Monday, October 31, 2005

Good movie, abysmal history

The Legend of Zorro, which opened this past weekend in theaters nationwide, is good family fun. But parents should be warned: make sure your kids understand that despite what the movie indicates, the Confederacy did not exist in 1850, nor was Abraham Lincoln president of the United States in that year. To make its convoluted conspiracy plotline work, the Hollywood powers behind Zorro push the Civil War back a decade and show Lincoln giving statehood to California. Fillmore was president in 1850, and it was he who presided over California becoming the 31st state.

Getting ga-ga over AEON FLUX

The upcoming live-action movie adaptation of Aeon Flux, the old MTV sci-fi anime series, looks better and better. The film has a brand new website filled with goodies, including a boffo new trailer that’s got me excited about the film’s December 2 opening.

Aeon Flux, played by Charlize Theron, is a freedom fighter in the 25th century city-state of Bregna, ruled by a totalitarian congress of scientists.

Might Aeon Flux be a nominee in next year’s Hardyville Freedom Film Festival? We’ll see.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"If one takes care of the means..."

“...the end will take care of itself.”

Carl Watner is now offering a tremendous resource online; his collection I Must Speak Out: The Best of The Voluntaryist 1982-1999 is now available as an absolutely free PDF download, all 499 pages of it.

Voluntaryists, in case you’re unaware, believe that a nonviolent and stateless (totally free market) society is both moral and practical. They reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as irreconcilable with libertarian principles, and they work to delegitimize the State through education. They advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends. And for more than two decades, Watner’s published his terrific newsletter The Voluntaryist, from which the contents of this book originate.

I Must Speak Out is a goldmine. It contains almost 80 articles, including critiques of the State, voluntaryist strategies, ethical issues, and history. Many of the pieces are written by Watner himself, but other authors include Wendy McElroy, George H. Smith, Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, Harry Browne, and Walter Block.

I urge all readers of this blog to download this book and at least scan through it. It will shake you philosophically. Even spiritually. Get it from Carl’s site. You'll find lots of other great stuff there, too.

Agorism Contra Marxism, part 7

[This continues a multi-part summary of known existing portions of Samuel Edward Konkin III’s unfinished book Agorism Contra Marxism, which began, and ended, its serialization in Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance #2, 1982-83.]

Radical Libertarian Class Analysis

Murray Rothbard himself continued to expand upon Libertarian Class Theory. His roots in the Old Right had introduced him to populist “bankers conspiracy” theories and the like. Added class viewpoints came from Left-statists and earlier anarchists. What he discovered was that the proponents of ruling classes, power elites, politico-economic conspiracies, and Higher Circles pointed to roughly the same gang at the top of the sociological pyramid.

Rothbard introduced the work of three Left Revisionist analysts to Libertarian Class Theory: Gabriel Kolko, Carl Oglesby, and G. William Domhoff.

Historian Kolko’s Triumph of Conservatism detailed how “capitalists” thwarted the relatively free marketplace of the late 19th century and conspired with the State to become “robber barons” and monopolists. Rothbard’s adoption of the Kolko viewpoint severed the alliance between radical libertarians and free-market apologists for conservatism.

Oglesby, a former president of Students for a Democratic Society, co-authored Containment and Change in 1967, which argued for an alliance between the New Left and the libertarian, non-interventionist Old Right in opposing imperialistic U.S. foreign policy. In The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976), Oglesby tied in current assassination-conspiracy theories to present a division in the ruling class. Important for both Rothbard and Oglesby was the division within the Higher Circles; the internal conflict between those controlling the State manifests itself in political electioneering, corruption and entrapment (Watergate), assassination and, finally, outright warfare. Wrote SEK3: “The class consciousness of the superstatists, while high, does not include class solidarity.”

What were the “Higher Circles”? The term came from Domhoff, a research professor of psychology, who described them as a subtle aristocracy with similar mating habits and association characteristics previously seen in other holders of State power and privilege. Rothbard’s discovery and dissemination of Domhoff’s work provided a solid base for his Power Elite analysis.

In nearly every ruling-class theory, the top of the statist pyramid was occupied by David Rockefeller’s interlocking-directorate corporate control of U.S. and international finance and the band of Court Intellectuals and corporate allies found in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and lesser-known groups. Once a ruling group was identified, its nature could be examined further and its actions observed and eventually predicted.

