Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 406, February 18, 2007

"Simply the best libertarian novel to come
along in a quarter of a century or so."


Dispatch from the Rotting Heart of the American Mid-West
by Kevin Tulppo

Special to The Libertarian Enterprirse

Never mistake endurance for hospitality.—Anonymous

"This is like being in Hell."

I clearly remember saying that at around midnight a few nights before Halloween. The bar was jammed with karaoke participants and drunks commiserating the Detroit Tigers' World Series demise.

I'm not sure how loud I said it, though. I was willfully steeping myself in scotch while stubbornly rebuffing the unsubtle advances of the garish sea hag that had taken position on the stool to my right. Truth be known, I half-hoped that she had heard it.

She claimed to have been a runway model in Germany in the 1980s, which was meant to entice me but instead conjured up horrible mental images of a skeletal, angular girl with no muscle tone, skin stretched taut over jutting hip-bones and xylophone ribs, eyes vacant with casual nihilism and narcotics, and a mouth like a bloody hatchet wound. These images reminded me of the grotesque female caricatures from Pink Floyd: The Wall. Or maybe Sandra Bernhardt.

That awful mouth was still there, all these years later, scowling at the world amidst encroaching jowls and the skeleton had been festooned, apparently, with pizza dough, a Billy Idol haircut, and a skimpy Victoria's Secret dress.

It's not as if I'm Most Eligible Bachelor material, mind you; I don't have the temperament, looks, or money for that kind of gig. No—I was merely The New Guy, fresh meat in a dying industrial town. And, as I learned a few days later, she'd long since scared off all of the locals.

In retrospect, she may not have even been quite that horrific; I was drunk, after all, and I tend to wax apocalyptic when remembering such situations. It was her persistence, however, that really got on my nerves. Despite all the negative vibes I was consciously emitting she just wouldn't leave it alone.

Such persistence had already been on my mind quite a bit lately, due largely to the recent mid-term elections. My nerves were frayed and I wanted to strangle anyone that took to yapping about "tolerance" and the "right to free expression." (It's important to note here that the First Amendment applies exclusively to Congress; a private individual telling another to shut the fuck up is not an infringement of First Amendment rights.) 2006 was a political year and I was sick of the notion that we were to sit still and listen to all of the frantic and inane gibberish that anyone with delusions of "leadership qualities" cared to lay on us.

Here are a few recent examples of persistent nonsense:

Democrats will end the war in Iraq. This must be why Rep. Charles Rangle (a Democrat) is again hysterically flogging the old nag of the military draft. So much for anti-war sentiment. Who knows? Maybe in a couple of years we'll be duking it out in North Korea, which will help us forget about Iran, which helped us forget about Iraq, which helped us forget about Afghanistan, etc.

Democrats are less corrupt than Republicans. Complete bullshit. There is no shortage of grifters, thieves, liars, pederasts, whore mongers or warmongers on either side. The Democrats just managed to get their particular brand of theft, graft, extortion and imperialism institutionalized about seventy years ago. Can you say "New Deal?"

Republicans want to preserve traditional American freedoms. Yep. That's why we have agencies like Homeland Security, TSA, DEA, IRS, NSA, CIA, FEMA, and BATFE. These agencies are very good at drumming up highly lucrative crises. The fears generated by these phony crises are the state's bread and butter.

Democrats want to preserve traditional American freedoms. See above. While you're at it, add bans on smoking, drinking, eating french fries, reason, free thought, and individuality.

The sanctity of "traditional marriage." Look up divorce lawyers in your local Yellow Pages.

The government will make America a better place. Just like it did for Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Detroit, New Orleans, etc.

The sad truth is that our choices (except for those lucky bastards in Texas that got to vote for Kinky Friedman) generally boiled down to either European-style socialists (Democrats) or Western merchantilist socialists (Republicans). The former promised "better" government, meaning more government, and the latter promised "smaller" government, meaning more government. What we got was a more intrusive government that has pledged to take advantage of our recent loss of habeas corpus with the utmost care and restraint. Not to mention lock down the entire country like Oz on a bad day, monitor our communication habits, ensure that there's a crucifix over every TV, and bomb swarthy foreigners back to the Pleistocene for any excuse that they can dream up.

Let's not forget the six years of groundwork that the Bush administration has laid regarding the use of pithy little post-it notes as a way to circumvent law. If you think that the next Democrat president won't stand on precedent and avail himself of the same shenanigans, you're fucking high.

Make no mistake, boys and girls—these people are not your friends. No, not one. When you look back with fond remembrance at Al Franken's embarrassing Old White Guy victory dance on The Colbert Report, keep in mind that the slick-talking yahoos that you voted for are there to maintain the status quo at your expense. The American vox populi, whose record is somewhat less than stellar, have rejected government paternalism in favor of government maternalism. The vast majority of the things that you do as a matter of course and habit will still be wrong—the only difference is that it will be sociology professors instead of fundamentalist preachers that define Right and Wrong for you.

So what does any of this have to do with being mercilessly accosted by a frightening, forty-something divorcee on a Friday night? I don't know—maybe nothing. Maybe everything. If you like the idea of bureaucrats and cops running around, telling you how to do your thing, then this was probably just a waste of your time. But if you, like me, take a dim view of having shit that you don't want persistently forced upon you, the connection should be pretty clear.


The next weekend I was in the same bar, quietly sipping a glass of scotch and decompressing from work, when the sea hag stepped up behind me and started getting grabby.

"What about last Friday makes you think that I'm the least bit interested in anything you have to offer?" I asked her. Not surprisingly, she stomped off in a huff and, for a little while, I wondered if I had been a bit too harsh. Think what you will, but it did put an end to an annoying situation and, to be honest, I'd rather be thought an asshole than a pushover. I just wish it were that easy with the functionaries, lackeys, and petty tyrants that The People keep electing to decide how I'm supposed to live.

Indeed—what a world it would be if a simple "piss off" actually worked on bureaucrats.

First published at Kevin's 'Blog MTFO. Submitted by the author.


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