L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 193, October 7, 2002
B- B- B- BIRD ...
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR, RE: BIRDMAN
Regarding the letter to the editor from J Colson which appeared in the previous issue, apparently in defense of John "Birdman" Bryant, I am astounded. I can only hope that this was published with the intention of allowing the readership of TLE to peek inside the minds of the "Birdman's" followers.
I trust that I don't need to point out the creepy pervert tone, anti- Jewish ravings, and general looniness of this piece. A quick peek at "Birdman's" site reveals a similar pattern, so I don't think that this is an isolated example. Now being a creepy, perverted, anti-Jewish loony is fine, but I'm not sure that TLE is the place for such.
A further note: Mr. "Birdman" has a rep for harassing and spamming libertarian/anarchist writers on the web. Based on correspondence that I have received, I don't think that this is undeserved. I hope that the publishing of his rebuttal and the letters from his readership will satisfy anyone's sense of "fair play" that may have been offended. Can we go back to reading and writing about freedom now?
PS: For the followers of "Birdman": I'm almost half Black, part Hispanic (note the surname), part Chinese, and part American Indian. I occasionally say "Oy Vey", "kibbitz", and "kvetch". You may now go and wash your eyeballs.
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INSULTS AND STUPIDITY
First, why the bird in every photo?
In your rebuttal to John Taylor's article in the TLE, you mention that insult is the last refuge of the out-argued. However, your rebuttal is insulting to John Taylor. Furthermore, JT was *responding* to the arguments put forth in your screed (puddle peed) in which you directly insult L. Neil Smith for his belief in the NAP. Yet, your screed was full to the brim with insults and derogatory statements. Now, since you insist that this article was sent, unrequested, to LNS, your screed would have been, what, the FIRST attack. And yet you chose to start by being hateful, harsh and insulting. Sounds to me as if, by your own words, you were taking refuge in the last refuge of the out- argued. But then, having cruised your site, I can see that you have a truly warped and sick mind and will not appreciate the truth when confronted by it.
Derek Benner [email@example.com]
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John "Birdman" Bryant is no libertarian, and has never been one. In fact, he gives libertarianism a bad name. Perhaps this is his true purpose. What he is a "White Supremacist" who believes the power of government should be used to maintain whites as the Master Race. From his own web site and in his own words he reveals his true nature, a dyed-in-the-wool statist who would use the power of government to cram his views down everyone's throat, the same as the "far left" and "far right" he professes to hate:
MacGregor K. Phillips [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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> ...indeed, the only sound that could be
Oh MAN! That was creepy. That whole letter was creepy and then I followed the links back to his site.
I think that guy's excrement throwing, name calling ignorance really speaks for itself. I think his vile discussion about conspiracy theories centered on "the jews" speaks for itself. I think his (excuse the term) liberal use of racial epiphets, profanity, and hair splitting excuse for logic really speaks for itself.
What bothers me that this creep is that he is sullying the term libertarian. I certainly don't want to be lumped in with the guy in the larger popular mind. How can I stand up and say "I am a Libertarian." and have it mean "Liberty for everyone, even, or perhaps especially, for people who make white supremacist racists wet their beds."?
This is a wonderful test of the philosophy behind the first amendment, though. The Founders trusted us to be able to view unpleasant and untrue ideas. It seems to me they felt that by using our native intelligence and judgement, we'd be able to tell when these bad ideas were full of it.
If you want a bucket of bad ideas for mental skeet shooting, well, there ya go.
Sheesh. TLE doesn't make a habit of posting shockingly gross pictures of horrific medical maladies, or bodies shredded in terrible accidents. You don't post picture of men and women abusing farm animals sexually. I hope that a habit is not made of posting this stuff which is conceptually just as hard to look at.
Jay P Hailey [email@example.com]
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RE: WILL THE REAL POLTROON PLEASE STAND DOWN? BY JOHN 'BIRDMAN' BRYANT
I have just read John 'Birdman' Bryant's TLE article "Will the Real Poltroon Please Stand Down?" and "The Non-Aggression Principle Is Stupid" (subtitled "A Letter to L Neil Smith") and am compelled to respond:
In his TLE article John 'Birdman' Bryant peppers his writings the terms "his filthy little piece", "online rag", "foul-mouthed, unmannerly, dishonest, cowardly", and "his asshole buddy" - yet he has the temerity to complain of "nastiness of his [John Taylor's] screed", "quite unnecessary to resort to epithets and other insults" and "insult is the last refuge of the out-argued"!
John 'Birdman' Bryant then goes on to state: "It is true, of course, that my logic and that of Bush are the same; but Taylor omits the inconvenient fact that, in Bush's case, there is no credible case to be made for the proposition that Iraq is about to attack the US", but in his website article he states: "A case in point is Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union: It has now been established beyond a reasonable doubt that Stalin was planning to invade the Reich, and Hitler's attack was preemptive." - note that clause "now been established", which clearly implies that the afformentioned "reasonable doubt" was *not* established when Hitler invaded the USSR (which John 'Birdman' Bryant sees as justified); this appears to be a lack of logical consistency.
