Archive for April, 2010

First Degree “Tradecide”

Any movie is brand new if you haven’t seen if before.

Anyone who’s not finding this column for the first time has read me talking about my making an indie movie titled Lady Magdalene’s, a suspense comedy that tells the story of an IRS agent sent to run a legal Nevada brothel in tax default.

The fictitious brothel in my movie is situated in Pahrump, Nevada — the town where I now live full-time — in Nye County, one of the eight counties in Nevada that doesn’t outlaw houses of prostitution. I live a ten-mile drive from the nearest supermarket but the two legal brothels just outside town are walking distance from my home.

One of these brothels is named The Chicken Ranch. It started operation in 1976, three years after a brothel named The Chicken Ranch in Fayette County, Texas, was shut down by order of Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe, shuttering a business that had been in operation since 1844. The Chicken Ranch near my house contains an exhibit of memorabilia from the original one in Texas.

Poster: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

While I was doing research for my movie I picked up a DVD of the 1982 movie musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, but I never got around to watching it until last night. The movie was based on the hit 1978 Broadway musical which in turn was based on a 1974 Playboy article about an ABC/Eyewitness News Houston TV reporter named Marvin Zindler who — it eventually came out — had a “deep throat” in Texas Attorney General John Hill, who’d tipped off Zindler that the Chicken Ranch was being used to launder organized-crime money.

Hill’s tip to Zindler was groundless, if not an outright lie, as were Zindler’s charges that the Chicken Ranch bribed local officials to remain open, and that the women were being forced to work there by pimps. Nonetheless, Zindler made such an unholy ruckus on TV that even though the vast majority of Fayette County residents — and Sheriff T.J. Flournoy — considered The Chicken Ranch an honored local institution that supported civic projects and local charities, a statewide political climate proved toxic to the 129-year-old institution.

While it is far-less sexually explicit than the far-more recent HBO documentary series Cathouse — filmed at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada — the R-rated Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is candid in its portrait of the characters on both sides of the debate on houses of prostitution. Unlike Nevada, Texas law did not regard brothels as legal; nonetheless, local control was sufficient to keep it open well into modern times.

My attitudes on prostitution are well-documented through three decades of being an author. I don’t regard pimps who beat up women and take their money as indistinguishable from talent agents. But I regard any self-proclaimed feminist who doesn’t support a woman’s right to use her own body selling sexual satisfaction — while simultaneously arguing in favor of a woman’s right to have an abortion — to be far more corrupt than an honest whore.

In Chapter 14 — “Sex for Money” — of my book Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto I wrote,

I doubt very much that any little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute. I doubt any father is thrilled to discover that his daughter has grown up to become one.

Let me also be very clear that in referring to prostitution I am not referring to a situation where any sort of force, threat, duress, intimidation, or dependency is used to make someone perform sexual acts for money. I’m not talking about kidnapping women or children and forcing them into sexual slavery. I’m not talking of a pimp supplying one of his women drugs in exchange for the money she gets from standing on a corner and offering herself to passing motorists.

So if the women are free from duress, and the contracts under which they’re performing their services are arrived at openly and honestly, I regard brothels as just another personal-service business — no more nor less corrupt than dentistry, hair-styling, or fitness training — and I regard a campaign by a TV talking head in secret cahoots with a politician to shut down an honest business with over thirteen decades of customer satisfaction behind it conspiracy to murder a livelihood.

I spent some time today coming up with words to describe the politically-motivated assassination of an ongoing profitable business, which satisfies a need and gives people honest work. I came up with busicide, markecide, bargacide, merchicide, entrecide, industricide, commercide, livelicide, workicide, crafticide, pursuicide, goodicide, and finally, tradecide.

Whatever you call it, it’s a sin. It should be a crime.

When I was living in California there was an Asian buffet restaurant at the corner of Lincoln and Wilshire Boulevards in Santa Monica named Mama’s Buffet. It offered a great selection of well-prepared food, sold at far more reasonable prices than other restaurants in the area. It was at least a half-hour drive from my apartment in Culver City but I ate there frequently, and introduced most of my friends and family to it.

Then one day, after I’d eaten there for years, I came to eat there and found Mama’s Buffet shut down, with no warning or explanation.

A few weeks later I ran into one of the cashiers while in a supermarket on Wilshire Boulevard, and I asked what had happened. It turned out that the owners of Mama’s Buffet had a family member who was using that address for a mail-order business. Since the Santa Monica business license was only for a restaurant, and not for a mail-order business, the City of Santa Monica took this business with over fifty employees — and a customer base who drove to it for miles around — and shut it down.

I’d always heard it called it the People’s Republic of Santa Monica. Now I knew how true that was.

As government continues to expand into every aspect of our lives, more and more businesses of every sort are going to run afoul of grasping politicians, looking to impose their tyrannies on us.

This sort of oppression may start with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas but it ends with you.

It’s time for everyone who cares about the right to make a living to understand who their allies — and their enemies — are.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Afterword: “Pulling Alongside Night — The Enabling Technology is Here” by J. Kent Hastings

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Afterword: “How Far Alongside Night?” by Samuel Edward Konkin III

J. Kent Hastings

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Afterword: “Pulling Alongside Night — The Enabling Technology is Here” by J. Kent Hastings

This afterword was written for the 1996 Pulpless.Com paperless edition, and appears in subsequent Pulpless.Com trade paperback and downloadable editions.

J. Kent Hastings is co-author with Brad Linaweaver of the alternate-history Prometheus-Award finalist novel, Anarquia. He’s also associate producer and film editor on my independent feature Lady Magdalene’s and actor and film editor on the indie feature Crustacean. His full bio is on his website,, where he writes about off-grid and sustainable technology.– JNS

J. Neil Schulman is a prophet.

Two weeks after his twenty-third birthday, on May 1, 1976, J. Neil Schulman finished the first draft of Alongside Night, a novel that accurately discerned the outline of 1996 reality. He finished the final draft in 1978, for publication on October 16, 1979.

Alongside Night describes things that weren’t around in the ’70s but arrived later, or are becoming commonplace now. “Citizens for a Free Society” could be the populist/libertarian source group for today’s Patriot movement. The “TacStrike” division of the novel’s Revolutionary Agorist Cadre could be recruited from today’s militias, revolutionaries, and mercenaries, while today’s cypherpunks could form the basis for the novel’s “IntelSec.”

In the future of Alongside Night as in our own 1996 — but not in the 1970’s when it was written — panhandlers and the homeless are omnipresent due to economic hardship, professional youth gangs roam the streets of New York freely while big-time drug and people smuggling are ubiquitous; videophones are hitting the consumer market and computers are in use everywhere.

Schulman’s “First Anarchist Bank and Trust Company,” a Swiss bank subsidiary, uses accounts denominated in gold, linked offshore — a dream of today’s cypherpunks. He predicts re-prohibition of gold, with TV actors warning “that just one little ounce of gold bullion can put you away in a federal penitentiary for up to twenty years.”

Transportation to one of Schulman’s “Agorist Undergrounds” shields against all transmissions to prevent discovery of location aboveground, including heartbeat detectors being put into use in 1996 by the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Mexican border. Weapons, cameras, recorders, transmitters, and radioactive materials are checked in transit.

Security at the A.U. uses non-lethal weapons. Guards disarm guests upon arrival, then return their guns on their way to the trading floor. One shop is called “The Gun Nut,” and “Lowell-Pierre Engineering” sells nukes. Rental per-square-foot calculates any risk of a government “G-Raid” against the costs of security measures.

Cadre General Jack Guerdon, also the builder of some A.U.s including “Aurora,” explains how the location of a large complex could be kept secret from the construction workers:

“They were recruited from construction sites all over the world, were transported here secretly, worked only inside, and never knew where they were. If you think security is tight now, you should have been here during construction; a mosquito couldn’t have gotten in or out.”

Thinking about it now, robots with telepresence may achieve the same security, with even less risk, since only Cadre equipment would be inside.

TransComm’s smuggling of contraband predicted marijuana traffic expanding into the sort of operation done in the 1980s by the cocaine cartels, small airports and all.

Aurora’s trading floor offers non-prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD sold in defiance of DEA and FDA regulations, but with voluntary warning labels.

Dialogue in Alongside Night decries smoking prohibition at the time of the story. In California today, you aren’t allowed to smoke in restaurants, workplaces, airports or other public buildings. The U.S. FDA classified nicotine a drug this year, so it’s just a formality to prohibit delivery systems (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) nationwide as well.

Classroom video intercoms exist in the novel, even before consumer VCRs were a hot item. One of Alongside Night‘s characters, Chin, uses a video capable laptop in a sequence written years before IBM introduced the first PC, and more years before anything you could call a laptop.

Consumer electronics? “Aurora’s library had a fair collection of books, videodiscs, and holosonic music cassettes” — years before DAT was introduced.

All trading and billing is done by computer with access controls, a projection made before most banks even had ATMs, much less telephone bill-paying.

Elliot chooses a pass phrase like today’s PGP requires, and the Cadre contract assures authorized disclosure only. Aurora’s hotel room keys are computerized in the novel, but it wasn’t like that at hotels in the 1970s. Also in Aurora, computer terminals are in each hotel room.

The electronic contract used by the Cadre in Alongside Night is imitated today by digital forms used millions of times daily on the World Wide Web, including Schulman’s own site

Schulman wrote the first chapters of the book in 1974, describing his fictional economist “Martin Vreeland,” winner of the Nobel prize for economics — two years before Milton Friedman actually won his in 1976. And while Schulman did fail to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union, his description of the almost casual fall of the United States government over the two-week timespan in his novel parallels the bloodless coup attempt against Gorbachev in 1992, which completed the fall of the Soviet Union.

Neil predicted Chinese Norinco handguns and rifles being imported into the United States: Elliot Vreeland carries a “.38 caliber Peking revolver.” Such imports were legalized after Alongside Night was written and, after becoming popular items, imports of Chinese firearms into the U.S. are now banned again.

The Cadre are armed, but not on an aggressive revenge mission against the feds, as a “drive-by” with a non-lethal, temporarily-blinding magnesium flash, used to evade a FBI sedan, demonstrates.

