Archive for November, 2009

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Stomping Out Dancing


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Selling Your Soul.


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 5: Stomping Out Dancing

When I was a small child — through around age seven — I was as physically active as most normal children. I ran, jumped, played outdoors with my friends. I was not overweight and I don’t recall having any less physical energy and stamina than the friends I played with. But just a few years after that I was overweight, had no physical stamina for running, and compared to the kids around me I had little upper body strength. I’ve never been able to do push-ups, pull-ups, climb ropes, and my one attempt to do overhand bars resulted in my falling, hitting my head, and losing consciousness. Frankly, I don’t know how to account for what happened to me, but I do know that for most of my life physical activities that require stamina and wind have been challenging for me.

No, I’ve never been diagnosed with a breathing disorder such as asthma.

Ironically, I’m otherwise gifted at physical coordination. I have good hand-eye coordination. I’m a good shot with both rifles and handguns, and the first time I had a shotgun in my hand I hit four out of five skeet clays launched for me.

When in ninth grade I tried out for my junior-high-school’s basketball team, I was as good or better than anyone else in the try-outs at sinking baskets. But I couldn’t make the team because after only a few seconds into court play I didn’t have the wind to continue.

I did a little better at boxing because I could learn and use combinations effectively. But if I couldn’t beat my opponent quickly it was over for me: I’d simply run out of breath and have to give up.

These limits on my capacity for physical exertion meant that I could never become an expert dancer. When I think about this it’s painful. It may be one of the few actual regrets I have in my life. Because of this, if there has been any envy in my life, it has always been for dancers even more than for accomplished musical instrumentalists.

Because my father was a violinist, classical ballet music became some of my favorites; but I always hated watching ballet on TV. I thought it was ballet dancing I hated. It took me years to discover — and only when in my thirties I first attended a live performance at the New York City Ballet — that the reason I hated watching ballet on TV, and thought it was ballet itself that I hated, was that TV directors told the camera operators to stay close on the dancers and track them across the stage. In other words, all the choreography was lost to me because I couldn’t see the full stage. It was probably the low-resolution of American television which made this necessary, but in my opinion only large-screen HDTV can show ballet the way it needs to be seen: by locking a single camera on the whole stage and simply televising what someone seated in an orchestra seat would see.

So, I discovered late in life that, despite it largely being a spectator sport for me, I love even ballet dancing. Including figure skating.

And, for the record, I also love show tunes. If it weren’t for the fact that I have zero interest in sex with other men and am obsessed with wanting to have sex with women, I’d make a pretty good gay man. I think this makes me what lately has been called metrosexual.

I passed through puberty in the early 1960′s, close enough to the 50′s that it was still expected that a young man should learn ballroom dancing. In seventh grade, after school, I attended a class in which I was taught — among others — the Foxtrot, the Waltz, the Tango, and the Mambo. In fact, on the day of the big Northeastern Power Blackout on November 9, 1965, I was in my dance class when the electricity went out.

But the 60′s was also the decade in which traditional ballroom partner dancing was largely replaced at social functions by free-form solo dancing: the Twist, the Frug, the Swim, and the Hully Gully. I never warmed much to the change. It was the romantic in me. Why would I want to be on a dance floor by myself instead of holding a girl in my arms?

Which brings us to the recent case of high-school senior, Tyler Frost.

In May, 2009, Tyler Frost, a senior at Heritage Christian School in Findlay, Ohio, was suspended from his school because, after being warned not to, he defied his school’s ban on dancing and took his girlfriend, Rebecca Smooty, to Findlay High School’s prom.

Heritage Christian School is a private Baptist school that bans dancing, rock and roll, and hand-holding.

Suspended for going to another school’s prom. The Baptists running the Heritage Christian School might as well be the Taliban.

I’m a solid believer in God, but self-righteous Christians and Muslims who make music and dance their nemesis are my enemy and should be the enemy of all freedom-loving Americans. Just because they conduct their jihads without taxpayer funds doesn’t make them any less vile.

The fanatic Baptist hatred of music and dancing isn’t new. The wonderful 1984 (1984!) movie Footloose fictionalized a story of Baptist-controlled Elmore City, Oklahoma, which through 1980 had a city ordinance banning dancing. This wasn’t just a private school enforcing its dogmatic policies on one of its students. This was an actual American city whose tyrannical blockheads used the police power of government guns to enforce their theocratic prohibition of a major form of human self-expression.

Oh, but surely the federal courts will protect us from such theocratic laws?

Guess again. The town of Purdy, Missouri also banned dancing. A lawsuit was filed against the town in federal court — Clayton v. Place — which reached the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court upheld the town’s right to ban dancing — and both a request for a re-hearing and an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States were denied.

The right of a town to ban dancing is established federal law in the United States of America.

And some might wonder why I consider the religious right just as much a threat to human liberty as the secular left.

No, the Baptists weren’t the first to ban dancing, nor are they the last.

If you watch another 1984 movie Amadeus — 1984 again? Hmmm! — you learn that 18th-century Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II — a secular autocrat considered hostile to papal authority — nevertheless had to be convinced by Mozart (and possibly in real life by Salieri) to rescind his ban on ballet dancing within operas.

But it wasn’t just ballet that has inflamed the guardians of public morals. It was also ballroom dancing.

When the Waltz spread from Austria and Germany to England and France in the early 19th century, The Times of London in 1816 wrote, “‘National morals depend on national habits: and it is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies, in their dance, to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adultresses we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced upon the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”

The reason dancing is threatening is that dancing is sexual. Oddly enough, the sexuality of dance was used as a substitute for sex, itself, by the 19th century Christian sect, the Shakers. I’ve visited Shaker Villages in New England. These are historical preservations because there aren’t any Shakers anymore. They refused to have sex and died out. In my view that’s taking the love of dancing just a dance step too far.

Other ballroom dancing — particularly the Tango and the Lambada — have provoked similar reactions.

Islam doesn’t allow dancing between unmarried men and women, nor dancing intended to arouse sexual passion.

So the banning of dance is just one battle in the War on Sex.

