L. Neil Smith's
Number 293, October 17, 2004

The Triumph Of Mediocrity

[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 John Taylor

Letter from Rocky Frisco

Letter from Bill St. Clair

Letter from Derek Benner

Another Letter from Derek Benner

Letter from Scott Graves

Letter from the Arizona LP

Letter from Badnarik for President

Letter from Jon Airheart

Letter from James J Odle

Letter from Ron Beatty

Letter from Kent McManigal

Letter from L. Neil Smith

Ron Beatty wrote

<< [I] realized that if we could just combine L. Neil Smith and Claire Wolfe, we would have the perfect spokesperson for libertarian beliefs. >>

Thanks, Ron, for the memory jog, inadvertent though it was!

Back in the good old days, when the World Wide Web was not ubiquitous, there was the phenomenon called the Bulletin Board Service (BBS). And the greatest BBS of all, in my opinion, was the one called "Lever Action".

In its infancy and its early days, its content was dominated by the musings of Claire and Neil, and life, for this reader/lurker/occasional contributor, was truly good.

In a way, I miss those good old days, though I understand the reasons that we've all moved on. But sometimes, like when I read your letter, I set my cerebral Wayback Machine for the early '90s, and remember what was more "intimate", more "personal", and—in some sense—even better for me personally than it is today.

Regards to all,

John Taylor
Farmer(sic) Editor, TLE

[Ah yes, I remember Lever Action BBS well. I even remember when John Taylor joined-up. Them were the good ol' days™.—Editor]


Hoping somebody will point it out to Michael.

Rocky Frisco
Rocky Frisco's LIBERTY website: www.liberty-in-our-time.com

Re: http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2004/tle292-20041010-01.html#letter2

Ron Beatty posted a link last issue to Claire Wolfe's "Hardyville" essays at Backwoods Home Magazine. That's where her new essays appear nowadays. I look forward to them, twice a month. But there's a lot more Claire Wolfe on the web. Her personal web site, including a weblog that she updates regularly, is www.clairewolfe.com.

Debra Rickets has an archive of all of Claire's writings, with links to where you can buy her books, at www.theclairefiles.com. I have a mirror of the now defunct Wolfe's Lodge, which Claire edited and wrote for a few years back, at billstclair.com/lodge. And there's an active forum at www.thementalmilitia.org/clairefiles, where Claire and many other freedom lovers hang out.

In case you've been living in a closet and aren't familiar with Claire Wolfe, she wrote, in 1996, in the opening paragraph of 101 Things To Do 'til the Revolution, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

Bill St. Clair

I've recently gotten tired of all the hoorah, on a moderated forum I visit, over which of the two Presidential candidates the BOYN party is foisting off on the American public this election year. So, I've decided to change my sig line. It was a cutesy quote from The Whiteboard online comic strip (www.the-whiteboard.com) that read, "Vegetables are what Food eats."

However, I've decided to weigh in with political advice from now on. My new sig line reads:

"If you have the slightest doubt, vote the victim-disarmament bastard out."

I think that says it all.

Derek Benner

Hi, me again.

So I've been participating in an SF&F forum run by Baen Books and several people have been talking about the 16th Amendment and whether it applies. They've also been talking about the 2nd Amendment.

Today, I got an interesting reply on the 2nd Amendment. The poster stated that the 2nd Amendment only applied to the federal government and, thus, the States were able to legally infringe the hell out of it. He further stated that he believed the 15th Amendment should prevent the States from infringing upon the RKBA, but that was open to interpretation. Hunh?

And this was not some politician, just an ordinary citizen... No wonder we're creeping farther down the path to socialism.

Derek Benner

RE: Letter from Steve Trinward

Mr. Trinward needs to re-read my original letter. He says: "Merely registering more voters with an "L" beside their names (part of which is assuring them they are not endorsing the LP?) is not showing to be productive, except where it results in ballot access for our candidates."

I wrote: "If by September of 2006 everyone who voted for Libertarian candidates in this election gets 20 people registered to vote as Libertarians and reminds them to vote in the 2006 elections we can actually win some seats at county, state and even federal levels."

Note that "and reminds them to vote in the 2006 elections" part.

Not a silver bullet but a breakdown of the work into the smallest package possible. Each of us gets one person each month registered to vote and then gets them to vote for our candidates in 2006. We start winning elections.

