The forests in Canada are owned by the government of Canada. The forests in the United States are in some kind of marketplace, no matter how compromised. Therefore, subsidized Canadian lumber can be sold cheaper than American lumber. This is especially true when it comes to very useful soft wood.
Predictably, Trump is already accused of starting a trade war. Predictably, Reason and CATO will do what they always do, and scream that this is government interference in the marketplace.
I’ve devoted a large part of my life to promoting the Austrian School of Economics. Ludwig von Mises and Hayek are the Plato and Aristotle of that school. Their contention is that the laws of the marketplace are based on an accumulation of personal choices. These operating principles work at any level of economic activity.
That means white market, gray market, black market. Any market.
That means these laws are not the monopoly of agorism or any other radical counter-economic ploy.
The classic texts of the Austrian School are largely about the above ground economy. That means the topic I’m advancing does not require immediate references to Alongside Night or New Libertarian Manifesto. It requires something else, about which more anon.
So, back to my epiphany.
The high-profile defenders of the “free market” are the Reason and Cato Gestapo. They can’t use the word “Trump” for more than a paragraph without also using the word “Tariff.”
After decades of listening to these empty suits, I finally realize they need a new definition of American Capitalism, since the original Austrian School completely failed to anticipate what has happened at the macro level.
Here is the new paradigm for the above-ground economy.
American Capitalism is defined as the purchasing of products from Socialist Countries.
Any attempt to interfere with the purchase of foreign Socialist goods is itself Socialist.
Therefore, the only way to preserve Capitalism is a de facto monopoly of only doing business with Socialists.
Bye bye, Austrian School in the above-ground economy — which is what the actual Austrian economists really cared about.
Later American non-Austrian Austrians are not the point of my epiphany.
As for anyone trying to be a patriotic American and a supporter of free markets at the same time, lots of luck.
–Author/publisher/filmmaker Brad Linaweaver, in a privately circulated email
Brad Linaweaver understates his case. He’s too moderate.
A free market is by definition a market comprising free traders — traders who own private property and are making unregulated trades with other private property owners.
No State or collective of States is a free trade partner. All States have acquired anything they offer for sale by criminal activity.
Whether it’s by mercantalism, Opium Wars, slave trade, gunboat diplomacy, fiat money, trade cartels, “free trade” treaties, etc., nothing a State or cartel of States does promotes or supports free trade. The only thing a State or cartel of States can do to promote free trade is self-destruct.
The Canadian State is preventing private Canadians from purchasing dairy products from private U.S. sellers. This is restriction of trade to protect Canadian dairy producers and keep their prices up against competition from American dairy producers.
The American State, acting on behalf of American dairy producers being excluded by the Canadian State from selling its products to willing Canadian consumers, is retaliating by imposing tariffs on the sale of soft Canadian wood to American buyers. That this wood being made subject to an American State tariff is owned by the Canadian State itself only makes more pointed that we are not dealing with free trade. It would be true even if the Canadian State was merely using trade barriers to disadvantage American lumber producers by subsidizing its own producers.
The White House press conference today with U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross used dishonest and loaded language. “Dumping” a commodity is false statist language. In private sales it’s called “discounting” and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But there’s no private seller here so the language of “trade war” is invoked because “war” is how States typically interact with each other.
I favor a free market but we’re not discussing here anything to do with one. This is a tactical war move by one State against another State, as much as a troop movement or dispatch of an aircraft carrier.
If self-impoverished socialist Canada thinks it can win any war against the far-more-capitalist United States with Donald Trump in charge it’s not lumber they’ve been smoking.
Donald Trump is a capitalist who, like Brad, favors free trade but is not uncomfortable with using the superior position of the Unites States if trade barriers disadvantage those Americans he’s pledged to place First.
Those libertarians who don’t agree with Brad on that are either lying or stupid.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
In his most famous speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke in favor of discrimination.
I’m a writer. Words are what we writers use to communicate. I’m using words to communicate with you right now. So the defined meanings of the words we use matter because differences matter.
The word “discriminate” was originally used to mean an ability to recognize core differences and render judgment. A person who exhibited discriminating taste for fine food and wine, for example, would have taken the sentence, “You discriminate” as a compliment, because a judgment was being rendered between food and wine which was more enjoyable to food and wine which was mundane or disgusting.
But, as often happens for reasons of propaganda, this use of “discriminate” was replaced by a sinister meaning: to render an unjust distinction. The original use was largely buried.
