide appropriate and acceptable monetary restitution would be able to obtain some other form of restitution from the criminal. They would not ever be forced to just say: "Oh well, they can't pay anything else, so we will have to let them walk free." And the fact that a victim of such a crime could literally demand almost anything of the attacker would serve as additional discouragement for those type of crimes.

Jeff Colonnesi jcolonne@flash.net

There's a report on a new study on the cost of FDA approval at: http://www.ncpa.org/iss/hea/pd120301b.html

They claim that the cost of getting one new drug into service is $802 million including capital costs. No wonder there's not much progress.

Bill Walker WalkerBill@aol.com

El Neil has done it again with his "GENTLEMEN, START YOUR HALBARDS!" It's a subject I hadn't thought much on before, but as usual, he's spot-on:

... If you support drug law repeal, private weapons ownership, equal rights for gays, or any other expression of personal self-ownership, and you don't support the moral right of two individuals to enjoy 'coffee and pistols at dawn' ... you're a 24-karat, glow-in-the-dark hypocrite. ...

and then in the following paragraph, lest we forget that (although he won't cop to "pacifist") he is steadfastly consistent on the NAP:

... Naturally, I'd try to avoid having to fight a duel (a good reason in itself to reestablish duelling; it encourages good manners) and I'd certainly never challenge anybody. That would deprive me of the choice of weapons and conditions -- make mine .44 Magnum revolvers at 100 yards. ...

I like the way he adds the latter, partly as a sop to the "pragmatists": a purely practical (and self-preservational?) reason for not initiating the challenge, any more than the force ...

Finally, I liked the story about General Putnam and the powder-keg challenge. I have to admit, given that I would GREATLY prefer not risking my life in a conventional duel, I would probably seek some similar "poker bluff" to settle such an affair ...

Steve Trinward steve@trinwords.com

The best of everything to you all. My name is Rob Gillespie. I'm a long-time, off & on corresppondent with Neil and a very satisfied reader of TLE. I'm also the financial agent for what is hopefully the most libertarian political party in Canada, the British Columbia Marijuana Party.

Some time ago, possibly in these very cyberpages, I read a piece suggesting we didn't need any grand goverment bureaucratic conspiracy to explain the rather overdramatic collapse of the Murragh Building relative to the unadvertised lack of power of the fertilizer bomb in little Timmy McVeigh's truck that day. The author speculated that what happened was a result of the fact that Murragh was a government building, built by government contractors, to the expectable standards, following the expectable proceedures. I was therefore less surprised than I might have been when I came across the following in a (fairly) recent issue of Private Eye - the British muckraking magazine:

Would fewer people have died in New York had the World Trade Center been more robustly built? For understandable reasons, no one in America is yet asking the question, but it may have to be considered eventually if new skyscrapers are erected on the site.

One expert witness is the eminent septuagenarian architect Henry Seidler, an RIBA Gold Medal winner. In an interview with the Austrian paper KLEINE ZEITUNG, reported briefly in the British ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL, he claims that the Empire State Building and Sears Tower would have withstood a head-on plane crash far better.

Seidler, who visited the twin towers while they were under construction, says, "It's the lightest thing I ever saw. I was almost speechless when I saw the elevator shaft and staircases were lined with plaster. They told me they were fireproof. The World Trade Center was little better off than if it had been built out of cardboard sheets. With most buildings, the steel supports are coated with concrete; in the WTC they were only coated with plaster. The steel supports were only sprayed with asbestos, and in the head which developed it's as soft as spaghetti. That's a terrible way of building.

And now the good part (my comment)

Why was it done? Seidler points out that the towers were commissioned by the NY port authority. "They built on their own property, and at the same time issued all the permits to themselves. The whole thing was a matter of cost."

In the words of Iago the parrot: "Why am I not surprised?"

Rob Gillespie coordinator@bcmarijuanaparty.ca

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