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They Poll Herefords, Don't They?
Victim Disarmament and The Productive Class

by L. Neil Smith


I recently took a trip with my wife, from where we live in Fort Collins, Colorado, just south of the Wyoming border, to Tucson, Arizona. Traveling through the Great American West, you see a lot of interesting things on the other side of those weathered fenceposts and rusty strands of barbed wire that line the country's interstate highways.

Some of those interesting things are animals: mule deer, pronghorn antelope, buffalo, the occasional sheep, horses, llamas, and in Texas, even emus. More than anything, cattle of every possible size, shape, and color. One magnificent old boy I saw, about the color of a Brahma, but not a Brahma, had horns that rose parallel from his skull at a backward angle, swooped forward suddenly, and swept up at the tips. He was protecting his ladies by patrolling the fence line like a guard dog.

Oddly enough, it was this big fellow who started me thinking about the symbiotic relationship that exists between the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue "Service".

Here in the west, cattlemen may prefer to leave their free-ranging livestock intact, so they can defend themselves from cougars and other predators. But it has long been the practice of others (I looked this up later) to relieve the animals they raise of their horns. This keeps the critters from hurting one another -- costing their owners money -- it makes them much safer for workers to handle, and they clamp better into certain kinds of machinery so that various things can be done to them.

Whether they want it done or not.

To "poll" an animal, according to, is to cut off or otherwise remove its horns. An exception is animals that are born polled as the result of a fairly common mutation that occurs in certain varieties of cattle (Herefords) which are then interbred for hornlessness. A bull that is born without horns will never be a threat to its owners and will be easy and convenient to transform into a steer.

Producing "Rocky Mountain oysters" as a by-product.

Be aware that, like the income tax, Rocky Mountain oysters are non-kosher.

There are a great many individuals today, both in government and in the think-tanks and foundations that constitute their intellectual bodyguard, who look down on you and me and our families as livestock. The only thing they want from us is silent, compliant labor, so that they can take whatever we earn away from us and use it as they desire. Some of it they use against us in various ways to keep us silent and compliant.

Listen to them closely and you'll hear that we might as well be different species. They are an elite -- near demigods who are above everything, including the law. We are less than nothing, of no concern to them except for the tasks we perform and the wealth we create for them to steal. If some of us can play the violin, create beautiful paintings or sculptures, or bring audiences to tears with our singing or acting, those are just "stupid pet tricks" without real value or significance.

If some of us are attacked by others, what difference does guilt or innocence make when you're talking about livestock? Animals that defend themselves are no different from the animals being defended against -- unruly cattle are unruly cattle. Any ability we may develop to protect ourselves from predators simply isn't worth the risk it poses to our "owners", which is why crime statistics that prove gun ownership reduces crime mean nothing to them.

To make it clear: politicians and bureaucrats are the owners. The IRS does the milking and butchering. BATFE is engaged in a decades- long campaign to "poll" the American public by taking away their horns. There's a Chinese proverb somewhere about how disarming people makes them easier to tax. I can't find it just now, but the point is made.

The slightest hint of individuality perceived among us -- let alone of individualism -- is reflexively interpreted as a threat or at least a problem in crowd management, which is a polite euphemism for herding.

We are less than slaves, we are the beasts of the field.

If you think I'm exaggerating, take a look at this webpage from our friends over at the International Society for Individual Liberty: If you weren't aware that this is what "your" government thinks of you, you'd better learn.

For some, of course, this is the way things alway have been and the way they always will be. Born without defenses or any concept of defending themselves, they are the polled Herefords of the human race, arriving in the world utterly harmless, stupidly content to be property, happy to be fed, groomed, taken care of, protected from predators (not to mention those dangerous, disturbing ideas), in the end, possibly even willing to be slaughtered.

For the rest of us, however -- those of us who know the difference between metaphor and reality -- this situation is intolerable and must be changed drastically. Some of us have a vision of free, independent, autonomous individuals, standing tall, each of us reaching out and upward to fulfill our destinies. And to accomplish that we must shake off, once and for all, the parasites who mistakenly believe they own us.

