Narrated by talk show host, Brian Wilson, “Down With Power” a Libertarian
Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 1,108, April 11, 2021

Deplorables R. Us

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The Measure of Mankind
by L. Neil Smith
Patronize Me!

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Many years ago, thoroughly sickened and disgusted with hearing my species routinely denounced in the most demeaning terms by self-loathing leftists, I realized that you could learn whatever you want to know about Homo sapiens sapiens, that bloodthirsty, murderous, warlike, rapacious gaggle of killer-apes, by comparing the historical development of its proficiency at conducting warfare with its ability to do something else very different: fly.

Perhaps it’s an argument for another day—one that I’ll be happy to jump into feet first—but the plain, unvarnished truth is that ordinary individuals do not make war, rulers make war. Governments make war. And then they force the ordinary individuals—usually on pain of imprisonment or death—to fight their wars for them.

In ten thousand years, war has not changed very much. It’s still pretty much a matter of some guy with a pointy stick in his hands and mud on his boots. True, the war canoes are now atomic powered. So is the pointy stick in many instances. But the basic principle of war hasn’t changed. As Rush Limbaugh used to say, it’s all about breaking things and killing people. From ancient Sumeria to today’s Iraq, ten thousand years of breaking things and killing people.

On the other hand, the human dream, much older than a mere ten thousand years, to fly like the birds, came true on December 17, 1903, only 118 years ago (and yeah, I know there are revisionists who claim otherwise; there are always revisionists who claim otherwise. Lots of others were trying to do it, some of them getting killed in the process, but Orville and Wilbur got it done. Wanna talk about Edison and Tesla, now?).

In those 118 years, men, pursuing the essentially peaceful joy of flight, went from flying a few hundred feet to flyng non-stop around the world, and to the Moon itself. How’s that for progress? Of course there’s nothing so wonderful that government can’t fuck it up, so ordinary individuals today are forbidden to fly without their rulers’ permission—even as passengers on commercial flights—and Wilbur and Orville’s wonderful invention has become just a better way to kill people and break things.

(Confession: as many of my readers are aware, I’m a weapons guy, a retired professional firearms expert, concentrating on the technology and ethics of individual self-defense. Nevertheless, possibly because I grew up in the Air Force, I have to admit to a childish fascination with the F/A-18 “Super Hornet”, likely the world’s most versatile fighter aircraft, the V-22 “Osprey”, half airplane, half helicopter, with its amazing rotating engines, the A-10 Thunderbolt “Warthog” and its wonderful 30 millimeter rotary cannon, the F-35 “Lightning” supersonic stealth vertical takeoff and landing machine, and the SR-71 “Blackbird”, unquestionably the most beautiful aircraft ever conceived. If confession is good for the soul, then I’m all right for at least a week.)

But I stand on my point: humans are better at flying (and other things) than fighting. Klaatu and Gort (look them up) can take their prissy interstellar sermonizing and shove it where the galaxy don’t shine.

I know that these are extremely hard times for thoughtful people, with a gormless schlub illegally occupying the White House and his joyless handlers and minions trying to spoil life for everyone else and destroy everything that makes living worthwhile. It’s called “envy of achievement”; it’s all that Democrats are good for. However something else we’re amazingly competent at, something we’re much better at than war, something that can lift the heavy weight off your heart, if only for a little while, and maybe change everything in the long run, is music. It probably began with something simple, primitive, and funny, like this:

Or it can be remarkably operatic, like this. The musical instrument in use, by the way, is a gayageum, sort of a Korean koto:

Or it can be the amazingly melodic and memorable piece bequeathed upon us by a great genius who is regrettably no longer with us:

Or it can be what I personally regard as America’s greatest, most beautifully emblematic musical composition of the twentieth century:

I have my lovely and talented daughter to thank for directing me to all of these alternative forms. It doesn’t matter what the composers may or may not have believed. What matters is what they wrote in humanity’s other language—a language I think even interstellar aliens will understand when they hear it (one thing out of billions and billions that Carl Sagan was right about).

These interesting performers have sort of stripped away the overly “artistic” clutter for me and shown me the “bare bones” of the composers’ intentions. They have made my week much more livable. I will go looking for more music like it, and you should, too.

Grab joy wherever you can. Where We Go 1, We Go All.



L. Neil Smith

Award-winning writer L. Neil Smith is Publisher and Senior Columnist of L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise and author of over thirty books. Look him up on Google, Wikipedia, and He is available at professional rates, to write for your organization, event, or publication, fiercely defending your rights, as he has done since the mid-60s. His writings (and e-mail address) may be found at L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise, at or at Patreon. 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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