To be continued...

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Zorro rules!

I haven’t even seen the new Legend of Zorro yet (we’re hitting the local 12-plex on Sunday afternoon), but I’m doing a Zorro-a-thon tonight at my house. Just me — Deb’s away — a single-malt scotch, and the DVD player.

First up, Rouben Mamoulian’s 1940 The Mark of Zorro, starring Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard, and the luscious Linda Darnell. This movie’s a freedom classic, so much so that it was a nominee in this year’s Hardyville Freedom Film Festival (Classics category). You know the story. Don Diego returns to 19th century Los Angeles from Madrid and finds the corrupt new governor taxing the peons literally to death. So Diego dons the mask to become Zorro and see that justice is done. It is. In spades. And I think the close-quarters swordfight between Power and Rathbone is still the best and most exciting swordfight ever filmed.

Next up is the 12-part 1939 Republic serial Zorro’s Fighting Legion. I intend to watch all three-plus hours of it tonight, if the scotch doesn’t finish me off first. I love old serials, and this one has always been my favorite. Zorro, played excellently by Reed Hadley, is joined by a band of freedom fighters to battle a fiendish, gold-armored villain who’s plotting an uprising among the Yaqui Indians so he can become Emperor of Mexico. Whew. The sword fights are so-so, but each episode, as expected, ends with a terrific cliffhanger, several of which Steven Spielberg ripped off for his Indiana Jones trilogy.

Now, if only I still had my old Zorro lunchbox from first grade (or was it pre-school?), everything would be absolutely perfect.

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Remembering Guy Williams (1924-1989)

No doubt about it, I'll be catching the new Legend of Zorro in a theater sometime this weekend. And Antonio Banderas -- as proved in 1998's Mask of Zorro -- wears the cape and hat admirably. But when push comes to shove, the Zorro, at least for my generation, remains the late Guy Williams, who donned the black garb for 82 half-hour episodes in the 1957-59 black-and-white Disney TV series. (Two full-length movies were stitched together from episodes of that show: The Sign of Zorro in 1958 and Zorro, the Avenger in 1959.)

Williams went on to play the dad on Lost in Space in the mid-1960s, but I never bought him in that role. I kept expecting him to put on a mask.

The question now is: when will Disney begin releasing the complete Zorro TV series on DVD? Hell, they've released almost everything else in their vault! (Even the controversial, non-PC Song of the South is scheduled for release on DVD next year.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Prophetic Rothbard

Murray Rothbard’s political insight — always filtered thorough his unique brand of Power Elite analysis — was never less than startling. And often prophetic.

Case in point: while I rummaged through old issues of Rothbard-Rockwell Report yesterday, I came across Murray’s postmortem on the 1992 presidential election (“The ‘Watershed’ Election,” January 1993). How, Rothbard asked rhetorically, did William Jefferson Clinton, the smirking, insufferable punk from Arkansas, so effortlessly seize the White House from the grasp of George Herbert Walker Bush? After all, following the Gulf War, Bush had looked like a shoo-in for re-election. But he seemed strangely passive during the presidential debates, unwilling to fight his opponents. He was holding back. For someone known as a gut fighter, Bush was struggling on the ropes. Why? Murray offered this theory:

Here I must advance the hypothesis, the fascinating possibility, that Bush deliberately threw the election. This possibility must not be ruled immediately out of court merely because “conspiracy” analysis is not fashionable. ...

Consider this possible scenario: George Bush enters the palatial office of David Rockefeller, Senior, the Godfather, capo di tutti capi of the Rockefeller World Empire.

“Sit down, George,” David says in the gravelly voice made famous by Marlon Brando as Don Corleone.

“George,” David begins, “let me tell you something: You are going to lose this election.”

“But Godfather,” protests George, “haven’t I been a good and faithful servant of the Family?”

“Yes, you have, George,” Rockefeller assures him, “but conditions have changed. Our multicultural friends demand another Leap Forward. So you’re going to lose; but George, it’s important that you lose with dignity, with honor. Nothing negative against Clinton. We don’t want to spoil his Administration.

“George, I can assure you,” Rockefeller tells the shaken Bush, “if you lose with dignity, your children will prosper. If not...” Rockefeller makes a cutting gesture across his throat.

