My July 4, 1996 Hell-Raising Libertarian Convention Speech

On July 4 twenty-two years ago, I riled up folks at the Libertarian National Convention.  I talked about the EEOC’s war on Hooters, House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s pig paranoia, zoning idiocy, and other boondoggles. Commenting on a recent idiotic asset forfeiture decision, I noted, “The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court did not explain the equivalency of piracy in the 1820s and oral sex in the 1990s.”  I noted that nothing could “justify granting federal agents the power to seize your house, strip mine you paycheck, grab your guns, trespass on your land, stop you from getting life-saving medicines, and shut down the Internet.”

After recapping Waco and Ruby Ridge and calling for the death sentence for the Oklahoma City bombers, I concluded: “There is nothing that Timothy McVeigh or others could have done that would  ex post facto validate what the federal government did at Waco…. It’s important for critics of government to act responsibly, but it’s important for the government to keep one thing in mind, and that is we will not be silenced.”

The CSPAN video of the speech is online here.





FDCH Political Transcripts July 4, 1996, Thursday





FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996


BOVARD: (AUDIO GAP) …and the whole attitude towards government
in this country has been — much of the media has been part of the
trouble because — well, for example, The Washington Post had a
series recently of articles — a series of article on how people think
about government. Now, there are some newspapers that do series — do
investigations on why it is that the people believe in witches, or

trust in goblins, or things like that. What The Washington Post tried
to investigate is why is it that people don’t trust government.

And it was a pretty good series. But there was a sense of wonder
throughout it that the — wonder by the journalists, that so many
people would think the government wastes their money, or lies to them,
or is a threat to their basic rights and freedoms. The series, I
think, documented how badly informed most Americans are about their
government. But one thing that the journalists found absolutely
impossible to explain was the fact that the most informed citizens are
those who distrust the government most. This is the kind of problem
that we wouldn’t have if more people read The Washington Post. The
people would understand the good things that the government does.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

You know, it’s interesting. Props for speakers are becoming all
the rage now, especially in Washington. Speaker Newt Gingrich went on
Jay Leno’s show a few weeks ago, and Mr. Gingrich to prove that he
cared and was compassionate, he showed up with a baby pig, to show
that he loved animals and cared about the environment and stuff like
that. My impression is that Mr. Gingrich might find pigs more
attractive now than some of the ideas and principles he championed
last year.

But the show didn’t turn out so well because the pig kept
squealing, and the reason was that Gingich was holding it at arm’s
length. And Gingrich was apparently afraid the pig would do to him
what Congress does to the American people.



Since Gingrich showed compassion with the pig, I was thinking of
coming and showing my compassion with pork barbecue sandwich, but I
couldn’t find one this early in day, so.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Politicians have concentrated vast power in the federal
government based on the notion that the government is a great
benefactor. However, in reality, government is simply a pious fraud.
A clear understanding of what government is is important for the
defense of individual freedom. I want to talk about a few areas where
the nature of government power becomes very clear. The first of these
is asset forfeiture.

Private property marks the boundary between the citizen and the
state. John Locke, a writer who had great influence with the founding
fathers, wrote that if someone can come in and seize part of his
property, then a man has no property rights at all because property
has to be inviable or it’s not property.

One of the most radical changes in the lives of the American
people in the last decade has been the proliferation of asset
forfeiture laws. Federal agents have confiscated over $4 billion in
cars, boats, houses, and cash, and other property in the last 10
years. In most cases, with no proof of criminal wrongdoing by the
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have had their property seized
thanks to these forfeiture laws.

BOVARD: Asset forfeiture is one of the most important issues
because the government has no burden of proof. The government can
come in, and based on hearsay evidence — or gossip, rumor, whatever
— come in and grab a person’s property. And the person has to sue
the government in court to prove that he’s innocent and to get his
property back.

Not only that, the person has to post a 10 percent bond to cover
the government’s cost in trying to keep — the government’s legal cost
— in the court fight. It’s a real balanced, level playing field.