Dr. King wanted the original meaning of “discrimination” to be present in the future world he fantasized about. He wanted people not to refrain from discriminating judgment, but to make such distinctions based on character, which is a measure of moral worthiness, instead of ancestry or appearance, which is largely meaningless to judging a person’s worth.
Dr. King was teaching a moral lesson, one he’d learned from his background as a Christian and from fairly recent to him exemplars of moral philosophy such as Mohandas K. Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. These moral lessons transcended politics. Thoreau was a philosophical anarchist, Gandhi an East Indian nationalist, and King, himself, a Christian democratic socialist.
I call myself a libertarian when that term is not conflated with electoral partisans. I’ve frequently called myself an anarchist when that term is not conflated with vandals, arsonists, communists, or nihilists. I’ve called myself an Agorist since I was closely involved with launching that individualist-anarchist free-market movement founded by my friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III. Since I consider many calling themselves Agorists are instead stealth communists, I’ve recently considered newer labels such as Konkinist or – pinning it down with my own brand – Alongside Night Agorist.
But whatever label I use, I’m attempting to narrow the meaning to a moral philosophy based on natural law, natural rights, and making meaningful moral distinctions between individuals.
Be clear: the libertarianism I hold to is judgmental. Tolerance is not necessarily a virtue. It depends on what one is tolerating. My friend, author/filmmaker Brad Linaweaver, will be writing eventually about “That Hideous Tolerance,” expanding the concept from the title of his favorite C.S. Lewis novel, That Hideous Strength.
Nonetheless the libertarian moral judgment is narrowly drawn. Taste alone, such as the food and wine connoisseur’s discrimination, allows for one’s individual choice but does not allow for imposing one’s individual choice on unwilling others. So it is within my individual choice what I eat or drink but I may not choose what others may eat or drink – well, at least so far as I’m not holding cooks at gunpoint or murdering other people to drink their warm blood or eat their tasty flesh.
Rendering such moral judgments does require study, thinking, and discussion.
This could go on for volumes but I’m now going to zero in on a current controversy: the deportation of lawbreakers.
As I said, I’m an anarchist. But I do conclude that law and order is necessary even in an anarchist condition – that condition where the State no longer decrees what is punishable.
As an anarchist novelist, filmmaker, and essayist I’ve repeatedly made the point that work and travel are basic human liberties, so I reject the idea that government may rightfully (again, this is a moral discussion) restrict or license who may travel to somewhere else one is welcomed, and to exchange labor for pay when both buyer and seller of the labor freely reach an agreement.
But please remember that this essay of mine starts out by discussing discrimination – rendering judgment on essential differences.
In this instance the statist and the anarchist can agree: there is absolutely nothing wrong with expelling those who rob, rape, defraud, maim, or murder other individuals. Discriminating against others based on race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or even bad character if they have not victimized others by violence, menace, or deceit, is not a morally just reason for deportation. Having committed invasions of the rights of others and their justly-acquired property is a good reason to be a candidate for exile – allowing for mercy and mitigating circumstances.
Statistical analysis of risk that one might commit a violent offense is not a good enough reason for deportation. “Working off the books” isn’t a good enough reason. Passively accepting benefits that others have been swindled out of by politicians isn’t a good enough reason. Taking a job that someone else wants isn’t a good enough reason.
Murder is a good enough reason, assuming a response more severe than deportation isn’t called for. Planning criminal invasions of other people’s peaceful celebrations is a good enough reason.
Being an anarchist it would be neglectful of me not to make what Fox News pundits would call “moral equivalences.” Yes, the operator of a drone who kills innocent bystanders while eliminating terrorists may not be guilty of murder. But this anarchist might hold them to the same standard of negligent homicide that is used against reckless drivers.
If an anarchist can advocate for gated communities drawn up by contract, it’s hard to convince a believer in statist law-and-order that countries can’t have borders and use them to keep out enemies.
But, yes. It would also be so much easier if those same statists were able to discriminate between laws which defend people from being mugged and laws which prevent people from ingesting whatever food, drink, smoke, vapor, or chemical they have decided is necessary to their pursuit of happiness.
I seem to recall that this last was important to those who said countries should be based not on the divine right of kings but on the divine rights of everyone.
So there’s the problem. It isn’t discrimination. It’s that the wrong things, and the wrong people, are being discriminated against.
My fellow Americans.
No, wait. This is written also for the unAmerican.
What happens at the polls on November 8, 2016 in the U.S. presidential election simply does not matter.
