The Libertarian Enterprise At Three Hundred

 L. Neil Smith's 
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Number 300, December 12, 2004

Bill of Rights Day December 15

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the 'toon

Scene from The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel
by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser


Dear Friends and Readers,

I'm pleased to announce that our old friends Win Bear, Ed Bear, Clarissa MacDougall Olson, Lucy Kropotkin, Captain Forsyth, Jenny Smyth/Noble, Olongo Featherstone-Haugh, and the rest of the gang from my first novel, The Probability Broach, have been brought to life again.

(Originally published by Del Rey Books in 1980, and later by Tor Books, The Probability Broach won me the first of three Prometheus Awards, and is considered by many to be the definitive libertarian novel.)

This time, they're characters in The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, which has just been released by BigHead Press. The brilliant artist Scott Bieser and I worked closely together in designing the characters' appearance, their setting, and translating the original prose story into a graphic script. Scott then spent the better part of two years rendering it into 185 pages of absolutely eyepopping art.

Please see [this link] for a sample.

Assisting Scott in this task was the enigmatic (and very silly) Internet artist known only as "~3~", who added luxurious computer coloring.

It's been immensely satisfying to work with Scott on this book. He seems almost to possess a direct connection to the creative lobe of my brain, and his renderings are nearly exactly what I envisioned when I wrote the original story.

Long-time fans of The Probability Broach will finally get to see the characters, the high-speed hover-cars, the plain and fancy weaponry, the underground shopping malls, and the giant ziggurat of the LaPorte Paratronics Building as it towers high over downtown LaPorte.

They'll also get re-acquainted with the bad guys, like the kill-crazed Federal Security cop, Oscar Burgess, the evil Hamiltonian mastermind Manfred von Richtoven, his oversized henchman Kleingunther, the politically correct Otis Bealls, and even the burglar, Tricky Dick Milhous.

We also hope that presenting The Probability Broach in this bright new format will enable us to reach new minds, and further spread the ideals of liberty and independence that are the basis for this story about a culture that truly is kinder and gentler than the one we live in, because it is a society of people who own their own lives.

For the holiday shopping season, this full-color volume has a suggested retail price of $19.95 and is available online from Laissez-Faire Books and from Renaissance Books, as well as better comic-book retail stores near you. BigHead Press plans a wider distribution of the book next Spring.

For questions about bulk purchases, please contact Scott at More details about the book and its publisher may be found at

Thanks for "listening",

L. Neil Smith

Order The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel at:

Laissez-Faire Books


What he said! This issue's "'toon" is from page 7 of Chapter 5 of TPB: TGN. "Holder's Gun Store", eh? I like it, I like it!

And you'll notice that this issue is coming up. The loud-pop and smoke from my computer last weekend was caused by a power supply that blew up. Yes, smoke. Scary. We got it fixed (no other damage to mother board or peripherals, thank goodness!). A big Thank You! goes out to T.K., S.C., C.B., B.P., D.B., and K.G. who jumped in and donated to help pay for that unexpected expense and continuing operations.

That donate link again:

Ken Holder


Letters to the Editor
from Derek Benner, James J Odle, Levi Russell, and Kent Van Cleave

The Libertarian Enterprise At Three Hundred
by L. Neil Smith
So here I am, snuggled deep in the warm, comfortable prairie dog burrow that a novel often becomes after you've been writing it for a while. I hear a noise. I look up for a moment. I stick my head into the clear, cold air of the Colorado High Plains, and what should I discover?
The Libertarian Enterprise, the modest little online broadsheet I started back in 1995, is about to unleash its three-hundredth issue on an innocent, unuspecting world. Three hundred! How could it have happened?

Bill of Rights Day
by Kathryn A. Graham
On Wednesday, December 15th, we celebrate Bill of Rights Day.
This should be the happiest of patriotic holidays! When our founders wrote and ratified our Constitution, many of our leaders and several of our original thirteen states were concerned that our new Constitution offered no special provisions to protect individual rights. A compromise was reached: those states most concerned about the issue actually voted to ratify our Constitution only on the condition that a Bill of Rights be drafted and ratified at the earliest opportunity.

Toward a 'practical, real-world, hard-nosed, get-your-hands-dirty' political education: Part 2
by James J Odle
There's a rather amusing story that involves one of the ancient Pharaohs and taxation. It goes something like this:
Seems there was this Pharaoh who was unhappy with the level of tribute he was exacting from his victims and when he attempted to increase the level of said tribute, he encountered — for once — a little stiff resistance.

