L. Neil Smith's
Number 189, September 9, 2002


[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Drew Williams

Letters from Curt Howland, Jeff Colonnesi, and E.J. Totty

Letter from Steve Trinward

Letter from Matthew Hogan

Another Letter from E.J. Totty

Letter from Alan Hutch

Letter from Joseph S. Bommarito

Letter from FIJA

Letter from Robert Gibson

Letter from James J Odle

Response to John Lopez's Moral Outrage of Voting

How dare me? What a hypocrite.

Do you pay any taxes? Income, sales, tolls, fees, have a drivers license, social security number? If you do then shut up! According to your own argument you are just as responsible as every voter and taxpayer for your own slavery. Unless you've completely removed yourself from paying one cent to support our government then don't pretend that you are some type of a pure anarchist, who is "above" forcing their will on someone else by voting. Even so, I don't buy your argument that by voting an individual condones all the actions of the government. That's like saying that by hiring a baby-sitter you condone the physical/sexual abuse and murder of your child.

I don't understand anarchists. Do you really think humans could live without government? In my view the natural state is anarchy(like the natural state of space is a vacuum). Meaning there is no defacto government in nature. It's everyone for him/herself(Darwinian survival for the fittest). But humans, and even less intelligent animals, desire the need for security and peace and thus make agreements with each other to protect their group at the cost of individual liberty. If every government was wiped off the face of the earth right now, along with all evidence that there ever were governments on earth, the very next second a group of people would create a simple government to ensure their mutual safety.

Whether you like it or not we will always have government of some form. So you can either participate in it by paying taxes, sending you kids to public school, getting a drivers license, etc. and hope to influence it by voting and being politically active OR you can go live in a cave and never come out. When I'm voting the Libertarian ticket in November I'll be thinking of you(watch out for bears!).

Drew Williams [DWilliams@wausaumosinee.com]

Much More on the Same General Subject

Dear TLE,

John Lopez and Mark Etanerkist do have one salient point: Government, as the institution which initiates force "legitimately", is itself antithetical to "libertarian" principles.

Ayn Rand didn't like "libertarians" because she concluded that the non-initiation of force principle would result in no government at all.

She was very perceptive.

Such a principled individual will do what they can do to reduce the power of the state. I agree, and am always looking for such things.

Not voting merely increases the aparent majorities, and thus the legitimacy, of the candidates who win. That is one of the really big reasons that democracy sucks so badly, "abstain" doesn't count. Even if a majority abstains, it still doesn't count. When only the statists vote, the result will be statist by definition.

The "legitimacy" of the state which these two fine people wish to reduce is not effected by voter turnout. The only reason that Democrats rally for voter turnout is because they believe statistically someone who has to be coaxed to vote at all is more likely to vote Democrat.

Changing perception is the only way to attack the legitimacy of the state. At this point, if you say "No", you go to prison and get robbed anyway. That's "Yes", and it doesn't matter if you voted or not.

Do something real. Get on a jury and vote your concience. Protest publicly, persuasively, and rationally. Put your money in an untaxable trust (or whatever Al Gore and the Kennedy's have) and reduce the money that Uncle Sugar takes from you to decrease its power. I cannot tell you to work under the table or join the underground economy, that would be advocating breaking the law and I'd get in trouble.

If you don't want to vote because you feel better that way, be my guest. Just don't delude yourself into thinking you're "doing something" by doing nothing. Whining about it like a couple of "anarchists" protesting "globalization" doesn't win friends either.

Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]

* * *

There has been a good deal of argument lately whether or not to vote. The way I see it, we have the following choices.

1) Vote. For whomever best represents your views. If no one on the ballot does, then write someone in. At least the public will start to wonder if the two top runners in a race combined receive less than 50% of the votes cast. If the ballot doesn't allow write in candidates, at least vote on the issues / proposed laws (propositions as their called in Michigan).

2) Don't Vote. Don't support the system that many believe is corrupt. But if you honestly want to change the way we live in this country, you had better have some plan of what to do to change things. And you should actively follow it. If you don't support the system, then don't support it. Don't follow any of the bureaucratic red tape (permits, licensing, exc.) that you can possibly avoid. Try to find a way to get income, or at least savings, that the government can't easily confiscate. Or, if not that, some other plan by which to live your life in a way that shows that you don't support the system.

