by J.D. Tuccille
November 17, 2004

Dear Liberal Friend

Dear Liberal Friend;

I feel your pain. You just suffered through an election in which your side lost and a politician you despise was returned to the White House at the head of a triumphant band of congressional allies. Now you fear that the "enemy" administration will use the power of the state to shove its alien values down your throat.

Of course I sympathize. As a libertarian, I've spent all my life suffering through disappointing election returns. Each turn of the political wheel brings new laws and bureaucracies that exist to impose values on me that I utterly reject. The difference between me and you is that I never have high hopes on election eve, so I feel resignation instead of despair. Oh. Another difference is that some of the alien values shoved down my throat in the past were yours. Whoops! I guess now you know how it feels.

But what's all this talk about emigration and secession? Are you really so distraught that you want to leave the country and (maybe) take some of the geography with you?

Well, you know that I'm sympathetic; I've discussed such options myself. I suppose it's unfeeling of me to mention that folks like you once vocally hoped the IRS would hunt people like me to the ends of the Earth when we pondered escaping to a less kleptocratic jurisdiction, and you unkindly suggested that "Appomatox settled all that" when we fantasized about raising our own flag over a friendly locale. That's in the past. Let's let bygones be bygones.

Are you sure you've thought through the emigration idea? A little research may be in order.

It's odd that you contemplate escaping "four more years of rapacious capitalism" by taking up residence in New Zealand. That beautiful little country has been known in recent years as a test case for throwing off socialist restrictions in favor of free-market reforms. As of 2002, New Zealand scored 8.2 on the Economic Freedom Index compiled by 62 international research institutes; that's the identical score claimed by the United States. True, the Labour Party is currently in charge and imposing some new regulations, but it was the Labour Party that deregulated the economy to begin with. Some American libertarians moved there way ahead of you. If you go, I'm sure they'll be happy to show you around.

And if you're concerned about civil liberties and the Patriot Act (a dubious claim after the praise you heaped on Janet Reno and the FBI just a few years ago), it's hard to understand your fascination with the European Union. The EU combines law enforcement and intelligence-gathering in Europol -- a dangerous mix of powers at best. Britain permits foreign terrorist suspects to be detained indefinitely without trial -- one of the more controversial anti-terrorist measures adopted by the U.S. government. Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic's legal affairs editor, calls European antiterrorism laws "far more sweeping than anything adopted in the United States."

As for Canada ... Oh Hell. You've been going on about the wonders of Canadian socialized medicine for years; maybe it's time you got to experience it first hand. A word of advice: rent the enjoyable French-Canadian movie Les Invasions Barbares (Barbarian Invasions) first. Really.

Now, as for this new-found secessionist sentiment of yours and this talk of a looming civil war between progressive blue states and reactionary red states ...

Ummm ... are you sure you're up to it? Oh I know that the blue states have big universities and successful businesses and a vibrant culture -- wasn't I the one who turned you on to that great Ethiopian restaurant before I moved away? But, believe it or not, red states have businesses, colleges and culture too, as well as something that you don't have and that you're going to need if you're serious about this brother-against-brother stuff: guns.

It was all well and good when your side was running the show to sniff at the Second Amendment and say that the government should have a monopoly on force. You insisted that any talk of resisting the powers-that-be was just SO reactionary (you DO remember our little chat after the Waco unpleasantness, don't you?). But the world looks a little bit different when the cops work for the opposition, doesn't it? If you plan to redraw national borders, you're going to want something of a heavier caliber than those sharply worded e-mails you've been circulating. Frankly, the other side is heavily armed; you're not.

It's OK. My friends and I are here to help. We'll be happy to teach you how to fight for yourself. For starters, point the end of the gun with the hole in it at the bad guys. Wait, not at your head; that was the right direction five years ago, but things changed--

Now stop it. It's no use trying to hire the Korean kid from the deli to fight for you; he has long hours at his business to deal with. What with city regulations and "progressive" programs that have to be paid for, bribes and taxes eat up half his income.

No, you'll have to deal with this yourself. Libertarians like me have been living under unfriendly regimes all our lives, so we understand your situation and we're ready to assist with weapons training (if that's really what you want), a shoulder to cry on and a healthy, cynical attitude toward the law.

But we'll have to come to an understanding.

We're friends and all, but I'm afraid that you've used up your goodwill. There's going to be hefty charge for my assistance. Don't worry, it's nothing we can't work out, although, to be honest, me and my friends offered the same deal to the conservatives some years ago and they didn't go for it.

It's actually something of a theological issue. If we're going to work together, you're going to have to stop trying to shove your god down the throat of nonbelievers.

No, I don't have you confused with Bob Jones. I know you call yourself an agnostic. But whatever you call yourself, just like the Bush supporters you worship an awesome god in whom you put all faith -- and you think the rest of us should do the same. The Bushies call their god Jehovah and you call your god Government. As happy as I am to hear, yet again, about the sainted John F. Kennedy who died for our sins, I don't plan on joining your church. Just as I'm unenthusiastic about coughing up a tithe to appease the other side's Lord in Heaven, I don't really hanker to make a cash sacrifice to your Lord in D.C. I'm perfectly capable of picking my own causes and funding my own good works, thank you.

So here's the deal: If you agree to let me live my own life according to my own values, so long as I don't trample on your rights, I'll agree to do the same by you. Think about it; if we all lived according to that sort of understanding, the stakes would be an awful lot lower when your side lost an election. Then you could go about your business without taking time out to chat with immigration lawyers or draw maps with creative new borders on them.

There's no rush; George W. Bush will be in office for four more years. That's plenty of time to consider the potential benefits of a society in which people live and let live, instead of treating each election as an opportunity break the other side to their will.

Sympathetically yours,
A libertarian friend


Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.

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Copyright (c) 2004 Jerome D. (Il Tooch) Tuccille. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Il Tooch is prohibited. Mess with me and Iíll use your polished skull as a beer mug.