It’s not unimportant because balloting itself will be tampered with, which is how the media spin it when Donald Trump says the election is rigged.
Uh-uh. The fix is in for the popular voting because both the major political parties and the free press necessary for anything approaching “honest” elections have been corrupted, not allowing for a fair process — for example, not including Libertarian Gary Johnson, a candidate on all 50 state ballots, in the crucial televised debates.
Additionally, none of the cultural traditions that kept debates focused on policy issues exist anymore.
At this moment the media are focused on making the October 18, 2016 final presidential debate mostly about Donald Trump’s sex life.
The major media ignore all the Wikileaks documents from Hillary Clinton and her supporters, just as the Obama/Lynch Justice Department earlier directed the FBI to do.
The Clinton campaign — in coordination with major media — accuse Donald Trump of being paranoid when he talks about their obvious coordination while, simultaneously, Hillary and her supporters talking about Trump conspiring with Putin sound like Robert Welch of the John Birch Society accusing President Dwight Eisenhower of being a Russian stooge.
In a coordinated attack designed to bury Hillary-damaging Wikileaks the major media are obsessing over the endless Clinton-supporters claiming Trump molested them. Liberal/feminist attorney Gloria Allred getting involved is a clear indicator of the set-up.
Then consider the episode of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 18, Episode 6: “Rape Interrupted,” scheduled to air Nov 2, 2016 — six days before the election. Here’s IMDb’s description of “Rape Interrupted”: “A politician’s campaign is jeopardized when several women come forward with damaging accusations.” Such an episode had to be scripted months ago. NBC, the network which aired The Apprentice series and was the employer of Billy Bush, certaintly knew about the Access Hollywood tape for a very long time.
Update/Correction October 26, 2016: The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode I referenced is “Unstoppable” and was originally scheduled to play tonight, two weeks before the November 8th election; as of this writing it has been re-scheduled to play November 16, 2016. — JNS
The coordinated media-smear strategy was simple.
Step One was release of the illegally made Access Hollywood tape. Unless the recording was made with all parties’ explicit consent the taping was illegal under California law. On this private recording Donald Trump bragged to Billy Bush about what a stud The Donald thought he was, even as Trump told Bush a story about a married woman who said no and whom Trump did not have sex with but whom Trump says he ended up taking furniture shopping.
Step Two was when Anderson Cooper relentlessly asked Trump in Debate 2 — interrupting Trump three times to force an answer — if any of the braggadocio on the tape was true. Cooper and his handlers had to know Trump would have no choice but to deny committing anything that could be spun as sexual assaults.
Then in Step Three major media unleashed what the Clintons charmingly called “bimbo eruptions” when it was about Bill Clinton — female accusers.
Nazi Germany’s propaganda master Joseph Goebbels would have been more subtle.
But here’s the ultimate reason the November 8, 2016 election doesn’t really matter.
The American people do not elect the President of the United States the way they elect United States senators, federal, state, and local representatives, governors, mayors, sheriffs, and dog catchers.
The real and only binding presidential election in 2016 takes place on December 19th when the Electoral College votes.
The 538 Electors chosen by voters to cast presidential and vice-presidential ballots in the Electoral College have zero legal obligation to vote for the candidate they’re theoretically pledged to vote for. There is no penalty if they don’t.
If somehow, despite the media’s best efforts, Trump’s November 8th popular vote is like the surprise upset of Great Britain’s Brexit vote and despite media-commissioned polling is greater than Hillary Clinton’s numbers, then changing the Electoral College electors’ vote will be trumpeted as necessary by all major media.
If the electors selected don’t give Hillary Clinton the 270 pledged votes she needs to win I have zero doubt that the Democratic/ liberal/ progressive/ Clintonista/ left would encourage electors pledged to other candidates to come over to them.
Another long-standing American political tradition will be dead.
Republican Elector Roger MacBride taught us the freedom of the Elector in 1972 when he broke his pledge to vote for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, instead casting his electoral ballot for Libertarians John Hospers and Tonie Nathan.
2012 Electoral College Votes by State
The media is currently so focused on the November 8 balloting they’ve forgotten the popular vote is not how the United States elects its president and vice president.
The Electors of the Electoral College pick the president.
Just because electors have traditionally voted as they have promised in the past means absolutely nothing in the unprecedented presidential election of 2016.
Every instinct tells me that the only people who have to be convinced of anything this time are the electors.
And nobody has even polled them.
