Agorist Studies

The Establishment’s Trump Card

Talking today with fellow libertarian author/filmmaker/publisher, Brad Linaweaver, the seeming unstoppability of Donald J. Trump’s march to the Republican presidential nomination came up for discussion. We tended to agree that the problems the Republican National Committee and future of the GOP in blocking Trump would be costly – with blowback that might be prohibitively costly to the party.

We also agreed that there were multiple ways carrots and sticks could be used to stop Bernie Sanders from running as a third-party candidate for the Greens or another of the minor left-wing parties with established ballot lines, which if it happened could deprive Hillary Clinton of votes in a tight race the way Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in his race against George W. Bush in 2000.

But given Trump’s “America First” foreign policy speech of April 27, 2016 to the Center for the National Interest, a speech outlining a policy reminiscent of Pat Buchanan and paleo-conservatives with only a few rhetorical flourishes lifted from Neocon talking points, the necessity of the globalist Neocon/liberal alliance to put Hillary Clinton in the White House becomes obvious.

Brad suggested the possibility of a Ted Cruz or other conservative candidacy to draw votes from a Trump GOP candidacy, electing Hillary. I pointed out that by the time of the Republican Convention in Cleveland, July 18 to 21, 2016, 18 states would have closed ballot access for independent candidacies.

I then suggested a strategy the NeverTrump forces could use to elect Hillary: throw PAC support and inclusion of its candidate in the presidential debates to the candidate of the Libertarian Party, who will be on most if not all of the 50 state ballots.

Austin Petersen
Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate,
Austin Petersen

It would not matter that the Libertarian Party candidate is not appealing to social conservatives or evangelicals, though pro-life Libertarian Party candidate Austin Petersen just might appeal to them. Any of the three top Libertarian Party candidates seen on the Fox Business Channel’s John Stossel two-hour debate – Austin Petersen, John McAfee, or Gary Johnson could possibly – if well-financed by a never-Trump PAC – pull enough votes away from Donald Trump to throw the election to the establishment’s choice, Hillary Clinton.

After over four decades of marginal election returns and media invisibility, how many Libertarians would ignore the possibility of putting an actual “America First” president in the White House just finally to have their moment in the sun?

Virtually all, let me assure you.

Samuel Edward Konkin III, founder not only of the Agorist movement but of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus in 1973, considered that if the ruling classes ever needed the Libertarian Party they would not hesitate to use it. He always considered the Libertarian Party, like all political parties, as a tentacle of the State.

To add irony, how do you think I’d feel if Donald J. Trump, the only political candidate in our time who could win the White House and pull the American Empire back from its Orwellian “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” Neocon/globalist policies, were defeated, putting imperialist/pro-war Hillary Clinton into the White house …. by an executive producer of the pro-Agorist Alongside Night movie, Austin Petersen?

Addendum June 22, 2016

I watched the CNN Libertarian Presidential Town Hall tonight. It’s clear my article was prescient. I don’t know that Johnson/Weld have been promised big PAC money from the NeverTrump/pro-Hillary contingent but everything they said suggests it. Weld intimated his fund-raising experience would yield fruit soon. Weld declared Trump unfit for office and “a huckster” then praised Hillary as a good public servant and qualified. Johnson refused to prefer Hillary to Trump explicitly but praised Hillary’s character and attacked Trump’s positions.

They were weak on the Second Amendment, favoring universal background checks (there goes the gun show and internet “loopholes”) and favoring a process to deny terrorists guns. Weld talked about a “thousand man” FBI task force against Isis similar to the one Guiliani used against the Mafia.

They abandoned their previous “legalize all drugs/anti-Drug War” position and explicitly said they favor legalizing only marijuana.

Perhaps responding to Ron Paul’s criticism they now say “fiscally conservative but inclusive” instead of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”

On abortion they moderated their “solidly pro-choice” position to “no abortion once the fetus is viable outside the womb” but did say they have no problem “on constitutional grounds” with the government guaranteeing women access to abortion clinics.

Their campaign is now officially NeverTrump and designed to move to pull votes from moderate Republicans. They don’t seem to care about losing their core Libertarian base… or electing Hillary.

