The LP's First Priority

by L. Neil Smith


Presented to the Arizona Libertarian Party
State Convention May 21, 1994
Phoenix, Arizona

         Ladies and gentlemen, in spite of the millions of man-hours and billions of dollars spent each year to keep the American productive class safely in its place, essentially voiceless and deprived of an effective franchise, the era of its exploitation -- by corrupt politicians and even more corrupt mass media -- is coming to an end.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- that they stagger under a burden of taxes five times greater than that endured by their medieval serf ancestors.
         What they do understand is that the harder they work the less they seem to have left.
         And the less they have to look forward to.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- how it came about that their own grandparents managed to enjoy a spacious, comfortable home, and they can't.
         What they do understand is that, increasingly, they're compelled to live in tiny cardboard cracker-boxes or wheeled tin cans, so their Senator can have a limousine.
         And his mistress.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- why every year, year after year, a hangman's noose of red-tape pulls tighter and tighter around their necks.
         What they do understand is that in many respects life seems bleaker every day.
         And offers fewer options.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- what the mass media have to gain from their degenerate, increasingly collusive partnership with government.
         What they do understand is that somehow there's never any good news any more, and that the newspapers and the TV constantly tell them that they're incompetent to live their own lives and their neighbors are all criminally insane.
         And that somehow life never seems to get any better.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- how their natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional rights have been systematically gnawed away by the politicians elected to protect them.
         What they do understand is that more and more their rights are treated as trivialities.
         And that everything they do, or like, or want seems to be against the law.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- how the Federal Election Commission, a phantom "News Election Service", and the League of Women Voters rig elections more effectively than in any South American banana republic.
         What they do understand is that their ballot never seems to count for anything.
         And that if voting could change things, it would be illegal.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- the putrescently ancient evil inherent in the fundamentally un-American doctrine of Sovereign Immunity.
         What they do understand is that the government always wins.
         And that, somehow, they're always in the wrong.
         Few productive-class Americans understand -- yet -- how their precious Bill of Rights has wound up being a one-sided bargain, interpreted and enforced by a single omnipotent entity, inimical to them, pretending to be divided powers.
         What they do understand is that their country seems to have been overrun by lawyers.
         And that somehow their rights never turn out to be quite what they thought they were.

*****

         Ladies and gentlemen, some productive-class Americans have come -- regrettably -- to blame it all on poor minorities, somehow forgetting that we're a nation entirely composed of minorities, most of whom arrived here without a penny.
         Someday, sooner or later, they'll learn not to blame the average welfare mother with her pitiable child-support check, but the sixty thousand dollar a year public official whose non-productive way of life keeps everybody else destitute.
         Some productive-class Americans have come -- regrettably -- to blame it all on immigrants, somehow forgetting that we're a nation of immigrants, and immigrants' children, many of whom fled the same tyranny and corruption we face today.
         Someday, sooner or later, they'll learn not to blame people with funny names, funny clothes, funny customs, or a funny way of talking, but to look upon their own so-called "representatives" as the foreign despots they've all become.
         Some productive-class Americans have come -- regrettably -- to blame it all on labor unions, somehow forgetting that for every gangster lounging at the top, a million workers only want an honest day's wages for an honest day's labor.
         Someday, sooner or later, they'll learn not to blame the workers, but the crooked union leaders and the tangled government regulations which make productive labor all but impossible in America today, and almost always unrewarding.
         Some productive-class Americans have come -- regrettably -- to blame it all on the rich, somehow forgetting the all-important difference between making money and stealing it, and the way that the system always lets a few individuals get ahead for the same reason Las Vegas allows the occasional big winner.
         Someday, sooner or later, they'll learn not to blame the miracle of individual achievement, but a system which more consistently rewards failure and punishes success, and loves to rub their noses in what they can never hope to have.
         Some productive-class Americans have come -- regrettably -- to blame it all on the lunatic fringe, somehow forgetting that the mass media told them everything they think they know about such people, and that everybody is somebody else's lunatic.
         Someday, sooner or later, they'll learn not to blame the unconventional individualist, but TV's well-groomed talking heads, and the officials they themselves elected.

