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Oct. 29 column -- twilight of an era

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From: [email protected] (Vin Suprynowicz)
Subject: Oct. 29 column -- twilight of an era
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    THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz
    Twilight of the Gods

    We seem to be entering the twilight of an era.

 Changes in our society -- consider the erosion of personal liberties, and
even the notion that sticking up for our personal liberties is a good thing
("He wouldn't give his Social Security number when he tried to register to
vote? He owned an unregistered firearm? He wouldn't volunteer any
information on his tax form? Then he deserved whatever happened to him. I'm
sorry they burned up the wife and baby, too, but he brought it on himself")
-- have been occurring incrementally over the past 86 years. Hence, the
popular notion that future change will continue to be equally gradual.

  Even "legitimate" Libertarian Party political candidates now patiently
explain to me that since the current police/welfare state took 60 to 90
years to put in place, there's no sense alarming anyone by shouting radical
ideas about legalizing heroin or machine guns. No, no. These "modern"
Libertarians -- respectable middle-aged entrepreneurs in respectable coats
and striped ties  -- patiently explain that they only wish to move us back
toward slightly less government, slightly lower taxes, and the restoration
of a few personal liberties at a time. Nothing for anyone to get frightened

  The problem is, neither human nor geologic history seem to bear out this
notion of a pendulum swinging steadily back and forth. The era of the
swamp-dwelling dinosaurs seems to have continued for hundreds of thousands
of years without much change. But ice core samples and ocean sediments now
indicate the freeze that killed them may have taken as few as five years.

  Social and political change in France was pretty gradual from 1480 to
1780. Would one thus have been safe in assuming that things wouldn't be
likely to change much from 1780 and 1795? A whole lot of folks went to the
guillotine based on that assumption.

  Our ability to sense the imminent end of an era is seriously hampered by
a part of human nature modern psychiatry calls "denial." The loss of
familiar things -- even if we know in our hearts they are rotten -- is
frightening. Thus, we tend to hope the signs are wrong, and to cling to
what is familiar.

  Is this another one of these rants about how the inability of our
computers to process the date "2000" is going to cause an instant reversion
to the Stone Age?

  No -- though such computer malfunctions and shutdowns certainly will
occur, creating pockets of panic and accelerated uncertainty about just how
reliable our "foolproof" government and economic "systems" really are.

  But the number of things that are rotten in America -- and thus in
"Western civilization" -- has simply grown too large. And as each one
fails, it will help to pull down the next. Large dams do not develop small

  We could talk about the imminent collapse of the largest, most
profligate, most unproductive and socially poisonous make-work social
engineering scheme ever devised, the mandatory government youth propaganda
camps (you may call them "public schools.") When the cost of things that
don't work exceeds what people can pay, they just walk away. That's why the
stone temples of the Maya were abandoned long before Cortez showed up, and
why most of the nuclear submarines of the Russian Navy now sit rusting at
their piers. There was never any popular vote to "shut down the Soviet
Navy." Everyone just went home.

  We could talk about the inevitable failure of the little Dutch boy
sticking his fingers in the financial dikes of Mexico, Russia, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Thailand, and Brazil -- the International Monetary Fund, the
failure of which is likely to soon bring down another 20th century
institution which we have come to assume could never fail, the vast
leveraged Ponzi scheme known as "government chartered fractional reserve

  (Imagine an evil wizard made the stock market disappear, along with your
stockbroker and your bank. For awhile, you might wonder what you would live
on in your "retirement." Then it would dawn on you: What "retirement"?
"Retirement" at a fixed age was a notion introduced by the 19th century
socialists, who believed there was a fixed number of jobs in the world
(duh), and that the only way to guarantee work to the young was therefore
to "pension off" the oldsters. "Retirement" is a completely artificial

  I could talk about the schools or the banks, scrambling around insisting
it's not their fault; it's our fault for being too "greedy" to hand them
ever-larger "bailouts."

  But I won't. Instead, since it's election time, I will talk about why the
great experiment called "participatory democracy" is failing.

  Next time -- interviews with virtually every candidate in Southern Nevada
produced five or six outstanding prospects this year: Why voting for them
isn't likely to make a bit of difference.

Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas
Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at [email protected] The web
sites for the Suprynowicz column are at
http://www.infomagic.com/liberty/vinyard.htm, and
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex/. The column is syndicated in the United
States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas
Nev. 89127.


Vin Suprynowicz,   [email protected]

The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it. -- John
Hay, 1872

The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves. Let us not
get accustomed and adjusted to these conditions. The one who adjusts ceases
to discriminate between good and evil.  He becomes a slave in body and
soul. Whatever may happen to you, remember always: Don't adjust! Revolt
against the reality! -- Mordechai Anielewicz, Warsaw, 1943

* * *

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Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'