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
Those predictions include computer imaging in criminal forensics,
wall-sized television and computer screens, laptop computers,
devices like the PDA and iPod, the Internet as we now know it,
popularity of .40 caliber handguns, the effect of civilian weapons
carry, concealed and otherwise, on the crime rate, and the collapse
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://www.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
"Painful as it may be to hear it, there's nothing special
the people of this country that sets them apart from the other
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.
moment we forget that, the American Dream is over."
Hope on the First Amendment: "Some Founding Fathers, like
Adams, were deeply religious. Thomas Jefferson was a 'deist' --
is what an 18th century agnostic called himself if he didn't want
be burned alive. Thomas Paine was an atheist, Ben Franklin was
member of the Hellfire Club. A Jew, Haym Salomon, bankrolled the
American Revolution [demonstratng] the spirit and grandeur of
And again: "Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was wrong.
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
with the weapon of your choice clearly cannot be trusted with
power he desires over your life ... The Second Amendment was written
expressly to intimidate government officials and keep them in
place. The fact that politicians and bureaucrats, regardless of
party, detest it and want it obliterated proves that it works."
And again: "Never forget, even for an instant, that the
only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you
than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn't let
if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers,
and rapists, and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and
And again: "You can't repeal the Second Amendment, any
you can repeal any of the other nine. It was a package deal, you
an absolute prerequisite to ratifying the main body of the
Constitution. Repeal one, you repeal them all. Do that, and you
the whole Constitution -- and with it, any legal authority that
government has to exist (let alone repeal the Second Amendment)."
And finally: "It has been truthfully said that it's the
job to kill people and break things. Fair enough. It's the job
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
dealers, and others you happen not to care for, of access to their
Hope on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments: "If the Fourth
Amendments were enforced, every last judge and prosecutor in America
would be in jail -- and America would be a cleaner, healthier
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
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
has any place for a vast, proliferating horde of federal welfare
agencies and their administrative law courts that apply their
rules and impose their own penalties, with no jury of the people
evaluate the facts or to ensure that justice is served."
Hope on the Eighth Amendment: "No nation ... forbidding
bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishments ... has
place for judges who set bail or levy fines intended to cripple
victims, who let white collar defendants be restrained by manacles,
leg-irons, and belly chains to make a Marxist political statement,
who countenance consent decrees that punish targetted individuals
without proving their guilt."
Hope on the Ninth Amendment: "No nation ... reserving to
people all the rights _not_ mentioned in the Constitution has
for thousands of police state agencies and millions of agents
interfering with every aspect of your life, telling you what to
what to drink, not to smoke, what car to drive, how to drive it,
to fuel it, how to bring up your children, what crops to raise,
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
appointee who claimed the Constitution contains no guarantee to
privacy] think he is? Look closely, for yourself, at the Bill
Rights -- the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and especially
Ninth Amendment. The whole damn thing is about privacy, and a
refusal to see and understand that represents the lowest form
And even futher: "The assertion that "driving is a
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
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,
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which spell out and
limits on what government's allowed to do. Use a magnifying glass,
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
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
Hope on democracy: "Right-wing myth to one side, "republic"
"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
into the poorhouse -- or the grave -- if they want what you have.
Those who profess to care about their nation and its place in
must expend every effort to limit this possibility or to eliminate
Hope on taxes: "Put any kind of face on it you choose,
robbery at gunpoint. And no function of government is important
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
1000-year-old duty to arrive at a verdict, not just on the basis
the facts of a particular case, or instructions I am given, but
through my power to reason, my knowledge of the Bill of Rights,
individual conscience. When needful, I will judge the law itself."
Hope on the media and negative campaigning: "The only certain
to put a stop to the 'politics of personal destruction' is to
other side, vividly and in microscopic detail, how it feels when
done to them."
Hope on the criminality of politicians: "A con-game is
and a criminal is a criminal, whether you're Charles Ponzi with
infamous pyramid scheme or Franklin Roosevelt with Social Security.
Simply putting on the Funny Hat of Government does not release
from the moral obligation to be a decent human being instead of
Hope on racial politics and free speech: "Those who profit
politically by setting the races at each other's throats are wise
declare ethnic humor 'politically incorrect'. As long we can manage
laugh at the differences among us, we're unlikely to kill each
over them. People of every sort, forbidden to laugh, reflexively
to hatred and violence."
Hope on (most) conspiracies: "Whenever you're tempted to
that those who are responsible for all of the world's problems
involved in some vast conspiracy, consider the far likelier
possibility that they're just stupid."
And again: "The most dangerous and successful conspiracies
place in public, in plain sight, under the clear, bright light
-- usually with TV cameras focused on them."
Hope on radicalism: "If you're not a little bit uncomfortable
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
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
leaving every individual free to "step to a different drummer".
more and more Americans find themselves marching in lockstep to
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
on whom they must expend as much energy and attention as they
their enemies. Those who lead by example have enemies, but no
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
states and the people all powers not given to the government by
Constitution ... has any place for police state agencies like
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, that cruelly trapped,
confined, and tortured 80 helpless men, women, and childen in
church near Waco, Texas, for the purpose of improving its public
"Nor has it any room for a Combat Assistance Group ...
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
"Nor has it any room for a Drug Enforcement Administration
unconstitutional predations have all but destroyed the Constitution,
corrupted government at every level, transformed our once-fair
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
feels the urge.
"Nor has it any room for an Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, and an Environmental Protection Agency that ...
'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
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
property and their rights.
"Nor has it any room for an Interstate Commerce Commission
makes the most of a deliberate misunderstanding of the Constitution
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
Art Nazis -- who want to force you to pay for crucifixes exhibited
jars of human excrement, and call it 'art'.
"Nor has it any room for an Army Corps of Engineers which,
without the permission of the owners, rearranges whole vistas,
way that often renders them more dangerous to human life and
"Nor has it any room for thousands of other agencies riding
roughshod over the duly constituted authority and the sovereignty
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
"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
"And zero tolerance -- for tyranny!"
Find _Hope_ at http://www.jpfo.org/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.
indicated earlier, Aaron and I have turned out to be pretty handy
predicting these things -- although we don't always like what
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
you, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara or Calvin Coolidge and Millard
I would venture a guess that, to most people, certain characters
-- Howard Roark and Dominique Francon; Hank Rearden and Dagny
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley; Frodo Baggins
Gamgee; even (perhaps I flatter myself) Win Bear and Lucy Kropotkin
are more real than any dozen politicians you can name from the
century. Someday that will be true of the 20th century as well.
Wolfe and Hercule Poirot will live on, while Woodrow Wilson fades
But even more importantly, life often imitates art. Perhaps
decent, principled presidential candidate similar to Alexander
will arise someday. If that happens, you will know what to do
After all, there's always hope.
Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been writing
about guns and gun ownership for more than 30 years. He is the
author of 27 books, the most widely-published and prolific libertarian
novelist in the world, and is considered an expert on the ethics
of self-defense. His writings may be seen on the following sites:
The Webley Page: http://www.lneilsmith.org
The Libertarian Enterprise: http://www.ncc-1776.org
The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, Roswell,
Texas, and TimePeeper (August 2007): http://www.bigheadpress.com
LNS at Random (blog): http://www.bigheadpress.com/lneilsmith/
LNS at JPFO: http://www.jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/lneilsmith.htm
other articles by L. Neil Smith