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L. Neil Smith's
Number 693, October 21, 2012

"We are compelled to choose between voting for the lesser
of two or three or four evils and not voting at all"

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The Doldrums
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

The doldrums is a strip of land and water near the equator where the trade winds, east and west, cancel each other out. Vessels that found themselves there without wind to fill their sails, were said to be "becalmed in the doldrums". A similar nautical expression is "adrift in the horse latitudes". I'm not sure whether they're the same thing.

It's an altogether appropriate metaphor for the political position that we eternally homeless libertarians find ourselves in at this precise moment. We have reached that point in the election cycle— hardly for the first time—where we are compelled to choose between voting for the lesser of two or three or four evils and not voting at all.

The available choices have been very carefully narrowed down for us to an individual whose real name none us of knows, and another we know all to well. One—at least to judge by his past mentors and various offhand remarks he's made over the years—is a communist partisan who has already come very close (with copious help from the previous administration) to wrecking the biggest and strongest economy on the planet.

The fact that he may be a Muslim is the only good thing about him, as he seems inclined in foreign policy to end the preference given for the past sixty-four years to the police state called Israel and to deal more open-handedly with vastly greater populations in the middle east. However he mixes his message by sending killer drones into that same area, seemingly at random, killing the same pregnant widows and ten-year-old goatherds that the previous administration did by other means.

At the same time, the other major candidate has said or done nothing to distinguish himself, policywise, from the incumbent and, in his own way is as much of an enigma as the sitting President. It should be apparent to everyone by now that elections in this country are far from free, that they are pantomimes with scripted outcomes whose only purpose is to legitimize rule by and for the corporate elites.

Most of the time, the elites have been content to let the country be ruled by hired hands. From time to time, however, when feeding this parasitic class has upset the delicate balance, they have felt it necessary to send in one of their own to clean up the mess. The first time this occurred—and I was aware of it—was when Nelson Rockefeller was sent in as Gerald Ford's Vice President after Nixon had made a tangled mess of the economy and all the President could come up with was a big red button that said "WIN", for "Whip Inflation Now".

In those days, inflation could be blamed on greedy capitalists hiking prices so high that nobody could afford whatever they had to sell. Or even more absurdly, inflation was the fault of consumers, for being willing to pay those high prices—for bread or milk, or other frivolities.

The problem is that, today, many more people understand clearly that the birthplace of inflation is the printing presses run by the Treasury Department, and, even more diabolically, the distribution of empty, baseless, fraudulent credit—"air currency"—to favored institutions.

The past two administrations have permitted so much of that kind of criminality that today, the once healthiest nation on the planet is on the brink of economic collapse. So the elites have sent in another pitcher or quarterback or whatever sports metaphor you may prefer, and instead of being a hired hand, he is one of their own. We can judge their power from the outcome of this election. If Obama can defeat Romney, that means they're not as strong as they have been in the past.

For those of us who align themselves with neither group, the Usurpers or the Old Guard, this is a barren season. The one candidate who speaks anything like our language wasn't going to win anyway. But when he reveals his plan to tax us in a whole new way, as I heard him do again, very recently, on a Denver radio talk show, he seals his fate.

That candidate, of course, is the former Republican governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, running under the Libertarian Party banner. Yet Libertarianism is the political expression of the Zero Aggression Principle, which holds that nobody has a right to initiate force against another human being for any reason. No libertarian candidate should be talking about a new tax scheme. He should be conveying our solemn commitment, as individuals, as party members, as Americans, and as human beings to end the ancient evil of tax-slavery forever. As it is, this candidate simply presents himself as a peculiar kind of Republican, and I would no more vote for him than I would for Obama or Romney.

Anyone who knows me or my writing understands why the Green Party candidate is out of the question. It would be fun to attend a news conference given by the Greens and ask her where she stands on the United Nations, Agenda 21, and their award-winningly insane goal to eliminate nine tenths of the human race for the sake of lovely Mother Gaia.

So here we sit in the doldrums, at a moment that ought to be filled with excitement and anticipation, and what have we got, instead?

My ballot has arrived in the mail, and I have not opened it nor marked it yet. It's possible I won't. One candidate—no libertarian, but an individual who understands that it is the function of the Bill of Rights to limit the State; it is not the function of the State to limit the Bill of Rights—was cheated out of his party's nomination. I'd have voted for him gladly, but that choice was illegally denied me.

I wonder who he's going to vote for.

L. Neil Smith is the Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE, as well as the author of 33 freedom-oriented books, the most recent of which is DOWN WITH POWER: Libertarian Policy in a Time of Crisis:
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[ dead tree and Nook]
DOWN WITH POWER was selected as the Freedom Book Club Book-of-the-Month for August 2012

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