Which I’ll discuss further in my next chapter.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter VI: Go Kuck Yourself!

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Human Holocaust Movement — A Non-Conspiracy Theory

I’ve written for The Twilight Zone.

You’d think being a science-fiction and fantasy writer would make it easier to believe things that seem impossible on the face of them, but it actually makes it harder.

Oh, since I’ve already written about things I believe to be true that my atheist, skeptic, and Doubting Thomas friends think impossible, I’ll understand if you don’t take this on faith. But from inside myself, I can tell you it’s a major struggle every time I have to come to terms with something that outrages my common sense, my connection to everyday reality, and my reason.

One of the things I tend to be most skeptical about is a conspiracy theory. It’s not that they don’t exist. They do. “Conspiracy” is an actual criminal charge that can be filed against people who can be linked to a crime. In fact, there’s not only a criminal indictment for being a conspirator before the fact, there’s also one for being a conspirator after the fact — that is, being a part of a cover-up.

Conspiracy in the political sense is also quite common. Every coup d’état in history began as a conspiracy. Most aboveboard political organizations, political parties, political action committees, lobbying groups, and special-interest groups have private strategy sessions not open to the public, with discussions not recorded by a secretary, and with reporters not invited. Think tanks often meet in private for free-wheeling discussions that would be embarrassing if some of the more bizarre discussions were made public. Policy organizations have their private sessions, and elected officials often meet off the record with both official and unofficial advisers and consultants.

Private business executives often discuss business off the record, out of earshot of shareholders or regulators. Sometimes rich and powerful people just like to get together with other rich and powerful people to try to move the world in a direction they think it should go. Poor and powerless people also do this, but unless they have unusual perseverance it usually doesn’t get as far.

Finally, there are the actual classified military operations and clandestine intelligence services whose work by definition is secretive.

None of this is what is usually meant when we talk about Conspiracy Theories — the idea that there is some long-standing Secret Society that is the Shadow Government, or Power Behind the Throne, or the Ruling Class, Power Elite, New World Order, or Illuminati. Some of these conspiracy theories are simply the belief that powerful entities from the past are still running things, whether it’s the belief that the Queen of England is a drug lord, or the Pope is behind the Jews, or that Communists had to go to Kenya in 1961 to find a black baby they could raise to be elected President of the United States as their super-secret-agent 47-years-later.

Then there are the Conspiracy Theories that require even more imagination: UFO’s landed a long time ago (or were our progenitors) and They are among us, behind the scenes, manipulating everything that goes on.

And it would be unfair of me not to bring up the common belief of many Jews, Christians, and Muslims, that entering our world from other realms Angels and Demons fight secret battles that influence our lives.

I believe there are conspiracies in the mundane sense all the time. Conspirators compete against other conspirators, and while some win, others lose.

Most successful conspiracies require military discipline — only those who “need to know” are told anything, and only precisely what they need to know and no more. More than that and you get leaks. And the longer the plan takes, the more likely it will implode on itself due to accidents, incompetence, changes of heart. Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong it will go wrong.” Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, gang aft agley.”

Or, more simply: shit happens.

But sometimes things happen in overall patterns that look just like conspiracies but happen so openly that you have to wonder if it’s not just contagious ways of thinking. Richard Dawkins, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, postulated that ideas he called “memes” could be spread by human cultures in the same way “genes” could spread throughout species.

I think I’ve identified such an idea, and I think it operates as a mostly unspoken premise behind many of the most powerful political movements today. It is present in one form or another on both the political right and the political left, but it appears in such different forms that it’s hard to recognize it as a common pattern. But once the pattern is identified, I think it’s almost undeniable because all the evidence is openly visible.

The idea is this: the human race is doomed … and must be doomed.

A tent-pole studio movie currently in theaters, 2012, takes a fanciful interpretation of the Mayan Calendar and shows us the destruction of the earth. This is standard literary and dramatic fare, although usually a small, intrepid group of humans manages to survive the overall destruction of the human race, whether it’s from an astronomical collision with some extraterrestrial body hurtling toward us, or our lack of ecological sense destroying our environment, or our failure to curb total warfare due to our building Weapons of Mass Destruction, or something goes wrong with the Sun, or the Earth’s Core, and so forth. Or maybe it’s a plague of Zombies that gets us, or Invaders from somewhere else. Whether through natural disaster, or enemies bigger and badder than we are, or our own bad habits, the disaster novel and the disaster movie are solid constructs of the human imagination.

Our most common religions in the Western World — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — all have their end-of-the-world scenarios. The Rapture, the Apocalypse, Armageddon, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the destruction of Heaven and the creation of a New Heaven are all prophecies from the Book of Revelation sincerely believed by many Christians … including the most recent Vice Presidential Candidate of the Republican Party, who’s now on a book tour promoting her new autobiography. One has to wonder how such beliefs can be kept out of foreign policy discussions regarding Israel when theology demands that Israeli Jews accomplish certain specific tasks before the Christian Savior can return.

But the left is not only filled with its own apocalyptic theories, I would say these theories have entirely conquered and now dominate the original Marxist, anarchist, and labor-movement theories that used to propel leftist activism. Marxism was a theory of worker empowerment and escape from economic exploitation, anarchism of human freedom from all forms of domination and exploitation, syndicalism of direct worker take-over of the means of production. But all of these movements on the left were, in theory, life-affirming and looked forward to utopian human societies here on earth. They might have wanted to destroy capitalism, but the object was always to replace capitalism with a workers’ paradise. In theory, at least, they were humanists.

Even when the left identified class enemies and attempted to eliminate them — capitalists, kulaks, the bourgeoisie, anarchists, Trotskyists, deviationists, the Jews — these unwanted human beings were always intended to be replaced with a better class of people: New Communist Man.

The Old Left did not have, as its enemy, the human species, itself.

Even the Nazis — out to eliminate communists, capitalists, homosexuals, the mentally unfit, Gypsies, Catholics, anarchists, and of course the Jews — had it in mind that they needed extra living space for a better class of people: Aryans.

Even Nazis didn’t want to kill off human beings per se. They just wanted to replace other human beings with more like themselves.

