An Unavoidable Truth About Terrorism

An Unavoidable Truth About Terrorism by L. Neil Smith 

Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

Note by Sean Gabb: I had a long Skype conversation yesterday with Neil. He is much recovered from his recent illness – a fact evident from his renewed stream of commentary. SIG

When I boot up every morning, my “homepage” for at least twenty years has been The Drudge Report. I don’t possess broadcast television (I watch Netflix), so this morning I was surprised by screaming headlines concerning some homicidal loonie taking over a chocolate shop full of hostages in downtown Syndney, Australia, in the name of Allah.

I followed the story to the online Daily Mail, which was full of the same photographs, enormous and in full color, we’ve all seen a thousand times before: the idiot himself, the religious and political slogans, mostly written (one wonders why) in an alphabet I can’t read, terrified hostages, relieved when they had escaped, a splash or two of blood {“If it bleeds, it leads.”) and what seemed like hundreds of government tough-guy typess, all carrying automatic weapons—M-16s—standing around, waiting for their glorious leaders to get off the pot.

Three people died before it was over, two of them unnecessarily. My first thought was that it was the fault of Australian legislators, and the morally lazy voters who offer them support, who stripped the Southern Continent of its personal weaponry—brutally violating a thousand-year-old tradition among English-speaking peoples—and leaving it helpless before genetic culls like this. Speaking plainly, this asshole should have died the instant he opened his mouth about taking over the shop, at the hands of the barista, armed with a .45 automatic.

And hundreds of millions of decent, productive, nonviolent Muslims around the world wouldn’t have to go on taking the rap for jerks like him.

I also knew it was time to declare that the dangerous delusion which has been destroying Western Society is over. Peace is neither won nor maintained by the unarmed. Clearly, government cannot—will not—protect us; we must protect ourselves. I was reminded recently that I once said that terrorism is decentralized. It has no leader. It has no center. It’s a diffuse phenomenon, best dealt with by diffuse means: in this country, that means hundreds of millions of armed individuals.

Terrorism is the kind pf problem that can’t be solved by a handful of heavily-armed thugs, prancing around in their military fat-suits, but by the average suburban housewife—multiplied by a hundred million—with three small kiddies in tow and a .380 automatic in her purse.

Self-defense is a wholly individual bodily function tha can no more be delegated to somebody else—especially to the thumb-fumbling government—than can going to the bathroom, eating, or making love. If the individual people of the United States, Canada, Great Britain (or the United Kingdom—I’m unaware the distinction), Australia, New Zealand and any territories associated with them, were to arm themselves, even with .22s and .25s, that would be an end to terrorism.

(Yes, yes, I know there would still be bombs, poison gas, and various biological and radiological threats. Those are different problems, every one of them with different soutions. Want another essay?)

The simple change that I propose would not be unaccomanied by screaming, wailing, hair-tearing, and tooth-gnashing by the whining babies who have made this mess. Every proposal they make, every law they pass and enforce only make it easier for hobgoblins like this one in Sydney to have their way, to get their fifteen minutes of fame. Those who oppose what I am calling “ballistic democracy” are nothing more than knowing, willing enablers and accessories to terrorism and mass-murder.

The king of them all, multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg is nothing more than a jumped-up Charles Manson, with a haircut and necktie.

In 1776, the great economist Adam Smith wrote that, if only each individual looked out for his own interests, and minded his own business, a nation would prosper as if guided by an “Invisible Hand”. It is our task now to make sure that the Invisible Hand has a gun in it.

Was that worth reading? Then why not:


  1. Excellent policy guidance for these troubled times, with the added benefit that it conforms to both libertarian theory and conservative tradition.

    I must, however, take exception to one small point. Mr. Smith sums up like this: “… to arm themselves, even with .22s and .25s, that would be an end to terrorism.” The .22 in its longer incarnations – .22 LR and .22 WMR – can be a potent self-defense handgun round at close range. The .25 ACP, on the other hand , is not. The late Col. Jeff Cooper famously observed, “If you shoot someone with a .25, and he finds out about it, he might get angry.”

    If you don’t mind a none too thin handgun, a small frame revolver chambered for .22 LR or WMR will do nicely. If you need a thinner handgun for concealed carry and decide to go semi-auto, skip the .22 chamberings (most of the cheap ones are not reliable enough to trust with your life) and move up to .380 ACP. There are lots of reliable pistols in that chambering at various price points; Walther is my personal favorite.

  2. In what way do Islamic attackers go against the teachings or personal example of Mohammed?

    It does not make sense to assume that Mohammed was like Jesus or Buddha, YES people who do bad things in the name of these religious figures (and there have been many) go against the teachings and example of these figures – but is that the case with Islam?

    As for Mayor Bloomberg.

    He was not a good Mayor – he was obsessed with “gun control” and banning unhealthy foods and so on. But he was not a terrorist and he was not “Charles Manson” – someone who murdered a pregnant women and other people. Also he is not Mayor any more – he has not been for a year now. Although he is still spending money on “gun control” Democrats around the United States (Mr Bloomberg was elected as a Republican Mayor – but he was actually a Democrat, he just decided he could not win the Democrat primary, and so ran in the Republican one – he even supported Mr Obama in 2012).

    The new Mayor of New York City is much worse than Bloomberg. Although even comparing this person (who spends his time pushing racial conflict and hatred of the police – when he is not backing the Castro’s and so on), to Charles Manson, does not make sense.

    I actually think it helps these vile politicians – as they can say (quite truthfully) “I am nothing like Charles Manson” and the true attacks on them are discredited.

  3. A better attack on people like Mr Bloomberg would be to say “they would leave you helpless against someone like Charles Manson” – not directly comparing them to Charles Manson (which is such a daft attack it actually helps the vile Bloomberg).

    Still I am glad that L. Neil Smith has recovered.

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