L. Neil Smith's
Number 191, September 23, 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.]

Exchange between Jeff Colonnesi & Carl Bussjaeger

Letter from Jack Jerome

Exchange between E.J. Totty & Dr. Khalil Ahmad

Letter from Ted Maitlin

Letter from John Lopez

Letter from Carl E. Mullin

Letter from Dennis Kabaczy

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Letter from John P. Slevin

Letter from Wendy Stone

Letter from Bob Lallier

Letter from Warren Tilson


[To Carl Bussjaeger]

I agree with 99% of what you wrote here. The only portion I have a problem with is this:

"- A work is either copyrighted or in the public domain. Either or; not both."

What about songs played on radio, books stocked in a library, or shows broadcast on TV? They aren't truely in the "public domain" as you described it, as they are still being offered for sale. Yet they aren't completely in the "copyrighted" catagory either, as people can listen to / read / watch them for free (or at least without any payment to the artist). I suggest the following addition to your "guidelines":

  • Any work offered for free temporary consumption, while still being marketed by the artist or their designated agent(s) for profit, can be copied for personal use only.
  • Any attempt to redistribute such a work, whether freely or for profit, should be considered a violation of copyright.
  • A person who redistributes a copyrighted work in this manner should be the one held liable for infringing on the copyright, not the ignorant shmuck who had no way to know that the distributor didn't have the right to sell it.

Jeff Colonnesi [jcolonne@flash.net]

* * *

Hi Jeff,

Under the bizarrities of current US copyright law, these works are not public domain. Not are they offered for "free" in legal theory.

In the song category, this little theory has recently raised its head on the Internet: Radio stations are required to pay for broadcast rights to songs. The listener then reimburses the radio station by putting up with ads (or Rick Dees). The feds recently ruled that this payment system also applies to Internet "radio". The same theory works for television; this is the basis of the broadcast industry's long opposition to program recording.

Libraries work on the theory that every book on the shelf was bought originally, therefore no copyright violation has occurred. Publishers and authors put up with it as unstoppable, and free advertising anyway.

My view of the broadcast media, and electronic file distribution (like NA) is the same under current statist law AND my libertarian utopia: Any creator-authorized distribution of a work which does not require any payment (the payment often is consideration for review) and is not further limited by contracted considerations, does place the work into public domain. Sorta

I'm working on a follow-up article which will explain that remark. For now, the previous article addresses a transition period. What's coming is a time when there is no "copyright" separate from any other property right.

<< Any work offered for free temporary consumption, while still being marketed by the artist or their designated agent(s) for profit, can be copied for personal use only. Any attempt to redistribute such a work, whether freely or for profit, should be considered a violation of copyright.>>

Well... No. If it's been distributed gratis, it's gratis. If an artist wants to distribute a couple of his songs free as advertising for the whole album, that's his business (and good business sense; that's what I did with NAQ and some short stories). Or he might release the entire contents of his album, and hope that people will be willing to buy the CD for the convenience of hearing it when they choose, and in the title order that supports the artistic effort. But the songs are out there.

<< A person who redistributes a copyrighted work in this manner should be the one held liable for infringing on the copyright, not the ignorant shmuck who had no way to know that the distributor didn't have the right to sell it.>>

If I added that provision, I might as well be drafting laws.

If I were the arbitrator of case in which a person was sued because he sold copies of a work from a person purporting to be marketing re- sell rights (the better word is "privilege"), I'd very likely consider that a good faith effort to respect the creator's rights. Especially if the person he bought it from was a recognized re-sell agent. If he got it from someone on the old Napster system, with CapnKiddzReKordz@hotmail.com as his address, I probably wouldn't consider that alone to be a good faith effort.

Carl Bussjaeger [bussjaeger@free-market.net]


Hi J.C.,

I had to take a moment of your time to gleefully respond to the mewling "twat" that has the nerve to complain about complaining Libertarians. I want to complain about this (fill in your favorite noun or pronoun) who is complaining about complaining Libertarian complainers.

That he is quite a complainant is an understatement. One can rarely sit in a tonsorial parlor, tire store or grocery line without hearing someone complain about something.

This the nature of the Human condition, the heart of public discourse, bitching, whining, soft white underbelly of intellect. If this tactless display of unbridled griping rubs this reader the wrong way, maybe he will find another channel for his riveting and persuasive writing skills. Nothing would please me more.