Foreigners with hard currency buy relatively cheap U.S. assets in Alongside Night, before Rockefeller Center or major portions of the entertainment industry were bought by Japanese conglomerates. Schulman predicts the “mall-ization” of America because of fear of crime on city streets, and police replaced with private patrols such as “Fifth Avenue Merchant Alliance Security (FAMAS).”

“Air Quebec” indicates Schulman’s prediction of Quebec secession, which seems likely soon after a fifty-fifty split in the last election to test the issue. The secession of Texas doesn’t seem as far-fetched these days as it did in 1976. Just think of the Montana legislators who introduced a bill to secede a couple of years ago.

Schulman’s novel is set during the final two weeks of a catastrophic “wheelbarrow” inflation. Confiscatory taxes have forced people out of aboveground jobs and into either working “off the books,” or unemployed on the dole. Gresham’s Law has Americans using blue “New Dollars”: “More than anything else, it resembled Monopoly money”; and fixed-value coins disappear so fast for their metallic value that vending-machine tokens fixed daily to the price of the “eurofranc” are just about the only real money in circulation.

The President complains about the U.S. being treated like a banana republic by the “European Common Market Treaty Organization, a combination of the European Common Market and a U.S.-less NATO,” the U.S. having been kicked out for no longer being able to afford keeping overseas troop commitments. The Chancellor of EUCOMTO informs the White House, “Mr. President, even bananas do not decay as quickly as the value of your currency these past few months.” In the 1970’s, the European Union was not yet negotiated and NATO was still almost entirely controlled by the United States.

In Alongside Night, political dissidents are arrested on secret warrants, and the FBI gulag they’re stuck in (codenamed “Utopia”) is blown up by the feds as a cover-up. Of course, nothing like that could ever happen in real life, right?

Schulman’s account of a Federal Renovation Zone rebuilding Times Square in N.Y. predicts today’s sweeping federalization of lands, opposed by the sagebrush rebellion.

Future conflict between militias and the feds seems inevitable today since both sides see the other as a fatal threat and neither side is backing down. An Oracle headline in Alongside Night: “FBI Chief Powers attributes last night’s firebombings of bureau offices to outlaw ‘Revolutionary Agorist Cadre.'” The recent FBI raids in Colorado and West Virginia against militia groups supposedly planning terrorism — not to mention Waco and Ruby Ridge — demonstrates that anti-federal sentiment isn’t laughed off as harmless anymore.

The FBI chief in the novel keeps copies of “confidential” enemies lists at home, long before Filegate. In the 1970’s when J. Neil Schulman wrote his novel, the general image of the FBI was Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., on The FBI. Today’s FBI is better characterized by the paranoia of The X-Files, where higher-ups are usually in complicity with dark forces.

The Emergency Broadcast System in Alongside Night extends even to telephones — using the phone system during the crackdown requires authorized beepers — while radio and TV programming simulates normality while the government collapses. Today’s FBI digital wiretap law will provide capability for millions of simultaneous wiretaps and the major broadcast networks have accepted official explanations uncritically of everything from who started the fire at Waco to the cause of the explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800.

In Alongside Night, we learn that a New York Times front-page story headlined “Vreeland Widow Assures Public Husband Died Naturally” is disinformation. Echoes of Vince Foster and the Arkancides?

An “Oracle” headline in Alongside Night predicts military dissent: “TEAMSTER PRESIDENT WARNS POSSIBILITY OF ARMED FORCES WILDCAT STRIKES IF PENTAGON DOES NOT MEET DEMANDS…” And when — due to a busted budget — an absence of government paychecks combines with the latest government scandal, a two-century-old superpower collapses like a house of cards.

Where did a prediction of revolution in the U.S. come from, if not the fevered dreams of a militant paranoid? Young Schulman, a student of Austrian economics, just “followed the money,” determining who would earn it and who would control it.

During the 1970s, hippies dropped out and moved to communes, while tax and sagebrush rebels fought to keep the government out of their pockets and off their lands. California’s Proposition 13 and the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan were the results of the establishment co-opting anti-government positions.

Despite this, the current political situation in the U.S. is more volatile than ever. Job security doesn’t exist for anybody, so leftists are forming new parties out of disgust with the Democrats, while right-wingers who believe Republicans indistinguishable join militias.

But perhaps the most revolutionary development is the Internet and the World Wide Web, which threaten government currency controls, tax collection, and media restrictions.

Alongside Night predicted revolutionary cadres organizing to resist and replace the State with an “agorist” society. Agorism, according to Samuel Edward Konkin III, who coined the term, is the integration of both libertarian theory and counter-economic practice, neither inactive “library libertarians” prattling on with their idle complaints, nor simple criminals preying on society.

Agorists insist on both civil and economic liberties for all individuals, encourage efficient restitution for contract and rights violations, yet oppose a monopoly of coercion from even a limited “minarchist” State.

From Konkin’s New Libertarian Manifesto:

“Coercion is immoral, inefficient and unnecessary for human life and fulfilment.” This is not pacifism because defensive violence is not coercion. Coercion is the initiation of violence or its threat. You can’t morally start a fight, but you can finish one. … “When the State unleashes its final wave of supression–and is successfully resisted–this is the definition of Revolution.”

Most citizens go along with the government, whether “right or wrong,” to preserve order, defend freedom, and more recently to assist the poor and protect the environment. When it becomes obvious that the government is hostile to these purposes, many of its subjects will no longer feel guilty about joining the radical opposition.

A rich, slave-owning, dead European white male cracker named Thomas Jefferson (sorry, he’s not “the Sage of Monticello” anymore), wrote similar things about King George III in the Declaration of Independence.

I’m sure T.J.’s writings would be found in Aurora’s library, along with the following titles, most of which are specified in Alongside Night. Productive workers will “withdraw their sanction,” according to Ayn Rand’s 1957 magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, and this will lead to “the collapse of the Looter’s State.” Rand also described an underground “Galt’s Gulch” of black market revolutionaries in her classic novel. Murray Rothbard hinted at stateless defense in Man, Economy, and State (1962). Robert Heinlein portrayed a stateless legal system and revolution in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1966). Rothbard describes stateless defense services fully in Power and Market (1970), echoing Gustavus De Molinari’s 1849 essay “The Production of Security.”

Molinari was an economist in the original French laissez-faire school of Frederick Bastiat. Molinari concluded that justice and defense were goods like any other, best provided in a competitive market rather than political monopoly. Konkin’s New Libertarian Manifesto (published in 1980, based on a talk given in February 1974 which influenced Alongside Night) inspired the creation of The Agorist Institute, “symbolically founded on the last day of 1984,” now with a web site at

That’s all fine for free-market supporters, but wouldn’t “progressive” groups try to impose their own one-party dictatorships? What’s in it for the masses?

Despite their famous friendship with Newt Gingrich, Alvin and Heidi Toffler are active in labor and ecology circles. They point out that telecommuting is 29 times more efficient than physical commuting in private cars. If 12% telecommuted, the 75 million barrels of gasoline saved would completely eliminate the need for foreign oil and future Gulf Wars. Real estate now used for office space could be used for local housing. The Tofflers believe traditional factors of production such as land, labor, and capital are being dwarfed by the growing importance of information. Information is inexhaustible, it can be shared but still kept.

Widely copied software brings more user suggestions and faster improvements. It puts scarcity economics on its ear. Expensive bulky production methods are being “ephemeralized” (to use a term coined by Bucky Fuller), replaced by flexible cheap computers to satisfy local consumer tastes. More people can afford access to computer resources, with less damage to the environment.

Telecommuting is safer than driving, which currently kills a Vietnam War’s worth of fatalities each year, without requiring “strategic” resources to fight over. Silicon comes from sand, which is plentiful. Because programs like PGP protect users from both evil hackers and a fascist global police state, traditional leftists embrace the new technology, and even build their own web sites.

Karl Marx wrote of objective and subjective conditions being necessary for Revolution. “Objective” in this case means the physical ability to overthrow the current regime. “Subjective” means the desire and mass support to do it.

The 1960s arguably provided the subjective conditions: an unpopular war, a vicious police crackdown on agitators, and hundreds of thousands of protesters marching in the streets. But these subjective conditions weren’t perfect. The economy was still robust, not yet weighed down with the debts racked up in the 1970’s by the Wars On Poverty and Vietnam, and no stagflation and oil crisis yet. The objective conditions were bad. Individuals and small groups could not do much mischief without being overwhelmed by Chicago police or National Guard troops thrown against them.

Today, a single troublemaker can afford to sign up for Internet service under a pseudonym and use anonymous remailers to post messages in widely read “newsgroup” conferences, distributed to more than 135 countries without identification.

The Rulers and the Court Opinion Makers won’t let their ill-gotten monopolies collapse without a fight. Every day we hear about the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse: Terrorists, Pedophiles, Money-Launderers, and Drug Smugglers. Defenders of privacy and free speech on the Internet get smeared for “fighting law enforcement” just like the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre in Alongside Night.

Restrictions on the Internet are likely to be passed for “crime and security” reasons and to hold users “accountable.” Civil libertarians complain that such pornographically-explicit words as “breast” are being filtered by online services fearing prosecution, with the “unintended consequence” of forcing breast cancer survivors to choose euphemisms like “tit”.

Critics of data censorship say these restrictions are like trying to stop the wind from crossing a border. For example, when France (in anti-laissez-faire fashion) blocked some newsgroups, an ISP in the United States,, made them available to French users via the World Wide Web.

Next there’s the problem of how to make a living underground. Schulman watched Anthony L. Hargis found a “bank that isn’t a bank” in 1975, with “transfer orders” instead of checks, denominated in mass units of gold. ALH&Co. survives to this day, despite IRS inspections, hassles with the Post Office and local authorities, and ever-tighter banking restrictions against “money-laundering.”

Hargis explicitly forbids (by voluntary contract) his account holders from selling drugs, which suggests how proprietary communities can choose to be drug-free within a future agorist society. Hargis is sincere in this restriction, not just playing clean to fool the authorities. Unfortunately, Hargis is not enthusiastic about encryption or the Internet. “Honest Citizens have nothing to hide.”

Rarely does the weed of government research bear anything but the bitter fruits of mass destruction, disinformation, and bureaucratic disruption of innocent people’s lives. Exceptions may include public-key cryptography, spread-spectrum radio and the Internet Protocol.