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The Wrong Donald Trump

As I write this Monday February 22, 2016, tomorrow evening is the Nevada caucus. As a Nye County voter still registered as a Republican from the last presidential election when I was a delegate for Ron Paul, I could caucus if I wished to. If I did, the only Republican candidate I could have seriously considered is businessman Donald J. Trump.

Donald J. Trump
Donald J. Trump

Unfortunately, businessman Donald J. Trump is not running for president. The man who has been campaigning for the GOP nomination for president is a body-snatcher politician who has taken over Donald J. Trump’s voice.

The businessman Donald J. Trump as shown on his television series The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice treated all candidates as individuals, judging them based on their performance in achieving results.

The body-snatcher political candidate is a collectivist who speaks in jingoistic terms about nationalities and religious adherents.

The businessman Donald J. Trump gave political contributions to politicians because he knew these were pay-offs necessary to conduct his business as a builder, real-estate developer, and gaming operator. Were this man running for president he would not merely admit his participation in a corrupt system — as he has done — but he would acknowledge that he and businesspeople like him have been victims to a parasitical political class that needs to be destroyed — as much as Bernie Sanders wants to destroy the Wall Street banking/investment oligarchy — if America is ever to be “great again.”

The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump only talks about making better deals.

The businessman Donald J. Trump was pro-choice on abortion because he knew that life begins when the mother decides it begins — not a religious leader, a politician, or a judge.

The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump says he is pro-life because that’s necessary to win the nomination of a political party dominated by theocrats.

The businessman Donald J. Trump would speak of illegal workers as a resource being denied businessmen such as himself who employ such workers because it is the only way to make American manufacturing compete with slave labor in China and near slave labor in Mexico and Malaysia.

The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump talks about protecting “American jobs” instead of the comparatively free-enterprise that made the United States of America exceptional and a reversal of the top-down classist and colonial societies dominating every other continent.

Finally, the businessman Donald J. Trump knew war would bankrupt the American economy and that privacy was the first part of private enterprise.

The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump talks like every other Republican candidate in promising the Pentagon absolute first-strike-capability on the American taxpayer and support for a National Security State that can maintain all its secrets yet invade the privacy of every American citizen at will with no practical limit.

The businessman Donald J. Trump is a candidate that I believe Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein could have supported.

If that man had been running for president even I, an anarchist, might have caucused for him tomorrow evening.

He’s not and I won’t.

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Black Lists & Black Markets

A few days ago while watching an award screener of the new movie Trumbo — I’ll leave it to my libertarian friend Brad Linaweaver to review it for its historical inaccuracies — I had an epiphany. There’s a line of dialogue when Dalton Trumbo says:

…no, I can’t tell you what I’m
working on now except to say, the
blacklist is alive and well and so
is the black market.

Although I was aware that communist Hollywood writers were bypassing the Black List by writing under pseudonyms and working through “fronts,” it never occurred to me that this was practicing my own economic philosophy of Agorism.

Irrespective of any contrary propaganda intentions of its filmmakers, Trumbo is a pro-Agorist movie.

Poster for Trumbo (Bleecker Street, 2015)

Dalton Trumbo — darling of the Hollywood left — was an Agorist: a practitioner of black-market capitalism.

Despite being a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of the USA whose theoretical understanding of free-market economics was somewhere between zero and negative infinity, when his career as the highest-paid screenwriter for the Hollywood studios was stymied and his bourgeois lifestyle capsized, Dalton Trumbo entrepreneured an elaborate counter-economic operation to market screenplays by himself and fellow black-listed writers to movie producers willing to lie about the screen credits and pay in cash.

I wrote, produced, and directed a feature film about Agorism as a strategy to resist and bypass any State, whether right-wing fascist or left-wing communist. It’s titled Alongside Night and as of yesterday it’s now available for free streaming via Amazon Prime. If you’re not a Prime member you can rent or buy it on Amazon as a streaming download or as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. It’s also on iTunes.

But fifty Hollywood distributors and all the major film festivals rejected my movie. They’ll lie and say my movie was substandard — mendacious lying is standard operations for communists and fascists alike — but Alongside Night was rejected because of its anti-political content.