For a local Libertarian Affiliate to keep track of the huge numbers of voters needed to win elections on the drasticly limited budgets they have would be all but imposible. Especialy with the difficulty we have at getting people to do the work an affiliate needs done to simply survive much less the work to multiply our numbers by a factor of 10. But if you divide the job into small enough packages people are more likely to do it.

So, get off your butt and find your twenty people. I've got a plan to try out, do you?

Scott Graves

The Arizona Libertarian Party and co-plaintiff Warren Severin were represented by attorney David Euchner.

Arizona State University was represented by Carrie Brennan of the Attorney General's office.

Commission on Presidential Debates was represented by Glen Hallman of the firm of Gallagher & Kennedy, physically in court, as well as Lewis Loss, General Counsel for the CPD by phone.

The judge started by ruling that the service was sufficient for purpose of notice of this hearing. Then, each side was given 30 minutes to argue the issue.

Euchner reserved 15 minutes of his argument for rebuttal, and argued the case based on the violation of Arizona's Constitution, Art. 9, Sec. 7, which prohibit gifts to private entities. He presented additional arguments based on the 1st Amendment, the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, and case law which was on point.

Carrie Brennan argued the doctrine of latches (that the delay in bringing this suit worked an unfairness against the defendants). She further argued that the funding was provided by private parties, that there is great value to the University in hosting this, and that case law provides that such expenditures are allowed as long as they are not excessive or unreasonable.

Finally, she stated that there is an adequate remedy for any violations of the constitutional gift clause, therefore injunction is not appropriate.

Glen Hallman argued that Libertarians are not a special protected class, thus only a rational basis test applies to the equal protection argument, and using that test, the Libertarians were not discriminated against.

Lewis Loss argued that the CPD is non-partisan, and that Bush & Kerry would not proceed if Badnarik were admitted to the debate.

Euchner then rebutted, arguing that nobody remembers the location of the debates, and thus there is no value to the University in this expenditure, in other words, it is a gift to these two parties. As an example, Euchner argued that the only way debates are even remembered for any time is if they are parodied, such as on Saturday Night Live, and the rerun repeatedly. Further, even with a rational basis test on the equal protection clause, the judge should find for the Libertarians, because the discrimination is so blatant.

At the conclusion of the arguement, the judge issued his ruling from the bench:

1. No restraining order, because of the doctrine of latches, and that there appears to be sufficient public purpose for this debate.

2. The Plaintiffs may continue to pursue damages for any violations of the constitutional provisions.

In summary, we couldn't stop the debates or get Badnarik in, but we may still be able to hold them accountable through damages.

Post this far and wide.

Michael Kielsky

Dear Badnarik supporter,

A few days ago, I asked you to help us fight the media blackout by contributing towards our goal of $53,200 for the next Badnarik for President commercial buy. Thanks to your generosity, we have already passed the critical halfway mark.

A lot of exciting things have happened since then. To begin, the media blackout continues. Michael Badnarik has now participated in three presidential debates and Richard Campagna has participated in one vice presidential debate. The main stream media knew of these debates and refused to cover them.

Libertarians filed a complaint against Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates to stop the final Bush Kerry debate. While a few cameras were present, this clearly did not receive the amount of national media attention it deserved. The main stream media knew, in advance, and refused to cover the story.

Friday, we attempted to serve an Order to Show Cause to the Commission on Presidential Debates at their D.C. headquarters. The CPD did everything within their power to avoid process service. Again, America's major media outlets did not carry the story.

Later that evening, Michael Badnarik personally attempted to serve the papers to the CPD during the staged Bush Kerry debate in St. Louis AND WAS ARRESTED IN THE PROCESS. The mainstream press did know of this in advance, but refused to cover it.

Clearly, the Badnarik campaign has earned the attention of the media. That Michael is not being covered by the mainstream press can only have one explanation now: Bush and Kerry are in bed with Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and many major newspapers.

In order to combat the media blackout, the Badnarik campaign has employed a strategy of concurrently hitting the major media from three sides:

1) Engage in activities which are difficult for the media to ignore. This is a win win proposition for us. Either they cover us, or they expose their bias. Gallup recently reported that less than half of Americans express confidence in the media's ability to report news stories accurately and fairly. With their continued lack of coverage of third party presidential activities, we expect this number to decline even more.

