L. Neil Smith's
Number 368, May 21, 2006

"Vote For No Incumbent"

Letters to the Editor

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[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 Stephen Carville

Letter from Steve Reed

Letter from Jim Davidson

Re: "Letter from from Mitch Wayne"

The commercial version of PGP does (or at least did) have a "backdoor." It is called the Additional Decryption Key (ADK) and is an option that the software administrator can impose on users if desired. It is available so that businesses will always be able to decrypt files created by on the company systems. This is a backdoor in the sense that an administrator who turns it on will be able to decrypt any files encrypted on his systems. It is not a backdoor in the the usual Conspiracy Theory (non)sense.

Nevertheless, a lot of libertarians seem to feel the need to believe in Conspiracy Theories so here's one for those so inclined: The government started the rumors of backdoors in PGP because, in fact, they don't know how to break the encryption. PGP has a learning curve and the rumors are intended to convince people not to bother. Personally, I don't buy that theory either, but I'm not prone to credit government agents with much in the way of creative intelligence.

Stephen Carville

Re: "The Big Six-OhMyGod!", by L. Neil Smith

Neil Smith, sixty, and that's making him "old"? Pish-tosh. With your novels, you're forever young, or at least reminding us to set up a freedom-loving Confederacy—inside and outside our heads—where we all can be.

It can't be 25 years since I last saw you, can it? It was LP/10 in Denver, "Here to Stay," outside the banquet room, when you signed my copy of Their Majesties' Bucketeers. Inside, Bill Evers was telling them that I couldn't pick up the award for planning the Best Clark Campaign Campus Appearance because I "couldn't afford the banquet." (Nice one, Bill . . . and which FedGov branch is paying for your groceries over in Iraq these days, sad to say? rueful smile)

A lot of political and personal water has gone through the mill wheels since, methinks. Take your daughter's implicit advice, Neil, and swim in it—or take advantage of global cooling, and skate on it. You've made it easier to do so for many of the rest of us. Best wishes!

Steve Reed, Los Angeles
Former editor and publisher, Nomos magazine (R.I.P.)
Signatory, if I ever find the danged thing and mail it to you with a Jefferson $2 bill

Dear Editor,

Mr. Korwin writes:

> 1. The First Amendment is a limit on Congress.

Indeed it is. One would be delighted to see Congress restricting its actions within such limits, of course. I'm particularly mindful of Congress sending an army to oppose religious expression in the form of polygamy by Mormons in 1858, the barbecue of Branch Davidians in 1993, and the current hypocrisy about a polygamist sect of Mormons in Texas, Arizona, and British Columbia. The establishment of "free speech zones" near major political party conventions and the ejection of two women (on opposites sides of the Iraq war controversy) from the Capitol during the State of the Union indicate that the First Amendment is not only anathema to Mr. Korwin, but also to the government he loves.

(I note with amusement that the Second Amendment is written as a restriction on everyone not to infringe the right to keep and bear arms, even those of us who are not party to the constitution which attempts to restrict our behavior. Sadly, it, too, is widely ignored, as witness Oklahoma nationalist guardsmen seizing guns in door to door raids in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Korwin: Your government went door to door to seize guns. Isn't that your line in the sand, behind you?)

> It is not a limit on public sentiment.

The First Amendment expresses a set of basically sensible ideas that people should be free to express themselves as they please, assemble together in peaceful groups, publish whatever ideas are in their heads, suffer no obligation to any state-established religion and have complete freedom of conscience in religious expression. Mr. Korwin is welcome to disagree with these ideas in his own free expression. Why anyone should listen to his ideas about restricting free expression in others is quite beyond me.

> And it's not the language so much as the change of
> name and new lyrics (have you seen them?)

I've read the lyrics and an English translation of them. Idioms rarely translate perfectly, especially when one is re-translating a translation, but the authors' chosen ideals seem to have come through pretty well. The idea of liberty is mentioned repeatedly. Is the home of the free only a home for English speakers? A large number of Spanish- and French-speaking people fought against the British in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. In Texas, we still honor the Spanish-speaking patriots who fought the Texas Revolution against the dictator Santa Anna. Visit the San Jacinto Monument and you can read their names.

I wonder what part of "The time has come to break the chains" Mr. Korwin finds repugnant. Then again, why is he so upset about a Spanish language version of the "Star Spangled Banner" when his own government paid to have it translated it into Spanish in 1919?

See: http://usinfo.state.gov/esp/home/topics/us_society_values/national_symbols/anthem_spanish.html

> and the goals of those behind the effort
> that's caused so much legitimate ire.

As I understand it, those behind the effort include Wyclef Jean, hip-hop star Pitbull, Carlos Ponce and Olga Tanon, along with a British music producer named Adam Kidron. Their nefarious goal seems to be to sell music albums and make money.

> 2. A website is not a magazine.