Programmers such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)’s Philip R. Zimmermann are using the government sponsored RSA algorithm to thwart the efforts of every State’s security agent. In Myanmar (formerly Burma), where PGP is used by rebels fighting dictatorship, the mere possession of a network-capable computer will bring a lengthy prison sentence.

In 1995, David Chaum announced the availability of untraceable digital cash (“Ecash”), denominated in U.S. Dollars (Federal Reserve Units, or “frauds” as Hargis would call them) from Mark Twain Bank in St. Louis, MO.

Ecash can be withdrawn, deposited, and spent without fee anywhere on the Internet. The only charge is when exchanging Ecash for a particular currency. Chaum lives in Amsterdam, the location of the “secret annex” in The Diary of Anne Frank.

During World War II, the Nazis seized the government records in Amsterdam before partisans could burn them, and used them to track down and kill Jews, including members of Chaum’s own family. Perhaps this explains his desire for computer privacy.

In 1985, David Chaum described his invention in an article as “Security Without Identification: Transaction Systems To Make ‘Big Brother’ Obsolete.” Ecash protects privacy yet thwarts deadbeat counterfeiters. Similarly, software filters against “spam” and other unwanted messages obviate a State crackdown against anonymity.

Chaum’s Digicash company now serves a number of banks in different countries, and provides the “electronic wallet” software for use by their account holders. With Ecash, items may be purchased without identifying the buyer, even if the banks and merchants exchange information, but the seller may be disclosed if the buyer wishes to publicly dispute a purchase. As it exists, privacy is compromised because of bank disclosure requirements, but it isn’t hard to imagine underground banks with unofficial ecash (as opposed to proprietary Ecash), using their own currency or gold.

Respecting your right to be secure in the privacy of your own home would let you advertise, send catalogs, take orders, send processed data or tele-operate machinery (in other words, do your work), then send invoices, collect ecash payments, and deposit your unreported earnings scot-free in offshore accounts. Using ecash and encrypted remailers, there would be no way for tax collectors to tell if you made $100 last year or $100,000,000.

If measures such as mandatory internal passports and routine checkpoints can’t restrict who can work or determine accurate income taxes due, they’ll have to employ ubiquitous surveillance — a totalitarian system will be the only way to protect the privileges of the tax eaters. Although necessary for the future survival of the State, a crackdown will provoke resistance. Private communications bypass official propaganda, as the Committees of Correspondence did during the American Revolution.

They’ll be forced to bug your house. Don’t worry, the automatic image-processing (exists today!) 24-hour cameras will be labeled “for your protection.” Worse than Orwell’s 1984, they won’t need humans to look through them, they’ll identify everyone and trace their movements with blessed convenience.

Couldn’t they just tap the phones? Sure, but with encrypted data to and from an Internet Service Provider they wouldn’t get much. Couldn’t they require back-door “escrowed” keys and outlaw strong encryption? Not good enough, they need constant monitoring (not just with a court order) to collect taxes.

Scofflaws might send innocent looking images and sound files with steganographically hidden data using methods designed to thwart detection and disruption. In 1996, for real, any data collected about you can be shared with the FBI, U.S. Customs, DEA, IRS, Postal inspectors, and the Secret Service because the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), located down the street from the CIA in Vienna, Virginia pools the data. I guess anything goes to stop crime and protect the children, right?

In Alongside Night, temporary relays and infrared modulation of engine heat disguises communication signals. With enhancement of spread-spectrum radios recently introduced, a channel wouldn’t be defined by a single radio frequency, but by a “spreading code” of frequency hops with staggered dwell times, so that jammers and eavesdroppers won’t be able to predict where, and for how long, the carrier will go next.

A hybrid with the direct sequence technique would mix each bit of the message with several pseudo-random “chip” bits, to spread the signal at each hop. A transmitted reference in one band, of purely random thermal noise in a resistor for example, can be compared to the reference mixed with a message in another, so that the authorized receiver correlates the two to recover the message.

Low-powered microwave, lasers, unreported underground cables, antennas disguised as flag poles and many other methods would insure that the email got through during a blackout.

Today, when “rightsizing” has made a temporary placement firm the largest employer in the U.S., and the President’s own budget projects a federal tax rate of 84%, not including state, county, city and other local taxes, we can count on greater numbers swelling the ranks of radical movements in the face of a hostile establishment.

“Dr. Merce Rampart,” the woman leading Schulman’s Cadre, offers advice to dislocated personnel in the “New Dawn” of a proprietary anarchist revolution:

“With the exception of those government workers who perform no marketable service–tax collectors, regulators, and so on–we are urging them to declare their agencies independent from the government, and to organize themselves into free workers’ syndicates. Shares of stock could be issued to employees and pensioners by whatever method seems fair, and the resultant joint-stock companies could then hire professional managers to place the operation on a profitable footing. I can envision this for postal workers, municipal services, libraries, universities, and public schools, et cetera. As for those civil servants whose jobs are unmarketable, I suggest that most have skills in accounting, administration, computers, law, and so forth, that readily could be adapted to market demand. That’s the idea. It’s now up to those with the necessary interests to use it or come up with something better.”

In the 1980’s, after Alongside Night was published, this idea became popular among libertarian-leaning conservatives. It’s called privatization.

Alongside Night shows us a world where such ideas aren’t merely a smokescreen for greater efficiency in the service of an ever more encompassing State.


Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

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Afterword: “How Far Alongside Night?” by Samuel Edward Konkin III

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter XXVII

Samuel Edward Konkin III

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Afterword: “How Far Alongside Night?” by Samuel Edward Konkin III

This afterword first appeared in the 1987 Avon paperback edition. — JNS, November, 1996

Samuel Edward Konkin III is the Father of Agorism, the economic philosophy that inspired the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre in Alongside Night. As editor of the longest-lasting “purist” libertarian magazine, New Libertarian, and executive director of the new countereconomic think tank, The Agorist Institute, Konkin is attempting in real life what Merce Rampart has accomplished, so far, only in my imagination. — JNS

Two thousand dollars for a taxi ride across Manhattan? Underground shopping centers where the stores accept payment only in gold? The Almighty Dollar so worthless that even the United States Army won’t take it anymore?

Surely this sort of paranoid fantasy went out with the seventies?

Certainly, in the eighties of Reaganomics, low inflation, and tax “reform,” we don’t have to worry about this economic scenario anymore.

Or do we?

To answer that question, we need a quick look at economic history.

In 1910, an economist named Ludwig von Mises had his doctoral thesis published in his native Austro-Hungarian Empire. It eventually appeared in English under the title The Theory of Money and Credit.

On the face of it, this does not sound like the most important event of the twentieth century, but it may very well be to the science of economics what the publication of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was to the science of physics.

Mises set forth principles that explained the Roaring Twenties and — two decades before Black Thursday — the inevitability of the following economic collapse that would lead to the Great Depression. Mises also provided the only set of economic principles that could explain the “stagflation” of the late 1970s. Other economic theories stated that this mixture of inflation and recession could not exist and floundered when it did.

Mises was no Nostradamus. Financial analysts and believing entrepreneurs followed his “Austrian” theory in the teeth of Friedman and Keynes concerning that “barbarous yellow metal” as gold was to be legalized. They saw the price per ounce skyrocket to $800, settle down to $300, and begin a steady upward climb. His prophecy proved to be a valid scientific prediction and . . . on the money. When a set of general principles is found, over the long term, to be able to make valid predictions in a certain field of knowledge, that field has qualified as a science.

In a nutshell, Mises’s theory ran that if government inflated the money supply, it would generate a boom. Since supply follows demand, investments are made to provide luxury goods and services for the boom time. But the inflationary money is only “temporarily real.” Price levels go up everywhere, people find they can’t buy as much as they thought they could? cut back on their consumption, and the demand drops, usually below previous levels, because of squandered real goods. Luxury goods sit on store shelves, which causes businesses to cut back. Capital is wasted, workers are in the wrong jobs. Luxury goods are sold off below cost in going-out-of-business sales, and workers are laid off.

This period of poor business and high unemployment is called a depression.

Injecting money into the economy is like injecting heroin into the body. A “high” results, but it’s temporary, and a bigger dose is needed for the next “high.” Eventually, this leads to overdose. If the government doesn’t go cold turkey and leave the money supply alone, the people come to expect a total inflationary wipeout, dumping their money as fast as they get it (or faster). Nobody wants it. Everyone knows it’s not real. Inflation has gone runaway, and this is known as hyperinflation or crack-up boom.

What an economy looks like in the last stages of the overdose is portrayed in Alongside Night.

Historically, this has happened repeatedly: in the American Revolutionary War, in the French Revolution, in the U.S. Civil War, in Germany in 1923, in China in 1949, in Brazil in 1964, and so on. Currency collapses either started revolutions or pushed them over the top. That’s as far as Mises’s economic predictions went.

In the late 1960s, Mises’s economics spread through the radical movements. Radical libertarians, having outright rejected or abandoned Marx as demonstrably false, not only latched onto Mises but took notice of an effect that conservative “Austrians” feared and spoke of only in hushed tones: the economic theory predicted, more or less accidentally, the collapse of an economy and hence political revolution.

But what a place for a radical to start. The government, by its own stupidity, was going to bring about a revolution. In the early 1970s, it certainly looked like it. The radical libertarians stood on the shoulders of the giant Ludwig von Mises. And in 1972, a young student radical named J. Neil Schulman clambered up there with the rest of us.

In 1973, the United States of America, through the Federal Reserve Board, appeared to have lost control of inflation. The libertarian Right was turning to survivalism and heading for the hills–these are the “brownies” of Alongside Night. We of the libertarian Left looked forward to the insurrection following economic collapse as a rare opportunity. The socialists had smoked pipe dreams of American proletariat arising for a century; now they were down to ashes. The libertarian free-market Left saw Mises’s infallible indicators predicting the stripping of everyone, including the middle class, of their wealth: wiping out their bank accounts, annihilating small businesses and workers’ wages. Now this is what would finally bring comfortable, complacent Americans into the streets. But when?

In 1973, Ludwig von Mises died. Austrians, neo-Austrians, Left and Right Austrians outbid each other with predictions of the righteous monetary thunderbolt of the market at last bringing justice to the statists (and profits galore for those who went “long” on gold and silver). No one but Mises was sufficiently respected to judge, and he was gone. The cautious Austrians claimed that predicting the timing of real-world events was one of those things Man Was Not Meant To Know. But the rest of us remembered Mises’s success and plunged ahead.

