Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 526, July 5, 2009

"There are aliens among us."

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

A Tale of Pot and Kettle
by L. Neil Smith

Please attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

It is said that, during America's Revolutionary War, "lobsterback" soldiers took delight in bayonetting pregnant American women in the belly to prevent the birth of "another rebel whelp", or words to that effect.

The Brits deny it to this day, as they deny that the King's troops seized Americans, herded them into churches, and set the churches on fire, a tactic that proved instructive to the LAPD in 1974, SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, in 1978, Arkansas cops and federal SWAT teams in 1983, the Philadelphia police in 1985, and the ATF and FBI at Waco in 1993.

I have no direct evidence about the Brits one way or another, but judging by the way they treated prisoners in "prison hulks"—old, dismasted ships anchored in American harbors holding thousands of helpless, dying men—I tend to lean in the direct of their having done the other stuff. Some historians even say that Mel Gibson's movie The Patriot treats the British forces in altogether too kindly a manner.

It is known that Union soldiers did the same thing to pregnant Confederate women in the War for Southern Independence, using the same "justification".

In each case, without a doubt, the jackbooted thugs in question, be they cops or soldiers, were prepared by their leaders who convinced them that those they were about to torture and murder weren't really people at all, but merely animals, subhumans, who could be treated in any way that was convenient—and fun. They probably didn't need much convincing. There is a perverse tendency in human beings to enjoy hurting and killing people if a sufficient excuse can be found or manufactured.

Ultimately, rationalizations wear thin, although it may take years, and the torturer or killer suffers nearly as much damage as his victims. (Some psychologists believe this is the origin of "combat fatigue".) That's one reason goodguys must refuse to torture anyone back, or to kill them except in unambiguous self-defense. Understand that the rule is more for our own benefit than that of any potential victims, because it allows us to maintain the all-important moral high ground.

And our sanity.

People arrive at a point where they can do terrible things to other people through a process called "dehumanization". Especially when you're morally in the wrong, it's important to be able to tell yourself that the enemy are alien creatures without human feelings, scruples, or values. Ironically, of course, it is you who are being dehumanized.

In 1917, the Germans were the "Huns", despite the fact that around a third of the American population was of German extraction. In World War II (and for quite some time beforehand, thanks to that bigoted old hypocrite Franklin Roosevelt and his legions of Hollywood cartoonists) the highly civilized and cultured Japanese were invariably depicted as buck-toothed midgets with thick glasses. In Korea, the enemy were the "gooks" and that name carried over to Vietnam, where it was the least obnoxious of many names that American troops had for the Vietnamese, whose only offense was that they were determined to drive invaders—the French, the Japanese, the British, and us—out of their lovely homeland.

Habitually calling somebody a gook, slope, or zipperhead made it easier to drop napalm on men, women, and children, and to wipe out entire villages, although it appears (to me, at least) that the number of Vietnam veterans who found themselves emotional cripples afterward was much higher than those who fought in either World War or even Korea.

Now the same thing is going on in the middle east, where there are plenty of ugly names Americans use for Arabs, Muslims, Persians, and the other people of the region. However a new element has been added by the government, which has itself invented dehumanizing and often ridiculous names for people it wants tortured and killed, names like "insurgent" (how can you be an insurgent when you're defending your own country?) and "unlawful combatant" (which is what the British would have called George Washington if they'd only thought of it.) My question is, since when do you need your enemy's permission to fight him?

Do they issue you a certificate?

It's even worse when government starts doing this sort of thing to its own people. When its minions begin calling ordinary individuals conveniently dehumanizing names, then you know that the machine guns, barbed wire, and napalm can't be far behind. The German government did it to the Jews, and now the Obama Administration is doing it to large swatches of the population that can't be described as anything but us.

You know what I'm talking about. It started in Missouri, of all places, where the authorities issued a document to police forces across the state warning them that individuals and groups displaying certain behavioral characteristics were likely to be violent terrorists.

What were those characteristics? They included vocal or graphic opposition to the "New World Order" or the consolidation of North America into a single nation. Insistence on religious freedom and other rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, and on the right to own and carry weapons as guaranteed by the Second. It just gets worse and worse and worse until some young, green traffic cop, frightened by those dangerous Ron Paul bumper stickers he's been warned about, is likely to unsnap the safety strap on his holster when approaching a car he's stopped to tell the driver about a burned out taillight. Then somebody sneezes, the iron leaves the leather, and the next day's headlines will scream about a dead "terrorist" or a cop killed by a "terrorist".

Which is exactly what the authors of this document want. It bears the unmistakable stamp of a federal government looking for an incident that will let it "crack down" on people who—exactly like the Vietnamese and the Iraquis—simply want Washington to leave them alone. The word for what this document is an overture to is state terrorism.

Or the government pot calling thr civilian kettle black.

Not surprisingly, Janet Napolitano, principal state terrorist for the Obama regime approves highly of this document, and although the state of Missouri has reportedly recanted, the disease just keeps spreading. The state of Virginia is the latest to issue warnings like this to its stormtroopers, but it goes beyond that. Recently a California legislator opined that constituents who complain are "terrorists"

We know who the real terrorists are: the criminals who wrote and distributed this document. In the long run, they will be arrested, tried, convicted, and punished for attempting to foment an American Holocaust.

Meanwhile, all such documents, manuals, bulletins, and so on must be loudly and officially withdrawn, recalled, and publicly destroyed, preferably—pending the creation of a Bill of Rights Enforcement Administration—by some trustworthy agents of the ACLU or Amnesty International. Guidelines must be issued in their place, emphasizing the vital importance to the American way of life of the BIll of Rights.

And individual liberty.

Perhaps most important, affected law enforcement units must immediately institute remedial programs—similar to those used to encourage "anger management" or discourage sexual harrassment—that will educate their employees along the same lines. These programs must not be conducted by those invested in the system—government lawyers, college professors, or psychologists—but by independent thinkers, authors, lecturers, and seminarists like former Libertarian Party Presidential candidate and Constitutional authority Michael Badnarik.

He's available—I checked.

There are those who will tell you that writing to a congressman or a senator won't do any good. I know from my personal experience that some representatives form their opinion—and cast their vote—on the basis of as few as half a dozen letters. This issue is something to write to them about. The dehumanizing process has begun and where it will end if we don't act—in FEMA extermination camps or open, bloody revolution that will scar this country forever—remains to be seen.

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 Where We Stand: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis 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. Links to Neil's books at are on his website


Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 526, July 5, 2009

Big Head Press