Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 535, September 6, 2009

"Void the Bill of Rights, you void the Constitution."

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Better Radishes than Potato-Heads
by L. Neil Smith

Distriubute Widely and Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I don't know how tall a soapbox The Libertarian Enterprise is to stand on, but it has probably saved my life many times over the years by serving me as a place to vent, when I might otherwise have kept it all inside me and grown a cancer or an ulcer, or had another heart attack.

This is going to be one of those times. I started listening to talk radio again when the god-emperor got himself elected (I'd turned it off on September 11, 2001, knowing all too well what conservatives would be saying about that event) and I suppose it has mostly been interesting.

But even more today than in years gone by, conservatives are not libertarians. They are loaded down with baggage, articles of faith as absurd on their face to anyone with knowledge of history and human nature as anything espoused by so-called "progressives". For example, they all gibber hysterically that anyone questioning the government's version of what happened on 9/11, or who believes that their last president was a pathetic, bumbling idiot, is some kind of dangerous lunatic, instead of looking at the evidence lying plainly before their eyes.

Getting less tolerant in my old age of stupid, evil, and insane, from time to time I have no choice but to get up and turn the radio off.

One item that particularly yanks my chain—and, since you are what you think, ultimately spells doom for the Grotesquely Obsolete Paternalists—is their consistent misuse of the word "radical", which they apply with relish (and a little mustard and ketchup) whenever the topic of Obama and his orcish hordes of collectivists arises.

The word "radical" is a gift to our language from Latin, the word radix, meaning "root". Another English word with the same origin is "radish". Politically, "radical" refers to anybody or anything that takes us back all the way to the root of any given phenomenon or situation.

That's all it means. It is ideologically neutral. Radical is what people are being when they say, "Oh, well, back to the drawing board". I've always been proud to be called—or to call myself—a radical.

For example, I've often said there's nothing wrong with the public schools that can be fixed by tinkering with the public schools. They are—at their root—socialistic institutions financed by robbery and populated by pressganging. Naturally, they're used to indoctrinate rather than to educate children. This radical analysis leads us to the inexorable conclusion that the only way to solve the problems that the public schools fail to solve—or actually generate, themselves—is to abolish them, send everybody home, raze the buildings to the ground so that not one stone is left standing on another, and sow salt on the ruins.

The interesting fact is that today's conservatives are much more radical than the "progressives" they love to hate. "Progressive" is considered a publicly palatable euphemism for "socialist". The word "socialism" itself has been around since the turn of the century—the 19th century, that is—coined by a fellow named Henri de Saint Simon.

More importantly than its political or economic aspects, socialism is, first and foremost, an ethical philosophy that irrationally holds the individual to be of little or no importance, compared to the group.

A group of individuals, that is.

I only report, I do not explain.

Today's socialists are not truly radical at all. They're pitiable reactionaries, fighting for an inhumane and thoroughly discredited idea more than 200 years obsolete. An idea that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of the very people whose lives it was meant to improve. An idea whose proponents cling to it nevertheless, providing us with a measure of just how stupid, evil, or insane they are.

Nobody should be at all surprised when the left enthusiastically advocates (and prepares to jam down our throats by naked force, if necessary) a jackbooted medical bureaucracy designed to cure the ills of society—the group—by disposing of undesirable individuals who are no longer of an age or condition to contribute to the glorious collective. Every socialist country in the world does that, one way or another.

And always has.

And always will.

And there's nothing radical about it.

The situation complicates itself when you consider the fact that so-called conservatives are socialists, themselves. There is no dearth of collectivist institutions—national security, the military, the church, the family—to which the right is more than willing, quite eager, in fact, to sacrifice the life, liberty, and property of the individual.

This makes them highly questionable opponents of the regimented "health care" system their mirror images, the left-wing socialists who call themselves liberals, Democrats, and progressives have in mind for us. They have sold out on so many other issues—our Second Amendment rights, the USA Patriot Act, the armed search for oil and pipeline routes in the Middle East—why should we trust them in any other context?

Their judiciary idol and martyr, Robert Bork, claims that we have no Constitutional right to privacy. Their most recent president sneers that the Constitution is "just a piece of paper". Richard Nixon, the champion of wage-price controls, denounced privately owned weapons as "an abomination". George Bush Senior whimpered to the heavens against guns small enough to pocket. Brady Bill-Bob Dole actually helped the Clinton regime ram through its illegal Ugly Gun and Adequate Magazine Ban.

Republicans destroyed Barry Goldwater, their own candidate in 1964, because they perceived him as a threat to established power and wealth. They rejected Ron Paul's candidacy in 2008 for much the same reason, proving that nothing ever changes. They helped the Democratic Party and the media to defame Sarah Palin. And it appears that they have deliberately sabotaged and destroyed the Libertarian Party, as well.

Never forgive, never forget.

If this poor, sad country is to survive as the bastion of liberty its Founders meant it to be, it is desperately in need of radical—meaning from the ground up—reform. This is not what it is receiving at the hands of the tyrant Barry Obama, nor will it get what it needs from Rush Limbaugh or any of the lesser lights of the Republican Party.

Now let's talk about "extremism" ...

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


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