L. Neil Smith's
Number 190, September 16, 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 Carl Bussjaeger

Letter from John Lopez

Letter from Lew Glendenning

Letter from Thomas Kinderknecht

Letter from Warren Tilson

Letter from Dr. Khalil Ahmad

Letter from Patrick Martin

Letter from Henry Sturman

Letter from John Slevin


Hi John,

Announcing Samizdat's September Jackbooted Thug: Captain Mark Aguirre, Houston Police Department

Faced with a weeks long operation targeting street racers that managed to not find a single racers, Captain Aguirre did the only thing he could.

He ordered the arrest of 425 peaceful folk lawfully going about their business.

After all, a flopped operation with no arrests just wouldn't look good, would it?

Read the award text, and view the certificate, at this link

Carl Bussjaeger [bussjaeger@free-market.net]


Drew Williams wrote:

"How dare me? What a hypocrite. Do you pay any taxes? Income, sales, tolls, fees, have a drivers license, social security number?"

Yes, I do these things at gunpoint. The attentive observer may note that it isn't quite mandatory to have an SSN, but since you can't file taxes without one, and not filing taxes is illegal...

"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."

Voting is (as of now) completely voluntary. Taxation is not. Why do you try to equate the two? 'Taxation is voluntary!' 'War is peace!' 'Freedom is slavery!' How Orwellian.

"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."

Note that I never claimed to be any sort of anarchist, but that I label myself a libertarian. Be that as it may, I do consider myself "above forcing my will on someone else". Don't you, or do you disagree with the Non-Aggression Principle?

"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."

If you hired a known child murderer to baby-sit your kids, you would reasonably expect that he would murder your kids, wouldn't you? Thus, by the act of hiring him, you would be condoning his probable actions, would you not? To bring this analogy closer to voting, would it matter if the baby-sitter were selected by lot from a pool of interested child murderers? Would you entrust your children to such care? Further, would you then wring your hands and say "But he said he was a nice man."?

Note that this comparison is not unjustified: the government of the United States has proven time and again that it is an inherently criminal institution. From the Whiskey Rebellion to the present day, it has consistently acted to further the interests of those who hold power, against individual liberty. You are quite aware of the sort of person who is attracted to having power over the life, liberty, and property of his fellow man. Would you trust that person with same, just because he says "Mah fellow 'Mercuns, I feel yore pain."?

In either case, do you feel that you have absolutely no moral culpability, merely because you were given a cross-my-heat-and- hope-to-die promise that the result would be good?

"I don't understand anarchists. Do you really think humans could live without government?"

I don't understand statists. Do you really think humans could live without freedom? Or do you simply believe that freedom must be "rationed" and "controlled"?

"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)."

In my view the free market is anarchy. Meaning there is no de facto State in the free market. It's everyone for him/herself.

"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."

So, you will give yourself "security and peace" at the cost of my individual liberty. At least you're honest.

"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."

And presumably enforce their State on some other people who have no wish to join them, right? Might makes right, I guess.

"Whether you like it or not we will always have government of some form."

Whether you like it or not, we will always have theft and murder of some form. Maybe so, but that's hardly an argument for condoning and facilitating theft and murder, now is it?

"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."

I would go live in a cave, if I thought your State would leave me in peace. It won't. It will continue to steal and kill, and it will continue to hold up your vote as proof of you approval of it's actions.

"When I'm voting the Libertarian ticket in November I'll be thinking of you(watch out for bears!)."

When I pay my taxes, I'll be thinking of *you*.

* * *

Curt Howland wrote:

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

So, which will you give up, your principles, or the State? Once you answer this question, you'll realize where you stand.

Most of the rest of his response concerns 'practical' objections to non-voting. In the interests of brevity, I'll skip them individually and answer with the underlying principle: The most 'practical' thing to do is to get some guns, goons to use same, and take over some backwater. Is this consistent with the Non-Aggression Principle? If not, how is your participation in electoral politics different morally from this? All you are doing is delegating the gun, not removing it.

The closing paragraph deserves a response, however:

"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."

You certainly think I am doing something, or you wouldn't bother to write a reply. Does my stating my refusal to vote on moral grounds annoy or anger you? If so, why?

"Whining about it like a couple of "anarchists" protesting "globalization" doesn't win friends either."

Please. If you can't rationally refute my statements, don't try use the "You'll just drive all the Peepul away with that crazy talk!" line. Like I care what the average voter thinks. Like I'm some sort of electoral prostitute who needs to "win friends" to get re-elected. Like I'm a such a Clinton-esque political pimp that the label "anarchist" will be a smear. Should I renounce my principles to "win friends", ala the Libertarian Party?

* * *

Jeff Colonnesi attempts to expand the issue, by presenting 5 choices: Vote, Don't Vote, Rebel, Leave, and finally, the sarcastic catch-all of Do Nothing.

In favor of voting, he writes:"Vote. For whomever best represents your views. If no one on the ballot does, then write someone in."

