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L. Neil Smith's
Number 562, March 21, 2010

"I'd had better hopes for America."

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The Pot and the Kettle
by L. Neil Smith

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Over the past couple of weeks, I have listened to dozens of hours of talk radio, most of it focused on the effort to impose, by force, a collectivized medical system on what is clearly no longer a free people.

During all that time, plenty has been said about a wide range of related topics. Those I listen to are by no means monolithic in their views, but vary on details of policy, philosophy, personality, and attitude. Sometimes they differ to a startling degree, considering that the majority of them started out, more or less, as conservative Republicans.

As Al Franken has demonstrated, liberals give lousy talk radio.

Nevertheless—despite the fact that some of these individuals have since left the Republican Party in disappointment or disgust and now simply refer to themselves as "conservatives" with a threatening implication that they might someday form their own political party—there are certain things that I conspicuously haven't been hearing from them that are vital to understanding and participating in this debate.

"Like what?" I pretend to hear you ask.

No less than anybody else, I have been sickened and enraged at the vile manner in which the repulsive Nancy Pelosi has been willing to distort established custom and Constitutional law—any historical consequences be damned—in order to get what she wants out of that "parliament of whores" we mistakenly call the United States House of Representatives.

What has gone unsaid is that Republicans are equally lawless when it comes to getting their way. The last half of the 20th century, for example, was filled with undeclared and therefore illegal wars—Korea and Vietnam come to mind—instigated by Democrats, but which could have been brought to a halt by a single dissenting voice, either in the House or the Senate, of some courageous Republican who actually gave a damn about the rule of law. Instead, Republicans have eagerly embraced these wars and ended up being their principal defenders and apologists.

Another example: there is nothing in the Constitution authorizing any legislative body (including, under the Supremacy Clause, state assemblies, county commissions, and city councils) to outlaw drugs. When a coalition of do-gooding bucket-heads and scheming racketeers plotted to outlaw alcohol in the early 20th century, even they could understand that they would have to amend the Constitution to accomplish it, which they did. No such amendment has ever even been proposed to justify the War of Drugs—an invention of the sinister Nixon Administration, expanded by that shining paragon of individual liberty, the sainted Ronald Reagan—and therefore every bit of it is illegal.

It's too bad that we no longer have a Libertarian Party in this country. It would be fun to see Republicans flap and squeal and dirty themselves when LP candidates promised to "make whole" each and every victim of the War on Drugs, no matter how unsavory or socially unacceptable.

But I digress.

Republicans are highly enthusiastic about kidnapping and holding individuals in places like Guantanamo, without even the faintest nod to due process, claiming war powers in a conflict that has never been properly declared. Just as Republicans lied, during the War of Northern Aggression, that the states had been created by the federal government and had no right to secede, they claim now, with equal truthfulness, that only Americans have rights, when the fact is that the Founding Fathers saw themselves as upholding basic rights possessed equally by every human being. See the Declaration of Independence, if you doubt me:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Of course they'd claim it was exactly the other way around, if that suited their purpose, which is—and always has been—the accumulation of power and money, not necessarily in that order. If it happens to be an American they wish to mistreat this way, they simply declare him to be an "enemy alien" and his exclusively American rights evaporate.

I always said that in a country where a legislature, its sessions limited by statute, could alter reality by turning back the clock (I actually saw this done, once, with a long pole pushing on the hour hand), any travesty was possible. I see nothing lately to prove me wrong.

But it is in the matter of torture that Republican duplicity, hypocrisy, and lawlessness stand forth most starkly. Everybody (even Republicans) knows perfectly well what torture is: the use of pain, extreme discomfort, or deprivation—or the threat of pain, extreme discomfort, or deprivation—to elicit some behavior from a helpless victim.

Just because Republicans deny that Americans use torture—they claim, ludicrously, that since the U.S, doesn't use torture, whatever they're doing, by definition, can't be torture; they claim that things like sleep deprivation and excruciatingly loud noises, and chaining their victims' throats to the floor for hours by a couple of inches of chain is just "enhanced interrogation—their denial doesn't make it so.

And now, with this shameful record of lawbreaking in both their remote and recent past, and not a moral leg left to stand on (Lincoln was called "Honest Abe" for the same reason that bald men are called "Curly", and "W" was literally the spawn of the CIA) Republicans are finally getting what they asked for. Unfortunately, we're getting what they asked for, too. If, as many of my friends are suggesting—on their way out of Dodge—that America is beyond saving, Republicans must accept their full share of the blame for killing the American Dream.

This is not to lift a microgram of guilt from the shoulders of the Democrats. After hearing all the ways that Pelosi and her orc-like minions plan to bend or break the rules and the law, in order to erect the iron dictatorship they desire, I looked up "representative" in an online thesaurus, hoping to discover the perfect antonym to describe them.

I couldn't find anything useful. There is no suitable antonym to "representative", not in this context. But, since these parasites are plainly ignoring the will of the people—three quarters of whom don't want government healthcare and have been saying so as loudly and repeatedly as they can for months—they can't accurately refer to themselves as "representatives", not any more. They must be something else.

The word "congress" has a number of different meanings, and the kind of congress I'm thinking about can be carried out voluntarily or against its victims' wills. Some female politician (I can't remember whether it was Pelosi or the meretricious creature from my district) has assured us that, once medicalized Marxism has been forced on us, we'll like it, which reveals nothing more than the attitude of a rapist.

Only a week ago, the congressional baggage who claims to represent me was blogging to the whole wide world about how she was really a fiscal conservative and loathed the very idea of government imposed healthcare. Then, overnight, she magically and mysteriously changed her tiny mind. Now she hasn't a prayer of getting reelected in this district. Similarly, we all know that Dennis Kucinich made similar claims until he was "taken for a ride" on Air Force One, after which he became a champion of Obamacare. There are many other stories like these.

Radio hosts and callers alike speculated for days about what these people were offered—or were threatened with—to change their votes and betray their constituencies. When I heard about Kucinich, I thought a lot about the movie Mulholland Falls. The other side swore to remember them and to vote them out of office next November and in 2012—in fact their whole strategy rests on being able to accomplish that.

But here's something I never heard anywhere: were they told that, owing to an emergency—widespread civil unrest the administration planned to manufacture—the 2010 election would be postponed or canceled, and their seats would be secure for as long as they wanted them? I wonder. It would certainly account for the "political suicide" they appear to be committing with this relentless drive of theirs to socialism.

And that means no more democracy, no more republic, but rule, instead, by troops, the secret dream, if they were truthful, of many a Republican, and a return to the whip and the rack for those who won't bend.

I'd had better hopes for America.

Didn't you?

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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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