Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 825, June 14, 2015

Political Power: Too much of every day
life consists of defying it, avoiding
it, or evading it, simply to live.

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The Citizens' Oversight Committee
by L.Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

In the 1960s, when, by contrast to the problems of today, we had hardly any trouble with the police, those who weren't so satisfied used to grumble and blather all the time about organizing "civilian review boards", and even got it done here and there, in one city or another. Their basic troubles were, they kept trying for some kind of establishment credentials for these boards, and believed they needed some kind of judicial clout. That was before the end of the Age of Authority.

You'd think we'd know better by now; in fact, we unconsciously act on that principle every day. As I've said several times, Americans have obeyed their last gun law. There is no more respect left here (or, indeed, in the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia—I don't know enough about New Zealand) for political power. Too much of every day life consists of defying it, avoiding it, or evading it, simply to live. It isn't our fault, but that of the overreaching authorities in question.

A simple panel consisting of long-respected advocates of liberty would influence the society around it far more than Barack or Michelle Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, or even Gabby Giffords.

Suppose we establish a "National Citizens' Oversight Committee" to observe and receive reports on current events and issue aggressive press releases about them? Suppose our committee consisted of civil rights attorney Alan Dershowitz, former Congressman Jim DeMint, music critic ans free-speech advocate Nat Hentoff, judge Andrew Napolitano, and it was chaired by former congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul? Nobody could accuse these respected figures of having anything in common but their love and respect for the Bill of Rights. They're all old and experienced enough to understand that we're all on the same side—the side of people owning and controlling their own lives.

It would work like this: made aware of some situation in which the state is attempting to relieve individuals of their rights, or re-write the Bill of Rights, the Committee would show up, investigate hold hearings, and then pronounce on what they've seen. The Committee would have an excellent network to present whatever they have to say (like half a hundred anti-scientific committees) and what they say would carry varying weight, depending on a number of factors. I'd like to have female members, Pam Gellar and Phylis Schlafly, for example, but I can't think of any women on the left who meet the qualifications.

They would declare an individual's guilt or innocence, just like a government court, Similar committees would be encouraged to organize themselves at the state, county, and municipal levels. They would call for various penalties, corporal or capital, depending on the case. A politician might be advised to take a long leap from the highest building.

Five years, and the country would clean itself up. Consider this the beginning of a conversation concerning the re-installation of a decent society on this continent. Precisely what are you willing to do?

Celebrated and award-winning author of over 30 books and countless shorter pieces, L. Neil Smith is available, at professional rates, to write articles and speeches for you or your organization, providing that our principles are compatible. Contact him at

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