L. Neil Smith's
Number 217, March 31, 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 James Odle

Letter from Renata Russell

Another Letter from Renata Russell

Letter from Jeffrey Schwartz

Letter from Lee Daniel Crocker

Letter from Caleb Paul

Letter from Angel Shamaya

Another Letter from James J Odle

Letter from Steve Witter

Letter from Jim Monaghan


Hey Neil:

I caught your appearance on Ernie Hancock's radio show yesterday. Good job!

Anyway, I too, have given some thought to the problem of lying politicians and basically this is what I've come up with:

The first obstacle to bureaucrat reform will be the First Amendment. No matter what legislation is passed, they will scream that it interferes in their right to free speech. There are only two ways around this problem that I can think of:

1. Republicans love to argue that the First Amendment only applies to political speech and not to commercial speech. We argue, that an individual who is out on the campaign trail is engaged in a commercial activity and his speech is therefore subject to regulation as any business. After all, a political candidate is looking for a job! He has something to sell: namely himself, his policies and programs! What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

This approach would only apply to campaign speeches, not to their day- to-day activities or the rank and file bureaucrat.

2. The second approach is a variation on the way military personnel are treated. It is said that military personnel loose their rights when they enlist. We argue that the First Amendment right is 'not available' to a government bureaucrat when said bureaucrat is 'on the job.' We further argue that in this country 'We the People' are the employer and 'They the Government' are the employee and that therefore 'We' have the right to determine the conditions under which 'They' work.

After all, if the phrase 'public servant' is to carry with it something resembling an empirical meaning, it of logical necessity implies second- class citizenship when said 'public servant' is 'on the job.'

We propose and write legislation to this effect and we also strip them of their 'sovereign immunity' at the same time as it is a closely related issue.

Anyway, take care,

James Odle [jjo1@cox.net]


Dear Sirs and Mesdames: I remember something called the Constitution of the United States. In it, the power to declare war was reserved to the Congress, not the President. Did I miss it, or has Congress not declared war yet?

P.S. It's about oil, Baghdad has very little nearby, so why go there and get a lot of people killed? I'm only asking.

Renata Russell [archergirl@netzero.net]


Dear Sirs and Mesdames: I respecfully suggest that everyone read John Taylor Gatto's "Dumbing Us Down" for a look at public schooling from a teacher's viewpoint. He was voted teacher of the year in New York, and it's a wonder he's not gracing the bottom the Hudson river, encased in cement. Buy his book; it's an eye-opener.

Renata Russell [archergirl@netzero.net]

[Mr. Gatto's book has been discussed several times in TLE. Such as: Could They Really Have Done It On Purpose? by Vin Suprynowicz. Use the search engine on the main page to find them all. —Webmaster]


<<Is there a blacklist in New York and Hollywood against libertarian writers?>>
[in issue 216]

New York? Hollywood?

Yep. I've been trying to get "The Consultant" published, and struck out with both.

However—there's a nice little publisher in one of the "Flyover States" that is in the midst of doing the pre-market study for it, and if they can find enough book sellers that are interested, I'm in. The book has already passed the editorial board, and they liked it. Now it's just a matter of money—and, as a libertarian kinda guy, I can accept that.

By the way—a plea for assistance:

If anyone on-list has a bookstore, or an in with them, or a chain, please drop me an email at jeffreyschwartz@comcast.net . I'd like to raise a groundswell of interested folks and dump them on the publisher's marketing department.

Thank you!

Jeffrey Schwartz [jeffreyschwartz@comcast.net]


Mr. Smith may be right that there's a blacklist against libertarian writers in New York and Hollywood. But so what? The publishing and movie industries are next in line to realize what the music industry is already starting to feel: that the Internet is death to their tired old ways of doing business. Mr. Smith's market as an author is very similar to the market of a musician like Janis Ian—a couple of big hits people might remember, and a small but loyal following of regulars. Ian discovered that by putting all of her music on the net for free download, she made more money without having to support a squadron of industry execs that only perpetuate the old myths about piracy hurting sales. The Baen Free Library showed the same thing for books— making them available to the public helps the authors. It is only the entrenched industry that fears the net, and for a very good reason: it makes them obsolete.

Mr. Smith should stop whining about his publishers and just fire them. Put his work on the net, in whole, for free downloading, and produce and sell paper editions himself (or use a service like WebScriptions). His readership will double, his sales will go up, and he'll be able to accomplish what he claims is his real goal: to get his message out to more people.

Capitalists don't complain when an industry is run by idiots; they see it as an opportunity to put them out of business by doing it better.

Lee Daniel Crocker [lee@piclab.com"]

     Janis Ian: http://www.janisian.com
     Baen Free Library: http://www.baen.com/library/
     WebScriptions: http://www.webscription.net/


Once again, I have to disagree with Mr Barnett's letter in issue 216 of TLE.

He wrote:

"I was talking about the government schools' inability to prepare our children for the workforce, due to the intense bureaucracy and central planning machinations that stagnate the quality and control of education."

Yet I don't think he understood what I meant when I wrote:

"The crux of the matter is that the education system, whether public or private (in all but a few cases) is not about creating intelligent, free thinking individuals. It is concerned with creating a social hierarchy."

The public education system creates factory and retail fodder, the private education system creates managers and professionals. It's that simple. It's all about being initiated into different levels on the ladder.

