Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 1,049, December 1, 2019

It takes a lot of money to run a police state

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Dining in Paradox
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

"Liberty, then, is the sovereignty of the individual, and never shall man know liberty until each and every individual is acknowledged to be the only legitimate sovereign of his or her person, time, and property, each living and acting at his own cost."
— Josiah Warren

[Continued from Part One and from Part Two]

As Ben Stone came down the steps from the community centre, he saw Tyrone standing with Robert Dockery and Sally Smith at the foot of the steps. They were clearly waiting for him, as their expressions clearly demonstrated as he came down to them.

"Ben, if you’d be willing, I’d like you to join Bob and Sally and me for dinner over at the dining hall. Having all three of you present allows us to discuss any elements of the case that need be gone over without seeming out of line as to fairness. Did you have any other plans?" Tyrone paused with a smile.

"For lunch? No, no plans," said Ben.

"Excellent, let’s go. I have local tokens enough for all of us, so dinner is on me!" With those words Tyrone turned and marched promptly down the street to a very large structure.

Ben followed with Sally and Bob. They quickly caught up.

"I’ve been meaning to ask you, Ty, about the size of the dining hall. It seems huge! And it is only half full on Sunday evenings when the whole community gathers to eat together," said Sally.

Tyrone marshalled his thoughts and spoke as they turned up the steps toward the dining hall. "It comes from some lessons selected from the work of Josiah Warren and other voluntaryists of the Nineteenth Century. Wendy McElroy wrote about the various intentional communities and what made some successful while others failed. Two of those features are to have a money that is used within the community, to keep value circulating among ourselves, and also to have a place where we can all gather together and talk, including at meal times if we wish. We’ve made a tradition of having Sunday supper together, but there’s room to have food together at other times, and we also hold dances and celebrations there. The reason the building is so large is to anticipate future growth here in the valley."

With that they entered into the building. Tyrone had a few words with the maitresse d’hotel, Mylisa, who was an old friend. They were quickly led to a curtained booth against one wall. Cloth napkins, glassware, and utensils were already at each place, along with a printed sheet showing the day’s menu choices. A server showed up promptly to take their orders and bring a wheeled cart with a selection of water, tea, coffee, and lemonade.

Sally stood up and moved to draw the curtains, but Tyrone shook his head. "No, we’ll wait until our food arrives, please, then we can put up the privacy screen. Thanks though."

No sooner had they sipped some of their beverages than the door to the foyer opened and in came three men dressed in business suits who looked very out of place. Indeed, their suits looked not to fit them, at all. They were followed by a very distraught Mylisa who clearly conveyed that they had barged past her.

Ben took a brief look and turned so his face would not be seen and whispered "federals" to the rest of the table. Tyrone tapped his phone, which was on the table next to his utensils. Quickly drawing his security icon to unlock it, he touched the Cell411 icon, then the emergency summons.

"Are you Tyrone Johnson?" The first federal to arrive at the table directed this inquiry at Ben who looked up as if he were seeing a particularly unclean rodent.

"Am I being detained?" was Ben’s response.

Taking this response for a yes, the fed threw a folded paper on the table in front of Ben. "This warrant is for your arrest. "

Tyrone scooped it up and read through its contents. "It says here that the charge is kidnapping and wrongful imprisonment. That’s a pretty serious charge. If I were you, I’d not say anything until your attorney is present."

"Mr. Johnson," said the second fed, "We need you to come with us now."

Ben took a long sip of lemonade and turned the same disgusted look on the second fed.

Meanwhile, Mylisa had organised the entire dining hall staff. They were now assembled, in a line between the curtained alcove and the door do the foyer. Every one of them was holding a rifle at port arms. The other diners had likewise assembled a separate line with pistols drawn and pointed downward from the other corner of the booth to the foyer door.

The third federal had clearly been assigned to notice their line of retreat which had not been cut off, but was clearly now limited to only one door. He cleared his throat to get the attention of the other feds.

The second fed, turning, began to reach for his gun, but the third fed put his hands on both upper arms of the second and shook his head. The tactical situation was clearly not favourable.

"Are you refusing to come with us, Mr. Johnson? " the first fed asked.

Ben smiled a very broad smile. He glanced at Sally, Bob, and Tyrone, and said, "My name isn’t Johnson."

The feds now exchanged confused glances. The second fed, clearly the dimmest bulb in the chandelier, said, softly but distinctly, "White male, white beard, late 50s ...".

Everyone at the booth was now grinning. It had not occurred to the feds that there were two men answering that description sitting at the table next to one another. During this brief respite of amusement for everyone else and confusion for the feds, a uniformed group walked in from the foyer.

At this point, Tyrone stood up and said, "Sheriff Green, how nice of you to respond so promptly to our call for help. When someone purports to serve a warrant in this county, they should notify you, so it seemed odd you would not send a deputy to accompany the service of process."

Sheriff Green stopped by the tableau of feds and lifted his hand. His three deputies, each armed with a shotgun, each now chambered a round. Eyes went wide all around the room, and there were sets of eyebrows that were so highly elevated they might have difficulty coming down.

"Special Agent Callahan," said Green, " you have arrived within my jurisdiction without notifying my office. You are creating a disturbance of the peace. You and your subordinates are now under arrest."

Callahan clearly didn’t want to be seen to back down, so he took a step toward Green to speak sotto voce. "Look, Steve, we’ll just go back to our car and meet you at your office."

Green took a step back. He was about to say something when the foyer door was opened from the outside by a diner just arriving, who had seen what no one else could, given their focus on the law enforcement "situation normal all fouled up" (SNAFU) going on across the dining area. The top two feet of the entrance foyer had filled with drones waiting for the door to be opened. The new arrival, seeing so much excitement, immediately took it upon herself to hold that door. A dozen camera drones, all with red lights showing they were recording, entered the room and also took up flanking positions, to capture the scene from various angles.

"We towed your car. You aren’t going anywhere." Green’s tone of voice made it clear that his patience was gone. "You will each place your hands on the table in front of you, step back one pace, lean fully on your hands, and submit to my search."

Callahan was clearly ready to respond negatively but saw the entire dining area filled with armed and unhappy diners, armed and unhappy dining hall staff, and camera drones still coming in through the door. "Men, we’re going to do as Sheriff Green requests."

Green put on blue rubber gloves. He quickly relieved each fed of a gun, sundry other equipment, and identity card holders, then used his own cuffs on Callahan. Once Callahan was standing with his hands cuffed behind him, Green put his hand back, and a deputy slapped another set of cuffs into it. When these were used, the same routine brought forth a third set of cuffs, and soon all three federals were secured.

"Mylisa, would you bring me a large bag with handles, please?" Sheriff Green asked, and touched his hat in deference.

Smiling, and practically dancing the entire way over to the server area, Mylisa grabbed a large strong paper shopping bag with "Paradoxical Dining" in large letters on both faces, and came dancing back to the sheriff, who swept all the federal gear into it. With one deputy leading the way, shotgun at port arms, and two behind, the sheriff’s group now herded the federals out the door. Guns were rapidly holstered and rifles slung, so that everyone present could applaud this wonderful event.

Drinking the rest of the lemonade in his glass, Ben wiped his lip with his napkin, looked around, and said, "That was fun."

[End part three, continued in part four]


Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, actor, and director. He is the cfo of and the vision director of You can find him on as well as and also as planetaryjim.

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