Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's
Number 817, April 12, 2015

Rush, you are a glow-in-the-dark statist asshole.
If we had to rely on you for freedom, we'd all be
in chains, electrocuted into insensibility, covered
with bruises, and dripping with Mace and pepper
spray. You have become a first class copsucker.

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A Difference That Makes No Difference...
by L.Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I have lately been bitterly accused by those closest to me of the libertarian thought-crime of favoring one authoritarian side (conservatism) over the other side (liberalism), in the colossal battle that our once-great civilization has deteriorated into in my lifetime.

I don't really know what liberals think about me, assuming that they think of me at all; I don't know any liberals well enough to ask them. Conservatives, who never seem to understand that the differences between what they think and what libertarians think are just as great as those between us and liberals (or between liberals and themselves) tend to regard me as some kind of traitor, knifing my allies in the back.

Or trying to steal "their" votes.

This is distressing, because it means I have wasted fifty-two years and a great deal of effort in an unsuccessful attempt to define libertarianism (and myself) so people can appreciate the profound differences between us and the other two sides. For all that I've accomplished, I might as well have spent the time and effort playing golf, which is the greatest waste of time ever conceived by the human mind.

A constant complaint is that I tend to categorize large groups of human beings I don't (and can't) know individually, and then insult them en masse, as in "all liberals are crazy". But my whole life's experience is that the people who choose to characterize themselves as liberals are crazy, to one degree or another, or they wouldn't be liberals. Liberalism is a crazy substitute for a political or social philosophy. Any person who adopts it is inviting craziness into his life.

At this point I should be showering you with examples of typical liberal craziness, but we see those every day on the Internet. Just the topic of gun control is a life's study in craziness. Let one example suffice: California is in the middle of a completely unnecessary drought. Californian voters have avoided or destroyed every means by which they might have avoided or coped with a lack of water. But Governor Jerry Brown is now determined to fine anyone who takes a shower for too long. That is an inarguably crazy idea, from arguably the most liberal public figure in America. Does it prove all liberals are crazy? No, but it's completely consistent with such an analysis.

Often, I am criticized harshly for listening to people like Rush Limbaugh on the radio and sometimes repeating their observations. As it happens, though, I find it refreshing to disagree with a different half of everything they have to say than was the case with liberal media. And the truth is the truth, whoever expresses it; sometimes they're right. In the many long decades I spent watching network TV news, I never heard a figure like, say, Peter Jennings, tell a simple truth.

But the most painful and unjust accusation is that I always go easier in my criticism of conservatives than I do with liberals. Mind you, I have no moral obligation to be even-handed, but I deny this charge, and submit the great body of my non-fictional writings since the 1970s as evidence. What I have often said is that any attempt by one human being to control the life of another human being is either stupid, evil, or insane. From there, I'll leave it to you: exactly how would you describe somebody who wants to re-outlaw marijuana in Colorado?

And is it any better or worse than the liberal/fascist insanity of forcing a highly religious baker to bake a cake for my homosexual wedding?

Looks to me like straitjackets and handcuffs all around.

If I show bias, maybe it's because I believe that conservatives should know better. The shortcomings of conservatives are more obvious than those of liberals, and, one would think, need less explanation. They certainly are more profound. As I've frequently observed, unlike liberals, conservatives and libertarians alike understand well that "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch". Conservatives, however, are not above stealing lunch if they think they can get away with it.

Especially in the name of national security.

And that's the whole trouble with the right wing in a nutshell. They're supposed to be allies in our fight for liberty. They're supposed to be opponents to big government. But whenever you rely on them for assistance in the fight, poof!, they're gone, excusing themselves afterward in a variety of ways, and even calling for less freedom, instead of more, often justifying themselves with mouthings that mean absolutely nothing to the average libertarian. We are expected to tolerate certain kinds of oppression, because it's God's will. But I gave up epistemology rooted in faith, when I was in grade school. I live, as much as I can, consistently with the scientific method.

Observe reality, form an hypothesis about the way things work, experiment—or observe some more, and revise your hypothesis accordingly.

Some prominent conservatives would have us give up everything we've learned since Charles Darwin, and accept the myth that the world was created by the will of a mere phantasm only six thousand years ago. That's just embarrassing. I say, "Tell it to the rocks!" If liberals are crazy, then conservatives are nothing but infantile. It's a scientifically demonstrable fact that the human species has slowly and gradually descended from simpler life forms that arose themselves from nonliving chemistry an unimaginable four billion years ago. Like it or not, that's the way it is. You're a monkey's nephew—get over it.

The hallmark of conservatism, however—and what will keep them out of power—is their desire to prohibit abortion, which I'm not going to argue against here (although I can, and often do turn it into chopped liver). Suffice it to say that, regardless of your intentions, if you treat a woman as if her body is your property—or the property of the state or church—she's going to assume you think she's your property. She will resent that, and fight it. Don't pretend you don't understand.

I guess there are some differences here and there between liberalism and conservatism that motivate me to treat them somewhat differently. Not more or less gently, just differently. They are different things, after all. Liberalism (just the name treats it too gently) is born of a blatantly criminal desire to legitimize theft from the productive. Conservatism is born of a backward religiosity that drives a pathological need to control people and things. Both are severe problems of the human psyche that I won't live long enough to solve.

There is, however, an effective interim solution. The nation's Founders held a mixture of views and were unusually cognizant of a need to respect the rights—if not the views—of others. Despite what less truthful conservatives may say lately, the First Amendment represents our agreement that we will not make public policy on the basis of religious beliefs. Other Amendments hold similar solutions to many of today's seemingly insolvable problems. We must rededicate ourselves to observing the highest law of the land, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, most commonly known as the Bill of Rights.

Buttressed by the uniquely libertarian Zero Aggression Principle, that nobody has a right to initiate force against another human being for any reason, that is all the law that any nation needs or will ever need.

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