L. Neil Smith's
Number 208, January 27, 2003


[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 Sam

Letter from Robert Hutchinson

Letter from John the Bastard

Letter from Doug Spittler

Letter from Jason Malstrom

Letter from David Engbers

Letter from Stephen Carville

Letter from Susan Wells

Letter from John MacMullin

Another Letter from Jason Malstrom

Another Letter from Susan Wells


Everything has costs. Living has costs. So legalizing drugs has costs. But drug prohibition also has costs. The libertarian position is that prohibition has greater costs the non-prohibition. This is all documented in numerous venues and forums, and even in the experiences of other countries. The greatest cost of prohibition is the loss of freedom (which, while it may have its own costs, the benefits are far greater). Apparently, a large number of people like to apply severe discounts to the costs of prohibition, and amplify its imaginary benefits.

One of my recent crystalizations is that many people prefer the comfort of their illusions to reality. The worst drug is delusion. And I mean that in a rather literal way. The comforts of illusion balm the brain in a womb of sedating chemicals, which many prefer over the stress chemicals which arise when illusions are threatened.

I recently loaned a copy of Harry Browne's 'Why Government Doesn't Work' to a devout republican. Weeks later, when I asked her about it, she said she had eyed it but thought it might be 'too radical' for her. Meaning she felt it a threat to her current world view.

Sam [sam@kogagrove.org]


Brian W. Gross writes, regarding drug legalization and its potential violation of libertarian principle:

The NAP states you can do what ever you like as long as you harm no one else. Please define "Harm" for me. As I understand it, someone's behavior that has an adverse affect on someone else is Harm.

I just read the NAP (or ZAP), conveniently located on the very same site where I read this letter. It contains not at all the word "harm". Rather, it speaks of initiating force.

As an example, reading Mr. Gross' letter had quite an adverse effect on me. I nearly got whiplash when I realized that an accusation that TLE's letters section is populated by idiots was based solely on a complete misquote of the NAP, a misquote that took about five seconds to confirm.

While this might qualify as harm, it hardly qualifies as initiating force. I was not made to read the letters page under duress, and since no guarantees were made as to the consistency or quality of the page's contents, I could hold no one responsible for my choice to read the page other than myself.

I humbly and analogously suggest that one cannot expect to win at poker when one is not even familiar with the contents of the deck.

Robert Hutchinson [hobbs@surfsouth.com]


Mr. Gross, you have convinced me!! I have seen the error of my ways. If I do anything that might adversely affect anyone, however indirectly, I am "initiating force" and "harming others." OK, cool. Whaddya say we start a concerted effort to show everyone else where they went wrong?

First, we'll have to swear off drugs--no big deal. And drinking, too. You know how cirrhosis, renal failure and other booze-related ailments can really cost some major bucks. Don't forget smoking; those years of emphysema can sock it to insurance companies right in the pocketbook.

Speaking of diseases, we're going to have to subsist on rigorously healthy diets and get frequent exercise. After all, if we get a heart attack or a stroke, that could cost someone a hefty rate increase. Oh, and we may as well give up our cars, too. We could get in an accident and create a "risk group," which would give other people quite the premium hike. Don't even mention motorcycles or skydiving or anything at all that might cause physical harm(I'm not quite sure how we're going to get that exercise if we can't do anything, but I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually).

Oh, yeah, we can't take the bus, either. Breathing in those diesel fumes and sitting next to people who might not have had all their shots? Please!! We might get sick, or get in a bus accident and get whiplash. All these things might just cause someone, somewhere, somehow, to get a rate increase. I don't want to be responsible for that, any more than you do.

And sex? Out of the question!! We might acquire AIDS or herpes, or get someone pregnant-- do you realize how much it costs the insurance industry to pay for all those deliveries?? Some poor person is going to see his premiums skyrocket!!

So, basically, we're going to have to seal ourselves away from the rest of humanity in a bunker with filtered air, food, and water...and then hope that nothing we bring in there with us is found to cause cancer in rats later. You build it, and I'll be right there with you...


John the Bastard [JJTHOMPSON1@attbi.com]

(John the Bastard is a truck driver, which means he has a lot of time to think. This, of course, marks him as a weirdo, a non-conformist, and probably one of the biggest threats to society since Attilla the Hun. He has been socially maladjusted and fiercely independent since about two minutes after his birth, and is perversely proud of this fact)


I can only conclude that the NAP and therefore the Libertarian Party is a Sham.

Durn! You found us out, Brian! I guess your only recourse is to return to the demoncrats and the wunnerful, crime creating, freedom destroying, taxpayer milking "war on some drugs."

Bye, now! Have fun!

Doug Spittler [dugga@pacifier.com]


I thought the TLE was a place to discus libertarian ideas, not to hash over the basic principles of freedom with one reader who chooses not to comprehend them.

First of all, how is it that his insurance bills going up an act of aggression against him? Just pick a different insurance company that doesn't full medical to drugs users! But let's assume he enable to figure out how to do this. He will still save money by ending the drug war! First consider how much money is being spent by the government to stop you for doing drugs, from law enforcement, to advertising, to warfare! And just as the mob no longer controls alcohol supply, drugs will become cheap. This means Mr. Drug Addict will be able to supply his habbit by selling artwork, writing books or even begging, just like Mr. Alcoholic does today. This means less robbery and assault and thus: lower home, car and health insurance rates!