All right: if this scenario is untrue, answer me this: Why was George Bush so darned happy on Election Night? Why were we depressed, but he, the ostensible loser, happy? The answer is that he was “relieved” that the whole thing was over doesn’t account for his joy. How about: relief that he hadn’t blown the deal and actually won the election?

Two years after Murray wrote this, Bush son George W. was elected governor of Texas. Four years after that, son Jeb became governor of Florida. And two years after that, George W., in a still-controversial election, became president in one of the tightest races in history. And then, unlike his father, won a second term (in another relatively tight race).

“George, I can assure you, if you lose with dignity, your children will prosper.”

Anyone else feel a chill?

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Left Libertarianism in a nutshell

“Could you summarize, in a nutshell, the meaning of a ‘left libertarian’?” someone asked me last week. He was requesting a PDF of Samuel Edward Konkin III’s pamphlet War or Liberty: The Real Choice. “I’m not quite sure I get the distinction,” he continued. “We (all libertarians) are all for liberty and against the state, aren’t we? We all merely want the ability to fully control our own life, right? How do ‘left libertarians’ differ from ‘right libertarians’?”

It became clear suddenly that the next classic SEK3 pamphlet that I needed to reissue was Introducing the Movement of the Libertarian Left. This pamphlet, first published about two decades ago, may be as close as we’ll ever get to Left Libertarianism “in a nutshell.”

Struggling for a Libertarian Left externally, we fight for radicalization of the libertarian movement internally. ... [W]e work to create a libertarian-influenced Left and a Libertarian left-wing; thus we are the Movement of the Libertarian Left.

I’ve minimally updated, edited, and redesigned Sam’s original Introducing the Movement of the Libertarian Left. And it’s now available from me free by request as a print-on-demand PDF file. As before, you can simply open the file with Adobe Reader, print double-sided as many copies of the pamphlet as you want, fold them into tri-fold brochures, then distribute. The pamphlet is black and white to keep your printing and photocopying costs as low as possible. But it looks great when printed on a colored paper stock. On the back panel, there’s space for your rubberstamp or a sticky label so those interested in further info can find you.

I received a lot of requests for the anti-war pamphlet PDF (which, of course, is still available). Introducing the Movement of the Libertarian Left is now likewise available by e-mailing me at Please indicate specifically which pamphlet (or pamphlets) you want.
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Sunday, October 23, 2005


This weekend, I read J. Neil Schulman’s novel Alongside Night for, oh, the eighth or ninth time in 20 years. And for the eighth or ninth time, I’m convinced again that it should be on every libertarian’s must-read list. My old Ace paperback is so ragged and yellowed, it’s probably only good for a couple more readings before the pages start dropping out. (I’m ordering a new copy.)

Three things bring me back to Alongside Night again and again. First, it’s a damn good story, and one I don’t seem to tire of. Second, it remains the only explicitly agorist libertarian novel ever written, based directly on the strategic and tactical ideas of my late comrade Samuel Edward Konkin III. And finally, it’s a tale of genuine optimism and hope that stands splendidly next to novels like Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day.

Briefly, Alongside Night is set in a very near future and details two mind-blowing weeks in the life of 17-year-old Elliott Vreeland. Elliott gets swept up in the final American revolution, joining black-market radicals to restore freedom (but not by “any means necessary”) and simultaneously rescue his family from a secret federal prison.

Remarkably, the book never gets preachy — a problem with a lot of political fiction. Rather, ideas are presented in characters’ actions and in snappy dialogue. You hardly realize you’re learning anything while you breeze through the story. But you are.

When anyone asks me, “But how will your so-called stateless society work?” I loan them my beat-up copy of Alongside Night — or send them out looking for a copy of their own. I haven’t heard any complaints yet.
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Just call him..."Jose"

I'm not seeing this reported too broadly in U.S. media, but it seems the CIA has announced the creation of a brand spankin' new intelligence agency to supervise CIA espionage operations and co-ordinate all U.S. overseas spying activities, including those of the FBI and the Pentagon. Who's heading up this new National Clandestine Service (NCS)? As No. 2 used to tell Patrick McGoohan every week on the old Prisoner TV series, "That would be telling." Apparently, the NCS chief's identity is available only on a "need to know" basis. He (or she) is an "undercover officer" and will be simply called "Jose," according to a BBC report. Jose will report directly to Porter Goss, the current head of the CIA.

