Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 416, May 6, 2007

"But why assume that. . .?"


True Democracy
or, Let's Kill Frank & Steal His Shit

by Victor Milan

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
First published in The Libertarian Enterprise issue 8, May, 1996.

True conservatives—honest to George III reactionaries, those who want to bring back the monarchy, rather than welfare/warfare socialist geeks like George Will and Bob Dole—claim that the mob will always vote itself bread and circuses. Not even conservatives are wrong all the time: this contention is proving out, whether in Europe, where freedom's brief tea-party is drowning in a protect-and-subsidize flood-tide; in the once-and-future Evil Empire, where Bob Yeltsin can only avoid defeat by the Communists by promising a return to government handouts on a scale the shithouse economy which was the Soviets' legacy to the Russian people cannot conceivably provide; and of course here in the US of A, where the battle cry for every generation since 1932 has been, "cut my taxes, but not my benefits!"

So we, as libertarians, must perceive that democracy sucks, although few of us dare publicly to utter such heresy. But it's time to dare even more: to acknowledge political action is initiation of force. Which means it's a violent crime.

Freedom of speech is a right; it's not conditional, or it's a sham, i.e., what we have now. People can advocate anything—human sacrifice, child molestation, socialized medicine—and if our right to speak is to mean anything, we have to let them do it. But once they start trying to toss babies into statues of Moloch or drag our kids into the bushes, we recognize our right to shoot them.

So why is the third course—tossing our right of choice to Moloch, dragging our health care into the bushes—sacrosanct? Why hold any form of political action—as opposed to speech—unconditionally protected? Don't we recognize that my saying I'm going to kill you and actually going for my gun are two altogether different phenomena?

Let's say that instead of reaching for Mr. 9mm, I propose a law: let's kill you and split up your wealth. You're a Baha'i in Iran, a Jew in Poland, a Branch Davidian in Waco: you have no rights which mainstream citizens need respect. As long as 51% of the citizenry concur, it's all right to waste you and steal your shit. That's democracy.

Sound a bit extreme? Watch the news or 60 Minutes sometime—really watch, don't just sit there letting them pour crap through your eyes into your cranium. How does our government expand its power? It gets its media toadies to demonize some minority—gun-owners, "cultists," hell, even the tobacco companies it heavily subsidizes—so the public will agree that their rights can be violated with impunity.

Take it to another level: Congress has lately made a lot of noise about outlawing certain videogames for "objectionable" content. Reality bite: forget all that static they gave you about participatory democracy in your civics classes, or citizenship classes, or whatever they call them now. When a law is passed against something, that means if you do it, they stop you by force. That is, if your kid has the wrong cart in his Sega, the cops get to kick down your door and shoot him. That's what passing a law against something means.

Now bring it on home: if your mayor and city council are like ours, they're a fascist wad of graft-suckers, ninnies, and imbeciles [the Republican shibboleth of "returning power to the local level"—there's a comforting thought]. Say they pass a law that says you, in person, suck, and the police will kick down your door, kill you, and steal your shit. Isn't that aggression? Does it become OK if they say they're doing it because you're a head-shop owner?

It's not just the clock-punchers in their black facemasks and body armor who are the violent criminals. As Fuehrer, Hitler never lifted a finger; Heinrich Himmler never saw a dead body until a trip to Auschwitz in 1941, at which point he puked his guts up. Those who give the orders are culpable. Those who passed—those who proposed—the law to violate your rights are likewise culpable. So how far does the chain of guilt extend? When in our little drama of democracy does someone become a violent criminal?

When they stop talking and start acting—like any other crime. When I propose a law to waste you and steal your shit, the only difference between that and my actually grabbing a shotgun and doing it myself is cowardice, laziness, or both. When political action begins, a crime is taking place.

It's a commonplace, and true regardless, that rape is not a crime of sex, it's a crime of power—a reaction to a sense of powerlessness, which really is the root of all evil. Rape is about the imposition of one's will by force, the assertion of power by forcefully invading another human being. So are politics. Politics are rape.

It's not just a violation of our rights when someone seeks to deprive us of our means of self-defense or tell us we can't say "fuck" on the Internet. It's rape. It's a violent crime. Gun control is a violent crime. Censorship is a violent crime. Politics are rape.

So where's the boundary? If someone rings your doorbell to ask that you sign a petition calling for new gun control laws, do you get to shoot them? Only if they interrupted dinner or sex—no, no, I didn't say that. I believe shooting such people's a touch extreme—but I'm not sure I could back that with a rational and consistent, rather than purely esthetic, argument.

But the border lies somewhere. We agree political action is a crime when the BATF kicks in your door, stomps your kitty, and shoots you on your sofa to make an example of you. Do we believe culpability only starts there?

Let's question the privileged status of political action. More, let's draw a line—and when someone crosses it, impose consequences.

Prometheus Award-winner Victor Milan is the author of over 70 novels. His website is


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