Unlike the old Communists and Nazis, the elimination of human beings is precisely what much of the left has as its primary agenda today. And even though I’m bourgeois, anarchistic, capitalistic, and Jewish, I prefer old Communists and Nazis who don’t want to kill all human beings over their replacements on the left today who do.

The religious right — who seem to be looking forward to the Apocalypse, if not actually working to bring it on — give me scant comfort with their theology that sinful humanity will be left behind, as my agnostic friend Brad Linaweaver has explained to me, in favor of Perfected Sin-Free Man — obviously where the Communists and Nazis got their ideas of human perfection.

I don’t believe in human perfection in the sense that I believe any conscious being with free will — including Saints, including Angels, and including God — lacks the capacity to do evil. Volition by its very nature allows for doing evil, and even if one lives eternally that will be an eternal moment-by-moment choice. To eliminate that choice is to eliminate the divinity of the free soul. Our perfection, if any, is merely becoming wiser and mastering self-control. Even if men become gods we won’t be any less human.

But perfecting humans into supermen is the old, atavistic cause. These days eliminating human beings without a replacement model is the new cause.

You might think at this point that I’m making this up, or being sarcastic, or blowing things out of proportion, or making a mountain out of a molehill.

Let’s just see.

Paul R. Ehrlich, in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, is generally considered the father of the Zero Population Growth movement, with his predictions of near-future famines if human population growth wasn’t stemmed. Like the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus in his late eighteenth/early nineteenth century book An Essay on the Principle of Population, Erlich believed human beings would breed themselves into abject poverty if population growth wasn’t forcibly restricted. The ideas of Malthus and Erlich have been so dominant that they represent a turning point in modern Western culture, away from families with multiple children to couples either forgoing children entirely, choosing to have only one, or using contraception until later in life when pregnancies are both harder to achieve and more problematic.

But Malthus and Erlich, at least as far as we know, favored population control so those remaining human beings could have a richer, fuller life.

Today the object isn’t even to restrict population growth but actually to reduce the population of human beings to a fraction of its current size by any means possible. The object has changed from “the greatest good for a lesser number” to “human beings suck and let’s get rid of them.”

All of our cultural attitudes regarding the continuing propagation of the human species today find their reflection in the goal of deferred reproduction and hostility to fecundity. Teenage pregnancy — that is, pregnancy at the ages human females are biologically most capable of getting pregnant easily and less likely to give birth to monsters — is discouraged both as public policy and social attitudes.

Note well: There is just as much hostility to teenage pregnancy on the mainstream Christian right today — even by young married couples whose union is sanctified by their church — as there is on the secular left.

For all their talk about being Pro-Life, the religious right doesn’t actually like healthy babies — which most often come from young mothers — any more than the secular left does.

In the United States and most European countries middle-class and affluent couples tend to have very few babies and if it were not for immigration from poorer countries, and Muslims who believe in larger families, the overall population would be declining.

In Israel the secular Jewish population seems intent on foiling Sarah Palin’s plans for the Christian Messiah’s return by not having enough babies even to replace themselves. Meanwhile, Arabic Muslims seem quite capable of human reproduction. Perhaps the Pentacostals will eventually reinterpret scripture and define the Palestinian Arabs as the biblical Hebrews who will rebuild the Temple of Solomon, one of the signs of the Lord’s return. I once suggested something similar to this idea in a short story I wrote titled “Day of Atonement.”

Homosexuality is encouraged by elites, I believe, not out of any actual empathy, but simply because gay couples are disabled when it comes to natural reproduction.

Similarly, abortion is a cause célèbre among the progressive left not because they give an actual damn about the rights of women to control their own bodies — the lie is exposed by the continuing indifference among the progressive left to legalizing prostitution — but because abortion eliminates live births and hence additional human beings.

That toxic segment of the Green movement which I’ve lately tagged the Gangrene Movement is entirely hostile to the expansion of human habitats, human industry, human welfare, and large human populations. Gangrenes favor protecting “endangered animal species” over farms and fisheries that produce food for humans. They’ve promulgated the now-proven fraud of global warming to cripple the production of fossil-fuel energy necessary to produce abundant food, housing, industries, transportation, and recreation. All their policies oppose a luxuriant human life. Their agendas foil eliminating poverty by making the poor wealthy consumers. The evolutionary biologist, Sir Julian Huxley — a quintessential Gangrene — once wrote that, “Human beings will be the cancer of the planet.” As Brad Linaweaver has replied, “I’m proud to be a human cancer cell.”

The animal rights movement, as I have written earlier, has no actual concern for the welfare of animals but merely uses animals for the leverage it gives them in redirecting charities given to disadvantaged human beings towards animals instead. PETA’s own animal shelters kill as many pets as any other pound. Their claims to moral superiority because they feed off vegetation rather than animals is disingenuous. As Dennis Prager has discovered by polling his radio audience, many of these “morally superior vegetarians” would save their drowning pet before they would save a drowning baby. David Foreman of Earth First!, in Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, wrote: “Human suffering resulting from drought and famine in Ethiopia is tragic, yes, but the destruction there of other creatures and habitat is even more tragic.” A clearer statement of abject human self-hatred under color of animal love does not exist anywhere.

The hatred of humanity finds its way into all culture: replacing music that comes from the heart with percussive and repetitive industrial techno that sounds like the chompers in Galaxy Quest, to stage plays like Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class which revels in the destruction of any human aspiration toward betterment, to museum installations which mock any art drawn from human sentiment with mere attempts to engorge the loins or engage the gag reflex, to movies which trash nobility and celebrate trash.

It was Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote about “men without chests” — human beings with intellect and hormones but no passion, and this hostility to the human heart has grown to its ultimate expression of anti-humanism with an organization that openly campaigns for the end of the human race.

The Voluntary Human Extermination Movement — VHEMT — has its website at http://www.vhemt.org/.

Under cover of claiming to be humanitarians like Malthus and Erlich concerned with improving the human condition through population reduction, VHEMT contains within its statement of purpose: “the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens… us.”

