L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 181, July 8, 2002
WHAT FREEDOMS ARE LEFT?
This asteroid was a very good warning for us no-space-travel primitives, and I thank Neil for reminding us of it. But it's actually a little worse than this; I assure you that no asteroid will ever hit the Earth at less than 25,000 miles per hour (escape velocity), unless someone uses nuclear bombs, NERVA, etc. to slow it down into orbit first. Presumably the velocity figure is correct as regards the actual relative velocity of the object on its near-miss pass, but any impacting object will have the Earth's gravity pulling it down with a minimum of escape velocity. And, boy, will that smart... if the "Deep Ecology" people actually cared about ecology they'd be DEMANDING that government restraints on space industry be removed.
BTW, if Neil will quit spouting irrelevant insults at soccer players (who get plenty of concussions, and don't wrap themselves in Cyclolac helmets and plastic foam... come to think of it that is stupid) I could recommend TLE to my soccer-playing European postdoc co- workers... any of whom can run (and think) rings around the vast majority of Americans, who only WATCH other people play sports on TV. A case can be made that Swiss are farther from being "simps" than Amurricans are (I make this case at http://www.orlingrabbe.com/homepage.html, in the article "They Didn't Attack Switzerland"), and they've managed to stay out of any war since Napoleon's day. The only major faults the Swiss have are the ones that the US and UN are have pressured them into (giving up bank secrecy, not having a serious deterrent, pretending to have a drug war, etc.)... we hardly have room to throw stones.
Of course if you're insulting the French or English that's all very well, but please be specific. Leave the Liechtensteinians (as far as I know, the only country to use force to defend Russian refugees from Stalin, while the US/British Operation Keelhaul was killing 2 1/2 million of them) and Andorrans out of it.
Mark Etanerkist in TLE#180 ["Against the Freestate Project" by Mark Etanerkist] uses the good conceptual arguments against voting in attacking what ammounts to a sitting duck, the Free State project. I often say the same thing when I see Democrats or Republicans complaining about some intrusion into their lives: You voted for big government candidates, don't complain.
I do it to motivate discussions concerning the alternative candidates.
It's easy to say "voting legitimizes the outcome", after all that's what has been taught for generations in the public school. It's also easy to assert that it is no more right to be ruled by Democrats and Republicans than by people in the Free State project, forgetting for a moment what the purpose of the Free State project actually is.
But I have to ask, has not voting done any good? I may go down kicking and screaming, but I kick and scream and vote "no". The majority still vote "yes", so I still lose, but my objection is listed. L. Neil Smith got 5 votes in "my" county last election cycle.
When the officer is hauling you away, convicted for a crime the "majority" voted for, don't complain if you didn't vote against it. You had your chance to object. See? The arguments cut both ways.
I do not believe coersion is "right" no matter what majority voted for it. I think Mr. Etanerkist and I would gladly both function under a system of unanimity, or rather that we both do every day. We both object to coersion in our own ways.
My objection to Mr. Etanerkist's "objection" is simply that the Free State project is trying to actively do something to peacefully roll back the omnipotent and omnipresent state. Is it wrong to "vote" to leave people alone? To vote to repeal laws, erase statutes, de-fund departments?
Let's say it is, that voting in any form is wrong and defeatist, and the project fails. At worst there will be a concentration of 20,000 libery minded people motivated enough to move themselves at least once already on a dream of liberty, ready to act in unanimity.
Even in failure the Free State project teaches us lessons in peaceful cooperation.
- - -
You tell the Republicans and Democrats that they voted for big government and shouldn't complain, all I do is take it a step further. You voted, and therefore you shouldn't complain! By voting, you agree to the game.
You agree that the winner of the election gets to rule and you agree that he will be your ruler. You are giving the winner power over you and therefore you have no right to complain when he taxes you, regulates you, and has his goons haul you away for breaking one of his rules. But that's not all, by voting you are giving power over the nonvoters to the winner of the election. Now I am being brought into this. I only want to be left alone, but now I have to deal with politicians and their beurocrats because the voter wants to solve his problems by force. The voter wants to use the power of government, which is the power to use force against me. I hardly call this peaceful.
