aphorisms are the work of libertarian novelist L. Neil Smith. They have
been the bedrock for libertarian activism in Arizona for the last 10
years (since 1994 - now going on 18 years, this was written a while ago)
and are the best explanation I can provide for the tactics of our
*Never soft-peddle the truth. It’s seldom self-evident and almost
never sells itself, because there’s less sales resistance to a glib and
*Understand from the minute the fight begins that you’re going to
take damage. Accept it. (You’ll always suffer more from the idiots and
cowards on your own side than from any enemy.) Keep your overall goal in
mind above all. Those who swerve to avoid a few cuts and bruises defeat
*If you’re not a little bit uncomfortable with your position, it
isn’t radical enough. How can you be too principled? Take the most
extreme position you can. You’re claiming territory you won’t have to
fight for later, mostly against your “allies.”
*Go straight to the heart of the enemy’s greatest strength. Break
that and you break him. You can always mop up the flanks and stragglers
later, and they may even surrender, saving you a lot of effort.
*Know, down to the last cell in your body, that the other guy started
it. He’s the one who put things in an ethical context where
considerations like decency and mercy have no referent. The less pity
moves you now, the sooner you can go back to being a nice guy.
*If you lose, go down fighting. It costs nothing extra, and now and again ...
*Remain the judge of your own actions. Never surrender that position
by default. When the enemy screams “Foul!” the loudest, you know you’re
doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy.
*Second thoughts, failures of confidence, nervous last-minute
course-changes are all detours and recipes for defeat. The time to think
is before the battle - if possible, before the war - not in the heat of
*It is moral weakness, rather than villainy, that accounts for most
of the evil in the universe – and feeble-hearted allies, far rather than
your most powerful enemies, who are likeliest to do you an injury you
cannot recover from.
*Know, otherhandwise, that the easiest, most humiliating path to
defeat is thinking that to beat the enemy you must be like him. Avoid
the temptation to set your values aside “for the duration.” What’s the
point of fighting if you give up what you’re fighting for? If remaining
consistent with your values leads to defeat, you chose the wrong values
to begin with.
*Never aim at anything but total achievement of your goal: the utter
capitulation of the enemy. Every effort involves inertia and mechanical
losses, so adopting any lesser objective means partial defeat. Total
victory means you don’t have to fight the same fight again tomorrow.
*The most dangerous and successful conspiracies take place in public,
in plain sight, under the clear, bright light of day – usually with TV
cameras focused on them.
*Ever notice how those who believe in animal rights generally don’t believe in human rights?
*The function of government is to provide you with service; the function of the media is to supply the Vaseline.
*“Wake up America ,” you demand? America doesn’t need to “wake up” –
by which of course, you mean pay attention to whatever you think is
important. If America weren’t already awake, paying attention to what
each individual thinks is important, your milk wouldn’t have gotten
delivered this morning, and you wouldn’t have any electricity this
*You cannot force me to agree with you. You can force me to act as
though I agree with you – but then you’ll have to watch your back. All