Conspiracies happen in secret. Everything I’ve pointed to in this essay is right out in the open. It’s all in Wikipedia. They have their own websites.

Didn’t believe me, did you? You thought I was exaggerating.

Well, was I?


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Selling Your Soul


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Pirate Radio.


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 4: Selling Your Soul

It’s an old story told many, many times. Hollywood (they should know!) loves it. The Devil and Daniel Webster. Bedazzled. Oh God, You Devil!

The Devil comes to some poor loser when he’s at the lowest point of his life — when everything’s gone to crap, when all seems lost, when hope has given way to despair — and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

“I’ll give you everything you want,” says the Devil. “Just tell me and I’ll give it to you. And all I want is your useless, worthless, good-for-nothing soul.”

Somehow it just never seems to work out as advertised.

Guess what? It’s not just Hollywood that knows this story by heart. It’s also Washington D.C., Sacramento, New York City, and Juneau.

Every politician –every politician, even the ones with principles — has a little of Old Nick in him. Or — as Elizabeth Hurley in the 2000 remake of Bedazzled would point out — in her.

Just give us your useless, worthless, good for nothing freedom — you’ll never miss it! — and we’ll give you whatever you want. Anything you want.

You want a new shopping center for your run-down city? You got it! Oh, we might have to knock down a few houses and some mom-and-pop stores — not yours, nobody you know! — and that Hometown Buffet, thirty-screen multiplex, and Whole Foods Market is on its way. Not into consumerism? It can just as easily be a shiny new middle school, an endangered species habitat, a Gay and Lesbian Medical Marijuana Clinic, or a carbon-neutral performing arts center.

Let’s not forget the basics. Beef, peanut butter, and lettuce without E coli. Free health care — make sure to get that H1N1 shot! A minimum-wage job in a nice air-conditioned office and a four-day work week. A government guaranteed 30-year-fixed 4% mortgage so you can have that kitchen with the island and the swing set in the back yard for your kids. Don’t worry about your old age — we got your back … unless it needs surgery. And don’t worry — we promise not to tax you for any of this. I mean, you’ll never make enough to have to pay much income tax, and you shouldn’t be buying cigarettes, gas guzzlers, sugary soft drinks, fatty foods, or big-screen TVs, anyway.

And those silly dreams you had of making it in show business, or starting your own bookstore café, or dojo, or art gallery, or holistic health center, or living off food you raise on your own land. Have you looked at the statistics of how few people actually make a living as an actor, and how many small businesses go under in the first two years, or how the family farm is history? Grow up! You need to stay in school, and stay in college, and stay in graduate school — don’t worry, we’ll loan you the money at a reasonable interest rate — or you’ll never get a good job at General Motors — I mean Circuit City! — I mean TV Guide! — I mean MySpace! — I mean Walmart!

You know you’re making a deal with the Devil when at the end of the day you feel whipped, trapped, defeated, swindled, and just beat. And when all that’s left is getting off your feet and leaning back in the La-Z-Boy, snapping open a Bud and a box of Oreos, catching the scores, and wondering why you can’t see your dick when you pee anymore, you know it was a bad deal.

Don’t do it! Look that gift horse in the mouth — if the Trojans had, the Greeks wouldn’t have made it into Troy! If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is! A sucker is born every minute. Be the genius who’s born on the half minute!

Above all, don’t let anyone tell you not to pursue your dreams. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again! Don’t break the Ten Commandments, but if you have to break the law to keep the tyrants off your back remember that Moses, Jesus, Jefferson, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., broke the law, too!

Now let’s get back to looking at some more of those life-enhancing passions that the Devil doesn’t want you to have.

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter V: Stomping Out Dancing

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Award-Winning Comic Thriller, Lady Magdalene’s, Released By Amazon.com Video On Demand


(OPENPRESS) November 28, 2009 — Lady Magdalene’s — the comic thriller starring Star Trek‘s original Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, that won “Best Cutting Edge Film” and “Audience Choice” awards in its film-festival play — has just been released by Amazon.com Video On Demand.

“The decision to release Lady Magdalene’s for Video on Demand wasn’t an easy one,” said Lady Magdalene’s writer/producer/director, J. Neil Schulman. “I still feel Lady Magdalene’s has theatrical box-office potential, and after the $11,000-unknown-actors thriller Paranormal Activity‘s gross of over $100 million at the box office I don’t think any quality indie feature should be written off as unreleasable, no matter how low its budget or its lack of so-called A-list stars. But I need to build audience-support for our movie and along with film festival play I see Video on Demand as another way of doing that so distributors can recognize our broad commercial potential both in theatrical release and later on DVD/Blu-Ray.”

Lady Magdalene’s tells the story of Jack Goldwater, a federal agent who gets in trouble when, on a jetliner, he searches the violin case of a young Arab-American he suspects is an al Qaeda operative, and as punishment for racial profiling is assigned to be the federal receiver in charge of running a Nevada brothel in tax default. There he meets the brothel’s colorful owner, Lady Magdalene — played by the iconic Nichelle Nichols — and his assignment takes a left turn when, with her help, they discover that one of the working girls is part of a domestic al Qaeda cell with plans to smuggle in a crate from Mexico that’s supposed to be unloaded at Hoover Dam. It’s a plot-driven suspense thriller with lots of comic relief and strong character interplay.

Why hasn’t Lady Magdalene’s found a commercial distributor to put it into brick-and-mortar venues yet?

“Some studios won’t even look at an indie film not headlined by stars on their white-list,” said Schulman. “Other studios won’t consider distributing indie films anymore, period. I think the problem is that a lot of indie films are made for specialized audiences, whereas — even with our budget limitations — I wrote, directed, and cut Lady Magdalene’s to entertain as wide an audience as we could get in front of. But studios have gotten into the mindset of thinking that if they don’t have an above the line of $20 million and a special-effects budget of $40 million then audiences won’t buy tickets. Steven Spielberg — by releasing Paranormal Activity — has once again proved why he knows more than all the rest of Hollywood’s heads put together. I’m just hoping that we’ll catch the attention of some studio execs who want to prove themselves as smart as Spielberg.”