He himself is no doubt more than an "armchair Libertarian" no doubt planning a quick and painless way to wean UsGov off the tax Teat. No further discussion required. TLE is still and (to my knowledge) has always been the premier address for constructive criticism against the status quo. I'm still watching you all.

Peace out,

Jack Jerome [paratime98@yahoo.com]


Dear Dr. Ahmad,

In reply to your letter to the TLE # 190 , allow me to reply on my own behalf, and address one small portion of that letter:

Quote: "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?" Unquote.

Let me say this about that: What causes an empire to fall and/or collapse is that the people who make up that empire, no longer support it, no longer consider it legitimate, no longer sustain its edicts, laws, rules, regulations, etc., by remaining faithful to them.

I suppose that the term 'general lawlessness' applies.

But herein lay the conceit of 'general lawlessness: It presupposes that is as such, whereas in reality, it belies the real undertone of the event - most people will greatly appreciate the normal respectful affairs between themselves, while ignoring the empire completely, whereas the ruffian will seek, at every turn, to disrupt those general affairs by resorting to every ill measure which detracts completely from those.

It is the ruffians whom are the handmaidens to the empire, for they facilitate not only its rise, but also its fall. Upon the rise, they wear uniforms, upon the fall they wear whatever pleases them.

However (and a BIG however that is too), if the people of that empire, hold allegiance to , that is, their fellow citizens, and don't take them to task for what the empire is/was responsible for, but merely refuse to obey the laws of the empire - while maintaining a sense of civility in normal human affairs, then the empire may collapse all around them: That which is not paid attention to, eventually ceases to exist. Put another way: (old Chinese saying) The dog you do not feed, does not hear your call.

Empires collapse for lack of capital.

Of course I realize that surrounding each of those citizens will be the sycophants, toadies, and the assorted self-seeking political philanderers, any and/or all will be dangerous to the life of the citizen who seeks freedom only.

It IS important for the citizen to recognize these people early on, because in the late stages of collapse of the empire, they will become exceedingly dangerous, as they will curry favor in exchange for .

If enough pockets of morally forthright citizens collect among themselves a measure of ability to deny the ruffians any degree of control (by way of violence or other act) then the real trouble makers may be identified as they expose themselves.

So, while there might be 'general lawlessness' in the name of the empire, generally speaking it can be otherwise lawful.

Are the citizens 'generally' up to that? Only know for sure.

In Liberty,

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

* * *

Dear Sir,

Your answer is really finely elaborated; I totally agree to it. Thank you! [...]

Yours truly,

Dr. Khalil Ahmad [khalilkf@hotmail.com]


To the Editor:

Big Brother is already watching you and wants to watch you a lot more.

I bought an Adobe PDF copy of [David M. Brown's] "Special Report" on the prospect of the national ID card in the United States, and at a 50% discount off the baseline price for the PDF file. The condition of this 50% discount (for a grand total of $5) was to relay a promotional description of the report to at least one other person. I figure I've fulfilled my obligation if TLE is willing to run this letter notifying its readers of the report.

Of course, if I didn't particularly like the report I would not have picked this way of fulfilling my commitment. But Brown provides a good overview of the subject. TLEers can get an idea for themselves by going to the table of contents at his site, www.davidmbrown.com/excerpts/nidcontents.html.

And anti-state.com has published an excerpt at www.anti-state.com/brown/brown2.html. That preview talks about how some libertarians like Ron Paul and especially Robert Poole are (inadvertantly?) paving the way for a national ID card, by endorsing a "private" trusted traveler card. Having read a fair amount on this issue, I'm pretty sure that this paper is the most comprehensive and most libertarian recent treatment.

[Promotional material deleted - ed.]


Ted Maitlin [tedmaitlin@yahoo.com]

Dear Mr. Taylor:

Please check out www.nytimes.com/2002/09/15/magazine/15RWANDA.html?pagewanted=all&position=top.

This is an account of the geoncide in Rwanda, and how political power influences and corrupts people.

Warning: this is the most disturbing piece that I have ever read.


John Lopez [johnlopez@hotmail.com]


I want to write to add my view about all this worrying and anxiety about current crisis. I am not worrying about decline of old USA. I see all the confusion today and in near future as the birth pains of a new solar civilization of individual where every man is a king and every woman a queen of their kingdom of self. Anger is good for action against injustice, but if we really want to leave our children a better and freer life, then our energies will be better spend on creating the infrastructure of the new civilization and exposing the rot of the present power structure. Neil Smith is right about using utopian images. We are excellent at examing the means, the useage of power and liberty. Now we need a end in which our energies be channeled toward. As so many books on business and personal improvement stresses you can't go somewhere without a clear goal. Well, I'm giving this goal a name. Let's charm frightened and confused people with vision of new civilization!

