Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 845, November 1, 2015

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front cover of Down With Power

Seems Like Old Times
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Operating my trusty laptop last week was like piloting a time machine. My tolerance for the subhumanity offered to the American public as Presidential timber had sunk to an all-time low. I couldn't imagine what candidates for lesser offices were like. I was thinking of Caligula. When he appointed his war-steed to the Roman Senate, it was said to be the first time a whole horse had occupied a Senate seat.

I shared my discontents with a handful of Facebook correspondents, who agreed with me, but didn't seem to have any better idea what to do about it than I had. I had known, since I was in Fourth Grade, that I was living at the end of this particular cycle of civilization (how I knew it is a whole other story) but I didn't want to be. I haven't yet given up on the idea that is America, and I wasn't quite ready to begin.

That's why I had joined the Libertarian Party in the first place, and it had always wound up in passionate arguments and discussions just like I was having now, on Facebook. What's the best strategy for getting there from here, to freedom from non-freedom? It was an eerily familiar feeling. There were a few of those, like me, who were less concerned about the number of votes we collected, than the number of folks who could be persuaded just to live their own lives, and others to whom a vote was everything—even a good excuse to fudge on your principles just a little. The latter got seriously in the way of the former.

What's more, with the generous help of an anonymous benefactor, I had recently written and published a big book, Down With Power, about what's wrong with our country and how to fix it relatively quickly and easily. The trouble was, nobody seemed to be buying Down With Power or reading it; my publisher was disconsolate, and even my contributor appeared disappointed with the result. I think he'd been expecting another For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard, or Libertarianism, by John Hospers, or The Machinery of Freedom, by David Friedman, but from the very beginning, I hadn't wanted to write just another primer, explaining what libertarianism is, but a policy book, explaining what libertarianism could do, if it was given the opportunity.—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

And there was another problem: the "pragmatists", a gaggle of wonks within the Libertarian Party who cherished a number of ridiculously absurd beliefs that had long kept the Libertarian Party from achieving measurable success. These absurd beliefs had sprung into being, I think, the first day that the party existed. The first absurdity was that the "pragmatists" were somehow vastly more intelligent or far better educated than the average schlub voter who didn't belong to Mensa, and telepathically or clairvoyantly knew what the voters wanted (or didn't want) better than the voters themselves, did.

The second might be termed "Jack Nicholson's Fallacy" or "You can't handle the truth." The idea is that, somehow, the average voter, "Joe Sixpack", won't be able to tolerate the overwhelming shock of what libertarians really believe deep down inside, and so he must be lied to. People must somehow be fooled into being free. The "Pragmatists" thought it would be cute to gut the national platform of the late 1970s, and, using excuses even they knew sounded phony and malicious, remove from it any reason people might discover for voting for libertarians instead of Republicans or Democrats. The equivalent of the GOP's RINOs, they gleefully destroyed a document ten years in the making, which the editor of a major New York publisher praised as reading as if it had been written by one person. Helpless to act against these vandals, I vowed revenge—and a new comprehensive platform with which to embarrass them. Down With Power is that platform.—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

I don't believe in Joe Sixpack, myself, so to disprove this utter nonsense, I ran for the Colorado State House of Representatives, against the popular six-term Speaker of the House, resolved absolutely to tell my audiences what I and most other libertarians really believed. It didn't take much resolve, in fact,it rarely does. I'm a natural-born blabbermouth.

To carry matters to extreme, I always led with the most unpopular issue. If I was speaking to a liberal group, for example, like the Association of University women, the topic was "gun control". Before they had a chance to react emotionally, I explained to them the basic process—the Zero Aggression Principle plus the Bill of Rights—by which we'd come to our conclusion, and additionally promised them it was the worst thing that they'd have to hear from me. I added that we'd used exactly the same method to arrive at our conclusions on abortion.