Who says agents of the U.S. government aren't accountable to the American people, whom they allegedly serve?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Assessing the Imperial Presidency

I’ve refused to watch TV’s The West Wing for almost a decade. Likewise, I’ve so far avoided ABC’s new Commander in Chief, the dramatic series starring Geena Davis as the first female (and most adorable ever) U.S. president. But Gene Healy has both caught the show and written a great piece about it for Reason. He confirms my suspicions — Commander in Chief, like The West Wing before it, is just another contemporary Hollywood liberal descent into state-worship. Writes Gene:

“Perhaps it’s a mistake to try to glean political messages from prime-time television, but Geena Davis’s turn as a distaff Richard Nixon suggests that if there’s anything the left and the right can agree on, it’s the glory of the Imperial Presidency.”

For my money, the best Hollywood critique of the presidency was Oliver Stone’s 1995 masterpiece Nixon. Sure, Stone is usually a Left loony and Nixon was a box office dud, but this film is still a well-honed attack on Executive Power and a brilliant analysis of the workings and inevitable destructiveness of government. The movie’s only real fault is in rerunning the tired myth that a “watchdog” press brought Nixon down, when what really clobbered him were the counter-powers existing within the heart of what Stone calls The Beast (aka The State). The “Director’s Cut” DVD is essential. It includes two feature-length commentaries by Oliver Stone, a separate interview with Stone, and 28 minutes of originally deleted footage that’s been seamlessly reinserted into the film. One of the new scenes, a fictional but entirely plausible meeting between Nixon (played by the magnificent Anthony Hopkins) and CIA Director Richard Helms (an effectively oily portrayal by Sam Waterston), is one of the most chilling bits of cinema I’ve ever seen.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cthulhu fhtagn!

I mentioned last month that the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s film adaptation of “The Call of Cthulhu,” the centerpiece to HPL’s infamous Cthulhu Mythos ring of stories, was “in the can.” Well, my copy of the DVD arrived a few days ago, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in years. The 47-minute movie, shot during 18 months in backyards and warehouses in southern California, is cleverly presented as a silent film, just as if it were made in the 1920s, when Lovecraft wrote the story. With its flickering images, bits of phony dirt and fuzz on the print, old-time title cards, and a symphonic score that sounds like it was recorded and played back on flapper-era equipment, you’d swear on a stack of Necronomicons that this movie was made 80 years ago! It’s terrific fun.

The DVD also features a 25-minute “making of” documentary that is fascinating and funny as hell, a couple of slide shows, deleted scenes, “test footage” of the Cthulhu puppet (what, you expected CGI in a silent movie?), and even a few Easter eggs. This is a great package, and a real must for Lovecraft buffs. Order The Call of Cthulhu before Halloween and share it with the kids after the trick-or-treatin’ is through.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Agorism Contra Marxism, part 6

[This continues a multi-part summary of known existing portions of Samuel Edward Konkin III’s unfinished book Agorism Contra Marxism, which began, and ended, its serialization in Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance #2, 1982-83.]

Libertarian Class Analysis

Marx’s class analysis, with its recurring problem of the cross-class nature of statists and anti-statists, lies in shreds. Clearly, oppression exists, but another class model is needed to explain how it works.

The Libertarian Class Model advanced by Murray N. Rothbard is based on the relation of the individual to the State, which springs from Franz Oppenheimer’s paradigm of the evolution of the State. The sweep of history, Oppenheimer wrote, was a long account of the parasitic class continually transforming itself with new religions and ideologies to justify its existence and repeatedly hoodwink the productive class into serving it. As SEK3 explained:

“Today the State uses democracy (victim participation in his own plunder), liberalism (leash the State to make it more palatable), conservatism (unleash the State against ‘enemies’ — commies or capitalists, perverts or straights, heretics or orthodox believers, difference 1 or difference 2), and other nostrums, snake-oil or anti-concepts to beguile its victims into accepting continued plunder (taxation), murder (war and execution), and slavery (conscription and taxation again).”

Socialism, including Marxist variants, is just another dogma used to justify the State’s existence, and it is one of the most appealing.

