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L. Neil Smith's
Number 541, October 18, 2009

"There is no genuinly forward-looking
science fiction left in mainstream America."

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Letters to the Editor

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Our Publisher and Senior Columnist Mr. L. Neil Smith was quoted favorably in an unsigned editorial (representing the opinion of the publication) in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Monday October 12.

"Is there anything more insane than holding ancient people to moral standards that hadn't been invented yet ... holding modern people responsible for the acts of ancients who didn't know any better," notes libertarian L. Neil Smith.

The Editor

Answer to your article about my article

Dear Mr. Tilson:

Re: "A Defense of Fractional Reserve Banking and other notes etc." by Warren Tilson

The Non-Aggression Principle is that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force (or fraud) against another human being for any reason whatever; nor will a person advocate the initiation of force (or fraud) or delegate it to anyone else.

This is Neil Smith's definition. I have added the words "or fraud" to the definition. It's not necessary, because fraud is violence to truth. But it simply makes for a more understandable definition of the NAP.

You wrote: "Regarding fractional reserve banking (FRB): There is nothing inherent in FRB that violates the NAP or is un-libertarian. However it is un-libertarian and does violate the NAP to threaten, assault, and kidnap folks who are peacefully engaging in (FRB)."

Yet fractional reserve banking is legalized counterfeiting in every instance. There is never a time where FRB is not counterfeiting, and therefore fraud. And it does not violate the NAP to designate certain human behavior as criminal acts. I'm not necessarily recommending incarceration. The penalty for fraud is to require restitution to those defrauded.

You also wrote: "As long as the FRB currency provider is up front about its reserves and folks willingly patronize them, no one, you, me, or anyone else has a say in the matter. "

I agree. If FRB currency had disclaimers clearly written on it which stated that the currency was only good for whatever could be traded for it, and that it had no redeemable value by the issuer, it would not be a fraudulent currency. It would just be currency for stupid people.

Russell D. Longcore

Re: fractional reserve banking and fraud being force

I'm afraid I have to differ with those who say fraud is somehow the equivalent of force. That's a common mistake libertarians have made for decades, but it's still a mistake, and it's imperative that we get past it.

Fraud is in an entirely different category of phenomena. It's not nice. It's not good. But it's something the market system can deal with, left entirely on its own. If you use force to stop a fractional reserve banker, then it's you who is doing the initiating. What you do instead is advertise his dishonesty far and wide, sue him in private courts, challenge him to a duel, or, if he's embedded in the political system (as they all are now) change the system.

There's a grave danger in allowing things other than physical force to be redefined as force or its equivalent. I once had an argument with a Marxist who contended that keeping the necessities of life from someone who didn't have the money to pay for them constituted initiated force. He was quite proud of that notion and couldn't be shaken from it.

There are those who claim that having sex with your wife or girlfriend is rape, and by inference, the initiation of force, having been committed by someone bigger and more powerful than the females. All sex, in the view of these non-reproductive mutants, is rape.

Other leftists have claimed that advertising, for example, is the equivalent of force because children and the weak-minded can't resist it. This is also one of the underlying assumptions of criminalizing gambling, the War on Drugs, as well as many other state intrusions. "But men, sir," as Russell Crowe put it in Master and Commander, "must be governed!"

A taste of the rope-end does wonders for discipline.

We mustn't weaken or dilute the Zero Aggression Principle by widening it inappropriately. If we do, some fool will step through and get our carpet messy. It should be enough to say, simply, that fraud is fraud, a minor crime compared to the initiation of force, but a crime nonetheless.

Where the initiation of force comes in is government control of the banks—try starting your own bank without their permission—and their licensing the banks to commit this fraud.

L. Neil Smith

Hey: what's with the crack about Lou Costello? I looked and looked on the internet and I couldn't find anything bad about him. What an awful thing to do, placing him in the company of the likes of Algore, PeeWee Herman, Gary Glitter, Charles Manson, Jimmy Carter or Jack the Ripper. Really! Have a little respect...

Seriously, guys, I love your work. It is, without fail, inspirational, and it has provided starting points for a good deal of my research. Thanks for all you are doing.

Rob Gillespie
Signatory to the North American Covenant
Proudly carbon-positive since 1969

Re: "A Defense of Fractional Reserve Banking"

Warren Tilson makes some good points, about letting the market sort out whether a bank uses fractional reserve banking or not. Strangely, he ends his article with a non-sequitur, a complaint about bimetalism. Of course, if the market can sort out fractional reserves, it will have no problem with bimetalism. Those who want silver can have it; those who don't, won't.

I suspect we naturally get into looking at currency as paper receipts for gold, when it appears paper is on the way out no matter what. The future will have electronic gadgets with cash in them, protected by encryption. Just because we abhor the potential for government tracking of purchases, does not mean we can't use them even when there is no government to speak of. It's like guns; government abuse of arms is no reason not to arm ourselves.

