Boston Replies to Molôn Labé! Review
by Boston T. Party, February 23, 2004
A Secretive Movement?
Where Molôn Labé! can obviously be used as a strategic or tactical guide--such was the intention.
Where it obviously cannot, the reader should recognize the tale mixed within. For dramatic purposes, it was much more effective to spring 9,000 surprise relocators on five counties within a single year, versus chronicle some gradual (and fairly boring) migration.
In short, don't take my "blueprint" description quite so literally. Whatever "cat let out of the bag" was likely never any actual feline.
Regarding operational security (opsec), much can still be done with the respect of presenting this history in the making with something of a fait accompli. To that aim, I do not plan on publicly listing a "member odometer" for the Free State Wyoming. When I see that the FSW has sufficient numbers for effectiveness, I'll privately inform those who are keen to join me in Wyoming. (Others may certainly "pre-board" if they wish.)
An Organized Movement?
In Molôn Labé! the first wave of relocators go to five noncontiguous counties: Niobrara, Hot Springs, Crook, Sublette, and Johnson. This happens for several interrelated reasons which the story structure requires. THE REAL-WORLD FREE STATE WYOMING WILL NOT NECESSARILY COPY THIS!
In fact, several elements will almost have to be different, for the FSW is not currently benefitting from 9,000 people with car engines running, waiting for my "Go!" email.
Still, some organization remains a must.
Yes, I know that organizing libertarians is like herding cats. Our lack of pack animal instincts has also had a part in keeping, ironically, the Freedom Movement from growing. We don't organize easily, though our collectivist enemies do. Also, we tend to be contentious, as the mild feud between the FSP and its "competitors" demonstrates.
However, if the perceived self-interest were great enough, I'd wager that quite a bit of migration organization would be possible. I touch on a few suggested elements of self-interest in Molôn Labé! Ari suspects that they may be insufficient for the cause; he may be right; we'll see. (I'd be keen to hear of any ideas on that.)
This aside, I will say that at least some coordination is vital for any early success of a free state (or county) plan. To achieve political/cultural influence, the migration cannot be utterly random.
Also, certain Wyoming counties are simply infeasible for our goals (at least during the earlier stages). For example, some FSWers are keen on the Cheyenne area because it's the capital, and it's only 2 hours from Denver. However, for the putative goals of local success, Laramie County has over 80k and is far too populous. Settling there makes as much sense as the FSPers going to highly populous southern NH for the Mass. job market. (As I explained in my Open Letter #1, if the FSP does/can not first win at least populated Coos County, no statewide success is possible.)
Sooooo, FSWers must first concentrate on thinly populated counties. In ascending order of voter registration (which is more important than gross population) they are: Niobrara, Hot Springs, Crook, Weston, Sublette, and Johnson. Thus, the FSW has six varied choices to begin with.
While Niobrara has far fewer numbers, the county is incomparably bleak and hardly anyone would choose to move there.
Hot Springs, Sublette, and Johnson are all fine counties to begin with, but not my first picks.
Crook/Weston, however, are not only contiguous, but the top two choices in my traveled opinion. (I have a detailed matrix of county data which bolsters my subjectivity. Email me at wyoming_freestate*AT*yahoo.com for a copy.)
Any of the above counties will be viable to start in, with Crook and Weston the top two. As the FSW grows in numbers, we can contemplate a 3-5 county effort, but between now and 2006, we should concentrate on Crook and Weston (and maybe Hot Springs). Anything else unnecessarily dilutes our numbers, and there is no real, justifiable lure of other counties.
Self-sufficient or geo-independent entrepreneurs can live anywhere, and they will be the first Wyoming pioneers. As their businesses grow, waves of employees will follow.
Christians, Conservatives, and Libertarians
While Ari's commentary of this portion of Molôn Labé! was generally fair and even-handed, he slightly mistermed me as a "conservative Christian" and part of the "religious right."
The connotation of both terms is, to me, implicitly linked to government intervention in religious matters -- not a tactic of mine. I would rather drastically shrink the sphere of the State to such a minimalist point where such intervention is not only impossible, but unable to even be contemplated.
Prayer in schools? With the separation of school and state, this would be a free-market issue. Posting the 10 Commandments in public places? What public places?
I am a libertarian Christian, and disagree mightily with some views of George Bush, Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Ann Coulter. I also disagree mightily with some views of Rothbard, Rand, etc.
Some readers may question why I even included Gov. Preston's discussion of morality and religious ethics. The story could have technically done without it, however, if Preston is central to creation of a new long-term society, then his views on what is vital to the sustenance of that society are important.