From John 'Birdman' Bryant's website article: I got a good laugh out of John 'Birdman' Bryant's complaint, "L Neil Smith, a man who has made a name for himself by using his middle name as a first name" - this coming from a man who uses a nickname as his middle name. John 'Birdman' Bryant then precedes with a series of unnecesary insults including: "and thereby overcoming the ordinariness of the name 'Smith'" (as if either it is L. Neil Smith's fault that his father's surname was 'Smith', or using 'Neil' instead of 'L????' "overcom[es] the ordinariness of the name 'Smith'"), "legislators led by a Jew" (what is John 'Birdman' Bryant trying to imply with the unnecessary label 'Jew'?), and "the Foreskinners" (is this a veiled reference to 'Jews' again, or to the many, many, more Americans and Canadians whose parents chose a common infant medical procedure? - and what does that have to do with libertarianism, the NAP, or L. Neil Smith?).
Apparently when John 'Birdman' Bryant states that it is "quite unnecessary to resort to epithets and other insults" he really means that it is "quite unnecessary" unless he is throwing the "epithets and other insults".
Finally when John 'Birdman' Bryant states that "insult is the last refuge of the out-argued", he has pretty much made the case that he himself is "out-argued".
As to John 'Birdman' Bryant's actual arguments about "The Non- Aggression Principle Is Stupid", his endless stream of insults, insinuations, and religious labelling made it impossible for me to take them seriously.
David Engbers [Anarchist@SellMoreCars.com]
RESPONSE TO JOSEPH S. BOMMARITO AND JAMES J. ODLE
I know this response is a little late, but I've been (and still am) travelling, and have only recently been catching up with back issues.
I found the debate quite interesting at first, but was disappointed with its conclusion that philosophy is only valuable when it has practical applications. It seems to me to miss two really fundamental points.
The first doesn't relate directly to libertarianism, but I still think it's important to make this point.
Firstly, not all academic endeavour produces practical results immediately or in the field in which it was intended.
That aside though, there's something more important to note. Is art, music, literature, etc to be considered mental masturbation also? What are the points of those things? Are they purely for entertainment value, and if so, why? Will any entertainment suffice?
Personally, I think the reason for those is deeper than pure entertainment, and it is tightly bound up with more practical pursuits anyway.
Humans, and those in western civilisation in particular, have always had a need to not only influence and modify the world around them, but to represent it and explain it.
I think it's impossible to divorce western civilisation's (and before them classical Greece's and Rome's) practical achievements from those that are abstract and aesthetic. It is precisely because western man has been able to follow his most bizarre ideas, and value thought and knowledge for their own sakes, that he has achieved so much practically. That's why I think it's incredibly narrow minded and short sighted to think that we should put all of our eggs in the one basket of practical results.
Far greater minds in the practical areas of science and engineering have also agreed. The idea of the Renaissance man is held dear to many of them. Indeed, I read recently in an obituary of the ex-head of the engineering faculty at my university that back in the sixties he encouraged his students to take courses in, surprise, surprise, philosophy and art history because he believed it would make them more rounded and better engineers.
Conversely, the idea of dismissing intellectualism as bourgeoise nonsense, taken to its extreme, can be seen in ex-communist Russia, where I just spent six or so weeks (more on that in an up-coming article). There was an attempt to reduce people to their "basic" functions of working, eating, sleeping and pro-creating, and art and philosophy were only useful if they related directly to furthering world revolution. I have to say that not only did I find a lot of Soviet art to be some of the most ugly art, but there was something fundamentally wrong with it. Just like Soviet economics and politics, it seemed to repress man's desire to achieve freedom and pursue his own ends.
Again, if you think you can divorce economic productivity, scientific achievement, social freedom and mental masturbation, all high ideals of western civilisation, then I think you're sadly mistaken.
Now, as it relates directly to libertarianism, I find the debate quite bizarre. No mention was made of the fact that often, a lot of this mental masturbation is funded by the public. In that respect, like all libertarians, I don't think it should be. However, if it's privately funded, then who cares? Each to his own. One might as well write an article about homosexuality, drug use, watching television or playing tiddly winks. The point is though, that if someone wants to engage in philosophy at home, funded by himself, then it's nobody's business but his own.
So who cares if philosophy is mental masturbation? What was the whole point of slamming philosophy in the first place? Why the axe to grind?
Caleb Paul [firstname.lastname@example.org]
NEW JERSEY LEADS THEM TO THE TRUTH
Now that the Republican party accepts that state laws mean something (at least in reference to the "time and manner" election clauses), do you think they might take a look at the ninth and tenth amendments and tell the DEA to leave the medicinal marijuana people alone?
Just a thought.
David Langley [email@example.com]
[I don't know about that, but I do know that Lautenberg for Torricelli is a fool's bargain! -- ed.]
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