The cash option will still be available for those who want it, but it will likely be silver and gold coin. Paper? Who knows if it will complete in a modern market? I suspect not.

The one thing I worry about is fraud. Tilson notes that fractional reserve banking is no problem if banks are up front about it, which is true, but it's also a very big "if". Think of the incentives. How can we keep confidence in banking institutions when money is nothing but bits in digital storage media? Absent a government (assuming a government could do the job properly, which is quite a stretch), how are these banks audited? Who can really say how much digital cash they issue? What's to prevent them making money out of thin air and issuing it, while lying about how much they issue?

More to the point, does the e-gold et. al. model really work, even if we do get past the current problem of outright government theft as with 1mdc?

I hope some of our money experts have an idea about this. I can't figure out any scheme that does not have holes in it. I suppose no matter what problems exist, the market combined with imaginative entrepreneurs can get around them.

Paul Bonneau

Stand on your own, Mr. President

To be fair, Barrack Obama hasn't done half the evil, major or minor, attributed to him. It's all been done by his subordinates and supporters. He has in fact slapped down subordinates for pushing gun control and for suggesting raises on taxes paid by the middle class. It was Napolitano who came up with the extreme right wing potential terrorist report and who allowed it to be released in a provocative manner. It was Jimmy Carter who called opponents to Obamacare racists, Bill Clinton who complained of a vast right wing conspiracy being out to wreck Obama's agenda. It was various state police in Missouri and other places who harassed people with pro Ron Paul and libertarian bumper stickers. It was European internationalists who embarrassed him with the Nobel Peace Price.

All this raises a question. Is Obama a puppet on someone else's string, with other "liberals" and left wing fascists running interference for him and hanging him with all appropriate credentials so that they can run their agenda in his name? What is this agenda? Does it require Americans to give up their liberty for some type of Utopia for the Global elite while our middle class and the emerging middle classes of India and China are knocked back into poverty?

I can deal with a lot, except for a nightmare I had a long time ago. I dreamt that a Pelosi type woman was addressing Congress saying "We have to do something for the minorities." Congress had passed most of its work for the session and was getting ready to toss us niggers, spics, and white trash a bone so we wouldn't make trouble for them and their bosses.

And the problem I keep seeing is that the Demican and Republicat leadership and their brothers overseas are still tied into this pay off the little guys to stay in their place while we of the elite run things mentality.

So tell me Mr. Obama, are you another front man for the same bunch that have blocked every honest dream of a freer, wealthier world, a tyrant on your own hook, or someone who really wants a freer, saner, wealthier America and world where poverty and lack of opportunity no longer turn young men into half crazed rats feeding on their own, those who haven't been so psychologically emaciated and emasculated they can fight neither for love or money nor even simple despair?

Whatever it is, can you at least stand on your own feet and stop letting the Old Tired Leftist (and Rightist to be fair) Elite treat you like a lap dog to be run out, do a few clever tricks and look cute while master does the real work?

A.X. Perez

Silver Money

Re: "A Defense of Fractional Reserve Banking and other notes etc." by Warren Tilson

This in response to Warren Tilson's "Finally, bimetallism is a just bad, bad idea."

When you go to visit Tijuana from San Diego you notice that all the cash registers have a piece of paper taped on the customers side. That piece of paper shows the going exchange rate between the peso and the dollar. Now, gold is money, the money. Silver can be, actually should be, and has been a subsidiary money for smaller exchanges. The exchange rate of silver should be set by the market, probably on a daily basis. However, if we transition to digital gold backed money I don't see the need for silver money at all since you would just be accounting with micrograms or nanograms of gold.

Bo Fredricsson

[Okay, I reach into my pocket to pull out a nanogram of gold. How do I know when I've gotten a-hold of it?—Editor]

Moot Points

Izmash, as most of you know, is the manufacturer of the Saiga series of long guns. These weapons are basically semiautomatic "sporter" versions of the AK-47, AKM, and AK-74 in various calibers from 5.6 x 39mm to 9.3 x51mm, plus .410, 20 and 12 gauge shotgus. Variants are available that have more traditional sport stocks, as well as those that have AK style stocks and pistol grips. And this where the fun starts.

"Civilian" stocked (for lack of a better way of expressing it) versions of the Saiga (black stock in 7.62 Combloc) can cost as little as $399.99 from Cold War Shooters (plug for friendly neighborhood gun shop that does most of its business over net) plus shipping and handling. There are probably even better deals out there. This is still cheaper than most military stocked versions of the AK that start in the $750.00 plus range.

Of course you do give up the bad ass AK look, which may be a good thing if you wish not to offend the neighbors or a bad thing if the reason you want an AK is the bad ass look (This assumes you don't need a folding stock rifle for storage and transportation purposes).

So, do you need an AK for it's reliability and performance, or because it looks tough? Are you worried about or hoping to upset the neighbors? Or do you feel devil take the neighbors and it just happens one or the other feels better in your hands meaning it's worth paying the premium or you luck into a great price deal?