Carl E. Mullin [Ravenart@aol.com]


Mr. Colonnesi discusses his 5 choices. In the line of vote, should you wish to not lend your support to anyone, yet still send a message to those in authority, select the universal write in candidate: "none of the above is acceptable". It won't win, as the select who run our elections will call it a "spoiled ballot", yet if enough of us do so, just maybe they will begin to get the impression that, yes we care, and no, they haven't selected a candidate that represents our views.

My advice is only to select this option if there is not an acceptable libertarian or other candidate on the ballot. By all means vote!! Just don't vote in the way they expect.

Dennis Kabaczy [dkabaczy265428MI@comcast.net]


Eric asked:

<<Okay, I'll bite: What did Roddy MacDowall do to make you mad? The only one I can think of, offhand, is the actor that played the lead in a bunch of the "Planet of the Apes" movies.>>

[Eric is referring to my recent article, "Mars Needs Saloons" in The Libertarian Enterprise.]

<<Now, Malcolm MacDowall deserves a good bitch-slapping, if only for making his role in "A Clockwork Orange" so sympathetic ... personally, I'd have liked the movie better if it had ended with "Alex" getting out of the hospital, to find a committee of his victims waiting for him, with ropes, tar, feather, torches, whips, and other instruments of attitude adjustment.

<< I like to use "A Clockwork Orange" to show what a gunless society would be like...at the mercy of any thug with a few droogies and a liking for the song "Singing in the Rain.">>

I was looking forward to someone asking about that, Eric. He didn't make me mad, he unerringly portrayed a certain type of individual in a great movie, for which we owe him considerable gratitude. The movie was one of my very favorites, "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean".

MacDowall played a lawyer who became a rival to Bean and converted a town led by the judge's moral authority into a polity run by political power. He was anti-liquor, anti-whorehouse, and generally anti- freedom. Later on, he became an outright crook.

L. Neil Smith [lneil@lneilsmith.org]

Via breathless press release from the Watergate L.P., we are informed that the die-hard liberty lovers of the Illinois Libertarian Party have filed a lawsuit seeking to redress their bemoaned sufferings because of the attempts by the Republican Party to keep Libertarians off the ballot in that fine state. We are told that we can grab half a million or more real hard cash.

So now is the time for all good Libertarians to come to the aid of our Midwestern allies, and demand our right to be on the ballot, right? Wrong! Libertarians need to get a grip, like on the napes of the swine, and throw them the hell out.

Some background. In California, earnest Party of Principle and Science Fiction convention delegates vouched for one Gary Copeland (he was qualified, he'd paid his 25.00 and filled out his Nonaggression homework) as our nominee for Governor of the largest state in the nation. Later, this stalwart showed-up in a hooded white robe (no, this robe predates the KKK) making it clear that this was to be his official campaign garb. He is a Druid, you see.

"Save the Redwoods" long has been a familiar campaign pledge in the Golden State, but our tree worshipper did not venture into politics unprepared to tackle any subject which might come his way.

When a conservative radio host invited the pagan to discuss this New Age Libertarian candidacy, the talk soon turned, as in California it often does, to getting rid of those pesky overbreeding Mexicans. When our valiant spokesman could not shut-up, the host turned-off the microphone which is the property of the radio station owners.

Now, in the face of this denial of 1st Amendment rights (not really, but for the average Libertarian "activist" this would be the argument), 2nd Amendment Libertarians will be discouraged to know that our guy was not packing, so he could not blow a hole in the radio guy's head. However, he did the next best thing (as such things might be determined by the average Libertarian "activist"): the L.P. candidate for Governor of the largest state in the nation spit in the face of radio guy. In so doing, he earned our first major media coverage of this important striving toward Liberty.

Meanwhile, over in Wisconsin, Libertarians gave their blessings to Ed Thompson, and our brother Libertarian has a real claim to fame, being Tommy Thompson's brother and living in a state not all that far from the one where Jesse Ventura lives.

Libertarian campaign strategists cagily have been noting that the Cheese State Governor's Mansion is within smelling distance, because, well, can't you see? They live so close to Jesse and Jesse was a wrestler and our guy, well, he's the brother of Tommy Thompson as well as a tavern owner and that's almost the same thing, and...