So here’s my revelation to all those in Hollywood who applaud Dalton Trumbo for subverting and eventually destroying the Black List:

Dalton Trumbo used Agorism — the strategy portrayed in my movie Alongside Night — to defeat the oppressors of his time.

Agorism works to defeat tyranny … even if you think you’re a communist.

Wikipedia Article: Agorism

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Civil Obedience

John Parker

Interviewed October 1st by Sean Hannity about the shootings at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, Air Force Veteran John Parker revealed that at the time of the shootings Parker was in a campus veterans’ center armed with a licensed, concealed handgun and was only 200 yards from active shooter, Chris Harper Mercer. When Parker attempted to leave the veterans’ center with the intent to stop the shooting rampage, college authorities stopped Parker.

The college authorities may not have known that Parker was carrying concealed when they stopped him. But the college authorities were unarmed and if John Parker had stuck to his guns they could not have restrained him. Parker would have arrived to confront Mercer long before the police arrived far too late to stop 10 dead and seven wounded before police killed Mercer.

So why did Parker not go ahead and stop the shooting?

As Brad Linaweaver and I discussed today, John Parker as an Air Force veteran was trained to follow orders from superior officers assumed to have a better strategic and tactical picture. It was natural for him to assume that college officials stopping him had superior knowledge, perhaps that armed authorities were already on the scene.

This was not the case and anyone with knowledge of prior incidents would know that police almost never are present on the scene early enough to prevent mass casualties.

The assumption that “authorities” have if not omniscience then superior knowledge is the basis for the current trend of “sheltering in place” imposed on civilians in emergencies ranging from brushfires to the Boston Marathon bombings. The very word “authority” means just that.

It’s a lie. In the beginning of any disaster it’s unlikely that anyone in the government knows more than the initial reports and a civilian on site might well have superior tactical knowledge.

This needs to be made part of training in arms for both ordinary citizens and authorities who pat themselves on the back in news conferences tagging themselves as “first responders” when the truth is their arrogance in disarming and stopping potential real first responders such as John Parker gives them the victims they need to con the public into thinking heroism is drawing chalk lines around the dead they fail to protect.


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Libertarian Movement Phoenix

Over the weekend of September 25 to 27th I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the Second Amendment Foundation’s 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference. I delivered a short address from the podium on Sunday the 27th that was video-recorded both by the Polite Society Podcast and C-SPAN. In addition I was interviewed before my speech by the Polite Society Podcast and both before and after by Ernest Hancock’s Declare Your Independence radio program.

J. Neil Schulman at GRPC 2015

Copies of the Alongside Night 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and a bulk order form were placed on the conference attendee’s seats.

The thrust of my presentation was also the theme of Alongside Night:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
–from the Declaration of Independence

The libertarian movement as I first knew it has lost its way. Disrupted by narrow ideology and petty squabbling over single issues it has been marginalized and the power of its message dissipated.

There needs to be a New Libertarian movement refocused on the original Revolution built from the ground up, and I decided a conference of activists devoted to at least one, if not more, of the Bill of Rights was a proper place to start.

Here’s my address to the conference plus my interviews.

This, and Alongside Night, are presented in the hope it will remind freedom-lovers what the libertarian movement was, and will again be, about and inspire the work needed to free us all.

Like the Phoenix of legend out of the ashes comes a rebirth.

–J. Neil Schulman

I’m J. Neil Schulman, author and filmmaker and I made this movie, Alongside Night, about the American Revolution returning in our time, and we gave copies to just about everybody who came to this conference. And for those of you watching on C-SPAN you can go to and buy it.

So let’s talk about the first American Revolution.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those words about felons illegally in possession of firearms who on April 19th, 1775 used those illegal guns to shoot at police legally appointed by the governor to confiscate their illegal guns. In the exchange of gunfire three cops were killed and nine cops were wounded.

Sheriff David Clarke, I have bad news for you.

This country was founded by cop-killers.

Roughly 226 years later, on September 11th, 2001, four commercial jetliners filled with passengers, flight attendants, and flight crew – all of them disarmed of firearms by United States federal law – were overpowered by Jihadi militiamen armed only with box cutters, four per aircraft. Two of those captured aircraft were used as weapons to crash into New York’s twin towers financial headquarters, one crashed into the U.S. military headquarters in Washington DC, and one flight – where the disarmed passengers, none of them with military or police uniforms or badges – fought the jihadi militiamen who rather than surrender crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The casualties that day were just under 3,000, but in subsequent years wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere costs the United States thousands of more lives, trillions of dollars, and a wounded warrior class.