You also claim if I don't vote, I can't complain when government goons haul me away for not paying taxes. Where's the logic in that!? If I am being robed, are you suggesting that I can't fight back until I "vote" against the robbery? And if we do vote, what happens if the robber wins the vote? Am I supposed to let him rob me in accordance with the vote? No matter who says otherwise and no matter how many there are, stealing is wrong. There is nothing that can morally justify stealing. In the end, this is just what the FSP is doing. They are saying they have the right to steal from me just because they plan to steal less than the last guy.
As for your point about what has nonvoting accomplished, for me, it has accomplished a clear conscience. What has voting accomplished for you? What has it ever accomplished? When has voting ever significantly changed anything? Every big political change has occurred only after some kind of disaster/war or an office holder seizing more power than he originally agreed to seize. I can't recall one instance where voting has ever been used to roll back government. It seems it has always, and will always, be a tool of the statist.
Mark Etanerkist [email@example.com]
- - -
I don't voluntarily support the government, any more than I voluntarily support the armed thug. I vote only in self defense. I am not imposing my will on the non-voter, since my only votes are based on decreasing the imposition on everyone (including me). I no more voluntarily pay taxes than I voluntarily give money to the mugger: They're much bigger than I am, and if I don't pay them they will imprison me and take it anyway.
Were to I to vote for a program, tax, or regulation of any kind, then you would be correct. I do not, so you are not.
But I see that this distinction is not becoming clear to you. I'm sorry I have not been able to be more clear.
I'm sorry, I don't understand your last distinction. When you say "I just don't have the guns to keep them away", are you saying that you pay even though you're exempt? If you do, then you are in the same situation I am, "exempt" or not, of paying the thug.
Again the difference is that I am not hostile to your choice.
Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]
In TLE # 180, Mark Etanerkist takes aim at the Free State Project,
which I have written about elsewhere
First, the Free State Project is not proposing to "impose a state" on
anyone. What they are attempting to do is organize politically in an
already existing state where they could have some influence for the
explicit purpose of reducing the burden of government, by drastically
cutting back on state and local government as well as opting out of
federal programs wherever possible. The project is even willing to
work for secession from the American nation-state in the event that it
becomes necessary for increasing individual liberty. To argue that
this is some kind of imposition is tantamount to arguing that
libertarianism itself is the involuntary imposition of freedom, as if
that somehow violates the non-initiation principle as described by L.
A project dedicated to reducing taxes, repealing gun control and
rescinding socialist policies is not logically a celebration of any of
those things even if you are of the belief that limited government is
unattainable. Without rehashing the entire anarchy versus minarchy
debate, it should be apparent that a belief in the former doesn't make
an attempt to create the latter out of a redistributive state a
I respect those who believe political nonparticipation is the best way
to promote liberty. Yet it remains unclear that isolated
nonparticipation in any meaningful way deprives the state of its
legitimacy. It is also unfortunately the case that many people who
take this stance attack all other efforts to reduce government and
promote liberty, on the grounds that they use the same "dirty"
political process the statists use or conceivably could lead us down
some slippery slope to government getting bigger again. It becomes
difficult to avoid the conclusion that some people are more interested
in the self-satisfaction they derive from their own ideological purity
than in advancing the cause of liberty.
I'm by no means certain the Free State Project can work, but I give
them credit for trying.
W. James Antle III [Jimantle@aol.com]
First, the Free State Project is not proposing to "impose a state" on anyone. What they are attempting to do is organize politically in an already existing state where they could have some influence for the explicit purpose of reducing the burden of government, by drastically cutting back on state and local government as well as opting out of federal programs wherever possible. The project is even willing to work for secession from the American nation-state in the event that it becomes necessary for increasing individual liberty. To argue that this is some kind of imposition is tantamount to arguing that libertarianism itself is the involuntary imposition of freedom, as if that somehow violates the non-initiation principle as described by L. Neil Smith.
A project dedicated to reducing taxes, repealing gun control and rescinding socialist policies is not logically a celebration of any of those things even if you are of the belief that limited government is unattainable. Without rehashing the entire anarchy versus minarchy debate, it should be apparent that a belief in the former doesn't make an attempt to create the latter out of a redistributive state a statist endeavor.
