To Ronn Neff's Unsilent Truth.
Ronn Neff is senior editor of The Last Ditch, identifier and pioneer analyst of "Polite Totalitarianism," and author of many of TLD's formative essays. He winces when Strakon calls him the libertarian Machiavelli, but it's true.
Mr. Neff's own site, which I urge you to visit, is Thornwalker.
Fiat justitia ruat cælum! Libertarians of a certain (advanced) age may remember rollicking debates over land reform in which the question came down to, Do the Indians rightfully own American cities, including the buildings, which they have a right to demolish; or could they be justly satisfied merely with collecting ground rent? Oh, very well, that's something of a caricature but only slightly so. And the whole thing did bother me. How in the world could it ever be sorted out? Didn't we have to sort it out?
Seeing his latest incisive essay, I told Mr. Neff that he had scratched an itch of long standing."Doin' right ain't got no end / Natural rights and past wrongs"
(May 25, 2017)
It's rare to see a serious question of ethics and logic handled in such a lively manner, but Mr. Neff pulls it off with seeming ease. This essay is destined to be a favorite of mine in our TLD collection of good writings."Why don't I have a right to coerce you? / The path to nothingness"
(May 11, 2017)
We modern market anarchists have some bones that must be picked with the old-time anarchists and modern left-anarchists. And the latter pick away at us, too, on those occasions when they deign to recognize our existence. But reviewing Keith Preston's Tyranny of the Politically Correct: Totalitarianism in the Postmodern Age, Mr. Neff finds something quite different from the usual denunciations:"Among left-anarchists, a startling exception."
(February 28, 2017)
We posted Part I of Mr. Neff's book A Penrose Stairway: Why the Free Market and Limited Government Are Incompatible serially from December 3, 2016 through January 21, 2017.Table of ContentsThe complete work (consisting of two parts) will be published as an e-book by Croatoan Books, a division of WTM Enterprises its first title. Mr. Neff's powerful critique of minarchism, from a free-market anarchist point of view, will be an impressive debut for our e-publishing effort.
In the fall of 2016, Fran Griffin of the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation published a new edition of Joe Sobran's Hustler: The Clinton Legacy, which I had edited (using my real name, Tom McPherren) in preparation for its initial appearance in 2000. I was unable to attend the roll-out of the new edition at the National Press Club in Washington on October 19, but TLD's senior editor kindly agreed to read some remarks I'd written for the event. This video offers a rare peek at Ronn and me working as the team that we are. I'm grateful to the distinguished co-founder of The Ditch for making my words come alive.
(November 4, 2016)
As I trust everyone knows, we are a helpful and generous bunch here at TLD. And one of us, at least, is mighty ingenious as well. I refer to our esteemed senior editor, Ronn Neff a stalwart anarchist for four and a half decades who now offers our minarchist cousins a new and better architecture for their ideal state: "A more limited government."
I hope our friends will read Mr. Neff's essay and ponder it. We'd like to hear what limited-government folks think, and what others think, too. (March 3, 2016)
We here at TLD are devoutly committed to Nonviolent Change and Hope! well, kind of so I trust it is in the right spirit that you and all the secret police monitoring the site will read this essay by our senior editor on, uh, violent revolution: "Gunplay."
Now, remember, friends, he's just sayin'. (March 28, 2013)
In June 2004, Mr. Neff wrote an engrossing installment for our "Stop and think" section about the signficance of what we saw or should have recognized, at least at the Ronald Reagan funeral. It deserves to be rescued from obscurity and accorded a permanent place as an article: "No special features; no alternate ending." (April 14, 2011)
Mr. Neff's "Polite Totalitarianism" is one of the two foundational series for The Last Ditch, along with my own "Dark Suits and Red Guards," and it's about time I got them posted. "Polite Totalitarianism" appeared in four parts, in the first four issues of TLD, from September through December 1994.
I am posting "PT" serially:Part one (posted November 3, 2007)This, dear reader, is where it all began.
