|Arts, Books & CultureVin the Verboten
by Steven Miller
in Suprynowicz says the forbidden things. He says them wellin ably written and solidly reasoned commentariesand, to the chagrin of those whod prefer wed all just go back to sleep, he says them often.
As those who get Vins columns by e-mail or read them on the Web or in one of his subscribing newspapers know, Vin writes "The Libertarian"a regular source of outstanding analysis regarding Nevada and national issues to which lovers of liberty around the country eagerly look forward each week.
Yet by day Vin is also assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, one of the premier American newspapers today of a libertarian leaning.
So, to reactive apologists for todays emerging federal feudalism, Suprynowicz has long been double heartburn.
Now, however, Vin has opened a third front, publishing a book that is an instant classic in the annals of the everlasting war for American liberty. Provocatively titled Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998, the book has on its cover a picture of the Statue of Libertyholding an automatic rifle up in the air. Predictably, Vins would-be censors are about to split a gut.
This is a fascinating book from page one onward. One might expect that a book subtitled "Essays " and written by a newspaper columnist would be simply a collection of old columns. But what Suprynowicz has done, from all appearances, is turn his original work of the last five yearsthe reporting and thinkinginto merely a first-stage launch platform for a whole new level of robust literature.
Send in the Waco Killers itself takes the form of nine different definitive looks at key battlegrounds in the struggle to reclaim lost American freedom. The parts of the book are:
Each of the nine sections is made up of multiple short and succulent essays. These are jam-packed with exceptionally cogent images, arguments and factoids that make it easy for people to grasp in a fun and fundamental way the heart of the case for human liberty.
Selecting favorites is impossible. It would be like expecting oxygen breathers to say, "Oh, I loved that molecule," and "Boy, that was a good one." Still, probably the only way to really give the genuine flavor of the book is by excerpting it. So here goes.
On the similarity of the federal government to a boa constrictor killing a pig:
The snake doesnt really have sufficient strength to crush the ribs of any good-sized prey. But it doesnt need to. Once it has its body coiled around the victim, it simply waits. As the victim struggles, the poor thing uses up oxygen, even as its bloodstream continually transports more carbon dioxide from the struggling muscles to the lungs. Eventually, the piglet must exhale that exhaust gas, partially collapsing its lungs. Then it quickly tries to inhale again, to replace the vented carbon dioxide with fresh life-giving oxygen.
But its not fast enough. As it exhales, the snake tightens its grip. The pig cant inhale. It struggles harder, which only forces it to try to breathe again, leading to a further tightening of the coils.
In precisely the same manner does governmentonce it is allowed to escape from the cage of a written Constitution that once allowed it to fund and do only a specific limited number of thingscoil around us, watching for any crisis or problem as an opportunity to create a new "program," hire new "agents," institute "reforms."
As a clear and gripping image of a complex and crucial political process, thats hard to beat.
Perhaps the best thing about this large book506 pages after the preface, contents page and forwardis the treasury of information contained that our increasingly Orwellian institutions of justice and education have sought to remove from the collective American memory. Every one of the nine sections is illuminatingeven for people who think of themselves as old timers in the liberty movement. From the discussion of the Bill of Rights guarantees to Americans of a randomly selected jury and how current practices of voir dire are an unconstitutional "stacking" of juries, to the inclusion of some very simple facts about "robber barons" like Rockefellerfacts that quietly destroy huge chunks of the anti-trust mythologythis book is an exceedingly valuable supplement to the pre-digested but nutritionless pap of contemporary conventional wisdom.
One criticism of Send in the Waco Killers: it should have had an index. In this day of digitized manuscripts and index-creating software, its a shame in a book of these riches (and this length) to not have an easy way to locate any particular discussion one later wants to consult again.
That said, this is a singularly vital book. A witty reference by the author in the first section captures its essence. Laboring to ease the way for readers who may have stumbled onto the book just after wandering off the government-school and network-TV reservation, Suprynowicz implicitly references the spots on mariners maps in olden times where the heads of sea-dragons were drawn to poke above the waves.
"Why This Book Seems so Strange" announces the boldface headline, followed by the line, "There be ideas here." NJ
Steven Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing editor of Nevada Journal.