2) Provide an alternative media outlet for those people who really want to know "what's really happening." Our Internet traffic has been soaring ever since Michael won the Libertarian nomination. Ralph Nader has not been able to even compete on the same playing field as us with respect to site traffic. We just had to upgrade our host and servers (thanks to our excellent web team, this was accomplished without any downtime or major problems). Just yesterday, we had 105,551 unique site visitors who viewed 324,758 pages for a total of 2,770,933 hits which used 52.61 gigabytes of bandwidth. Considering that recent Badnarik Internet activities sparked a flurry of activity from other major websites (such as other blogs, Fark and Slashdot) around the world, millions of people are aware that Badnarik was arrested and that the mainstream media chose to ignore this fact.

3) Produce and air television commercials. In addition to the commercials we have already run, we have a new one in final production, and another one in the works. How many times these new commercials will air is up to you. We are placing every possible dime into running television commercials which will play in homes throughout the country. Additionally, we are now looking at a national media buy for one of the new commercials.

Now that we have the mainstream media boxed in on three sides, we may have the opportunity to slam the lid on them this Tuesday. At 9AM, a hearing will be conducted in the case of the Arizona Libertarian Party v. the CPD and ASU. This is an attempt to shut down the Bush Kerry debate, scheduled for Wednesday.

We have no way of predicting the outcome of this hearing. If the Bush Kerry debate is shut down, rescheduled for a different time at a different location, or if Michael Badnarik is included in the debate THERE WILL BE NO WAY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WILL BE ABLE TO IGNORE US ANYMORE!


Please visit www.badnarik.org frequently to obtain the latest news from the campaign trail. We need each and every one of you to take information from our site and spread it around the Internet. Please visit as many sites as you can, and provide comments, post quotes and paste links back to our website.

Then start contacting national media outlets in ways which are difficult to ignore. The time for nicely worded E-mails requesting they cover Badnarik is about over. They know exactly who he is and how to contact him. As you are aware, most of them are rebuffing our attempts to be covered on their programs. Start calling programs and mention the word "Badnarik" as soon as you get on the air.


Help us meet our goal of raising $53,200 for our next commercial buy by clicking on the donate now button. While they may not cover us in the news, we can still play our commercials during the news.


Obviously, please make sure that you vote on Election Day. And try to persuade as many of your friends and family members to cast their vote for freedom by pulling the lever for Michael. If you will not be near your polling place, please ensure that you obtain your absentee ballot in advance.


We are considering a national media buy. This means that we will be running television commercials in every household in the United States, if you really want us to.

We are also considering initiating additional legal challenges to the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, and various ballot access statutes. The level of legal activity in which we will be able to be engaged depends entirely on you.

During our last online fundraising drive, when we reached our target, Lady Liberty's fire lit up and yet you continued to contribute, causing her flames to burn higher and higher.

This time, we need to light the fires of Liberty so high they can be seen all across this great land. And every dollar you contribute in excess of our goal sends the Badnarik campaign staff a message that you wish for us to purchase nationwide television commercials and that you wish for us to be able to initiate additional legal challenges to the current electoral system.

With 23 days remaining until the election, your immediate donation will never be more critical than it is right now.

When you click the Donate Today button or visit https://badnarik.org/, we can override the media blackout, as they cannot legally refuse to run our commercials.

After you click the Donate Today button or visit https://badnarik.org/, please consider adding a few more dollars to your contribution to help us fight our legal challenges.

Then tell us you want to see Badnarik commercials airing nationwide by digging even deeper into your pockets. Remember, a contribution total which exceeds $53,200 is your message to the Badnarik campaign, and to the world, that you wish to fight the media blackout by running Libertarian commercials nationwide.

Thanks to you, we are lighting the fires of liberty, one commercial buy at a time!

In liberty,

Stephen P. Gordon
Communications Director, Badnarik/Campagna 2004

Well guys, the straw just broke this camel's back. I was watching CNN's pre-debate coverage and the ticker on the bottom randomly mentions Ralph Nader and how many ballots he is on. MICHAEL'S BEEN ARRESTED AND FILED A LAWSUIT IN THE PAST WEEK AND STILL CAN'T GET RANDOMLY MENTIONED! They also continue to put Nader in the polls and exclude Badnarik. Michael is doing as many interviews as humanly possible. When the day is done he will have done 11 interviews in Charlottesville, VA, Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Slovakia (you read that right), Charleston, SC, Denver, CO, Washington, DC, Fort Worth, TX, Johnstown, CO, Milwaukee, WI and Columbus, OH. He's making noise! How about you? Wanna help? THE NATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE IS SHAMEFUL! Let's do something about it.

Go to http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form1.html?21

Or, call or fax James Walton, CNN President:
ph 404-827-1500
fax: 404-827-2437

Here's what I wrote: You can use it or make your own.

