Agorist Studies

Schooling the Academics

As I write this Cinemax is running the 1986 comedy Back to School.

The movie stars Rodney Dangerfield, the brilliant stand-up comic whose theme was always, “I get no respect.”

The theme of Back to School is Dangerfield’s, who co-wrote the story, about a successful self-made multi-millionaire whose only schooling is the School of Hard Knocks, versus snobbish and entitled academics with no real-world accomplishments who give the real-world achiever no respect. As Dangerfield’s movie portrays, the feeling is mutual.

Back to School poster

I dropped out of college, the only community college that would accept me based on a certificate of completion from a private tutorial academy, in my second semester. It wasn’t only that I was bored by instructors who couldn’t write or argue as well as I already could from what I’d learned in my own reading and teenage entrepreneurial pursuits, but the academic atmosphere itself offended me. A psychology course expected me to share my personal life with other students, all strangers, as if this were group therapy. I’d already undergone several years of private psychiatry which had been personally beneficial and knew what issues were mine to resolve, but nobody else’s business.

As well, after years of sitting in classrooms that taught me far less than days reading books I’d chosen from visits to libraries, I was impatient to test myself in the real world. I’d already achieved minor success as a photo-journalist who beginning at age 14 had sold photography to local newspapers and portrait photography to individual clients. Now, pursuing writing as my new profession, I was more interested in making sales to newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Delaying this by sitting in classrooms that had nothing to teach me that I couldn’t teach myself more efficiently had no appeal to me. The social approval of others who would judge me not on my actual work but on academic degrees struck me as remnants of an aristocratic Old World that I thought the American Revolution was fought to disestablish.

Today, after decades in the real-world marketplace, I can acknowledge lost opportunities because I didn’t pursue academic degrees. I wasn’t entirely allergic to classrooms and audited Murray Rothbard classes in economics he taught in Brooklyn. I’ve taken extension courses in subjects that interested me at UCLA. I achieved a certificate from college courses in police work that qualified me to become a California peace officer, though I never was offered employment in the field. And I even taught a graduate course in digital publishing for the New School, based on my own early entrepreneurship in the field, to students seeking a Masters degree. One of my students was a vice-president at Prentice-Hall publishing.

Nonetheless, when in the 1990’s I applied for a full-time editorial position at Reason Magazine after having been published in Reason, National Review, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page; had two award-winning novels published by major New York publishers; and had written for prime-time network television, Reason editor Virginia Postrel told me in a phone follow-up to my job application that I didn’t even make her top-ten for the position because I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree.

The only paid editorial office position I ever scored in my career was working for a soft-core porn pulp magazine published by Screw Magazine’s Al Goldstein.

Today — even having achieved endorsements and praise on my writing from numerous doctorate-wielding university professors — academics with no publishing credits nearing my own in both popular media and academic journals, dominate conferences from the Independent Institute, Students for Liberty, CATO, the Reason Foundation, and conferences like PorcFest leaning to the left and FreedomFest leaning to the right — and I haven’t received a main-program-track speaking offer at any of these events for years.

I have friends like Brad Linaweaver — who holds a Masters Degree in English from the ivy-league Rollins College — who has real-world publishing credits as long or longer than my own. Academic achievement does not preclude real-world results.

But my disgust and contempt for supposedly libertarian publishers, conference organizers, and organizations that give out grants and awards for writing, publishing, and producing serious works encompassing free-market and libertarian ideas — preferencing academics over marketplace achievers like myself — makes me want to aim projectile vomit over their revanchist Old World Class.

This, alone, loses the libertarian future, and don’t think this autodidact doesn’t hate their guts because of their discriminatory lack of respect.

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When Law is Outlawed Only Outlaws Will Have Law


The title of this article reads like a Zen Kōan, the best-known being “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

I don’t mean my title as a mystery or a riddle. I mean it exactly.

You don’t need to focus on police killings of black men such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or Freddie Gray to conclude that there’s an underclass vulnerable to homicide under color of law. If we look no wider it’s facile to adopt a narrative that the Civil Rights movement failed to move the United States past institutionalized white supremacy, paradoxically at a time when Freddie Gray’s Baltimore has a black mayor and police chief and both the two-term current President of the United States and both the current and previous Attorney General of the United States are black.