Judging from events such as Nixon’s imposition of wage and price controls (a truly fascist concept), I foresaw a wave of repression as early as 1975 as inflation went runaway.

Neil was relatively cautious and decided to play it safe, setting his portrayal of the economic collapse of America at least several decades away.

Alongside Night is terribly accurate. Whenever the American crack-up boom happens, few libertarians would disagree with his outline of the scenarios. But Neil went one step farther than most of the libertarians of the time. He integrated the new science of countereconomics and the economic philosophy of Agorism, which I had only begun to develop in 1974.

Agorism is the view that, regardless of whether or not it is sanctioned by the state, free trade conducted morally is still moral. Crack dealers, midwives, porn pushers, truckers using CB to outrace Smokey, coyotes, and tax evaders are to be regarded as truly free-market businesspersons and moralists; law- and regulation-abiding types are seen as wimps; and tax-subsidized, loan-guaranteed corporate heads are seen as a bunch of fascists.

Agorism is the only philosophy that explains why, in an East German alley, a hooker and a bible smuggler ducking into the same doorway to avoid the police not only won’t turn each other in but are also both acting right and proper.

Sure, if it ever happens, Alongside Night is right. In other words, it is “hard” science fiction by virtue of its use of a theoretical science to predict real-world events. But how likely is it, when we live in (what appear to be) noninflationary times?

In 1975, the legalization of gold acted as a safety valve on the economy. And with the Vietnam War over, the government’s pressure for spending money it didn’t have (additional taxation through inflation) was gone, at least temporarily. The government of the United States of America took some of its medicine and we headed into a depression instead of hyperinflation.

In the early Reagan years, the inflation continued — but completely anticipated. It even became lower than anticipated because of bankruptcies, liquidation sales, and unemployment. Unions are still collapsing as an aftershock but, brag the Reaganites, at least we brought down inflation.

The mechanics of what happened are still fairly complex and controversial even among Austrian economists, but it is clear that the Reagan administration “bit the bullet” by lowering the rate of inflation and accepting the depression. The money supply was fine-tuned so that the fall in prices resulting from the depression was matched by the continued increase in the money supply: that is, canceling out most of the price increase usually resulting from inflation.

But the quick fix has run its course. The American dollar edges downward in world currency markets and drags along foreign banks and currencies that accept American inflation as an export — so far. Gold continues relentlessly upward in price long term. And still the federal budgets and their deficits, now past two trillion, grow higher and higher.

The fundamental principles of Austrian economics remain in place. And what they predict is still valid. Either the United States will give up monetization of its debt and live humbly with what it can extract from taxation alone, or the scenario of Alongside Night will come to pass.

When the next clamor for massive government spending arises, whether for a Greater Society or Star Wars defenses, the money will have to roll from the presses, the consumers will be caught, the inflation will be anticipated ever higher, and the hyperinflation scenario will be in place again. But with one difference: the last inflation spree left a permanent part of the economy underground, not just pimps and pushers but straight businessmen and their workers who left the “aboveground” economy for the countereconomy. When the feds inflate, they confiscate from a smaller base, and as they inflate, they push more and more entrepreneurs Agorist-ward — and have less and less tax base and fewer and fewer victims.

With fewer people accepting the same amount of money, it buys less. That is, it inflates — even without the government doing it The people going countereconomic take the decision out of the hands of the state and force a crack-up. But this time it’s only the statists themselves upon whom the consequences are visited. And that is the scenario of that profoundly moral novel of justice finally served, Alongside Night.

When? You decide, dear reader; but you are now well armed to see the signs and know what actions to take. Thanks to Ludwig von Mises, a small band of rational revolutionary students, and J. Neil Schulman, artist.


Next in Alongside Night is Afterword: “Pulling Alongside Night — The Enabling Technology is Here” by J. Kent Hastings.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

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The Nobeus News Report — April 16, 2010

Wrap-up of news and opinion from your not-so-humble correspondent.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday!

I’m now available in all the Heinz varieties. I’m 57 today.

No, this isn’t an applause sign going on. Don’t feel you have to start wishing me a happy birthday. Hey, I’m not dead yet, my senses still pretty much work, I’m not missing limbs or in a wheelchair, I can still think and write, and my memory doesn’t suck yet. My Mom’s still with me and my daughter just wants me to finish reading the first Harry Potter book she gave me last year so I can start on the second she gave me for this birthday. That’s making me damned happy as it is.

The most important thing about this birthday is that I reach it with exactly the same sense of purpose and enthusiasm about my future as I had for my 18th and 21st birthdays. Maybe more, because I’ve developed new skill sets I didn’t have when I was younger.

If I went back in time and told my younger self that later in life I could look back on having written a dozen books — with praise for them from some of my favorite authors and other people I respect — and that I’d write for The Twilight Zone, and that I’d write, produce, direct, act in, and write songs for a movie starring one of the original Bridge Crew from Star Trek, well, assuming I didn’t think I was a damned liar, my younger self would have thought this an unbelievably fantastic future. So it’s that wet-behind-the-ears former me who has to be wishing me the best on a birthday in which I can look back at dreams fulfilled … and to look forward to making more of them come true.


Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

Brad Linaweaver and I have been analyzing and discussing Beck for months. I only watch Beck on his Fox News show; Brad also checks him out on talk radio.

Brad’s position is that Beck is all over the map, changing his positions daily, and he’s not really for anything — he’s only against Obama and the Democrats, and takes every possible opposition position at one time or another. I think that’s a plausible theory but I’m not yet convinced.

Brad’s harshest judgment on Beck is that he doesn’t give the devil his due. Today President Obama gave a speech in which he argued what should be a Glenn Beck position — that future American space launches need to come from the private sector. But did Glenn Beck have a kind word on today’s Fox News show for the President getting a big one right? No, sir.

Brad’s point is well-taken.

Beck is definitely a moving target for anyone trying to get a handle on him. Brad is correct that Beck is inconsistent. Beck will even admit this, though he spins this as his own learning curve.

But here’s where I think my bottom line comes down.

There are definitely some libertarians in Beck’s earbud. But there are also Palinistas, Neocons, Tea Partyers, and lots of people who just can’t stand Obama.

If I view Glenn Beck not as a pundit but an entertainer I see him as a spokesman for things I believe in. He puts people on his show who express libertarian ideas you won’t get elsewhere on a show with his high ratings. Beck asks questions I want asked. There is some actual investigative journalism that breaks on the Glenn Beck Show — and this has been a rarity for quite some time.

But, Mr. Beck, being against something isn’t enough, and what you’re for can’t be a moving target. You have to know your basic principles and stand by them through thick or thin.

I think we can both agree on the principles of the Declaration of Independence as a rock solid starting part.

(Updated 06092010)


A Valued Critic: Steve Reed

Steve Reed

Steve Reed is a California libertarian I’ve known for some time, mostly through our both attending libertarian functions. He attended the screening of Lady Magdalene’s at the 2008 Cinema City International Film Festival, writing one of the best reviews of my movie. He posted it on IMDb, where it counters a campaign of disinformation about my not-yet-widely-seen indie film.

Both on Facebook, and writing comments here, Steve is more than happy to call me out when he thinks I’m being an asshole. Good for him! Not that I agree with a lot of Steve’s analysis of what’s wrong with what I write — why would I? — but Steve always provides an honest and intelligent analysis. He leaves no doubt where he stands.

One of Steve’s persistent criticisms has been that I reprint my books and other materials here. Steve wishes I spent more of my days writing new and original material.

Okay, Steve, here you go. You won one!

When I interviewed Robert Heinlein back in 1973, Heinlein told me he made a point of seeking out opinions he disagreed with, because “You can’t learn from a man who agrees with you.” In today’s highly politicized, highly dogmatic, highly binary atmosphere, much of discussion today comes down to little more than “Hurray for my team!”

I’m thinking of finding someone to make giant foam hands partisan fans can wave at political rallies — giant foam hands for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc. You think anyone would get the point?

Steve Reed doesn’t come at me with a giant foam hand, and since I know he reads this column, let me say directly to him:

Steve, here’s one opinionated son of a bitch who appreciates that.

Update: February 19, 2012

A short while ago I received a sad phone call from Tim Reed that his brother Steve Reed, a libertarian, Karl Hess Club Speaker and frequent KHC attendee, and a friend of mine, passed away in his sleep on February 4th, apparently due to complications of Diabetes.

Tim will be attending tomorrow (Monday’s) Karl Hess Club meeting to say some words memorializing Steve.

Steve wrote frequently for IMDb and here are his reviews, beginning with a review of Lady Magdalene’s.



The Final Frontier

Eugene Wesley Roddenbery in 1976

President Obama almost got it right today in his speech to NASA. He talked about how commercial byproducts of technology and techniques developed by NASA for the space program have had unintended benefits here on earth — everything from medical monitoring equipment to microminiaturization of electronics.

He also talked about the inspiration factor Americans need to keep looking for new frontiers.

But what the President didn’t state clearly enough for my taste is that it’s not just about manned exploration of space. That’s just phase one, like the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The real point to manned space exploration is making off-world destinations our new homes and industrial parks — a real frontier.

I’m not one who believes in limits to growth, overpopulation, despoiling the earth, or peak oil. Most of my optimism comes from the hard scientific evidence that tells us there is untold living space — unlimited material and energy resources — just waiting for us as soon as we figure out economic ways of regularly breaking free from the earth’s gravity well.

For all of his conventional politics, Gene Roddenberry got this dead right.

Other planets, other solar systems — maybe even other galaxies — are the future home of the human race.

I was 12 when I first saw my first episode of Star Trek. I’d already learned this lesson from reading Heinlein, Clarke, and Bradbury.

Gene Roddenberry also read them. He brought their vision to network television and built an immense fan base that has never let this vision die.

This made it an extra-special privilege for me when I got to work with one of Gene Roddenberry’s spacefarers — Nichelle Nichols — who went from the bridge of the fictional USS Enterprise NCC-1701 to the real-life NASA, where she recruited minority and female astronauts, mission specialists, and even a future head of NASA.


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Alongside Night — Chapter XXVII

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter XXVI

1979 Crown Publishers Alongside Night Cover

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 27

The President of the United States ordered all political prisoners released immediately.