“Then again,” Schulman says, “these days, any time you make a movie that has al Qaeda characters in it, you’re accused of being either left-wing anti-American or a right-wing NeoCon. It’s hard for a filmmaker like me to convince the studios that I was just trying to tell a good story with contemporary topics that are in the news every day.”

“Reviewers have called Lady Magdalene’s a comedy,” Schulman continues, “but it’s really more in the genre of a 50′s Hitchcock movie like North by Northwest where you have a straight suspense plot with frequent comic relief. This formula was continued in the 60′s with the Bond films. Of course I was shooting a movie for a half million instead of studio-level budgets, so I had to be particularly creative in how to give audiences the impression they’re seeing lots of action. I’ve been telling people that I made a Jerry Bruckheimer tent pole on an Ed Wood budget. It helped a lot that I had access to great Nevada locations. The point is, despite my low budget, I was trying to tell the best story I could with the best actors I could get, and use every trick in the book to make the audience forget that I couldn’t afford to crash or blow something up every five minutes. But in addition to some great performances I also think we have a kick-ass musical soundtrack — with original songs and performances, including three by Nichelle Nichols — that can rival movies made for fifty times what ours cost.”

Full information on Lady Magdalene’s — including trailer, buzz, reviews, photos, and music videos — are on the movie’s official website at http://www.ladymagdalenes.com.

Lady Magdalene’s can be found on Amazon.com Video on Demand as either a sale or rental.

Lady Magdalene’s: The Musical Soundtrack can also be found on Amazon.com as either a two-CD set or as MP3 downloads.

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Exposing the Warm Mongers

Let’s start by getting one thing straight.

No real scientist would ever, ever, ever — under any circumstances — declare that a question has been answered finally and that a scientific debate is over, once and for all. Ever.

That’s just not how real scientists think, or talk.

Science is a process — a set of tools to test knowledge for validity — and whenever you hear someone declare that scientific debate is over and a particular conclusion is unquestionable, not only has he given strong evidence that he never grasped the scientific method, there’s a good chance he has identified himself not as a scientist but as a political operative, an ad man, a religious fanatic, a con man, and possibly a gangster in a lab coat.

The scientific method always gives its conclusions as provisional and always subject to correction by additional facts, better observations, later experiments, newer theories, more relevant paradigms, and — every once in a while — a genius turning everything we thought we knew upside down by asking a question nobody until then had thought to ask.

In his very first published short story, “Lifeline,” in 1939, Robert A. Heinlein — always considered one of the most scientifically literate of science-fiction writers — put these words in the mouth of a scientist: “One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.”

So when former Vice President Al Gore — or screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, or Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, or President Barack Obama, or comedian Bill Maher, or Senator John McCain, or Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — declared that the scientific debate on man-made global warming was over, and all that was left to debate is how controls could be imposed on us to prevent it, their declarations were not those of any real scientists. Not only were they not scientific statements, declarations such as these amount to the greatest threat to the conduct of real scientific investigation by genuine scientists since the Roman Catholic Church used its power to silence Galileo for daring to suggest that God’s green earth was not the center of the universe, and John Scopes was put on trial in Tennessee for teaching Darwin in a high-school science class, and the Soviet Union demanded scientists teach that acquired characteristics are inheritable, and the Nazis forced scientists to endorse their vile racial theories.

So when columnist Ellen Goodman wrote in the Boston Globe on February 3, 2007, that “global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers,” these were not the words of a scientist but of a brainwashed cultist who, if she had lived a generation earlier and had the right set of grandparents, would have been quite employable by Joseph Goebbels in spinning Auschwitz as a factory town.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

Honest Abe was right. The Global Warming conspiracy — and yes, for once we can say without fear of embarrassment that it was an actual criminal conspiracy, possibly the most costly fraud in all human history — has finally been exposed to the harsh light of day.

A few days ago thousands of emails stored by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England were released onto the Internet by whistle-blowers. Not only do these emails expose secret discussions by prominent academics on how to falsify data to give the appearance of global warming, but they include revelation of suppressed data that, since 1961, the global temperature has actually declined slightly.

These emails are so revealing of a heinous fraud to destroy major industries and divert trillions of dollars to political cronies that they should be presented to grand juries for what needs to be a series of criminal prosecutions against academics, lobbyists, propagandists, trusted officials, and lawmakers who have sent the world into a major depression because of base motives ranging from ideological to financial.

The excuse that we can’t produce the fossil-fuel energy we need to power economic growth — that the so-called “carbon footprint” is in fact an Orwellian jackboot on the throat of every working man and woman in the world — is over. All that’s left is to awaken people to how they’ve been manipulated, lied to, robbed, and kicked in the teeth, to bring the criminals to justice, and immediately to ramp up the production of cheaply available coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas needed to heat our homes, light our schools, and power our transportation.

This will take a while. The professional propagandists are still in the employ of the criminals, hard at work trying to tell us to ignore the man behind the curtain. A multi-trillion-dollar fraud is not stopped in a day.

But they better run and keep on running. Because when the people who have been their victims catch up to these super-Madoffs, the people will ram their carbon footprint right up these villains’ globalist asses.


Note: Though I didn’t know it when I posted the above column, a Google search I did today on “warm mongers” comes up with 24,000 page hits of others using the phrase before I got to it. — JNS


Next up tomorrow here on J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review: Chapter 4 of Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Selling Your Soul!


Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Pirate Radio


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Romeo and Juliet.


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 3: Pirate Radio

On April 1, 2009 in the UK, and on November 13, 2009 in the U.S., a movie originally titled The Boat That Rocked and retitled Pirate Radio for its American release, told a fictionalized and somewhat fanciful story of a boat in the early 1960′s, anchored just far enough off the British coastline that it was in international waters. Consequently — at a time when the government-owned British Broadcasting Company monopolized British radio broadcasting and had no pressure to respond to its listening audience’s desire for pop music — “the boat that rocked” broadcast rock and roll to an eager British listenership, and sold commercial advertising to pay for it.