The evidence alone demands we look further.

Spending a few minutes looking at the CopBlock project website tells us it’s not just black men who are on the business end of thuggish police. There is no race, gender, or age that is not regularly the subject of harassment and brutal tactics at the hands of law-enforcement officers — local, state, and federal. I’m not talking about bad apples generally unrepresentative of their departments, sadists failed to be weeded out. I’m talking about officers trained in official use-of-force policies that exonerate sworn officers when they use weaponry and tactics justified with the argument that any fear of harm to an officer exonerates lethal or barely sublethal violence for even the most minor offense or generalized suspicion.

This is the sort of official lawlessness under color of law that brings out news trucks, protesters, political hucksters, wannabe nihilist revolutionaries armed with bricks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails, fire fetishists to whom a burning building is orgasmic, and opportunistic looters.

There’s a federal law supposedly addressing this: Title 18 USC Section 242 — which can be found on the Department of Justice website:



Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.


Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

If this law alone was enforced, we’d be halfway to the restoration of law and order because the assumption of Sovereign Immunity that protects the police — a concept antithetical to the concept of an America freed from monarchy — would no longer shield the shielded from more obvious cases of officious criminality.

Nonetheless that kind of obvious lawlessness is the least of our current abandonment of law.

Justice in Blind

When in the Course of human events …

  • The Fifth Amendment is nullified and any non-cooperation or technically false statement to an official investigator can get one imprisoned — and Martha Stewart was neither black nor poor — there is no law and order anymore;
  • And when

  • Not complying with tax laws or mandated accounting;
  • Failure to return library books or failure to pay parking tickets;
  • Allowing your child to walk home from a park unaccompanied by an adult;
  • Non-compliance with any of hundreds of thousands of obscure and contradictory local, state, and federal regulations and paperwork;
  • Possession of substances or objects arbitrarily prohibited
  • Civil forfeiture of private property without a conviction of a crime, approved by the Supreme Court;
  • Death by drone, detention without charges, official spying without limit;

makes what is claimed as law a chute into court, seizure of one’s property, arrest, extortion into a plea, and imprisonment for even the top one-percent — much less the other 99% who barely scrape by and can’t afford expensive accountants and lawyers, or worse, the grave …

Then the claim we live under reasonable or fair law demanding obedience is a God damned lie.

We live in an age of patchwork customs and legality, some based on legislation, some from bureaucratic rule-making bought and paid for by lobbyists, some from court ruling and precedent forged by a class of professional philosophunculists.

Nobody is “equal under the law.”

Some people have established privilege and protection.

Some people have extra risk and liability.

Sometimes the difference is a yard or two crossing an imaginary territorial line.

Sometimes it’s race/class/gender/shifting popularity.

Sometimes it’s looking at someone powerful the wrong way.

Sometimes it’s just confusing, like whether a Native American has more brownie points than a Transgender or a Veteran.

It’s heaven-made for lawyers, a priestcraft who navigate our way through this established insanity for hundreds of bucks per billable hour.

It’s also confounded by statistics everybody knows which aren’t true and partisan divisions that are moving targets.

There is no law. There is only power and market and what Ayn Rand delightfully called the Aristocracy of Pull.

Equal under the law? There’s law?

You conservatives are just kidding, right — and you liberals are just in denial?

I never thought I’d see the day when Michael Moore, the filmmaker of Bowling for Columbine would agree with me that the reason for the Second Amendment is to arm the public so it can defend themselves. But Moore tweeted on April 30th, four days ago, “Next demand: Disarm the police. We have a 1/4 billion 2nd amendment guns in our homes 4 protection. We’ll survive til the right cops r hired”

Michael Moore tweet

When police commit crime under color of law, the law dies and the lawless rule.

Usually councils of business leaders are the most vocal supporters of police and government in general. How long will it take for business leaders to remember that the American Revolution of the 1770’s was supported by business leaders for the obvious reason that sending capricious and bureaucratic “swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance” is bad for business?