Almost all libertarians accept that the State divides society into two classes: those who gain by the existence of the State and those who lose. Most libertarians also agree that society would be better off if the State were eliminated or at least shrunk significantly. But despite efforts of the late Rothbard and others to raise libertarian class consciousness, most American libertarians seem to find discussion of class theory offensive, “impolite,” and “not respectable.” They appear to believe that only right-wing kooks and commies talk about ruling classes and class structures. Nevertheless, efforts to expand Libertarian Class Theory into a comprehensive model have continued.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Four days and counting...

Hey, armchair libertarians! There are only four days left to watch a few more freedom-oriented movies, then vote for your favorites in the 2005 Hardyville Freedom Film Festival. Thirty-five movies are nominated in seven categories, and on November 1, Claire Wolfe (founder of the festival) will announce both a Judges Award and a Readers' Choice Award in each category. The deadline for casting your ballot is this coming Thursday, October 20. So rouse yourself from your afternoon nap and get thee to the link above. Happy v*ting!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

MLL pamphlet: "War or Liberty"

Since we’re working to build a new, vibrant Left Libertarian movement, I figured somebody should do it. It might as well be me.

This week, I’ve begun to reissue the long-out-of-print Movement of the Libertarian Left pamphlet series. Old comrades of Samuel Edward Konkin III will recall these great political broadsides, which Sam wrote and published intermittently in the 1980s during sudden bursts of energy. Without warning, you’d find a new MLL pamphlet in your mailbox, or at a libertarian supper club, or on a chair at a Bob LeFevre lecture. Each tackled a single issue — like taxation, nukes, revisionist history, inflation and depression, Counter-Economics, state education, non-voting — and they were terrific tools for political outreach to both collectivist Leftists and disgruntled Libertarian Party members.

During this unending “war on terror,” what the MLL needs right now is a hard-hitting piece of anti-war agitprop. So the first SEK3 pamphlet I’m making newly available is War or Liberty: The Real Choice. “War is the health of the State,” as our Left Libertarian granddaddy Randolph Bourne said. This leaflet soundly underscores Bourne’s dictum.

War or Liberty: The Real Choice — minimally updated and edited — is now a handy, print-on-demand PDF file, which I’ll send you on request. Your cost: nothing. You can easily open the file with Adobe Reader (a free download), print it double-sided, fold twice, and voila! you’ve got a nice tri-fold MLL pamphlet. The pamphlet is black and white to keep printing and photocopying costs low, but it’ll look nice on a colored paper stock. So next time you’re heading out to your local coffee house, or the nearest anti-war march, arm yourself with copies of War or Liberty and spread the Left Libertarian word.

At the moment, you can only get this PDF pamphlet from me by request. Just e-mail me at I’m hoping you’ll in turn pass the file on to others, or even make a download of it available on your own website. Do your own thing. Use it any way you want. I just hope everyone finds this pamphlet useful.

As Sam once wrote: “Isn’t this the way a Resistance should be run?”
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Economics of Fascism

I send monetary contributions to the Ludwig von Mises Institute about twice a year, and here's just one reason why: not only do they host groundbreaking and mindblowing seminars and conferences regularly, they offer them to us for FREE via their website. Last weekend, the Institute held an event titled The Economics of Fascism, featuring terrific educators and speakers like Ralph Raico, Lew Rockwell, Robert Higgs, Butler Shaffer, Roderick Long, Walter Block, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe (plus a dozen others). Well, both audio and video files from the whole weekend are now available for download at
"The word fascism is so often used as a swear word that we might sometimes forget that it really did exist as a system of political economy, and it continues to exist as a policy tendency. Like socialism, it took on different forms in different countries. Its spirit continues to exert a huge influence on the organization of economic life today."
Don't miss this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Digesting liberty

Has the immensity of the blogosphere -- particularly the liberty-oriented blogosphere -- got you down?

This seems as good a time as any to mention two great resources for those days when you just don't have enough time to survey all of your favorite blogs and websites yourself.

The first is Tom Ender's wonderful Ender's Review, a weekly digest of what Tom thinks were the best freedom-related articles, essays, postings, photos, humor, etc. from the prior week. I've made it a habit to check Tom's list every single Monday, because he so often finds the greatest stuff in the Web's smallest nooks and crannies.

The second resource is brand spankin' new. It's called, and it browses all the essential liberty-related blogs (including this one), pulling all the RSS and ATOM feeds together into one spot. It's the brainchild of "Tim Osman," and it's handy as hell. Give it a look.