To do that, to join in this historic effort, you must first "grow" some horns. It's one thing to talk about the right to keep and bear arms, and it's another altogether to own and carry weapons yourself. Don't whimper (or moo, to keep up the parallel) that your herdsmen won't let you have horns, they have nothing legitimate to say about it.

Next, you must educate yourself. There's a lifetime of learning out there that the public schools and the mass media don't want you to know about, let alone participate in, an entire culture with its own history and customs, more deeply rooted in what it really means to be an American than anything you'll ever hear in a classroom or see on television.

Wherever you happen to be reading this, you've made a good start. Follow whatever links you find to go places and meet people who have made -- and are still making -- the same journey you've embarked upon. If any of them want to blame other folks because of what they are, rather than what they do, you've followed a blind alley and must work your way back. Differences between us of race, religion, or national origin are just ways the cattle herders have of keeping us from acting together.

Try solutions. Some will be political, some will be social, some will be economic, some will be combinations. Political parties haven't worked out very well so far. Civil rights groups and other membership organizations are all built along different lines of thought and have different emphases. Some may be right for you, some not. Having been a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, I think the very best are Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Gun Owners of America.

For thoughts on what a politician's stand on Second Amendment issues tells us of his ideas about everything else, see my essay "Why Did It Have To Be Guns?" Go to and scroll down.

Over the decades that the general freedom movement has existed, there have been many ideas about what we might to do break free. It's been 46 years for me, since 1962; the best idea I've heard comes from the fertile mind of Aaron Zelman. It's very simple: take your money back.

When everything else is said and done, the cattle barons can't run their ranch, exploit their cattle, if they don't have your money to do it with. To abandon the bucolic metaphor, if there's no funding for FEMA, Homeland Security, the BATFE, the EPA, and dozens of other alphabet agencies -- many would add spy agencies the FBI, NSA, CIA, because they're unconstitutional -- they'll be harmless, and we'll be free and richer.

It's simply the most cost-effective, time-efficient way to achieve everything the general freedom movement ever wanted to accomplish. Abolish the federal income tax alone, and we'll have 40 percent more money to buy cars, houses, nifty guns -- anything -- with. Meanwhile, they'll be left standing by the roadside with a crudely-lettered cardboard sign that says "Will Beat People Up And Kill Them -- for Food".

Go to the website, read what you find there and watch the abbreviated video -- better yet, send for the full 11-minute presentation, recent recipient of a Videographer Award of Distinction -- which, among other things, shows you how you could accumulate half a million to a million dollars if your income were untaxed. Become part of a growing national movement. Together we can take America back and make it our own once again.

You don't have to feel like the Lone Ranger anymore.

Download the abolition form. This is not a polite, hat-in-hand request. It is a direct order to your elected representative, your servant, that he report to you immediately with regard to your demand that he abolish the IRS and the federal income tax -- a simple, cheap, time-efficient way to find out who's really your friend and who's your enemy. If he sends you an automated reply, tells you to fribble off, or fails to answer, you tell TYMB and they'll make it a matter of public record. Politicians hate that sort of thing, and though it may take a while to turn (or replace) them, the ultimate effect will be real and measurable.

Encourage enough of your friends and allies to do what you've done, and in the end, it won't matter a bit next time around whether Democats, Republicans, or Flat-Earthers get elected. You're the boss, and they'll all_ have to do your bidding.

They want your money.

And your blind, bovine obedience.

Tell them they can't have it, and reclaim your lost liberty. --

"Men cannot be governed and remain men. Domesticate the wolf and he changes both physically and mentally. His muzzle shrinks, his teeth diminish, he loses size, speed, and strength, He grows spots. His ears flop. His brain withers. He becomes a dog. Men are on the verge of becoming dogs -- the changes are underway already -- unless we do something to stop it."

-- The Ceo Lia Wheeler, Phoebus Krumm, forthcoming

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:

The Libertarian Enterprise:

The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, Roswell, Texas, and TimePeeper (August 2007):

LNS at Random (blog):

(Find other articles by L. Neil Smith)

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