Gun control gave us 9/11.

I’m a writer and filmmaker who has sold stories and screenplays to Hollywood production companies, including an original script for the Twilight Zone, broadcast by CBS in prime time, March 7, 1986. My new narrative feature film, Alongside Night, based on my first novel published in October 1979, was given out to participants at this conference, as a counterpoint to the usual Hollywood movies that treat privately held firearms as dangers to public safety.

Hollywood writers and producers led by Harvey Weinstein hate private gun ownership yet the entertainment industry makes movies and TV shows full of guns. Hollywood gets past its own objections by having these guns be either futuristic ray guns or ordinary guns used to shoot the heads off zombies, or by having the guns be used by cops. Prime time U.S. television is dominated by shows featuring law-enforcement officers and military service personnel as the armed heroes.

On the other side is a political right-wing dominated by politicians who assign absolute human rights only to the unborn. Anyone breathing air has only government granted privileges – driving licenses, gun licenses, work permits, and so forth. They talk about a “right to work” but want to build a wall to keep out workers.

They want gun rights only for the law-abiding – in other words, anyone who meekly complies with thousands of tyrannical regulations.

I’m here to agree with the signers of the Declaration of Independence – a legal document more binding than the Constitution — that when any government’s police and regulations become oppressive of the people’s rights the people have the moral right to resist abuse of their rights under color of law – and existing federal law agrees with me. Look up Title 18 US Code Section 242 which says that any official – local, state, or federal – who violates constitutionally protected rights is acting as a criminal and has zero legal authority to do so.

Title 18 US Code Section 242
Title 18 US Code Section 242
Title 18 US Code Section 242

By the way, the Second Amendment in a recent Seventh Circuit decision, applies to illegal immigrants.

And I need to tell you something that is not going to be pleasant for a lot of you to hear. It also applies to drug gangs because nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the word “drug” mentioned and according to te 9th and 10th amendments if it ain’t listed in the Constitution as powers of the federal government anything they do on this subject is void ab initio.

That’s how Black Lives Matter and defenders of the Bill of Rights – you in this room — can get together.

Thank you.

2015-09-25 Hour 3 J neil SCHULMAN from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.

2015-09-29 Hour 1 J Neil Schulman from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.

Alongside Night Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Due to the college campus shooting today at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College I decided to add two additional videos.

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Divided and Conquered

Are you “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”?

Black Lives Matter protest

Do you think a Christian baker should be fined if he doesn’t provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — or that a county clerk’s job descrption requires providing a marriage license to a same-sex couple despite her own religious beliefs?

Kim Davis

Do you think the “right to work” applies only to persons with permission from the United States government or is the right to make an honest living a universal human right that applies both to the person who offers paid work and the person who accepts it?

Border Warning

All of these are current controversies that exist only because government creates them.

“Black Lives Matter” is juxtaposed with “All Lives Matter” on the proposition that blacks are targeted by police powers more than other ethnicities, especially those perceived as “white.”

Obviously a Venn Diagram based on universal human rights would include “black lives.” Whether that happens in everyday life is a matter not of acknowledging abstract rights but of political reality. But there would be no division if there was not first a division between “law enforcement officers” and “civilians.” Just watch an episode of the CBS network series Blue Bloods in which the TV script writers reflect the premise that the killing of a cop is worse than the murder of us lowly “civilians,” the protection of whom is in theory the raison d’être for police departments in the first place.

The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The word” men” in that statement means human, not anatomically endowed with a penis. It’s a declaration of universal human rights.

It took a bit more than a half dozen decades before legal reality caught up with this universal intent to include blacks, and more decades before it included female humans. Today it’s moving in the direction of including LGBT individuals, but still legally excludes persons not deemed by a bureaucratic class to be “citizens” or government-approved “legal residents.”

Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis sits in jail for violating a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses inclusive of same-sex couples. This is a legal controversy only because marriage is licensed in the first place by government bureaucrats. I posted on a website frequented by Christians who side with Kim Davis for standing up for their commonly held belief that marriage requires one-each penis and vagina. My suggestion that marriage arrangements be entirely separated from government was ignored. The website posters were too invested in taking sides in a current political controversy that exists only because it is subject to public policy and not left a matter for people to decide entirely in the private sphere.

Colorado baker Jack Phillips faces massive fines because he’s not allowed to choose his customers according to the principle of both free association and free disassociation. The private sphere of commerce has been invaded by bureaucrats. It was tyrannical when legislators first forced lunch counters not to serve black customers then later made it mandatory. It’s tyrannical now when legislators make it mandatory to violate one’s own beliefs and be a slave required to work for anyone who demands service. The LGBT who were first discriminated against, when they gain political favor, replace victimization with victimizing. They betray the principles of free association and free disassociation. They make themselves just one more class of thugs, dividing us.

The ancient Romans faced off Christians with lions.

Current day Americans face off Christians with lesbians.

Government exists by sucking up all human decision-making into the public arena — our economic and social life — then making us all gladiators fighting for our share of the loot stolen from us.

Government makes us war against each other to the benefit only of those who use government to rob and rule us.

You want to get out from under this mega-scam, stop playing a game rigged against you. Don’t acknowledge their right over your life or property. Refuse to play. Opt out. Don’t demand political privileges granted by force that deprives other human beings of their natural rights. Enact only your right established in the first legally binding document — the Declaration of Independence — to run your own life without the permission from a despot or tyrant.

That belief in universal human rights is the meaning of American Exceptionalism — not as Fox News pundits would have you believe that “exceptionalism” means being the Imperial Power who bullies the rest of the world into compliance.

And if you’re looking for a handle on this, we who stand up for those indivisible principles call ourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, and Agorists.

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The Most Libertarian Movie Ever?

I’ve been writing about the Alongside Night Movie for over five years, starting when I was still trying to put together casting and financing to get it made. I’ve sold it hard on the libertarian content in the movie and how I believe a feature-length narrative film can be effective in approaching people — especially young people — to consider libertarian principles and comparing libertarian approaches with far-more-popular government-reliant policies.

The Alongside Night Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack just hit the market. We just started running the first radio commercial, beginning on Art Bell’s return to radio, Midnight in the Desert.

I’ve dedicated my career to the belief that storytelling can convey complex ideas to large audiences.. I became a libertarian because I read stories by Robert Heinlein. Many libertarians started with Ayn Rand.

This approach is called show-and-tell or to use an older term, a parable. History’s most effective teachers — Buddha, Jesus, Aesop, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert A. Heinlein, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ayn Rand — have taught by storytelling.

Masters of totalitarian propaganda including Goebbels, Lenin, Stalin, and FDR all understood that movies have been essential in mass communication.

Libertarians, Agorists, Voluntaryists, lend me your ears — and eyes.

Watch these clips from Alongside Night.

–J. Neil Schulman, who wrote the novel and made the movie

Most Libertarian CardMost Libertarian Icon
The Most Libertarian Sequence in Any Movie Ever!

Libertarian Rally CardLibertarian Rally Icon
The Most Libertarian Rally in any Movie!

Economics in One Minute CardEconomics in One Minute Icon
“Economics in One Minute”

Legal Tender Deniers CardLegal Tender Deniers Icon
“Legal Tender Deniers”

Meeting the Cadre CardMeeting the Cadre Icon
Meeting the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre

Free Talk Live Card
Free Talk Live Icon
Free Talk Live in Alongside Night

Magnesium CardMagnesium Icon
“Magnesium!” — An Action Sequence in Alongside Night

Dr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night CardDr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night Icon
Dr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night

Alongside Night Teaser Trailer CardAlongside Night Teaser Icon
The Alongside Night Teaser Trailer

60 Second Commercial CardDr, Ron Paul in Alongside Night Card
The Alongside Night 60 Second Radio Commercial

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Grief as a Pointed Gun

Let’s start with the plot from the most recent episode of the TNT series Proof, a paranormal drama about researchers attempting by scientific means to prove or disprove the reality of life after death.

