A Glimmer of Hope


By L. Neil Smith

© Copyright JPFO. Inc

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Over the thirty year course of my career as a novelist so far, I have made a good many predictions about the future that have come true.

Those predictions include computer imaging in criminal forensics, wall-sized television and computer screens, laptop computers, handheld devices like the PDA and iPod, the Internet as we now know it, the popularity of .40 caliber handguns, the effect of civilian weapons carry, concealed and otherwise, on the crime rate, and the collapse of communism.

In early 2001, months before September 11th "changed everything" (and nothing) I made an important prediction with the assistance of Aaron Zelman, founder and director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. In _Hope_, a political novel we wrote together, we suggested that, in the 2008 election, a libertarian candidate would arise, to the astonishment and consternation of every enemy of freedom in the country, and begin to change things just by his presence in the race.

Find _Hope_ at http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/hope.htm.

That candidate was Alexander Hope, Vietnam War veteran, retired computer industry billionaire, history professor, and author of his own book, _Looking Forward_, about salvaging American culture through stringent enforcement of the highest law of the land, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights.

Here are some of Alexander Hope's observations on the Bill of Rights:

"Painful as it may be to hear it, there's nothing special about the people of this country that sets them apart from the other people of the world. It is the Bill of Rights, and only the Bill of Rights, that keeps us from becoming the world's biggest banana republic. The moment we forget that, the American Dream is over."

Hope on the First Amendment: "Some Founding Fathers, like John Adams, were deeply religious. Thomas Jefferson was a 'deist' -- which is what an 18th century agnostic called himself if he didn't want to be burned alive. Thomas Paine was an atheist, Ben Franklin was a member of the Hellfire Club. A Jew, Haym Salomon, bankrolled the American Revolution [demonstratng] the spirit and grandeur of the First Amendment."

And again: "Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was wrong. You have an absolute and perfect right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater -- and to accept responsibility for the consequences."

Hope on the Second Amendment: "Any politician who won't trust you with the weapon of your choice clearly cannot be trusted with the power he desires over your life ... The Second Amendment was written expressly to intimidate government officials and keep them in their place. The fact that politicians and bureaucrats, regardless of their party, detest it and want it obliterated proves that it works."

And again: "Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn't let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers, and rapists, and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians."

And again: "You can't repeal the Second Amendment, any more than you can repeal any of the other nine. It was a package deal, you see, an absolute prerequisite to ratifying the main body of the Constitution. Repeal one, you repeal them all. Do that, and you repeal the whole Constitution -- and with it, any legal authority that the government has to exist (let alone repeal the Second Amendment)."

And finally: "It has been truthfully said that it's the military's job to kill people and break things. Fair enough. It's the job of the militia to keep those people and things from being killed or broken."

Hope on the Third Amendment: "You can have a Third Amendment, protecting your home and property from being looted by the government, or you can use RICO and asset forfeiture to illegally deprive drug dealers, and others you happen not to care for, of access to their 'scumbag' lawyers.

"Your choice."

Hope on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments: "If the Fourth and Fifth Amendments were enforced, every last judge and prosecutor in America would be in jail -- and America would be a cleaner, healthier place for it."

Hope on the Sixth Amendment: "No nation ... promising a speedy public trial by an impartial jury ... has a place for the police state process of _voir dir_, a phrase best translated as 'jury tampering' by judges and prosecutors, letting them hand-pick jurors to ensure the conviction of innocent defendants. Nor has it any place for schools and media and judges who refuse to inform juries of their 1000-year-old right and duty to evaluate the law, as well as the facts of the case."

Hope on the Seventh Amendment: "No nation ... protecting the right to a jury trial ... limiting the power of federal trial and appellate court judges, setting a standard of due process, proclaiming our heritage of jury trials, and reminding the world of our culture's commitment to citizen control of the legal process -- no such nation has any place for a vast, proliferating horde of federal welfare state agencies and their administrative law courts that apply their own rules and impose their own penalties, with no jury of the people to evaluate the facts or to ensure that justice is served."

Hope on the Eighth Amendment: "No nation ... forbidding excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments ... has any place for judges who set bail or levy fines intended to cripple their victims, who let white collar defendants be restrained by manacles, leg-irons, and belly chains to make a Marxist political statement, or who countenance consent decrees that punish targetted individuals without proving their guilt."