So, I attempt to select the person who is best suited for total power over my life, liberty, and property, as well as the same power over every single other person within the scope of the election. Well, I'm the only one I trust with those things, thanks very much. The number of candidates is now one.

But, I have no wish what-so-ever to rule anyone else. So, I can't write in my own name, since that would be saying that I desire power over everyone else's life, liberty, and property. The number of candidates is now zero.

Voting has now become an empty act, with my participation serving only to legitimize the State. I choose therefore not to help legitimize the State.

The continuing dialog between Mr. EJ Totty and myself, beginning with the letter here, is available on request.

John Lopez [johnlopez@hotmail.com]


(Addressed to Doug Heard [doug@stone-soup.com], but levelled at TLE)

I am so impatient with you philosopher/theorists.

Get real. Get empirical. Deal with the real world for a change.

In fact, the price of un-freedom is some measure of all of these things.

Because of taxes and regulations we are much poorer. Poverty kills. Lack of wealth reduces R&D that would produce improvements.

The FDA is the leading cause of death (www.FDAReview.org) in the us. Due to its energetic attempts ot produce danger-free drugs, we no longer die of dangerous drugs, rather of no drugs at all. This latter is not a political problem.

It is easy to construct the argument that the FDA is responsible for 50% of all the deaths in the US every year, and a much higher proportion of deaths in 3-rd world countries.

Doing this kind of reality-check is a lot more productive than the kind of thought experiment you use to define possible libertarians.

* * *

[Reply to Doug Heard's response]

The goal is to change people's minds.

Pointing out, in an interesting way, that the FDA killed your grandmother if she died of any of the following diseases (long list here), indeed would be a 'fact' article.

However, it would do a hell of a lot more to make the average person consider their gov a positive evil, and Freedom as a proper alterantive, than all the libertarian ideology ever written.

Ideology is not the answer. It isn't the answer when the ideology is socialism, ...

Ideas/words, as the average guy in the street understands at a gut level, should not be elevated above facts. That is what is wrong with the world, not a solution to current problems.

Either you can engineer a better solution, or nobody will take you seriously.

Libertarians do a great job of convincing each other that their ideology is the very best that human minds can conceive of.

It is not having much of an effect in the world. By voting counts, Libertarians are dying off about the same rate as new true-believers adopt the ideology.

There are 1000s of projects that Libertarians could do to discredit the gov and keep the information fresh in people's minds.

Instead, you all writing convincing articles to be read by Libertarians.

* * *

Mr Heard's first paragraph (<>) summarizes TLE's current market position and my criticism of it.

I quit reading your publication some time ago, when it was clear that the most radical publication in Libertarian thinking had degenerated into a debating society for naive philosophers.

When you start publishing ideas about projects, helping to organize teams, ... I could be interested again.

One easy example is FOIAing the FDA to get their internal estimates of how many people their regulations kill every year, and contributing the documents to FDAReview.org.

Every agency of every government in the US has a huge amount to hide. Getting the documents, exposing them to public view and helping to get articles written is a lot more useful in shaping a future than any amount of TLE's current ideologizing.

Another problem with ideology (that is, discussions of ideas rather than derivation of personal and gov design principles from facts) is that so much time is wasted on nonsense. A fine example is Mr. Heard expressing a common Libertarian view that 'Freedom has costs, but it will be worth it". The facts are quite contrary to this position.

Lew Glendenning [rlglende@alink.net]


In TLE 189, L. Neil Smith correctly finds a name (Age of Collapsing Authority) for one phenomenon in our society. However, there is a much better name for this time in the world's collective (I know! I hate the word, too, but it fits.) situation. I wish I had coined the term, but I was beat by one of the best, so I can't be to disgruntled. Robert Heinlein, half a century ago, called this general time The Crazy Years. He was off a little on the time frame of the devolution we are witnessing, but he nailed the concept exactly. Pick a topic: collapsing authority, litigation of the new "food nazis", victim disarmament, or youth propaganda camps. They are all indicative of our collective descent into a living hell of our own making.

For myself, I continue to go, clawing and fighting as much as possible. Ours is a war of education, first and foremost. Unless and until we can convince enough people that there is a better way, we will continue to "vote the disastrous possible", to misquote Heinlein (Starship Troopers, I believe.) We have three boxes available to us in this war of education: the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammunition box. Make your own determination as to what point we are in the spectrum.

Thanks for your efforts to keep me educated, so that I can educate, in turn, those with whom I come into contact throughout my journeys.

Thomas Kinderknecht [tjkinder@comcast.net]


Rick Stanley is an inspiration. This guy just keeps getting arrested while doing what is right and moral. He is using non-violent activism to make a change in the society he lives in. He is an example for all who care to to follow.

I dub him Gundhi.