And if the costs of complying with evermore government regulation doesn’t wake them up to the cost of official lawlessness, could arson and looting trashing their businesses — following just about every instance of police lawlessness — possibly make the small business a revolutionary vanguard again?

When business relies not on government to provide law, but the rules of business itself to provide a stable market, we might get going a coalition to get our country back from those liars who claim that anarchists like me are the foes of law, when the opposite is true: the most dangerous enemies of law today are those who claim to enforce it.

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Making Liberty Go Viral

In the 1970’s, as a young radical-libertarian fiction writer, I had the thought: What If — instead of setting the struggle for liberty in the past, or on another world, or in a parallel dimension or alternate timeline or post-apocalyptic future — I played that story on streets barely changed from ones outside my own window?

I didn’t write Alongside Night to be another Atlas Shrugged or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I wrote it to say that you didn’t need to go to the Land of Oz if you wanted to see the wizardry of freedom. It could be right on the sidewalks you walked every day and you didn’t need any ruby or glass slippers.

I believe that in seeking liberty stories are far more important than either elections or marches. Ideas without the imagination to visualize them remain stillborn.

I knew right from the beginning that Alongside Night would have to be more than a novel. I wrote my first draft of a screenplay adaptation before the first book came off the printing press.

Today, Alongside Night is the novel which was its first expression; but it is now also a movie, a graphic novel, an audiobook, and a song. All versions tell pretty much the same story.

I tried and failed to get the major film festivals and Hollywood studios to put my movie onto hundreds or thousands of movieplex screens. They didn’t want it. Knowing their politics, in which sugar and safety rank much higher than liberty, that should not have been a surprise … but I’m always an optimist.

More disappointing to me were people whom I thought prized liberty as much as I do only to discover their conventionality and timidity when courageous imagination was needed.

I did meet some heroes along the way, too — both old friends and some new ones.

We who love liberty, whoever we are, have to get the word out ourselves and if they’re to be deeply ingrained not just words, but pictures, voices, music, and ideas.

Alongside Night is already in distribution as a novel, graphic novel, and audiobook. You can find all of those for sale on if nowhere else. In a few months the Blu-Ray and DVD of the movie will be just as available — we’re aiming at Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, and Redbox.

If you’re a blogger, a podcaster, or just have Facebook friends or Twitter followers — hey, maybe you even have a face, voice, or byline in the Big Media — you don’t have to wait. I just made a secret web page with links to watch the full Alongside Night movie, to read the movie edition of the novel, to read the graphic novel, and to listen to the audiobook.

If you want to write or talk about Alongside Night in any or all of these versions you just need to email me (jneil[at] or send me a Facebook message promising me you’ll keep the page and its links secret and I’ll give you the secret URL.

Yours in liberty,

J. Neil Schulman

Alongside Night The Movie

Alongside Night The Movie Edition

Alongside Night The Graphic Novel

Alongside Night The Audiobook

It’s the near future and America is in trouble. Hyperinflation and disorder reign in the towns and cities of the nation. The government doesn’t have money to pay the military. A revolutionary group inspired by the Declaration of Independence is fomenting a second American Revolution and the director of a futuristic FEMA is arresting political enemies without court-issued warrants and imprisoning them in a secret prison.

This is the nonstop action and suspense in award-winning indie filmmaker J. Neil Schulman’s latest production, Alongside Night, based on his award-winning 1979 novel endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and Dr. Ron Paul.

Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Said Faraj (Green Zone), Contact and Starship Troopers’ Jake Busey, Star Trek Voyager’s Tim Russ and Garrett Wang, Alien Nation’s Gary Graham, Men in Black 3’s Valence Thomas, Parks and Recreation’s Mara Marini, Lady Magdalene’s Ethan Keogh, Adam Meir and Susan Smythe, Kevin Sorbo’s real-life wife, actress Sam Sorbo, singer/songwriter Jordan Page, and real-life activist Adam Kokesh, as well as up-and-coming actors Christian Kramme, Reid Cox, Kyle Leatherberry, Rebekah Kennedy, Charlie Morgan Patton, and Eric Colton, this is a film far more current than The Hunger Games or Divergence series.