3) Foment Rebellion. Whether that means peaceful non compliance (ala Ghandi), marches and protests, an informational movement to teach others how to live without government, work stoppages (strikes), or armed insurrection is up to you. Personally, I don't think that armed insurrection will gain us a better system at this time. And I am still unable to reconcile any type of armed rebellion (at least that has a hope of succeeding) with the non aggression principle. But intellectual honesty requires that I list it as one of the options.

4) Leave. No, I don't mean to say "get out". I mean go and start a community somewhere that either has a better government or doesn't have one at all. There are ways of doing it. One possibility would be to raise enough money to buy an island somewhere from an existing government. Another would be to find one owned only by some government (no private land holdings), move onto it, and claim it as your own. Yes, this would require a significant number of people working together, will entail a small war to keep it and would probably be viewed by many libertarians as a war of aggression on your part. But it is an option.

5) Sit back and do none of the above, in fact do nothing to improve the system, but continue to whine about how wrong the system is. In other words, continue to act like sheep, bleating, while continuing to graze in the farm pasture and wait to be sheared or slaughtered at the farmers whim.

Personally, I choose number 1 (to vote). But that's my personal choice.

Jeff Colonnesi [jcolonne@flash.net]

* * *


Your position as stated in the TLE 188, is somewhat laughable on two premises:

  • by not voting
  • and getting rid of politics.

Allow me to explain. First, in order for any aspect of the non-vote to have effect, the blueprint for government must be changed, that is, the Constitution must be amended. So, by not voting, you can't there from here. Your non-effect has no affect.

Even IF you could manage to convince say, 60 percent of the electorate to not vote, all you are doing is making a very silent statement. Anybody can make of the non-vote what they will - as they have, in so many past elections. The amorphous term 'silent majority' has been used to the point of pointlessness.

The only way to effect change is to have a real, and discernable affect, by resorting to the tangible, the measurable, the definable: The vote.

How do you suppose the socialists got in power in this nation? They certainly didn't sit upon their hands come voting time!!

I sympathize with the central theme of your position.

Political power can be either static or dynamic, depending upon how it is used. In your case, you seem to resort to the static.

Energy which does not move, has no effect: It's just there.

You can swear up and down that you'll never use it, and your detractors will celebrate endlessly, because they will have used their energy in a dynamic way to have effect in your life.

If every long journey begins with the first step, then you ain't going to be going anywhere, anytime soon.

In the way of politics?

Politics is a mere device for human interaction. It is that aspect of human psychology that seeks to accomplish things by using influence.

You will never get rid of politics - unless you first kill every human first.

My own particular solution to the problem of too much government was posted here in the TLE many issues ago. In any case, it will be only when every good man and woman gets their feet into the water and wades in deep enough to have effect, that good things will happen.

The greatest change I proposed was to limit all forms of government to protecting, preserving, and promoting all liberty, and no thing else.

So, if you change the blueprint, then you can indeed say that by not voting, you will have an affect.

E.J. Totty [ejt@seanet.com]

[NOTE: there followed a rather lengthy, though interesting, exchange of letters between Messrs. Lopez and Totty -- unfortunately, far too lengthy to reprint herein. Perhaps these two stalwarts could be encouraged to take the issue to a "debate" -- one or more point/conterpoint articles? -- ed.]

I Liked Most of it

John [P. Slevin <directaction@yahoo.com>]:

re: your letter in TLE [188] about "real" candidates ... You put your finger on something very important ...

but you did overlook the fact that there ARE a few folks, running As Libertarians, who are seeking votes and not just money: Ed Thompson ... James Dan ... Spear Lancaster in MD ... Ken Krawchuk in PA ...

The former two are running to win if they can; the latter are seeking at least enough votes to get ballot status for the next round ...

There may be others as well ...

Meanwhile, you have perfectly identified the dis-ease which plagues us in many quarters ...

Steve Trinward [trinman@inetamerica.net]

Response to a Critic

In a message dated 8/27/2002 11:02:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Steve A. writes (in re "mesolibertarian" article):

<<You wouldn't know a Libertarian if it bit you in the ass.>>

Steve -

Please don't try.

I've never known a libertarian who was an "it" anyway.

Most non-ass-biting libertarians can articulate their differences better.

What is an assibiting libertarian? A anophagic libertarian?