The federal agents can seize property over a hundred different
statutes right now. A few examples: In Georgia, the FBI seized three
Mercedes Benzes from a businesswoman. The reason was, it claimed her
husband had used the car phone in the Mercedes Benz to place a few
sports bets, which were illegal. That was the only nexus that they
needed to seize that car, or seize those cars.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

A central Florida police department launched a program to
automatically seize the cash of anyone police considered suspicious,
and who had more than $100 in their pockets. Naturally, the police
tended to target blacks and Hispanics because they look suspicious to
the police.

In another Florida case, in Miami, federal attorney’s confiscated
the $150,000 home of an elderly Cuban-American couple after the couple
was convicted of holding weekly poker games for friends and relatives.
The poker games had some gambling, some small gambling. It wasn’t
legal. So the government stole their house.

In Pittsburgh, federal prosecutors last year devastated Jane Ward
after she had fully cooperated with them in testifying to try to help
them solve the murder of her husband, John Ward. Prosecutors decided
that John Ward had been a drug dealer and that all of his previous
income was drug profits, even though Jane Ward had her own business
and had proof that she had valid noncriminal income.

The feds proceeded to confiscate almost all of the widow’s
assets. Federal officials arrived with a truck at the Ward’s home and
carted off all the family’s furniture. Prosecutors even sought to
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

grab the proceeds of the husband’s life insurance. Jane Ward and her
three children were forced to go one welfare. That’s how asset
forfeiture works in actual practice.

But the amusing — the amazing thing is that, as these abuses
have become better known, they’ve kept on growing. Politicians have
talked about changing them. Nothing has happened. And it’s — as the

laws become more sweeping, the less effort police are making to
actually prove that they’re seizing the property of a guilty person.

For instance, last January, a mayor of a Utah town announce that
police officers would permitted to personally keep up to 25 percent of
all the property or cash they confiscated from suspected drug dealers.

I mean, is it possible to have a worse incentive for law
enforcement? I mean, these are the kind of programs that turn the
police into public enemies.

BOVARD: Certainly not all police are public enemies, but it’d be
difficult to create a set of incentives that was better crafted to do
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996



The — there was a case recently heard by the Supreme Court, a
landmark case in forfeiture. This case involved John Bennis, a man
who had picked up a lady of the night off a Detroit street. Police
swooped down upon the two of them, there in his car, as she was, in
the words of The New York Times, “performing a sex act on him.”

I wasn’t quite sure what the Times meant, but anyhow. The co-
owner of the Pontiac that he was driving was one Tina Bennis, John’s
wife. She was outraged that the government — city government —
confiscated the car, even though she had no guilt or no role in her
husband’s decision to stop on the way home from work to pick up a

This case went through the courts, and on March 4th, the Supreme
Court shocked almost everybody by endorsing the seizure. The chief
justice, Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion, and he based his ruling
heavily on an 1827 case, which involved the seizure of a Spanish
pirate ship that had attacked U.S. ships.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

The chief justice did not explain the legal equivalence between
piracy in the 1820’s and oral sex in 1990s, but apparently, he didn’t
have to. Justice Stevens issued a dissent that vividly portrayed how
much arbitrary power the government has gained from this decision. He
said, for centuries, prostitutes have plied their trade on other
people’s property in palaces, hotels, cruise ships, and to sign off on
this forfeiture thing simply because of a single act of prostitution
greatly increased government power to seize all types of property.

And importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision also proposed a
serious threat to public safety. Justice Stevens noted, if the
husband had taken advantage of the car’s power of movement by picking
up the prostitute and keeping on driving, presumably the car would not
have been forfeitable at all.

Now, what sort of incentive system do we have here? People are
worried about people that drive along and talk on the cell phones?

Well, this is far more dangerous. And to have a Supreme Court
justice note this, I guess, that they just didn’t care about public
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

And not only was it an issue of prostitution. The thing that
Bennis was convicted on was not hiring a prostitute, but gross
indecency, since he had not paid the prostitute by the time the police
had arrived. Because of that, this is the kind of statute that can
justify the police seizing cars from any overheated teenagers on
Lover’s Lane. This is the kind of thing that might make a few parents
stop and say, now, wait a minute. Maybe it’s not such a good law.

Unfortunately, the court decided another forfeiture case a few
weeks ago. And this time the chief justice based his decision on the
doctrine that forfeiture is justified because of the “fiction” that
the government is suing the property itself, not the property owner.