This is the story of Elliot Vreeland (Kramme), son of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Martin Vreeland (Sorbo). When his family goes missing and while being shadowed by federal agents (Faraj and Leatherberry), Elliot, with the help of his mysterious companion Lorimer (Cox), explore the underground world of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to find them. It’s a story of romance, intrigue, action, adventure, and exhilarating science fiction thrills.

“J.Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night is at the forefront of libertarian cinema.” — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly

“I’d like to mention to the viewers, hopefully when you get the chance take a look at this movie, read the book. Neil’s worked hard in the libertarian movement. And we’d like to move it along and get it a lot of attention because that’s exactly what we want to do on this program, on this channel, is to promote the cause of liberty and I believe Alongside Night will do that.”
–Dr. Ron Paul, Ron Paul Channel, June 16, 2014

“The story is, by turns, touching, suspense-filled, violent when violence was called for, highly polemic, and altogether satisfying.”
L. Neil Smith, The Libertarian Enterprise

“A movie dedicated to promoting liberty and warning about a too powerful government.” — Coos County Democrat

“Abundant professional talent …supported the making of this fine movie. The result is visually bright and stunning, laced and layered with great music and pregnant with the theme of the unquenchable human spirit seeking liberty.”
–Jerry Jewett, Mondo Cult

Alongside Night has been recognized as an important projection of near-future crises on such diverse mass media as Fox News’ Red Eye, ABC’s On The Red Carpet, The Ron Paul Channel, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Reason.TV, the Larry Elder Show, Las Vegas Weekly, the Libertarian Republic, the Sam Sorbo Show, and many blogs, local TV and radio shows, and podcasts. With recommendations from Ron Paul and Alex Jones to their millions of listeners and viewers this movie has a fan base eagerly awaiting it.

Alongside Night has had successful paid ticketed theatrical screenings in Santa Monica, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Spokane, WA; Apple Valley, MN; Schaumburg, IL; Lansing, MI; Okemos, MI; and Lehi, UT.

Official Movie Website

Official Facebook

Official Twitter

YouTube Short Video Play List

Alongside Night Freedom Poster

Las Vegas Weekly article by Josh Bell

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Citizenfour is a Real Life “John Galt”

Watching Citizenfour in its HBO premiere Monday evening, a day after it won the Oscar for Best Feature-Length Documentary, leaves me with the perception that I haven’t watched a documentary but a work of dramatic fiction.

This is not to criticize documentarian Laura Poitras for deliberately slanting coverage of her subject, Edward Snowden, toward the sympathetic. She’s entitled to an editorial point of view.

Edward Snowden. From Citizenfour
by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films

The trouble is with Edward Snowden, himself, as much in this film as in Brian Williams’ NBC interview with Snowden that aired in May 2014.

Edward Snowden explains his actions in terms common to fictional heroes, and when non-controversial characters like these are found in real life they’re usually decorated military, police, or firemen.

What makes Edward Snowden come across as a fictional character is that he as an individual – with no institutional backing – took unilateral action with global consequences and justifed his actions on moral grounds. In real life when this happens it’s usually a terrorist – a bomber, assassin, or violent psychopath – pitting his moral claims against a society he sees as wrong. But Edward Snowden is not a nut job, rather a sane and reasonable man who found himself with an unique opportunity to act against grand institutional criminality that he saw could not be corrected within an existing institutional framework.

That makes Edward Snowden the rarest of real-life characters: a noble and effective revolutionary.

In real life it’s exceptionally uncommon to find a man like Edward Snowden, facing felony charges of violating espionage laws, and living a relatively low-profile life in exile.

Edward Snowden reminds me of no fictional character so much as Ayn Rand’s John Galt in her novel Atlas Shrugged, an engineer who decides to sabotage a state growing toward totalitarianism, by first withdrawing his personal sanction then convincing others of talent and expertise to do likewise.

