Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 731, July 28, 2013

"One of the most unmistakable indications
that a civilization is in decline is when
it is no longer capable of telling
its heroes from its villains."

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Among the Many Things We've Lost...
by Cathy L.Z. Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

This has been a disturbing week full of personal turmoil, because I have realized explicitly that, along with the many loses we've all discussed between and among ourselves, there are aspects to the events of recent weeks that call into stark relief another of the many things that we have lost, not just since 9/11, not just since Vietnam, not just since Korea, not just since WWII, not just since WWI, not just since the War Between the States, and, indeed, not just since the American Revolution.

We lost this thing the very moment that one individual member of the species homo sapiens accepted the authoritarian assertions of another member of the species homo sapiens over his own life (which is his right), but then agreed not only to accept, but to champion, that authority over the lives of others (which is mostly decidedly not his right). Those people—you know who they are—are the apologists for every intrusion into the lives of otherwise peaceful people that has been imposed over the last [at least] ten-thousand years.

We lost this thing the very moment we allowed "the state" to define what is a crime.

There is, in fact, only one crime that individuals can commit against one another, and that crime is the initiation of force.

That crime is the root of evil. It consists of pointing a stick, a rock, a sword, a frying pan, a lead pipe, a car, or (most especially) a government, at another individual. The implications of that that last act, the initiation of government, are horrific beyond anything that anyone can commit at the individual level.

The most prolific of our "retail" serial killers, Luis Garavito (Colombia), has 138 "confirmed" murders to his credit. In the 20th Century, the combined death-toll of "government" (yours, mine, and ours) exceeds 250 million. If our serial killer had killed 138 per day for the last 100 years his death toll would be 5,037,000, a mere 2% of the Nearly-New-World-Order's authoritarian killing spree.

So aside from our safety, which was, and never has been, the responsibilty of anyone other that "us", what have we lost?

In a [long] moment of despair, I wrote a Facebook post—a cry, a lament about what a once prosperous nation has (and her people have) become.

As a consequence of that post I had a friend request from a member of a culture vastly older, a culture that is the source of much of the scientific advancement on which our recent prosperity has relied and expanded.

My writing was also reposted by a long-time friend of the agorist movement.

Here's the meat of the issue: distrust.

And here's the mantra: friend or spy ... not friend or foe, nor friend or enemy, but friend or SPY. And that's the true complexity of the issue.

I like to imagine that, once upon a time, people spoke the truth to one another, out of a desire to learn and understand the world around them. What I see before me, at this moment, is a collection of cultures in which we dare not speak the truth, because the truth does not conform to the political reality in which we are unable to avoid existing.

Alice doesn't live here anymore ... and I don't either. I overcame suspicion, managed to overcome the suspicion of another, and made connections where none had existed before.

Please be brave, my friends.

Thank you, Mazdak, and William.

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