And since a mere piece of property can have no rights. What’s
not to like. I mean, this is a fiction that goes back at least 800

BOVARD: But it was apparently fresh enough for a majority of the
Supreme Court Justices to sign off on one more time, as we get closer
to another century.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Unfortunately, this is the same caliber of fiction that we have,
like the fiction the Supreme Court is going to stand up for the Bill
of Rights and protect Americans from arbitrary government.


A second area I want to talk about that shows the nature of
government power is zoning. If a person wants to use his own land,
nowadays you have to beg, bribe and grovel to the nearest bureaucrat.
A man’s home is his castle, except if a politician covets the land the
house is built on, or if his house is more than 50 years old, or if he
has too many relatives living with him, or if it’s painted the wrong
color, or if he wants to add a porch or a deck.

Modern zoning laws presume that no citizen has a right to control
his own land, and that every person has a right to control his
neighbor’s land. Zoning laws have become far more invasive and
restrictive. Several cities have banned pickup trucks from the
streets — even from private driveways. This is known as snob zoning.

Another case of that. Wellesley, Massachusetts, passed a zoning
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

law that limited homeowners that limited homeowners to only two live-
in servants. You know, I was thinking about moving to Wellesley, but
I said no. I don’t think so.


Some California examples. In Los Angeles, a citizen could be
sent to jail for converting his garage into a playroom for his
children if he doesn’t have government permission.

Pasadena, California, proposed banning residents from having any
weeds in their yards — a policy sometimes known as crab grass


And up in Boston, Boston bureaucrats invoking historic
preservation regulations banned a Catholic church from altering the
lighting, windows and a painting of the assumption of the Virgin Mary
inside the church. The bureaucrats decreed that the interior of the
church has major aesthetic importance, independent of its symbolism
for the Catholic church. And thus the bureaucrats proclaimed
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

themselves to be Pope, and tried to tell the church how it had to
structure its worship area.

This is a case that was finally overturned after several years of
court battles, but other historic preservation councils are doing the
same thing around the country.

The essence of zoning is a shotgun behind the door — a pending
call to police to drag someone away in handcuffs, and bulldoze their
home. This happens. It’s happened in upstate New York. It’s
happened elsewhere.

There was a case in New York City in 1985. It gave a company
permission to build a 31-story apartment building. Once the building
was already up, the City announced its officials had misread their own
zoning maps, a demanded that the company slash 12 stories off its

And what happened was the developer had to spend $1 million to
pay for a 7,000-pound robot to smash down the extra floors, one by
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Maybe it’s just me, but that seemed wasteful.


You know, I think it would have been a good compromise if they
put a couple of officials from the zoning commission on each floor,
and then knocked the floor down. That’s a compromise.


Another symbol of government coercion I want to talk about is
affirmative action. Politicians and bureaucrats are jamming racial
and gender preferences down the throats of American businesses, and
thereby wrongfully thwarting the lives and the freedom of millions of

BOVARD: Seeking the best person for the job has gone from being
part of the American heritage to being a federal crime.

A couple cases that illustrate this. The Equal Employment
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Opportunity Commission torpedoed a small metal forming shop in Chicago
because it believed the company had hired too many Hispanics and
Polish immigrants and not enough blacks. The EEOC hounded this
company for nine years, even though it could not produce a single
Black person who had actually applied for a job at a time when the
company was actually hiring.

As the settlement, the court settlement, the EEOC forced the
company to run advertisements in Chicago newspapers inviting blacks to
file claims for compensation even if they never applied for a job with
the company, they were still entitled. Four hundred and fifty-one
people filed claims for part of the settlement.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission certified each one as
eligible and deserving, even though several of the people had actually
been in prison at the time of the hiring dispute. It’s very difficult
to apply for a job from federal prison and take the job, you know,
because most wardens don’t let people leave when they get a job
outside, but it was good enough for the EEOC.

You know, another example of the EEOC’s action on sex
discrimination, the Hooter’s case. Hooter’s was not willing to hire
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

male waiters. The EEOC demanded that Hooter’s impose a hiring quota
guaranteeing at least 40 percent of its waiters would be male. The
EEOC also claimed that Hooter’s owed $22 million in back pay to guys
who never worked there because it supposedly violated these guys’
civil rights. And best of all, the EEOC has insisted that Hooter’s —
has insisted that the restaurant chain modify the concept of Hooter’s
and make it gender neutral.


