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L. Neil Smith's
Number 161, February 18, 2002
Gung Hay Fat Choy!

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words.]

Letter from Guillermo Walker

Letter from Dave Kopp

Letter from Robert Hutchinson

Letter from John Slevin

Letter from Rex Curry

Letter from Bruce Elmore

Letter from E.J. Totty

Now that all the votes are counted the Costa Rica Libertarian Party (Movimento Libertario) has six out of 57 Congressional seats. Not only do the Libertarians have over 10% of the Deputados, there are four other parties with seats. Of course if the US had proportional representation, there would probably be 20% Libertarian Congressmen here... but the US doesn't. I gave a little money to the ML last year; now that they have demonstrated that they can accomplish something I plan to give them more. The LP can't match political donations in the US, but in CR our puny strength means something. Costa Rica could become a real capitalist country, something not seen before in this century. Yo estoy estudiando espanol.

-Bill ... errr, Guillermo Walker ("William Walker" not being a good name to take to Central America...) WalkerBill@aol.com

Hey John,

Just a short note in response to Kevin Tull's LTE in TLE #160. Though I would concur that Mr. Tull is absolutely correct in his premise that the piling up of charges is wrong, it would seem to me that he probably has not had much interaction with the minions of the state during his life. He asks ...

"Does it really take 394 counts of murder/homicide to put this guy away forever? Is this part and parcel of the aftermath of 9/11? Will all crimes be charged as double, or triple, or even more? Will jaywalking become not crossing a street at a corner, and crossing the street in the middle of the block, using feet to commit a crime, willfully interfering with the proper flow of traffic, using a weapon of low impact to unlawfully traverse an asphalt surface at a point unregulated for pedestrian motion?"

I hate to break it to you Kevin, but this sort of thing has been going on for years now, each and every day, even for things as trivial as traffic offenses. It's a common practice for cops and prosecutors to pile on redundant charges, mostly because it gives them more points to plea bargain away in negotiations with defense attorneys. I mean really, only one charge? How can one negotiate with one lousy charge? Give me five charges to work with, and then we can play "Let's make a deal!"

All sarcasm aside, you need to know that this sort of thing has nothing to do with 9-11. It's simply the way the game is played these days, especially where felony crimes are concerned. I personally guarantee you that if you were to be charged with a federal felony of any sort, there would be a "conspiracy to commit ..." whatever tossed in with it, at a minimum. Though there are certainly plenty of BS laws and regulations being passed these days using the 9-11 tragedy as an excuse, this sort of thing is not part of that. It's been there for a long time, and my guess is it won't change anytime soon. As some old sage or other once said, "That train has already left the station."

Dave Kopp wizard@van-kopp.com

Re: Steve Trinward's thoughts on abortion:

If you insist on tying ANY sexual relations involving intercourse to an IMPLICIT acceptance of the risk of conception, and offer NO alternative to someone who -- despite HER best intentions, and all the precautions possible (or simply the heat of the moment?) -- finds herself with a zygote inside.

This argument seems to rely on the force of word capitalization. First, does one need to accept a risk before one can be held accountable for having taken it? If I decide to try some blindfolded target shooting, will you not hold me responsible when someone ends up shot and killed? I tried my best not to hit anyone. Well, except for taking off the blindfold ...

... which leads me to my second objection: all the precautions possible? Why do condoms and birth control count as precautions, while abstinence doesn't?

Most disturbing to me, though, is "best intentions" and "the heat of the moment." Many, many, many people who we can agree have committed crimes had good intentions, or acted in the heat of the moment, or both. I hardly see how it excuses them.

You are consigning every woman to chattel slavery, by the mere fact that she is the one who must in your view now submit to 9 months of pregnancy, painful childbirth and 18+ plus years of raising what is now a born child.

Let's drop that last one first; no one said anything about preventing adoption (or we'd be consigning ALL parents to chattel slavery). Furthermore, there is nothing "mere" about the question of whether a murder is being committed, and I fail to see how gestation lengths and childbirth pain affect that question.

I fully agree that there is a clear zone after which point a decision has been made, whether or not it is explicitly stated, to carry a fetus to term.

I DO NOT agree that this zone begins at some point called "conception"

When, then, DOES this zone begin?

Anything else, as Neil has himself (along with Aaron?) so eloquently pointed out in "Hope" ... is asking for a police state bureaucracy designed for only one purpose: breeding women like cattle, according to the dictates of the state!

More disingenuousness, at least on your part (I've yet to read "Hope"). Government police lie, cheat, steal, kill, and oppress even when they're investigating and capturing thieves and murderers. Is this an argument to legalize theft and murder, or is it an argument to get rid of government police? Oh, and I never knew that American women were bred like cattle before 1973. That's government schools for you.