At eight thirty the morning of Friday, March 2, Elliot Vreeland, his father, and Lorimer stood at a plate-glass observation window at Metropolis Airport, New York, watching a domestic-route jetliner taxiing into its berth.

The President’s order had been delayed three days, awaiting the resumption of traffic routing by former government personnel who had formed the North American Air Controllers Syndicate.

A few minutes later, passengers began deplaning through a portable tunnel. Among the passengers were Cathryn and Denise Vreeland.

Son and father saw mother and sister at about the same time they saw them also, and the two parties began rushing toward each other, waving madly.

Hugging. Kissing. More hugging.

“Are you all right? Did they hurt you?”

“We’re fine, just fine.”

Everybody was just fine.

Elliot introduced Lorimer to his mother and sister. He had a feeling that Lorimer and Denise would get along splendidly.

The five of them began walking through the long, fluorescent tunnel to the parking lot, exchanging inforrnation and stories.

“No, they didn’t hurt us at all,” Mrs. Vreeland explained. “We were given VIP treatment from the moment the FBI arrested us . . .”

“It was so horrible when we heard about what happened Tuesday,” Denise said. “We’d all gotten very close, even just being together a few days. I got a chance to know your friend Phillip, and there was this one girl my own age, Barbara . . .”

“I had a pretty bad time of it right after the press conference,” Lorimer told Mrs. vreeland in answer to her question. “Dr. Taylor put me on sedatives until Wednesday night . . .”

The family emerged from the passenger terminal and walked to Dr. Vreeland’s rented car.

“. . . have engaged me as a liaison between the Cadre and EUCOMTO,” Dr. Vreeland said, as they drove back to Manhattan. “EUCOMTO announced recognition of the Cadre as the ‘legitimate government of the United States,’ and Dr. Rampart refused the status. We’d set it up in advance, of course, as a publicity device . . .”

“Lor and I signed a lease on our apartment until school is out,” Elliot told his mother. “Dr. Fischer wants Lor to get her bachelor’s before she signs on with IntellSec, and if there’s a college that’s put a pre-law program back together by September, then I . . .”

“. . . UPI outbid the other news services for my sketches of the prison,” Cathryn Vreeland said.

“. . . the police and firefighters unions ordered their members to remain on the job after the arson at Rockefeller Center,” Dr. Vreeland explained. “NoState Insurance is working out the retainer so it can start offering its general protection policies . . .”

They drove past Pennsylvania Station.

On a tall flagpole, two banners flew at half staff, commemorating the dead of Utopia. Elliot pointed them out as they passed.

Each had a revolutionary tradition. Throughout their histories, both had been misunderstood, misrepresented and betrayed.

The black flag was raised again this day.

Once more flew the revolutionary “Dont Tread on Me” flag.

A yellow taxi passed Dr. Vreeland, the tzigane honking his horn and swearing.

Things were looking up for a change.

On Monday, Elliot turned in his thousand words to Mr. Harper, detailing why the capitalist system had, after all, been self-destructing.

Lorimer turned in two thousand words in rebuttal.



Next in Alongside Night is Afterword: “How Far Alongside Night?” by Samuel Edward Konkin III.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

Bookmark and Share

Alongside Night — Chapter XXVI

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter XXV

1979 Crown Publishers Alongside Night Cover

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 26

As soon as Dr. Merce Rampart and Dr. Martin Vreeland, closely followed by Jack Guerdon and Elliot, entered the school cafeteria — now jammed to capacity with media representatives — the photo strobes began flashing rapidly. The four took seats at a front table facing the reporters, television cameras, and hot lights. Neither the hot lights nor photo strobes were technologically necessary for good color reproduction; they were present just so everyone would know the event was important. Considerable rumbling arose as they entered — Dr. Vreeland’s face was as well known as Dr. Rampart’s was not — and Merce Rampart began waiting for strobes and noise to die down, so she could begin.

Mr. Harper guided Lorimer to a seat in the rear, an empty seat in front of it so she could see well. After a brief discussion with Jack Guerdon, Merce Rampart had suggested Lorimer keep a low profile in case she wished to apply for Cadre status.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” Dr. Rampart started, her voice echoing widely. “Welcome to the premier news conference of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre. I am chairwoman of the Cadre Board of Directors, Merce Rampart.”

More rumbling and photo-flashing began as widely held opinions about Merce Rampart’s identity were shattered.

“If I may present those seated with me,” she continued over the din, “on my right is General Jack Guerdon, commander of our guerrilla forces . . . and I was able to see that you recognized a man we thought was no longer with us, on my left the esteemed Nobel laureate in economics, Dr. Martin Vreeland, with his son Elliot.”

There was heavy applause.

“If you don’t mind,” she continued, “I’ll pass on making a statement pertaining to our goals and ideas, referring you to the folios handed out earlier. After statements from General Guerdon, Dr. Vreeland, and Elliot, I’ll open up the conference to questions. General?”

Guerdon cleared his throat. “I’ll start with our intelligence on the military situation in the nation. You already know the extent of the military strikes that have been occurring since reveille this morning. What you may not know — since there has been no official confirmation of the rumors — is that simultaneous to these strikes, officers at about 20 percent of military installations — almost half at Marine bases — began immediate executions of strikers.”

It was almost a minute before it was quiet enough for Guerdon to continue.

“Reports have it,” he went on, “that 68 percent of officers pressing such executions have themselves been assassinated, the remainder successfully fleeing. Strikers are in present control of about a fifth of military communications, ground and air transport, naval vessels, ammunition dumps, and fuel depots, another two fifths being sabotaged. The computer networks of the Tactical Air Command are hopelessly fouled. The Strategic Air Command seems unique in that its personnel have refused to leave the government without nuclear retaliatory capability.

“Sympathy strikes paralyze the National Guards in thirty-three states. Few reservists have successfully been called up. And the most remarkable thing about all this revolutionary activity,” said Guerdon, “is that we’ve had nothing to do with it.”

There was considerable mixed reaction — noise, angry shouts, and laughter — from the press.

“Now,” Guerdon continued. “Our own operations and plans. First. We claim credit for the release of communications facilities last night, liberating them from statist control. Second. Cadre forces are available to communities and businesses needing help against looting and vandalism. Third. The Revolutionary Agorist Cadre became a nuclear power today, having expended four one-hundred-kiloton devices.”

Audible shock waves coursed throughout the hall.

“Only one,” Guerdon continued loudly, “was detonated, however — and that was in the Pacific, harmlessly, so that it could be recorded that we have nuclear capability. The other three devices were mere shells, without plutonium, planted at remote military sites within the U.S.S.R., China, and EUCOMTO, where civilian populations would have had time to protect themselves. We provided detailed directions on these devices’ locations to those powers’ security agencies, and presumably they have found them by now.

“We will not, of course, reveal how the devices were planted. But I think the point is clear. I am not expecting any foreign military intervention into American affairs.”

Guerdon paused to let the full impact sink in, then went on. “Domestically, we are recruiting only a small standing army — fifty-five thousand total — the first ten thousand being Cadre already called up. Forty-five thousand enlisted personnel — the cream from all services — will be hired into our three Cadre branches. Our forces will, of course, engage only in defensive actions in favor of our clients and their property. Anyone with complaints against us need only file an action with the arbiters we are submitted to.

“Most importantly, we will offer a quarter-year salary — up front, in gold — to any serviceman or woman who signs with us as a reservist, then goes home. This policy will solve half a dozen problems at once, not the least of which is need for quick injection of noninflationary capital into the economy.”

Guerdon nodded to the chairwoman that he was finished.

“Thank you, General,” she said. “Dr. Vreeland?”

Dr. Vreeland gazed out into the audience. “Most of you,” he began, “have no doubt been wondering why I am sitting here if I am dead.” He waited out the laughter. “My first duty is to explain to you that my death charade was part of a cover story I planted hoping to arrange an escape out of the country for my family.

“I had a report that the Vreeland name was on the FBI list of persons to be secretly arrested. It was my intention to avoid those arrests.” Dr. Vreeland took a breath. “My plan did not work. My wife and daughter were imprisoned in the deathtrap raided this morning, by luck or divinity taken out just before the extermination. But I still do not know where they are . . . or even if they are still alive . . . only that they have not been returned to me. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to the motives of their kidnappers.

“Let me close by saying that at the time of the arrests, neither myself nor any member of my family considered ourselves subversive. I would say, at this juncture, that I would now embrace that term heartily.”

After shattering applause had died out, Dr. Rampart turned to Elliot.

Elliot started to speak, found his throat dry, and sipped a glass of water. “Uh — there’s not much I can add to that,” he finally got out. “You’ve all seen the tapes of what happened in Cheshire. I was there. I lost my best friend there, a student from this school.” He paused to swallow. “His last act was handing out three infants, the only prisoners who survived. All I can say is, it’s up to you the sort of world they have when they grow up. If this is a revolution, then let’s not fuck it all up this time.” He paused a moment. “Uh — I guess that’s all.”

“Thank you, Elliot,” Dr. Rampart said. “I’ll open the floor to questions at this time.” She recognized Frieda Sandwell, who identified herself as representing ABC Television.

“Dr. Rampart, inasmuch as you seem at this moment to have won your revolution, would you tell us what your Cadre intends doing with millions of civil servants?”

“We don’t intend ‘doing’ anything with or to them,” she replied. “Though I regard government workers as being among the worst victims of statism — forced by destruction of market opportunities into sterile bureaucracies — the Cadre have limited resources and cannot restore overnight an economy it took the government a century to destroy. Nonetheless, we can suggest an approach by which government workers can solve their own unemployment problems.”

Sarcastically, Freida Sandwell asked, “Would you enlighten us?”

“Surely,” Dr. Rampart answered, taking the question at face value. “With the exception of those government workers who perform no marketable service — tax collectors, regulators, and so on — we are urging them to declare their agencies independent from the government, and to organize themselves into free workers’ syndicates. Shares of stock could be issued to employees and pensioners by whatever method seems fair, and the resultant joint-stock companies could then hire professional managers to place the operation on a profitable footing. I can envision this for postal workers, municipal services, libraries, universities, and public schools, et cetera. As for those civil servants whose jobs are unmarketable, I suggest that most have skills in accounting, administration, computers, law, and so forth, that readily could be adapted to market demand. There’s the idea. It’s now up to those with the necessary interests to use it or come up with something better.”