"I am upset that you mentioned Ralph Nader is on the ballot in 35 states and DC on the crawling ticker at the bottom of the screen and failed to mention someone who is more of a threat than him, Michael Badnarik, Libertarian for President. He is on 48 state ballots and DC and filed a lawsuit against the CPD and ASU to include him in tonight's debate. He was also arrested in St. Louis with David Cobb of the Green Party last Friday at Washington University. What has Mr. Nader done lately? What is your definition of newsworthy?"

Let's shock the system that is shockingly biased!

Jon Airheart
Executive Assistant to Michael Badnarik

There are two interesting articles that appeared in the August edition of Life Extension magazine.

The first one is called 'Inside America's Prisons' which has an very interesting sidebar called 'Equal Injustice Under the Law'.

The sidebar is on page 3 of the overall article


There is also a second article on juries ...


James J Odle

Mr. Holder,

Re: What Does Freedom Mean?

Attached is a letter I recieved regarding my article last week, and my response. I hope you will include it in the letters section of TLE, since it addresses a common misperception.



> Hi. My name is XXXXXXX. I don't know if you will
> care or not about what I think about your article
> which I am going to quote and respond to below.
> But I felt moved enough to write this, and I'd
> be thrilled if you
> could reply, but I'll
> understand if you can't or don't. I hope you'll at
> least read it.
> The supposed basic premise of your piece is the
> following:
> "To harm others unprovoked is wrong and there is
> absolutely no valid way to argue otherwise!"
> But throughout the piece you make statements such
> as:
> "For any individual to blame society for his or her
> actions is the mark of a childish, irresponsible
> person, one who does not understand freedom."
> "Come from a broken home? So what! Didn't get to
> play on the high school football team? Who cares!
> Other kids teased you? Who gives a sh*t! Your
> family was too poor for you to have an X-Box or
> Nintendo game system? Tough!"
> "Ladies and gentlemen, these and the myriad of other
> excuses that too many 'social workers' and government
> flunkies give for the sorry pieces of crap that
> delight in injuring and causing harm to others are so
> much flatulence!"
> Now I want to ask you, how are these not harmful
> statements? Or does the non-aggression principle fail
> to recognize verbal attacks? Do you think that
> 'sticks and stones can break my bones but words will
> never hurt me?' What constitutes an attack, how do
> you define harm?
> Now, another part of your article said:
> "However, that day of missed work may mean that the
> person is unable to pay a utility bill, resulting
> in a shut-off of electricity, gas, or phone service.
> Is the society responsible for the individual's lack
> of forethought and responsibility? Absolutely not!
> That person is solely and totally responsible, and
> should bear the burden of correcting his own mistakes."
> Being sick, getting injured, needing to care for aged
> or ill family members—these are not mistakes, but
> they are good valid reasons for taking time off.
> Sometimes hard choices have to be made. So would your
> system of government leave these people out in the
> cold? With this kind of every man for himself attitude,
> where is compassion? Do you really think some kind of
> private enterprise would arise to help someone who
> seriously needed it?
> My further question to this kind of thinking has always
> been, 'where do I fit into your society then?' I am
> disabled. I cannot work to bring in an income to support
> myself. I don't have what it takes to cope with every day
> life. If Libertarians ran the country, would I be roaming
> the street stealing food from the honest grocer up the
> road?


Actually, I do care, very much, what you think, and since I am in a situation somewhat similar to yours, I have thought quite seriously about some of your objections.

My point in those supposedly harmful statements was to drive home a point, a somewhat blunt one, in fact. When a person uses his social or economic situation to justify harm to others, he is wrong, immature, and irresponsible. The proper response to that situation is to buckle down and work to correct it.

As far as the example about the person missing work, that was based on the presumption that the person chose to miss work. The examples you cited involve no choice, in my mind, at least. Family always comes first. As for being sick myself, I go to work every day, even though I am partially disabled myself, and have myriad physical problems.

A verbal attack does not justify physical force used in return, unless that attack causes irreparable harm to a person's means of support, and even then, only in extreme cases. That is what lawsuits are for, and under a proposed libertarian government, for a while at least, the courts or arbitrators would be extremely busy until everyone learned to respect the rights of others. Please note that I do not say 'respect the feelings' of others, but the rights, and only the rights. Any other respect must be earned.