*****

         Ladies and gentlemen, a Great Explosion is coming.
         Productive-class Americans are sick and tired of being threatened by the very laws and regulations their parents naively thought were being created to protect them.
         A Great Explosion is coming.
         Productive-class Americans are sick and tired of being continually looted by well-fed politicians and bureaucrats with five- and six-figure salaries.
         A Great Explosion is coming.
         Productive-class Americans are sick and tired of being decimated by one senseless war after another, arranged, how very conveniently, one for almost every generation.
         A Great Explosion is coming.
         Productive-class Americans are sick and tired of being wooed and cast aside in two- and four- and six-year cycles by public figures they wouldn't trust alone with their children.
         A Great Explosion is coming.
         Doubtless the American productive class have made foolish choices in the past; doubtless they'll make them in the future; but in the end, the American productive class will triumph, because they ARE productive while their enemies are not.
         A Great Explosion is coming.
         And as usual, the politicians aren't listening.
         But by this time in the 21st century, with the 20th century welfare-warfare state all but a forgotten nightmare, history may want to know what kind of idiots and weaklings in two of America's major political parties tried to sell out the American productive class at the very moment they began coming into their own.
         Then again, history may not care.

*****

         Ladies and gentlemen, in a different part of the continent we share with nine other nations, the Fifth of May -- Cinco de Mayo -- has special historic and political meaning.
         For us on the other hand, May 5th, 1994 will be celebrated, now and forever, as the day the Republican Party ceased to exist as anything other than the atrophied appendage to the Democratic Party we were always pretty sure it was, anyway.
         May 5th, 1994 will be celebrated as the day this repulsive, voracious, tentacular, obscenely intermingled coalescent organism, the Demolican slime- monster, the Republicratic shoggoth, tried to shut the Constitution down without shutting down the State whose one excuse for existing derives from that very document.
         May 5th, 1994 will be celebrated as the day 38 more Republicans joined their fellow Democrats in unzipping their flies and pulling out their tiny little ... atrophied appendages to pay dog-respects to the Bill of Rights -- the Second Amendment in particular -- inspired by a letter written for the occasion and signed by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter (well, what else would we expect of him?) and former Republicans Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.
         May 5th, 1994 will be celebrated as the day they handed the future over to us.
         May 5th, 1994 will be celebrated as the day that the Libertarian Party crawled out of the baby-pool and became a shark, swimming in deep political waters.
         Ladies and gentlemen, I've come to bring you your water-wings -- and your jaws.