They have some good visions over there at the EEOC.

Now, on a more serious note, there is an old saying that in a
free society government fears the people; in an unfree society people
fear the government. That’s why it’s important to say a few words
about Ruby Ridge. I apologize if some of this seems old hat, but for
the 97 million people watching C-SPAN, maybe some of it’s somewhat
fresh for some of them.

The Ruby Ridge fiasco began when the Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms agent arranged to have a confidential informant set Randy
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Weaver up to sell sawed-off shotguns, thereby violating federal
firearms law.

Weaver lived with his wife and four children in an isolated cabin
on 20 acres in the Idaho mountains. Weaver was a white separatist.
Weaver did not favor violence against blacks or any other race, but
merely believed that the races should live separately.

Because of his odd beliefs, he was targeted by the federal
government for a sting operation. The first time he was approached,
he refused. The agent was persistent and he eventually succumbed.
And once he was indicted he was sent the wrong date to show up for
court, and since he didn’t show up the government went into overdrive
on that.

Federal agents launched an elaborate 18 month surveillance of
Weaver’s cabin and land.

BOVARD: David Nevin, a lawyer involved in the subsequent court
case noted, the U.S. marshals called in military air reconnaissance
and had photos studied by the Pentagon Mapping Agency. They had
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

psychological profiles performed and installed $130,000-worth of
solar-powered, long-range spy cameras. They intercepted the Weaver’s
mail; they even knew the menstrual cycle of Weaver’s teenager daughter
and planned and arrest around that.

I mean, this is because of a sale of two sawed-off shotguns. On
August 21, 1992, six U.S. marshals snuck onto Weaver’s property,
outfitted in full camouflage and ski masks and carrying submachine
guns. Three agents circled close to the cabin and threw rocks at the
cabin in order to get the attention of Weaver’s dogs.

Once the dogs started to bark, Weaver’s 14-year old son, Sammy,
and Kevin Harris, a 25-year old family friend ran to see what the dogs
were upset by. At this point, three U.S. marshals took off, running
through the woods, followed by one dog. Now, the marshals later
claimed that they had been ambushed by the Weavers, that they were
ambushed out of the blue and never suspected anything.

However, according to a confidential report by the Justice
Department, which the Justice Department has still not made public,
but it’s gotten out anyhow, according to that report, the marshals
chose to stop running and take a stand behind stumps of trees.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

According to the report, the marshals’ leader, Larry Cooper, told the
others that it was bullshit for them to keep on running and that he
did not want to run down the trail and get shot in the back. He urged
them to take up positions. The marshals had the advantage of
surprise, camouflage and vastly more firepower than the 14-year old
boy and Kevin Harris.

Once Kevin Harris and the boy came up where the marshals were,
Marshal Arthur Roderick apparently panicked and shot and killed Sammy
Weaver’s dog. Sammy Weaver fired his gun in the direction from where
the shots came from. Randy Weaver came out of his cabin and called
for his son to come back.

His son answered, I’m coming, dad, and was running back to the
cabin when a federal marshal shot him in the back and killed him.
Kevin Harris responded to the killing of Sammy by firing in self-
defense and apparently killing a U.S. marshal. Federal agents
testified in court that the U.S. marshal had been killed by the first
shot of the exchange. But evidence later proved that the marshal had
fired seven shots from his gun during the exchange before he was shot.

Now, as soon as the marshal was killed, the U.S. government went
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

into a frenzy. The chief of the FBI hostage rescue team was called in
and orders were given to shoot to kill any armed adult male outside
the Weaver cabin. It didn’t matter if the person was doing anything
to threaten the federal agents or pose any kind of direct threat to
anybody. The person was to be shot on sight, basically.

