L. Neil Smith's
Number 336, September 11, 2005

"Freedom from Freedom Itself"

A Moment of Epiphany
by L. Neil Smith

Exclusive to TLE

The Associated Press headline read: "To the estimated 10,000 residents still believed to be holed up in this ruined city, the mayor had a blunt new warning: Get out now or risk being taken out by force."

The ruin, of course, is the late, great city of New Orleans, the mayor, some politico named Ray Nagin. And naturally, the Associated Press is only doing its job, the primary function of the American mass media being to convey government lies and threats (especially threats) to productive class herds that exist only to shut up, shell out, and comply.

Nagin—bending over for government agencies that were savagely stripping tens of thousands of New Orleans residents of their rights, their dignity, and their most important possessions, herding them into makeshift concentration camps under the SuperDome and elsewhere, and shipping thousands more out of the state to destinations only revealed at the last minute—now wanted everybody out of the storm-ravaged city.

At gunpoint.

For their own good.

We'll save your life even if we have to kill you, first.

From the beginning—four days late, as many another observer has pointed out—there was something foul-smelling about the "rescue" of the Crescent City under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, starting with heavily-armed and armored troops prowling the flooded streets, machineguns and grenade launchers ready, admitting refugees from the disaster into shelters only after they'd been relieved of any means of self-defense they happened to possess.

Even if it meant keeping the sick and elderly lined up outside in the wind and rain, shaking them down for guns and booze, as if the Bill of Rights had no Second Amendment and Prohibition had never been repealed.

Now the Imperial Storm Troopers, many of them fresh from breaking things and killing people in Afghanistan and Iraq, are going door to door, dragging folks out, searching their homes for—you guessed it—guns.

There are stories in circulation online that FEMA—never forget that FEMA is a wholly unconstitutional welfare-state construct—has cut telephone lines (including those of local firefighting and law enforcement) and is jamming radio signals in the city, in order to seize and maintain a monopoly on communication. I confess that I don't know whether this is true or not, but it's right out of the hostage "rescue" playbook. The innocent people of New Orleans are being treated just like criminals and terrorists by a runaway outlaw agency that fits the description of criminals and terrorists much better, itself.

Open war has been declared by the United States against the people of America. Why is it happening now? What is to be gained from it? The dead giveaway occurred when a company hired by local authorities to preserve water-damaged legal archives—including registries of deeds—was curtly turned away by heavily-armed federal goons whose masters apparently want no record to survive of who owned what before the flood.

There is a wonderful moment in the 1988 Bruce Willis movie Die Hard when the hero, John McClane, realizes that Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, leader of a group of mostly European criminals who have seized a Los Angeles skyscraper, has no political motive, but simply wants $400 million in bearer bonds from the building's vault. "You're not a terrorist," McClane tells Gruber, "you're just a common thief!"

The simple truth is that, while all individual behavior can be said to be about sex, all group behavior is fundamentally about food. All that government (the ultimate group) is about—all that it has ever been about, for thousands upon thousands of years—is forcing the productive class, from neolithic farmers to 21st century computer programmers, to feed it. No politics, no philosophy, no ideology—they're only generated to provide excuses—just everyday common thievery.

The Bush-Clinton-Bush Administration's long-range plan, I strongly suspect, goes something like this: first, totally evacuate the storm- and flood-ravaged city, by brute military force if necessary (which is why it's vitally important to disarm those who are likely to resist) claiming that it's unsafe for civilians to stay any longer, and in their own best interest to move out. The actual purpose is to get rid of every potential "squatter", protestor, or witness to what comes next.

Second, exercise a wholly unconstitutional power recently bestowed on government at every level by a Supreme Court so putrescently corrupt it shines in the dark, to appropriate private property from those it belongs to, and put it to whatever use the government finds most lucrative. In this case, the process will probably begin with dynamiting every structure within the city, regardless of its previous legal ownership, its beauty, or its historic importance, and levelling it.

Third, employ gigantic dredges in the Mississippi, and dump trucks from inland, to raise the former city site as high above sea level as possible.

Finally, sell—or even better, give—the "improved" site to corporate friends of the Bush Administration, corporate friends like Halliburton, who, at taxpayers' expense, will establish a new port city on the delta, one that's unencumbered by thousands of annoying private property owners, a city to which access can be ruthlessly controlled, a city where, under Bushevik pseudolaw, every individual can be made subject to search upon entry, upon exit, and at every point in between, a city in which every manner of illegal and immoral corporate activity will be free from observation by the public and the media.

Unless they're "embedded"—as telling a term as has ever been coined.

"Newer Orleans" thus becomes a prison city-state, fascist Utopia, the most important port in the New World Order, the Ostia of American Empire.

But there's a big problem for these would-be Utopians. The seizure of New Orleans represents, at best, a last gasp of central command, the deadly dangerous flailing tail of a giant reptile too stupid for the rest of its body to realize that its head has been dead for half a century.

