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L. Neil Smith's
Number 577, July 4, 2010

"He pissed me off."

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Blast from the Past!

Born on the What of Who?
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

[Author's Note: the following essay ran in The Libertarian Enterprise Number 374, July 2, 2006 and seems even more applicable now than it did then.]

Another Fourth of July is upon us, the 230th. By rights, and to paraphrase an inscription on the sideplate of one of my Ruger sixguns, manufactured in 1976, it should have been "the 230th year of American liberty".

Sad to say, it is far from that.

Instead, the television screen is full of warnings and threats, lest you celebrate July Fourth in the traditional way (Ben Franklin would have loved pop-bottle rockets) by setting off fireworks. If the media mouthpieces ever heard about "shooting the anvil" they'd pee themselves.

The American Revolution—and the spirit of independence that it evokes—has always been an embarrassment to the shriveled sociopaths whose existence centers upon an eternal struggle to gain and retain control over the lives of others. They have spared no effort to crush that spirit—it has always occupied the top spot on their agenda—and turn the Fourth into just another excuse for idiots to guzzle beer until they vomit, or get themselves mangled to death on the interstate highway.

We have now reached a point (I suspect the Brits reached it in the 19th century, and the Romans well before the birth of Christ) where the political process selects only the most crooked, dullwitted, and demented among us, a point where decent, intelligent, and rational individuals have no place in public life and are winnowed out by the system. A point where commemorating a Revolution is seen as a dire threat.

In a moral sense, America has reverted to the Stone Age. It has become a dark cave where the light of the Bill of Rights never shines. The White House is occupied by a stumbing cretin with the ethical outlook of a piranha, carefully isolated by handlers and flacks—as he has been for most of his life, long before he became a politician—so that he doesn't have the merest clue what's going on in the real world.

The stumbling cretin will be replaced, in due course, with another twisted subcreature just like him, chosen by one or the other of two political parties whose members—long gone in the most putrescent corruption imaginable—regard the horrible death by starvation of half a million children as "worth it", in order to demonstrate the power of a nation-state most of us were brought up to believe was conceived to defend the life, the freedom, and the dignity of the individual.

Perhaps America never quite measured up to the ideals on which it was built. At least it once regarded those ideals as a standard to strive for.

No more.

Now the standard is the slaughter of entire villages of innocent individuals, the torture of helpless prisoners and political suspects, and the midnight knock on the door, followed by an illegal abduction into a secret prison system from which there can be no relief or appeal.

I read the other day that some people are upset that a new movie about Superman has the Man of Steel fighting for "truth, justice, and ... all that stuff." (Personally, I have always preferred Batman, a thoroughly non-super guy enraged by injustice and dedicated to doing something about it. But that's me, and once again, I have digressed.) The smarmy marxoids who made the Superman movie have offered all kinds of phony excuses for omitting the more traditional "the American Way", and I confess that, when I first read about this, it made me fairly angry.

But then I got to thinking: exactly what is "the American Way", these days? To more and more people of the world, the American Way is beating up and murdering your neighbors so you can steal what they have.

Nobody in power wants you thinking about these things. They want you out barbecuing, water-skiing, alcohol-swilling, and car smashing. The very last thing they want you to think about is what America was supposed to be, how it has been wrecked, or what might be done about it.

If colorful displays of flowers at every door were the traditional way of celebrating the Declaration of Independence for the past 230 years, private possession and display of flowers would have long since been outlawed, a thousand counterfeit explanations invented to justify it, and the populace would be exhorted by the pimps and whores of the broadcast mass media, stiff and reeking with hairspray, to enjoy the safe and sane flower displays set out for them by the duly constituted authorities.

The fact is, ownership and use of fireworks should be protected by the Second Amendment. Not only were they weapons, once upon a time—see the use of Congreve rockets at the Battle of New Orleans—but they were also extremely useful for frightening the enemy, exactly like bagpipes, which were also once considered (and banned) as a weapon of warfare. If Brits celebrated July Fourth, they'd be ordered to attend public bagpipe concerts and avoid private bagpipe ownership at any cost.

But get this through your head: the power elite don't give a damn about you, your family, your safety, or your future, except that those things serve their purpose. You are a resource to them, another pink body in one of those transparent bathtubs we saw in The Matrix, an object to be tapped at will, like an oil well or steer. Accordingly, the justifications they give for outlawing fireworks, or ignoring your demand that you be left to assess your own risks, are hypocritical crap.

So what I suggest is that you go ahead and do your barbecuing. (I'm doing gigantic shrimp for the first time this year, and as they pop and sizzle on the grill, I'm going to give them all names from the current regime.) Do your water-skiing. Skip the car-crashing, if you please.

I will do nothing that can be construed as patriotic. The Fourth of July is incurably tainted by government and corporate oppression. Instead, I plan to start making a big thing of December 15th, the day the Bill of Rights—the document our oppressors hate most—was ratified.

And yes, you can barbecue and drink beer in the winter.

And shoot the anvil.

Water skiing's a little tougher.

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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

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