In Season 1 Episode 6 “Private Matters” (July 21, 2015) one of the researchers — reminiscent of the 1983 movie Brainstorm — dies while wearing equipment recording his brainwaves and sophisticated computer algorithms record not only life memories but imagery suggesting transmissions from the afterlife. But when the researcher’s grieving widow is brought into the lab to separate memory imagery from possible afterlife imagery she freaks out that her late husband’s brainwave recordings of their life together is violating her privacy and sues to destroy the recordings.

I was immediately reminded of how — in a tabloid campaign reminiscent of The Banner‘s campaign against Howard Roark’s architecture for Enright House in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead or real-world yellow-paper campaigns conducted by Pulitzer or Hearst or Murdoch-owned newspapers — FNC’s Bill O’Reilly has been exploiting the grief from family members of murder-victim Kate Steinle to promote a new law cracking down on serial violators of U.S. immigration law.

O'reilly Factor July 13 2015
Bill O’Reilly interviews Kate Steinle’s parents, James Steinle and Elizabeth Sullivan

This vile use of grief as a weapon is nothing new. Inflaming public passion by parading grieving family is business-as-usual for proponents of all sorts of more restrictive statism. After the Empire of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor hysteria about Americans of Japanese ancestry — with nothing other than race linking them to the enemy — led to American citizens’ property being seized while they were imprisoned in American concentration camps.

Every time a perp uses a gun to cause havoc gun-ban advocates parade out victims’ family members and use their tears as weapons to promote their totalitarian civilian-disarmament agenda.

If the perp can be associated with a foreign faction such as in the case of Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez who on July 17, 2015 committed a multiple-fatality shooting of Marine and Naval personnel in Chattanooga, TN, military officials will be brought on camera to express their teary-eyed rage.

The agenda is always the same: to take a criminal and his vile acts and — instead of focusing on how the public can arm themselves against future attacks — to inflame public outrage against some larger class of despised outsiders by recruiting the tears of family, friends, and co-workers as weapons stockpiled in the cause of tyranny.

No doubt there were some actual Russians who died at the hand of Ukrainians to justify Stalin’s mass starvation Holodomor and Nazis who were murdered by actual Jews used by Hitler to justify deporting Jews to Dachau and Auschwitz.

Letting one’s grief be the reason one becomes the pawn of master manipulators is understandable. They get you, like any other heartless con man does, when you’re at your most vulnerable.

But those in the media who use grieving to get ratings or, worse, to gain more power for their puppet masters, have no excuse. They are the very devil.

I revisit this topic in my article Weaponizing Grief

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Cowards, Heroes, and Servers

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Like the Hero Oscar Gordon in Robert A. Heinlein’s 1963 epic fantasy novel Glory Road, I’m a coward. Whenever possible. That doesn’t mean I’m not trained in arms and will use them to defend my cowardly life if necessary to remain alive and cowardly. I’m just too old to run away anymore.

The Cowardly Lion

I’m not a supporter of Donald Trump, or any other political candidate for that matter. I’m not only a coward but I’m an anarchist. Most people, even a lot of fellow anarchists, don’t know what the word means. It doesn’t mean not respecting the rights of other people and favoring chaos. That would be the nihilists. I mean that I’ve studied governments, empires, and statism and concluded the human race could do far better if affairs were organized in free marketplaces and other organization that doesn’t start with someone threatening someone else with violence or killing someone as an example to scare others into non-resistant compliance.

But I agree with Trump’s initial statement about John McCain. John McCain is no hero to me.

That doesn’t mean McCain isn’t brave and endured hellish conditions as a Vietnam War POW he chose not to escape for the sake of his fellow captured Americans. It does mean I don’t consider the job John McCain was doing as a soldier in an ultimately useless war that ended in the enemy’s victory was in any way service to the American people. McCain followed the orders of poltroons and by the trial standards established at Nuremberg his “just following orders” was no escape from moral turpitude. Certainly there is little virtue in McCain’s suspending his presidential run to lobby fellow senators to give unearned taxpayer billions to still unindicted financial criminals.