I think most libertarains wouldn't bite my ass as it would constitute initiating force and they couldn't take the LP oath of allegiance. Unless I consented in which case she would have to be a female adult and the consent would be grudging as it pushes no buttons.

Matthew Hogan [Hoganzeroes@aol.com]


Dear Editor,

Jesus H. Christ!

Those words are my exclamation that the TLE has seemingly turned into a bunch of bitching and moaning twats, because everybody else (who isn't on your/i> side) is a flaming (your own description goes here).

Libertarian 'materialists'? Say wot?

Then there is that utterly madcap anarchist camp!

So look: I'll lay it out for everyone to see, and then you pick over it, and defecate at will (your mileage as it may vary, depending upon whose ideology you happen to drive). I just so happen to think that the larger the pile of shit deposited by whomever, is a reflection of what exists in the mind of the shiter.

I don't shit upon the ideology of yet others, unless it happens to deserve it, as for instance forced whatever (your choice of forced lifestyle goes here).

I believe in Liberty. What the hell more do you want?

If the state of Liberty is one where you get to choose how you live - as long as what you do doesn't infringe upon the same state of existence of yet others in your community, or elsewhere, then the matter of what you happen to subscribe to is irrelevant.

What does matter is that you believe in: Live, and let live.

That, by itself is the quintessence of Liberty.

The anti-materialists conjoin an impossible mixture of the maximum freedom and self-denial.

Liberty is Liberty, whether you serve it with salsa or tea: Freedom of choice to live as we see fit is the very essence of what IT is all about. Take your constraints to the Shaker community - if you can still find any; the rest of us still desire to live life as free as we can, without putting on a 'guilt trip' to satisfy your desire about excessive consumerism. Remember: Live and let live - without criticism, and without an idealistic bombastic connivance to deprive!

Then there are really interesting people out there called the anarchists. Anarchy is an interesting state of existence, because in that state, there is no recognized authority to 'appeal to' when a conflict arises.

In that peculiar state, it's you against 'them', and if 'them' happens to be a lot bigger, then you lose; no appeals, no bargains, no nothing. Period.

Such a deal.

The very nice part of anarchy is that when you are accosted by Bubba and his henchmen, you get to kill the bastards right then and there, when they happen to accost you! Of course, they also have the same wherewithal to do you in beforehand, because they won't have informed you of their intent.

Six in one, a half dozen in the other.

Anarchy can be a good state of affairs - if, and only if - everybody else in the community of associates agrees to a degree of 'cooperation' regarding certain 'rules' of conduct. But then, isn't that a form of 'government'?

What happens if they disagree? What then?

BUT, what our boys in the anarchy community leave out is that in such an instance, the rules of the community (the game, as it were) are so fluid as to leave one to wonder if one has been properly assessed of the changes. Remember here, that there is no 'government' or governing body to determine what the damned rules are at any given moment. Today's rule might be based upon Christianity, tomorrows rule might be Islam, or ?

This is beginning to sound like the rules of Fizbin.

It also sounds like the formulation for "might makes right".

Law of the jungle?

I hate government as much as anyone else, but it seems that the anarchists have spread a bit of a lie concerning what they profess is the worst case of living: Anarchy is as much a government as any instituted form. Just because you have no elected officials, does not mean that you don't have agreements.

If two or more parties agree to do business a certain way, that, by way of contract law, is a governing clause, and it matters not whether you have a government to backup the contract. What matters most is that you 'agreed', you put your signature upon a line, and willfully deigned to agree to the constraints and obligations.

But, you say, there is no government to enforce the contract?

The government is in the details of the contract!

But that's also the bad part, because the bad boys will use force to negate a dishonestly negotiated contract, and the good guys are left holding the bag of bad deals. The good guys are left with enforcing the contract. Care to guess how many contracts will be left twisting in the wind when the rest of the community realizes that it can get away with screwing a contractual partner?

Whose law, is really the law, under anarchy?

Under anarchy, there is no written law.

So, therefor & therefore, anarchy is a lawless existence.

There is no governing body to state affirmatively, what is and what is not. That being the case, then nobody has any rights. You might proclaim endlessly that you have such-and-such a right, but to whom do you appeal, when the bubba and his henchmen come an take you away to be a slave? Who?

As I view things, if the bad actors have the power to enforce bad law, then bad law is the order of the day. So, what's new?