That’s an interesting set of rules of engagement because it was
easier for the FBI snipers to get permission to kill Randy Weaver, to
try to kill him, than to shoot his dog. Because, for killing the dog,
the dog had to pose a threat. But Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris
didn’t have to pose a threat. If — And the federal agents knew that
the Weavers almost always carried guns when they were outside the

Within a few hours, 400 government agents swarmed around the
mountains outside that cabin. And, here again, this is a case that
involved the sale of two sawed-off shotguns. On the following day,
Randy Weaver walked from his cabin to the little shack where his son’s
body lay to say one last goodbye to his boy. As Weaver was lifting
the latch on the shack’s door, he was shot from behind by FBI sniper,
Lon Horiuchi.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

Now, FBI Director Louis Freeh claims that Horiuchi shot Weaver
because he saw Weaver aiming at a government helicopter. But Horiuchi
testified in court, federal court in Idaho that he never even saw
Weaver holding a rifle before he tried to kill him. But the FBI has
imposed no penalties or no sanctions or no reprimands on Lon Horiuchi.

As Randy Weaver, after he’d been shot, struggled back to the
cabin, his wife, Vicki, stood in the doorway holding a ten-month old
baby in her arms and calling for her husband to hurry.

BOVARD: The FBI sniper, Horiuchi, fired again hit Vicki Weaver
in the head and killed her almost instantly. The bullet that killed
her passed through her and then hit Kevin Harris.

Once the FBI sniper had killed or wounded all the adults there in
that Idaho cabin, the FBI decided it was time to send an emissary to
the cabin and call for the survivors’ surrender. It’s — I think that
the official plan of action called for the call for surrender to
happen before they started shooting but, you know, details.

FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

What happened next was an FBI robot rambled up to about 15 feet
from the cabin door and broadcast a call for Weaver to come out and
pick up a phone in one of the robot’s arms and talk to the FBI. The
FBI kept insisting that he had to come out, pick up the phone and talk
to them.

During the following days of the siege, the FBI’s press spokesman
complained that Weaver was unreasonably refusing to talk to the
government via that telephone held by the robot. What the FBI didn’t
tell people at that time was that in the robot’s other arm was a 12-
gauge shotgun pointed right at the cabin door.


Perhaps, this is the FBI’s concept of a good neighbor policy,
but, you know, you go and shoot somebody in the back, you kill his
wife and then you put a robot with a shotgun at his door, and says, he
won’t talk to us. What’s wrong with him?

Weaver eventually surrendered and was taken into custody. In
1993, an Idaho jury found Weaver innocent of almost all charges and
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

ruled that Kevin Harris’ shooting of a U.S. marshal was self-defense.
Federal Judge Lodge issued a lengthy list detailing the Justice
Department misconduct, fabrication of evidence and refusal to obey
court orders. Judge Lodge was famous as a law-and-order type
conservative. But, in this case, even he was shocked at what the
federal government had done.

Now, Senator Specter, here in Washington, fought long and hard to
get hearings on Ruby Ridge. Senator Orrin Hatch, who was the chairman
of the committee that would have to authorize the committee, fought
long and hard to block those hearings. Senator Hatch even went on
radio and said that Lon Horiuchi, the sniper who killed Vicki Weaver
was an American hero.

Senator Hatch also insisted that any hearings that did occur had
to be structured to boost public confidence in government.


This is a real tricky one, you know, when you’ve got all these —
you know, when there are dead bodies and the government lieing left
and right.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

The Senate finally held hearings and the most surprising news
that came out of that was that the U.S. marshals came before the
Senate and announced that Randy Weaver had somehow shot his own son.
This was a bizarre new theory. The government had never offered it in
court. It took people’s breath away.

It was especially tricky since Sammy Weaver was shot as he was
running in the direction of his father, shot in that back, and that
Weaver was far away from the scene of the death and was located in
front of him at a higher elevation and the bullet had an upward slant
in the boy’s back.

BOVARD: Now, the only plausible theory which would explain that
was that Randy Weaver used one of those Roger Rabbit bullets that goes
up and down and around trees and circles around. I mean this was the
caliber of the testimony that the U.S. marshals gave to the U.S.
Senate. And no one from the Senate busted their chops.

You know, this is a case that you think has finally gone away,
but it keeps rising from its grave like a Frankenstein monster. A
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

couple months ago, on March 1, the U.S. Marshals Service gave its
highest award for valor to the five surviving U.S. marshals involved
at Ruby Ridge. And the valor awards were given to Cooper that shot
the boy in the back and to Roderick that started the fire fight by
shooting the dog.