Robert Hutchinson hobbs@surfsouth.com


Regarding Mr. Griffins' letter (TLE #160): Mr. Griffins is concerned that the "folks at National" apparently refused to appear on a talk radio program in defense of those who chomp on horsemeat.

There are a number of peaceful and honest activities about which Libertarians might choose to remain silent.

Consider renewal of membership in the Libertarian Party, which Mr. Griffins indicates is his practice.

While Mr. Griffins is entitled to renew his Libertarian Party membership, routing it through his state affiliate (as he does), many Libertarians find that to be a wasted exercise, a waste of money. Many consider those who send money to National to be fools, naive or ignorant.

However, in the best Libertarian tradition, I will not oppose Mr. Griffins' right to send money to the Libertarian Party National Committee (someone has to feed the thieving dolts there, and it might as well be Mr. Griffins rather than the taxpayers---and that latter group includes me).

In more than twenty years of extensive travel among Libertarians across the country, I've found that most Libertarians are open-minded about the wonderful assortment of human choices and foibles---maybe I've even met a horseeater, but I've never chowed down with one.

A person who does not choose to leap to the defense of the rights of horsemeat swallowers does not make that person any less libertarian.

It just means he/she chooses to avoid this particular fray, and that may be because of a sense that the battle will yield no real victory.

Just as Mr. Griffins' National L.P. chose to avoid defending the rights of horseeaters, I will choose to avoid defending Mr. Griffins' right to send money to the National L.P....I won't even ask him why he sends money to a cause which doesn't support what he wants it to support. I'm sure that Mr. Griffins knows what is best for him much more than I.

I'm not sure where those horseeaters are (though I hear many lurk in Japan, and also favor square watermelons) and I hope their right to chow down on Mr. Ed is respected. I'm not gonna lose any sleep over it if Mr. Ed perishes or manages to escape their chef, and I hope Mr. Griffins doesn't send more than the minimum $25.00 membership fee to National---I urge him to angle for a student or poverty discount.

The pattern, practice plan and policy of the Libertarian Party strongly suggests that Mr. Griffins would be more helpful giving his money either to horse causes or the cause of the horseeaters.

John Slevin directaction@yahoo.com

Federal courthouses should stop demanding photo identification from everyone who enters. The policy is resulting in court security refusing entry to witnesses (even defense witnesses in criminal cases) when their testimony is needed in a hearing. Worse still, the Courts are not being informed that witnesses are being turned away at the door. It is a miscarriage of justice and a violation of a party's civil rights and a denial of every defendant's right to due process of law and the right to call witnesses in his/her own behalf.

Some people may even being using the ID policy as an excuse to avoid coming to court, or testifying. All they have to do is show up without identification and they will be refused entry.

Many people who are summoned to Court are people who do not customarily carry ID. Many do not even have ID, photo or otherwise. It is not uncommon for people to lose their ID or for ID to be stolen.

There is no law that requires anyone to carry photo ID nor any ID at all. Thanks to our country's libertarian heritage, there is no law that requires anyone to even have photo ID nor any ID at all, much less to carry it. That is what makes our government not-quite-so-offensive as governments elsewhere.

The ID policy is again playing into the stereotype of the federal government as a growing leviathan, forcing everyone to routinely carry and display identification, and forcing everyone into a police state with a national ID card and the routine command "show me your papers!"

That's why the Lawyers Association Against Searches (LAAS) was organized, to say no to searches. This letter is written as a pro bono public service to end the unethical courthouse policies. This letter may have been shortened for space, and more info is available at

Yours in liberty,

Rex Curry rexy@ij.net
Attorney for Defendant
(and with the Lawyers Association Against Searches (LAAS))

Dear Mr. Taylor,

The correct Libertarian position on abortion is that it should be the same as the capital murder of a child.

Ectopic pregnancies aside, abortion is wrong because it is an unjustified killing of someone who has not directly threatened the mother.

Why is it that Libertarians are so willing to violate the Non-initiation of Aggression Principle when it comes to infants who haven't yet passed through the vaginal canal?

Just wondering about the logical inconsitency, that's all.


Bruce Elmore rbelmore@attbi.com

[Re: TLE #81 for July 17, 2000 http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe81-20000717-01.html#letter2]

Dear John,

When last I wrote, it was concerning the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) position on the right to keep and bear arms, or more directly, how their position is faulted. The ACLU positions are at odds with their stated goals of protecting all liberties. In fact, their acts in that regard are downright duplicitous. My contention then, as now, is that their political agenda mandates something less than the truth, while attempting an outward appearance that looks as valid for all external intents and purposes. Now I shall address their position concerning the First Amendment.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

"Congress shall make no law ..." A simple edict; how much simpler can one get? How many times in the last 200 plus years has it seen a violation of its basic premise? And, worse yet, how many judges have lied out their respective backsides in pursuit of a policy that allows all sorts of mischief under the law which says there shall be no law?

