Down With Power

Down With Power front cover
Down With Power
by L. Neil Smith
A way to fix America that is consistent with history and human nature.
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L. Neil Smith
L. Neil Smith

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Down With Power: An Introduction

9/11 changed nothing. Politicians still lie, cheat, and steal for money and power. Ordinary people still struggle every day to defend rights that were supposed to have been guaranteed.
—L. Neil Smith

In his 1992 film Freejack, which is concerned, in part, with an unusual kind of virtual reality, Anthony Hopkins, whose reality it is, invites the protagonists to explore it with the words, "Welcome to my mind". In a way, that's the invitation that I'm offering here, except that, unlike my novels, there is considerably more than one mind involved.

You may encounter some today who call themselves libertarians, yet reject the positions I lay out in this book. This is an unfortunate result, in part, of the Libertarian Party's maniacal attempt to build a "bigger tent", over the past couple of decades, by the simple, if self-defeatingly stupid, tactic of watering down what libertarians have always believed until they deemed it acceptable to those who are not libertarians. Yet there remains within the movement—as opposed to the party—a core of strong individualists who value principle over expedience, understanding that their way will lead to eventual victory, while in the long run, the other is a recipe for political suicide.

When somebody tells you that he or she is a libertarian, and asks you for your vote (because that, above all, is what the waterers-down are all about, and to hell with any other consideration) ask him or her where he or she stands on the issue of private gun ownership, on children's rights, on ending the War on Drugs, on puttimg an end to the policy of dropping bombs on pregnant widows and 10-year-old goatherds in the Third World, or on the absolute moral obligation of any party that calls itself libertarian to abolish all taxation, forever.

Their answers, or the lack thereof, will tell you whether these are real libertarians that you've talking to or merely "LINOs"— libertarians in name only. Their destructive presence—the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential candidate is one such specimen -- is one of the reasons I believed it was necessary to write this book.

But I have digressed, as you will find I do from time to time.

No two individuals can ever agree on 100 percent of anything 100 percent of the time. The old saying is, get any two libertarians together and you'll instantly have a debate on your hands. But what I have written here represents the views of most genuine libertarians over the past half century. I should know; I've been a libertarian since 1962 when I was 15. So in that sense, welcome to their minds, too.

I am not saying, of the measures proposed here, that this is what some future libertarian society or government will do (although I have said it, often, in the 30-odd novels I've written). What I am saying here is that this is what must be done now, by anyone in the position to do it, if we truly want our culture—Western Civilization—to survive. As I write these words, its continued survival is by no means certain.

For going on a quarter of a century, I have striven to be the electronic equivalent—one of the first—of a newspaper columnist. I began posting articles I'd written on my "Lever Action BBS". (Before that, I'd had them printed on colored paper, to make them stand out, and hand-distributed them at places like gun shows; I also published a broadside called TANSTAAFL!, which stands for "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch," a saying that we all learned at the knee of Robert A. Heinlein.) My cyberjournal The Libertarian Enterprise was first published in 1995, and it still appears online every Saturday night.

Like an old-time newspaper columnist (and apparently unlike today's J-school grads), I often research what I write about, but, as with a newspaper column, you won't find my work strewn with footnotes. I see my job, for the most part, as taking facts "everybody knows" and putting them together in a way that nobody else has ever thought of before.

If readers doubt my facts, or my interpretation of them, or if I mention something that they've never heard about before—like the ancient city of Catalhoyuk, which I refer to in the chapter on cities, for example—they have an historically unprecedented ability to check the facts themselves, simply by typing a few words in a search engine.

Over four hundred years of newspaper columns, no columnist has ever had to contend with such a thing as readers who have their own information sources—which is probably how we got into this mess. Having spent a lifetime of suffering their lies of commission and omission, listening to establishment "journalists" in the traditional "Old Media" whimper about the Internet (which is in the historical process of eating them all alive) is nothing but sweet music to my ears.

As it should be to yours.

I have named and arranged the chapters of this book so it will be easy to discover what libertarians think about any given issue of the day. This is intended to help those who are new to the movement to educate themselves, and encourage candidates to position themselves as real libertarians in their campaigns. If what I've written embarrasses the LINOs until they depart our movement in outrage or frustration, then this modest effort will have proven worthwhile for that reason alone.

Have fun,

L. Neil Smith
Fort Collins, Colorado
June-September 2010

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