Archive for August, 2018

Anarchists Versus Anarchy

Greg Gutfeld: I challenge you to respond on either The Five or The Greg Gutfeld Show.

Back in my salad days as a libertarian activist, in Fall 1974, I organized the first-ever conference on countereconomics – CounterCon I – featuring Samuel Edward Konkin III as keynote speaker. Sam, who supplemented his income as a graduate student in theoretical chemistry at NYU by doing commercial typesetting, typeset for me a full-page ad I wanted to buy, advertising the conference in the newsletter of Laissez-Faire Books, then a brick-and-mortar bookstore on Mercer Street in Greenwich Village, founded by Sharon Presley and John Muller.

The headline for the ad was, “Will You Survive Anarchy?”

Keep in mind that all of us – Sam, Sharon, John, and I – were all anarchists. Yet the ad was focusing on the chaos that a collapsing above-ground economy — due to government overspending leading to monetary hyperinflation – could cause.

Sharon Presley rejected the ad because it was using the word “anarchy” negatively. The ad as revised and run was stupid and missed the point, reheadlined, “Will You Survive Anomie?”

Since 1974 I’ve established a solid reputation as a writer of books, journalism, Op-Eds, humor, academic essays, commercial copyrighting, fiction, poetry, blogging, tweeting, and screenwriting. A quick look at my bio confirms how I’ve frequently been honored by world-class celebrities and icons – including Nobel-prize-winner Milton Friedman and an Academy-Award winner Charlton Heston – for my writing.

So from my vantage point as a wordsmith going back over four decades – and still an anarchist – I can safely say that my pejorative use of “anarchy” in an ad intended for anarchist consumption was correct.

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In an article now an afterword to the latest edition of my 1979 novel Alongside NightAlongside Night the Movie Edition – I wrote the following:

In common usage the word “anarchy” is a synonym for chaos and anomie, just as in common usage “anarchist” is a synonym for terrorist or nihilist.
It places an immediate communications burden on anyone who believes, as I do, that a stateless society can be not only as well-ordered and agreeable as any society which attempts by a constitution to limit the powers of government for the purpose of ensuring common individual rights, but in theory could do a better job of preventing a reemergence of tyranny.

I start this essay with a challenge to the Fox News Channel’s Greg Gutfeld because – like Bill O’Reilly before him – Mr. Gutfeld applies the word “anarchist” to the scum who use violence, destruction of private property, and fascist tactics of intimidation against their political opponents.

I’m an anarchist who, after decades of principled non-voting, decided to cast ballots in presidential primaries and races for Ross Perot, George W. Bush, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, Gary Johnson, and Donald Trump.

I watch the Fox News Channel more than I watch CNN or MSNBC.

I wrote in that same afterword:

Yes, that’s right. The revolution only succeeds when the Anarchist is more for law-and-order than the Statist.

As an anarchist thoroughly conversant with the history of anarchists and anarchist movements, I think it’s well past time for the word “anarchist” not to be equated with lawlessness, communism, violence, and nihilism. Of course there are those calling themselves anarchists who are better described because of their actions as fascists. That is nonetheless true of those who call themselves every other label, including liberals and conservatives.

I’ve made it easy for the Greg Gutfelds to know what this particular anarchist thinks. Read my books available on Amazon, both fiction and nonfiction.

Read my blog posts and my many articles in The Libertarian Enterprise.

I have two movies — Lady Magdalene’s and Alongside Night, which I wrote, produced, and directed — currently streaming on Amazon Video / Amazon Prime.

Greg Gutfeld, as a fan of yours if nothing else, I deserve more attention, if not respect.

So do many other anarchists who overlap with you in the values of common sense and common decency, which you’d know if you paid attention.

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Mars Pirate Radio Interviews J. Neil Schulman on The Fractal Man and Multiversal Living

Mars Pirate Radio Episode 142

Mars Pirate Radio Episode 143

Mars Pirate Radio Episode 142 Logo

Mars Pirate Radio Episode 143 Logo

Episode 142 and 143 of MPR feature Parts One and Two of Doug Turnbull’s July 16th interview with J. Neil Schulman.

During this interview Turnbull and Schulman discuss The Fractal Man, his newest SF novel.

They also discuss at some length, the concept of the multiverse that is an important feature of the novel, and how this concept fits into Schulman’s personal experience.

It is quite a spirited discussion and Turnbull thinks you will enjoy both parts.

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Conversation on Democratic Socialism

An excerpt from my novel in progress, The Metronome Misnomer.

Cover: The Metronome Misnomer

“Five seconds,” said the stage director.

Jennifer sat catercorner to her opponent, just elected to Congress, with the debate moderator between them.

“Three, two –”

Hand signal for one. Camera light on.

