L. Neil Smith's
Number 183, July 22, 2002


The Future According To Bush
by L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to TLE

I often wonder, when I hear people expressing political opinions, what sort of future they imagine the fulfillment of their wishes will produce.

We are all too well acquainted with the various futures envisioned for us by left wing socialists from H.G. Wells and Edward Bellamy to Gene Roddenberry, Ursula LeGuin, Steven Spielberg, and all those other good Samaritans who plan to take care of you to death. It sometimes seems as if that's all the future that we have left, a claustrophobic nightmare of altruism and collectivism in which the individual counts only in terms of his usefulness to others or some cause "greater than himself".

For 25 years, I've tried to present another vision of the future, one in which only the individual counts (because, in point of fact, only individuals exist) and there's plenty of elbow room for robust, freewheeling characters who can "spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard". That's the world I want to pass on to my daughter and her children.

As far as right wing socialists are concerned, it is admittedly a colossal assumption that George Bush or any of his closest accomplices are capable of imagining much of anything. They do not strike me as imaginative folk, or even very capable of abstract reasoning, for that matter. Every last brain cell they possess seems to be in use already, thinking up new, improved ways of enriching themselves at everybody else's involuntary expense, depriving the individuals who pay their salaries of rights it took a thousand years to win, or locking their most recent victims up somewhere so that nobody can see or hear their protests.

For some bizarre reason, none of them -- not George Bush, not Dick Cheney, not John Ashcroft, not Donald Rumsfeld, not Tom Ridge, not even Condaleeza Rice -- seem to realize what they're doing, what kind of rotten tomorrow they're composting. Ask them if America will ever be free again, and they'll avoid meeting your gaze. But they will call security goons to rough you up or make you hard to locate for a while.

Ask the editor of National Review whose star reporter became an inconvenience.

So, in the absence of any demonstrated ability on the part of right wing socialists to envision the consequences of their policies, and as a professional in the field -- I warn you, this is not a job for amateurs -- I will take it on myself to imagine their future for them.

It will be a future in which there's never a breath of complaint or dissent -- because those vile miscreants guilty of such unseemly disturbances of the peace will be made to disappear in the middle of the night -- following a tradition established by Abraham Lincoln himself -- and if they're ever seen again, they will be strangely quiet and rather inwardly directed. For the most part, they'll sit on their front porches and rock and rock and rock, humming softly to themselves.

In the Bushian future, all good Americans will rise up bright and early every morning, shower using a minimum of water, shave whatever parts of them bristle, attire themselves respectably, and enjoy a healthful and lawfully nutritious breakfast while listening only to approved broadcasts telling them what to believe, say, and do for the day.

They will get into their cars and -- interrupted only two or three times by roadblocks where their cars and persons will be scrupulously searched for drugs, weapons, and unauthorized books, tapes, and CDs -- drive to work, patriotically burning a sufficient volume of petroleum fractions to keep the economy (and the accounts of Bush's petropals) healthy.

The little woman of the house will take whatever children she's been authorized to have to their assigned government indoctrination center, and then do enough shopping to fulfill her patriotic quota while consuming more petroleum products. At home, she'll do housework while watching moral dramas played on TV by licensed actors performing their preapproved roles, pick up the children, perhaps chauffer them to extracurricular activities, and return home to prepare an evening meal.

At noon, men will head for the company weight room, collectively to shed tons -- figures to be reported daily -- of ugly, unpatriotic fat. After a productive day, they'll get back in their cars and use more petroleum to drive home (losing only another hour or two to more police and military roadblocks) to dinner with their families and an evening of having their propaganda-drenched brains drenched with more propaganda.

On weekends they'll have a chance to use lots more petroleum products, going to government-maintained and secured parks, flea markets selling government-approved products, barbecues (provided open fires are permitted) at the neighbors', and their children's soccer games. Having been appropriately metal-detected, fluoroscoped, and strip- searched, they'll be able to enjoy professional athletic events, after standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance while officials monitor them for unpatriotic feelings with voice stress analyzers.

They might call distant relatives, patriotically ignoring that faint crackle of government listening devices and key-word detectors. Or they will be free to visit with one another with their computers or browse the Nationwide Net, their messages delayed by only a few hours as they're routed through federal servers searching for the slightest tone or expression of political ingratitude -- the first symptom of terrorism.

Those who earn the privilege by service to their wise and benign leaders will be allowed to roam through a wilderness unspoiled by the fetid masses confined within their urban and suburban reservations. In this future, as long as they do what they're allowed to do, and only what they're allowed to do, people will be free to be allowed to do it. The whole country will be like a 21st century version of Franco's Spain.

And what of the future of this future? What will there be that you'll be allowed to look forward to? To begin with, perhaps, a world federation based on the understanding that all governments have a common interest in keeping their populations helpless, ignorant, and productive. That may sound contradictory, but Singapore manages it, somehow.

Space travel enthusiasts will learn to be content to stay on Earth until government-approved colonies, securely domed and fenced, can be built in orbit or on other worlds to properly contain them. People will forget they ever heard of evil heresies like catalytic fusion that interfere with the usage of sufficiently patriotic amounts of petroleum.

Stay in your place, do what's expected of you (and only what's expected) and you will prosper -- before taxes. But dream the wrong dreams, hope the wrong hopes, wish the wrong wishes, sing the wrong songs, and you will vanish -- to the relief of your neighbors, and the greater glory of the State -- like that useless old relic, the Bill of Rights.

Three-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith is the author of 23 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collection of articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at http://www.lneilsmith.org. Autographed copies may be had from the author at lneil@lneilsmith.org.

L. Neil Smith writes regular columns for The Libertarian Enterprise www.webleyweb.com/tle, Sierra Times RoadHouse www.sierratimes.com, and for Rational Review www.rationalreview.com.


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