But even by the standards legendarily preached by General George Patton, there’s no “E for Effort” in warfare. Patton, like Trump, preferred winners. Alvin York in World War I and Audie Murphy in World War II — both Congressional Medal of Honor winners — are by the rules of warfare more entitled to be called heroes than service members who got captured and spent their service as prisoners. That’s not the opinion of this cowardly anarchist who never spent a day serving in the military. (If you don’t count the year I spent at age 14 wearing the United States Air Force uniform as a cadet information officer in the Massachusetts Civil Air Patrol, the Air Force Auxiliary.) That’s how the American government itself hands out ratings for military heroism.

My dad was found 4F and never recruited when he reported for duty after his World War II draft notice but if my dad had been accepted he likely would have played violin in Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band — Dave Schwartz, my dad’s roommate at the Curtis Institute of Music who played viola in that band, would have arranged for Colonel Miller to request him. Instead, my dad toured military bases in the U.S. as a solo violinist and played in war bond concerts. Does that make my dad’s “service” less worthy than my uncle Murray who spent the war as a U.S. army med tech in New Guinea? I don’t think so.

One of my first jobs was as a uniformed security guard for Holmes Security in New York City. Somewhere I can’t find it easily is a photo my dad took of me in my guard uniform, which if you didn’t know better could swear was the uniform of a Nazi SS officer. On one occasion I was assigned to join U.S. Secret Service, Israeli Mossad and New York City police as the protection detail for Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, on a visit to New York. I was the guy who was detailed to look for bombs. Does my working in the private sector mean I wasn’t “serving”? Does that make me a hero? I don’t think so.

There is a mythology of Service applied only to those who serve the State that questioning their heroism or service is unpatriotic. Donald Trump tripped that wire and that makes him briefly worthwhile to the libertarian cause. Someone’s job description is always up for rational analysis and there are no protective halos — not for soldiers, not for a president, not even for a Saint Mother Teresa or a Pope Francis.

Robert A. Heinlein graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served on a peacetime U.S. destroyer; during World War II he was a civilian worker in high-tech (for its time) defense work.

Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein

None of this is anywhere near as important service as Heinlein’s work as a science-fiction writer (author of the pro-military novels Starship Troopers and Space Cadet, if that matters to you) whose work on the movie Destination Moon helped inspire the Apollo moon landings.

Or my dad’s work as a concert violinist.

Or, to be hoped, this cowardly anarchist’s work as a writer, publisher, activist, and filmmaker.

This desperate statist veneration of its armed forces and police as somehow being more valuable to a free society than civilians in a host of other jobs — and on this point I disagree with Heinlein — puts the world out of balance and leads to needless destruction.

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Flag Banning

I’m a native New Yorker. Had I been alive in the past centuries with my current beliefs I would have been a slavery Abolitionist and if possible both an activist in the Underground Railroad smuggling slaves to freedom in Canada and an agitator for slave rebellions against slaveholders in states where slavery was legal.

That said, I oppose the current move by retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Sears and eBay to ban sale of merchandise displaying the Confederate Battle Flag and of Warner Brothers to stop making toy “Dukes of Hazzard” cars carrying the Confederate flag decal.

Dukes of Hazzard General Lee
Dukes of Hazzard General Lee

This wiping out of American history, putting the Confederate flag into an Orwellian Memory Hole, can only benefit a totalitarian view where the honoring of any rebellion against central government is tagged as unallowable. The cause of preserving slavery was an evil motive for rebellion but the Constitution as permitting no exit clause for dissenters against hegemonic centralism is also evil.

I would have agreed with abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison that, if anything, the non-slave-owning states should have seceded from the Union and been a haven for slaves escaping from the slave-holding states.

Libertarians make a mistake if we believe our freedom can only be lost to government edict. The surrender without a fight to trendy historical censorship is as quick a path to tyranny.

When private companies ban merchandise because the fragile among us object, it will never stop. Banning sales of firearms and ammunition when evildoers use them against the innocent will follow. The battle flag of the American Revolution — the “Dont Tread on Me” Gadsden Flag — will disappear if some demented Tea Party zealot commits a lone-wolf act of terrorism and embraces that symbol while doing it.

And when we see drone-strike “collateral damage” burning the Stars and Stripes should Americans pull down their national flag in sympathy as well?

Abandon your past and you condemn your future.

If flags can be banned, so can books and movies.

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