L. Neil Smith's
Number 290, September 26, 2004

"Taxation With Representation"

The Cat Came Back—Or Tried To, Anyway
by L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to TLE

By now, we all know somebody—or know of somebody—whom the United States government, in its infinite stupidity, has arbitrarily and illegally denied the right to travel by means of commercial airliner.

The first such individual I heard about was a leader of the Green Party, attempting to make her way to a meeting or convention a few states away. At the airport, without warning, she was suddenly told by some goon that by edict of the federal government, she was no longer to be permitted any of the advantages of 21st century transportation technology.

She was on the "no fly list".

I've often wondered if she ever got a refund for her useless ticket.

Then it started to get personal. A good friend of mine, whose work in cybernetics takes him from state to state, received exactly the same kind of treatment at the boarding gate. Why? Sorry, that's classified. His likely crime? He maintains a web page listing various abuses of human rights and constitutional law of which the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is famously guilty.

Naughty, naughty. Mustn't keep dossiers on the jackbooted thugs, now.

Another victim of the "no fly list".

The final straw, at least for me, came this week when, unsatisfied with taking one of the most pleasurable human activities, flying, and turning it into a nightmare flashback to Soviet Bulgaria, a drooling moron decided to deny the right to travel to a swarthy, bearded fellow named Yusuf Islam—obviously a potential terrorist just waiting to happen.

He and his daughter who was travelling with him—or trying to, anyway.

The plane he was already on, and halfway across the Atlantic, was diverted from its intended destination, Washington, D.C., to Bangor, Maine, which we can only conclude that the government regards as more expendable.

But hang on a second. It turns out this guy is even shiftier and shadier than he appears at first glance. Yusuf Islam isn't the name his sweet mother lovingly bestowed upon him—that was Steven Demeter Georgiou—in fact it's the third name he's used publicly, the second being—

Oops! Cat Stevens. That's right, the gentle-voiced performer who gave us songs like "Moon Shadow", "Wild World", and "Morning Has Broken"—an Anglican hymn so beautiful under Stevens' tender hands that it broke into a secular world that never even suspected what it was. In recent security tests, the grandma gropers missed all kinds of weapons—guns, knives, boxcutters, the very same explosives used to destroy two Russian airliners—but they sure got that retired rock singer!

Stevens' unforgivable history is that he converted to Islam in 1977. When his teachers (as bright a group as the NRA executives who "reached out" the public a few years ago with a satellite channel of their own—and then encoded it) decided that pop music was an unsuitable profession for a Moslem, he dropped out and changed his name.

Later he founded a school of Islam in London, where he teaches. Another thing that marked him is that he's critical of what the U.S. government is doing in the Middle East. Oh yes, and some years ago he gave money to an organization the U.S. government disapproves of (the same way it disapproves of the Green Party and those who keep lists of BATFE excesses), Hamas, as part of a regular habit he has of providing food and medicine to children the U.S. government has bombed and starved.

You may or may not remember that 30 years ago, John Lennon was declared persona non grata by the U.S. State Department and denied entry.

A great deal of hell has been raised over the past couple of days about this latest asininity. I hear that Tony Blair has been all over George Bush about it, but that may mean something else, entirely, The U.S. government and United Airlines don't seem to get it. The only thing they're upset about is that Islam got on the plane in the first place.

The recent so-called "9/11 Committee" has even suggested that the same practices be applied to domestic bus, train, and maybe highway travel. Fact is, there's only one sure and certain way to prevent hijackings, and that's to respect and enforce the highest law of the land, specifically the Second Amendment. There were no hijackings before the government gave hijackers a hand by outlawing weapons of self-defense.

It's important never to forget that a single individual on each of the stolen airliners, armed with a snubby five-shot .38 revolver—or just a .22 pistol—could have stopped what happened on September 11, 2001. This whole expensive, nasty, fascistic charade with airport skin searches and a Department of Homeland Security is designed to make us forget.

American politicos have always seemed to need some kind of monster under the bed to frighten their most idiotic and gullible constituents with, and make themselves look big and bold, when in fact they're some of the lowest-crawling craven poltroons who ever smutted up the face of this planet with their vile, disgusting, and totally unnecessary existences.

For a lot of the 19th century, for example, both before and after the War Between the States, it was Catholics and Freemasons people were told to be afraid of, along with immigrant Irishmen. Chinese, and Italians.

For most of the 20th century, it was communists, although—like with airport security—they missed the most important ones in the government.

Now the bugaboo-of-choice appears to be the followers of Mohammed, and as usual, this civilization seems to be mysteriously incapable of confronting their ideas with our own—that would be too dangerous; it might mislead Americans into wanting to be a free people again—so we confront mere surface characteristics that are insignificant and meaningless.

If you're pissed off and tired of the idiot games being played by this administration, there are three hard, cold facts you will have to confront.

First, these fascist airport crimes are not being committed for the protection of America or Americans, but pretty much for their own sake, and as a dress rehearsal for a time in which all travel will be monitored by the all-powerful state and all Americans subjected to restrictions on where they go and why. If somebody doesn't like you— it doesn't matter who or why; such matters are classified—your internal passport will be confiscated and you'll be stuck wherever you are.

Second, if you think that John Kerry is going to change anything at all, you're seriously deluded. If the last fifty years have taught us nothing else, it's that there's only one major political party in this country—the Boot on Your Neck Party—of which both Kerry and Bush are members in good standing. Ralph Nader is a wart on the left pinky-toe.

Third, if you care about America, the one way to change things is to vote for Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party Candidate for President. No, he won't win—this time—but if he can make a good showing, say five percent of the vote, the BOYN party will be taken aback, shaken, and somewhat inclined to review their policies and practices.

They can start by abolishing the "no fly list".

And perhaps just as important, after you vote this time, you won't feel like you have to scrub your hands with hot, soapy water and disinfectant.

If Michael does well, we can follow his candidacy with an intense, concentrated program of recall elections, impeachments, lawsuits, and eventually, indictments for treason, which, in America, is, or ought to be, the act of knowingly giving aid and comfort to the enemies of freedom.

If you care about America, vote Libertarian.

It's about all we have left.

Three-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith is the author of 23 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collection of articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org. Autographed copies may be had from the author at lneil@lneilsmith.org.

Neil is presently at work on Ceres and Ares, two sequels to his 1993 novel, Pallas, a decensored and electronically published version of his 1984 novel, Tom Paine Maru, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May. A 180-page full-color graphic novel version of The Probability Broach will be released this summer.


Serenity, the FIREFLY movie
Serenity: The Official Movie Website

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 290, September 26, 2004