The Libertarian Enterprise is a fine magazine with many excellent writers, very fine and impressively dedicated editors, and a fascinating letters column. It has paid ads and a great many contributors. It looks like a magazine, it quacks like a magazine, I call it a magazine.

The term "magazine" refers to a place where powder and ammo are stored. In that sense, too, TLE is a fine storehouse of much weaponry in our cultural war for individual liberty, free enterprise, and prosperity.

> 3. Racism: A false charge of devastating power
> that can be used against an adversary when
> no legitimate arguments exist.

The charge seems, to me, consistent with Mr. Korwin's ideas. Still.

> Muslims aren't the problem, the jihad they're
> running is.

But, not all muslims are running a jihad. Indeed, the muslim communities within the USA have repudiated the jihadists, especially bin Laden and the mad Mullah. But, Mr. Korwin's ideology does not seem to be prepared to draw any distinction between muslims of the libertarian mind-set such as the Murabitun and muslims of largely illiterate sects promoting violence in service to some maniac dictator.

It would be unfair of me to criticize Republicans as religious zealots running a jihad against prosperity, free markets, and peace for the sake of their dictator Bush, when it is clear that Ron Paul, among other Republicans, doesn't stand for those things. I am always happy to draw distinctions down to the level of the individual.

No individual is responsible for what other individuals do. No muslim in Houston is responsible for flying airplanes into buildings in New York City. It is an ignorant and asinine thing to bomb Baghdad to take revenge for such events, when no one in Baghdad was responsible for those events.

As long as Mr. Korwin refers to muslims as a collective, it is my duty as a rational man to suspect him of religious intolerance. Given the vast numbers of men, women, and children slaughtered in the 20th Century for the sake of religious intolerance (Christian Armenians in Turkey, Jews in Germany, non-atheists in Russia and China, etc.) and the long history of violence in Europe in the name of religious controversy in previous centuries, I do wonder why your fine magazine is given to publishing such foolishness.

> Mexicans aren't the problem, gross theft of services
> is.

Am I to understand that all Mexicans are guilty of theft of services? Or just illegal immigrants? Are illegals from Guatemala and El Salvador excluded?

It is curious to me, because most of the illegal aliens that I've met are interested in jobs, work very hard, stay as far away from the government as they can, register for nothing, file for nothing, get nothing from the government except abuse, send money home to their families, and want nothing more than to return to their homes and families as soon as they can afford to do so. But, I don't know all illegal aliens any more than Mr. Korwin does.

I will say that the most grotesque theft of services takes place when the government, pretending to act on behalf of a majority, steals the wealth and income from tens of millions of Americans for the purpose of redistributing that wealth to others who have not earned it—including fat, lazy, ignorant bureau-rats, early retirees, and other indigent folks. For my own part, I am quite generous with charitable giving, but I am not in agreement with the government taxing my gasoline, my purchases, my property (such as it is) and income.

Evidently, Mr. Korwin would rather object to having a few million illegal aliens join the workforce to contribute to payroll taxes they'll never see (as no one in my generation or younger ever will, either) instead of objecting to the vicious, fascist, authoritarian, and socialist government that the Republican and Democrat Parties have built. No tax protestor he?

The irony is that the people he thinks are attracted to the USA by giveaway programs had nothing to do with creating Socialist Insecurity, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, or other welfare programs like mandatory "free" public indoctrination by poorly trained and over-paid teachers. Illegal aliens didn't vote for any of those programs. Several varieties of vicious fascist socialists thought up those programs and voted for them.

> Your ad hominem attack lacks substance,

It is curious that my attack on racially motivated hate speech is viewed as an attack on Mr. Korwin. It may be that he closely identifies with racism, or it may be that he doesn't recognize the distinction between attacking bad ideas and attacking the purveyors of bad ideas. I stand by my criticism of his ideas.

> but that is typical of people who cannot see
> the truth.

Now, of course, Mr. Korwin has resorted himself to an ad hominem attack on me as someone who, in his view, cannot see the truth. Which attack, of course, lacks substance and is typical of Mr. Korwin.

Although you, in your editorial wisdom, chose not to include Mr. Korwin's .sig text, I found this bit to be quite amusing:

> If you're reading this in English, thank a veteran.

I am, of course, reminded of a certain number of Navajo veterans whose ability to speak a language other than English was instrumental in winning the war in the Pacific. I'm reminded of an endless series of other veterans of many wars who were able to read, write, and speak Spanish, German, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Pushto, and Russian and thereby made those wars shorter.

However, it is, in my view, an error to suppose that my freedom is owed to any veteran. Most veterans were duped into fighting stupid wars for the sake of powerful dictators, mostly far from hearth and home, and mostly for purposes other than securing the blessings of liberty. War is the health of the state, not of the individual.

My own freedom is mine. I chose to be free. I made myself free. I defend my freedom. I use my freedom in self-expression, in wealth acquisition, and in my daily life. The only one to whom I owe my heartfelt thanks is God.


Jim Davidson

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