Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 866, April 3, 2016

Well this could be it.

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Re: "The Truth Is Out" by A.X. Perez

Dear Sir:

I would like to add a little depth to Perez' discussion of Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016), in which possession of a stun gun was held to be unprotected by the Second Amendment, in part due to it being unsuitable for militia service.

SCOTUS threw out this argument, and that ruling has far-reaching implications. In fact, the ruling in the famous Second Amendment case United States v. Miller (1939) was based entirely on the argument that the Second Amendment protects only ownership of military-type weapons suitable for use in an organized militia, and that no evidence was presented to show that a sawed-off shotgun had such a suitable use. Therefore, the National Firearms Act of 1934, which regulated such weapons, was upheld as Constitutional, and is still with us today.

United States v. Miller has been misinterpreted and cited by anti-gun forces for more than 60 years now, as proving that government has the power to infringe on the right protected by the Second Amendment, by regulating the types and capacities of weapons available to the citizenry. Caetano v. Massachusetts goes a long way to discrediting the underpinnings of that notion, in Miller.

David Tharp

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Re: "War is a Racket" referred to in "History Lesson" by L. Neil Smith


The pages linked to by the TLE article you referred to when you said that "War is a racket" is still available actually no longer exist. But fortunately they can be found thanks to the Wayback Machine ( I did some checking and found that they disappeared between February and July of last year. So this link:

will get you the first chapter, and similarly the later ones can also be found in snapshots from that time (or earlier).

Paul Koning

[ Actually I put up the text of "War is a Racket" by Smedley Butler right there on that linked page, which I'd been intending to do anyway but hadn't done it yet but now I have done it.—Editor ]

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Re: "History Lesson" by L. Neil Smith

Briefly (since I don't FB)....

What the people need are:

1. To know that the government is securing their Constitutional rights as the Founders (not, of course, the Framers, until they were called to task) enshrined in the Bill of Rights, together with the 13th and 14th Amendments, in the broadest possible fashion of interpretation; total freedom to worship (or not to worship), to speak, to assemble, to keep and bear arms (unless individually prohibited by findings of a court of law for a limited number of violent felonies, or a legal determination of mental incapacity—not a bundle of 200,000 people who are in some data base for seeing a particular class of physician), and to be secure in their papers and effects to include electronic equivalents, etc.

2. To know that, if the government is going to coerce money from the public in the form of taxes, that said money is used effectively and without favoritism (re: cronyism) and without waste (the people as a whole have to receive some positive benefit from the expenditure, not the negative benefit of "keeping people from rioting" or whatever excuse exists for the Welfare State) to provide only those essentials that "secure the general welfare and provide for the common defense" within the enumerated powers of the Constitution. I will accept very broad definitions of those terms (at least initially; your mileage may vary; see discussion at No Loopholes Amendment 18 for details) See the novel HOPE, by Smith and Zelman, for details (with the caveats that some battles are worth fighting and some must be fought, see Heinlein's The Pragmatics of Patriotism for details; and that "shotguns in space" are not an adequate ballistic missile defense system). Among other things that means defense from terrorism; the first step is eliminating all victim disarmament (see point 1) including disarmament of those sad individuals, almost all female, who need to defend themselves from the risk of so-called "honor killings," but the further steps need to be more proactive while honoring Libertarian principles. Other strategies are suggested in "No Loopholes," in Levin's "The Liberty Amendments," and elsewhere.

(I respectfully submit that an individual, or a group of cooperative individuals, who have "drawn leather" metaphorically, or explosively, at least once and who have the capability and stated intention to do so again have satisfied "proof of intent" to violate the Zero Aggression Policy, particularly when considering both conventional and unconventional weapons of mass destruction, at least far enough to permit you to metaphorically draw leather in return while staring them down, and in defense not only of yourself but of others. The debate is where to go from there...without violating the Constitutional rights of the innocent bystanders and potential victims).

3. To know that the government is going to fulfill its duty of providing a stable currency by bringing 20% deficits to a halt, creating policies that favor the people creating good paying jobs from the bottom up and halt exporting those jobs to other countries (that mostly means "get out of the way and begin to recover the resources which have been squandered on "crony capitalists" in return for their much more modest financial favors to the political class, which should begin to form the basis of paying down the debt.)

More later. That's about as far as my remaining wit will take me tonight, after spending a disproportionate amount of time on and after Twitter defending Harland Sanders from a charge of supporting Bernie Sanders... and doing some wholly bureaucratic government nonsense required for work.

[Added later:]

The Supreme Court in the Liberty Amendments

In his book The Liberty Amendments, Mark Levin proposed that Supreme Court findings should be subject to review by the Congress and the States, and that they should be voided if 2/3 of Congress, or of the States, reject the majority ruling.

On reflection: Since the Supreme Court is preparing a history of case law regarding the interpretation of the Constitution, should such an Amendment not read:

"The judgments of the Supreme Court, insomuch as they affirm or modify the text of this Constitution, shall be ratified by three fourths of the States in the manner of any other Constitutional Amendment before taking effect. The States may, in any case, ratify based on the majority judgment, any alternate majority or minority judgments, or reject all of the Supreme Court judgements."


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Re: "Yesterday's Mashed Potatoes" by L. Neil Smith

Good points, Neil!

They should be focusing on a return to the Constitution, especially scope: Article I section 8 + Bill of Rights. Federal govt. has grown into an uncontrollable monster. I fear it may be too late to be tamed via elections. Even the so-called major party "constitutional" candidate (Cruz) isn't really that.

MacAfee seems to be invisible. Can't he use his Internet/Communications skills to help change that?

George Miller

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Culture Change

American culture is changing. There are a variety of reasons for this, including technological change and the "Browning of America." Part of the fear and hatred expressed towards immigrants is an expression of fear and resentment of this change. This fear is is a mixture of xenophobia and honest concern that the changes will in total be negative.

I share this second fear. So would any rational person. So should readers of this article, as the cultural changes in question potentially include abandoning the right to keep and bear arms, the right to privacy, the trading of natural rights for bureaucratically privileges, collectivism replacing individualism.

Unless we fight like hell to make sure it doesn't. So what are you doing to make sure that love of freedom is part of the new America?

A.X. Perez

[ See also "You Can't Fight a Culture War If You Ain't Got Any Culture" by L. Neil Smith in this issue—Editor ]

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