Part two (posted November 15)
Part three (posted December 19)
Part four (posted January 16, 2008)Sidebar to Part two: "Keeping up appearances" (posted November 15)
Sidebar to Part three: "Polite propaganda: doing your part" (posted December 19)
Readers of the print version of TLD will remember our "Recon from Roanoke" section, consisting of short takes mostly having to do with current events. One of the best entries, written by Mr. Neff, appeared in
TLD 19(December 19, 1997), and I regret to say that, on Veterans Day 2007, it still deals with current events:"Serving up our freedom" (November 11)
In July 2007, a reader of Mr. Neff's 1998 article "Realism does not equal defeatism" posed a question to Mr. Neff in a letter to the editor. I am grateful to that reader for prompting our senior editor to produce one of his most penetrating and magnificent essays, which I am proud to publish today.
I have placed the letter and the essay on separate pages, but I have of course interlinked them.The letterAs editor and publisher of TLD, I'm going to have to go out and buy a larger cap. I keep collecting these big feathers for it. (October 10)
Mr. Neff's reply: "Think globally, act individually"
A certain congressional vote inspired Mr. Neff to prepare an addendum to a 2002 exchange with Mr. Jacob Hornberger, head of The Future of Freedom Foundation, concerning libertarian activism. (October 10)
To the top of that page.
This piece led the final edition of our print version, in October 1998, but unfortunately for the prospects of Liberty, it does not show its age, despite its '90s references: "Realism does not equal defeatism." It still offers a fresh and invigorating perspective, not only for those who describe themselves as libertarians but also for paleocons and those who seek to defend the white West. (July 10, 2007)
Mr. Neff responds to the recent cries of some on the antiwar Left that the regime is "Privatizing war." (April 12, 2004)
In a sidebar to a column by Andy Nowicki on the 2004 American Renaissance Conference, Mr. Neff has some things to say about "A strange moment at the AR," occurring after Joe Sobran's talk. (March 5, 2004)
Economist Randall G. Holcombe has argued recently that government is unnecessary but inevitable, in an article that has garnered considerable attention in libertarian circles. It has now garnered some from our senior editor. Here is part one of Mr. Neff's latest major contribution to libertarian analysis: "Gangsterism in the defense of liberty: A reply to Randall Holcombe." (February 17, 2004)
In response to an article by Henry Gallagher Fields on "P.C. libertarianism," Mr. Neff wrote an important letter to the editor reporting some of what libertarians used to be brave enough to write and talk about, back in the days before the Era of Rabbits. (August 29, 2003)
As a preface for our historic posting of Roy Childs's "Epistemological Basis of Anarchism," Mr. Neff penned this magnificent appreciation of Childs's work and career: "Roy Childs on anarchism." (July 3)
Sharing a page with Steve Sniegoski (who has comments of his own), Mr. Neff has something to say about Patrick Buchanan's column of May 7 on the war lie and the honor of George W. Bush. (May 14, 2003)
The lead article for the April-May 1995 issue of TLD, our "Orwell issue," was Mr. Neff's essay-review, "'Only an 'opeless fancy ...' The 1984 Palimpsest and salvation via technology." Strakon considers this to be another major chapter in Mr. Neff's analysis of Polite Totalitarianism. It includes a sidebar by Mr. Neff and Strakon. (September 27, 2002)
The exchange of views between Mr. Neff and Dr. Stephen J. Sniegoski on Objectivists' support for Israel and for the United State, inspired by Mr. Neff's "The Peace of Objectivism." (August 16-30)
In 1996, Mr. Neff wrote the lead essay for our "Walter Karp issue" (TLD 13), "'Any day is a good day to fight for liberty'," as well as a bibliographical guide to Karp's political books.
And that's not all. In what our little band of oddballs may be forgiven for thinking was a bit of a coup, we were also able to publish an exchange of correspondence between Mr. Neff and Karp.
All posted June 17.
