Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 545, November 22, 2009

"Socialism is Death"

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Murdering the Future
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

As I write this, our country is either about to put the brakes on the Marxism of Barack Obama and his murderous accomplices, or take an irretrievable plunge over the event horizon into the black hole of collectivism.

By the time you read this, we will know.

Make no mistake. Even the most casual student of history—as long as he is honest with himself and others—will tell you that socialism is death. Even a leftist outfit like Amnesty International describes the Communist governments of the 20th century as "killing machines".

Those who are less than honest know it, too, and they have for a long time. I recall, fairly vividly, a short story written when I was in junior high school—I'm fairly certain by socialist mouthpiece Arthur C. Clarke—in which an elderly politician is traveling to meet with some kind of government commission with the power to determine whether he is valuable enough to society to have his life extended.

Death panel, circa 1958.

For the left to deny they've been dreaming about this kind of power for decades is embarrassingly absurd. Forget about protecting the freedom of individuals to create the wealth to hire doctors in order to live longer—unavoidably benefiting dozens or hundreds or thousands or millions of others along the way. The State must be trusted to "level the playing field", and, as it does so, murder the future.

The fact is that we human beings are the victims of an accidental irony of nature. We spend the first twenty years of our lives learning everything we know from various kinds of authority, our parents, our teachers, the media, the government. We spend the next twenty years in a desperate struggle to survive by unlearning everything erroneous our parents, our teachers, the media, and the government taught us. Over the next twenty years we learn all over again the real things we need to know to make us independent, competent entities, and we really begin to get a decent handle on our lives. At which point our bodies begin to break down (if they haven't begun already) and we start to die.

It's enough to make you believe in God. Blind nature can't be so sadistic.

For the first time in history, toward the end of the 20th century, it appeared that human beings might be able to put an end to this accidental irony. Discoveries in medicine, nutrition, and the science of aging clearly indicated that there was no reason people might not live for 150 years, 500 years, 1000 years or more, with your chances of benefiting from the latest knowledge increasing with each year you survived.

Now Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and others of their vile ilk have arrived in the nick of time to put an end to what they obviously perceive as an obscenity. Think back to Star Trek, which more than anything else, represented the unguarded daydreams of the left.

Do you remember what were the two greatest crimes a character on Star Trek could commit? The first was to obtain or possess enhanced intelligence. "Superior ability breeds superior ambition" was the Roddenberry catchphrase; super-smart people were almost always super evil.

The second crime was to attempt to extend your life beyond what was considered natural (and therefore proper), overlooking the facts that (A) people in a "natural" state have a life expectancy at birth of only 20 years, (B) that expectancy had already been artificially extended three and a half-fold by the 19th century, through the use of iron pipe (to deliver fresh, clean water) and cotton clothing (which, unlike wool, could be washed to remove dirt, germs, and various little animals), and (C) there's nothing natural about traveling around in a starship, violating the speed of light limit, e-mailing yourself from a ship to a planetary surface, fabricating everything you want or need electronically.

Add to that, the fact that, once humanity gets off the Earth, let alone out into the galaxy, the scale of economic scarcity will change as resources become virtually unlimited and energy becomes virtually free. So much for Dick Lamm's ideas about the duty of old people to die. Nobody sane would ever accuse a liberal of possessing enhanced intelligence.

I carry no brief for NASA, just as I have no love for the NRA. But as I am heartened whenever I see an NRA sticker on a passing car, I know the fact that the Obama regime is choking NASA to death is not a good sign for our species. In essence, they are trying to cancel the future.

Exactly the same thing is now going on with medicine. If the left has its way, there will be no more advances, either in saving lives or extending them. They've always believed that humanity is a blight and a disease and that "what the Earth really needs is another good plague". If you get sick, these are the creatures who will decide your fate.

Death panel, circa 2010.

Understand this much if you understand nothing else. Collectivism is a form of mental illness, a serious and dangerous mental illness. It begins, for whatever reason (you don't really want to hear my theories about this), with an intense, churning, acidic self-loathing. That self-loathing gets extended to everything and everyone within sight.

Leftists hate their families—look at families they construct for situation comedies, a part of the media they control, lock, stock, and barrel. Leftists hate their culture, preferring anything that isn't what they grew up with—if it can be strung with beads, dyed blue, and coated with dung, so much the better. Leftists hate their country, being enamored of totalitarian governments, not despite the fact that they murder their own people by the millions, but because of it.

However the politics of the matter turn out over the next few hours, the next few days, or the next few months, we must never forget that the great objective of the left is, and always—has been—to kill us, just as it was in Germany, under National Socialism, just as it was in Russia, under Lenin and Stalin, just as it was in China, under Mao, just as it was in Cambodia, under Pol Pot, just as it was in Nicaragua, for the Miskito Indians, under the genocidal Ortega brothers.

Today, you have only to look at most American politicians to see the homicidal sickness writhing inside them, straining to get out and kill.

When all of this eventually shakes out, conceivably at the future Nuremberg II Tribunals, those who have fought for individual liberty must see to it that the politicians voting today to shorten your life and mine are no different than those who built and ran the death camps.

They must be accorded exactly the same justice.

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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