Historical anachronisms in this wonderfully enjoyable movie are beside the point for me. There really were commercial pirate radio stations broadcasting rock into the UK in the 1960′s for the precise reason the movie portrays. The BBC had a government monopoly, were not subject to any incentives or penalties if they failed to attract an audience, and thus had no reason to seek popularity. Elitism requires either tax subsidies or wealthy benefactors in order to survive. The BBC operated by taxing the public but its elitist operators felt no accountability to broadcast to the taxpayers what they wanted. Seeking popular approval — known as box office, sales, rentals, ratings, impressions, circulation, subscriptions, or eyeballs — is survival for any enterprise that hopes to pay its bills by satisfying a customer base.

Pirate Radio is a classic object lesson contrasting the difference between government and privately run enterprises.

But an economics lesson isn’t my point here.

In the movie Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, is skeptical of the idea that breeding reconstituted dinosaurs is a sound business plan for a theme park. He makes compelling arguments that small variations in complex systems can result in unintended consequences, especially when dealing with biology. When Malcolm is told that the dinosaurs can’t reproduce on their own because they were bred all female, he retorts, “Life will find a way.” The plot of Jurassic Park proves Malcolm correct, as a spliced DNA sequence used to bring back the dinosaurs allows for spontaneous sex change — and the dinosaurs do start breeding on their own.

As it is with forbidden dinosaurs it is with forbidden music: life will find a way.

I grew up in a household devoted to classical music. My dad made his living as a classical violinist. My parents were of a generation that never heard rock and roll until they were adults … and when they finally heard it they didn’t like it.

My older sister and I were a different story. We came of age in the era of rock and roll. One of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio was Elvis Presley singing “Hound Dog.” I was ten when the Beatles first played Ed Sullivan … and within a few years I had my own electric guitar and amplifier (a Bar Mitzvah gift from my grandmother) and I was playing nothing but rock and roll — the Beatles, the Stones, the Animals … and my own attempts at songwriting.

Still, whether coming from the radio, or a record player, or a tape recorder, or my own electric-guitar amplifier, the only words I ever heard from my classical parents about the rock and roll music my sister and I loved was, “Would you please turn down that noise?”

Rock and roll wasn’t the first music to provoke fanatical passion from its audience. Teenage girls swooned over crooner Rudy Vallée in the 1920′s and over Frank Sinatra in the 40′s and 50′s. By the time teenage girls were straining their larynxes over the Beatles in the 1960′s musically-generated hysteria was a well-known phenomenon, reliable enough to write it into business plans. But even crassly commercialized and packaged, the passion of musicians to be true to their muse, and of audiences to follow the geniuses rather than be herded toward plastic imitations, meant that even if Jimi Hendrix was an opening act for the Monkees, it was Jimi Hendrix who was making the musical history.

Rock and roll was hardly the first forbidden music, either. Long before rock and roll was forbidden ragtime was; and long before ragtime was forbidden “consecutive fifths” were disallowed in musical composition that we today would regard as classical.

Over and over, passion prevailed, rules were broken, and the silly control-freaks were overcome.

But with each new generation of musicians came a new generation of self-appointed guardians of the public morality, jealous no-talents who considered that if they couldn’t create anything great at least they could put their jackboots on top of it.

I hope my repeated examples in this book of power-grabbers targeting anything that makes life worth living doesn’t get to be tiresome.

So to avoid making this book a mere litany of passions and their oppressors, let’s change things up and talk about just what it is They want from you, and what They will offer you to get their slimy hands on it.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter IV: Selling Your Soul

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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The Silence of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin’s new autobiography Going Rogue is going gangbusters in sales, and Sarah Palin has been even more ubiquitous on the interview circuit than Taylor Lautner has been plugging The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

Look, I was one of Sarah Palin’s first fans when she was nominated to be John McCain’s running mate. I even put up a website called “Obama-Palin” in which I quixotically suggested that since they were the fresh voices in American politics — as opposed to the politically stale John McCain and Joe Biden — the two of them would have been the ticket to beat.

So I’m hardly a Sarah Palin hater from either the left or the right.

But listening to Sarah Palin in interview after interview since her book was released on November 17th — speaking with Oprah, Hannity, and O’Reilly in particular — what has struck me is how little of political substance Sarah Palin has had to say when finally given an opportunity to speak her mind to America without being censored by John McCain’s political operatives.

Yes, we know that Sarah Palin is against abortion. That’s not breaking news.

But why in the three weeks since the mass shootings at Ford Hood has this supposed Scion of both Anti-Terrorism and the Second Amendment — the hope of many Republicans to be the next Commander in Chief — not had a single word to say about America’s largest military base being a demilitarized zone?

A few days ago whistle-blowers released thousands of emails stored on computers at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, proving that the core scientists pushing global warming have been deliberately falsifying data such that not only is there no global warming but that, since 1961, the global temperature has actually cooled by one percent. The dead weight of this Global Fraud on the American economy — restrictions on producing fossil-fuel energy to heat our homes, light our schools, and power our transportation due to the fiction of carbon footprints — can now be lifted off the backs of the American people.

Why has the great Alaskan advocate of American energy independence — Sarah Palin — not used her access to microphones to say Word One about this?

But even if Sarah Palin wanted to use her media access to talk about a single issue in the news cycle while she has another quarter hour of fame, why has she not said a word about the evil in the health-care legislation now before Congress of the federal government fining or even imprisoning Americans who choose not to become customers of the health insurance companies?

These issues are less important to a possible future candidate for President of the United States than Newsweek running a flattering photo of her in running shorts? If this offended her, where was she when Barack Obama was on magazine covers shirtless on the beach? Or why is her precious media time being spent on David Letterman telling a joke which “knocked up” the wrong unmarried daughter? If she can’t stand the heat why’s she in the kitchen?

Wait a second. She quit her “chef’s” job, didn’t she?

Is the message she wants to give out about how much of a rugged hunter she is that she was freaked out by her father’s holding moose eyes in his hand? Would she have been such a shrinking violet that she would have swooned if it had been moose testicles? Is she a pit bull with lipstick … or is she just a girl?