Whatever road you take, it's your money you're spending, it's your life you're betting, and it should be you who decides which of these weapons best meets your needs. This is not merely your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms but your Ninth Amendment right to use your wealth as you please as long as you violate nobody else's rights. Political and economic freedom all rolled into one.

Which is why we can never afford to back down to tyrants who want to tell us what kind of guns (or any other kind of tool, weapon, or vehicle) we can and can't buy.

A.X. Perez

Baloo News!
Baloo News

Two news items: First, I'm now on Facebook, here, and everybody's invited to become friends if you're not already.

Second, I just started this feature, "Stand-Up Guy."





I'll try to syndicate it, of course, but failing that, any ideas from anybody as to where I might sell it (magazines, websites, etc.) will be appreciated. For that matter, feel free to spread the word to any publications that might be interested.

For the time being, Stand-Up Guy can be found on this blog:

And do, when the spirit moves you, visit that and all my other blogs, and my main site at


Rex May
PHONE: 1-970-218-0889
All about me here:*

A sketch of my understanding so far.

An advanced civilization can exist only under the regime of the free market. Proof has been provided by Ludvig von Mises and improved upon by Murray Rothbard. I call this the top-down statement.

The bottom-up statement is: You own yourself. Proof has been provided by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Stefan Molyneux. Using the scientific method, you can propose a topology of who owns whom. Examples can be A owns B, B owns C, C owns D... could be called the daisy- chain topology. A owns B, C, D, E....and B owns N, P, Q.... can be called the hierarchal topology. The most common proposal is that everyone owns a portion of everyone. Now, the definition of ownership is exclusive rights and control. This means in this case that ALL owners have to be consulted before any action can be taken or, that rules for all possible actions have previously been formulated. Try out the practicability of some other topologies.

If you own yourself, you also own your income (all of it). In a civilized society all transfers of ownership must be voluntary. This means that if you want a service such as protection from anything and everything, you must find someone who is willing to sell it to you, or you can organize a cooperative. The members of the cooperative are of course voluntarily joining it. Taxes are theft, a cooperative is voluntary and a company that offers protection is the free market in action.

Compared to the free market, voting is just another form of "might makes right". Democracy is mob rule led by sociopaths, or the famous "a lamb and two wolves voting on what to have for lunch". Read Carl Watner for more.

Bo Fredricsson

What's Left Out

If you enjoy watching the History Channel you can catch them in some interesting displays of bias.

In their Wild West Tech series HC discusses the Short- Courtright gun fight. The basic action, Courtright starts to draw first, his gun (A single action revolver) gets caught on his watch chain, Short draws and blows off Courtright's thumb and then shoots Courtright dead as he tries to change hands in a border switch is correctly described. Even the fact that neither man was quite sober is mentioned. All this is correct as it goes.

What is not mentioned in Wild West Tech is that Courtright was trying to shake Short down for protection money at the time the fight happened and had been collecting protection from other local businessmen. neither was it mentioned that he had run this racket hiding behind a town marshall's badge.

The History Channel is usually pretty gun rights friendly, and maybe the point they were after was about the wildness of the west and the dangers of abusing strong drink. Not a problem. But perhaps they should have also made clear the dangers of abusing police power.

The next time you use (or abuse) alcohol, raise one to Luke Short.

A.X. Perez

To which Crazy Al replied:

My buddy A.X. Perez is way too nice.He says we should drink to the memory of Luke Short.I say we should open Luke Short fan clubs in cities where cops are extorting bribes. Complaints about these clubs by cops and other public officials in those burgs should be taken as confession that they are extorting bribes (accepting bribes is one thing, running a shakedown is a totally inexcusable other. The first is venality, the second pure unadulterated tyranny. )Then we know who to send to wall come the revolution.

Crazy al
Somewhere in Far Far West Texas

Did I miss something

"Recent growth in U.S. ground forces, ordered by (Secretary of Defense) Gates in 2007..."

I read this in an article on MSN dated 12 October 2009 (Title: "Support troops swell US force in Afghanistan"). The article points out that besides the 21,000 combat troops sent by Obama in March, another 13,000 support troops not publicly discussed were also sent. These include medical personnel, engineers, G2 types, MP's and assorted REMF's.

In their lovefest with Obama the establishment media forgot to mention these types. It wasn't a secret, it just wasn't talked about.

However, before I let myself get distracted, let us consider opening statement of this article. Last time I heard it was Congress, not the Secretary of Defense, that determined the size of our armed forces. Did I miss an Amendment getting ratified or something? Is this another case of Congressional fecklessness, Executive arrogation of power, and/or the media stating the situation incorrectly?

All three represent a danger to the freedom of the American people and until we are ready to totally dissolve the government it is in our interest to keep after the legislature and executive to do their job right and their whores in the media to report the facts more clearly.

A.X. Perez


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