Going somewhere I don't usually

by Diane Duane

I came across this comment about me a little bit ago, and it started me thinking:

Next you’ll be telling me she’s not really a libertarian.

This made me go look up “libertarian”, as I wasn’t sure that the world presently meant by the term what I think I mean by it. (For me, the word instantly brought up an image of Thomas Jefferson, along with accompanying images of Monticello, and of the vegetables and various European soft fruits that TJ imported to the US for his garden to experiment with and get commerce started in them.)

The Wikipedia entry has all kinds of too-damn-fascinating crossreferences hooked into it…including a link to the page on paleolibertarianism, which I had never heard of before and which immediately conjured up images of some kind of Free the Dinosaurs movement. (I’m sorry, but these weird sideways associational flashes happen to me constantly, all day, every day. In the psychiatric community they would often be categorized as either “looseness of association” or “flight of ideas”, depending on how fast they happened and how logical the connection of the secondary material to the primary material that seemed to be associated with it. But for this writer, at least, they’re an invaluable tool of the trade.)

Anyway, I read through the article, thought a bit, and found that the following phrases pretty much described my attitude toward what seem to be the primary issues in question:

(1) I prefer just enough government to protect me from having other political entities fall on my neighborhood with fire and sword.

(2) I prefer a government that does not behave in such a way as to cause other political entities to want to fall on my neighborhood with fire and sword.

(3) I prefer a government that does not fall on other political entities with fire and sword unless they (a) are falling on mine with fire and sword or (b) can clearly be shown to be in the process of doing so.

(4) Anybody falls on my neighborhood with fire and sword, they’re going to find that they’ve got my sword to deal with. (And a lot of Peter’s.) And I know exactly where to insert that sword to best advantage. (This being one of the things that having been a nurse is good for.)

(5) (That’s enough formulating for one day. Ed.)

Do those make me a libertarian? Then guilty as charged, I guess. But there were a lot of things on the shopping list of necessary opinions and traits that I wouldn’t necessarily hold with. (From the Wikipedia entry, and this essay, the term “minarchist” would seem to be a closer match to what goes on inside my head. And even in the description of that term, there would be things I’d have to argue with, or would reject.)

So probably the simplest way to find out whether I’m a libertarian or not would be to name me Queen of the World, and see what I did. If I really am a libertarian, I’ll abdicate, right? Q.E.D.

Then again, I might just keep the title for a few years to see how it worked out. And as regarded everything else in the definition, like any other good psychiatric nurse or responsible sf/fantasy writer, I would have to handle each issue that came up on a case-by-case basis. This being the case, when I am Queen of the World, I foresee a lot of long days spent in the adjudicating chair, sorting out all the messy details like free trade (suddenly I hear Jed Bartlett’s voice saying, “Unless a war breaks out, I’ll be spending the rest of my day talking about bananas…”) and the minimum wage (needs raising just about everywhere, if you ask me. And if you made me Queen of the World, then you did).

But generally, I would suggest that you really don’t want to see me being Queen of the World, as even my considerable patience does have limits, and when events take me past those, my management style will most closely approach that of Mrs. Oscar Gordon (“This problem will clear up if you take that man — you, what’s your name? with the goatee? — take him out and shoot him. Do it now.”), though without either (a) the accumulated wisdom of the Egg of the Phoenix or (b) the PMS. …I do, however, promise in advance to boost funding to every sensible space program, as it strikes me as a good way to give the fire-and-sword types something to occupy their time. And of course I get to decide what’s “sensible.” What good would being the Queen of the World be otherwise?…

…But no…I’m sure the world will work better if I stay right where I am and continue to exercise benevolent tyranny over the houseplants and the cats. And attempt to exercise it over the computers. (Hah.) And vote.

(…Though the thought of running for the European Parliament [obviously, as an independent] has occasionally crossed my mind. Wow, just think, the opportunity to eat out in Brussels every night…

Naaaaaaaahhh. I need to lose ten pounds, and with Le Cirio just around the corner and Den Dijver just down the road, it’d never happen.

(snort) Back to work. I’ve got worlds where I’m queen already, and they’re calling.

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