Is the impression we are to be left with of Sarah Palin — when she finally gets her moment in the sun not shadowed by John McCain — that this former beauty queen who parlayed her sass into a political career is actually less politically contentious than Carrie Prejean?


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Fort Hood soldier currently deployed in Iraq calls for giving guns to American soldiers and families on base

One of the readers of this column, even before I began writing about the November 5th Fort Hood massacre the day after it occurred, is Sgt. Brian Singer, a U.S. army soldier currently deployed to Iraq, but whose home station is Fort Hood.

A few days after the Fort Hood shootings Sgt. Singer wrote a letter-to-the-editor to Stars and Stripes. An edited version of that letter was published in Stars and Stripes on Thursday, November 19th. You can read Sgt. Singer’s letter as published in Stars and Stripes here.

Sgt. Singer was kind enough to grant me permission to publish the full text of his letter as a guest column.

One sentence in particular was left out of the edited version published by Stars and Stripes, and this missing sentence — a question Sgt. Singer asks — highlights the contradiction between the propaganda we are fed regarding our military services and the stark reality.

Sgt. Singer asks in his letter, “Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?”

I don’t often succumb to the popular temptation to call our servicemen and women heroes, but in this case it’s indisputable. Publicly taking on an established policy held by your superiors in the chain of command while deployed — out of love for your fellow soldiers and their families — is nothing short of heroic.

–J. Neil Schulman

The tragic results of victim disarmament were made real to the military community with Thursday’s shooting at Fort Hood. If this were a moral and proper world, as soon as Maj. Nidal Hasan drew his weapon, every single person in the building would have had their front sights leveled on him. Fort Hood’s (and all other U.S. military installations’) immoral and unjust anti-self-defense policy effectively disarmed only the victims of this crime. How many more events like this is it going to take before DOD officials wake up and realize that victim disarmament costs lives? How many more events like this will have to take place before Congress amends the UCMJ to require all personnel, civilian and military, to be properly armed — meaning not simply carrying an unloaded weapon like we do over here — at all times while on US military installations?

In the State of Texas, and many other states throughout our great country, citizens from all walks of life voluntarily choose every day to be responsible for protecting their own lives and property by arming themselves. This is not just an act of responsibility; it is the ultimate expression of patriotism and good citizenship. Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?

Fort Hood is my home station. That’s where my wife and kids are. It further sickens me that when my wife needs to go on post in order to take care of some kind of business, whether it’s a doctor appointment, an FRG meeting or renewing the kids’ ID cards, she, too, has to surrender her fundamental human right to defend herself, by going unarmed. And the military tells us it cares about the welfare of our families.

It is incomprehensible to me that in the days of the Global War on Terrorism Stateside military installations have become the country’s largest Gun Free Zones — you can interpret this as playgrounds for criminals. We have unfortunately seen a variety of mass shootings in recent years, at schools, universities, houses of worship and other public gathering places. There are no steps to take, no rules to pass, to prevent the occasional sick, twisted mind from completely losing its grip on reality, driving a criminal to commit such a heinous act. Yet as citizens — as free Americans responsible for ourselves, our families, and our property — we have the ability to stop these kinds of crimes from happening. How many lives would have been saved on 9/11 if people weren’t stripped of their human right to self defense simply because they wanted to fly? How many lives would have been saved at Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and now Fort Hood?

Those who continue to advocate policies that guarantee the criminal class has unfettered access to an endless supply of defenseless potential victims need to change their tune. Maj. Nidal Hasan bears sole responsibility for his crime. Lawmakers and DOD policy makers need to respond by ensuring that those of us who took the oath to defend the Constitution have the means available for us to live up to that oath. Modifying installation policies and the UCMJ to remove all restrictions on the carrying of firearms would be a small step in the right direction.

SGT Brian Singer
Camp Taji, Iraq



Note for November 24, 2009:

J. Neil Schulman thanks Dean Daily for his generous support of this column.

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Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Romeo and Juliet


Go to book’s beginning.
Read the previous chapter Forbidden Passions.


Unchaining the Human Heart
— A Revolutionary Manifesto
A Book by J. Neil Schulman
Chapter 2: Romeo and Juliet

If I had to take a quick guess about whether governments, churches, or families have been most oppressive to the romantic desires of lovers, my money would be on families. But it’s definitely a horse race.

Throughout much of human history — and in much of the world today — romantic love is an idea subversive to an established order in which marriages are arranged by families for reasons of finances or politics. It’s not only daughters who are treated like commodities when families arrange marriages, either. A potential husband has to be financially stable and of a character likely to remain that way. Beauty and sexual attraction hardly register at all when marriage is handled by a family’s mergers and acquisitions department; wealth, social standing, power — and of course not being a dreaded outsider from the wrong caste, clan, color, church, club, job, language, politics, or place of origin — are infinitely more important.

So it was in the 1590′s when William Shakespeare adapted to the stage Arthur Brooke’s poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet into his most famous play about two feuding families whose teenage children fall in love and seek a marriage forbidden to them by custom and power. Romantic love was still a novelty when Shakespeare wrote about it, and Romeo and Juliet — first staged when it wasn’t even socially acceptable to have the role of Juliet played by an actress — was as subversive in its day as Tea and Sympathy was in 1956 when it portrayed a romance between a 17-year-old boy and a married woman twice his age, or Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner was in 1967 when it portrayed an interracial couple, or 1973′s La Cage aux Folles was in its portrayal of homosexual lovers.

Readers familiar with my articles critical of the politics of gay marriage might be surprised to learn that I am as absolutely supportive of the rights of same-sex couples to fall in love and spend their lives together as I am for opposite-sex couples. My problems with the semantics of calling such couplings “marriage” — and populist defense of congregations’ and voting populations’ rights to decide on a definition for their church and polity that restricts the definition of marriage to couples with “one-each penis and vagina” — do not in the slightest mean that I wouldn’t place myself as an armed citizen in between any bigot seeking to interfere with a bonding ceremony between a same-sex couple, or dissociate myself from lowlifes who can’t find it in their heart to accept same-sex couples as respected members of their community, workplace, or social set.

