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L. Neil Smith's
Number 521, May 31, 2009

"There is good news and bad news."

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Blast from the Past

A Pain in the Colin
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

[Author's note: The more things change, the more they stay the same. This essay was originally published almost fourteen years ago, in the very first issue of The Libertarian Enterprise. I apologize for some of the more esoteric references here and refer you to Wikipedia where necessary.]

The cover's finally off the dish, my friends, and it ain't gonna be no "Happy Meal".

Fed up as we all eventually became with General Colin Powell's carefully stage-managed silences, I discover that I've gotten sick a whole lot quicker—and more than likely, so have you—of the mildewy quasi-liberal cream-of-bran he's been dishing out in recent interviews and well-chosen snippets from the autobiography all those disappointed Perotistas have lined up around the block to have him deface.

Meanwhile, the same old media sycophants who shoved John Anderson down our throats have been hailing the general's middle-of-the-road positions, as usual without bothering to ask, "the middle of which road?"

Well, apparently it's the same old road to Left Utopia where we foolishly picked up that pair of chainsaw-murdering hitchhikers back in 1992. [the reference here is to Bill and Hillary Clinton and their infamous "body count".] Fewer people are aware of that than they might be, probably because a fellow always looks so much better in a uniform than in a sweatshirt, baggy gym shorts, and baseball cap. As a matter of fact, as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs—a "general of the generals", as it were—and in the wan light of the political views he deigns to acknowledge, a more appropriate title for him might be "Generalissimo".

I grew up in the military and I know this kind of officer. He's exactly the type that gave America the moderate victory we won in Viet Nam.

Or was it a moderate defeat we suffered?

Whichever it happens to be, it's very important for Generalissimo Powell's would-be campaigners and supporters to understand that their brass-hatted icon has already disqualified himself for the office of the Presidency of the United States. To begin with, the architects who framed this political edifice didn't have much use for moderates. ("I'm taking a survey—are you pro-Revolutionary, pro-British, or Undecided?) And they sure as hell didn't plan a whole civilization for the future benefit of thin-blooded, mealy-mouthed types like the Generalissimo.

And aren't we too-patient, long-suffering Americans wearied enough by now of all the liars, fourflushers, and CYA-artists, from Operation Keelhaul and the Watergate coverup, through Ruby Ridge and the Waco massacre?

If not, we should be.

Look: by his own admission, this guy couldn't truthfully take the oath of office, since he has confessed himself to be willing (perhaps even eager, considering the fact that, in theory, he's already bound by the same oath as a military man) to casually sacrifice the Bill of Rights—most notably the Second Amendment—to the convenience of an all-devouring state, instead of upholding and defending it from all comers.

As most of us are aware by now, plenty of congress creatures (and probably many more to come), 600 state legislators, and any number of other parasitic functionaries have shifted in the past two years from the Democratic Party to that of the Republicans. And the pathetically jubilant Elephant Men actually believe it means they've won something. I guess they're just too bloody dense to understand when they're being sandbagged.

No, I don't think it's a conspiracy—the Donkey Boys are too stupid for that—just politicos realizing that the butter has slid over to the other side of the bread. But the effect will be to water down even further whatever it was that once served the Republicans for principles, and to swamp the few conservatives who have any remaining guts, brains, or integrity in an unclean sea of whimpery welfare-state compromisers.

Now please don't get me wrong. I sincerely hope the Republicans allow what columnist Wesley Pruden wisely calls "The Press Party" to chivvy them into nominating Generalissimo Powell for the presidency. In the first place, he fits in perfectly with Newt Gingrich (who once introduced legislation aimed at suspending the Bill of Rights "for the duration" of the War on Drugs) and Brady Bill-Bob Dole's right-wing socialist "Promise 'em America, then ship 'em off to good old Siberia" mentality.

In the second place, given even the slightest soapbox to stand on, a Libertarian Party candidate like Rick Tompkins (of the three current LP frontrunners, that potential nominee most faithful to the party's underlying principles) could clean the Generalissimo's chronometer (in the uncredited words of Rene Auberjonois) on legal and moral grounds alone.

Of course that may not mean very much in a "democracy" where votes for Libertarian candidates don't get reported—or sometimes even counted.

What we can be confident about is that, 20 years from now, there won't be any Democrats, just two wings of the Republican Party, one of them weak, cowardly, cretinous, and evil (the one we're forced to live with today) and the other even worse. And both of them too dumb to live.

[Okay, so it's likelier to be two wings of the Democratic Party. As Mr. Spock said, "A difference that makes not difference is no difference."]

And the Man of the Hour virtually born to lead this trend, Mr. Compromise himself, going along to get along, will be Generalissimo Powell.

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 more than 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 is currently running as a free weekly serial at

Neil is presently at work on Ares, the middle volume of the epic Ngu Family Cycle, and on What Libertarians Believe with his daughter, Rylla.

See stunning full-color graphic-novelizations of The Probability Broach and Roswell, Texas which feature the art of Scott Bieser at Dead-tree versions may be had through the publisher, or at where you will also find Phoenix Pick editions of some of Neil's earlier novels.


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