Hope on the Ninth Amendment: "No nation ... reserving to the people all the rights _not_ mentioned in the Constitution has a place for thousands of police state agencies and millions of agents interfering with every aspect of your life, telling you what to eat, what to drink, not to smoke, what car to drive, how to drive it, how to fuel it, how to bring up your children, what crops to raise, what crops not to raise, how tall your lawn can be, even how many gallons of water your toilet tank may contain."

And further: "Who does this guy Bork [a failed Supreme Court appointee who claimed the Constitution contains no guarantee to privacy] think he is? Look closely, for yourself, at the Bill of Rights -- the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and especially the Ninth Amendment. The whole damn thing is about privacy, and a willful refusal to see and understand that represents the lowest form of intellectual dishonesty.

And even futher: "The assertion that "driving is a privilege, not a right" is pure statist drivel. Given the way Americans have come to use and feel about their cars, the right to own and drive one ought to be protected, either by the Fourth Amendment or the Second. It's already protected by the Ninth."

And even yet further: "Look at the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which spell out and set limits on what government's allowed to do. Use a magnifying glass, use Coke-bottle spectacles, a jeweler's loupe, or a scanning electron microscope, you'll _never_ find a word in there about public schools."

And finally: "In declaring "war on drugs", America declared war on itself, not because recreational drugs are an especially valued or indispensable part of our national culture (they're not) but because you can't declare war on any Ninth Amendment right without declaring war on all of them -- and along with them, on every other individual right under the first ten amendments to the Constitution."

More generally, here some more of Alexander Hope's political observations:

Hope on democracy: "Right-wing myth to one side, "republic" and "democracy" mean the same thing, one in Latin, the other in Greek. The thing to remember is that they're both just another form of collectivism, of socialism, under which your neighbors may vote you into the poorhouse -- or the grave -- if they want what you have. Those who profess to care about their nation and its place in history must expend every effort to limit this possibility or to eliminate it altogether."

Hope on taxes: "Put any kind of face on it you choose, taxation is robbery at gunpoint. And no function of government is important enough to threaten anybody's life over."

Hope on freedom and the Internet: "If the prospects for liberty are so bleak, if so many 'sheeple' are happy living in a police state, why is it that each time there's a technical improvement in communication, each time there's an upward increment in interconnectivity, each time it becomes possible to feel the national pulse more accurately, the pressure for individual liberty _increases_?"

Hope on fully-informed juries: "As a juror, I will exercise my 1000-year-old duty to arrive at a verdict, not just on the basis of the facts of a particular case, or instructions I am given, but through my power to reason, my knowledge of the Bill of Rights, and my individual conscience. When needful, I will judge the law itself."

Hope on the media and negative campaigning: "The only certain way to put a stop to the 'politics of personal destruction' is to show the other side, vividly and in microscopic detail, how it feels when it's done to them."

Hope on the criminality of politicians: "A con-game is a con-game, and a criminal is a criminal, whether you're Charles Ponzi with his infamous pyramid scheme or Franklin Roosevelt with Social Security. Simply putting on the Funny Hat of Government does not release you from the moral obligation to be a decent human being instead of a crook."

Hope on racial politics and free speech: "Those who profit politically by setting the races at each other's throats are wise to declare ethnic humor 'politically incorrect'. As long we can manage to laugh at the differences among us, we're unlikely to kill each other over them. People of every sort, forbidden to laugh, reflexively turn to hatred and violence."

Hope on (most) conspiracies: "Whenever you're tempted to believe that those who are responsible for all of the world's problems are involved in some vast conspiracy, consider the far likelier possibility that they're just stupid."

And again: "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."

Hope on radicalism: "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'."

And again: "'The perfect is the enemy of the good', you say? I say that if nobody ever insisted on the perfect, there'd never _be_ any good."

Hope on individualism: "Henry David Thoreau used to speak of leaving every individual free to "step to a different drummer". Today, more and more Americans find themselves marching in lockstep to a single drummer, one who is deaf to any cries for decency or sanity, let alone individual liberty."

And again: "Tell me what _you_ think, not what you think other people think. If you voted in terms of what _you're_ ready for, rather than what you've convinced yourself others are ready for, we'd have had Constitutional government, a libertarian society, and eradicated socialism half a century ago."

Hope on leadership: "Those who lead through authority have rivals on whom they must expend as much energy and attention as they do on their enemies. Those who lead by example have enemies, but no rivals."