Monday, October 10, 2005

They do! They do!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bringing Barsoom to the Big Screen

For more than 75 years, Hollywood's been trying to bring Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars to the screen. Disney tinkered with it as an animated movie way back in its Snow White days. Ray Harryhausen played with the idea at one time. Even George Lucas, it's said, was intrigued by John Carter before he launched Star Wars. In just the past year or so, two terrific directors have been attached to, then detached from, a John Carter project -- Robert Rodriguez and Kerry Conran. Well, a new director was announced recently and John Carter of Mars will most definitely, it seems, arrive in theaters. It's about time.

The film's director is now Jon Favreau, who directed the soon-to-be-released sci-fi/fantasy film Zathura. (I fondly recall Favreau as the gentleman who played Foggy Nelson so brilliantly in Daredevil.) The guys at Ain' have posted a lengthy interview with Favreau about his intentions for the John Carter movie. Best news is that he's an ERB fan. Favreau says he will "stay true to the books, keep it intimate. Keep it emotionally true. Don't try to turn this into something it isn't." This sounds very promising, especially to a Burroughs buff like myself. At one point in the interview, Favreau says:
"I know that my 4 year old... You know, I read John Carter to him when I put him to sleep at night and he's transfixed with it, even though he doesn't completely understand it. This is something that appeals to me not just as a filmmaker, but spiritually I think there is a really wonderful story to tell here."
So who will play Dejah Thoris? There's a danger that fanboy Wally will be talking about this upcoming movie a lot in the next year or so.

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General Zod in 2008

General Zod has finally announced his candidacy for president in 2008.

"When I first came to your planet and demanded your homes, property and very lives, I didn't know you were already doing so, willingly, with your own government. I can win no tribute from a bankrupted nation populated by feeble flag-waving plebians. In 2008 I shall restore your dignity and make you servants worthy of my rule. This new government shall become a tool of my oppression. Instead of hidden agendas and waffling policies, I offer you direct candor and brutal certainty. I only ask for your tribute, your lives, and your vote."

The General's presidential platform, a Q&A, and some press releases and news reports can be found at the Zod in 2008 website.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Smashing the Job Culture

I wish Claire Wolfe had written her new motivational how-to book How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You: Living a Life of Autonomy in a Wage-Slave Society sometime during my 16-year servitude to Corporate America. I might have saved myself a few years of the suit-and-tie routine, unproductive business meetings, back-stabbing politics, and daily two-hour roundtrip commutes to downtown L.A. But since I did eventually cut loose from what Claire calls the Job Culture by my own arduous methods, let me say that the advice she offers is top-notch. If you’re now a “wage slave,” this book will save you a lot of time planning your escape.

What makes How to Kill the Job Culture especially important is its role as a first-rate primer on the Left Libertarian (i.e., radical free-market) case against state-corporate capitalism. In a chapter titled “The Free-Market Case Against Jobs,” Claire writes:

“Submission to the endless rules of institutions is the same, whether those institutions are run from boardrooms or bureaucratic agencies. Obedience to authority is obedience to authority, no matter which authority we choose to bow before. Surrendering self-ownership is surrendering self-ownership, whether you give yourself up to Global MegaCorp, Inc. or surrender your authority over your life to Rule No. 762.32(A)(1)(b) of Federal Agency XYZ.”

Claire admits there are substantial distinctions between big government and big business, not the least of which being that we’re compelled to live under the coercive State but deal with big business voluntarily for the most part. But she argues simply and directly that

“Big, all-controlling government and the large institutions of the Industrial Revolution were born together, from the same roots, for many of the same purposes — to regiment, centralize, homogenize, and control. To succeed in their purposes, both needed to turn a population of rowdy, diverse individuals into a compliant, largely robotic, mass. And — it’s horrible, but undeniable — big government and big corporate institutions were created side-by-side as two facets of one increasingly formidable war-making machine.

“It didn’t ‘just happen’ that two allegedly diverse institutions came together for the same purpose at the same time. And it doesn’t ‘just happen’ today that those same institutions continue to reinforce each other in war and peace.”

The Job Culture, Claire asserts, weakens our free will. It instills in us an irresponsible “someone else will deal with it” mentality. Thomas Jefferson, she points out, distrusted not only big government and organized religion but also what he called the “pseudo aristoi” — wealthy, powerful individuals who made up the privileged business establishment. Writes Claire:

“The person who spends the majority of her years as ... a cog in a work wheel doesn’t have to go far at all to become a cog-in-the-wheel ‘good citizen,’ loyal to and dependent upon the largess and authority of the state, rather than on the principles of liberty.”

