Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Dubya Eye Chart

Thanks to Laurence Vance. Download a PDF of the chart here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MLL's tactical guide is back in print!

Even in a digital era when we can carry favorite books on a Palm Pilot, there’s still comfort in being able to pull a cherished copy of, say, On the Road or Walden out of your backpack for quick reference. So it’s nice to finally have Samuel Edward Konkin III’s seminal New Libertarian Manifesto available again in hardcopy form. Since it first appeared in 1980, NLM has always been the strategic and tactical guide for Left Libertarians of the agorist persuasion. It is essential reading, and I applaud Victor Koman and KoPubCo, the original publisher, for reissuing it.

Besides the correction of some persistent typos from past versions and minor changes for the sake of clarity, this nicely bound trade paperback is NLM “as it was” two decades ago. As Vic says in his preface to this 25th anniversary edition, New Libertarian Manifesto remains “an historical piece of living theory that continues to grow to this day.”

But here’s the real benefit to picking up this new edition. Upon NLM’s first publication in 1980, SEK3 solicited criticism from the then-major, distinct poles of libertarian thought — Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, and Erwin S. Strauss. Those critiques later appeared in the premier issue of Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance (May 1981), accompanied by Sam’s responses. All of that fascinating material is now conveniently appended to the book. Very, very cool.

Order a copy of the 25th anniversary edition of New Libertarian Manifesto right here.

Our Enemy, The State

The Mises Institute has just added Albert Jay Nock's 1935 classic Our Enemy, The State to its online library for handy-dandy download. What's particularly nice is that this PDF is a direct scan of the 1946 second edition, which in turn was a reproduction of the first edition, and it includes a then-new preface by the great Frank Chodorov, patron saint of this blog.

Don't miss Our Enemy, The State. You can download it right here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Musings on L.A.Con IV

Jeezus, look like you’ve been frakked hard and kicked through an engine. Where you been?

Got home late last night from L.A.Con IV. Gotta say, I’m pretty wrung out.


Lots of fun. Lots and lots of panel discussions. And beer. And scotch.

So get to it. How’d the Hugos go?

Guest of Honor Connie Willis was a delightful master of ceremonies. And Bob Silverberg’s repeated comedic attempts to wrest control of the podium from her kept the event entertaining.

No, no...the awards! Any surprises?

Not really. None of the voting seemed to go my way, but I wasn’t disappointed with the results. Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin won Best Novel. It was my number two choice, behind John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, but Spin’s a great book, and it’s not undeserving of a Hugo. Besides, Scalzi copped the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, proper tribute for a guy whose debut novel is, well, so 21st century Heinleinian and something Campbell certainly would’ve serialized in Analog 40 years ago, had Scalzi been alive back then.

This’ll sound shitty, but I was pleased that Michael Burstein got his ass soundly kicked in two categories — Best Short Story and Best Novelette. I can’t figger how that guy gets nominated time and again. Who’s he paying off? His stuff stinks worse than a Reaver’s armpit.

Speaking of Reavers, I hear Serenity won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, beating out Narnia, Potter, and some other big contenders.

Yessir, and by a pretty big margin, too. I couldn't be happier. And best of all, Morena Baccarin — Inara herself — was there to accept the award for Joss Whedon. That was a monster surprise.

I was also pleased that the Doctor Who two-parter, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” won for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. That’s a very nice series.

How’d Morena look, by the way?

Cliché or not, even more beautiful in person than on the screen.

Serenity also nabbed a special Prometheus Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society at Worldcon, right?

Yeah, that was shiny. And it's the first time a film has won a Prometheus Award...ever.

Any other surprises at the Prometheus ceremony?

I guess not. Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World, which was also nominated this year for a Hugo, won Best Novel. I think it’s one of MacLeod’s lesser books, so I was rooting for The Black Arrow by Vin Suprynowicz. Oh well.

Wait a sec! There was a surprise. The graphic novel V for Vendetta won the Prometheus Hall of Fame award. But that wasn’t the surprise. The surprise was that V illustrator David Lloyd was on hand to pick it up...and he gave a fine acceptance speech, by the way. And since there were probably fewer than 25 of us there for the ceremony, I got a chance to talk with David for awhile. A handful of us even went downstairs to the Hilton’s bar for a drink with him afterwards. Very cool.

Any other highlights?

Hmm. Watching Connie Willis defend Peter Jackson’s King Kong against a mob during the “Three Ages of King Kong” panel was entertaining. Marina Sirtis spun some interesting yarns about her years on Next Generation, and Walter Koenig gave a good talk about life as an original Star Trek crewmember, as well as his time spent on Babylon 5. Actor J.G. Hertzler, best known as Klingon General Martok on Deep Space Nine, showed up late for a military sci-fi panel dressed in a homemade “contemporary fascist” uniform and ranted about Dubya until he was shouted down by a member of the audience; fellow panelists Joe Haldeman and John Scalzi seemed pretty uncomfortable.