Marshals got the award, according to the Marshals Service
director, “for their exceptional courage, their sound judgment in the
face of attack, and their high degree of professional competence
during this incident.” The Marshals director said that all the men
were heroes.

You know, it’s bizarre to see the Marshals Service doing this,
the U.S. Justice Department doing this after there have been a lot of
allegations that these guys perjured themselves before the U.S.
Senate, once their testimony before the federal court in Idaho fell to
pieces in about four or five different places, and yet these guys are
still heroes in the eyes of federal law enforcement.

I want to say a few quick words on Waco, it’s also a very
important case. There was one comment that summarized how the federal
government thought about Waco. Last year, when Attorney General Reno
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

testified before the House, she was asked why she sent 54 ton tanks,
smashed into a compound that she knew was occupied by women and
children, why she’d used the military against American civilians.
Attorney General Reno replied that she did not think of the tanks as
being military vehicles, instead she thought of them as being good


You know, this is the kind of comment that should have created
national outrage. I mean, you know, the government’s using that
deadly force and it’s absolutely bizarre that attorney general would
say something like that, but perhaps the Justice Department had taken
the damage waiver and wasn’t worrying about a few scratches or blood
stains on the tanks, I don’t know.

But it’s a symbol of how complacent and compliant most of the
national media is that there was no outrage against Janet Reno for
making her comparison of tanks to good rent-a-cars. I mean it’s there
in the official testimony, it’s there on Nexus, it’s there in one or
two newspaper editorials, but otherwise it didn’t exist.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

I want to make a few quick comments to wrap up here on how the
media portrays supposedly anti-government citizens.

During the long standoff with the so-called Freemen in Montana,
much of the media sought to portray the Freemen as typical of people
who distrust the government or who favor slashing federal power.

BOVARD: Now, it turns out that the chief of these Freemen just
happened to be a disgruntled farmer who had received and defaulted on
$2 million in federal Farmers Home Administration loans. You know,
I’d like to know how many people in this audience have defaulted on $2
million in federal loans, is that why you’re here?


I mean but it seems close enough for the media.

You know, once the Oklahoma City bombing happened last year, many
of the ideas like those presented at this conference became very
unfashionable. There was an amusing comment in National Review that
had an editorial that cited my book “Lost Rights” in an editorial
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

stressing that conservatives must “take care about where to draw the
line in criticizing government.” You know, it’s unfortunate that some
people don’t have the same concern about drawing the line for
government violating the people’s rights.


Personally, I’m all in favor of the death penalty for the people
that carried out the Oklahoma City bombing. There’s no excuse for
killing innocent human beings in the name of any principle of
politics. I mean that’s so basic.


Perhaps in the case of the media, we’ll try to draw analogies to
Oklahoma City with. Yesterday, The New York Times reported that four
of the 12 people arrested so far in the Arizona conspiracy to bomb
federal office buildings were members or supporters of the Libertarian
Party. I don’t know what the courts are going to find out in this
case. We have to wait and see what the details are and how much
evidence there is on both sides.
FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996

But it’s important to recognize, no matter what the government
alleges or proves that a handful of disgruntled people in Arizona said
or did, that does not justify the excesses of federal power. That
does not justify granting federal agents the power to seize your
house, strip mine you paycheck, grab your guns, trespass on your land,
stop you from getting life-saving medicines, and shut down the


There is nothing that Timothy McVeigh or others could have done
that would somehow ex post facto validate what the federal government
did at Waco. The crimes of private citizens cannot absolve the
previous and future crimes of federal agents. It’s important for
critics of government to act responsibly, but it’s important for the
government to keep one thing in mind, and that is we will not be

Thank you.

FDCH Political Transcripts, July 4, 1996


Jul 05, 1996 13:58 ET



, , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to My July 4, 1996 Hell-Raising Libertarian Convention Speech

  1. Tom Blanton July 4, 2018 at 3:08 am #

    Bravo!! What a tremendous thing C-Span has done by archiving stuff like this. This was great to watch.

    • Jim July 4, 2018 at 9:03 am #

      Thanks very much, Tom! Glad that speech passed the Blanton test.