“Good evening,” said FNN news anchor, Shawn Oldman. “Our guests tonight are Senegal Diaz-Jaffe, newly elected Congresswoman from New York’s 14th Congressional District, and renowned arbitrator and TV judge Jennifer Solomon. Our topic for tonight’s point-counterpoint is the proper role of government in seeking social justice. Congresswoman, let’s start with you. You describe yourself as a democratic socialist. What, precisely, do you advocate?”

“Only that which almost every American has agreed upon for close to a century now. That everyone be treated with dignity and the least among us be afforded the equal access to adequate health care, education, and housing that the elite seize for themselves. We need to recognize that capitalism is a rapacious system that we’ve evolved beyond.”

“Judge Solomon?”

“Where does the money to pay for these benefits come from, Ms. Diaz-Jaffe?”

“The government.”

“And where does the government get the money?”

“It must tax those whose fortunes were made by exploiting the working poor.”

“Let’s leave out that your math doesn’t work – that even taking one-hundred percent of the wealth from the top ten percent can’t provide the services you’re demanding for the other ninety percent. So let’s ask the primary question. Exploiting how? How can there be exploitation when a worker is free to quit?”

“To quit and starve? Not be able to pay for rent and food? That’s not a real choice.”

“It’s not a real choice to take a job elsewhere, or start their own business to compete with their former employer?”

“That’s a fantasy. Most start-ups end in bankruptcy.”

“What about those whose fortunes were made by their own hard work and superior products enriching everyone?”

“No one is an island,” Diaz-Jaffe said. “Everyone is dependent on everyone else. The rich get a free ride from publicly funded schools and colleges training their workers, direct taxpayer subsidies, legal shields against the harm their products cause to others.”

“That’s called limited liability and I’ll immediately concede these laws distort the market, allowing a corporation to grow larger than the marketplace would otherwise allow. Nonetheless even a company with such legal shielding must compete to win their share of customers, who freely choose their product or service over the existing alternatives.”

“Unless the government stifles the competition,”said the Congresswoman.

“I agree again,” said Jennifer. “The solution isn’t more government regulation – which is always used to protect one company from its competition – but to eliminate the government preferencing and allow competition to do its job. Your problem – Congresswoman Diaz-Jaffe – is that you detect arsenic in drinking water and wish to replace it with cyanide. If you had studied real economics your solution to market corruption wouldn’t be the fascism you label democratic socialism but the truly free market Agorism I advocate.”

Copyright © 2018 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

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Why Donald Trump Is Not Richard Nixon

I’m an anarchist. Anything I write in this essay is not as an anarchist theorist but as an opinion journalist speaking in common political terms.

Richard Nixon’s presidency ended many of the imperial powers of the presidency that Nixon had enjoyed as a gift from Lincoln as president during the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson from World War I, and from Franklin Delano Roosevelt through Lyndon Baines Johnson, from World War II and Cold-War enterprises including the Korean and Vietnam unwars.

Watergate weakened the presidency transferring power to courts, lawyers, bureaucrats, and somewhat to the Congress– and neither Barack Obama nor Donald Trump have been able to exercise the power twentieth-century presidents had. People forget that George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the last year of the twentieth century; the September 11, 2001 attacks — though at the opening of the twenty-first century — gave Bush 43 a chance to exercise powers that only pre-Nixon presidents had owned.

To quote the Wikipedia article Saturday Night Massacre:

“The Saturday Night Massacre was a series of events on the evening of Saturday, October 20, 1973, during the Watergate scandal in the United States. U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Richardson refused and resigned effective immediately. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; Ruckelshaus refused, and also resigned. Nixon then ordered the third-most-senior official at the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork considered resigning, but did as Nixon asked. The political and public reaction to Nixon’s actions were negative and highly damaging to the president. A new special counsel was appointed eleven days later on November 1, 1973, and on November 14, 1973, a court ruled that the dismissal had been illegal.”

And that was that for the Imperial Presidency. Presidential powers, both foreign and domestic, are still fulsome, but just aren’t what FDR enjoyed.

Donald Trump & Richard Nixon
U.S. Presidents Donald Trump & Richard Nixon

It’s hard to be the Führer when a former functionary like John Brennan can call you a traitor with zero consequence.

Or when any federal-court judge can reverse any presidential executive order or reverse a Department of Justice order that federal funds be withheld from cities in rebellion against federal law.

Fascism just ain’t what it used to be.

The question remains whether Trump could take back lost presidential powers.

If the 2018 midterms keep both houses of Congress in GOP hands, could President Trump fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — and have his next-in-line fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller — with Trump not facing impeachment from his own party as Nixon did?

It would require Trump to understand that he’s not the CEO of a business enterprise — but a Caesar — for him to do it.

My friend and political advisor (not an anarchist) Brad Linaweaver tells me not to hold my breath.

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