I agree with all of Mr Barnett's accusations as to the failures of public schools. He's right on the mark and they are things that constantly disturb me about the general population.

However, I think they're only failures if you consider the public education system as something that's supposed to be creating human beings. Otherwise, the public education system is a brilliant success! The government needs chimps (no offence to the chimps) for its society, so chimps is what it breeds. Why breed humans for a chimp's role?

What is necessary for factory and retail fodder is someone who has literacy and numeracy levels at about the level of a six year old, which is about what many public school graduates achieve. Anything more than that and you start endangering your own existence (if you're a politician that is).

Mr Barnett complains that public schools don't teach kids ethics. Tackling ethics is a dangerous prospect. Kids might start thinking for themselves and then you never know what might happen! They might become libertarians! Heaven forbid, there goes the government!

Whilst I could argue that private schools also encourage(d) violence, most of it's anecdotal evidence from me. That aside though, once again, creating violent individuals is the objective of the state.

If you create individuals who can only react with violence, then you create individuals who can also be dealt with by violence, since that's all they know and they expect and accept it. The state can therefore get away with all sorts of mischief.

On the other hand, if you create individuals who react within the frameworks of a rational debate, then you're going to have all sorts of problems. Firstly, they're going to expect the state to deal with them at that level, which seriously curbs any heavy handed tactics the state may wish to employ. Secondly, and worse for the politicians and bureaucrats, pretty soon after, people realise that without the support of violence, government debate is pretty unconvincing. Oops, the libertarians win again!

At the end of the day, the public education system is a resounding success. Many, if not most, private schools have similar objectives, it's just that they are preparing people for higher positions on the ladder. These systems achieve all that is necessary and prepare people for work more than adequately. Those might not meet Mr Barnett's objectives or mine, but that doesn't mean they fail to meet their own objectives.

Yours in Liberty,

Caleb Paul [shorbe@rocketmail.com]


Stuff like this does indeed happen. A friend of mine who runs a construction company has described, in detail, the extent to which some inspectors go to harass the people who won't sufficiently kiss their asses.

"Men" like the one described in this poignant piece deserve immediate death. If I had Mr. Inspector tell me to move a foundation 6 inches, he'd never make it back to his car alive.

Good story.

Angel Shamaya [Director@KeepAndBearArms.com]



1. I made a mistake in last weeks article, "Random Observations."

The Project for a New American Century isn't a document. It's a website.

The founders of this website have produced a book: The War Over Iraq: Tyranny and American's Mission, which boasts the following blurbs:

"Anyone who harbors doubt about the imperative of regime change in Iraq for the vital security interests of the United States should read this book."—Senator John McCain

"Brilliant and definitive. Kristol and Kaplan run right at the "narrow realists" of Bush I and the Clintonian "wishful liberals" and break all tackles. At stake is far more than the future of Iraq: the authors show us why-in the age of terror, rogue states, and weapons of mass destruction-we can only make the world safe for democracy by finishing the job of democratizing it."—R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95

I'm not recommending the book. This is simply an illustration of the mentality behind the people who run the website and behind the thinking of the Bush Regime.

2. Conservative talk show hosts keep saying that this is a war about 'freedom.' Apparently they have completely forgotten that this is the same government which sent IRS agents to the Old Soviet Union after its collapse to show them how to run a 'proper tax collection system.' IRS agents in the ruins of the Soviet Union. Nothing like kicking people when they're down. Need I say more?

James J Odle [jjo1@cox.net]


I thought I was pretty much a libertarian but after reading the anti- Bush/anti-war rhetoric I have definitely changed my mind. You guys are coming across as nothing more than a bunch of burned-out, liberal, pathetic hippies. Just remember, your standard of living is directly related to the free flow of petroleum, and Saddam sits in arms reach of 60% of the oil production facilities in the world. Only a fool would allow this freak of nature to acquire nuclear weapons, and only a fool would not address the issue with the only thing Saddam understands. getting his ass handed to him on a platter by the US Military.

You can go back now to holding hands and singing kumbaya.

Steve Witter [SWitter@medamicus.com]


I'd like to throw in a few comments about government schools. Let me tell you about the public high school I went to.

I had an English teacher who could have died in class, & nobody would notice the difference. Kind of like the character in the movie 'Teachers' who had a massive heart attack while reading the newspaper.

During my sophmore year, I had a very tempermental teacher who one day went off on one of the students. Among other things, he shouted at him 'I'll stomp on your scrawny body!' I believe threatening a 15 year-old like that is illegal. The logical thing to do would have been to file a complaint with the police department. However, no student in that class would have dared, as the school would have made their lives miserable. No college scholarships for them.

My first Driver's Ed teacher was priceless; in the two days I put up with him, he let me drive once; the other student did all the driving. The other student, incidentally, was a pretty blonde girl who was quite well-endowed & had a lovely southern drawl. This might explain why I sat in the back all the time.

During my senior year, the Dean of Boys was quietly transferred to another school. As it turns out, he got two of the students pregnant. Statutory Rape usually comes with penalties on the stiff side. But not when you've got tenure, it seems.

Oh, well, it could have been worse. At least I didn't go to Columbine High School.

Jim Monaghan [Monaghan4@webtv.net]


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