Certainly, Objectivism is no guarantee of debauchery any more than Christianity is of virtue -- and Preston never even implied such. However, I've encountered no secular system of ethics which can supplant what I've seen Jesus Christ do in human hearts, including my own. There's one crucial thing to understand about Christianity: it's not a religion, it is a relationship.
Finally, as Preston quipped, "Nobody reads 'Atlas Shrugged' in hospital waiting rooms."
Rand and Ethics
Ari believes that Preston gave short shrift to Rand on her ethics, but I disagree. Her treatment of Nathaniel Branden during and after their breakup was grotesque. And she never forgave him for a nutty situation that was largely her own doing. Enunciating a moral basis for capitalism was one thing, but her personal ethics amongst people she ostensibly loved were deplorable. That's why she died bitter and alone.
While abortion clearly stops the beating heart of a unique unborn human with his/her own DNA, those of us outside the womb don't view abortion deaths precisely the same as deaths of born humans. Even expectant mothers who miscarry rarely have funerals for their dead unborn, which is why I termed post-coital birth control abortions as "tantamount to murder" (which isn't quite the same thing as calling abortion "murder" outright, as Ari slightly misquoted Preston).
Yes, even though some 1.5 million abortions performed each year in America, we have no real sense of the human loss--nor could we. "1.5 million Americans weren't born last year because of abortion on demand." Hardly a rousing headline. And although I have been personally affected by abortion, it has never been a "hot-button" issue of mine.
It was the more subtle implications of abortion which have begun to bother me. Preston's interview did not have to touch on abortion, but I felt compelled to "go there" because abortion as a form of birth-control is hardening the psyche of America into not seeing persons (as Jeffrey Snyder so well described in his essay "The Right Right"). Once a society begins to label people as "non-persons" because they are "unterMensch" (subhumans, e.g., Jews), or "mud-people" (e.g., blacks), or "vermin" (e.g., WW2 Japanese Americans) -- nobody is ever truly safe from not being seen as a person.
That is the greatest danger of an abortion culture. Who next will be stripped of his/her status of a person entitled to equal protection under the law? Prisoners? The terminally ill? The aged poor? The politically dissident? Terrorists?
And Preston's observation that elective abortion has gotten us "flirting with genocide" was no wild pro-life hyperbole, as he explains.
Quiet, nonvocal homosexuals would certainly be tolerated in Wyoming. (Note that tolerance is not the same as approval.) However, any sharp increase in numbers or militancy will cause problems anywhere outside of San Francisco or Greenwich Village. Blame the nuclear family for society's ills, or call heterosexuality a "disorder" and that will start real problems.
My point is that highly politicized large numbers of liberal homosexuals are an intentionally destructive force. (E.g., suing the Boys Scouts of America was a blatant and obscene act of judicial violence.)
Preston was speaking of homosexuality at large, rather than homosexuals. While many homosexuals (and I refuse to honor their slaying of the word "gay," which meant light-hearted and carefree) are (despite their perverse sexual practices) fine people with great contributions to humanity, homosexuality as a cultural force is a net drain on society. (If it were not, then the rest of us 90-98% should slough off our heterosexuality in order to improve mankind.) "At the same time, a healthy culture will generally welcome good people who happen to be gay." Hmmmm. "Tolerate" but I doubt "welcome." Preston's Wyoming does not actively recruit libertarian homosexuals any more than it seeks rampant drug-users who happen to be libertarian. While neither camp would be in peril for their lives or property, most locals would have as little to do with them as possible.
A queer Amsterdam is not the model for a free and healthy society.
And to say this [is] "homophobic" (yet another etymological perversion).
"However, even a society that (merely) ostracized or otherwise socially mistreated homosexuals would be bad." Really? Assuming no initiation of force, how so? Isn't such merely a matter of paying the price for your choices and your identity within a countervailing culture? Moral: don't go where you're not welcome. Straights don't hang out at "gay" bars for the same reason. (Or, if you do go, don't overtly antagonize the locals.)
I've been "ostracized and otherwise socially mistreated" many times for my beliefs, predilections, and habits. Being a Christian, a gun nut, and a libertarian (especially all three at once!) is an engraved invitation for ostracization these days. Yet I've never demanded that the government step in and force others to value my beliefs and practices as equal to their own, which is a stated goal of the "gay rights" movement.
Regarding "gay" libertarians, I applaud their politics. However, they are hardly a significant element of the LP.