But Edward Snowden is not a fictional character out of Atlas Shrugged … or my own novel and movie about a current-day rebellion against the United States government, Alongside Night. He’s a real-life current day American Revolutionary in the direct tradition of the Founding Fathers.

Edward Joseph Snowden seems to be aware of his place in history. Reacting to Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris’s joke about treason directly after Citizenfour won its Oscar, Snowden quoted Patrick Henry: “If this be treason, make the most of it.”

Patrick Henry made that statement in 1765, eight years before the Boston Tea Party, ten years before Paul Revere’s ride and the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and 11 years before the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence triggering the American Revolutionary War.

Make no mistake: if America is not to degrade into totalitarian fascism then Edward Snowden is a harbinger of a re-upped American Revolution. His explanation in support of his having revealed what he regards as unconstitutional criminal acts by the United States government is based on the same principles as the Declaration of Independence’s explanations for refusing to obey the laws of Britain’s king and parliament.

Snowden is a hero to me because I share with him the libertarian values of the American Revolution and do not see anything short of a revolutionary refusal to abide violation of fundamental human rights under color of law as a remedy.

I don’t know what’s more frightening: that we have a real-life John Galt declaring in our own time the reasons for rebellion against a burgeoning American tyranny that betrays its Enlightenment foundations … or that we need one.

J. Neil Schulman discusses the legality, morality, and purposes of Edward Snowden’s revelations of classified government documents regarding massive government spying on American citizens in the radio podcast The Real Side with Joe Messina interview J Neil Schulman (December 16, 2014)

Citizenfour Trailer

J Neil Schulman is the author of 12 books, including three novels, and a Twilight Zone writer. He’s writer/producer/director of the near-future suspense feature film Alongside Night (out in a limited release), which he adapted from his 1979 award-winning novel of the same name. The Prometheus Hall of Fame novel was endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and Dr. Ron Paul

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Just because the government says so, doesn’t make it so

This appeared yesterday as an opinion piece in The Daily Journal, Vineland, New Jersey.

Daily Journal Illo

Daily Journal Editor’s note: Federal officials say Silk Road was an online anonymous black market for buying and selling illegal drugs. The FBI shut it down in 2013.

After watching the Ross Ulbricht trial kick off last week in Manhattan over his role in Silk Road, I felt compelled to share these views. As a Hollywood/Las Vegas-based novelist and filmmaker of “Alongside Night,” this story brings up a debate over online commerce and the dangers of too much government regulation.

Whether or not Ross Ulbricht is Silk Road’s founder, the Dread Pirate Roberts (or one of the Dread Pirate Roberts, remembering that in William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride” the Dread Pirate Roberts was a title for multiple pirates), the founder of Silk Road did in real life what the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre in both my novel and movie “Alongside Night” do: create, maintain, and protect a free marketplace from coercive interference by violent criminals, cartels, and governments.

This is not a coincidence since Silk Road’s founder wrote explicitly1 that “Alongside Night” directly inspired Silk Road. As the author and filmmaker, it makes me feel that my fictional story has real-world impact, and if done within the moral and legal guidelines as portrayed in my novel and movie scenario, I could not be prouder.

Just because someone with power declares an item of commerce contraband does not make it harmful or illegal. Recently the EPA, based on the mega-fraud that the natural plant-breathing gas carbon dioxide is harmful, outlawed the manufacture of wood-burning stoves. A blacksmith who made wood-burning stoves and sold them through a Silk Road-type of marketplace would be exercising rights the American Revolution was fought to establish but that the government violates.

Is selling marijuana wrong? Several states say using marijuana is fine for recreational use and many more say it’s fine for medicinal use. Yet the federal government, which is supposed to do only things listed in the Constitution, has several massive agencies to interfere with trade in pharmaceuticals — the FDA and the DEA foremost among them. Find the word “drug” anywhere among the listed powers in the Constitution. You won’t. They’re not listed in the Constitution. Therefore any act of Congress or regulation promulgated by the Executive Branch is null and void from its passage or declaration, and any enforcement of these illegal acts and regulations is abuse of power under color of law — a federal crime in Title 18 Section 242 of the United States Code.

