Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 999, December 2, 2018

Two people do not have more rights
than one person, or two hundred, or
two thousand, or two million, any more
than they have more intelligence or decency.

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There Is No Such Thing As “Socialism”
by L. Neil Smith
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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

“The goal of socialism is communism.”
—V. I. Lenin

When I wrote the celebrated space pirate novel Henry Martyn, way back in 1988, I wanted it to be about an ancient star-spanning civilization, not entirely unlike our own, based on euphemism—a culture in which nobody ever said exactly what he (or she) meant. In that society, it would be considered ill-mannered—and a moral confession in a milieu where, just as a single example, arranged, profitable, and politically advantageous marriages, are forced on innocent young women in a custom known as “gavage”—the process by which geese are force-fed to render their ruined livers a gourmet delicacy.

I suppose that the subtlety of the thing may have been lost, in a swirling sails-and-swordplay adventure full of space battles, bodice-ripping, passionate embraces, and mortal combat, featuring new and radical concepts for faster-than-light starships, “naval” gunnery, and personal weaponry. But the toxicity of euphemism is no less important today than it was when I wrote about it. On the contrary.

Take a look at the epigram this essay begins with. It was uttered (or written, I don’t know which) by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin, one of the most-often quoted individuals in the history of the world, the real founder of the communist totalitarian state. (By comparison, Karl Marx spent all his time in his pajamas in his mother’s basement.) If anybody was ever an expert on communism (versus socialism or anything else), ol’ Vlad was it, and it’s more than instructive that all of the synonyms in the thesaurus for “socialism” are exactly the same as those for “communism”.

“Socialism” is nothing but another damned euphemism. It’s a softer-sounding, more marketable way for leftists to say what they really want. The Madison Avenue catch-phrase “democratic socialism” was whipped up as even more palatable to Americans, by political science professor, authoritarian hack, and closeted communist Michael Harrington, apparently a good buddy of Tom Hayden, and makes every bit as much sense as “democratic Nazism”.

Collectivism is the generic word we employ for politico-economic systems in which bunches of people are considered more important than freestanding individuals, and anything those individuals are or possess can be taken away from them for the “common good”. Collectivism—socialism, communism, Fabianism, Maoism, Marxism, Bolshevism, and every other euphemism like them—is simply the politics of looting, an attempt make naked theft appear respectable. It is otherwise known as “kleptocracy”—rule by thieves.

Marx summed it up neatly: “From each according to his ability (whether he’s willing to give it up voluntarily or it has to be beaten out of him), to each according to his needs.”—“needs”, of course, being defined by whoever can whimper loudest or get others to whimper for him.

But look: under even the most “democratic” forms of socialism, the supposed rights of any social (or political) group are considered to be more important than the rights of each of the individuals within the group, or of those of any individuals outside it. (And in what significant way does that differ from communism?) That’s why they call it “socialism” and we call its ethical opposite “individualism”.

True individualists, on the other hand (or as we call them, “libertarians”), maintain that the group has no rights whatever, aside from those of its individual members—which are in no way additive. Contrary to common collectivist opinion, two people do not have more rights than one person, or two hundred, or two thousand, or two million, any more than they have more intelligence or decency.

Now consider the number of leftist politicians today—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Lee Carter, and probably those bucketheads Beto O’Rourke, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell—who cheerfully admit to being “democratic socialists”. These, in actuality, if we are to believe Vladimir Lenin, are nothing more than communists-in-waiting. Swalwell even admits to planning to use nuclear weapons on individuals who stand on their individual Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and decline to obey the Stalinist anti-gun laws he proposes (although, typically, he backed off immediately, falsely claiming it was all a joke). Henceforward, whenever I mention some elected or appointed criminal swindler whose policies obviously reflect this leftist view of rights, I will render them thus: “Kamala Harris, C-California”.

It becomes clear, then, under this essentially ethical definition of socialism, why Republicans, conservatives, right wingers, traditionalists, etc., always find themselves at a crippling disadvantage when it comes to confronting the collectivist left. They themselves suffer from a poisonous belief that there are special moments and circumstances in which “group rights” can be said to outweigh individual rights, and that individual rights, which are the very foundation of Western Civilization, are some kind of luxury, a mere frippery to be dispensed with in emergencies, which is why the great libertarian philosopher Robert LeFevre called the right wing “Socialist Party B”. Until they finally begin to educate themselves in the ethics of liberty, the best of them are always going to disappoint those of us who are truly interested in being free and advancing into the future.

Republicans have another severe problem: chronic timidity, although the left, with their inflammatory accusations and defamatory language, are offering to cure them of that: if you’re going to be called a racist no matter what you think, say, or do, why not speak out straightforwardly? Unfortunately, most of them lack the guts to seize the left’s generous offer. Slowly but surely, the so-called right gets drawn and sucked and pulled to the left by their own cowardice and inconsistency.

Sometime in the next century, Republicans are gonna find themselves defending the First Communist Internationale.



L. Neil Smith

Award-winning novelist and essayist L. Neil Smith is a retired gunsmith, Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and the author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and He is available, at professional rates, to write columns, articles, and speeches for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-1960s. His writings (and e-mail address) may also be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at or at, to which you can contribute, directly. His many books and those of other pro-gun libertarians may be found (and ordered) at L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE “Free Radical Book Store” The preceding essay was originally prepared for and appeared in L. Neil Smith’s THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE. Use it to fight the continuing war against tyranny.

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