So how do we, as individuals, kill the Job Culture, fashion our own work environments, and ultimately shrug off the Corporate Welfare-Warfare State? Read Claire’s book. It’s “must reading” for those now living both inside and outside the Job Culture.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lew Rockwell: building alliances

Following in the coalition-building tradition of the great Murray Rothbard, our friend and fellow traveler Lew Rockwell spoke a week or so ago at a peace march and rally in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsored by the left-wing Alabama Peace and Justice Coalition. Lew acknowledged that his invitation to appear came from “leftists who rightly oppose the war but want big government to run the economy.” But he added:

“I accepted [their invitation] for the same reason I would accept an engagement to speak against taxes even if sponsored by a right-wing group that also favored the war and militarism.

“The opportunity to make a difference in favor of freedom should not be passed up, even if one’s associates have a mixed-up ideology. After all, most ideologies these days are mixed up, and have been for the better part of a century. ...

“In any case, I was glad to speak before this group, and they were gracious to ask.”

Much more gracious, it seems, than right-wingers at and, who began furiously attacking Lew this morning for both his speech and for extending a libertarian hand to the Left. Wrote Jacob Laksin in a piece titled “The Right’s Left Turn”:

“With its foam-flecked denunciations of the United States for ‘the evil of imperialism, the immorality of enslaving a foreign people, the malice of colonialism, and the intolerable brutality of authoritarianism,’ its paranoiac allusions to a dissent-crushing ‘state,’ and its unelaborated call for ‘resistance,’ Rockwell’s speech could have been given by any of the more literate ringleaders of the anti-war left.”

Laksin went on to attack as “a gathering ground for a querulous cult of libertarian-anarchist true-believers” that has begun “the migration into the territory of far left hysteria.”

Postings in response to Laksin’s article have run like this (I quote directly):

  • “[Rockwell] is obviously an idiot and with his world view he will never go further than being watched by a few other looneys.”
  • “[Rockwell] has always been in the tinfoil hat camp.”
  • “The subhead on their site [] reads, ‘anti-state, anti-war, pro-market.’ Sounds to me like they want anarchy, but in a capitalist sort of way. Does the irony totally escape them? LOL!”
  • “During my more sinister moods I believe [Rockwell] to be a Marxist plant roaming the net and perverting the concept of national self-defense.”

I don’t think any further evidence is needed to conclude that there’s no home for radical libertarians in the right-wing. That was determined more than three decades ago by Samuel Edward Konkin III, more than three years ago by Justin Raimondo at, and more recently by a rapidly growing number of agorists, georgists, and mutualists (i.e., market anarchists). I hope we’ll now see Lew Rockwell continue even more fervently his libertarian march out of the Right.

Leftward ho!

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Shake up the Hollywood collectivists

You've still got plenty of time -- until October 20 -- to cast a ballot for your favorite freedom-oriented movies in the 2005 Hardyville Freedom Film Festival. This year, there are 35 nominees in seven categories (Contemporary Dramas, Contemporary Comedies, Science Fiction, Action-Adventure, Animated Features/Family Films, Classics, and Foreign Language Films). You'll find the nominees listed at the link above, where you're also given the opportunity to vote.

Claire Wolfe, founder of the festival, will announce both a Judges Award and a Readers' Choice Award in November. So get the popcorn popped, sit yourself down, watch some DVDs, then vote.

Hell, this may be the only time you'll ever hear me advocate voting.

Still buzzing about SERENITY

There’s a lot of buzz about Whedon’s Serenity in the blogosphere right now. Over at The Time Sink, Scott Bieser reflects on his infatuation with the Firefly character River Tam. Actress Summer Glau, he writes, “reminds me very much of an 18-year-old girl I fell in love with during my second year of college. Amy wasn’t exactly like River, but then she hadn’t been tortured and maimed by Alliance mengeles.”

Meanwhile, B.W. Richardson offers some interesting news this morning:

“While I was disappointed that the film grossed ‘only’ $10 million its first weekend, I noticed this: A few weeks ago I checked the top seller’s list and was pleased to see the Firefly box set was No. 7 on Amazon’s science fiction DVD top seller list. The amazing news is that as of this morning, Firefly is No. 2 on the OVERALL DVD list. Not just in the science fiction genre, but overall. Only Disney’s Cinderella Special Platinum Edition is selling more DVDs for Amazon.