And of course there was Harlan Ellison. Harlan’s been the Lewis Black of sci-fi conventions since before there ever was a Lewis Black. He never disappoints. His talk on Saturday afternoon was typically four-lettered, pissed off, and terrific fun. Harlan announced during that talk and again at the Hugo ceremony that this was his last con. He said he’s 72, been doing the convention thing since 1951, and he’s tired. No wonder. Following his lecture, Harlan spent at least four hours autographing. The old softie didn’t turn anyone away. Not a soul.

Before we cut this off, I hafta ask about the parties.

I spent more time in the Hilton and Marriott bars than at parties, but I did peek in on Escape Pod’s shindig, where I had a nice though short chat with podio novelist Patrick Wayne Selznick. And I stopped at one Browncoat party. I also made a brief appearance at the frefen gathering in Brad Linaweaver’s room at the Hilton on Friday night. I shared a few pleasantries with Vic Koman and Kent Hastings, then had Brad sign my review copy of his new book, Post-Nationalism: George W. Bush as President of the World. Brad wrote this to me: “Wally, I woke up!” I’ll write more about that after I read the book.

Anything else?

Yeah. I’m going to bed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm off to Worldcon 2006 (Anaheim, CA)

I'll be back next week with reports on the Hugo and Prometheus Awards, and even a Browncoat party or two. Until then, keep shiny.

Wisdom from a Starbucks cup

Years ago, whenever I started reading a book, I felt obligated to finish it — whether I enjoyed it or not. As a result, I read a lot of crap to the bitter end and missed out on a lot of great novels. In the years since I turned 40, I’ve left more and more books unfinished.

This afternoon, I found a quote on the side of my Starbucks cup that details perfectly my current personal reading program. It’s from librarian Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust:

“Life’s too short to read a book you don’t love. At age 50 or younger, give a book 50 pages to see if you like it. Over 50, subtract your age from 100 and that’s the number of pages to read before you bail on a book you’re not enjoying. And when you turn 100, you get to judge a book by its cover.”

Good advice.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Grumpy about voting

I’ve been taken to task many times in the past — and most recently on the Left Libertarian Yahoo! e-list — for being cranky and “copping an attitude” about radical libertarians who participate in electoral politics. Well, yeah...I do think so-called anarchists who rely on electing politicians to “liberate” them are not only unimaginative but philosophically inconsistent. However, that doesn’t mean that some of my best friends aren’t voters.

Anyway, on the abovementioned list, I was challenged yesterday to provide links to articles explaining the non-voting argument. I’m not sure how well they do that job, but here are three pieces I’ve written on the subject in the past few years:

The Anti-Electorate Manifesto

Ten Things To Do On Nov. 5...Besides Vote

“But Whom Will You Root For?”

And I’ll also toss in two non-voting classics: Bob LeFevre’s Abstain From Beans and George H. Smith’s Party Dialogue.

Remember, comrades: If it’s humiliating to be ruled, how much more humiliating is it to choose your own masters?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Your Che poster looking tired? Hang this!

Outrage your so-called "liberal" friends and family members by displaying this magnificent poster of honest-to-gawd real liberals! Hell, this poster will even make neocons shudder.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Robert Heinlein...fascist?

This particular paperback edition of Starship Troopers was my introduction to Robert Heinlein in 1969, when I was in the ninth grade. Plotless as it is, the book has remained one of my favorites, and without apologies, I’ve reread this military sci-fi classic many times.

Frequently, people have argued with me that Troopers is fascist. Well, I won’t deny that many of its ideas are, to a radical libertarian like myself, problematic. But fascist? Nah. In fact, in an excellent retrospective review of the novel posted just a few days ago, John C. Wright addresses that charge rather well. Here’s a taste:

“I must pause to say a word, or, rather, clear my bowels, to answer the notion that this book is fascistic, or that Heinlein was a fascist for writing it. The charge is too stupid to merit an answer. My whole rebuttal to this consists of a rude noise from my buttocks, and in so doing, I have equaled or excelled the intellectual endeavor of those who bring this charge. This tale takes place in the mere opposite of a fascistic background: a democracy where anyone of any race, Jew or German, may vote, once he serves his time. The free enterprise in the system is not dependent on citizenship, nor is there any evidence of state control of the economy, state-welfare, collective ownership of factories, or any other aspect of fascism, naziism, or totalitarianism. Oh? Are you puzzled that I am mentioning state control of race relations and economics when discussing fascism? My comments are only meant for those who know what the word ‘fascism’ actually means, not people (and you know who you are) who merely use it as a swear word to describe political opinions you have not the civility to rebut honestly.”

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The myth of "public panic"

In weeding through news about yesterday’s “thwarted” terrorist plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners, I was struck by this: government authorities and media appear panicked; everyday people do not. In fact, the general reaction to heightened airport security and the ban on “liquids” in luggage is one of understandable annoyance, not panic. This further quashes the Myth of Public Panic promoted by the State and its lapdogs during the so-called “War on Terror.” Just a month ago, sci-fi author/scientist David Brin effectively stomped on this myth in a blog post. Read it here.


