By Rylla Smith
FORT COLLINS, Colorado (PNN) - September 5, 2021 - Lester Neil Smith III, novelist and political commentator, gunsmith and musician, visionary and futurist, passed away on Friday, August 27 at Poudre Valley Hospital after a lengthy battle with heart and kidney disease. He was 75 years old.
A long-time resident of Fort Collins, Colorado, Neil was born on May 12, 1946 at Mercy Hospital in Denver, Colorado to Maj. Lester N. Smith II and Marie L. Coveleskie Smith.
Neil, known in the world of science fiction as L. Neil Smith or, affectionately, “El Neil,” is survived by his beloved wife, Cathy L.Z. Smith, his daughter, Rylla C. Smith, his brother Roger L. Smith, his nephews Nolan and Travis, and his aunt, Barbara Ohlwiler, as well as countless friends and brothers-in-arms. He was preceded in death by his mother and father.
Neil’s life was one spent perpetually looking forward - toward the future of freedom, of technology, of the continuation of the evolution of the human body, mind, and spirit, and toward the endless sea of stars. As a child, he wanted to be a marine biologist, to discover the unknown in the depths of the seas; this translated naturally in his young adulthood to a thirst for knowledge of the far greater unknown beyond the shores of this world.
Neil had an avid interest in the politics of personal liberty and always stood for what he believed to be right. He had a passion for friendly debate and never shied away from speaking his mind.
In the late 1970s, he wrote the first of his many novels, The Probability Broach, which began a long and prolific career in the burgeoning world of liberty-oriented science fiction, and was the creator of the Prometheus Award, as well as the recipient of the 2016 Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement.
"Yet, what is bravery but the capacity to reject our fears, ignore and suppress them,
then go on to do whatever it is we are afraid to do."
- L. Neil Smith
By Rylla Smith
By Thomas DiLorenzo
December 3, 2020 - I was deeply saddened and depressed to learn that my old friend Professor Walter E. Williams passed away yesterday morning at the age of 84. For the past forty years Walter was the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University; one of the greatest libertarian columnists in the world; a fabulously inspiring teacher; one of the best public speakers you would ever encounter on the subjects of economics and libertarianism; and the most popular guest host of the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Walter was already at George Mason University when I arrived there as a young assistant professor of economics in 1981, preceding me by a year. He and I were the two faculty members who taught the large 300+ student sections of principles of economics. I quickly realized that it would be many years before I could approach Walter’s masterful classroom performances. (You do need to be a bit of a performer before such a large audience that can easily be bored to death with such a large crowd and so many distractions).
Walter never pulled his punches, in the classroom or anywhere else. When he got to the section of the course on labor economics and the economics of discrimination, he shocked his audiences of mostly freshman econ 101 students by reminding them that “discrimination” is not always a bad or negative thing. For example, he would say, when he was looking for a wife he discriminated against fat women, ugly women, and white women. That was long before Amerika’s youth were conditioned since kindergarten to swoon over such language, instigate riots, or set fire to campus buildings.
In the early ‘80s the George Mason administration announced that every academic department was to have an “affirmative action officer.” Naturally, we chose Walter. His job was to report to the administration once a year on how good a job the department had done in recruiting women and minority faculty. In his first year with that assignment Walter informed the administration that (paraphrasing) “We tried to hire a tall, statuesque blond from UCLA [true story] but the administration was too cheap to give us enough salary money to compete for her services.” Boy, did the sanctimonious campus Leftists hate Walter for such talk - a huge badge of honor on his chest.
Back in those days Walter’s office was adorned with a framed picture of his daughter, over whom he doted, and a Confederate flag. When a visitor asked why a black man like himself had a Confederate flag in his office, he said it was to give him the opportunity to explain the virtues of secession to whoever asked about it.
Walter was not only a fabulous classroom teacher, public speaker and columnist; he produced a lot of great scholarship as well. He was a product of the old UCLA School of Economics, a sort of offshoot of the old Milton Friedman/George Stigler/Gary Becker Chicago School at that time. Armed with a great UCLA economic education (after being drafted and then kicked out of the U.S. Army - not dishonorably discharged - for being too much of a smartass and independent thinker, another badge of honor!), Walter authored many important journal articles on labor economics and other topics as well as such books as The State Against Blacks; South Africa’s War against Capitalism [aka Apartheid]; More Liberty Means Less Government; Race and Economics; Liberty versus the Tyranny of Socialism; and American Contempt for Liberty. His autobiography is entitled Up from the Projects.
Walter’s two favorite hobbies were cigarette smoking and long-distance biking, one of which probably shortened his life. He also liked to boast about his basketball prowess. He never left his beloved family home in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, commuting to Fairfax, Virginia all those years. He would battle suburban Philadelphia traffic at daybreak on his bike rides, even in the colder Pennsylvania weather.
The last time I saw Walter was when I sponsored a lecture by him at Loyola University Maryland on “The Legitimate Role of Government in a Free Society.” It was vintage Walter Williams, a combination of deep learning about the Amerikan founding, political philosophy and economics, and the philosophy of freedom, all explained in a way that anyone could understand and appreciate. Students were stopping me on campus days later to thank me for bringing him to campus. Most of them told me that, after 13-15 years of “education,” his lecture was the first time they had ever encountered the philosophical arguments for limited constitutional government. Like most Amerikan college students today, they had been taught since pre-school that the more unlimited the government, the better.