A Coming Crisis?
"Taking the Buchanan line, Boston thinks mass immigration from Mexico will profoundly shape American culture (91), but I think such claims are exaggerated."
Here, Ari is being breathtakingly naive.
Barring a former lifetime in Texas, read "Mexifornia" by Victor Davis Hanson. Then read Chittum's "Civil War 2" to fully get knocked out of your libertarian "unlimited immigration is wonderful" mindset. America is suffering from a veritable invasion of people with foreign cultures who have little/no desire to assimilate (as our immigrant grandparents did). The "colonias" on the south Texas border comprise a mini-Third World of 500,000 peasants with no running water, sanitation, or electricity. Such is incredibly destabilizing, both politically and culturally.
President Bush insists on my blue-haired grandmother submitting to airport patdowns, yet won't tighten up the border because he is pandering to the Hispanic vote and to Mexico.
I, a white man, have lived as a minority within my own country. I speak quite good Spanish. I know what I'm talking about here. Southern Texas has become merely the wealthiest part of Mexico, and the rest of Mexico is generally an economic/ecological basketcase. And it's happening to the American Southwest.
Don't take all this as xenophobic blather. One of my very best friends is an Iranian immigrant -- but here's the rub: he is one of the most honest, patriotic, hard-working Americans I've ever had the honor to know. If he were the libertarian rule and not the exception, then immigration would not be causing an imminent crisis because we'd be importing hard-core Americans.
Today, we're importing socialists at the behest of the Democratic Party.
My views on immigration 12 years ago (as quoted in my "Good-Bye April 15th!") were classically libertarian. It's 2004 and I'm much wiser now. Culture is much more important than many libertarians realize or admit.
"It occurred to me that people naturally think those skills that interest them are the most important skills. Boston likes guns, so he places a lot of emphasis on the importance of an armed society. The Objectivists like philosophy, so that's what they think is more important. Not surprisingly, economists tend to think economic education is paramount."
If Ari had known me for the past, oh, 20-25 years, he would understand why I now place such emphasis on an armed society. While I've always been something of a gun nut, I did not blossom into this towering expert (wink) until the past 13 years, if not the past 6 years. I have made guns into something that highly interests me because firearm skills are the logical progression after learning about philosophy and economics and politics. Folks, I read Rand and von Mises long before I read Jeff Cooper or went to a shooting school or trained with battle rifles.
And it is this sense of progression which I am desperately trying to inculcate in the "Egghead" libertarians. Freedom will not be retained or advanced by another new treatise on philosophy or economics! We already have all the information we need on such abstractions -- what we need is the guts to actually drive that car!
Too many libertarians are like this body-builder I knew in high-school. He too readily stuck with what he had conquered. First, he grew huge biceps. We teased him about his puny chest, so he built that up. Then, we had to razz him about his back and shoulders. Then his abs. Then thighs. Then calves. Point being, without outside challenge, he'd have gone through life satisfied with just a couple of puffy biceps.
Most libertarians are highly intellectual... to a fault. When they finally choose to get rugged and grow some ferocity -- when they actually become armed and deadly foes to tyranny -- THEN the freedom movement will finally see some real progress. But not a moment before. No oppression was ever overthrown by a bunch of readers and philosophers. Liberty is usually dirty and bloody work, and if we don't have the option of providing our masters with a real fight, then they will perennially call our wussy bluff.
Robin Williams touched on this when he ridiculed the unarmed English bobbies: "Stop! Or, I'll stay 'Stop!' again!"
In short, I'm not recommending guns just they're a particular passion of mine. I'm urging their ownership and skill because [of] their relative scarcity. Just as that body-builder constructed a total body, we must work out that part of us which has been long neglected -- fighting ability. It's the only thing we don't have. Philosophy, economics, etc. we've got down cold.
Evolution vs. Creationism
Look, both can be considered mere theories which must embraced by faith due to insufficient scientific evidence. So, which takes the greater faith? Evolution, hands down.
Even the "discoverer" of DNA, Dr. Francis Crick, wrote that such an information storage/retrieval system was far too complex to have evolved on its own even after 3 billion years. (He thought that aliens brought it to Earth.)
Ari uses the free-market as his example of "spontaneous order" -- which is an example of an open system, not a closed one. An auto industry happened because millions of people were interested in car travel. They dug up the ground for metals and oil -- an open system. The industry as a whole is the sum total of intelligent desire, design, and production. Yet our amazing biosphere spaceship just "happened"?