I respect those who believe political nonparticipation is the best way to promote liberty. Yet it remains unclear that isolated nonparticipation in any meaningful way deprives the state of its legitimacy. It is also unfortunately the case that many people who take this stance attack all other efforts to reduce government and promote liberty, on the grounds that they use the same "dirty" political process the statists use or conceivably could lead us down some slippery slope to government getting bigger again. It becomes difficult to avoid the conclusion that some people are more interested in the self-satisfaction they derive from their own ideological purity than in advancing the cause of liberty.
I'm by no means certain the Free State Project can work, but I give them credit for trying.
W. James Antle III [Jimantle@aol.com]
After having read Manuel Miles' article about his dealings with anarcho-capitalists, and having read the responses to it, I'd like to offer my opinion.
While I may not agree with everything Miles wrote, I do agree, in general, with his analysis of the anarcho-capitalistic character. I'd like to go a little further, though.
I'd divide them into two groups: the more "conservative," "rightist" type, and the leftist, indeed almost libertine ones.
The leftist ones remind me of those stuffed birds under glass. Personal anecdotes do not convince them of the error of their beliefs: give us statistics. When statistics are offered; we do not accept them!
They live in a fantasy world. In some ways they remind me of Randroids in their beliefs that all of us are somehow "self-creating." The past, how we are raised, does not matter, not in the slightest.
I have found them to be petty, bitchy, backstabbing and untrustworthy. They take everything personally, lack a sense of humor, and are unable to perceive irony.
The philosophy they espouse I have great sympathy for. But the amoral, "non-judgmental" kind are the ones most Americans look at and think, "Aw, all they want to do is legalize dope so they can get high."
Bob Wallace [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I don't often have time to read articles on other websites, but Manuel Miles' article of June 24 was brought to my attention. I have read (and published) much of Mr. Miles' work, and he generally makes fairly good points on a variety of subjects.
But [in] his last article, "Right Wing Anarchy: A Dead End" [not] only did he stack assertion and generalization on top of each other throughout, he displayed ... ignorance of human action and the strength of the market....
For anyone wondering, the "'anarcho- capitalist' site" at which Mr. Miles had been posting (under the name Mad Dog) is Anti-State.com. What really got to me was the broad use of generalization with which he tried ... to make the lot of us seem racist, xenophobic, anti-religious, explicitly immoral, murderous, and utopian. And to say the we all support right-wing nationalist politicians over Libertarians is the most ridiculous of all ....
The truth is, we are a vibrant, and yes, diverse group of people. We're from all over the world, some of hail from the politically left, some from the right; some are teenagers, some retirees; some black, some white; some rich, some poor; some atheist, some profoundly religious. Abortion splits us as evenly as does the act of voting. Some of us embrace immigrant populations with open arms, and some wish to exclude non-Westerners from their neighborhoods. It is ... ridiculous that Mr. Miles can mingle with hundreds of anarchists, post over a thousand messages, have numerous arguments on the mechanics of a free society, over a period of MONTHS, and turn around and condemn us all to the intellectual gutter, after so many of us had utterly destroyed his ... minarchist pronouncements ("the market can't do certain things" ... "ok, why?" ... "uh, because we'll just end up killing each other" ... "and your proof is...?" ... "go piss on a bush"). Don't take my word for it, as Mr. Miles would have you do his ... see for yourself.
On top of all the ... insults he cared to throw at all market anarchists, he didn't even ... cite the anti-state.com message board where he did his "research"!
I hope in the future a publication as respected as TLE will take care to have their writers back up with links things that aren't common knowledge or that could be, as in this case, outright lies and grave exaggerations.
Jeremy Sapienza [email@example.com]
[Editor's Note: Mr. Sapienza was offered the opportunity to edit his Letter to the Editor to reduce the level of vitriol; he opted out, but granted me permission to edit it if I wanted. I did. It would be nice if all authors and correspondents provided cites for their assertions and arguments, where appropriate. It would also be nice if ad hominem argument was restricted, at least as much as is humanly possible. So much for "nice". Oh, by the way, Manuel has a follow-up article in this issue; see "Response to Critics" below. -- ed.]