We are living, you see, in an era historians will someday call the Twilight of Authority, not just the social establishment of authority, but the very concept of authority itself. Not a single institution in our culture is immune to this disintegration, not the Presidency, not the legislatures, not the courts, and certainly not the police, nor private institutions like the Church, mass media, the National Rifle Association, the Boy Scouts, even the ACLU. Each has been subject over the past few decades, to outrageous public scandals and to structural failures that are revealing, for all that they may have gotten less publicity.

Everywhere we find that all these years, we've been following the suggestions and dictates of hapless idiots, moral cripples, lunatics, and criminals unfit to direct their own miserable lives, let alone ours.

To the majority of individuals, concerned with living their lives, doing their jobs, raising their kids, this process, the collapse of authority, is completely transparent. They are, for the most part, unaware of it. Those who wield authority, however—who've sacrificed everything and everybody in their lives to do so—are painfully aware of what's going on. They are determined to stop it at any price, especially if they can arrange for that price to be paid by somebody else.

Like you, me, the Afghan and Iraqi people, and the people of New Orleans.

It may occur to the intelligent reader to wonder how I know all of this stuff. Where do I get my information? Do I have a crystal ball? Do I use Tarot cards or the I Ching? Or did I simply pull it out of some portion of my anatomy that we'll pretend that I'm too polite to mention?

Well, to begin with, I'm relatively old. I've been around a while, kept my eyes open, and I've seen—and smelled—how things really work. I'm conversant enough with history that readers often ask me if I'm an historian. Two hundred twenty-nine years have passed since Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations and western civilization is still infested with the exactly same brand of mercantilism—disguised as private capitalism—that the old boy bitterly complained about back then.

In that sense, the American Revolution was lost almost before it began.

Apparently, my methods work. In my first novel, I predicted home PCs, wall-sized video screens, laptops, and the Internet. In my second, when laughing "experts" claimed it was only wishful thinking, I predicted the collapse of the Soviet Empire a decade before it happened.

In 1976, in what was later estimated to be a 500-year event, the steep-sided Big Thompson River canyon, west of Loveland, Colorado, filled by an unusual stationary thunderstorm, ended in a flood that washed human bodies downriver as far as Greeley, some thirty miles out on the prairie. The canyon had hardly drained and dried before the government was busy stealing millions of dollars of real estate on the absurd grounds that it was too dangerous for people to live and work there.

By that reasoning, government should seize property anywhere on Earth subject to meteor strikes—which means anywhere on Earth. The State has an insatiable hankering for land. There is even a movement—Agenda 21, encysted in the U.N.—to abolish private property altogether. Although you can bet good money that doesn't include corporations.

There's one way—only one way as far as I can see—to put a stop to all this, but it will require uncommon grit, determination, and hard work. For a while, before the idea spreads widely, it'll even be a little dangerous, although for that same while, its advocates will probably be dismissed as crackpots—which is a good thing, for them.

The idea is simply this: first, employ our undisputed skills at communication (almost the only advantage of any kind that libertarians uniquely possess) to persuade as many individuals as possible not to vote for a single politician already in office. They must vote for no incumbent.

Second, they must also communicate with politicians—not by writing them submissive little letters begging them to legalize freedom—that they'll all be out of a job, and new politicians inserted in their places, unless some extremely big changes are made immediately.

The specific changes are open to discussion, but they must include:

  • Ending the military occupation of New Orleans;

  • Restoring the posse comitatus in full;

  • Abolishing FEMA;

  • Ending the so-called war on terrorism;

  • Repealing the so-called Patriot Act;

  • Abolishing the Department of Homeland Security;

  • Withdrawing from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world;

  • Ending the war on drugs;

  • Abolishing any agency not specifically authorized by the Constitution.

  • Certainly there's more, but that will do for now.

Third, they must stay on-mission, on-message, and on-course no matter what. There will always be nitpickers in and out of the movement who will whine and sneer and deliberately misunderstand what we're trying to accomplish. There will always be libertarians who feel they're too good for political action and refuse to dirty their little hands.

Don't waste time arguing. Ignore them.

There'll be so-called fellow travellers whimpering that we're not addressing abortion or closing the borders. There'll be potential allies simpering that we're not environmentally correct or against guns.

Ignore them, too.

Write, write, write. Write for libertarian publications, write for conservative publications, write for liberal publications. Write letters to the editor of every publication you see. Hold meetings, in your home and elsewhere, to organize the Vote for No Incumbent campaign.

Start now, keep us posted on your results, and never, ever give up until we have a free country once again. That's how slavery really ended in this country, and how my generation put a stop to the war in Vietnam.

Do we still have it in us?

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith is the author of 24 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (w/Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" www.lneilsmith.org. Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is looking for a literary home.

Neil is presently working on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on Roswell, Texas, with Rex F. "Baloo" May. A decensored and electronically published version of his 1984 novel, Tom Paine Maru is available online at http://payloadz.com/go/sip?id=137991. The stunning 185-page full-color graphic novel version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press www.bigheadpress.com has just won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, at www.Amazon.com, or at billofrightsPress.com.

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