The "spontaneous order" theory is unscientific, primarily because it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics: in a closed system, disorder (entropy: energy unavailable for work) increases. The universe is a closed system (according to scientists, not theologians), and our solar system nearly so. The universe is slowing down and cooling down, because it is using itself up. Higher states of energy devolve to lower states. First Law: You can't break even. (Hint: the universe was never made to last eternally.) Matter is merely energy incredibly slowed down (i.e., by the speed of light squared). Complexity and order do not increase on their own, but only when something outside gets involved.
Finally, the "spontaneous order" theory is counterintuitive. Study a leopard, or a hummingbird, or your own endocrinology at any depth and I defy you to ignore the artistry and engineering. Our skeletal system couldn't be better even with CAD programs. We cannot duplicate the human eye camera.
And remember, under evolutionary theory all these subsystems had to come into parallel being. The notion is absurd.
The universe was created, pure and simple. The who/why/how of the Creator is open for debate, but not His existence. People generally don't believe in God because of a lack of evidence, but because of a lack of will.
There are two main views of history: accidental and conspiratorial. While I will readily grant that I am highly inclined to lean towards a general conspiratorial view, conspiracies do tend to better explain events than mere accidents. (I debated this very point at ERIS 2000.)
"Boston thinks evil often is the result of a nefarious plan, while I think it's usually the net result of a vast number of individual bad choices in conjunction with chance."
If Ari is right, then the opposite must also hold true: that good is also usually the net result of a vast number of individual good choices in conjunction with chance.
Now, who actually believes that?
Isn't good often the result of a laudable plan?
If good and evil were randomly (i.e., fairly evenly) distributed in this world, then why is good always trying to catch up with and defeat evil? It is because evil plans, and good reacts. Evil is always on the march, because if it ceases motion it will die (like a shark).
Folks, if you "reverse engineer" history, you'll likely conclude much evidence of purpose and intent within oppression. Nothing is that pat. Look at events at a macroscopic level, and the dots will form a pretty clear picture. (If you can't see the picture, you're standing too close.)
How did the Allies beat the Axis powers in 1945? Did the Russians simply show up -- by chance -- in Berlin, or the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay?
No, it was dogged systematic work.
So, how did we lose our country, the finest example of freedom technology in human history? Through the dogged systematic work of opponents. The fact that many libertarians fail to recognize their active and dedicated enemy is an issue of great personal frustration for me. We're losing, my colleagues don't really understand why, and I'm something of a naive kook because I do.
Think of it this way: It's 1783. If you and a pack of cohorts were bent on whittling away America's freedom, in order to achieve some grand scheme of tyranny -- in order to tear down all that was good for the glorification of all that is bad -- what would you have done differently over the past 200 years?
Very, very little.
Oh, but all that "just happened."
"Yes, the monetary system is the product of human decisions, but it is mostly the product of uncoordinated decisions not aimed toward a 'final' goal."
Hogwash, Ari! Our Federal Reserve System, for example, was a thoroughly contrived scheme, planned and discussed in secret (as conspirator Frank Vanderlip described the 1910 Jekyll Island conclave 25 years later in the Saturday Evening Post -- 9 Feb. 1935, p. 25). This had been preceded by the artificial Panics of 1893 and 1907 to whip the public into accepting a central bank.
All this has been widely and credibly documented.
Libertarians' general disbelief in coordinated actions of oppression has done us the most harm, in my opinion. I won't argue the related terms of syndrome vs. consensus vs. conspiracy here, but my point is that an organized evil has been working for a very long time to enslave mankind, and it is presently within just a generation or two of success.
Freedom has not really advanced, only our knowledge of being oppressed -- which is a different thing entirely.
In League with Lucifer
Ari touts the novel's globalist Luciferian plan as "silly." What he fails to mention is that outright occultism is rampant in America's elite. (Do some research on what goes on at the Bohemian Grove.)
Remember Bush's seemingly nonsensical "thousand points of light" reference? That term is highly meaningful in the occult. When Christians made an issue of it, Bush never uttered it again (and he quit saying "New World Order," too). Both Bush 1.0 and 2.0 are members of the bizarre ritualistic Skull & Bones, a creepy organization maintained under much secrecy. (Heck, I'm the "paranoid extremist author" and not even I am that secretive!)
It doesn't matter whether you or I or Ari believe that our political elite is "in league with Lucifer." What matters is if they believe it, and some of them evidently do. Hence, I thought the story scene was interesting, speculative though it was.
