Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 557, February 14, 2010

"The path of agorism is not easy."

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Letter from Dennis Lee Wilson

Letter from A.X. Perez with reply from L. Neil Smith

Letter from Curt Howland

Letter from Steven Lynes, Sr.

Letter from Brian Dunbar

Letter from Crazy Al

Letters from A.X. Perez, Neale Osborn and Richard Bartucci

In last week's The Libertarian Enterprise Number 556, February 7, 2010, Manuel Miles aka Kaptain Kanada had a strange way of making a comeback—especially among libertarian minded readers.

While reading "Run and Hide; The Kaptain's Back", I kept thinking "Gee. Did "Kaptain K" read the same article by Smith that I read?"

I found NOTHING in Smith's "Abortion: An Excerpt From Hope" that even HINTED about "Forcing somebody to have an abortion" or having the government pay for abortions. In point of fact, the exact opposite are explicitly advocated by Smith. What is KK (or MM) smoking that he cannot read the actual words from the computer screen?!? Why is he deliberately misrepresenting Smith's position?

The Kaptain trots out all the same old shopworn arguments about abortion but completely ignores Smith's point (which is also the ENTIRE point of "Abortion: An Excerpt From Hope) about WHY THE STATE SHOULD NOT BECOME INVOLVED. And he completely ignores the points about the complete loss of remaining freedoms that will be the necessary consequence of attempting to get the state involved!

Smith's article is neutral on abortion itself (actually the main character in Hope has a view similar to KK!) because the REAL ISSUE is individual freedom vs state control.

From "Abortion: An Excerpt From Hope":

"...abortion is the issue that the Left counts on, gentlemen, counts on to keep the freedom movement divided. And here we all are today, proving it."

The Kaptain is doing exactly what Smith predicted. Was it intentional in order to finish off what remains of the libertarian movement? If not, I wonder if KK knows the meaning of irony?

Dennis Lee Wilson
Signatory: Covenant of Unanimous Consent

Abortion: You Just Can't Win

The problem with abortion is that it gets down to conflicting rights. At what point in its development does a fetus become a person whose right to live equals or exceeds its mother's right to control her own body? The moment of conception? How about the rare chimerical person in whom fraternal twins fused to form a single individual? Which fertilized egg had a soul?

Just as importantly, who the fuck am I to say when a fertilized egg is ensouled? God has not sat me down, offered me a drink and a smoke and said, "Now Al, this is when I put in the soul..."

Does physical helplessness give an unborn child the right to enslave its mother as its incubator? How about ectopic pregnancies and other instances where it could cause the mother's death trying unsuccessfully to bring a child to full term?

Then again, why should an unborn child pay the price for its mother's failure to take the pill, insist he wear a condom, count to 28 correctly (Yes I know not all women are that regular) or otherwise use appropriate birth control?

I have to ask myself if politicians and judges (not always the same thing) are smart enough to tell a woman she can't have an abortion or that she must have an abortion.

For the life of me I honestly can't answer that one favorably.

Perhaps if we had the machinery to detect souls, or the technology to "salvage" unwanted fetuses and bring them to term in artificial wombs I could be a lot surer.

To a large degree I am playing devil's advocate here. I happen to be pro-life, opine that except to save the mother's life abortion is wrong and murderous. However, I have enough sense to recognize I don't know all the answers or to see what circumstances a particular mother is facing. Nor am I smart enough to see how to stop people from having abortions without committing a "sin" as bad or worse than abortion. I suspect most of you, using different words, ultimately share much of this opinion.

Perhaps if more political leaders would have the same humility we would have less to fear of tyranny. They don't, so they must be opposed, even, perhaps especially, those with whom we most closely agree.

A.X. Perez

To which L. Neil Smith replied:

I'll be writing on this issue this week [see "Of Blue Eyes and Bambi"—Editor]. Meanwhile, understand that, under The American Rules of Discourse, mention of "souls" must be excluded from the argument, since the First Amendment basically says that we will not form public policy on the basis of our religious beliefs.

To you and John Adams, perhaps, a soul is a real, almost palpable thing. To me and Thomas Paine, it's part of a primitive belief system which has seriously crippled our attempts to climb out of the Dark Ages.

I don't usually put it that bluntly, as I have many religious friends I respect, but this issue is one that the left counts on to divide the freedom movement and keep it helpless. We're closer to being overwhelmed by collectivism now than the Brits were during the Blitz. We need to stop all this crap and get on with disposing of the socialist enemy.

Then we can argue about abortion.

L. Neil Smith

Dear Editor,

If there was ever an example of exactly what El Neil was trying to say in Hope, Manuel Miles delivered it full term.

The Party of State Power control committee, the ones who have successfully corrupted both the Libertarian Party and the Tea Party to their own ends, are laughing at us.

"Look! See how well our plan is working to divide and conquer! We have successfully framed even the most simple argument, through our loyal mouthpieces in the media and religion, into political issues to create discord and ensure that no one can ever cooperate long enough to endanger us."

Time for that Pogo quote again.

Curt Howland

While I agree with you on just about everything you write, after reading your article "I Told You So," abortion is not one of them.