(A parenthetical statement is probably called for here. In 1977, Freshman Congressman Ron Paul and anti-abortion activist Doris Gordon appeared before the Libertarian National Platform Committee in San Francisco to make their plea for what many of us on the panel regarded as enslaving young women to fetuses that they didn't want. It my view, they should have been dismissed curtly, not listened to politely as they were. The LP has remained somewhat confused on the issue ever since.)

When the group was conservative, I started with drugs, made the same explanations, and wound up with guns. The toughest were groups of old people to whom I spoke about Social Security. I found that they didn't really want to impoverish or indenture their grandchildren. It helped that the core of my speech was about increasing their real purchasing power by a factor of eight, by abolishing taxes and regulations.

In an era when libertarians normally received 1.5% of the vote, I got 15%, on an expenditure of $8.00. More importantly, people came to me afterward to tell me they disagreed, but had voted for me because I'd told them the truth. made them mad, even made them laugh and cheer.

So much for "pragmatism".

I have come to believe that a major problem with these specimens is that they're timid. They're embarrassed to state plainly, and in public, what a libertarian really is—an entity who owns himself absolutely—and what he stands for—no aggression, no compromise. They erroneously assume that everybody else is just as afraid to hear that truth. This psychopathological phenomenon is known as "projection".

And of course, there are those who are simply reserving some right they erroneously imagine that they possess to beat me up (or anybody else) and kill me if it happens to serve their private or public interests.

Or, I suppose it's possible, that out of a misguided sense of opportunism, a person might become a "LINO"—a "libertarian in name only"; what advantage there might be in it, I'm totally at a loss to understand.

Whatever their reasons for being whatever they were, I wanted them all subjected to the humiliation of attempting to explain away (especially to the media) obviously libertarian ideas—although I freely confess that they may not be equipped to appreciate the irony of it. For now, I'll just be kind and leave the poltroons unnamed, but in future essays, I will indeed speak of them and their organizations by name, and, after some research, try to examine their individual motivations,

I found that I had missed that old, magical time, when the movement and its infinite possibilities were new to me. I wanted it all back, along with the spark, the thrill. I thought my own book, Down With Power—and its effect on others—might bring it back to me.

I wrote this book as a weapon of individual liberty.—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

The libertarian movement as we knew it is dying; it's practically dead. If you think you want to revive the libertarian movement, if yu want to feel philosophically young again, if you want to restart the revolution, first, buy and read Down With Power. It's available on paper, electronically, or read aloud by radio personality, Brian Wilson.—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

Then, if what you have read suits you, buy copies of Down With Power for your relatives and friends, for your parents, for your grandparents, for your kids, your cousins and uncles and aunts—and especially for your enemies. If the badguys get even an inkling of what they're up against, they'll advertise it in a noisy panic, far better than we could ever hope to do. I'll send a signed copy, myself, to that pack of carrion-eating jackals, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The next step is bigger: buy cartons of Down With Power, at a generous discount for your group. It's cheaper than an AK-47 or an AR-15, and more effective, because it takes on and kills the very idea of authority and initiated force. Distribute it any way you can think of. Libraries might be a place to start, and your doctor might like her waiting patients to read about separation of medicine and state.—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

Finally, show up at public gatherings—especially political ones—with copies of Down With Power, its distinctive cover, in your hands. You'll be talking back to the guys who think they run things.

True, I will make money—but that's how I earn a living, how I feed my family, and libertarians are supposed to be all in favor of individual private enterprise. My small Maryland publisher—what must he think of our vaunted movement right now?—will prosper, which is extremely good news for all of us. And you'll have another shot at creating a free country after being disappointed by politics and politicians all these years. Now, instead of begging them to listen, you'll get to listen to them begging to know what's in the book.

They may ned help with the big words.

So it's time to go to work. There are 330,000,000 Americans who need to read and apply the remedies in Down With Power if America is going to survive the 21st century. You can help them decide if it will.

Down With Power click through from The Libertarian Enterprise—Scroll down until you find the "bookstore".

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