Dr. Rampart recognized Carey Sanford of Liberation. “Is the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre a friend or foe of the corporate capitalists?”

“A foe. Agorist theory recognizes that most of the evils attributed to capitalism were true of it — but caused by its historic role of private industry working hand in hand with governments. An extreme form of this is fascism.”

“But isn’t the Cadre itself a corporation?”

“Oh, my, no. We are a joint-stock company with all profits automatically reinvested to maximize operating capital — a deferred-profit venture, if you will. Corporations are creatures of the State, created by it and having two privileges that protect them from market pressures. First, corporate liability for damages to others is automatically limited by fiat; and second, responsibility is shifted away from individuals to a fictional entity. Each of the Cadre assumes full responsibility for his or her actions, though liabilities may be insured.” She saw another hand. “Yes?”

“Alan O’Neill, Time magazine. Who’ll run the highways?”

“Why ask me? I suggest you take it up with the American Automobile Association.”

Amidst laughter, Dr. Rampart recognized Halpern Sinclair of the Washington Post. “Dr. Vreeland. Does your presence here today indicate merely an alliance-of-convenience with the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre, or have you secretly been a member all along?”

“Neither one, Mr. Sinclair. Though I only came into direct contact with the Cadre this morning, I would not be sitting here were I not in agreement with the principles I have been assured the Cadre stand for.”

As Dr. Rampart recognized Waldo Hinckle of US News & World Report, who asked Guerdon a question regarding the costs of his military expansion, a reporter who had arrived late sat down on the seat in front of Lorimer, blocking her vision. She began looking around for another seat, and found one in the second row, getting up to head for it.

Guerdon filled a pipe with nonaromatic burley. “If all two million U.S. military personnel signed on with us as reservists,” he said, “it would cost us a bit over one-and-a-half billion eurofrancs this year. Add in another half billion for TacStrike — the other divisions are financially self-supporting — and our military budget this year would be somewhere around two billion eurofrancs, taking into account . . .”

A dark-suited photographer with long hair and a beard moved from his third row seat out to the aisle.

“I hadn’t realized your organization was that well-heeled,” Waldo Hinckle said.

“Mr. Hinckle,” said Dr. Rampart, “Cadre allies did well over sixty billion eurofrancs’ worth of business last year, of which the Cadre took in just under seven billion eurofrancs in payment for services rendered. I would think that the approximately 12 percent overhead we represent — ”

The bearded photographer reached into his camera, pulling out a .32 caliber automatic pistol.

Lorimer was up to the fourth row.

The gunman raised his automatic pistol toward Dr. Vreeland.

Elliot was the first to see the photographer raise the gun at his father. Everything that happened in the next second-and-a-half seemed in slow motion to him. He reached into his holster and pulled out his own pistol. It did not seem that he, himself, was doing it.

“–was not unreasonable, considering–” Dr. Rampart saw the gunman and stopped short.

The assassin now had his automatic pistol pointed directly at Dr. Vreeland. He shouted, “Death to traitors!

Elliot now had his revolver out but did not have it fully raised.

Lorimer walked into the assassin’s visual range — not in front of the gun, but simply within his range of peripheral sight. The assassin noticed her and seemed thrown off stride, distracted by her presence.

Dr. Vreeland looked up, seeing that it was his own chest the gun was being aimed at.

Somebody screamed.

Elliot had automatically gone into a precisely correct Weaver stance — left foot slightly forward, right hand — its arm slightly bent — aiming the gun, left hand holding the right fist to steady it . . . and during that mere instant when the assassin was distracted by Lorimer, Elliot fired once at his head.

The .38 bullet from Elliot’s revolver struck the assassin’s head, knocking off a wig and tearing a chunk out of his skull. A final muscle spasm knocked him back against the chairs, and from there to the aisle floor.

The image of his daughter standing over him was the last thing the assassin saw before he died.

There were more screams. Several people threw themselves onto the floor.

Lorimer averted her eyes, then started pushing her way through the crowd to Elliot. Along the way, she casually grabbed the camera of a news photographer who had snapped a picture of the body, and smashed it to the floor.

Cadre guards were now pulling reporters and other photographers away from the dead man — blood seeping slowly from his head — cordoning off the death scene.

Lorimer finally reached Elliot, who was standing at the table, being steadied by Dr. Rampart and his father. With a strange tone in her voice that he had not heard before, she told him:

“Thank you. You’ve just killed my father.”

Elliot gasped.

Then Lorimer reeled a moment and began throwing up onto the floor.


Concluding Alongside Night is Chapter XXVII.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

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Extra! The Alongside Night Revolution

Just past midnight PDT tonight here on J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review I will be publishing Chapter 26 of Alongside Night, which I began serializing on March 15th.

 30th Anniversary edition Alongside Night Cover

I was 23-years-old when I finished writing the first draft of this, my first novel, on May 1, 1976. The eighth draft was published by Crown Publishers on October 16, 1979, my 26-1/2th birthday.

I will turn 57 this coming Friday.

Alongside Night has won me fans, praise, and awards over the past three decades, but has never been a best-seller and has never been adapted as a movie or TV mini-series, though my first-draft movie script for it was first given to my agent in 1978 — even before its first publication as a book.

It has never been published in a foreign language or edition.

It’s available in an on-demand trade-paperback edition from Pulpless.Com — which means it’s available on — but you won’t find Alongside Night for sale on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, Borders, Walmart, or Costco.

The only way I could figure out how to get readers for its thirtieth anniversary was to give it away on the Internet as a free PDF download, and also to serialize it on my blog. So far over 82,000 readers have downloaded the free 30th anniversary PDF edition since it was first made available in June 2009.

I’m often asked if I’m an anarchist or a believer in constitutional limited government. I’m not a fanatic. My honest answer is: I’ll take the best deal I can get.

But a careful analysis of looking at my country — and yes, I do think of the United States of America as my country, and its people as my fellow countrymen — I see that the conditions on which I predicated the story I wrote three decades ago are visible on the horizon.

The author of Alongside Night sees a federal government out of control, swallowing up every resource it can get control over because its debts to foreigners are beyond what the American people can afford to pay in taxes, having already broken out of what was originally intended to be its constitutional limits and moving swiftly to break its own legal bonds entirely.

Eighteen year olds are told they must register for the draft or lose eligibility for student loans to attend college. Within the past month the federal government nationalized all giving of student loans, to give them absolute power over the higher education of the nation’s young men.

Controlling someone’s future is a hell of an effective way of blackmailing them.

The health-care bill recently signed by the President of the United States hires 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce its new tax penalties, what Thomas Jefferson — writing in the Declaration of Independence — called “swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”

And ignoring the militia clause of the U.S. Constitution, this new bill authorizes the president to federalize state militia during peacetime … as a backdoor way of drafting medical personnel into national service.

The national debt is beyond being paid off by any means that doesn’t require the acquisition of all private property by the government. The government will offer a helping hand to homeowners with mortgages they can’t make payments on — especially the new class of long-term unemployed — and either these people will end up working off their debt to the government or they will be turned out into the streets as homeless and helpless … where their vagrancy will be a cause to move them into Dickensian work camps.

The dollar will become worthless. It only requires a decision by its foreign holders to buy up any tangible American property before the dollar’s purchasing power dissipates entirely … and the American people welcoming hyperinflation as a way of screwing the foreigners. If you want to know how this works, look into Weimar Germany’s hyperinflation of 1923 as a way of avoiding the punitive war debts imposed by the victors of the first World War.

I knew this when I wrote Alongside Night. I made Germany’s history — an economic equation as calculable as the force of gravity on a falling object — the future of America in my novel.

The only difference is, I postulated a way for those with foresight to prepare for this by hiding their assets from the government and rebuilding an underground economy the government was too cumbersome to swallow.

It’s called Agorism.

Samuel Edward Konkin and I worked out a lot of its details during the road trip we made in the summer of 1975, as we relocated from New York City to the AnarchoVillage in Long Beach, California. I then used them in Alongside Night, even before Sam could write it up as The New Libertarian Manifesto.

I see no future for the legal American economy. It’s too burdened by debt. It’s too corrupt. It punishes innovation and rewards political power.

Ayn Rand saw this coming before I was born, but she didn’t imagine any solution beyond hiding.

With Sam’s genius at my side, we saw a way out for the American people, and I wrote it up as a show-and-tell parable.

If there is any chance of this vision becoming reality, it must have both legs and wings. I’ve done what I can by making the book freely available to anyone who reads English.

If it to go viral and become a blockbuster — as much read as Atlas Shrugged — it’s up to anyone who shares Sam’s and my strategic vision to use it as your banner.

When I watch the news and see “Psst! Alongside Night! Pass it ON!” on picket signs being held high at Tea Party rallies — then I’ll feel Sam and I did our jobs.

The free PDF is downloadable from

The first chapter is on my blog at

And for those of you who have been reading the story chapter by chapter on J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review, Chapter 26 — which has the action-packed climax of the novel — goes up just past midnight PDT tonight at

J. Neil Schulman

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How to Lose Viewers and Alienate Audiences

Make a movie titled The Invention of Lying which is marketed as a romantic comedy then have the plot be how the lie is the invention of God, Heaven, and moral codes. This will play well with audiences who believe in God, Heaven, and moral codes.

Poster: The Invention of Lying

Make all the American-produced major motion pictures that have the subject matter of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan always make Muslims noble victims and always make the top Americans in charge schemers, liars, torturers, and murderers. This will play well with military families, veterans, and 9/11 victims.

Why tell an original, never-before told story, when there are so many classic movies that can be remade, with the added benefit that you can shit all over the original?

Make children’s animated features about cute robots living on earth after the human race has turned it into a garbage dump. This will convince children either to clean up their rooms or to steal their dad’s gun and shoot up their school if they think living in garbage is their future.

Poster: Wall-E

You can’t lose with a movie about a couple deciding on their wedding day that they’re marrying the wrong person and someone they just met is their true love. This works especially well with date movies for young married couples paying extra for a babysitter.

Any white character from the American south is a redneck and a racist. The southern American accent is a hallmark of stupidity. There are no Atticus Finches. No popcorn to be sold south of the Mason-Dixon line anyway, right?