The 1949 movie adaptation of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead has never been released on DVD...until now. Warner has just announced a November 7 release date, and I couldn't be happier. Granted, there are plenty of problems with King Vidor's film. It tries to stuff a mammoth story into less than two hours. Gary Cooper manages to play Howard Roark even stuffier than Rand wrote him. And, not surprisingly, the movie's got a lot of windy speeches to sit through. But I'm still genuinely fond of this old classic, and Patricia Neal was the perfect Dominique Francon. Hubba hubba!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

World's Smallest Agitprop

Thanks to Brad Spangler, teeny-tiny, business-card-sized "flyers" for the Movement of the Libertarian Left are now available at MLL Online. They come in two different designs and three different formats for free download. Grab 'em, print 'em, and distribute 'em. Very cool. The direct link to them is right here.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I’d never heard of the late Jean-Pierre Melville until five years ago, when I saw his 1951 noir gangster masterpiece Bob le Flambeur at a local film festival. It was the best movie I saw in 2001. Since then, I’ve seen other Melville classics — Le Samourai (1967), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and Un Flic (1972) — and I was thrilled a few weeks ago to hear that after more than three decades, his 1969 movie about the French resistance to Nazi occupation, L’Armée des Ombres (Army of Shadows), was finally released in the U.S. and would be playing in a theater just a few miles away.

Army of Shadows practically blew me through the back of the auditorium and into the snack bar. It's gut-twisting, unrelenting, and uncompromising. Even 37 years after its original French release, it kicks the shit out of every other film I’ve seen so far this year.

Saying this movie is about the French Resistance is to shortchange it. Army of Shadows is a cinematic textbook about resistance...period. Its lessons: Resistance against tyranny isn’t romantic. It isn’t swashbuckling. It isn’t glorious. Rather, it’s lonely. It’s tragic. It’s pushing the envelope further and further, taking it as far as you can. It’s often hopeless. Too frequently, it’s about betrayal. Heartbreak. Impossible choices. And it usually ends in death.

There are absolutely unforgettable, devastating moments in Army of Shadows. Here’s one:

An operative named Felix is captured and tortured by the Gestapo. A plan to rescue him is doomed to fail, and freedom fighter Jean François seems to back out of the operation and disappear in disgrace. But what Jean François has actually done is send an anonymous letter to the Gestapo, exposing himself as a member of the resistance. His plan is to be arrested so he can smuggle a single cyanide pill to Felix in order to end his comrade’s pain, even though he will himself face torture. None of Jean François’s associates will ever know of his sacrifice for a friend.

Here’s another:

Operative Phillippe Gerbier is captured. He and seven others are lined up at the end of a long tunnel by the SS. The prisoners are told they may begin running to the other end of the tunnel before the machine guns start firing. Whoever reaches the far wall will be spared execution — until the next day, when the process will be repeated. Gerbier, believing he’s finished, decides not to run and play the Nazis’ game. What finally occurs is surprising and haunting.

Army of Shadows is dark, but its soul is filled with self-assurance and courage. If you think the only libertarian “must see” film this year is V for Vendetta, you’re wrong. See this one.

MLL Online launches

Comrade Brad Spangler, who is almost single-handedly rebooting to tremendous effect the Movement of the Libertarian Left, has launched MLL Online. Soon, we all hope, it will be the one-stop shop for radical libertarian activism. Check it out.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm planning ahead for Worldcon

I'll be in Anaheim, California, for L.A.con IV, the 64th World Science Fiction Convention, August 23-27, staying at the Anaheim Marriott. And my hope is to meet up with as many frefen, anarcho-astronauts, and browncoats as possible during that time. If any of you plan to be in Los Angeles for the event, I'd welcome an email. Maybe we can find time to grok, get shiny, share a coffee or a scotch, and plot secession from the known 'verse.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Congratulations, Violet!

Milla Jovovich, my favorite cinematic freedom fighter of 2006, has been nominated in the first annual Spike TV SCREAM Awards for Ultraviolet. Appropriately, she’s nominated in the “Best Flesh Scene” category. The ceremony, which will be taped in Hollywood on October 7 for airing October 10, is the first televised event to celebrate horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books. Set your Tivos...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Launching a meme

This particular meme tag is now making the rounds through some of the sci-fi blogs, and it caught my fancy. No one’s tagged me with it, but I thought, why not launch it myself among my comrades? Here we go...

One book that changed your life

Optimism One, by F.M. Esfandiary

One book that you have read more than once

Hell, I’ll name four:

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester
Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson

One book that you would want on a desert island

The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

One book that made you laugh

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, by Gary Paulsen

One book that made you cry

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, by Gary Paulsen

One book you wish had been written

How I Fucked Up, by John Maynard Keynes

One book you wish had never been written

The Social Contract, by Jean Jacques Rousseau

One book you are currently reading

The Haunted Air, a Repairman Jack novel by F. Paul Wilson

One book you have been meaning to read

Macrolife, by George Zebrowski

Now tag five people

Warren Bluhm
Roderick T. Long
B.K. Marcus
Wendy McElroy
Brad Spangler