Now all our cheese state brethren need, you see, is for most of us to send them alot of our money and now, well, if you were a political pro, like the Watergaters and Wisconsin L.P. politicos, you would already see it. If we'd just fork over a few hundred thousand, our Libertarian Thompson would be able to steal a like amount from the taxpayers of Wisconsin (hey, and that would make the L.P. the Party which steals far, far less than other parties) and soon Thompson would have his feet up in the Governor's chair.

Alas, our Thompson brother couldn't get six out of a hundred dairy farmers to see things our way, so the L.P. won't be milking any of their cows this year.

In Arizona, our good Libertarian buddies have been hard at it. And we know this state's contribution to Liberty. In 2000, these true ideologues presented us with the challenge to the BrowneCloud President, when The Libertarian Enterprise publisher L. Neil Smith decided to forego his demand for 2,000,000 signatures before he'd even think about it and was joined by the columnist Vin as Veep.

While no one in Arizona actually got any signatures for the well-intentioned, some decent people got on the ballot, which the taxpayers finance, and this stupid Libertarian scheme didn't cost the Arizonans that much, so...

But, while they were congratulating themselves on their lives, fortunes and sacred honor they were neglecting to note that rabid Objectivist and former Presidential aspirant Barry Hess was moving in on the Arizona L.P. nomination with a pledge to steal even more tax money than Thompson Libertarians wanted to grab in Wisconsin. Probably because he's got even less moxie than those who promote the L. Neil Smith "candidacy", Hess couldn't get even a few thousand dupes to give him the paltry five bucks it would have taken to gain access to the Tax Trough, so, alas, alas, another grand Libertarian Pipe Dream is destined to the trash bin and sure to be touted as a near miss by party faithful.

Which brings us right back to the ramparts as the Valiant of Illinois press their legal claim against the Republican Party. We are assured by the legal eagles of the Watergate that this is a real good case, and we are just that close to grabbing some serious damage money from the elephant people, because those baddies tried to keep good Libertarians off the ballot.

This pipe dream will last as long as it takes for the Republican lawyers to do a Lexus search and see what The Party of Principle did in Massachusetts in 1998, when current L.P. Presidential frontrunner Carla "Send my boyfriend more money" Howell ran up the Bay State's deficit in a vain quest to keep her Republican rival for U.S. Senate off the ballot so she could preserve Massachusetts Liberty.

Hopefully, there is a judge in Illinois who will summarily reject what could have been an honest and just claim by the L.P. but which, in daylight, a flagrant and abusive leeching at the tax trough by some lawyers who apparently believe that what you said yesterday can't be held against you in a court of law today. The judge should make these lawyers and their Liberarian science fiction readers write 100 times: "HYPOCRITES".

There's nothing wrong with the L.P. that can't be fixed. Just throw out all the bums (and stop the damn science fiction hospitality rooms at the conventions, it's stale and it never did accomplish a damn thing except to tide over a bunch of do nothing people between Star Trek conventions).

Maybe the L.P. is composed, in the main, of activists who understand that when a defiantly non-candidate candidate like L. Neil Smith says get me a couple million signatures before you come knocking, that probably means just that. I don't think that's the case. If they were real activists, they would be spending their time in front of the local Wal-Marts getting 40,000 signatures per state or they should resign their party positions, stop creating websites to their idol, stop the pretense of being activists, and maybe reread The Probability Broach in their retirement from politics. At least until we've got a good gorilla to run against Carla.

Most likely, somewhere in the nation this weekend, will be some diehard Libertarian "activists" pursuing their lame electoral stupidity of running some Operation Politically Homeless booth and subjecting bored fair attendees to take a really stupid quiz about nothing really, except maybe meeting some people who think L. Neil Smith, Heinlein and Rand are really cool.

I really think an L. Neil Smith inspired gorilla would make one hell of a frigging improvement over some of the Libertarian jerks our Party of Principle runs for the Executive Suites around the country.

If we can grab one from a zoo (stealing one wouldn't cost the taxpayers as much as the other parties steal) and just run a real campaign featuring the beast, then we can start the evolution to being a real political party instead of a pathetically delusional tribe (Druid?) of people getting ripped-off and those who do the ripping- off.

It's either that or sit back and light up a fattie of what Tom Cox, the Libertarian candidate for Governor in Oregon will have you executed for smoking once he rises to his entitlement.

Have big fun!

In Liberty,

John P. Slevin [directaction@yahoo.com]

This November, there will be an initiative on the ballot to amend Florida's Constitution. This amendment, Amendment 6, would ban smoking in all enclosed workplaces. This would include restaurants, connected bars, and even private residences if they are used to provide child care, health care, or elder care.