This looks like our best shot to me. I've been doing it for years. I hope you'll join me...
Ed Williams [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In "July Forth" L. Neil Smith has advocated that we all vote for non-incumbents during the next election cycle.
I hate to disagree with Neil, but at this point, voting in any national election simply feeds the monster that is eating us alive. The only logical action is to withdraw from the electoral process, with the possible exception of local elections where you might possibly have some impact.
Federal elections are rigged from the get-go. Lending yourself to this once honorable process is akin to visiting an aged disease-ridden whore - you're putting money into her purse while exposing yourself to the possibility of a deadly infection.
Let's remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil.
My position is that advocates of freedom should decline to participate in this obvious fraud. Let the eaters of taxes cast ballots, while the overall percentage of participants drop lower and ower and lower, until finally the process is revealed for the fraud that it is.
Dear Friends of Freedom,
This is a petition to arm pilots. It goes to the airline unions encouraging them to strike until they are allowed firearms.
Relay if and as you think appropriate:
Don Winfield [email@example.com]
Clyde Cleveland, an Iowa gubernatorial candidate, under the Libertarian banner, has a fighting chance to win! May I post the following?
Clyde Cleveland is the Libertarian candidate for governor of Iowa in 2002. He just returned from a six-city tour of the northwest section of Iowa. I cannot describe in words how amazing this tour was for our campaign. I was delighted at the receptivity and enthusiasm of every person Clyde talked to on this trip. This state is ripe for change!
The people in Iowa know intuitively that they cannot continue to vote for attorney/politicians from the two major parties and expect any difference at all in the way this state is being run. We can win this election in November and set an example for the rest of the country.
Go to: [this link] and see for yourself how people are responding to our message.
Furthermore, the book, Restoring the Heart of America, A Return to Bottom-Up Government by Ed Noyes and Clyde Cleveland, will be printed within the next two weeks. The book explains how we can harness the wind to provide a monthly income to every citizen while at the same time eliminating the environmental damage of burning coal. The authors explain how we can turn a property tax nightmare into a construction boom. The key is a return to bottom-up government.
Our publicist has already secured national radio interviews for us with audiences of up to 23 million listeners!
We are going to generate enough publicity with this book so that Clyde cannot be excluded from the debates with the major party candidates. Once we get in the debates we are going to be in a three-way race, and I believe we can win.
The following are testimonials on the book:
"A well articulated and very positive description of what will happen when we return to the fundamental, and eternally valid, principles upon which this county was founded." Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman, Texas
"Remembering what America was yesterday strengthens the foundation we stand on today. Cleveland and Noyes have recaptured the passion and vision of our Founding Fathers..." Gary E. Johnson, Governor of the State of New Mexico
"If you care about this country and its potential read this book! Have conversations you have never had, feel hope that you have never felt ..." Kara Anastasio, U.S. Congressional Candidate, Democrat, 7th District Ohio
"The need to bring government back to the people calls for a new revolution: one of decentralization. We CAN Restore America by a return to government by the people." David Miller, Iowa State Senator
"This book lays out a game plan that will restore our environment and change our country forever." David A. Kidd, Founder of American Free Tree Program, (Planted 12 million trees) Independent candidate for Ohio House District 52
"Intelligent, articulate, compassionate... promoting sovereignty and freedom, built on a foundation of love. A far cry from the top down federal government that is the best money can buy." Jeff Hutner, Writer, Producer, and Director of "Practical Visionaries"
If you would like to help us start a revolution toward Bottom Up government, we need you to:
1. Please go to clevelandforgovernor.org and donate by credit card or online check to our campaign.
We need money to keep this campaign going strong so please give today and give as generously as you can! YOU can make a difference!
2. Please send this message out to all of your contacts so we can create a groundswell of support for our campaign. We need your help to share this with as many people as you can.
Thank you for supporting our campaign to bring love and freedom to our state.
Tom McCorkle, Ph.D.
Deborah Williamson [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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