L. Neil Smith's
Number 312, March 27, 2005

"The sooner the better"

[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 L. Neil Smith

Letter from Derek Benner

Letter from Jim Davidson

Another Letter from Jim Davidson

I've been commissioned to write a short story on "the future of Washington, D.C." for an anthology to be published this spring, but I have to finish it in the next couple of days. I've decided to place it in the Pallas / Ares / Ceres / Beautiful Dreamer universe and set it twelve years after the events in Ceres. In the story, 25-year-old Llyra Ngu Trask and her husband (both of them former Olympic champions) and their small children visit the ghost town/museum/amusement park that the East American capital has become by 2142. They've been touring Earth (having arrived via a space elevator built by Llyra's father Adam) for a last time, preparatory to heading out for the stars, and a solar system discovered by her great grandfather Emerosn, aboard the Colony Fund vessel Prometheus.

L. Neil Smith

Lady Liberty,

I find your take upon the Terry Schiavo case interesting. In it, you state:

"Across the country in Florida, courtroom wranglings continue in the matter of Terri Schindler Schiavo. The woman, who was brain damaged due to a temporary heart stoppage some years ago, is aware of and interested in her surroundings according to her parents. Her husband, on the other hand, says she's already gone and he's fighting to remove a feeding so his wife can finish dying. Both arguments represent an extreme, but the husband's position isn't quite what one might suppose. Her parents love her unconditionally and will certainly fight to save her life unconditionally. Her husband, on the other hand, claims his wife wouldn't want to live via artificial means. The fact that he's lived with another woman for years and has two children by her, and that he plans to marry that woman just as soon as he's widowed, apparently don't enter in to the repeated rulings that the husband has the final say."

As well as:

"The matter of Terri Schindler Schiavo is likely both more complicated and much simpler than reports would have us all believe. The issue is further clouded by the fact that each and every one of us have our own opinions and desires where such circumstances are concerned. The one thing I do believe definitive in the case is that most media reports reference the case as one to determine the "right to die." In reality, it's one that will determine the right to live. Michael Schiavo insists his wife wouldn't want to live via artificial means, but the only "artificial" means being used to support her is a feeding tube.

Forget that most definitions of "artificial" means reference things like respirators, and that a feeding tube is, in many ways, comparable to kidney dialysis. (We don't kill the people who need that, do we?) Forget that Michael Schiavo has more than a few selfish reasons he'd like his wife to be dead. All we need to note is the fact that Terri was a practicing Catholic, and that Catholics consider the removal of any life support, no matter how heroic, to be a sin. Common sense would provide that that alone would be more than adequate to show Terri's own wishes in the matter! (Of course, the ACLU has jumped in at this point to wonder why religion is involved at all, showing an utter disregard for common sense and for freedom of worship in one fell swoop.)"

For one thing, she has been tested by numerous physicians. The conclusion is overwhelmingly the same. She is persistently vegetative and she isn't going to wake up. And lest you claim that these exams are not recent and were probably performed by a biased set of physicians selected by the husband, please note that the last examination, ordered by a judge in, IIRC, 2003, was by a group of physicians expert in the area and their recommendation was that she should have the feeding tube removed because she wasn't ever going to get better.

Furthermore, we have all heard of and read about 'practicing' Catholics who still go out to commit crimes, including murder, theft, rape and, in the case of so many Catholic Priests, child molestation. And, yes, there are plenty of Catholics who commit the 'ultimate' sin of committing suicide. Plus you must consider that many people, when faced with enduring the extreme horror of being trapped in a non-functioning body, change their minds and choose to end it, despite having been fervent about surviving at all costs earlier in their lives. So please remember to present those facts for consideration alongside those you so adroitly cherry-picked.

What makes this a sad case is that her body is alive while that which makes her uniquely Terry Schiavo is missing. There isn't any Terry Schiavo, just a meat shell. It may be time to let the shell die.

Derek Benner

Re: "What National Debt?", by Abe Clark

Dear Editor,

Abe Clark's proposal to repudiate the national debt is unconstitutional, but fun. The fourth paragraph of what is widely called the "Fourteenth Amendment" says that the validity of the public debt of the United States shall never be questioned. This amendment, if it is a validly ratified amendment, modifies even those paragraphs of the constitution isolating the House and Senate members from being questioned about their floor comments.

I mention the possibility that the 14th is not validly ratified because of a widely circulated history of its ratification here in Texas. You see, the 14th not only says that the validity of the debt of the USA shall never be questioned, but it also says that the debts of the Confederacy shall never be paid. Now, that may seem rather incidental today, but in 1868 when the 14th was busy getting itself ratified, it was significant stuff.

The carpetbaggers and scalawags in the Texas legislature of 1868 organized their own state constitution (never ratified by the people of Texas because, after all, it was under military occupation at the time). Many of them had bought up huge quantities of Confederate notes and bonds, in the expectation that the several states would tax the people to pay off these obligations. So, naturally, when the 14th came at them, they were rather reluctant.

A measure of their reluctance is what happened next. The military governor of Texas called on the legislature to ratify the amendment. They refused. He then called the legislature out of session. They went out on the Capitol grounds. There, ten thousand Union troops performed bayonet drills for two hours. Then the legislature went back inside and, to no one's surprise, ratified the amendment.

It was this sort of behavior, as well as the depredations of Union troops throughout the South in many other years, raping, pillaging, looting, extorting, intimidating, stealing, and murdering that caused the electoral losses of radical Republicans in subsequent years. By 1872, it was clear there would be a majority of Democrats in Congress, so Nathan Bedford Forrest disbanded his partisans. By 1878, the passage of the Posse Commitatus Act to prevent federal troops from deploying in states without the permission of their legislatures or governors was assured.

Of course, all that's history, now. The Posse Commitatus is a dead letter, with its violation in the 1993 massacre at Mt. Carmel. The Texas legislature has no balls to take the Fedgov to task over the issue.

It would be interesting to see the USA repudiate its debt, like some banana republics have done. It would not, however, be healthy for the nation. I don't mind. I'm not a fan of the nation-state. Let it collapse, the sooner the better.


Jim Davidson

Dear Editor:

I've $100 to contribute to the The Libertarian Enterprise and I'd like to challenge the other readers of this fine publication to match my contribution. I suspect that there are as many as a thousand readers of The Libertarian Enterprise every month, in which case we should be able to raise $50,000 (assuming half of the readers do nothing) in one go.

[That donation link again is http://www.ncc-1776.org/donate.html

As well, I suggest that you send me a copy of the business plan of the magazine. It is likely that the plan needs some formal revision, given the weekly announcements of difficulties with finances. It is enough, for me, that we create a culture of liberty to supplant the treasonous culture of theft and depravity around us. But, it would be better if we could do so for both fun and profit.

Given the quality of the written materials in this publication, it is something of a travesty that it has only seen some 344,000 page views since 9 July 1996. As one of the oldest and clearly one of the best liberty-oriented publications on the web, it should be a frequent site visited by the 30,000 or so Libertarian Party members, or the hundred thousand or so committed libertarians in the country. If it were, then that "hit" counter would be reading a number in the millions.

Clearly, something is wrong.


Jim Davidson

[Thanks for the contribution, Jim. TLE doesn't actually have a business plan. In fact, is TLE a business? Perhaps we are. So far we're doing it for fun. Profit ... not around here.

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