L. Neil Smith's
Number 340, October 9, 2005

 Tenth Anniversary Edition, Part 2 

Anybody But George?
Anybody But Hillary?

by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

At this writing, the 2008 election is only 25 months away. America is getting ready again to play the deadliest game of Ping-Pong in the universe.

This horrifying process was first described to me (although I'd noticed it myself already) by libertarian lecturer/philosopher Robert LeFevre. Every time we elect somebody new, Bob explained—usually because we're fed up with the Old Regime screwing up our lives and finding ways to limit our freedom—the New Regime soon finds ways of its own (because it had them in mind all along) to do exactly the same stuff.

At the same time, it never undoes whatever its predecessor did to us.

Once we've had enough of them, we turn to somebody from the Old Regime to save us, but not only do we end up stuck with what was done to us the first two times around, we now have to spend all our time and energy fighting off even bigger and "better" enchroachments on our lives and freedom, because the Old Regime thinks it has some kind of mandate.

Meet the new boss, as Pete Townshend warned us, same as the old boss.

I've described the American political process myself as a system of ratchets, cranking ever tighter around our necks. The "pawl"—the little part that flips up readily enough when the noose is tightening, but drops into place and blocks any possible reversal—is the false idea we have that one half of the system is better or worse than the other.

There is a lingering notion among many libertarians, for example, arising, I think, from the movement's origin and early history, that Republicans are somehow better—have more regard for personal and economic freedom—than Democrats. Not even the blatant excesses and insanities of the past five years seem to be enough to convince them otherwise.

Such individuals appear to come in three categories:

The first are falsely self-proclaimed libertarians, mostly within the Libertarian Party structure, who have convinced themselves that George Bush's war in the middle east—and the destruction of the Bill of Rights it's being used as an excuse to carry out—is a good idea;

Organized Objectivists—pardon me, students of Objectivism—who are so enamored of the Israeli Totalitarian State they'll gladly suffer any violation of their own established principles to support it;

And libertarians who think they're being clever by embedding themselves within the Republican Party in the pathetically foolish belief that they can somehow steer the GOP, instead of being steered, themselves, further and further away from everything it means to be libertarian.

These are all known entities,of course, which real libertarians have learned to deal with or ignore. The new danger is libertarians who, because of their utter loathing for George Bush, are beginning to invest their hopes in Democrats and others on the Left who happen to share that loathing with them for the moment, and basically nothing else.

This is as big a mistake as allying ourselves with Republicans. To demonstrate that, I have composed a list of questions libertarians ought to be asking of the Left before they leap into unholy political matrimony. Me, I'm addressing these questions to the Woman with One Eyebrow herself, but you should try them out on any Democrat that you know.

Who knows—the treachery and hypocrisy they reveal may even turn a few of them, with genuine concerns about this war and the police state it has spawned, toward our side of the (Zero Initiation of) Force. But remember, any excuses they make—or that you feel inclined to make for them—put you in the same category as the apologists for Republicans.

Okay, here we go:

  1. Senator Clinton, if you're elected President of the United States, Will you end the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and withdraw our troops from the more than 160 nations where they're currently stationed?

  2. Will you repeal, nullify, or otherwise dispose of the vile Patriot Act and abolish the Orwellian-sounding Department of Homeland Security?

  3. Will you put an end to the fascistic "no-fly" list, open it to public scrutiny, ensure its victims are properly compensated and those who have enforced it are punished, and generally restore freedom to transportation?

  4. Will you take immediate and effective action to demilitarize the police, remove the military presence from civilian life, enforce the much-abused Posse Comitatus, and put an end to the oppressive police state atmosphere that has settled over America like blanket of killer smog?

  5. Will you shut down illegal concentrations camps like Guantanamo, and put a permanent and total end to the torture being practiced there?

  6. Will you effectively prosecute George Bush, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, and their many cronies and co-conspirators, for their crimes against the American people, the people of the world, and the Bill of Rights?

  7. Will you continue the suicidal policies of the last 60 years, or do what actually needs to be done to eliminate the threat of terrorism—principally, remove our interference in the lives and business of others?

The first time I saw Hillary Clinton, I remarked to my wife, "That woman has the smell of the deathcamps on her." Bitter experience leads me to expect that the answers to all of my questions will be "No", which brings to another question, one that I address to the people of America:

Why has it always seemed to come down to a choice for Americans—a false choice, at that—between Democratic socialism and Republican fascism?

Or Democratic fascism and Republican socialism?

Especially when there's so little effective difference between the two?

Especially when a genuine choice—between unencumbered liberty and every variety of oppression, right, left, and center—is never offered?

Who benefits from that?

It certainly isn't America.

It certainly isn't us.


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