*****

         On September 3, 1993, at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, I suggested that the first priority of the Libertarian Party should be "Putting the civility back into civilization through the most stringent enforcement possible of the highest law of the land, [the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, commonly known as] the Bill of Rights".
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         The Bill of Rights is and ought to be (rather, I should say, "ought to be and is") the Ten Commandments of American political behavior, the one thing in life even Demolicans and Republicrats aren't allowed to lie about. Taking the oath of office is an absolute commitment to remember the Bill of Rights and keep it, wholly.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         I don't believe it's any accident that the first American President to be assassinated claimed to be fighting slavery -- with conscripted soldiers -- suspended habeas corpus, and instituted the first tax on income. I do believe a day will come when an American President can leave the White House and walk the land he shares with countless millions of other Americans, by himself, in perfect safety, because each and every American knows absolutely where he stands and that the President, and the government he leads, are a threat to nobody's rights.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         So the real question is what it has always been and always will be: how do we get there from here? Well, this may be one instance in which the truth really does set us free.
         Libertarians are better-informed than the average individual, and more sophisticated in their understanding of the basic philosophical concepts that make up the foundation and shape the political structure of this nation. Most of them are perfectly aware that their rights don't come from the government and that the Constitution explicitly acknowledges only a small number of the liberties that we all possess inherently, simply by virtue of having been born human. But it may come as a shock -- then again, it may not -- to hear that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to you or me; it hardly has anything to do with us at all.
         The first ten Amendments to the Constitution arose from a deal between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists; they were specifically required as a condition on ratification of the rest of the document by those who didn't want what civics textbooks call "a strong central government" but were willing to put up with it as long as certain limitations were imposed on its centrality and strength.
         Those limitations were set forth in what we've come to call the Bill of Rights, but that's a misnomer, and a dangerous one. It should be called the "Bill of Limitations", because it doesn't apply to you, as I've said, or to me, it applies only to the State. As I've said, it's the Ten Commandments of American political behavior, a laundry-list of "Thou Shalt Nots", imposed upon the Federalist blueprint, that wouldn't make any sense at all, historically or logically, if it hadn't been intended -- by both sides -- to be absolutely binding.
         No Second Amendment, no Bill of Rights.
         No Bill of Rights, no Constitution.
         No Constitution, no government.
         No paycheck.
         No power.
         Any legitimacy politicians claim derives directly from the document they're trying to destroy. It's like sitting out on a tree limb and sawing it off. But politicians expect the tree to fall, leaving them and their limb hanging in midair. Well, life may feel like a cartoon sometimes -- mostly thanks to them -- but it isn't a cartoon, it's real. And if it were a cartoon, they'd be the coyote, not the roadrunner, because, in real life, they're the badguys.
         No Second Amendment, no Bill of Rights.
         No Bill of Rights, no Constitution.
         No Constitution, no government.
         No paycheck.
         No power.
         It's as simple as that; are you listening, Senator Moynihan, Congressman Schumer, Senator Feinstein? And the same thing goes for the President and the Supreme Court. Are you listening, soon-to-be former Senator Howard Metzenbaum and your ambulance-chasing son-in-law, soon-to-be Glorious People's Hereditary Senator Joel Hyatt?
         Let's try it again, to make sure you get it straight.
         No Second Amendment, no Bill of Rights.
         No Bill of Rights, no Constitution.
         No Constitution, no government.
         No paycheck.
         No power.
         No you.