Add marijuana to one more thing the government shoves into underground marketplaces like Silk Road, but which it has no business prohibiting in the first place.

How about selling untaxed cigarettes? A death penalty was just meted out by New York City police for that — before even an indictment, much less a trial or conviction.

Selling lemonade without a permit?

Selling farm-fresh milk that hasn’t been boiled?

Oh, but the people are too stupid to make their own judgments about what they should put in their bodies. We the enlightened elite know better and if you don’t do exactly what we say. Well, we already have more people in prison than almost any other country on earth.

Room for one more.

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”

Who said that? Look it up.

J. Neil Schulman

Writer, director “Alongside Night

J. Neil Schulman (based in Los Angeles and Las Vegas) is the author of 10 books, including three novels. He is the writer/producer/director of the near-future suspense feature film “Alongside Night” (out in a limited release), which he adapted from his 1979 novel of the same name.

1 footnote text

“I read everything I could to deepen my understanding of economics and liberty, but it was all intellectual, there was no call to action except to tell the people around me what I had learned and hopefully get them to see the light. That was until I read “Alongside night” and the works of Samuel Edward Konkin III. At last the missing puzzle piece!” —”Collected Quotations Of The Dread Pirate Roberts, Founder Of Underground Drug Site Silk Road And Radical Libertarian,”

Update February 4, 2015:

Wired Magazine: “Silk Road Mastermind Ross Ulbricht Convicted of All 7 Charges”

Ross Ulbricht
Ross Ulbricht
Photo Courtesy Ulbricht Family

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You Can Watch The Interview — Now What?

The Christmas Day release of Columbia/Sony Entertainment’s comedy The Interview in shows playing at over 300 sold-out theaters has demonstrated American consumers — of movies or politics — are smarter, and have more character, than comedian Bill Maher, economist Jonathan Gruber, or the major American movie theater chain’s executives believe.

In originally permitting the major theater chains contracted to show Sony’s comedy The Interview to cancel their contracts, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton acted not as the head of a movie studio promising stockholders to maximize box-office receipts for his entertainment division but instead acted as an agent of a nanny state determined to protect adults from any possible risks about what they consume.

It may not even be Lynton’s fault.

No doubt the CEO of a company owned by the even more anal-retentive Japanese Mitsui keiretsu was surrounded by corporate executives and lawyers haranguing him about legal liability for a “foreseeable” terrorist attack, making the theaters and studio more civilly liable than Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters were held to be for James Holmes’ unannounced 2012 attack on theater patrons seeing The Dark Knight in Aurora, Colorado.

In a country where jumbo soda pops traditionally sold in theater lobbies were attempted to be prohibited for sale in New York City; where a health warning on every pack of cigarettes sold for decades was not enough for tobacco companies not to have to recompense unhealthy smokers who decided to ignore the warnings; where a Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration deny adults the right to decide for themselves what substances will make life more tolerable for them, it’s not surprising that a threat from Internet trolls to attack theaters showing The Interview was enough to intimidate Sony into writing off tens of megabucks they’d already spent producing and ramping up distribution for a comedy they hoped would be a box-office bonanza.

But Sony reversed course, under criticism from such Hollywood insiders as George Clooney, President Barack Obama, and — amazingly enough — myself, being interviewed on Russia Today.

The Interview was not the first movie offensive to someone with a megaphone or a fondness for mayhem and it won’t be the last. It shouldn’t take the wagging finger of Your Hardly Humble Correspondent — much less Obama or Clooney — to convince a corporation not to back off due to threats from bullies such as Internet hackers or their own legal team.

The next “Putin’s Punishers” who threaten terrorism because of the pending theatrical release of Pussy Riot 2: Mayhem in Moscow can be ignored by the simple expedient of treating movie-goers as adults. After the MPAA rating card in the endless trailers before you can see the movie you bought the ticket to watch just put the Terrorist Rating:

Terrorist Rating

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Resisting Arrest

A short photo essay on resisting arrest.