“What does this mean? My guess is that people who saw Serenity over the weekend loved it enough to shell out 35 bucks and learn more about this ’verse and these characters. And that, to me, bodes well for the future of this vision of the future.

“... It’ll be interesting to see if word of mouth keeps bringing people into the theater. Looks like a cultural phenomenon — or at least a cult phenomenon — in the making.”

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Can't stop the signal

You look all wrung out.

I am. I spent the weekend aboard Joss Whedon’s Serenity, the sci-fi western noir action suspense movie extension to his short-lived Firefly TV series. As Mal Reynolds might say, I’ve been rode hard and... Well, you get the idea.

So you liked Serenity?

Liked it? I loved it. I was thrilled by it. I was exhilarated by it. As a hardcore Firefly geek, I couldn’t be happier. As a fan of movie sci-fi generally, I feel the same elation I felt when I saw the original Star Wars on its opening weekend in 1977. Serenity is terrific.

If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?


Do you have to be a Firefly fan — or at least familiar with the TV series — to enjoy Serenity?

Nope. I saw it with adult friends and their two teenaged kids on opening day. None had ever heard of Whedon’s series before but had thought the trailers looked fun. They all thoroughly enjoyed the film and are now anxious to watch the Firefly DVDs. The theater audience Friday night contained some obvious fans, but the crowd was made up largely of the “uninitiated.” And there was hearty applause from almost everyone during the end credits.

Of course, Serenity will impact you differently if you are a fan of the TV show. On the other hand, my friends will now have many pleasant “aha!” moments as they experience Serenity’s back-story for the first time via the series. There’s really something positive to be said for both approaches to Serenity, as someone already familiar with Whedon’s universe and as a newbie.

Did the entire TV cast return for the movie?


I’ve heard that Serenity is really River Tam’s story and that no one else gets enough screen time.

River, played by Summer Glau, is central to the movie’s plot. So she naturally gets more screen time than most other cast members. But when you move nine much-loved characters from a TV series to the big screen, you have to expect that. After all, did Scotty and Sulu ever really get their fair share of screen time in the Star Trek movies? Let me just say that every cast member from Firefly has a memorable moment and/or a great line or two in this movie. For example, Shepherd Book, played by Ron Glass, may appear for less than 10 minutes, but his scenes are pivotal and heartwarming. If you love Shepherd, you won’t be disappointed.

So is this movie River's story or not?

If Serenity is any one character’s story, it’s really Captain Malcolm Reynolds’ [Nathan Fillion]. Mal’s got a choice to make. Does he put memories of the War for Unification behind him, forget his ideals (freedom and anti-imperialism), surrender a crew member to the Alliance, and remain content to spend the rest of his life avoiding trouble? Or does he take a stand and confront the enemy and its so-called “well-intentioned” plans for the universe? Where Firefly was about building relationships between the characters and flying under the Alliance’s radar, Serenity is about Mal’s decision to move forward toward liberty.

Are there horses in the movie?

No horses this time around, I’m afraid. But there are lots of Reavers. A whole shitload of ’em.

So we finally get to see what these cannibalistic people look like?

Yeah, kinda. You only get glimpses, but what you do see is pretty horrifying.

Any final thoughts about Serenity?

A couple. First, it’s really a gorramn miracle that this movie — springing from a TV series cancelled unceremoniously in mid-season three years ago — ever reached theaters at all. That Universal gave Joss Whedon the opportunity to make such a splendid movie starring no marketable big-name actors is itself astonishing. And Whedon didn’t waste a dime of their money. Second, Serenity is explicitly and delightfully freedom-oriented, as was its predecessor. It doesn’t hem and haw. It doesn’t mumble its message. It’s a powerful manifesto for liberty shot into thousands of movie theaters in one laser-bright blast. The child River Tam says to her teacher and classmates in one of Serenity’s brief flashback sequences: “People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk, we’re in their homes and in their heads, and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome.” You don’t often hear libertarianism expressed with more clarity than that.

One last question. Do Kaylee and Simon finally do the horizontal tango?



RUNtse de FWOtzoo, ching baoYO wuomun...

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