L. Neil Smith's
Number 297, November 14, 2004

"Where can we go from here?"

The Death of a Libertarian
by Jay P Hailey

Exclusive to TLE

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.—Groucho Marx
Political tags—such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth—are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.—Robert A Heinlein
Barbarian invasions would be superfluous: we are our own Huns.—Bertrand de Jouvenal
"American pulled its trousers down, bent over, spread its cheeks, and whimpered, 'Please, sir, may I have another?'"—Rylla Smith
"Somewhere around 400,000 Americans will fairly consistently cast their votes for a Libertarian Presidential candidate.... It doesn't seem to matter so much what sort of candidate the LP runs, at least at the higher levels. Whether it's a buttoned-down corporate attorney such as David Bergland, a loaner from the GOP such as Ron Paul, a 'pragmatist' such as Andre Marrou or a 'purist' such as Badnarik, the results are pretty much the same in every cycle"—Scott Bieser

On November 3, I learned a harsh lesson. It went down hard, like swallowing a bone. But there is no getting around it.

I used to be an anarchist. I thought that humans are perfectly capable of creating ad hoc social organizations to handle their needs.

A friend of mine once said "Under what conditions would this work?"

I answered "Well, the Majority of people in this system would have to understand it and want it to work."

My friend nodded. "Okay. What system wouldn't work under those conditions?"

My conceptions changed. I felt that the idea that people didn't need any interference needed a frame work, and a mechanism for dealing with that minority of people too selfish, stupid and anti-social to behave right.

In time I learned why I felt this way. It strikes me as intrinsically right and correct that each person is his own property. It strikes me as intrinsically true and right that each person owns the fruits of his labor and time.

It also struck me as true and right that each person is the best arbiter of his own interest. That, given clear enough information about his position, any given person would choose the right and constructive choice.

This last week sixty million people (Give or take) proved me wrong.

With evidence of lies, brutality and mass murder in their face, sixty million people voted to leave a lying murderer in office, condemning more human beings to needless death.

Sixty million Americans looked at sixty million different transparent, obvious lies and manipulations and geeked for them rather than surrender their safety blanket.

I have always maintained that you can either trust people to handle their own affairs, or you're a fascist. If people are too stupid to handle their own affairs they'll find a dictator to tell them what to do. If you support finding, promoting or electing a dictator to make sure the stupid people behave, then that's dictatorship, tyranny, fascism.

In the words of William Shatner "I can't get behind that!"

But... Sixty million people... They just did it.

Liberty won't work. People are too scared, too ignorant, or maybe just too stupid.

A system that demands that you find or create your own solutions to your problems isn't ever going to fly.

These people will vote for any tyrant who happens along just so long as he can be spun as being "Strong Enough" to keep them "Safe"

I love the idea of Liberty. I love the idea of Freedom. I must concede now that in this day and age these are not real living conditions, but ideas. Fantasies of what might be.

And these fantasies will never happen for these American people.

I like Scott Bieser's idea of trying to promote a Liberty culture, a culture of Freedom.

I hope I can add something to that. Sadly I suspect it's a fantasy.

I must find a philosophy that reflects these truths. The only one that I can think of is a small "a" anarchist. Screw 'em, to hell with them all. If the lemmings want to jump off the cliff, let 'em. I will leave free in my heart, and as well as I can in an insane world.

This world's civilization, a sad, twisted, almost stillborn effort, riddled with its own birth defects and wallowing in awful crimes, but somehow trying to rise above itself... it's doomed. It's heading over a cliff, pulled by sixty million people who said "I don't care what the papers say about the WMDs, He makes me feel safer."

Are there dark ages coming? What will rise after? I don't know.

I am pretty sure it will be characterized mainly by people who look to a "Big Man" in a big seat in an opulent office somewhere to protect them from things they ought to be taking care of themselves.

The evidence is plain. Someone had a tagline that I can paraphrase "When an honest man finds himself mistaken, he either chooses to stop being one or stop being the other."

The vast majority of people don't want to be free. They probably won't ever be.

Is there a spot of light in this? I don't know. I know there's a consistent minority of people who sound like Tom Paine, Samuel Adams or L. Neil Smith.

What does that mean? What does it portend for the future?

Probably not much. I like 'em anyway.

L. Neil Smith points out that in 2008 there will probably be a lot of hysteria about "anyone but Hillary"

But it will be bullshit. Hell it already is. All I know is that it'll look about the same as it did this time and some tens of millions of people will stick their heads on the sand and wail about how things aren't getting any better.

No, I am wrong. Like the 1996 and 2000 elections, 2008 will be more of the same but incrementally worse. 2012 will be worse still, but it'll be all part of the same deal we've been watching forever.

I am bailing out of politics as a watcher and a thinker. It's too insane and the large majority of people involved are too stupid. It makes me crazy for no good reason.

Time to start charting my own course and living free inside. Well, no I have been doing this as well as I can already. It's time to cut myself loose from this particular patch of dirt and this particular batch of angry monkeys. They don't matter any more. If they ever did.


Serenity, the FIREFLY movie
Serenity: The Official Movie Website

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