In TLD 18, Mr. Neff shed bright light on one obscure but effective technique the folks in charge of the culture use to shape our minds, in "Guardians against thoughtcrime: Dictionary dictators." You think you're unshockable? Get a load of this. (June 4)
Responding to Mr. Neff's article "'I'm Spartacus,'" about receiving government loot, a reader takes our senior editor to task on unaccustomed grounds of pusillanimity and moderation in this letter to the editor, and Mr. Neff replies. (April 10)
In "The two churches: Power and sanctity in forging the West," from 1995, Mr. Neff makes a distinction that friends of Christendom might want to keep in mind. (April 3)
Mr. Neff comments on Nicholas Strakon's "An apology's not enough, Rev. Graham!" (SLU #116). (March 15)
Mr. Neff has criticized libertarian electoral activism in many of his writings. Now Libertarian editor/publisher and Senate candidate Jacob G. Hornberger nails five questions onto Mr. Neff's door; and Mr. Neff answers. (February 3, 2002)
Addendum by Mr. Neff posted October 10, 2007.
In his 1997 article "Repatriating the West," Mr. Neff met two of TLD's prime questions head on: Confronted with the alien deluge, what must we do to resurrect the West? And what mustn't we do?
Mr. Neff's "relentless and devastating analysis of Libertarian electoral activism" (Nicholas Strakon) was posted December 28, 2001: "Fifty Ron Pauls and the government with Only One Law."
Mr. Neff has a few more things to say about audio-visual matters in "'Madness ... madness!'" and also in a letter to the editor about Nicholas Strakon's column of December 19. Posted December 22.
Mr. Neff comments on "smoking guns" and disintegrating brains in "The real tape scandal," posted December 19.
"What is to be done?" In a guest article for The Voluntaryist, reprinted by permission here, Mr. Neff offered one strategy: Get up on your hind legs and declare, "I'm Spartacus."Voluntaryist editor Carl Watner's introduction.
In the wake of Congress's war-powers vote, Mr. Neff explores the implications of "Ron Paul's gift." (September 20)
The revelations involving Bob Kerrey have reminded Americans of the barbaric atrocities entailed by U.S. military adventurism. In the spring of 1998, as our rulers threatened to escalate their Permanent War against the Iraqi people, Mr. Neff wrote this front-page essay for TLD 20 on the moral responsibility of warriors: "How soldiers make peace." (May 8, 2001)
Mr. Neff the libertarian explains why he's not a Libertarian. (November 28, 2000)
Don't buy the happy-face democraziac claptrap you're hearing in the wake of November 7's presidential election, Mr. Neff advises in "Oh, sure ... your vote matters!" (November 8)
Mr. Neff is a census resister, and here is his diary of resistance. Last entry posted June 2.
Mr. Neff's reflections on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, "Remember the victims' victims," led the Recon section in the April-May 1995 issue of TLD. (April 20)
Mr. Neff's always-timely cautionary article, "Cognitive vanity or, You cannot know a politician's heart," was updated April 19, 2000, with Mr. Neff's reply to a reader's objections.
During the 2000 campaign, some political reporters told us that voters cared more about candidates' character than they did about their stand on the issues. Character ... principles ... but what can voters really know about either? That's what Mr. Neff asks in his essay, posted in full text from the January 1995 TLD.
"Only states have borders." This essay, from TLD 14 (October 1996), is now on the site in full text. The article upset some of our "paleo" friends when it first appeared, and in fact some of them became less friendly. Mr. Neff's commentary on the immigration issue is a prime example of TLD's uniqueness. "Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order."
"On the legitimacy of the Republic" (a series of two articles). TLD 15 and TLD 16, featuring this important series, are both sold out. We have received many requests for the two articles to be reprinted. Although that is impossible for the near future, the full text of the articles, plus sidebar and a letter to the editor, is now on line.
"Pettifoggery and polite gun control." This essay, from our October 1995 issue, is now on line in full text, and not a moment too soon.
"A stone left unturned." In TLD 22, a printing problem (p. 5) rendered this sidebar to Mr. Neff's main article on impeachment somewhat hard to read. The short piece was one of the best things in the issue, so I have posted the full text.
Endgame: prolegomena to the Matter of the West from TLD 17. Some intellectual tools for investigating the fate of our civilization.
A response to Strakon's piece on the "greatest generation" propaganda.