By L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise


Lucchese boot

During my endless time in Therapyland, following a stroke earlier this year, I happened to mention how deeply I miss wearing my cowboy boots.

They were practically a trademark with me, I have had a couple of really good pairs (Lucchese), and I bitterly regret that I can no longer wear them, owing to Charcot Syndrome, a condition common to diabetics. At great expense, I even had a zipper installed in them by a maker of orthopedic shoes, a few years ago, but it didn’t help a bit.

Those in charge of  NY well-meaners were aghast. You would think that I’d pulled the pin on a hand grenade. I found myself hammered from every conceivable angle about the manifold evils of _boots de cowboy_: how they distort the proper angle of the foot, cause the development of all the wrong muscles, cramp the toes, cause the wrong part of your foot to hit the ground first, etc., etc., etc., etc., ad frigging nauseum.

Instead, I’m supposed to be delighted with a pair of ugly, boxy, custom orthopedic clod-stompers only Frankenstein’s Monster would be proud of. If the insurance hadn’t been willing tp pay for them, I would have told the purveyor to fribble off. I think of them as my Henry Ford shoes: you can have any color you want as long as it’s black.


Well, today I am not here to defend my boots, although they taught me to walk softly in a way that always surprised people, especially when I was fat, and they provided a good place to carry a spare knife (an idea that would have caused NY well-meaning advisors to wet their panties). I liked my boots. That’s all that needs to be said on the subject.

I liked my boots.

It’s exactly the same proposition as the heels on women’s shoes. We all know how horrid the things are from a medical standpoint. The mass media and the Internet are chock full of dire warnings about their deleterious effects. Women complain about them, and the first thing they do when they get home is take them off, with a sigh of relief.

It’s kind of charming.

Dangerous heels

Dangerous heels

But they continue putting them on in the morning, or before going out for the evening. And nobody will dispute that they make a woman’s legs look absolutely great, her walk sexier, her stride longer, her height greater. They’re just swell, and their principal long-term effect will be on future archaeologists, who will be able to determine from the scientific examination of our bones that the Ancient Americans liked (A) high heels on their women and (B) their cowboy boots.

And that (C) real life leaves marks.

How did the Ancient Americans justify it? The smart ones didn’t try, except to say, “It’s my business, nosy britches, piss off.” Or words vastly more obscene if necessary. The world is full of busybodies dedicated to spoiling everybody else’s fun. They’re also known as “killjoys”, and in the Welfare/Warfare State, they’ve found ways to force us to pay them for their poisonous form of lunacy. The only cure is to possess the character to tell them to go straight to hell.

To spoil the only fun they’re capable of having.

It will take a revolution more profound than the recent election to rid society of these vermin, put them back in their place. It will take, as Robert A. Heinlein would tell us, a willingness on our part to make a scene. Most individuals say they fear two things more than death itself: public speaking, and confrontation of the personal kind. These creatures depend on it; they have carved careers out of it.

As usual, we decent people have been too damned polite. We are always too damned polite. That’s undoubtedly what killed the Roman Empire.

I let myself be persuaded to quit smoking in 1993, after a pair of  heart attacks, I severely reduced the amount of salt I love to use following an episode of congestive heart failure last year, I stick to a diabetic’s diet, and my physical therapy provides me with plenty of exercise. At my age, 68, I have few physical pleasures left to me in life.

In time, and given enough money, I will undertake a pilgrimage to El Paso, Texas, where the Lucchese company has been making boots on individual custom lasts since the late 19th century. Unlike the products of others, Luccheses feel like bedroom slippers the first moment you put them on. I grew up in Acmes, and I know. Lucchewse will make me a pair of boots I can put on and wear. I will be happy with that.

And with pissing off the Captain Bringdowns who hate my cowboy boots.

“Any official, appointed or elected, at any level of government, who attempts, through legislative act or other means, to nullify, evade, or avoid the provisions of the first ten amendments to this Constitution, or of the Thirteenth Amendment, shall be summarily removed from office, and, upon conviction, deprived of all pay and benefits including pension, and sentenced to imprisonment for life.”


L. Neil Smith

L. Neil Smith


L. Neil Smith is very well known within the Science Fiction field with many published books to his credit. He gave CJ permission to post this op-ed

Also see http://www.lneilsmith.org/


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