After picking Walter up at his hotel and driving to the campus I pointed out buildings housing Maryland death row. In typical Walter Williams fashion, he gazed out the window at the buildings and said, “they’re not big enough.”
One of the things that got me interested in economics in the first place as a college freshman was that in my first economics class the professor used a standard textbook and a reader entitled An Economist’s Protest by Milton Friedman. It was a collection of Friedman’s Newsweek magazine articles. Back in the late ‘60s and ‘70s Friedman and Paul Samuelson authored popular economic articles in the magazine on alternative weeks. I’d like to think that Walter’s thousands of syndicated columns have had a similar effect on many young people, a giant “multiplier effect” for the cause of a free society. In that sense Walter was the Frederic Bastiat of our day. Rest in peace my friend.
Brent Johnson is Director of Freedom Bound International, a common law service center dedicated to the preservation of personal freedom, privacy rights and the Declaration of Independence.
Brent is host of the long running #1 hit freedom talk shows The Voice of Freedom and The Global Freedom Report.
Brent is also the author of The American Sovereign: How to Live Free from Government Regulation, the spiritual book, The Quiet Voice of God, and his newest book, The Pursuit of Happiness: Freedom and the Human Spirit.
For more than 28 years, Brent has had great success in teaching those who want to know practical, genuinely workable methods on how to truly live free from the endless encroachment of Big Brother. Brent is truly a modern day freedom fighter
He came to us in September 2005. He was found in a room on a construction site along with three puppy siblings. He was brought home as a gift to me. At the time I was mourning the impending loss of my magnificent cat (see Eulogy for an Angel), so I was unable to bring myself to spiritually bond with another animal. Thus, he bonded with my producer Lee (his Mama). We named him Freedom.
He was part German Shepherd, part Chow, and we believe he was also part wolf. Most of all he was a kind and loving spirit. He loved to take himself for a walk with his Mama.
Freedom made friends with and loved all different animals. His first best friend was a calf named Babe. They used to run around and play all the time. It was really something special to watch. He grieved when Babe was taken away to a ranch. He quickly made friends with all the dozens of cats on our property. If he chased them it was only to play. He loved little babies. He helped raise some chicks, played with a baby lamb, two baby Chinese geese, some puppies, and numerous cats and kittens.
He was a world traveler. When we left the United States in 2006 to seek out possible refuges for people, he came with us through Mexico, to Guatemala for eight months, and to Panama for 2½ years. He then traveled to New Zealand for 2½ years. He spent his last days on a small South Pacific island, surrounded by those who loved him.
One day while in Panama, we went to get in our truck to go to town when Freedom started barking and he wouldn’t stop. He had never barked so loud and for so long, so we knew he must be trying to tell us something. We ended up finding a tiny kitten sleeping on the truck engine. Had I started the truck I would have killed the kitten. Somehow Freedom knew that. He became best friends with the kitten (Purrdida), who traveled with him over the years.
We left Panama for New Zealand, where I was to work on a movie. However, New Zealand had not animal import treaty with Panama, so we had to send Freedom and Purrdida back to the United States before sending them on to New Zealand. They were placed on a Continental Airlines flight to central Texas. However, due to flight schedules, they had to spend a night in a kennel in Houston, where dogs and cats were kept separate. We called to check up on them and the kennel keeper said she had never seen such a large dog so sad. I suggested she bring Purrdida in with Freedom; she said she couldn’t do that. A few hours later we called check up on them. The kennel keeper said that since nobody else was staying in the kennels, she decided to break the rules and put Purrdida with Freedom. She said she had never seen anything like it. Freedom immediately perked up and currently he and Purrdida were sleeping together peacefully, with the cat resting on the front paws of the dog.
Freedom was a peacemaker. From time to time some of our numerous animals would get into fights with one another. Freedom would go stand between the fighters and bark at each, looking from one to the other, as if telling them to stop fighting.
Freedom loved to run and boy was he fast. I don’t think I have ever seen a dog run faster. He loved going to the dog park in New Zealand, where he would go running around and around and around; once until he strained his leg from so much running.
Freedom was at the birth of many of his Mama’s kittens. He would get the strangest look in his eyes and on his face; he knew they were babies and he was always so very gentle with them. He watched over newborns, regardless of their species.
If you looked at his jaws, you could see how vicious he appeared, yet he was so kind and loving to everyone (except those who tried to hurt the people he loved).
I was never really a dog person until I met Freedom. There will never be another dog like him; he was one of a kind. His spirit of Peace and Love will be an inspiration to me forever.
Freedom, may you cross the Rainbow Bridge and join with Calle, Yoda and Thunder. May your days be filled with sunshine, love and happiness; and lots of places to run without pain or strain. Run like the wind, Freedom, and wait for your Mama and me. We will see you again, at a time and in a place where we will never again be separated.
Thank you for bringing us such immense joy and love. Thank you for blessing us with your presence these 13 years. We love you and miss you, until we meet again…
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