What Is a Syrannite?
by William Stone, III
I'm a lifelong Star Trek fan. It was much easier to be a Trekkie (a politically correct term when I became one—I'm barely First Fandom) when I was a communist actor.
Star Trek portrays a small-c communist utopia in which humans have evolved beyond the need for material wealth. A wise, omnipotent central government sees to the needs of every individual. We are led to infer that even in a galactic government, the activities of every individual are closely monitored. There is no Federation citizen about whom the various crews of the franchise cannot obtain instantaneous, detailed information. Firearm ownership is tightly controlled. In almost every instance, only government operatives are allowed the right of self-defense. In 24th-century-era Star Trek, individuals' weapons are removed automatically by transporter before they can even materialize. Capitalism is portrayed as either evil or ridiculous, particularly as embodied by the Ferengi.

Hunting for Answers
by Lady Liberty
Every year, the residents of any number of states enjoy hunting seasons on various wild game. One of the most popular prey in North America is the white-tailed deer. Hunting is a sport enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children, the vast majority of whom take their hobby very seriously and who act with the responsibility necessary for success and safe enjoyment of their hunts. Although there are a few injuries and fatalities annually, the rates are quite low given the vast numbers of those who go hunting every year. There were just 93 fatalities in all of North America in 1998, a third of which were self-inflicted, according to Hunting Accident Statistics for Canada, the United States, and Mexico as compiled by the International Hunting Education Association. (For contrast, consider that an average of 37 skiers or snow boarders die annually in the United States, or that an average of 207 people per year die in ATV mishaps in America, neither sport of which involves "deadly weapons.")

300th Issue of TLE
by Ron Beatty
This week's edition of TLE is kind of special, for a couple of reasons. First, it it the 300th issue, which is a milestone any way you look at it. The other reason is more of a personal one. Just a year ago, I wrote my first article, not just for TLE, but my first article ever.

TSA—Bullies at the Airport
by Rep. Ron Paul, MD
If you traveled by air last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, you undoubtedly witnessed Transportation Security Administration agents conducting aggressive searches of some passengers. A new TSA policy begun in September calls for invasive and humiliating searches of random passengers; in some instances crude pat-downs have taken place in full public view. Some female travelers quite understandably have burst into tears upon being groped, and one can only imagine the lawsuits if TSA were a private company. But TSA is not private, TSA is a federal agency – and therefore totally unaccountable to the American people.

Supernatural Selection
by Jonathan David Morris
When I was a kid, we would play a game called "Telephone." Of course, I say "we" as if kids spontaneously sat down and played this game, when, in fact, that was never the case. It was pretty much always imposed upon us by camp counselors. What they'd do was, they'd line up a bunch of kids, side-by-side, and whisper a word or phrase into the first kid's ear. Then the first kid would whisper it to the second kid, etc., until it reached the kid all the way down at the other end. Then the last kid would say it out loud and it would barely resemble what the counselor had actually said. "What time is it?" became "What lime exhibit?" And so on. Then everyone would giggle and start the game over, repeating the process until one of the kids—often one with an older brother—turned the message into a string of curse words, at which point we'd get up, go to the field, and play kickball, never to speak of what happened again.

Save the Republic: An Open Letter to the Electoral College
by Lex Concord
Serving as an Elector is quite an honor. Being selected signifies that you are a trusted and respected member of your political party, and your community. You get to be a part of history, something you can tell your children and grandchildren about. You have a lot of power, too—the equivalent of over 200,000 regular voters. With that power comes an equivalent responsibility. You may have been led to believe that your responsibility is to faithfully represent the voters of your state, and to affirm their choice for President when you meet with your fellow Electors on December 13th. You couldn't be more wrong.

Cassandras, etc.
by Scott R. Griess
In the 23 May 2004 issue of TLE, Ron Beatty decried the "progress" that our nation is inexorably making toward authoritarianism, while the people reject the ideals of liberty in a desperate search for a sense of "security", and disregard the warnings of the Cassandras among us. He wrote of us being in the worse period of time since the war of Northern aggression (agreeing as a transplanted Yankee, who has made the South his home for 17 years...) and ended with a paraphrase from the quote from George Santayana: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"

An Incredible Movie Review
by (who else?) your kindly Kaptain
(a.k.a. Manuel Miles)
Yes, shipmates, this week's entry in The Kaptain's Log is an actual movie review. It's little wonder that you, my vast legions of devoted readers, nearly worship me. And that hint brings us to the film in question, "The Incredibles"...

NYC Must Come Clean on Foster Kids AIDS Scandal
by Wendy McElroy
Last week, the BBC aired a documentary entitled "Guinea Pig Kids."
It accused New York City's Administration for Child Services and drug companies, such as Glaxo SmithKline (GKS), of experimenting on HIV-positive foster children with untested and dangerous anti-AIDS drugs.

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