So, no matter, the anarchists would have us believe that a lawfully constituted contract is null and void, because they didn't agree to sign-on to that contract.

I suppose that that is a fair point ... to a point.

I certainly didn't sign onto any of the laws, rules, or regulations which seemingly govern my existence.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't have an out.

The road uphill is harder than the road downhill, if only because you have to carry your own weight up the hill: Work to change the current government. I am not expecting rampant change anytime soon. In fact, I'm not even expecting change that reflects my way of doing things at all.

Here's the rub: The Libertarian Party has gotten the ball rolling by enlisting 'some of us' to donate time and money. The ball, as it were, is starting to move, however slowly.

Our anarchist buddies have done not a thing in helping in that regard, but have instead decried the any Libertarian act in the matter of overcoming the inertia of big government.

Gee, I wonder why? Maybe it's because the anarchists haven't done a bloody damned thing to throw off the shackles of government, but have instead remained on the sidelines tossing bon mot at the rest of us?

Sour grapes: If they can't have it, neither can we!

Most anarchist seemingly want to take the easy way out, to dispense with proving their point by actually showing the rest of us that their way is better.

Well, damnit, anarchy is so frigging damned good, why isn't there a country on the face of this earth that practices it with great regularity?

As a result, I see anarchists as whiners. They want it all now! I would rather work slowly, carefully, and methodically to make Liberty happen once again - if not in my lifetime, at least in that of those whom happen to follow after me. I am not so damned self-centered as to demand it all in my own lifetime. So therefore, I shall be unreasonable a little bit at a time, and make those changes happen more surely, than had I taken it upon myself to be a genuine arse and declared that 'it's mine, all mine!" and created a situation where it surely would never have a chance to happen.

To the anarchists, I shall be the unreasonable man.

E.J. Totty [ejt@seanet.com]

Dear Sheriff Mike Cook,

In your most recent article, you wrote:

"So I ask, why will the government and the airlines not let me take a firearms onto an aircraft to protect myself and others from those who would harm or kill us? This is not only our God given right, it is the right of every free human on this planet. Who voted to allow them this power and authority."

Then, in the very next sentence, you wrote:

"While I had the honor of being Sheriff in Oregon I issued thousands of concealed carry permits to citizens of this county. "

You've answered your own question. You voted to give "them" this power and authority. Not only did you vote on it, you took money for years and years to carry out their plans.

If being armed is a God-given right, what in the name of God were you doing issuing permits? How does one permit a right? How can mortal men permit or deny what you believe God has given?

Actions have consequences. As a result of your actions, "they" have the names, addresses, gun make and model and serial number, and very possibly the mug shots and fingerprints of every person foolish enough to ask permission to excercise an inalienable right. If or when "they" decide to confiscate all firearms, they will use your work to do so. None of this should be news to you; it's happened again and again and again, every time with the same horrible results: mass murder and genocide, tyranny, war.

What's that you say? You didn't know? Sorry Mike, as a former law enforcement officer you know full well that ignorance of the law is no excuse. It turns out the laws you violated were natural laws, laws of human behavior and laws of history, but they are higher laws than the pieces of paper spewed out by legislatures composed of fallible humans. And you were an active accomplice in breaking those laws. I think the legal term is "accessory before and after the crime" or something to that effect.

And now you pay the price. Without your badge, you are just one of us little people. They'll "allow" you to keep your firearm at home, or in your car, or in the street, but as soon as it inconveniences them or interferes with their plans, you get disarmed, the same as the rest of us. And when the camps are built, and we're being herded in, you'll be interred along with everyone else.

Only you, unlike most of the rest of us, were paid to help to bring this about.

Alan Hutch [a_hutch@hotmail.com]

Dear Mr. Odle,

I enjoyed reading your response to my letter on philosophy as being something more than "mental masturbation." I'm glad to see that you qualified your original comment as it seemed to me to be an over- generalization.

I agree completely when you write, "Philosophy, to be relevant to our lives, must retain some connection to the real world," and "Philosophy is worthwhile when it is confined to practical issues of morality, rights, and the relation of the individual to society. As far as political action goes, it is only useful when it is concerned with achievable goals."

I suspect that many readers of TLE have been subjected to, and quickly tired of, local Libertarian Party meetings that were excuses for incessant preaching to the choir and what you aptly describe as mental masturbation. When I described philosophy as critical thinking, perhaps I should have stated that worthwhile philosophy is critical thinking with practical application.