*****

         Now consider, ladies and gentlemen, why didn't we know these things already? Why did we have to learn them by joining the Sex, Dope, Guns, and Baby-killing Party, this collection of sociopaths and loonies we've come to know and love so well? Why didn't we learn them at our parents' knee, or in Kindergarten?
         We didn't learn them because of the miserable failure of two American cultural institutions -- public education and the mass media -- and the first thing you must understand clearly about this miserable failure is that, from their point of view, it represents an astonishing success. Their purpose all along -- and if you believe for a minute that I'm mistaken in this, or merely exaggerating, I challenge you here and now to read the writings of John Dewey -- was to keep you from learning the very things I've just told you about the Bill of Rights.
         They've succeeded so well that now, after more than a century of effort, even most of them don't know the things I've just told you about the Bill of Rights.
         I'm not really planning to speak further tonight about public schools. I've said many times that self-defense is a bodily function which cannot be delegated to another individual or group -- and, more and more, I've begun to believe that precisely the same is true of educating our children. In any case we know that the answer is separation of education and State, a process which is going on this very moment in America without much need of Libertarian help.
         But what -- to voice a question Libertarians ask themselves, usually in tones of anger and frustration, at least several times every day -- can we do about the media?
         We are far from alone.
         Whatever else Americans may disagree about, everybody hates the mass media. Like you, I've never been involved in any event they managed to report correctly. invariably
         Socialist Nick Nolte makes a movie about the mass media and they're inevitably portrayed as some ineffable mixture of abhorrently evil and repulsively stupid.
         Middle-of-the-roader Burt Reynolds makes a movie about the mass media and they're inevitably portrayed as some ineffable mixture of abhorrently evil and repulsively stupid.
         Conservative Bruce Willis makes a movie about the mass media and they're inevitably portrayed as some ineffable mixture of abhorrently evil and repulsively stupid.
         Libertarian John Milius makes a movie about the mass media and they're inevitably portrayed as some ineffable mixture of abhorrently evil and repulsively stupid.
         This is not news to the abhorrently evil and repulsively -- I mean, to the mass media. They tell themselves (I've been there myself to hear them) that it's a sign they're doing their job right. They're so painstakingly accurate, so minutely unbiased, that nobody benefits unfairly, and, as a natural consequence in this worst of all possible worlds, everybody hates them for it.
         The trouble with this otherwise comforting theory is that they never entertain the simpler and likelier explanation that everybody hates them because, while the average profit margin in television, for example, is in the neighborhood of 80%, fewer than 12% of their "customers" believe they're doing a good job.
         And besides, they're abhorrently evil and repulsively stupid.
         American journalism has always gloried in its self-appointed role as the watchdog over the dignity and liberty of the individual. The sad truth is, that during its long, self-congratulatory history, it's been a lot more like a cur, caught bloody-muzzled, savaging the very flocks it has been trusted to protect.
         So what can we do about the media?
         All my adult life, people like me have been seen and shown as criminals by those in the media who claim to speak for civilization, for exercising our rights under one of its basic rules, the Second Amendment. I know the media well, but I've never understood how they can be so smug about southern whites of the 1950s, say, or Germans of the 1930s. They're certainly no better. They're small-minded, mean-spirited, frightened of their fellow human beings and the real world around them. They exemplify what Ben Wattenberg said is true of liberals in general, that they're afraid of "every known phenomenon". They're desperate to find somebody it's acceptable to feel superior to, acceptable to hate. People like me would be no better off in their hands than if we were blacks in the 1950s or Jews in the 1930s -- except, of course, that we shoot back.
         Which explains their position on one issue, anyway: theirs is the same interest in suppressing private gun ownership as any bloated cartoon sheriff in mirrored sunglasses who wears a pillowcase over his head on weekends, or any goose-stepping yodeler of the Horst Wessel song. The idea of a Negro, or a Jew, or any member of the productive class with a gun, is anathema to them. Especially since the self-discipline and focus on objective reality required to shoot effectively and safely themselves transcends their capacity for understanding.
         So what can we do about the media?
         We are, of course, limited, as Americans by the First Amendment, and as Libertarians, by the Non-Aggression Principle. We can't blow up TV stations, or burn them to the mudsills and sow salt on the ruins, as soul-satisfying as that might prove to be. And as much as they may deserve it, we can't roast the partially-extracted intestines of anchorpersons or reporters over a slow fire while they watch. We are, unfortunately, limited, as Americans by the First Amendment, and as Libertarians, by the Non-Aggression Principle. That, of course, is exactly what the First Amendment and the Non-Aggression Principle are for.
         It's also why it's such a bad idea -- a dangerously terrible, horrible idea -- for anchorpersons and reporters to undermine the Bill of Rights in any way. They're just too dumb to live, let alone understand how we all depend on the Bill of Rights. They believe that there's only one Amendment to the Constitution, anyway -- the First Amendment -- and that it only applies to them.
         So what can we do about the media?
         I'd like to propose an educational effort to be mounted across the country in every state, county, and city in which the Libertarian Party is what we optimistically call organized. I propose a series of public debates -- which those in the media will find themselves unable to ignore -- between Libertarians and our conservative fellow-travelers (somebody with a ready wit and an ironic sense of humor, like G. Gordon Liddy, will be just perfect) who will take the affirmative, to wit: Resolved, that members of the news media be required by law to take a binding oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.
         It goes without saying -- although I'll say it -- that we Libertarians, strong-principled upholders of the First Amendment and of the Non-Aggression Principle, will take the negative in these debates and defend the members of the news media in question, however much our enthusiasm may lapse as details of their century of systematic rape of the truth begin emerging in the heat of the forensics.
         The point here, of course, is that we will set the terms and the tone of this series of debates, and the only real losers will be the media themselves -- who (by some oversight they ought to be familiar with, having done it to others so many times themselves) will not be directly represented -- and the real winners will be conservatives, Libertarians, and the battered, bloody truth itself.
         How's that for shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater?
         I even have an idea for an encore, if these debates prove successful. I have always opposed the death penalty, except at the scene and moment of the crime, at the hands of the intended victim. I have always believed that relying on the government -- any government -- for peace, justice, or civil order is like relying on government for bread or shoes: as any Russian can tell you, under central planning and a command economy, you wind up with bread that tastes like shoes, and shoes about as durable as if they were made of bread.
         Which is pretty much the kind of peace, justice, and civil order we've been getting lately.
         But I am willing to make an exception. I am willing to abolish the death penalty in every instance except for a single class of criminal and a single crime.
         But not before we debate it publicly.
         Resolved, that whenever a violation of the rights guaranteed Americans under the first ten Amendments to the Constitution results in the loss of a life they were written to protect, the politicians and bureaucrats responsible go to Death Row, there to await lethal injection, the electric chair, the gas chamber, the guillotine, or whatever else they had invented to intimidate the rest of us.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         The trouble is, if we exclude politicians and bureaucrats from these debates the way we did the media from the initial ones, who can we find to take the negative?