April 19, 1775
April 19, 1775

Gandhi March to Sea
Gandhi March to Sea

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin

Tank Man at Tien an men Square
Tank Man at Tien an men Square

Eric Garner
Eric Garner

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So Far Down the Bunny Hole We Have Our Heads up our Bums

“The hallmark of both the ancient potentate and the modern imperialist State is the armed soldier demanding tribute to cross.” — J. Neil Schulman tweet, November 15, 2014

Work permits? Are you kidding me?

Libertarians just might be the last sane people on this planet. Anyone in modern discussion who accepts as reasonable such notions as needing papers to be “allowed” to work, or to cross from one country to another, or to be allowed within the borders of a “country,” is suffering from a pathological fear of the outsider — anyone “not of us” is by definition a danger and needs to be restrained.


There are two logically consistent sides in the ultimate debate on government. One side says there shouldn’t be any government — the anarchist. The other side says there should be only one government — the world federalist AKA the One Worlder.

Either way, ultimately the human species is one people and only a totalitarian such as in Hitler’s Germany or Stalin’s USSR or Mao’s Red China would demand “Your papers, please” to be able to cross from one town to another.

Republicans claim to favor “right to work” laws — then come out with their own lists of people whom they don’t want to be allowed to work legally. What hypocrites — just as bad as the Democrats who call anyone a scab who wants to work without joining a union.

I have unpleasant Enlightenment news for you political monsters: the right to work to put a roof over your family’s head and bread on the table without being molested by armed thugs — with or without helmets, Kevlar pajamas, and badges — is the beginning of all human rights.

And here’s a “Minority Report” bulletin for you courtesy of the late, great science-fiction author Philip K. Dick: “precrime” — the doctrine that the State can put walls around people who have not yet attacked others — is by definition totalitarianism.

Nine-11 has finished the United States as a free country. The paranoid excesses caused by a despicable megacrime — Orwellian titled “Patriot” Acts that have destroyed what made this country exceptionalist — the principles of inalienable human rights declared in its founding document and preserved in its Bill of Rights — have become dead letter law as “border” guards now interrogate travelers hundreds of miles from even a claimed national border, invade workplaces looking for workers without the government’s permission slips, and a Fox News coven of witches debate under whose authority — the President’s or the Congress’s — people may be allowed to live their lives.

I’m calling out Democrats and Republicans — almost everyone on the Fox News Channel — for debating how and under whose whip they wish to end freedom once and for all in what was taught to us in school as being the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

You totalitarian cowards bring up my bile.

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America’s Timeless Revolution

I wrote this on Facebook as a summation of a series of tweets I sent out today and copied to my Facebook wall — including links to both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

J. Neil Schulman @jneilschulman

Edward Snowden is mistaken. He did not break the law because unconstitutional acts or policies are void ab initio.

Snowden needs immunity to testify against his superiors who engaged in criminal violations of the American people’s constitutional rights.

The American people need not fear that opposing the government will lead to either anarchy or tyranny. We did this already and remember.

If you’re an American fearing for our country it’s time to re-read our founding document:

If you’re an American needing to decide between the government and Edward Snowden read our Bill of Rights:

Save Edward Snowden
Save Edward Snowden

This one is too long to begin on Twitter.

The United States of America was founded by revolutionaries. They were different from any revolutionaries that came after them — not as vengeful or bloodthirsty as the French revolutionaries that overthrew their monarchy only a few years later; not guided by junk economics as were the revolutionaries in Russia in 1917 nor those Marxist revolutionaries that followed in China, Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere; not the deluded revolutionaries that pledged absolute loyalty to the mad Adolf Hitler and his legions of human demons.

The American Revolution, despite its failures, was the only one based on the principle of the sanctity of the individual human life. It makes all the difference in the world.

We are faced today with government that abuses the people’s rights and liberties, makes promises it is inherently incapable of keeping, and which exercises despotic powers never granted to them by any fundamental document.

The founders attempted to provide safeguards for the people’s individual rights and liberties. Those have degraded over the centuries. One can look back and find the reasons why this experiment in republican government failed — the seeds of these failures were not a secret even at the time of the founding: slavery at the top of the list, subjugation of women following closely — willingness to abandon principle for utilitarian perceptions of advantage providing a centuries-long slippery slope — and finally counterrevolution by those who worship only empire and wealth.