First, a small piece of information: The author of this article is an indifferentist. To the uninformed, I believe that all religions are of equal validity; I make no distinctions. What you believe is your right to believe, no matter how strongly, and nobody or group of anybodies has the right to tell you otherwise, make you kowtow to a certain mode of behavior, or attempt to inflict any aspect of (to coin a term) religio-polity upon you at any time, anywhere, anyplace, for any purpose.

That said, allow me to observe that while religion is the first thing discussed in the Amendment in question, and communication is discussed by way of 'speaking' or 'press' - which might be any thing used to convey a thought, do note that politics of any type is not even discussed, or alluded to. No political idea is broached as either proper or improper. So, the questions arise: What is religion? What is politics? Are not they really the same things and coequal?

In our American government, we agree not shove our respective politics, or our religions down each other's throats. Well, that works well only part time. It seems the socialists in office have been busy using the government to shove their polity down everybody's throats for some time. But wait, isn't that the same thing as shoving religion down your neighbor's throat? After all, socialism is a belief . . .

Politics is all about control, and control is all about time, and time is the essence of life. Religion is all about control, too; and whether it is self-control, or the control of yet others, is a related matter.

If the net effect of control with either is the same, no matter the agency exerting that control, then can it not be said that the agencies are equal? Consider: If a white man enslaves a black man, and a black man enslaves a white man, what is the difference? If a white man enslaves a white man, and a black man enslaves a black man, what is the difference? If, in all cases of the above, the enslavement was done in the pursuance of religion, or in the pursuance or a polity, what is the difference with either the religion or the polity? Do they not result in the same act? Is not the result the same? Does it matter what you believe, as long as the results are equal?

The government can no more force me to abstain from a religion, than it can force me into one; does the same goes for a political party? It is interesting to note that there is no stated prohibition in the First Amendment preventing the government from recognizing a political establishment, nor prohibiting one either. There is no power inferred in the Constitution proper, that allows any power to be used in recognition, or in the affront, of a certain polity. Since there is not power delegated for such a thing, it must be prohibited, at least by the Tenth Amendment standard, and the Ninth buttressed by 14th Amendment.

If my politics are my religion, and vice-versa, then what is the difference? And, more importantly, who has the right to define for me the differences? If I choose to join the Islamic Jehad to express my political goals, is not my polity that of a certain belief? Can I not use my beliefs to attain office? My actions are limited only by the proscriptions spelled out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and subsequent Amendments as they apply - once I attain office. If I can indeed use my beliefs to attain office, then it follows that in order to do that, I must be able to express them openly, and without restraint. If public office is the highest achievement that a citizen my attain, then is it not an affront to the First Amendment to limit the expressions of a personal belief in any public setting?

If a teacher may profess an affiliation with a particular political party, and as well cite a personal religious belief - in passing, does it not follow that while not expressly engaged in the activity s/he was hired for, that they should also be able to engage in discussion with their charges on a non-credited basis, and that the students should be equally as well unencumbered in the same endeavor?

The court is practicing the politics of exclusion. In order for it to be proper - in the sense of it being a complete and total exclusion, every last aspect of religion must be excluded. That would remove the teaching of just every subject of education, unless every subject were so sanitized as to remove every reference to the historical acts from whence many things emanate. That means that math is 'history', as well as the subject of history itself. No languages, and no writing either. All of those subjects cannot possibly be taught properly without a recounting of their historical aspects, and how certain things came about. Enquiring young minds want to know, and sanitizing those subjects will only lead to a black market on knowledge. Actually, that might be good.

The term 'politics' is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary (V4.0) as: 1. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.

Whereas religion is defined as: 1. a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. 2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order. 3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. 4. A cause, a principle, or an activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

My religion, as with my politics, is that of Liberty. I choose to believe that no person or group may at any time dictate to me what I may think, believe, discuss, purvey, or otherwise communicate with other willing parties, nor may they prevent the exercise of those activities, in a public place, or in a private place where where all are in accord to the acts.

According to the definition of politics given above, if the essence of a government is based on the belief of liberty for all citizens, and if religion is the essence of a belief, then is not the belief in liberty a religion in itself? If I proclaim that Liberty is my strongest belief, and that the Creator is the maker of Liberty, then does not my belief in Liberty qualify as a religion?