*****

         Ladies and gentlemen, if you're not a participant on electronic bulletin board systems, InterNet, CompuServe, GEnie, or what-have-you, then you don't know about "taglines". Taglines are little quips, aphorisms, or other flashes of wit, usually affixed to the ends of messages after a user's signature, that actually hearken back to 18th Century literary forms, and may range from sage items like, "'Gun control' is a clear eye and a steady hand -- what we're talking about here is 'victim disarmament,'" to the obvious, "Help stamp out taglines."
         The most poignant of these was appended to a message I received from a Libertarian Second Amendment activist whose name some of you may be familiar with, Charles Curley. It read: "50 years of progress, 1943-1993: Warsaw to Waco."
         Now I know it seems sometimes, especially when you look at Robert Reich, Donna Shalala, Steffie Stephanopolis, or the ever-popular Joycelyn Elders, that America is being ruled today by circus freaks and clowns. If Bill Clinton's moral impediments were physical, he'd need a ramp to get from the bare floor to the carpet. Argentina had Juan and Evita: we've got Evita and Bozo.
         But have another look: if you were to take away Heinrich Himmler's charm and wit, Hermann Goering's refinement and self-restraint, and Joseph Goebbels' integrity and earnest regard for the truth, what would you have? James Carville.
         The Clinton Administration is like something out of an old Avengers or Batman episode: a vicious gang of mass-murderers in baggy pants. That's why it's vitally important to take them seriously. Fortunately, the best way to take them seriously is to laugh at them, and get others to laugh at them, as well. And not on their own terms, for what they want you to believe is funny about them, and cute, but for what's genuinely funny about them -- and pathetic. It's the best way to take away any dignity they have left, and any legitimacy.
         As Rush Limbaugh could tell you -- if he didn't have half his brain tied behind his back, which is all that keeps him from being a Libertarian -- it's also the best way to get your own message across. It was the theory behind my novel, The Probability Broach: because they like to laugh, because they need to laugh, people always pay closest attention when you're telling them something funny.
         So let's give them something funny to pay attention to. How about a one-page document in proper form to be introduced as a Bill in the United States Senate and House of Representatives? Because it is a one-page document, it will also be in proper form for insertion into the "folk process" that office and factory workers use to spread officially unsanctioned ideas, most recently by Xerox and FAX, from one end of the country to another in minutes, and keep it circulating in the culture for years. What it will say, in language clearly understandable to non-lawyers, is that, as of January 20th, 1997, every item of legislation enacted at the federal level since January 20th, 1993 is hereby null and void. This act officially erases the Clinton Administration, just as the face of Amenhotep IV was chiseled off the obelisks or Lenin's statue was given the bum's rush out of Russian parks and plazas.
         To the enemies of liberty, this says that everything they've worked for, everything they've striven to accomplish all their lives can be obliterated with the stroke of a pen. It gives them something to worry about for a change, something to make their stomachs churn, something to deprive them of a night's sleep no matter how absurd they tell themselves it is at a conscious, intellectual level. It may even shorten their lives by a small but gratifying amount. In short, it does to them exactly what they've been doing to us for half a century.
         To the friends of liberty, it's the welcome gift of a chuckle -- and a glimmer of hope. It says that if we make it through the next couple of years, things will get better.
         And here's the payoff: as co-sponsors, we'll write in "Your Libertarian Senator" and "Your Libertarian Congressman". The only way things will get better is if we convince enough voters that this time, if we make it through the next couple of years, they will be different, as well. We must stop being bounced like a Ping-Pong ball between the rackets of the Demolicans and the Republicrats.
         The first priority of the Libertarian Party will be to put the "civility back into civilization through the most stringent enforcement possible of the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights" -- and that will make things very different, indeed.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         A handbill circulating this way automatically ties in to other efforts. In Colorado, we've begun urging people angry over increased and retroactive taxes, over Socialized Medicine or Else, and especially over the Brady Bill and the Feinstein Amendment, in what may eventually become an outright drive, to change their voter registration from whatever it was before -- Demolican, Republicrat, Independent, United We Stand with our Big Floppy Ears Hanging Out -- to Libertarian.