The people’s house — Congress — was supposed to make sure bureaucracy did not make law. They failed.

The federal courts were supposed to keep government within its enumerated powers and protect the people’s rights. They failed.

The executive branch — the Presidency — was supposed to act only to protect the people’s individual rights and liberties. They instead substituted security and safety nets for liberty and violated the very job description to which they pledged their oaths.

This is not the first time on this continent that government has failed the people. The British monarch and parliament were once the government over the colonists — and when the people decided their rights were being trampled by their own government, they declared an intention not to allow that to continue.

John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence
John Trumbull’s painting, Declaration of Independence

The specifics of despotism do overlap with the causes stated in the Declaration of Independence but there are grievances that differ from those of 1776. The specifics aren’t as important as the same pattern of abuse.

I am a libertarian pledged to the Zero Aggression Principle and even in defense I do not advocate violence as the needful strategy to re-secure our liberties. I advocate non-compliance with evil laws and building resilient new institutions that can survive violent attacks by those despots who claim legitimacy drawn from founding documents they ignore and betray. No power not derived from those documents has moral authority and no power even based on a compact made by the dead can bind the living when the result is legalized murder, robbery, and replacement of decency with dictate.

Do not fear for the future of the American Dream. Though Americans have struggled over and over again to fulfill the promise of our founding principles, those principles are the universal Rights which those of conscious mind and right of independent action derive from our common nature — however that nature came to exist.

We have stood up against tyrants, criminals, and bullies for a long time now. Anyone who thinks we’ve forgotten — and some of us have — need to realize how simple and quick it is to remind the next generation the legacy left in their care … and why nothing they seek will make them happy if their liberty isn’t preserved first.

–J. Neil Schulman

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The Trap of Politics

Barack Obama spoke of teachable moments. Libertarians who imagine their beliefs can gain political traction have just had a teachable moment. It remains to be seen whether the lesson will be learned.

Jan Brewer Vetoes
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Vetoes SB 1062

Arizona Senate Bill 1062 that Governor Brewer just vetoed purported to reverse that aspect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination against persons a commercial business — such as for example, a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina — did not want to serve. The newer reasoning — this time not with blacks in its sights — was that if the Bible labelled homosexuality an abomination a believing Christian operating such a lunch counter could invoke religious belief as a legal excuse not to serve a same-sex couple.

This controversy comes up in weeks following the legal case of a wedding cake designer in Colorado who refused to craft a wedding cake for a same-sex couple — declining on religious grounds — who has now been court-ordered to make wedding cakes for all comers.

On the pages of The Libertarian Enterprise L. Neil Smith has written in an article titled The Auction Block Comes to Colorado that “It is precisely as if some judge tried to force me, a lifelong libertarian, to write essays in support of gun control or Marxism.”

Neil is correct. Once legal compulsion is established in principle to be used in compelling a private business to serve any customer regardless of the proprietor’s beliefs, ethics, or esthetics — any request for service where there is no right of refusal makes the proprietor a slave to the customer.

But here’s the other thing. Decent people who object to the right of refusal being invoked on the basis of various bigotries — skin color, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual preference — would rather live in a legal and political system that outlaws certain rights of refusal rather than working against such bigotry relying completely on the tortoise-slow uphill climb of argument, picketing, boycott, and writing novels, plays, and movies that combat bigotry with mind and heart.

Political involvement on behalf of an abstract principle of protecting a private right is a trap for libertarians, because when we invoke our standards on behalf of the scum of the earth we make ourselves the targets of decent outrage — and discredit our principles among those who see only short-term gain and not the long-term loss that undercutting principle enables.

The grandstanding statist always wins these arguments because principles are invisible and have no sex appeal.

If there’s a lesson here for the libertarian, it’s that principle is a black-market commodity. The State’s ripping away the right of discrimination makes discrimination piratical — but we must remember also to discriminate against scumbags — kick their miserable asses back to the State — when we practice our liberty in our clandestine agoras.

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