As far as the unworthwhile kind of philosophy goes, sometimes it's just fun.

As to your reading list, I consider it the cream of the crop (particularly Boaz and Bovard) and I have read most of the titles there. I would add:

Walter Williams: More Liberty Means Less Government, and Do the RIGHT Thing (Collections of columns.)

Thomas Sowell: Barbarians Inside the Gates (collection of columns), and The Quest for Cosmic Justice (Four essays.)

P. J. O'Rourke: Parliament of Whores

Charles Murray: What it Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation

Henry Hazlitt: Economics in One Lesson (For those who struggled with this subject and would like a clearer understanding. I taught Economics 101-Macroeconomics in college a couple of times in the 1980s and wish I had this book then. I would have made it the unofficial textbook.)

Robert Nozick: Anarchy, State, and Utopia (for those who enjoy being put to sleep once in a while.)


John Ross' (still fictional) Unintended Consequences.

Thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking reply.


Joseph S. Bommarito [JBommarito@aol.com]

Putting the Government on Trial: A CLE in Palo Alto on September 28

The Fully Informed Jury Association will hold the next in its series of national Continuing Legal Education Seminars in Palo Alto, California on September 28, 2002. The focus of the upcoming seminar will be Constitutional Jury Rights and Responsibilities in determining both the facts and the law of any case. The Fully Informed Jury Association is a public policy not-for-profit educational organization based in Montana.

The upcoming seminar in Palo Alto will address various legal defense issues related to jury nullification, including jury empowerment, opening and closing statements and strategies for defense attorneys. Nine speakers include famous defense attorney Tony Serra, Professor David Brody, attorneys Dr. Nancy Lord Johnson, Clay Conrad, Mike Ware, Paul Looney, Michael Minns and Lawrence Lichter; and prosecutor Norm Vroman. For further information on this seminar, contact the Fully Informed Jury Association at the numbers below or visit the website at http://www.fija.org.

Jurors have been systematically misinformed or left in the dark about their responsibility to look at the law and its application in each case, as well as the facts of the case. Jurors often do not know that they are responsible for assessing the applicability of the law and the justice of their verdict. Juries function as the conscience of the community, and as such, have the ability to decide if the law is being cited unfairly or inappropriately against a defendant in any case. FIJA believes that juries must reinforce good laws by refusing to enforce bad laws, as in the case of the Fugitive Slave Act. Jurors have the final say in whether government officials and employees can punish any citizen for failing to obey unjust laws.

News Staff:
   Don Doig [dondoig@in-tch.com]
  FIJA Publications Director and Co-Founder
  (406) 284-6945

For further information, contact:
  Iloilo Marguerite Jones [iloilojones@earthlink.net]
  FIJA Executive Director
  P.O. Box 4335
  Helena, MT 59604
  406.442.9332 (fax)

Submitted (and rejected) for Publication in the Major Twin Cities (MN) Newspapers

September 5 is the anniversary of the date in 1670 when an independent English jury, in defiance of directions from the court, acquitted William Penn of the 'crime' of preaching a non-state-approved religion. The jurors paid a frightful price for acting in accordance with their consciences, but their act helped establish the idea of freedom of religion that we now hold so dear.

Penn eventually came to colonial America, where later jurors in the trial of John Peter Zenger helped established freedom of the press by refusing to convict Zenger of sedition for printing substantiated news critical of the Royal Governor of New York even when instructed by the court that under the law, "...truth is no defense".

Since the founding of our country, jurors exercising their unreviewable and irreversible power to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by trial judges have helped bring about the abolition of slavery and to end Prohibition.

How is this relevant today? Some juries are starting to object to actions taken by prosecutors in the New Prohibition, the War on (some) Drugs. And with the plethora of Constitutionally-questionable new laws being enacted in reaction to last year's terrorist attacks, individuals must be increasingly vigilant in defending their liberties against encroachment.

The jury is the citizen's final peaceful check on, and safeguard against, unjust law and tyranny. It is our Republic's founders' legacy of true "power to the people". That is why many who value liberty celebrate September 5 as Jury Rights Day.

Robert Gibson [rjgibson@concentric.net]

Dear John:

Anyone who thinks that we have a law abiding government where taxation is concerned should read the following article,

James J Odle [jamesjodle@earthlink.net]


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