         The badguys may suppress us in the media, they may even steal elections from us, but since we're talking to them, here, since they pay attention to things like changes in voter registration, our message will get to the people it's intended for.
         To the Right, to the unclean thing that calls itself "Republican Party", the message is: you have fucked up big-time, and now you have to deal with us if you have any hope of cleaning up the mess you've made and saving your party from oblivion.
         To the Left, to the Marxoid trash infesting the White House, the message is: we gave you your chance.
         The National Firearms Acts of the 1930s were plainly unconstitutional, but the NRA dropped the ball, and somehow we learned to live with them. It was relatively easy, since you so-called liberals said it was all you wanted, anyway.
         That was the covenant.
         In 1968, while basically accusing productive-class gun owners of having murdered JFK and RFK, you illegally took more of our rights away. Again the NRA dropped the ball, and again we learned to live with the consequences. It was harder this time, but again you so-called liberals assured us it was all you wanted.
         And again that was the covenant.
         But this time, in 1994, because you so-called liberals got politically greedy and couldn't keep the covenant -- because from the instant the Brady Bill passed, the instant Feinstein passed, you whimpered that they weren't enough -- you will lose everything. Everything is up for grabs -- Social Security, income taxes, the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, every vestige of the New Deal, every alphabetical agency, each of the 20,000 illegal victim disarmament laws in this country -- and, as a bonus, you so-called liberals get to go to jail.
         All because you so-called liberals couldn't keep the covenant that you, yourself, insisted on, and because enough was never enough for you. This time, you've given us the leverage. This time you're up against a people who know their rights, a people who know the history and philosophy behind their rights. This time you're up against a political party, the Libertarian Party, that will strip every last federal agency of the weapons with which it wages constant war against the American people, and see each and every one of the Constitution's first ten amendments -- the Ten Commandments of American political behavior -- enforced for exactly what it is, the highest law of the land.
         One thing for sure: nobody's kids will ever be taken by the government again, nor will that threat be used to get somebody to do whatever government wants; any bureaucrat who tries will find herself in the deepest, darkest, dankest dungeon Leavenworth offers, having sunlight piped in on alternate leap-years. If need be, we'll open Alcatraz again, just to make room for the social workers this aspect of Bill of Rights enforcement will ... shall we say, "impact"?
         You so-called liberals have no hope; sooner or later, with or without Republican help -- almost certainly without it -- we will eradicate every last trace of socialism from this country, from the continent of North America, and from the world. Let me say here and now that the second promise I'd make, if I were a Libertarian candidate for President, is that any Canadian province that ratified the American Bill of Rights by a 2/3 majority would be offered statehood.
         Of course, the first promise I would make is this one: "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         And to the media, it says: don't look to me, don't look to any exhibitionist who stands up in front of a crowd like this from time to time. I'm not the one who started it, you are. And it is individual members of the Libertarian Party who will finish it now, with or without my help, because their first priority is "Putting the civility back into civilization through the most stringent enforcement possible of the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights".
         And unlike their weak, whiny, hand-wringing, bed-wetting opposite numbers on the Left or the Right, they do perfectly well, thank you, without a leader. With this outfit, it has always been ideas that counted, not personalities.
         You may not realize it yet, you people in the media -- you may not want to acknowledge it -- but as an American, as a human being, you have a moral and political obligation to help them. If you're not up to it -- if you're not "man" enough -- at least don't get in their way while they're trying to save you from the consequences of your own abhorrent evil and repulsive stupidity.