Now can we please move on to more interesting points?

Jason Malstrom [devslashnull@yahoo.com]


This guy just doesn't get it :-(

John the Bastard says "If an insurance company raises their rates purportedly because of others' drug usage, you're free to find an insurance company that does not cover anything relating to chemical dependency." ... If I must decide if I can afford insurance or not based upon someone else's behavior...

I suggest that Brian W. Gross re-read what John the Bastard said.

The NAP states you can do what ever you like as long as you harm no one else. Please define "Harm" for me. As I understand it, someone's behavior that has an adverse affect on someone else is Harm.

You mis-understand. Your "behavior" of wanting to control what I put in my body has the "adverse affect" of raising my blood pressure - thus by your own argument you have "harmed" me. Which is nonsense. The NAP probits not "harm" (as you define it) but rather "force-initiation".

I should not have to change my behavior because of someone else's behavior. The offending behavior is the one in need of change as defined by NAP.

"Offending behavior" - how Orwellian. Prehaps you can make a list of all "Offending behaviors" you wish to prohibit? (Don't forget to include Asprin usage, which sends thousands of people to hospitals every year, raising all our insurance rates.)

The only behaviors the NAP prohibits is behavious involving the initiation of force, not behaviors which you personally find "offensive". You have revealed that your argument against substance usage has nothing to do with "costs", but rather has everything to do with what you personally dislike.

I can only conclude that the NAP ... is a Sham.

I can only conclude that you are a self-rightious busy-body who wants to control my body and regulate my "behavior". You sir are no libertarian - you should find the Republicans more to your liking (they love to regulate "behavior").

David Engbers, [Anarchist@SellMoreCars.com



Much of what you say about private transportation infrastructure development is true but your example of Flagler's railroads in Florida is not as pure as you imply. He did receive land from private landowners interested in bringing in new settlers and business but governments at the time were actively reducing the risk to investors by handing out huge tracts of of land in exchange for infrastructure development. Flagler took advantage of this though with mixed success.

The government of Florida originally granted Flagler the customary 3,840 acres per mile allotted to railroads for his work in northern Florida. The State legislature also passed a special land grant law to award Flagler 8,000 acres per mile for the extension of his line south of Daytona. All told, over 2 million acres was promised. However, much of the promised land was deeded to the Florida government by the Federal Swamp Land Grant Act of 1850 which required the land be granted to developers for drainage and reclamation. After much legal wrangling, Flagler ended up with only about 260,000 acres of the original land grant.

Much of the land for the railroad from Palm Beach to Miami came from the Florida Coast Line Canal and Transportation Company (FCLCTC) and the Boston and Florida Atlantic Coast Land Company (BFACLC). Both of these corporations received abundant public lands -- largely because of the aforementioned Swamp Land Grant Act. As an outcome of a battle for power in the BFACLC an agreement was reached that "donated" public land to Flagler for the railroad.

Stephen Carville [carville@cpl.net]


Take our assembly-line automobile: would an all-controlling FedGov have allowed Henry Ford to put into the hands of virtually every individual in the country a device capable of delivering ANY payload of ANY kind to virtually any destination at any time? Clearly, this device (which we'll call an "assault vehicle" after modern parlance) could enable a disgruntled or disturbed individual to deposit, say, fuel oil and fertilizer in front of a Federal building.

According to General Benton Partin, a retired USAF munitions expert, the truck full of explosives outside the Murrah Building *could not have* caused the disaster, at least not by itself. And please recall that there was debris outside the building that had to have been blown out of the building from inside the building. How can a truck full of bombs ouside a building cause debris to be blown out from the inside? I don't believe it can, do you?

Susan Wells [Swftl@aol.com]


Take a look at this. Note that the State of Montana is in the process of considering a resolution to repeal the 17th amendment. To toot my horn, they asked me to write the initial draft of the resolution.

I have extracted the Montana state legislature emails and respectfully request that you send each an email in support, if you would? I am extracting all of the state legislators across the country. If you would like the list please let me know.

John MacMullin [john.macmullin@cox.net]


I hope the Libertarian Party decides to field more candidates then Gary Nolan. On his web page he states that he wants to force every American to open a government retirement account, which usually translates into poor people being forced to invest in government sponsored corporations or the government itself. Social Security is in fact not and never has been a retirement program. It is a welfare program to give money to the disabled and elderly, whether they need it or not, ie take money from poor working people and give it to well off retired people. It only masquerades as a retirement program in order to assign Americans a national ID number which we are required to use in order to work and conduct other business. If Gary Nolan wanted to approach something closer to libertarian, he should propose to eliminate social security, a system which many young people do not believe in anymore. Any government welfare at that point will have to come out of it's general revenue stream and any ID system will have to be called a National ID, which is at least a step towards honesty in government.

Jason Malstrom [devslashnull@yahoo.com]


The full text of Officer Johnson's award, and his award certificate can be viewed at: [This Link]

Why in the name of GOD was Officer Johnson not arrested? Did the woman go to the local prosecutor and demand that he be prosecuted? Did she go to the local grand jury to complain about his conduct? Did she call the ACLU in order to slap the bastard and his department with a multi-million dollar lawsuit?! Has nothing been done about this, for God's sake?

Susan Wells [Swftl@aol.com]


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