For me it boils down to the following. The so called "fetus" that you refer to (a human being to me) has natural rights (or God given depending on your perspective) just like the mother does. Unfortunately due to all the feminists pushing "choice" (for the mother that is) the rights of the baby are ignored. Who is going to advocate for the baby's rights? Who is going to stand up for the baby's life?

I believe in allowing someone to live their life as they see fit as long as they harm no one else in the process but in this instance the mother is harming someone else, the baby. Many automatically and incorrectly (also immorally in my opinion) discount the baby's choice, the baby's rights, and the baby's life when they support or elect to have an abortion.

Yes a woman should have a choice, as we all should, to include the baby. In a rational and moral society, after she made that first choice, the choice to willingly spread her legs and have unprotected sex, her choices should end. She could have chose to not have sex, to have her partner wear a condom, to have an IUD emplaced, to take birth control, to use a diaphragm, foam, etc., etc. but when she chooses to be irresponsible and just plain lazy by having unprotected sex then she has given up her choice over that one particular aspect of her body if she happens to become pregnant from her act of coupling.

Abortion is murder, pure and simple. Abortion clinics should be closed down and doctors who practice that black art should be tried and imprisoned if found guilty.

Besides declaring abortion to be murder I don't think we need to legislate or regulate any additional laws or rules regarding the act, there are plenty laws and rules enough to deal with murder already, we just need to make it known that this act is another form of murder and will be prosecuted.

If a woman chooses to have a back alley abortion that is her prerogative but she needs to know that it is not a sanctioned act and if she is found out she will be charged with murder.

Steven Lynes, Sr.


I see that my blog was linked by a letter to the editor in The Libertarian Enterprise: how flattering!

I copied this from Doctor Pournelle's not-blog, Chaos Manor.

"Whereas Congress has determined that a US owned manned space station is in the national interest, be it resolved that the Treasurer of the United States is directed to pay, and payment is hereby authorized, to the first American owned firm to place 14 Americans in orbit about the Earth and maintain them there continuously for a period of not less than 18 months, the sum of Seven Billion dollars, this payment to be free of taxes."

Replace 'space station' with 'lunar base' and Increase the amount if one wishes. I suspect this alone would kick-start a reasonable, sustainable beginning for the infrastructure for a space-faring civilization.

But it won't happen: this plan does not leave enough control for folks in Congress. Never mind the tax revenue that a new trillion-dollar a year industry would bring in: we've got jobs to worry about back in the home district.

Brian Dunbar



The Blizzard of Superbowl Weekend 2010 shut down the US government on Monday 8 February, 2010.

Choose Answer:

A. Yes!

B. Al Gore should be blushing bad enough to be a major source of global warming by now.

C. Frakkin' A yes!!

Crazy Al
Somewhere in Far West Texas

Our Alleged Allies

Many contributors for TLE have defended the right to shed as much clothing as circumstances (weather and other physical conditions, mostly) permit. They have decried repressive laws on the issue, the customs these laws are based on, the repressive nature of the nudity taboo, the repressive nature of those who insist on enforcing a stricter taboo than many believe in.

So I have to ask the following questions of our international readers: Is it repressive to require people to wear less clothing than their personal tastes, whether derived from shyness or religion, requires? Is it repressive if this requirement comes from a desire to change the values of members of an ethnic or religious group you dislike? What purpose, other than deliberately show contempt for Muslim religious ideals and the people that practice them is served by the current attempt to force Muslim women to stop wearing the burqa?

Maybe it's because I'm an American and I remember the efforts to strip the Indians of their religion, language, family structures and essentially of their Indian-ness that I find this offensive. Maybe because I live in the town where schools lost the suit over the rule that made it a suspension offense to speak Spanish on campus, even during free time that I find this offensive. And perhaps because the French people were quite willing to criticize our bigotry in the past when we were trying to fix it I do feel free to criticize their exercise in bigotry when they surrender to xenophobia.

Too often we get so involved in staving off the efforts of religious fanatics to seize control of the state that we forget that the state should not have the power to control religious practices (I'll make an exception for banning human sacrifice, and even then I want that term strictly defined). I would feel offended if Fundamentalist Christians or Muslims gained the power to force women to wear more "modest" clothing. I find it equally objectionable that any state, even one that I do not live under, claims the right to forbid a woman to dress as modestly as she pleases, especially when this law is based on fear and hatred of her faith and its practitioners.

A.X. Perez

To which Neale Osborn replied:

A perfect response to the question I never even thought to ask! And the answer: NO, we don't have the right to take their Burkhas away. I would oppose them trying to force my daughter or wife INTO one, but if they WANT to wear one, feel free.

Neale Osborn

To which Richard Bartucci also replied:

I cannot disagree. The purpose of civil government—to the extent that it has any legitimate purpose whatsoever—is to deter violation of individual rights within its jurisdiction by the delegated exercise the right of the individual's right to apply violent force in retaliation.

How people dress up—or dress down, all the way to bare skin—impinges in no way upon other persons' rights to life, liberty, or property, and is therefore of no legitimate concern whatsoever for the officers of civil government.

Might as well criminalize the distinctive wear of Old Order Amish men, women, and children we find mingling more and more in our communities while undertaking commercial enterprises made necessary by the high prices of arable farm land and their increasing populations.

Richard Bartucci


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