*****

         Ladies and gentlemen, it all begins by telling your neighbor -- who may be a conservative, turned off because the President is a moral cripple, that, as a protest that talks directly to the system, one that doesn't have to wait until November to be felt, he needs to change his voter registration to Libertarian.
         It doesn't mean he has to vote Libertarian, after all.
         This is just a protest.
         Tell him the words "conservative" and "Republican" are fully separable. Don't waste much effort explaining our positions on issues like abortion or the War on Drugs, and never make excuses or apologies for them. We're right and he's wrong.
         And besides, this is just a protest.
         How much better a protest if the Libertarian Party is known far and wide to take weird positions on all the issues of the day? Ask him what it says to the Republican leadership if its voters are willing to switch to something like that?
         And this is just a protest, isn't it?
         Tell your angry and disenfranchised conservative friend we're not asking him to marry us.
         We're not asking him to have our baby.
         We're not asking him to agree with us on every issue.
         We're not asking him to become a Libertarian.
         This. Is. Just. A. Protest.
         We're not even asking him to join the Libertarian Party.
         And even if it were more than just a protest, all we're asking is that he hire us to do a job -- by consistently voting for Libertarian candidates -- a job no other political party is willing to do: put the civility back into civilization through the most stringent enforcement possible of the Bill of Rights.
         Through Bill of Rights enforcement.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         If it's the last thing you do, don't call what's happening now a police state. And don't say we've been taken over by commies or fascists. It may all be true, but even that grants the other side too much legitimacy, too much dignity.
         Say that we've been a little careless the last couple hundred years, and now we have criminals in high office -- we have a thousand Watergates going on, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand -- and that no matter how long it takes, these Nixonoid creatures from the damp underside of the political rock are going to jail.
         Through Bill of Rights enforcement.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         About a month ago, at its annual convention in Sedalia, in the mountains west of Castle Rock, I told members of the Libertarian Party of my own home state that whenever they began to feel discouraged, I wanted them to visualize an old lady, twenty years from now, tall, stoop-shouldered, puffing at the stub of a cigar and wearing thick glasses and a dikey haircut. I wanted them to visualize her shuffling along with a canvas bag slung over her shoulder, one of those sticks in her hand, with a nail in one end, picking up odds and ends of paper trash as part of her 100,000 hours of public service, cleaning up America's shooting ranges.
         Party on, Janet! And party on, Hillary, I said. America (or at least Joe-Bob Briggs) loves movies about "Bimbos Behind Bars". Let's see how they like the real thing!
         To the enemies of liberty, this says that everything they've worked for will be obliterated -- and on top of that, there's going to be a steep price to pay. It warns them all, from the cop on the beat to the President, not to be too zealous enforcing of the Brady Bill or the Feinstein Amendment for the short time those laws are still on the books, because a higher law is going to be enforced against them.
         To the friends of liberty, it's the welcome gift of a chuckle, a glimmer of hope, and a message that they needn't be too zealous complying with those or any other unconstitutional laws, because help is on the way. If we make it through the next couple of years, things will get better. A very great deal better.
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         And if you really want to make it through the next couple of years, ladies and gentlemen of the Libertarian Party, if you really want things to get better, if you really want a chance to do that job no other party will do, so will you, ladies and gentlemen, you'll swear it, too, right now, right here, with me:
         "I swear by my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor to uphold the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, popularly known as the 'Bill of Rights'."
         Ladies and gentlemen, a Great Explosion is coming.
         And it starts with you.
         Thank you.


L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn and Lever Action. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.

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