Letter from DataPacRat with remarked from L. Neil Smith

Re: “Drones” by L. Neil Smith

I was rather astonished to read that in one of his latest articles for TLE, the esteemed El Neil advocates making drones illegal, particularly given his usual vehement insistence that spreading weaponry far and wide through the population is one of the best political options there is.

The most libertarian solution to governmental use of drones on civilians isn’t to make drones illegal. Instead, it’s to ensure that every civilian has the same right to use drones as they do smallarms, for exactly the same reason: to have the military power to effectively resist a tyrannical government, thus forcing that government to exist in fear an armed uprising, and thus placing pressure on that government to avoid upsetting the citizenry should they infringements too many of the citizens’ rights.

Figuring out how to make such arrangements for such citizen-run drones, whether those drones are to be used for violence, for surveillance of government activities, to use as mobile nodes of un-tappable mesh-network communications, or just for whatever peaceful recreational purposes any individual happens to think up, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Thank you for your time,


To which L. Neil Smith remarked:

I have never seen anything wrong with passing laws that limit government activity. If I had my way, the three remaining bureaucrats would work from within cages, wearing handcuffs and leg irons, while being gnawed on by fire ants.

Our erstwhile correspondent DataPacRat has surfaced once again to suggest that we counter government drones by having drones of our own. That’a a mighty fine idea if he or she (I have trouble taking people seriously who won’t use their real names) is willing to pay for my first dozen. Otherwise, I’ll stick with forbidding the government to have or use them.

They’re a cowardly weapon, anyway.

L. Neil Smith

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