The Amendment in question says that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...", therefore, nobody is required to believe in liberty. They may live here, and practice whatever belief they desire, as long as they do so peaceably; inasmuch as the Amendment continues: "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

The ACLU believes that no part of a constituted government may at any time show or display any sort of affection or disaffection to any kind of religious belief, in any way, manner, fashion, or form in a public venue, while using public monies, or property.

I can agree to this in only certain aspects, with regards to the use of public monies to show a support of, or to emphasize a regard for a particular religion, or to make laws that defer to, or decry any particular religion or any number thereof. Government really does not have any business emphasizing anybody's personal beliefs, especially if its purpose is to serve every citizen equally, regardless of belief.

A town clerk may well wear a 'Jesus saves' tee shirt, and not be in violation of any law, since s/he is practicing a personal belief for themselves. S/he can also pray if the matter strikes them as necessary, and they do it in such a way as to not deprive the town of its lawful accounting of time, and as long as s/he does not actively proselytize on town time, or use the town facilities in that regard, then the matter is a moot one.

So, what's the big deal about children praying on their own, and not interfering with others while doing it? If the town clerk is on government (public) property, and so are the children, then what is the difference?

Additionally, if a student is asked to deliver a convocation at a school event, and the matter is up to the student as to the subject, then is not the student free to 'express' her/himself? If s/he decides to deride a certain political belief, and offends those members of that polity, do they arise and submit to the court that their rights have been abridged? No one forced them to be there at that time, no one forced them to join a party against their beliefs. They do have the right to rise and protest ...

If a convocation at a public gathering, is issued by a private citizen, student or otherwise, then the matter is also moot, since neither is a public official, and therefore represents no public policy. It matters not whether it happened on school grounds, or just off school grounds, as public property is public. Does not the speaker have freedom of expression (speech)?

The matter, I have been informed, is that of the government acting as a facilitator or franchise for the event. But that position is faulted on the following accounts: The government also franchises the highways, the ether through which the Broadcast media propagates, the entire telecommunications industry, the U.S.Mails, and a whole slew of other things.

Consider: If a student enters town hall, and kneels to pray in the lobby, is that an unlawful practice of religion? Or, if a Roman Catholic is standing in line at town hall - for whatever reason, would it be an unlawful practice of religion for her/him to break out a Rosary and pray silently? If the town does nothing to either of those people, then is it recognizing an establishment of religion? Certainly the government does recognize some establishments of religion, just look at the calendar some time, and discover that a business can be sued for discriminating against someone for not allowing them time-off in pursuance of a religious event. Recognition, is recognition, no matter how you stack it, pack it, roll it or stuff it.

But therein lays the rub of this matter. The U.S. Supreme Court has been hoodwinked by the likes of the ACLU, not because the ACLU has been close to right, but because the ACLU has in fact dissembled and dissimilated on the right to practice a private belief in a public place. Consider that Marxists may practice their belief of atheism quite openly, and without the slightest impediment enforced against them, all within the confines of a public school. Yet, youngsters whom have a recognized religion in the positive, and recognized senses, are denied every act in comport with and pursuance to the practice of theirs. Why is this? Is not professing the antitheses of a something, the same act as the professing of that something, in the terms of professing a belief?

Take for instance the three statements:

  • I believe in God, and you cannot make me stop!
  • I don't believe in God, and you can't make me!
  • I really have no position as to a God.

The first two are statements of belief. The third is a neutral position.

The first two will argue till the cows come home - and then some, while the other guy will be stuck with milking the cows!

If in the regards to a mode of thinking, we pursue a vein of action that exposes the essence of our thinking, then it seems that the ACLU is in pursuance of a Marxist polity. Never once has that organization pursued actions against Marxists practicing in public schools, not a single incident - ever, that I have been able to discover.

A child, or several, should be able to practice his belief in any place he desires, as long as he does not invade the rights of others, or disrupt the normal schedule of a school. It is the child only, who is in pursuance of his own ideas of what is proper for him; ergo, he is in pursuance of his own life and personal politics.

If I allow a thing without in any way either encouraging it or denouncing it, then it matters not that it happens.

If grass grows in the crags, and I fertilize it, it is encouraged; if I poison it, it is discouraged; if I leave it untended by any act, it is unto itself on its own.

If my religion is my politics, does that mean that I can never express myself in a public school? Does it mean that I will forever be without a voice in protest an injustice? Does it mean that I can never deliver a convocation in such a place? Does it mean that I will be denied equal protection under the law? Does it mean that the Constitution will not apply to me? Does it mean that I cannot practice Liberty on government property? Does it mean that the government which was enacted to protect my liberty, is indeed antithetical to that very Liberty?

And, what of the ACLU? What would be its proper name then?

E.J. Totty echeghlon@seanet.com

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