Hope on moral courage: '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 themselves."

And again: "The shortest path to victory is a _straight line_. He who remains most consistent wins."

Hope on the Tenth Amendment: "No nation ... reserving to the states and the people all powers not given to the government by the Constitution ... has any place for police state agencies like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, that cruelly trapped, confined, and tortured 80 helpless men, women, and childen in their church near Waco, Texas, for the purpose of improving its public relations problems.

"Nor has it any room for a Combat Assistance Group ... 'Delta Force' ... that helped the ATF ... or a Federal Bureau of Investigation that finished the victims off with flammable chemicals, shoulder-fired missiles to set the chemicals ablaze, and machineguns to make sure they stayed in their church and were poisoned or burned to death.

"Nor has it any room for a Drug Enforcement Administration whose unconstitutional predations have all but destroyed the Constitution, corrupted government at every level, transformed our once-fair cities into combat zones, and turned America into a banana republic.

"Nor has it any room for a Department of Housing and Urban Development ... obliterating hundreds of thousands of mostly inner urban residential buildings, forcing their occupants into so-called public housing, then lawlessly shaking its captives down whenever it feels the urge.

"Nor has it any room for an Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and an Environmental Protection Agency that ... have 'exported' millions of American jobs by making the manufacturing industry all but impossible here.

"Nor has it any room for a Food and Drug Administration which causes thousand of deaths every a year with unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions on new and badly-need medicines.

"Nor has it any room for a Federal Emergency Management Administration which capitalizes on human misery in the wake of natural disaster to control the lives of millions and take away their property and their rights.

"Nor has it any room for an Interstate Commerce Commission which makes the most of a deliberate misunderstanding of the Constitution to control and oppress the lives of millions every day.

"Nor has it any room for a Law Enforcement Assistance Administration which has militarized police all over the country, endangering the lives of millions.

"Nor has it any room for a National Endowment for the Arts -- the Art Nazis -- who want to force you to pay for crucifixes exhibited in jars of human excrement, and call it 'art'.

"Nor has it any room for an Army Corps of Engineers which, with or without the permission of the owners, rearranges whole vistas, in a way that often renders them more dangerous to human life and enterprise.

"Nor has it any room for thousands of other agencies riding roughshod over the duly constituted authority and the sovereignty of state and local governments and the American people themselves."

"No nation with a Thirteenth Amendment to its Constitution -- outlawing slavery after 6000 bloody years of the vile, disgusting practice -- no such nation has any place for conscription of any kind, no matter the emergency, no matter the excuse ... nor for income taxation ... [n]or for those death-camps for the mind, the public schools, spewing their ceaseless _crapaganda_ all over our precious children, converting them into our political enemies, and enlisting them in the socialist destruction of individual lives!"

"It's time to ask, what _does_ such a nation have a place for? The total obliteration of socialism? Government of the Bill of Rights, by the Bill of Rights, and for the Bill of Rights?

"And zero tolerance -- for tyranny!"


Find _Hope_ at http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/hope.htm .

Remember, these prophetic words were published early in 2001, before 9/11, before the Patriot Act, before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, before Homeland Security, before Abu Graib and Guantanamo, and before Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans. As I indicated earlier, Aaron and I have turned out to be pretty handy at predicting these things -- although we don't always like what we've predicted.

Why (I pretend to hear you ask) are quotations from a fictional presidential candidate relevant at this particular moment in history? Well, partly because fictional characters sometimes carry an impact that real people fall short of. Tell me the truth, who is more real to you, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara or Calvin Coolidge and Millard Fillmore?

I would venture a guess that, to most people, certain characters -- Howard Roark and Dominique Francon; Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart; Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley; Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee; even (perhaps I flatter myself) Win Bear and Lucy Kropotkin -- are more real than any dozen politicians you can name from the 19th century. Someday that will be true of the 20th century as well. Nero Wolfe and Hercule Poirot will live on, while Woodrow Wilson fades from memory.

But even more importantly, life often imitates art. Perhaps a decent, principled presidential candidate similar to Alexander Hope will arise someday. If that happens, you will know what to do about it.

After all, there's always hope.

A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.

Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.

© Copyright Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership 2012.

Original material on JPFO is copyright, and so it cannot be used or plagiarized as the work of another. JPFO does however encourage article reproduction and sharing, providing full attribution is given and a link back to the original page on JPFO is included.

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