Warren Tilson [warren_et@yahoo.com]

ON 9/11

This is to condole the deaths of innocent citizens on this day in terrorist attacks on USA. I feel the grief and the pain caused by these extremely inhuman acts on the part of Terrorists is still intact. To me such a thing is unimaginable and unbelievable but it did happen on this day and we saw it happening before our eyes. I fear what will be the next innovation of the terrorists! I fear what will be the end of this terrorist war! As is clear, this is quite a different kind of war, not a war between states, but a war between individuals and states; and, I guess states or empires are not going to win this war. Individuals, terrorist or not terrorist, are tortured and killed, but they can never be defeated and wiped out completely. The irony is that what the fall and decline of empires bring in its wake is death and destruction to humanity! But the question is can we avert this death and destruction of humanity without stopping the empires meet their fate?

With regards,

Dr. Khalil Ahmad [khalilkf@hotmail.com]
Lahore, Pakistan


FM 3-19.40

Patrick Martin [warhawke@wideopenwest.com]


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[...] See elibertarian.com/banners.php for banners and text link examples. If you link to eLibertarian you help make it as active as possible as soon as possible and help promote freedom on the internet and in the world.

By becoming an affiliate of eLibertarian you earn $7.50 commission per visitor you send who becomes a paying member of the site. See elibertarian.com/affiliate.php for information. Since I'm just starting, the site doesn't contain many posts from users yet. Therefore, I expect that in the beginning there won't be much interest in the paid membership. But it's still profitable to start participating in the affiliate program now. Anybody who comes to eLibertarian through your site, and who signs up for a free membership, will permanently be recorded as having been referred from your site. So in the future, when the site is more active, hopefully many of those free members will upgrade to paying members, and you'll receive $7.50 commission for each of those at that time.


Henry Sturman [sturman@elibertarian.com]


All Libertarians are hurt by the preponderence of phonies who run as Libertarians.

So now LP candidates for Governor would not only NOT grant executive clemency (or stay executions) in cases where it will free the innocent, they actually oppose legalizing drugs. It's what you get when you have a National LP intent on fundraising ruses instead of active, principled leadership. As you will see below, now we have a candidate for Governor of Oregon who says that Wrong becomes Right when a majority says so.

Libertarians who value being 'The Party of Principle' cannot ignore the ineptitude and outright lying, thieving ways of the National LP and many of the state affiliates (meaning any so-called Libertarian who supports National, and who fails to take action to throw the bums out).

Since Republicans took-over the Oregon Libertarian Party (with the support of then LP National Chairman Dasbach and Bill Winter, who liked the fact that unlike the existing Oregon LP, the Republicans would agree to UMP and thereby cut them in on some of the loot stolen from honest Oregon Libertarians) Oregon voters have been treated to some real interesting 'rewrites' of the Libertarian Party Platform ... and have continued to largely ignore Libertarian candidates, the good and the bad.

From an Oregon newspaper, just this week (there have been several stories in the last several days, in several newspapers) National LP friend and lackey Richard Burke, tries to explain the "acceptable" drug war views of current LP gubernatorial candidate Tom Cox. Burke (who is frequently touted in the National LP lying rag, Libertarian News) and Cox are examples of what you get when you settle for the lying thieving scum who have been and who remain the National LP power structure. Not all the thieves have been censored.

Anyway, here's what the latest newspaper story said, in part:

<<In what the Mannix camp labeled a publicity stunt, Cox's campaign also filed a state election law complaint late last month against Mannix, about the way he handled and reported $50,000 in contributions a year ago. But Burke said it wasn't just to grab a headline: "Kevin called us 'anarchist', so we had to show we're for law and order."

<<Cox would veto drug-legalization bill, prefers initiative process

<<What about drugs? Cox - who calls himself "fiscally conservative, socially tolerant" - takes a more cautious approach than some Libertarian candidates have in the past (including Wagoner, who wore a "hemp shirt" to one high school appearance in his 2000 campaign for a county commission seat).

<<"I will veto any bill to legalize drugs," Cox said. Instead, he said, the only way drug laws should be changed is through the initiative petition process, to make clear what the consensus of the public is.

<<"Clearly, the war on drugs has failed," Cox said. "What do we replace it with? I have no idea.">>

What moron of a Libertarian candidate would make such a stupid remark? He's done it repeatedly for several days, and has been so quoted in several newspapers. I know Tom Cox. He is not an idiot. In fact, he is a very capable speaker and a very intelligent person. What he ain't is a Libertarian...and he lacks the basic integrity and the intestinal fortitude to make an honest statement of his belief on the drug war when he asks Libertarians to nominate him and to support his candidacy. In other words, he is a liar.

But fear not! The idiots who run and serve in official capacity on the Multnomah county LP, and who are the same people, largely, who were stupid enough to let the Republicans take-over their LP in the first place (Multnomah is the largest county in Oregon, consisting of most of the registered voters in the state) have decided to rise to the challenge of faux Libertarians Cox and Burke...Even as you read this, these fast-movers are continuiing to debate whether or not to call a meeting to discuss whether or not to issue a Press Release saying something about Cox and his drug war views. What stalwarts! What examples of individual responsibility! What a reason to vote for anyone except Libertarians. And when is the National LP going to get its act together and denounce such rascals as Burke and Cox?

John Slevin [directaction@yahoo.com]


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