As for your question about obtaining help, I can only say that private enterprise has always risen up to meet any perceived need. Even now, with all the supposed government programs, hundreds of millions of dollars are raised every year to support proprams to aid those with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, leukemia, AIDS/HIV, and other diseases. As has been proven many times, Americans are the most generous, giving people on earth.

From my own experience, having been down and out myself a few times, that honest grocer up the road is just as likely to give you an hour or so of make-work to do, so you can earn the money for a few groceries.

As far as being unable to cope with daily life in order to earn a living, can you tell stories? Can you read a book to a child? If you have enough patience to do those things, someone will pay you to do them. Again, I know, because I have done them. Can you sit on a park bench to keep an eye on the park, to be available to call for help if something happens? Again, if you can, someone will pay you to do it.

If nothing else, do you have a loving heart? Can you make a significant other feel good about life and living? If you can, you will never need to worry about making a living, because someone will gladly be willing to meet all your needs, just for that one priceless ability.

Ms. XXXXXXX, please believe that I am not taking your questions or problems lightly, for I am not. When I became unable to do the work I had spent most of my life training to do, I had to find a new way to live. It took me years, a lot of painful re-evalution, and a lot of hard work, re-adjusting the way I thought about work and working. From a physically active person, who had worked all his life in law enforcement, investigation, and various high-risk security applications, I had to change everything, when I became unable to perform the job functions that I loved. But I did it, and in consequence, I found a new pride and self-respect. That is why I have very little patience with those who deliberately harm others, using the various excuses (and others) that I used as examples in the article.

No, Ms. XXXXXXX, you would not be roaming the street. If you have enough gumption to write this later, taking me to task for something you didn't understand, I strongly suspect that you would have enough to make your way, somehow, no matter what the circumstances were.

I hope you will accept my best wishes, and my blessings, for what they are worth.

May the Light shine on you, and in you, and may the Divine guide and guard you on your path through life.

Ron Beatty

I cast my absentee ballot vote for Michael Badnarik today.

This is the first time I have voted for someone without feeling any hesitation at all in my choice.

For the first time I didn't choose "the lesser of two evils", or one side of the cow-pie (Republican) over the other side (Democrat). It felt as though I were voting for myself; which is the point behind self-governance after all! I realize that a lot of libertarian-leaning people feel that voting lends credibility to an illegitimate government. I don't feel this way. Yet. I will support and honor a Badnarik administration. I will not support, honor or acknowledge any administration headed by someone who doesn't realize that the Oath of Office means what it says, and that failing to live up to it, in all of its original meaning, is treason.

We do have a choice in this country: the Bush/Kerry ticket or Michael Badnarik. Come on Fireflies! Let's join our tiny glimmers of liberty together to make a brilliant blaze of freedom!

Kent McManigal

To Whom It May Concern:

This is the way (see below) I received Benyamin Cohen's article about Ed Kramer. I immediately replied, as it turned out, to Rebecca Bidwell, Administrator of the Ed Kramer Legal Defense Fund, asking for permission to run the artlicle in The Libertarian Enterprise. Apparently she was unaware that she didn't have the authority to grant that permission, and, in fact, seemed relatively enthusiastic about our running it.

As requested by Mr. Cohen, however, we have now removed the article from the TLE website. I have seen Mr. Cohen's note to the effect that somebody else paid for the research and writing involved. I respect that. But as a professional writer myself, engaged for decades in trying to get his point of view across to a public that badly needs to benefit by it, it is hard for me to see how getting this information before the public damages Atlanta Jewish Life, Mr. Cohen, or most especially Mr. Kramer.

In fact I believed we were publishing it under "fair usage" customs.

Nevertheless, as the publisher of TLE, I'm very sorry if we upset anyone, and we will do our best not to do it again, however much it might help someone like Mr. Kramer. I will ask Ken Holder, the editor of TLE to publish Mr. Cohen's two notes and this letter so that our readers will understand what the real issues are, here.

Yours very sincerely,

L. Neil Smith, Publisher
The Libertarian Enterprise


On Thursday, October 14, 2004 1:18 PM Benyamin Cohen wrote:

> Please remove my article about Ed Kramer from your site immediately.

> Benyamin Cohen

I will be extremely happy to do so. This reply will also serve to let my webmaster know your wishes.

I would like to know, however, how we have offended you. I received this article in e-mail and was under the impression that its author wanted it spread far and wide.

L. Neil Smith


The publication in which it appeared paid for the several months of research it took to write the article and they are very upset that it is appearing elsewhere. Please remove it immediately. Thank you.

Benyamin Cohen

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