Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Autres Mondes, Autres Mœurs

Guest post by Baloo:

There are many worlds.  There'd have to be.  How likely is this one? Seriously, there's an actual theory out there that states that there are a huge number of Universes out there, each differing from the others in some detail, but because of that detail, history takes a drastically different path. Sometimes.  As I say, it is an actual theory, but it has spawned a literary genre, or subgenre, called "alternate history."  It consists of fiction written in imagined worlds where history went in a different direction, where the South won the Civil War, or Napoleon won at Waterloo, or the Axis won WWII. It's one of my favorite literary fields, and I had the honor to collaborate with L. Neil Smith on one such story, Roswell, Texas, which you can read on line HERE, or buy a hard copy of HERE.  In that story, history took a drastically different path when Santa Anna was killed by a sniper at the Alamo. It seems to be a much better world than our own.

L. Neil Smith likes to write about better worlds. Most of his alternate history fiction deals with how tiny changes in the past result in a freer, better world. Here he speculates about how our world might become more like them, accompanied by the usual dancing girls.  In this case, they're wearing angler fish costumes because they lost a bet, I believe:




The World Next Door
by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com




Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

There is a world next door.

A world in which people look up at the sound of an engine in the sky or the sight of wings, and marvel, as they used to do, instead of wondering if a sinister machine has been sent to spy on them or kill them.

A world in which the idea of anarchists with little round bombs. hiding under every bed, is a cartoon, or an example of the gullible idiocy of our grandfathers, and not the basis of policy for a hundred governments.

There is a world next door.

A world in which people keep what they work for, accounting to no one for what they have, free to improve their lives and the lives of their children.

A world in which nobody can say truthfully—as was recently said of our own world—that every nation-state is a nothing more than a tax farm, with the bounty going to absentee landlords, the limousine and helicopter set, who meet in secret every year at fabulous and expensive resorts, harvested for them by politicians, bureaucrats, and policemen. 

There is a world next door.

A world in which people are free to do whatever kind of business with whoever they wish—doctors, teachers, grocers, drug dealers, arms merchants—and no third party has anything at all to say about it.
A world in which heavily-armed and armored ski-masked thugs who smash their way into people's homes, terrify women and children, shoot family pets and invalids in bed, in the name of phony wars on drugs, terrorism, or some other cause-of-the minute, are arrested, tried, and go to jail for the rest of their miserable, worthless, parasitic lives.

Their is a world next door.

I've written about it many times, and called it names ranging from the North American Confederacy to 523 Eris, from moon-ringed Skye and the Coordinated Arm, to Pallas, from the world of the Moratorium, to the Federated States of Texas, and the America of President Alexander Hope.
Not only am I completely confident that such a world exists, among the infinite probabilities the universe has to offer, but that we can make such a world out of the one that we all happen to be living in now.

Not everybody agrees with me.

I have a friend who's given up. He's a great man, who, over many years, has done incalculable good for the cause of individual liberty. Now, more exhausted than afraid, and believing the cause is lost, he's given up. Even worse, and typical of most of those who call themselves libertarians, he's using his mighty intelligence to think up plausible sounding reasons to surrender to evil, insanity, and stupidity and do nothing. It's like arguing with a bright but determined suicide—and I won't do it again. I know quite a few more like him, each one of them silenced as effectively as if he or she had been "disappeared" or assassinated.

But just consider the bizarre creature nominally at the top of the pyramid of power. In five years, he has become, in effect, dictator of the United States, but it's a remarkably flimsy, incompetent, tinpot dictatorship.

The man can't trust his own troops, his Army, Navy, Marines, and fears his own honor guard, forcing them to carry unloaded weapons. He has to keep as many of the military as he can, as far away as he can, so they can't come home and take back the country he thinks he's taken over.

Worse, he's had has to build his own army of dregs and droolers, the morons and moochers who grope old women and diapered babies at airports.

One of the world's great cowards, he's so afraid of the people of this country, he's bought his orcish army thousands of machine guns, and billions of rounds of ammunition so that even those who voted for him can't find or afford any to buy themselves. He's so afraid that— although there are already 750 million privately-owned firearms in this country, "of modern design, in good working order”—he's gone to absurd and illegal lengths to deny the return of a million antique rifles the United States loaned to foreign countries decades ago.

He has tried repeatedly to disarm every sector of the population That he can, medical patients, old people, veterans, but the American people have obeyed their last gun law, and he knows it. It fills his every waking moment with dread and his every dreaming minute with horror.

Even when one of those absentee tax farmers who own a piece of him took a personal hand in the affairs of those he looks upon as serfs, an infantile micro-manager of individual lives who personally owns 32 thousand million dollars—and could go swimming in it like Uncle Scrooge if he wanted to—he could not prevent the public humiliation of two of his hired political hands who tried to vote away that most cherished and unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right of every man, woman, and responsible child, to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon—rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything—any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.

The grotesque figure in the White House has reached a state of paranoia in which every digit sent by one person to another by wire, radio, or paper mail must be scrutinized and recorded by the morally stunted dwarfs who serve him. Anyone who threatens to tell the truth about him, or anything he does, must be tortured, imprisoned, or murdered.

In his despairing hatred, first for himself, then for everyone and everything around him, he has engaged in an international conspiracy so enormous and extreme—together with the United Nations, his closest personal advisers aspire to reduce the world's population by nine tenths, eliminating 6.3 billion people—it makes the plotting and planning of cartoon and comic book villains appear logical, cool, and calculated.

Believable, plausible. Moderate.

There is ample and growing evidence that this entity is a closeted homosexual and that can't be particularly pleasant or comfortable with the eyes of the world—seven billion pairs of them—focused on you continuously. It's clear from the contempt you can hear in her voice that the horrible woman he's married to has no respect for him whatever. Just as one wonders where he was really born, and who his father really is, one wonders whose kids those two young girls really are.
And so I put it to you one and all: these are not the signs of any healthy regime, growing in confidence and power, they are the unmistakable signs of a failing satrapy, trembling on the edge of collapse.

As a careful and experienced student of history and human nature, I understand perfectly that this part is where it gets really scary and dangerous—but it's also a time fraught with unprecedented promise.
So I would say to my friend and to everybody like him, please don't quit just when we're almost where we want to be. Just when we're almost where we need to be. Remember that world next door I've written of so often, and everything that we all want and need and expect it to be.

Don't quit.

Don't quit.

Don't quit.

And I won't, either.

2 comments:

  1. "...accounting to one for what they have,..."

    One? or "no-one"?

    Steven Lytle

    ReplyDelete