But the news and entertainment media’s over-exertions to defend one underdog aside, there are still many, many more opposite-sex lovers on planet Earth whose romantic desires are being foiled by family, religion, or law, than there are same-sex lovers … and it’s not my intent in this book to succumb to special pleadings.

The freedom to fall in love and commit oneself to that person will never be entirely non-controversial. My grandfather, Abraham Schulman, was 26-years-old when he married my grandmother, Anna Rosen, who was 13. Even then, at the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, the age difference was shocking enough that my grandmother added several years to her “official” age. I never would have learned the truth if later in life my grandmother hadn’t been afraid to lie about her real birth date as beneficiary to my father’s life insurance policy. But by today’s standards, my grandfather was a child molester who would have been sent to prison. Had today’s laws been applied back then, I could not be writing this since my father was their fifth child.

There are still parts of the world today where arranged marriages are the rule and marriage for romantic love is discouraged, if not forbidden.

Customs vary, even today, such that the definition of an “incestuous” relationship might forbid relations between step-children or adopted children with no biological consanguinity; on the other hand, in other parts of the world brothers and sisters may still marry.

Even leaving out “one-each penis and vagina” as the minimum needed for natural human reproduction, both multiple-participant marriages — and all variations of coupling outside state- or church-sanctioned monogamy — allow for far more variety of human romantic passion than is customarily approved of in the average rectory or county clerk’s office.

And here’s where I shall sound as quaint as did the fictitious version of H.G. Wells in the 1979 movie Time After Time. I’m here to defend Free Love.

The decision to follow one’s heart — damn the local customs, full speed ahead! — has to be a hallmark of human liberty.

No, I won’t defend relations between adults and children. Biology, and thousands of years of customs derived from biology, have long established puberty as the dividing line between childhood and adulthood, and most cultures when not invaded by imperialists have rituals making it clear who is marriageable and who is not according to whether an individual has grown into the physical capacity to reproduce. Pick up a book by any honest and non-judgmental anthropologist. Or just find the nearest Bar Mitzvah. Some customs, merely by not going away, become subversive to piety and its secular edition, political correctness.

But between or among consenting adults, the right to love whom one does love is one of the pillars of freedom.

That is why this freedom — the right to love — is at the top of the list for tight controls by those among us whose main passion is to be your ruler.

#

Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter III: Pirate Radio

Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

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Who Has Rights?

You’d think that a writer like me who regularly dives into controversy — everything from O.J. Simpson to Roman Polanski, guns to God, PETA to petroleum — would get a wide range of hate mail. But I’ve probably received more email on one subject — two articles I wrote years ago in opposition to animal rights — than any other subject I’ve tackled.

The American Revolution was fought over rights. The Declaration of Independence says “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Rights were so important to Americans who fought the Revolutionary War that when a strong federal government was proposed to be created by the new constitution, the necessary support required a promise that a Bill of Rights would soon be added.

A couple of centuries and some decades down the road, and rights are still the main event of American politics. Do unborn babies have rights? What about animals and trees? Is there a right to health care? To education? Is there a right to get married? Do minorities have rights that majorities don’t have?

When one word is used so many different ways, it gives you a sense that people are using the word without having a common understanding of what a “right” is.

I’ve spent years reading various different theories of what rights are, in the moral sense, the legal sense, the political sense, and the common sense.

I’ve read all sorts of theories about where rights come from. Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, takes a faith-based position: that rights come from God.

Utilitarians such as John Locke suggested rights are a useful idea needed to secure the greatest good for the greatest number.

Ayn Rand, who believed in morality but not God, worked hard to use Aristotelian axioms and deductive logic to come up with a God-free metaphysics in which rights can be derived from the Law of Identity.

Politicians often regard rights like the kings of old did — handing them out as favors to their supporters.

In my articles on animal rights I probably used the word in a sense not often understood anymore, since I was using the word in the context not of legalities or politics, but as part of a theory of moral accountability.

I suggested a new definition of rights: that a right is the moral authority to act without prior permission of another, and that as a consequence, rights could only be held by moral actors who could be held singly responsible for the consequences of their actions. If any legal concept was to be applied it was that of mens rea. Only a being capable of criminal culpability could be regarded as having rights — and in my view, vice versa.

So, of course, the challenges began. Are you saying that babies don’t have human rights, so it’s not murder to kill them? What about the mentally deficient and those suffering from dementia? If they don’t have rights can we also kill them? Then of course — ironically enough — those right-wingers who argue that unborn babies have rights use pretty much the same logic as left-wingers who argue that animals and trees have rights.

And of course the questions about marginal cases come up that reminded me of an old George Carlin routine about Catholic kids questioning their parish priest, “Fadda, fadda, if I’m supposed to come to church on Sunday but we was on the International Dateline …”

You get the idea.

Look. All I’m looking for is a use of the word “right” that makes sense and has some logical balance to it.

It doesn’t make sense to me that a thirteen-year-old girl can be subject to a law which forbids her from consenting to sex, deprived of the legal ability to enter into binding contracts, own or rent property in her own name, buy a pack of cigarettes, and decide whether or not to attend school — with no possibility of legal emancipation — but the second she’s suspected of a heinous crime she can be tried as an adult at the whim of the same judge that would never consider granting her any rights accruing to adults.

It’s hypocritical. Such double standards make a mockery of justice — which is based on equity under the law — and a law which regards someone so capriciously is not law at all but established tyranny.

So my solution is simple. If you can’t be held fully accountable for your actions, you need a keeper.

Or to put it another way: if you’re not grown-up enough to be trusted with a gun, you need a keeper.

And the keeper — of the fetus, or the animal, or the tree, or the mental incompetent — is the one who is held responsible for the well-being of his charge, and for any liabilities resulting from its doings.

It’s one of the reasons I’m so absolutely enraged that officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army were disarmed at Fort Hood, left defenseless when attacked, just as if they were infants. If you can’t trust your own army to be armed — and in the name of the English language please notice that the word arm starts the word army — why even have one?

Before I’ll debate the question of whether a gorilla, parrot, fetus, or even idiot should have rights, I’d like to debate the question of whether those we trust to defend our country have any.

That is not a marginal case.


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