A NIGHT AT THE OPERA 
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A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

By: L. Neil Smith

I went to speak, the other evening, with a local chapter of Young

Americans for Liberty, on the campus of Colorado State University --

ironically, the same campus where I helped create chapters of Young

Americans for Freedom and Students for a Democratic Society in the

'60s.

 

I've done this before and always find it very enjoyable to visit

with individuals to whom the elements of living within libertarian

principle do not have to be explained. The fact that they are young is

especially encouraging, as is the fact that some of them are female,

something that didn't happen a lot in the early days of the freedom

movement.

 

I hadn't gone with a particular topic in mind. Most of the group's

members seem to enjoy hearing about my various adventures, real or

imagined, as a lonely libertarian in what is overwhelmingly left wing

novelist-land, so that's what I'd decided to speechify about. But for

some complicated reasons having to do with family transportation, I'd

had to cool my heels in the Student Center and then my wife's office

(she's worked at CSU for going on 30 years, now) before the appointed

time.

 

I had my computer with me, and should have been writing, but I

spent the time, instead, on a book I've been reading on my telephone,

compliments of Kindle, and a century that has so far given us the most

wonderful technology and the most disgusting politics in all of human

history.

 

The book is Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists,

Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, by

Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer probably most famous for his

"Mars Direct" plan for getting humans to the Red Planet and back at a

fraction of the money government would spend on the same goal. Zubrin

has written several books on other subjects, among them, this one,

whose lengthy subtitle spells out pretty well what the book is about.

It isn't the sky above, this time, but the mud below, focusing on the

shameful, evil history of eugenics and its place in a world-wide

power-grab

 

I was attracted to Zubrin's book for three reasons. First, it

parallels my own thinking, as expressed most recently in my article in

L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise "Things I Know But Can't

Prove".

 

It also provides the last, vital piece to the puzzle of what the

hell is really going on. If government's actions have seemed completely

and inexplicably bizarre the last few decades, it's because those who

run the government have completely different interests and objectives

than we do, interests and objectives that are utterly vicious and

insane.

 

Finally, Zubrin writes with a remarkable clarity I struggle for

every day and greatly admire (or even envy a little) in other writers.

He also provides the citations that, as a novelist and columnist I do

not. Best of all, Zubrin's book reassured me that, if all my careful

reading and reasoning had bought me a life membership in the tinfoil

hat brigade, at least it's a much bigger brigade than I had been

aware.

 

Among other things, Zubrin's Merchants of Despair explains why,

when she was told that, through starvation and lack of medicine, the

U.S. naval blockade of Iraq had killed a million children, Madeleine

Albright, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State chirped, "It was worth

it."

 

As I recall it, Albright's boss, Bill Clinton, caught in one lie

after another, asserted that truth depends on what the meaning of "is"

is. Thanks to her, we now know what the meaning of "is" is to them: it

is the deliberate, systematic depopulation of this planet by political

trash like Madeleine and Bill, who have come to think that their lives

are more important than those of millions in the Third World and

elsewhere.

 

Madeleine and Bill, belong to a bellowing herd of self-proclaimed

aristocrats, presently headquartered in the United Nations -- but who

have been infesting us since the early 19th century -- who believe the

human population must be cut back to Earth's "carrying capacity",

which they have somehow calculated is ten percent of what the Earth's

population is today. Meaning that six billion, three hundred million

individuals have to be gotten rid of, in some manner. The agonizing

deaths of a million Iraqi children, in their view, is only a modest

beginning.

 

Now this was never meant to be a book review, although I urge you

to read Zubrin's book. Fact is, the freedom movement is not merely up

against a bin full of loonies who want to tell us how much sugar to

put on our cornflakes, how evil our SUVs are, or steal our guns. They

want us out of the way completely. Understand that the current

ideological conflict is a struggle to the death. Our death. If you

know where to look, they haven't been the least bit shy about saying

so.

 

Now, thanks to Zubrin's reminder of the "progressives'" century

old enthusiasm for eugenics, I understand that, once they have the

planet's population down to what they consider a "manageable" size,

they will begin breeding and culling humans like farm animals, until

they wind up with the kind of unquestioningly compliant serfs they

want.

 

And that's more or less the note on which I concluded my hour's

conversation with the CSU campus YAL. Afterward, going home in the

little Subaru that could, my wife Cathy's only comment was, "That was

dark."

 

And it was dark, for me, at least. Over my past fifty-one years in

the freedom movement, over my past thirty-six years as a novelist, I

have almost always been the most optimistic individual in the room. In

fact I coined the term "Libertarian Utopianism" for my setpiece dinner

speech, "I Dreamed I Was A Libertarian In My Maidenform Bra", a clutch

of ideas that eventually evolved into my first novel, The Probability

Broach.

 

I have often been the only libertarian utopian I knew. Altogether

too many libertarians seem to have inherited a bad mental habit from

conservatives: they appear to take some kind of perverse comfort in

bad news, and to prefer it to good. They would rather whimper about

all of the mean things the government did to them in the past, all of

the mean things the government is doing to them now, and all of the

mean things the government is going to do to them in the future, than,

borrowing a phrase from an obscure seventeenth century British

playwright, "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end

them."

 

Show them the way out of trouble, they will resent you for it.

 

My home state of Colorado is in particularly bad condition at the

moment, thanks largely to a weak, timid state Republican Party oddly

stranded back in the 1950s and incapable of thinking its way out of a

wet paper bag. This would represent an invaluable opportunity for the

state Libertarian Party here if it were not, in every respect, even

worse.

 

Thus, with a Democratic majority in the State House, a Democratic

majority in the State Senate, and a Democratic governor whose lips are

locked firmly around the nethermost appendage of Barack Obama, it is

depressingly predictable what will happen whenever some violent and

telegenic incident -- most of which are starting to look transparently

manufactured -- offers them yet another excuse to shred the Bill of

Rights.

 

I was born in Colorado. Except for when the Air Force moved my

family around the continent, I have lived here all my life. Yet, for

the first time, I find myself seriously considering moving to some

other state where my rights -- and the fact that every cent I earn and

spend comes from out of state -- are taken seriously. I love Texas, I

have many friends in Arizona, and the Wyoming border is forty miles

away.

 

Certainly, there are things that could still be done here with

some time and intelligent effort and a little bit of money. The

Democrats are safe enough in Denver which, like many another capital

city is a pus-filled putrescent boil on the backside of an otherwise

peaceful and productive state. But their hold on the rest of the state

is precarious and they may already have committed political suicide

with the anti-self-defense legislation they're trying to ram through.

Except for the mentally and morally feeble National Rifle Association,

gun people, as a culture, don't ever forgive and they don't ever

forget.

 

The Democrats are counting on an enormous volume of amnestified

immigrants to maintain them in power, while the Republicans struggle

desperately -- and in vain -- to lock them out. History demonstrates

that there is nothing, not policemen, not armies, not Hadrian's Wall,

not the Berlin Wall, not even the Great Wall of China, that can stop a

folk migration. But if I can figure out a way to turn newcomers around

politically (and I have) so can other members of the general freedom

movement.

 

Sure, my presentation the other night was dark. These are dark

times for American civilization, and they could get even darker before

dawn. But the next time I have a chance to speak to my friends in YAL,

instead of pessimistic baggage, I will bring along a great big bag of

solutions.

 

I rather doubt that they will be resented there.
 
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 33 freedom-oriented books, including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, and  DOWN WITH POWER: Libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis.Visit his webpage at LNeilSmith.Org
 



 
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