FREE AS THE AIR?
L. Neil Smith
I received an e-mail message today (May 25th) about a proposed Constitutional amendment that would compel our elected representatives to be fully subject to the same laws citizens and taxpayers are all expected to obey.
This would include Social Security, in which the Congress and the Senate have never been forced to participate, Obamacare, which is what caused the issue to be raised now, and myriads of other statutes and regulations to which politicians have made themselves happily immune.
There's even a part of the Constitution, Article I, Section 6, that keeps them from being punished for anything political they do while in office.
While I heartily agree with and greatly admire the spirit in which this proposed new amendment was written, I also believe that, while amendments are being proposed, there are a few higher priorities to address.
When I was a member of the national Libertarian Party platform committee in 1977, meeting in San Francisco, I wrote and introduced a plank attempting to warn my fellow libertarians that the then-new security measures being imposed in the country's airports -- they were shockingly mild by today's ugly standards -- would inevitably spread out from there like a cancer, eventually transforming America into a full-blown police state, which is exactly where we find ourselves today.
I was laughed at and shouted down by a collection of characters and movement icons as legendary and illustrious as they could possibly be. Over the thirty-four years that have passed since then, not one of these legendary and illustrious characters has come forth to say, "You
were right, Neil, we were wrong". But I was right: if you want to know what America will be like tomorrow, look at what airports are like now.
Today's news is filled with horrifying stories of people -- women, children, diapered babies, little old ladies in wheelchairs -- being groped and explored obscenely by dullwitted, slovenly placeholders, many of them with criminal backgrounds including sex offenders, who couldn't even meet the eligibility standards of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, formerly the most incompetent, corrupt, and least scrupulous bottom-of-the-barrel agency in the government.
Now they're Number Two.
But we knew that.
The great libertarian teacher and writer Robert LeFevre was famous for having remarked, among other things, that government is a disease masquerading as its own cure -- a quote often erroneously attributed to me. Today, the thoroughly unconstitutional Transportation Safety
Administration, as well as the equally illegal Department of Homeland Security of which it is a part, are in fact the very terrorists they pretend to be protecting us from. And they are only a small fraction of the vast standing army -- a crooked, increasingly brutal, occupying army -- of which America's Founding Fathers were so terribly wary and afraid.
These are the same kind of "humanitarians" who would scramble military fighters and shoot down a hijacked commercial airliner full of innocent passengers, rather than allow these victims Constitutional access to the means of defending themselves. Some observers believe that's what actually happened to United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four aircraft seized on 9/11, which crashed into a farmer's field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- but that the "public servants" who authorized this outrage and atrocity are ashamed to admit what they did.
Is it true? Given all their other lies, from the sinking of the _Lusitania_ to Iraq's WMDs, how would we ever be able to tell? It is instructive in this connection -- and sobering -- to remember that not one single individual in the government lost his or her job as a consequence of having utterly failed to predict or prevent the 9/11 attacks. Yet today, even as they tighten their death-grip on the Constitution, their terrorist-under-every-bed cant increasingly rings as hollow as the Yellow Peril of the 1890s or the Red Scare of the 1920s. There is a lot of money and power to be had by frightening people.
And now they are attempting to expand their operations to railway stations and bus terminals, as part of an all-out push -- or should I say _putsch_? -- to impose totalitarian discipline on what was once the freest country in the history of the world. Here and there, with increasing frequency, government minions are stopping cars illegally, searching people without probable cause, and even stealing money from them.
The infamous "no-fly list" of individuals whom the government has decided -- for no reason that they are required to reveal -- won't be allowed to board an airplane is unpecedentedly heinous and tyrannical, a page straight out of the Hitlerian or Stalinist playbook. Those who
created the list, compiled it, and apply it belong in prison. Instead they remain free to advocate that the same procedure be applied to bus and train travel, to buying a firearm, and, eventually, to using the Internet.
But we all know that. We see it in the news, online, every day. We also know they want to silence their critics by seizing control of the Internet, something which, at all costs, must never be allowed to happen.
September 11, 2001, if we choose to believe the official story, could have been stopped before it ever started by a single individual aboard each aircraft, armed with a .22 caliber revolver. Nor would the 9/11 hijackers simply have equipped themselves with better weapons. As plummeting crime rates in concealed-carry locales clearly demonstrate, criminals only act when they feel that they enjoy an overwhelming advantage.