What did the Krassnyite killings have to do with the Wyoming story?
The wave of retribution sparked by Harold Krassny serves as a backdrop for a nationwide phenomenon which drives the FBI and the President to distraction as they try to blame Wyoming for it. After a decade of killings and abductions, President Connor finally precipitates into military action. I wanted to include something powerful in the story mix to put Connor over the edge, as I didn't think that Wyoming's independent course of action might be quite enough.
I thought it very interesting to be a "fly on the wall" as the FBI and White House discuss their view of the killings. Also, the study of police/forensic operations was of interest to fans of detective thrillers.
Finally, the SecState Julius Harquist (sort a cross between Elsworth Toohey and Warren Christopher) was such a smug and odious intellectual thug, his death seemed necessary and fitting -- so at least one killing was assured.
Were the Krassnyite killings immoral?
Ari is the first to publicly question them, if not condemn them. The story portrays an insurrection in process, one which the Government itself brought on through its draconian actions. There is no "voting the bastards out" because the system is rotten and irredeemable, and only bastards can get in. There is no passing of laws which will shackle them, because they write and adjudicate the law.
Charge them criminally? Yeah, sure. Really worked with Lon Horiuchi. (And no Delta Force operators capping Branch Davidians with M-4s have ever been even charged, thanks to the sham Danforth report.)
In the novel, judges who sentence harmless people to prison are knocked off. Senators who sponsor treasonous legislation are rubbed out. And most readers will concur that such people had it coming.
A very good companion novel on this very issue is Matthew Bracken's "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" (website of same name). It is much more suited for the unsuspecting general reader, as Bracken patiently builds his case for retribution through much more human terms. (I did not, primarily from differences in story requirements, which lessened the need for extensive character development.)
Ari asks, "Where does the culpability end?" He is concerned with an endless blood-feud, though this does not occur in the novel (which portrays surgical strikes against a decade total of about 200 leaders). Clearly, the feud is of a decapitative nature, versus some widespread bloodlust along the lines of the French Revolution.
He wonders if some people are indeed "truly evil in a self-conscious and malicious way (rather than in a banal way of gross error and irresponsibility)." I confess that such Pollyanna wide-eyedness floored me. Spend a day with a gang violence police unit, or read "Treblinka" and get back to me. When the actor Scott Glenn was researching the Jack Crawford character for "Silence of The Lambs," the FBI's Behavorial Science Unit played a death tape made by two killers as they brutally raped and murdered a young girl in their van. The pleadings and screams of the girl (and the maniacal glee of her tormentors) shook Glenn to the core, who reversed his stance on the death penalty.
We must not go through this life in a bubble, blissfully unaware of evil.
While much evil is banal and unintentional, quite a bit is not. Ari, there are people who actually revel in harming or controlling others, and the more gentle souls we are, the greater the imperative for recognizing them.
Why antagonize the authorities with such killings?
The scenes weren't written to purposely antagonize them, but to warn them of a feasible reaction to increasing attacks on American freedoms. John Ross and Matthew Bracken both employed this rationale in their stories. The authorities must understand that they are courting a civil war with their oppression, and that they will be held personally accountable by some -- rightly or wrongly.
I am trying to avert a disaster of the first order, not create one.
Boston's Final Comments
Considering that Ari and I disagree on many fundamentals of life, it is a relief that he (and thus many other Objectivists and Libertarians) and I can nonetheless remain in accord on the worthiness of a Free State Wyoming. It confirms to me that a secular/religious coalition is possible, which is the hope of Gov. Preston in Molôn Labé!
I tried very hard to make a quality case for Wyoming, and am gratified that Ari views my novel as sound vehicle to promote the virtues of a free Wyoming, which he graciously termed "the best hope for a (largely) libertarian society within our lifetimes." I thank him for his very fair and thoughtful review of an admittedly challenging and unusual book.
Wyoming is already more free than just about anyplace else in America, so moving there is automatically a net gain for most of us. With a few thousand of us there, we can take the Equality State to a higher level of liberty in just a few years. (Regardless of our political victories, the feds will rarely be able to get a conviction for any mala prohibita because at least one of us will usually be on their juries! It won't take that many of us to infiltrate the jury pools, and we'll be hip to the voir dire minefield. Very soon, we could begin to foil the FBI, ATF, DEA, IRS, FDA, and the rest!)
So, keep in touch with Free State Wyoming as it develops, and start packing your bags. We're all gonna be neighbors! See you there!
Boston T. Party