Cowboys are also always racist morons, unless they’re gay.

If by some odd chance you’re a Republican trying to make fun of people who think not every American war has as good casus belli as World War II, be sure to call Neville Chamberlain a cowardly appeaser. Make sure to leave out that he was the first leader to declare war on Hitler, and that by doing so two years before America joined the war there was a really good chance Germany would defeat his country.

Poster: An American Carol

Always make young people getting married or having babies an unmitigated disaster. After all, it’s to the benefit of society that women not even think about trying to get pregnant until they’re so close to menopause they’re likely to find it difficult if not impossible.

Make every movie that has scenes taking place in the 1950’s — when many of today’s parents grew up — be about the poor victims of Senator Joe McCarthy’s investigation into communists in the U.S. State Department and U.S. Army. Always leave out the part where the Soviet KGB really was infiltrating the U.S. State Department and U.S. Army with paid spies.

Poster: Julie and Julia

Make sure that any time the subject of owning a gun is raised on a network TV show (especially a trendy sitcom like How I Met Your Mother), one of the characters tells another character in an authoritative tone how all the statistics show it’s more dangerous to keep a gun in the home than the benefits of possible defense against home invaders. This will play especially well with the 80 million Americans who know the real statistics on gun defenses and keep guns in their home.

How I Met Your Mother

Make movies and TV cop shows in which homosexuals are always victims unless they’re Republicans or Catholic priests. This will play extra well with Republicans and Catholics.

Poster: Doubt

Make TV shows where noble district attorneys figure out how to twist laws around to prosecute anyone they find personally offensive. But treat any defense lawyer who cites the constitution to defend his clients as slime.

Law and Order

Most audience members will identify with movie characters who are hit men, drug-dealers, addicts, thieves, and misfits. Oh, wait. That’s just the studio people who make movies, isn’t it?

Shake the camera and make everything dark so no one can follow what’s going on. Have the actors mumble so no one can figure out how dumb the dialogue is. Keep on cutting back and forth to flashbacks so no one can follow the story. And always have it turn out that the person audiences like best in the movie turns out to be the murderer.

Make movies where businessmen are always the problem and feds are always the solution. After all, nobody who watches movies or TV shows are in business.

Poster: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Make sure any character wearing a U.S. military uniform always has a back story where they did something God-awful while in combat, or they’re racists, or they’re unstoppable killing machines … and their lines of dialogue belong in a high-school locker room. Never show a military officer with an IQ above room temperature, unless he’s going AWOL.

The purpose of making biographical movies about any famous person is to show what scumbags they really were. Great inventors always have to steal their inventions from someone we never heard of. Great composers treat everyone around them like shit. Make sure to treat any famous industrialist as a ruthless gangster or just whack-job insane. Leave no historical American figure as someone a child today would want to grow up to be like.

Poster: Immortal Beloved

American families must always be shown as dysfunctional. After all, the families of the Americans who make the movies are, right?

Villains are always unstoppable, all-knowing, and all-powerful. Dispose of any heroic characters off camera in between other scenes, to make it obvious they were fools to think they could make a difference.

Poster; No Country for Old Men

If an independent filmmaker makes a movie the heartland audiences would actually enjoy, make sure there’s not a chance in hell it will ever show up at a multiplex, which has 30 theaters all showing the same half dozen overpriced studio movies with the same dozen stars. After all, it’s all about the bottom line … right?

Poster: Lady Magdalene's

And one more thing:

All this works better in 3-D!!!!

My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Alongside Night — Chapter XXV

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter XXIV

1979 Crown Publishers Alongside Night Cover

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 25

Mr. Harper led the couple to a door Elliot had always thought concealed a janitor’s closet. Inserting a key, Harper opened it. There was an elevator waiting. It was the same elevator Elliot and Lorimer had been experimenting with when challenged by the Cadre Guard. They got on, Mr. Harper inserting his key into the control panel.

Lorimer had Elliot look at the panel. “Wait a second,” he said. “This elevator shows ten floors, and this building only has five stories.”

Mr. Harper smiled slightly.

Elliot looked indignant. “‘Maximum security floors’ indeed.”

When the elevator doors opened again, they were on Aurora’s Terminal floor, Harper explaining that this was in the building’s cellar. He led the two to the security alcove, inserted a photo badge into a console on the empty desk, and pressed a key twice. A concealed wall panel in the alcove slid open, revealing a second corridor. Elliot-realized that aside from a reversal of direction, the plan was the same used in Auld Lang Syne.

After reclaiming his badge, Harper preceded Elliot and Lorimer the several hundred feet to the steel door. Upon the insertion of his badge, it slid open. Elliot looked past the threshold. “Dad?”

Beyond the door was an anteroom to a suite of offices, identical to the one in Auld Lang Syne, only completely outfitted. Inside were Dr. Vreeland, Jack Guerdon, and Ansonia’s headmistress, Dr. Fischer.

Elliot saw only his father at first. “How did you get here?” he asked. “Are Mom and Denise with you? They weren’t in Utopia.”

Dr. Vreeland looked at his son gravely. “They’re not with me. I don’t know where they are…. aside from my assumption that they’re still in federal custody. As for how I got here, Dave Albaugh acted as go-between.”

“But why — ?”

Harper touched Elliot on the arm. “That’s what this is all about.”

Elliot looked over, seeing Jack Guerdon and Dr. Fischer. He exchanged nods with Guerdon first and said, “When is the service?”

“Nine thirty, tomorrow morning,” Guerdon replied. “You’ll be expected to say the eulogy for Phillip, as I will for Chin.”

Elliot nodded, then turned to his headmistress. “Hello, Dr. Fischer,” he said wearily.

“Elliot,” she replied gently. “I’m sorry the circumstances of this meeting are no happier than our last.” She turned to Lorimer. “I assume you are Ms. Powers?”

Lorimer nodded.

“Well, everyone’s present,” Harper said. “About time we got down to business?”

“I thought Merce Rampart was supposed to be here?” asked Elliot.

Dr. Fischer led them into the conference room. “Merce Rampart is already here,” she said, taking a chair at the head of the table. “Shall we begin?”

After pouring coffee for those who wished it, then for herself, Dr. Merce Rampart turned to Elliot’s father. “Dr. Vreeland, you are the only person ever allowed into Aurora without first allying with us. Everyone else at this conference is contractually obligated to keep our secrets. But when you leave here, we will have no way — short of methods we never employ — to assure your silence. Yet we must be assured of it if we are freely to discuss our possible cooperation.”

“You have my word,” said Dr. Vreeland. “What I hear will not leave this room.”

“Thank you, Professor. As I believe you already know, we will be holding our first news conference in about an hour. This will be the first time our organization has ever formally gone on the record. We wish you to attend us, announcing at the conference that your supposed death was a defense against the government aggression toward your family, and that your wife and daughter were kidnaped by them to blackmail you into cooperation.”

“You know the risk I took in coming here,” Dr. Vreeland said, tapping his fingertips together professorially. “It is likely that simply through my refusal to follow through on my agreement with the Administration, I have already condemned my wife and daughter to death. Must I make certain of it by publicly embracing you as well?”

“If that is how you feel, Dr. Vreeland, then why — ?”

“You know why,” Dr. Vreeland said angrily. “I cannot honor a contract with murderers . . . no matter what the personal cost.”

“I would have expected no less of you,” Dr. Rampart answered. “But the cost may not include your wife’s and daughter’s lives. In a kidnaping, whether or not the ransom is paid — in this case your cooperation being the ransom — has little to do with the kidnapers’ future behavior, which is based on their view of current self-interest.”

Lorimer nodded. “Bureau statistics show almost the same chance for a kidnaper to release the victim whether or not the ransom is paid.”

“And you believe,” said Dr. Vreeland, “that publicly revealing the kidnaping would shift the Administration’s interest to releasing Cathryn and Denise?”

“Yes,” said Dr. Rampart, “if there’s any modicum of sense left in their camp. This Administration is in the most precarious political balance of any Administration in this country’s history. While it is wholly unlikely that they can save their rule, they might wish to save their necks. There is a spirit of blood lust in the air.”

“Dr. Vreeland,” said Guerdon, “this revolution has been, all along, a war of propaganda and counterpropaganda. The Utopia prison atrocity has just given the government the worst publicity possible. Whichever group — or groups — offers the public order in such chaotic times will gain support — perhaps the critical balance. I doubt the government will wish to appear lawless at this time. In the past, the government has preferred to bargain with the barrel of a gun. With the military strikes, they have just lost the gun. If they now wish to seek the support of human beings, they will now have to utilize the civilized methods of human beings. Whatever chances your wife and daughter have at this point rest with our ability to pressure the rulers into realizing this. And whatever else we may think of them, I do not think they are less analytical than we are.”

“Even if this is so,” Dr. Vreeland said, “why should I appear at your press conference, aligning myself with your Cadre?”

“May I be so impolite as to point out,” Harper said, “that through your son’s association with this school you are already — in the Administration’s view — aligned with the Cadre. The difference between a radical and a revolutionary is an esoteric one at best, understood by those involved in the factionalism and few others. Don’t expect the differences in our philosophy to be understood by Lawrence Powers. So long as you advocated reforming the State, instead of advocating abolition as we do, you were tolerated — perhaps even considered counterrevolutionary. In fact, without your support of the moderates in Citizens for a Free Society, the government might have fallen months ago. Remain silent, and the Administration will fall,anyway . . . perhaps deciding to take your wife and daughter with them as revenge. Publicly align yourself with us and accuse them of the kidnaping . . . and they might back down.”

At that moment, the door slid open, a gray-haired man in Cadre uniform entering. Elliot recognized him as the man on the screen who had announced the G-raid alert. He walked up to Merce Rampart and said, “We found two. ”

She nodded. “May I introduce our chief of security, Ron Daylutan? Dr. Vreeland, his son Elliot, and Ms. Powers.”

“Pleased to meet you.”

“Descriptions?” Dr. Rampart asked.

“Very professional work. Would have blown half the building. My guess is that it’s a present from the CIA — their style of work.”

“Any possibility there are more?”

Daylutan shook his head. “I’ll bet my life on it.”

She smiled. “You have.”

“Uh — I’ll check again.”

The security chief left, the door sliding shut after him.

