Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bringing libertarianism to Sherlockians

Our local Sherlock Holmes society, the Blind German Mechanics, meets tonight to discuss “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.” This story, first published in 1904, details Holmes’ struggle with a notorious blackmailer, “the worst man in London.” I plan to share Walter Block’s article “The Blackmailer as Hero” (Libertarian Forum, December 1972) with my fellow Sherlockians, particularly this passage:

“The only difference between a gossip and blabbermouth and the blackmailer is that the blackmailer will refrain from speaking — for a price. In a sense, the gossip or the blabbermouth is much worse than the blackmailer, for the blackmailer at least gives you a chance to shut him up. The blabbermouth and gossip just up and spill the beans. A person with a secret he wants kept will be much better off if a blackmailer rather than a gossip or blabbermouth gets hold of it. … It is indeed difficult, then, to account for the vilification suffered by the blackmailer, at least compared to the gossip who is usually dismissed with merely slight contempt.”

Should be an interesting evening.

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