Although I am not a smoker, I am opposed to this ban. I have created a website, www.noamendment6.com/ to educate people on this issue. My website has been featured on WIXL, WFLF, and WDBO in Orlando, WFLA and WWBA in Tampa, and WOKV and WJGR in Jacksonville, as well as mentions in The Orlando Sentinel and Reasononline.com (reason.com/links/links082802.shtml).

This attack on personal liberties seems to be a growing trend across the country. I would appreciate it if you would cover this issue on your website and in your newsletters. Please contact me for more information.

Thank you for your time.

Wendy Stone [ivylass51@yahoo.com]


[To Lew Glendenning]

You really had me going there for a while, when you were blasting TLE as a collection of ivory-tower debate addicts who had no impact on the real world. I was intrigued by your call to action. Of course, that all went out the window when I hit this little gem of your brilliance:

<< 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. >>

This is a joke, right? Surely you can not be so naive as to believe that any bureaucracy would be keeping such documents, let alone that they would even collect and compile the data for you in the first place.

Oh yeah, I'm sure that we could use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a "smoking gun" document incriminatingly titled "Yearly Report on the Number of Citizens Dead as a Consequence of Grievous FDA Incompetence or Other Unintended Consequential Effects Deriving from the Nature of the FDA Itself."

Silly, the FDA doesn't keep such documents; they're filed with all of the other X-Files, over at the FBI. You should be FOIA'ing them!

Bob Lallier [rlallier@attbi.com]


I would like to ask all the prohibitionists, of both substances and weapons, out there what would you do about a mass jailbreak?


So what would you do? Call in the National Guard, mobilize all the police agencies you can, close off the roads and spend days hunting down every last one of the convicts. Good plan. It might even work.

What if, though, the prisoners were communicating with their gangs on the outside? What would you do if these gangs, and other assorted sympathizers of the inmates, were preparing the ground ahead of time. Preparing to cause as much difficulty for the responding police agencies as possible. What would you do then? A curfew might work; a round up of all known gang members in the area might also work. In addition you could call out more troops and declare martial law in the area.

Looks like you have a good handle on things.

What if, though, it is not one prison but every prison? Every prison in every state. Every county jail and any other facility that houses inmates for more than a year suffers a mass breakout.

What to do then?

"What?" you ask, "how will they do that?"

I don't know how they would do it but I would do it like this: Because communications devices are getting so small and powerful there is every reason to expect that some prisoners already have such devices concealed somewhere in their prison. It is also easy to expect that they communicate with their allies on the outside. So it is not impossible to think that they could and would talk to other prisoners in other far distant prisons. So I would use such devices to coordinate a large scale uprising in as many prisons as possible. Given that there is a common connection of gang membership that runs through these institutions, I would expect that all prisons and lock-up facilities could be reached. Even if a few are left out, so what? There would be enough with just 25 facilities for this to work.

Using my ability to communicate I would organize my outside forces and prepare my inside forces, at the proper moment the go signal would be given and that signal would reach every affected prison in a matter of minutes. Soon, like a pot boiling over inmates would be running free.

Most of them would be angry and would need some things to help their escape plans. Things that could be found in nearby houses. There would be a wave of savage brutality passing through the communities surrounding the prisons. Hostages would be taken, clothes and vehicles stolen, soon it would be hard to tell who the inmates are.

If the outside forces did their job right the computer records of all the prisoners will have been erased at the go signal. So there would be no easy way of tracking who is who, without resorting to paper records, and under the circumstances that would not be that effective.

So there it is, millions of convicts on the loose. Responding agencies hampered by attacks on them from the outside allies. Millions of honest folk, who have had their access to weapons limited by you, put in jeopardy by the stampeding former prisoners.

What do you do?

Curl up in a fetal position and hope it all goes away? Say you're sorry? Nope, too late for that.

What you must do is this, right now: shut the fuck up!

Get out of the goddamned way and let gun control and the drug war fade away to be a bad memory. Let the prison culture decay until it is no more.

Stop with your constant refrain of: "Everything will get better once we take a few more freedoms away. Once you lose a few more options you will be freer."

Release the non-violent non-offenders and remove every shred of gun control in this country.

If you say it will never happen I reply that I am surprised it has not happened already.

Don't say you were never warned. Embrace freedom today.

Warren Tilson [warren_et@yahoo.com]


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