“Damned terrorists,” said Guerdon. “I don’t know what this country’s coming to.”

“I don’t understand,” said Elliot. “Why would the CIA bother at this point? Aren’t they as finished as the rest of the government? No tax revenues, no official currency to pay employees with.”

Mr. Harper shook his head. “I’m afraid we’re not so lucky. They are very much alive and will remain so for quite some time, though somewhat less potent, of course. In addition to private business interests both here and abroad that the CIA owns, no doubt it will continue receiving backing from those most dependent on the State for privileges.”

Merce Rampart turned to Dr. Vreeland. “Well, Professor?”

Dr. Vreeland drummed on the table. “I must know where you stand,” he said, “what your plans are. Are you writing a constitution? Do you plan to hold general elections? Will you impose a ‘temporary benevolent dictatorship’? — oh, a most anarchistic one, I’m sure. What’s your foreign policy?”

“It is the policy of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to deal with foreigners,” said Dr. Rampart. “Assuming they also wish to deal with us. Your other questions assume we are — or intend to become — a government. But we are agorists: propertarian anarchists. Our prosperity to date has come by following agoric principles and we envision even further prosperity when agoric principles are generally adopted. Why would we abandon market principles we have found efficacious in favor of hegemonic ones that have led society after society into ruin?”

“I have no wish to argue elementary libertarianism,” Dr. Vreeland said. “Whether or not you call yourselves a government, you are a large organization of ideological components, raising a military, and seem to have a natural monopoly on the prime functions traditionally performed by governments.”

“I’m afraid our board of directors is nowhere as optimistic on that point as you. We expect severe competition — immediately from agencies such as the CIA, later from protection syndicates, independent militias, trade unions, and counterrevolutionary movements, each wielding as much force as we will.”

“And what will keep these groups from each other’s throats?”

“What keeps anything as innately aggressive as governments from warring, except a realistic appraisal for conquest and the eventual realization by the ruling parties — usually fragmented — that they have more to gain by peaceful commerce than expensive wars? Why play negative-sum games when positive-sum games are available? But even when these groups do fight, I doubt it will prove as chaotic and damaging as the wars states engage in. Without territorial identification, war levies, and conscription, masses of people will no longer be dragged into every single conflict. We can afford nothing less in this age of potential total holocaust.”

“Yes,” said Dr. Vreeland, “but how long will your Cadre — this agora of yours — survive?”

Merce Rampart sat back in her chair and smiled.

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” she said.


Next in Alongside Night is Chapter XXVI.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

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Alongside Night — Chapter XXIV

Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Chapter XXIII

1979 Crown Publishers Alongside Night Cover

Alongside Night
A Novel by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 24

The revolution came the same day.

At a little past noon, they were awakened by persistent knocking at their apartment door. After a few series of knocks, a sleep-deprived Elliot unwrapped himself from Lorimer, pulled on undershorts, and managed to pad into the living room. He opened the door a crack. It was Mr. Ferrer with a sealed envelope for him. Elliot took the envelope and thanked him.

Elliot broke the seal. Inside was a note reading:

Merce Rampart wishes to meet both of you today.
Please be at my Ansonia office at 2 P.M. Important.
Benjamin Harper

Elliot read the note twice, then returned to his bedroom and handed it to Lorimer.

An hour later, showered and dressed, Elliot and Lorimer ate a quick brunch while, on television, a pair of network anchors brought them up to date. The EUCOMTO rejection of the New Dollar — fueled by news of the Utopia prison atrocity — had brought about the feared chaos.

The Federal Reserve Board had ordered all affiliated banks closed “for duration of the emergency.” The Securities and Exchange Commission had suspended all trading — also “for the duration. ” The FBI had been disbanded, and the President had ordered the arrest of Lawrence Powers. The President, backed up by Congress, had declared martial law.

It mattered little. Lawrence Powers had gone into hiding. Three quarters of enlisted military personnel from all services had begun wildcat strikes, two thirds of the strikers deserting bases and heading home. The Revolutionary Agorist Cadre had surfaced, with no effective opposition. The objective conditions for a revolution having arisen, the revolution was in progress.

For some, business went on as usual. A filmed commercial came up on the television. The same TV-series actor and actress whom Elliot had seen in a public-service announcement were now dressed in conservative attire walking staidly through a bank, camera dollying backward before them. Elgar’s fourth “Pomp and Circumstance” march began rising slowly in the background.

The actor began sincerely, “Fellow Americans. We at AnarchoBank are doing everything we can to end this emergency. Most of you right now are without any money; no money means no trade, no business.”

“Our immediate aim,” said the actress, “is to get a new money into your hands. Within forty-eight hours, we will have fully operational offices serving major financial and employment centers to begin exchanging AnarchoBank gold coins and gold certificates for a number of readily available commodities, and making short-term loans to those who cannot — ”

“We’d better leave the dishes till we get back,” Lorimer said to Elliot.

“The First Anarchist Bank and Trust Company,” concluded the actor. “A New Dawn in Banking.”

Yellow cabs were back on the street, though not from any fleet Elliot recognized. He flagged down a Checker with a black flag painted on the door, displaying in white letters the logo for “BLACK BANNER TAXI.” On the door, under the logo, was a rate chart:

AU 2 cents 1ST 1/3 MILE
AU 1 cent EACH 1/3 mile thereafter

After Lorimer had climbed in, Elliot followed, telling the driver to take them to Ansonia’s address. The driver flipped on his meter, then picked up the microphone. “This is Black Banner Twenty-Eight. Copy me, Egotripper?”

“Dispatch to Twenty-Eight. Proceed.”

“In transit to Park West and Seventieth.”

“Affirmative, two-eight. Pick up at that location available.”

“I’ll take it, Egotripper. Bee-Bee Twenty-Eight, off.”

“Sounds like a good day,” Lorimer commented to the driver.

“Nonstop,” he replied. “I’ve been up to Park West and Seventieth half a dozen times already today, Well, might as well enjoy it while it lasts.”

“Why shouldn’t it last?”

“Are you kiddin’? Within a week every fleet in this city’ll be back on the street. Price wars you wouldn’t believe. Then when the subways and busses are movin’ again — ”

“Who’ll run them?” Elliot asked. “The city’s bankrupt. There’s no official money. Who’ll pay the transit workers?”

“Don’t ask me,” the cabbie said. “All I know is there’s a fortune in equipment just layin’ around, and someone’s damn well gonna make some money with it.”

Between Sixty-ninth and Seventieth streets — the block containing Ansonia Preparatory School — a contingent of New York City Police, still in blue uniforms but now with red Cadre “SECURITY” brassards on their arms, had barricaded off traffic to that part of Central Park West.

It was not a homesteading action, but merely a temporary expedient. Along the street, in line waiting to get underground and out of the cold, were about two thousand persons late of the United States military. Most were — as full-page newspaper advertisements had specified — in uniforms with insignia removed, personal weapons slung over their shoulders, duffel bags at their feet. They had been promised a union-approved contract, billet and food provided, with weekly payment in gold at rates — depending on position — between four grams a week for infantry and fifteen grams for an engineer.

There were no taxes or other deductions.

On a flagpole extending over the street from number ninety was hanging a black flag. It was raised to half-staff.

Elliot and Lorimer passed by a now-unbricked entrance to the perpetually unfinished Central Park Shuttle, bypassing the long military lineup going downstairs past a new sign.


The two were challenged at the school entrance by armed Cadre guards. Elliot told them who they were and that they were expected. One guard checked an appointment clipboard and nodded. They were fifteen minutes early.

The couple was unceremoniously escorted into the assistant headmaster’s office on the first floor, but the assistant headmaster was not occupying it. They took seats, Elliot rising a few minutes later when Mr. Harper entered. “Elliot . . . Ms. Powers,” he said, shaking hands with each of them. “We have a few minutes to chat before our meeting is scheduled to begin.”

Elliot and Harper sat down. Elliot nodded slowly and said, “So Ansonia was a Cadre front all along.”

Harper allowed himself a half-smile. “Well, a front in the sense that it concealed Cadre lodgings above the school with Aurora built into the subway tunnel below, but Ansonia itself never propagandized agorist ideas. That would have been the last thing we wanted. Any front — to be effective — must misdirect attention away from its actual purpose. So we maintained a policy of ideological neutrality. At most we refrained from the standard ‘civic’ indoctrinations. And, perhaps, we placed a little more emphasis than is usual on logic and clear definition — always dangerous heresies, wouldn’t you agree?”

Elliot nodded.

“As a policy, also, Dr. Fischer and I did not hire any Cadre allies as teachers. Even without a party line, there is always too much danger of the kind of intellectual inbreeding fatal to academic inquiry. So, at most we tried to weed out those professing a clearly statist philosophy. We were not always successful.”

“Mrs. Tobias,” said Elliot.

Harper nodded. “Not that she gave us any clues at first. I doubt that when the FBI assigned her here that they even suspected our Cadre affiliation.”

“Then why –?”

“It was you she was to watch.”

Elliot stared at Harper intensely.

“She was assigned to get information about your family that the Administration could use against your father.”

“The microfilm?” Lorimer asked.

Harper nodded. “In the course of her work here,” he continued, “with little bits of information put together from her reports, the FBI slowly stumbled across the conclusion that Ansonia was a Cadre front.”

“But if they knew about Ansonia, why didn’t they raid it?”

“You forget, you yourself were evacuated from Aurora during the course of that raid — this past Saturday at 6:30 P.M., exactly as planned in the microfile Ms. Powers gave us on Friday. Mrs. Tobias’s resignation last Wednesday morning — using as an excuse a difference over policy — was the FBI withdrawing its operative preparatory to the raid.”

“Why did they wait until the weekend?”

“For the simple reason that Aurora did not operate during the week. There would have been no traders to arrest.”

Harper turned to Lorimer. “Ansonia will be resuming classes next Monday,” he told her. “We can have your records transferred here if you’d like to graduate with us.”

Lorimer looked startled. “Why, I’d love to.”

“Good,” said Harper. “I’ll expect both of you Monday, 9 A.M., sharp.”

He looked at his watch and stood up. “Shall we proceed?”


Next in Alongside Night is Chapter XXV.

Alongside Night is
Copyright © 1979 J. Neil Schulman &
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust.
All rights reserved.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

Bookmark and Share