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More than six years have passed since Aaron Zelman and I wrote Hope, a novel about the first libertarian president of the United States.
Find Hope at http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/hope.htm .
In our book, Alexander Hope, Vietnam veteran, retired computer magnate, history professor, and author, was elected in 2008 after the incumbent Republican Vice President, running for the presidency, was arrested for child pornography, and the Democratic candidate, a United States Senator and former First Lady, was killed in a horrible highway accident.
Since that time, as the playwright Edward Albee put it, there's been a lot of blood under the bridge. Certain things have happened -- like the disaster at the World Trade Center -- that we couldn't have anticipated. Other things have happened -- like the not-so-gradual Nazification of a once-free America -- that we worried about, even then.
Naturally, the question arises, what would Alexander Hope be planning to do, in the light of current events, if he were elected president. Some things have changed and some haven't. Some things never change -- the insatiable appetite of conventional politicians for money and power -- and would have to be dealt with right in any case.
If Hope had been President on September 11, 2001, he would have chosen a very different course than the one that was followed. As a teacher (and student) of history, he would have realized that the traditional nation-state, as we know it, is a dying institution, and it's certainly no longer the only kind of player in the international arena.
Whether we like it or not, there are plenty of organizations out there, some better, some worse, not affiliated with any government, that are nevertheless thoroughly capable of changing the course of history, and there will be more and more of them as time goes by. This is the new historical reality, and it must be respected utterly if we genuinely desire to survive and prosper, as individuals or as a civilization.
If we are to believe all we've been told about it (admittedly, that requires quite a stretch) the attack on the World Trade Center was not an act of war between nation-states, but an act of individual criminals, working together as one of those non-governmental groups I mentioned. Had it been dealt with as such, we might even have had the cooperation of nation-states like Afghanistan and Iraq in tracking the surviving conspirators down, and the whole world wouldn't be mad at us.
Also, we wouldn't have wound up with the U.S.A. Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security, Abu Graib, or the vile travesty at Guantanamo -- not to mention thousands of dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of dead Afghans and Iraqis who might otherwise have been our friends. But to be fair, in the book, Hope "was" elected in 2008. That's where he should start, with the current mess we find ourselves in.
From the beginning, to instill in Americans an understanding and appreciation of what their country is all about -- an understanding and appreciation that has largely been denied them by the public schools -- President Hope would declare and observe Bill of Rights Day, December 15. However he would never attempt to take it over -- or permit it to be taken over -- in the manner that corrupt politicians and bureaucratic slugs with their police state mentalities have seized the 4th of July in so many places across the nation and strictly forbidden any unauthorized exercise of individual rights during a proper, government-approved celebration of freedom. (And before anyone mentions it, as far as safety is concerned, fireworks should be regulated only by tort -- lawsuits -- in a sane, loser-pays legal environment.)
His first day in office, Hope would issue a series of Executive Orders.
To start with, all firearms laws, of all kinds, at any level of government would be null and void. Any law forbidding or regulating the ownership of firearms or related items such as ammunition would be null and void. Any law forbidding or regulating the carrying of firearms, openly or concealed, would be null and void. Any law forbidding or regulating the purchase of firearms -- even by mail -- would be null and void. Any law forbidding or regulating the import or export of firearms would be null and void. Any law forbidding or regulating the manufacture and distribution of firearms would be null and void.
Similarly, all laws, at any level, requiring licensure or any other government permission to own, carry, buy, sell, deal, import, export, manufacture, or distribute firearms would be null and void, and all registries of weapons kept by government would be ordered destroyed.
Like it or not, that's what compliance with the Second Amendment requires, and while it's true that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments reserve certain rights and powers "to the people and to the states, respectively", under Article 6, Section 2 <http://tinyurl.com/agch4>, they do not include any power to nullify individual Constitutional rights. Hope -- who, the Secret Service notwithstanding, carries a gun himself -- would make this issue a priority because, unlike most other politicians, he trusts the people (and it's important that they see that he does), and that must includetrusting them with the means of self-defense.
More orders would suspend any and all government activities that -- in his view as one sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution -- are forbidden under the first ten amendments to that Constitution, the highest law of the land, commonly known as the Bill of Rights. He would also halt all activities not specifically mentioned in Article 1, Section 8, which spells out in some detail the twenty-one things government is permitted to do under the law.
It is the President's job to enforce Constitutional law.
This means that between 70 and 95 percent of all government activity would stop. All of the parasitic drones occupying cubicles in the "alphabet agencies" -- BATFE, CIA, DEA, EPA, FBI, FDA, OSHA, the list is endless -- would be required to sit at their desks with their hands folded, as investigations reveal whether their past activities violated the rights of individual citizens. If they were cleared, they could go home and start looking for a real job. If not, they would be indicted and stand trial, first in criminal courts, and then in civil courts. Upon conviction, they would lose their pensions and be forced to make restitution to their victims. Many would face long prison sentences.
If the opposition doesn't like the new President governing by Executive Order, they can legislatively remove that power and we all win.
As Commander-in-Chief, Hope would stop the war in the middle east, ordering an immediate pull-out (consistent with Americans not getting shot in the back on their way out) not only from Afghanistan and Iraq, but from the hundred-plus other countries where we maintain a military presence. Hope's enemies would say that it's "cut and run", whatever that means. Hope's supporters -- especially those currently in the military -- would counter that it's more like finally doing the right thing. Brought home, perhaps they could even do what they are solemnly sworn to do, which is to protect the nation's sovereignty and physical integrity.
Naturally, Hope would shut down the government's secret prisons and torture mills, and facilitate proper restitution -- paid by the jailkeepers, professional tormentors, and the responsible politicians and bureaucrats -- to their victims. Hope would also likely consider liquidating corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater -- for the monetary sake of which, many investigators maintain, these wars were engineered in the first place -- and using the proceeds to reimburse, to the extent possible, their helpless victims at home, as well as overseas.
All of this would be necessary, not just because it's the right thing to do, not just because it's what justice demands, but because it might help to begin convincing the world that America's bizarre fit of insanity is over, and that -- unless the country is truly in danger -- as a libertarian nation, it will dedicate itself in the future to noninterference, militarily and politically, and to free and peaceful trade.
To that tiny handful of genuine criminals out in the world who really do hate us for out freedom (or, more likely, for the freedom our culture inspires men and women in other lands to demand and fight for) -- a miniscule fraction of one percent of the number that present authorities claim to exist -- Alexander Hope would offer two brands of medicine:
Remember: a single individual, armed with a small six-shot .22 revolver, could have stopped the 9/11 hijackers cold -- that is, if we can believe the story we've been told about them, always a big "if". Just think what 200 passengers carrying anything from .22s to .50 Action Express (and airliner-safe ammunition, of course) would make of any would-be terrorists. Come to our country, Hope would warn them, intent on doing damage or harm, and face the wrath of a couple hundred million free Americans, completely at liberty to exercise their Second Amendment rights, armed to the teeth, and ready for any kind of trouble.
Even if you actually manage to break things or kill people in our country, don't expect to be treated as heroes once you get home, be prepared to be hunted all over the world, the rest of your miserable life, by bounty hunters, or even by your own kinsmen, eager to get rich.
As for Americans unjustly jailed for violating unconstitutional laws, Hope would convert the White House into an "executive clemency factory", with pardon forms stacked to the ceilings, if necessary, until the government is fully Bill-of-Rights-compliant and justice is done.
All this on his first day in office.
Find Hope at http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/hope.htm
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.
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