In my 1980 novel _The Probability Broach_, and again in _The Venus Belt_, published in the same year, I discuss alternative methods of assuring passenger safety in the air while respecting the individual's absolute right to self-defense and the means of self-defense. This is neither brain surgery nor rocket science. Rendering innocent people harmless is just the same as rendering them helpless, which is morally unacceptable.
The monstrosity of 9/11 occurred, in fact, because the government supplied the perpetrators with that advantage, illegally forbidding American citizens to fly properly protected (please, don't bring up those useless lumps known as "Air Marshals") -- a policy we now call victim disarmament -- and convincing the whorish media and a gullible public that the Second Amendment right to own and carry weapons, and the many social benefits it confers, somehow doesn't apply at 40,000 feet.
What can be done about it, short of violent revolution? Many individuals believe it's too late and that nothing can be done. But a simple fact that no one can dispute -- a feature of reality that people need to stop evading and face squarely and courageously -- is that if you continue to fly, your compliance is helping to take freedom away from your friends, family, neighbors, your countrymen and women.
I've often reflected that when you suffer blinding migraines, what you need, in the long run, is a CAT-scan or something like it, and perhaps surgery. But there's nothing wrong with taking an aspirin in the short run. Today, those blinding pains are in another part of our body politic, the part being brutally groped by the filthy hands of tyranny.
America was once the freest country in the history of the world, offering unprecedented peace, progress, prosperity, and above all, freedom to a new Productive Class. And it was freedom, of course, that let all the rest of it happen, that made all of us wealthy and secure, compared to the inhabitants of the rest of the globe, in a wonderful historical period when everyone wondered what marvel would be invented next.
With freedom, you can do anything. All things are possible. Without freedom, very little is possible except barbarism and death. Today, by comparison to the times of our great grandfathers, we all languish in the debtor's prison that our country has become, bound down by the chains that should have been used to bind the government down.
For a long-run solution to this and many other problems currently plaguing the former land of the free and home of the brave, it is necessary to pay attention to Thomas Hobbes, an author unsympathetic to freedom, who I'm not generally accustomed to quoting, but who was pitch perfect when he declared in _Leviathan_, that " ... covenants, without the sword, are but words ... of no strength to secure a man at all."
America's Founding Fathers made a deadly error -- or perhaps the Hamiltonian Federalists got what they actually wanted -- when they failed to write a penalty clause into the Bill of Rights. If, for the past 220 years, we had been arresting, indicting, trying, convicting, and punishing politicians, bureaucrats, and policemen who violate or evade its provisions, we might have a compltely different country today. A free country, technologically centuries ahead of where we are now.
Instead, our ancestors allowed the Founders to write the precise opposite into the Constitution, an immunity clause, Article I, Section 6, which has permitted what was so hard-won in the Revolution through bloodshed, gunpowder, and steel, to be gnawed away at and finally destroyed.
Our highest priority today must be to write that long overdue penalty clause ourselves, to make it, along with the Bill of Rights, the highest law of the land, and then to repeal Article I, Section 6. Supreme Court justices must be held to higher standards or replaced. Police departments must be reduced in numbers and demilitarized. After 49 years of political activism on my part, this is the only path I can see clearly, short of another bloody Revolution, to getting a free country for ourselves and for our children and grandchildren to live in.
The following proposed amendment has been criticized because it doesn't call for capital punishment, which may be a fair observation. A second clause, repealing Article I, Section 6, could be added. Whether it was ever ratified or not, if this proposal were circulating widely enough on the Internet, it might just give the mny enemies of individual liberty some occasion to pause and to reflect on possible consequences:
Any official, appointed or elected, at any level of
government, who attempts, through legislative act or other
means, to nullify, evade, or avoid the provisions of the
first ten amendments to this Constitution, or of the
Thirteenth Amendment, forbidding involuntary servitude of
any kind, shall be summarily removed from office, and, upon
conviction, deprived of all pay and benefits including
pension, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.
But with regard to commercial air travel, right now and for the forseeable future, the proper palliative is obvious. The airlines must be forced to choose between respecting the Bill of Rights or going bankrupt. They may choose the latter course, and then go whimpering to the government for subsidy, but government's means are limited. There isn't that much real money left to steal, and to print more would be suicidal.
Our policy must be _boycott_. I repeat: as long as you continue to fly, you are helping to take freedom away from your friends, family, neighbors, and your countrymen. Until the Bill of Rights is enforced in the air as it should be on the ground, don't buy, don't fly, don't comply.
If you're not willing to do what is necessary to restore freedom to the skies, then just stand there, spread your legs, and enjoy the grope.
It's your only alternative.