An Open Letter to Bill Bennett

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reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark
of an authoritarian regime. “

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.
It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

William O. Douglas

censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions
and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging
current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions.
Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.

George Bernard Shaw

William J. Bennett, AVOT

John Bottoms, Chairman

Americans for Victory Over Intimidation (AVOI), a project of

March 23, 2002

Bennett chairs the newly-formed “Americans for
Victory Over Terrorism” (AVOT), which recently published
an open letter
describing the rationale and goals for their organization. In response
to AVOT's strong-arm tactics of intimidation, I hereby call into
being “Americans for Victory Over Intimidation”


American government has always attempted to suppress dissent during
times of war. During the Civil War, Lincoln illegally detained thousands
of journalists who dared to speak out against his war on the Confederacy.
During World War I, Woodrow Wilson imprisoned public opponents,
and even had the US Post Office deny service to newspapers that
didn't tow the party line. The Cold War is famous for government
intimidation of any who suggested that Joseph McCarthy and his crowd
were using the threat of communism as a tool to grab power.

each of these periods, Americans endured the exponential growth
of The State at the expense of their freedom, security and well-being.
In each case, wealth and power was transferred from private, free-market
hands to those interlocked with authority and violence, exemplified
by the growth of the Military Industrial Complex since World War

always, vocal groups of writers, scholars and journalists have refused
to be intimidated by heavy-handed blackmail and extortion. It took
great courage and intellectual firepower to provide the public with
much-needed information and inspiration during previous crises,
and our current war will require nothing less.


threat to our freedom by the government in Washington and its hired
intimidators at AVOT knows no bounds and is targeted directly at
our lives and our institutions, starting with the 1st
Amendment of the Constitution. They are using the terror attacks
of 9/11, which were brought upon us by decades of arrogance and
foreign policy mismanagement, as an excuse to pursue their bankrupt
ideology of empire and censorship. We
freedom-writers “are simply in the way” and a major annoyance as
we expose their plans for defacto world conquest. Mr. Bennett is
preparing for a long war, but so are we.

support for the war effort has been high because it was seen as
an effort to wipe out a band of criminals which had murdered thousands
of innocent Americans. But as mission creep takes over and US forces
are sent on far-flung duty in countries which are no real threat
to the American homeland, Mr. Bennett fears that support may wane
as Americans figure out that these wars only weaken our nation.
He knows that public opinion must be continually reinforced, and
that dissent will undermine his objectives. He even tries to manipulate
us with fear, using the incredible claim that anything less than
unconditional support for the government's wars will bring about
more attacks against America. Quite the contrary, it is their present
and future wars which make us targets of renewed terrorism.

Bennett makes clear that he considers dissent an internal threat
to the US, equal in importance to those who would violently attack
America; that dissenters are promulgating their “blame
America first” ideology. In fact, ours is a “blame government
first” attitude, and history as well as current
events backs up our position that The State is at the heart of all
of today's public crises. Only when government ceases its murderous
overseas military adventures will terrorists will lose interest
in attacking us. It is worth noting that it is only Americans like
Mr. Bennett who are still pushing the “they hate us because
we're free” line. Muslims, and others worldwide, invariably condemn
US foreign policy.

Bennett's AVOT hopes to intimidate into silence those who don't
buy the party line, or if necessary “eradicate” them and
their dangerous ideologies. We at AVOI refuse to be intimidated.
Our goal is to eradicate Mr. Bennett's dangerous and self-defeating
ideology of empire, an ideology which got us into this mess and
is now threatening to make it worse.

must devote attention to the definition and shape of our victory
in the ongoing battle against intimidation and censorship. In the
long run, fortitude or hesitation about our principles will determine
victory or defeat. We shall work to fortify public opinion by argument
and use of mass communication.



  • educate
    the public about the nature and threat of government intimidation
    and the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution;
  • educate
    the public about the threat of radical empire-building ideologies;
  • help articulate
    true American ideals in schools and on campuses;
  • expose
    government propaganda and disseminate the truth; and
  • take to
    task those groups and individuals who fundamentally misunderstand
    the nature of the conflict we are facing.

26, 2002

Bottoms [send him mail]
is usually able to keep his sarcasm under control in Phoenix, Arizona.
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