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L. Neil Smith's
Number 511, March 22, 2009

"The Mother Of All Demos"

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Vermont Fudge
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

[AUTHOR'S NOTE: this article originally appeared in the Sierra Times on March 18, 2002.]

It says here the federal Centers for Disease Control, abetted by a state bureaucracy, are trying to find out who owns guns in Vermont.

The story is they're calling people and asking them to participate in a "health" survey. Buried among other unwarranted intrusions is a question government employees should be jailed (at the least) for asking: "Got Guns?"

I find this interesting. Vermont is the only state that honors the letter and spirit of the Second Amendment. According to its laws—as long as you have no criminal purpose—there's nothing to prohibit you from dropping a personal weapon into your pocket or purse when you leave the house, as you would a billfold or comb.

As a result (contradicting the ignorant, superstitious whimpering of left-wing bedwetters), the Maple Syrup State has the lowest rate of violent crime, per capita, in America. It's been called, by more than one civic organization, the safest state in which to live.

Keep in mind that Vermont is not New Hampshire, populated by the socialists who call themselves conservatives. Vermont is populated, I'm informed, by the socialists who call themselves liberals, forced to flee the mess they made of Connecticut. I've often wondered why Vermont has the weapons carry policy it does; nobody's ever offered me a satisfactory answer.

That said, what are we to make of the efforts of the CDC to find out who owns guns there? To start, you have to understand that there's no Constitutional provision (see Article I, Section 8 for allowable government activities; it's a short list) for anything remotely like the CDC. Every aspect of its existence—every activity it undertakes—is illegal. Everyone who works for the CDC, in any capacity, is a criminal.

Sociologists have discovered that we tend to identify more with those who do the same kind of work we do than with those who come from the same country, speak the same language, or belong to the same race. Criminals engaged in the form of organized crime we call government have a well-demonstrated inclination to identify with their fellow criminals—freelance types like burglars, muggers, and rapists—and don't like to see them harmed. We can't have ordinary folks carrying deadly weapons around everywhere, can we? Some footpad or cutpurse might get hurt.

It's also important to understand the lengths that criminals in the CDC and similar extrusions of the federal kleptocracy have gone to to make private ownership of firearms look like a medical problem. Now and again, as a part of what might be termed a "Know Your Patient" program, they've attempted to get your own physician to pry into your life and rat you out. In one state (not Vermont), if the public schools discover that there are guns in your home, they drop your kid's permanent file into the "Dysfunctional Family" drawer.

Minions of the Nanny State, the airport cavity patrol, your local bluegang, administrators of the B&B (brainwashing and babysitting) system, or purveyors of collectivized quackery, can't bear the thought that you might be able to take care of yourself. If you can, what's left for them, but to stand on a corner, peddling pencils from a tin cup? They're more than willing—metaphorically and literally—to break your legs so they can help you up and give you crutches.

Never mind that they can do nothing except make our lives worse. They can't protect us from terrorism, free our streets of crime, teach our kids to read, or maintain our health competently at less than confiscatory rates. Never mind that September 11 would never have happened if they'd enforced the Second Amendment. Never mind that arming one percent of the populace causes violent crime to plummet in double digits. Never mind that children taught at home dominate every test of academic achievement. Never mind that our medical care was the best in the world before it was remade in the image of Karl Marx.

Never mind any of that. What's important to bureaucrats are their jobs, no matter what it costs the rest of us in peace, prosperity, and progress. What's important to their bosses is absolute ownership of your life. The IRS, for example, keeps a special file they call "Dangerous Taxpayers". Anybody willing to bet what percentage of the folks in that file (as opposed to taxpayers in general) own guns?

Gun ownership is a problem, not because it represents any physical danger to them. Americans have proven dismayingly forbearing in that regard. But people who own guns often look at the world differently than those who don't. That's the real danger to social and political parasites. Roughly 25% of Americans own guns. The number increases each time there's widespread discussion of more gun control—call it what it is: "victim disarmament". If the figure ever rises to 50%, I suspect the widespread discussion will be about repealing the 16th Amendment.

So here we see socialism exposed in all its ugliness: citizens of an unusually calm and peaceful state (the epitome of socialist Utopia, except for the embarrassing fact that its peace and calm have nothing to do with socialism), probed by an illegal agency that wants to remove the source of that peace and calm. Never mind that this would eventually make Vermont look like the South Bronx.

A friend of mine once said that a victim disarmament advocate is someone who'd rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand. Clearly, the CDC would rather see a whole state victimized, than let a custom continue that has made it known around the world for its lack of criminal violence.

Vermont Fudge is one of the choices in a box of Whitman's Sampler chocolates. "Fudge" also means to cheat or cut corners, something governments at every level have been doing for 200 years with regard to the Bill of Rights. In some contexts, "fudge" is a euphemism for an unpleasant bodily product that it superficially resembles—a substance that is a symbol itself for a brazen lie, as in, "That's a crock of fudge".

A decade or so ago, I coined the term "Vermont Carry". I knew a phenomenon that significant had to have a name if news of it were to spread. Now everybody knows what it means. And every two-bit shyster trying to get on the good side of 70,000,000 gun owners—not to mention the oldest, largest victim disarmament group itself, the National Rifle Association—attaches the word "Vermont" to his latest scheme to register gun owners and their guns as they've been doing in New York since 1911.

Meanwhile, dedicated gungrabbers desperately want to shut Vermont Carry down because of the ideal it represents to the rest of us. I suspect, when all is said and done, that this is what the CDC survey is all about: an opening move.

The remedy is clear. We need our weapons and the peace and safety they engender more than we need the CDC. That's one reason I propose a Constitutional Amendment that would mandate the separation of science—especially medicine—and state.

The CDC must die.

Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at

Ceres, an exciting sequel to Neil's 1993 Ngu family novel Pallas was recently completed and is presently 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.

The stunning 185-page full-color graphic-novelized version of The Probability Broach, which features the art of Scott Bieser and was published by BigHead Press has recently won a Special Prometheus Award. It may be had through the publisher, or at


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