Note: After reading the above several correspondents in email and on Facebook have pointed me to articles discussing 34 states that “bind” electors and impose legal penalties (usually fines maxing out at $1000) for “faithless electors.”
First, most legal scholars conclude such laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable, Second, not a felony. Those states usually max out with a $1000 fine — and withdrawing money prematurely from a CD or prematurely switching to an alternate satellite TV or cell phone company usually has the new company picking up the penalty. Out of the 538 electors only several might have to go against their state law and with a 4-4 Supreme Court it’s all politics anyway.
“Indeed, when it comes down to it, electors are ultimately free to vote for whom they personally prefer, despite the general public’s desire.” — Fair Vote — States that Bind Electors
As I wrote in response to an email earlier today:
Party pledges of supporting the party’s nominee were obtained from all primary candidates including Jeb Bush and John Kasich, both of whom reneged on supporting nominee Donald Trump with no party penalty. Such party pledges from electors are likewise meaningless and unenforceable beyond an elector perhaps not being selected again and that’s a big, “So what?”
Fines likewise would be paid by the team acquiring the elector’s vote, just like a new cell phone company offers to pay the remainder of your contract to your old cell phone company if you switch.
Nullification of a “faithless elector’s” vote? That will be decided by a 4-4 Supreme Court — that is, left undecided and the vote left intact.
The first life lesson I had in how a witch hunt works was when I was an elementary student at Center School in Natick, Massachusetts, 41 miles and less than an hour’s drive from Salem. But in my case it wasn’t 1693 but 1963.
Our fifth-grade teacher, Miss Masterson, stepped out of the classroom for a few minutes and we were instructed to remain at our desks. When she returned a pile of books had been pushed off a table at the front of the room onto the floor. Miss Masterson asked the class who did it. The entire class pointed at me, sitting at my desk near the back of the classroom.
I was sent to the office of Principal Paul Wadleigh. For close to an hour Mr. Wadleigh grilled me to get me to confess that I had gone to the front of the classroom and pushed the books onto the floor. I denied it, but with an entire class as witnesses against me, why should he believe me?
Why should the class accuse me if it wasn’t true? I didn’t know.
I didn’t know about anti-Semitism from a classroom full of Protestants and Catholics when I was the only Jewish student in the class, the only student not reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of class.
I knew I was frequently bullied and beat up after school but didn’t know it was because I displayed a vocabulary in class beyond any of the other students. (Two years later the entire Natick K-12 student body was tested for reading level and I had the highest score in the entire system.)
So I was grilled. “Confess!” and I could go back to class and nothing more would be said about it — no punishment.
I would not admit to doing something I had not done and stubbornly pled innocent despite the principal’s plea-bargain offer.
Finally, Principal Wadleigh relented and sent me back to class.
A family member who’s a supporter of Hillary Clinton suggested to me that the reason I defend Donald Trump against his detractors is that I have a soft spot for the underdog. I don’t deny it because the underdogs I defend are the victims of mass hysteria driven by mass media.
I wrote an entire book — The Frame of the Century? — defending one such underdog, O.J. Simpson, who the entire mass madia attacked as a murderer, despite the only evidence and testimony against him in court indicating that he might have been at the crime scene. Could Nicole have called him there with the murderer’s knife at her throat — the murderer intending to use O.J. as his alibi — and Simpson arrived to walk into Nicole’s blood with Nicole already dying or dead? Could Ronald Goldman have seen O.J. standing over Nicole’s body, attacked him, and O.J. picked up the murder knife, stabbing at Ronald Goldman in self-defense?
It could explain all the blood evidence. But what I just wrote is a fictional construct as much as Marcia Clark’s prosecution theory, and just as open to interpretation and skepticism.
I have never seen a shred of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” that O.J. Simpson had a motive to kill his ex-wife. What I just wrote is not even one of the half-dozen equally-valid alternate scenarios I put in my book that explain the evidence presented against O.J. Simpson in both a criminal and civil trial.
Even before the Simpson trial we have had other media-frenzy cases which turned out to be bogus. Among the most infamous are the McMartin pre-school trial prosecuted by Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner. There were other such trials in Florida and Massachusetts. They all used testimony from children led into making up stories — the same prosecution methods used on adults to generate witness testimony for the actual Salem witch trials.
After the Simpson trials we have the Duke lacross case where student athletes were accused of rape and convicted in the mass media — only to have it come out that the accuser was a serial liar. This is the only such case I can think of where the prosecutor, himself, ended up fired, disbarred, and even going to jail — for one day.
President Bill Clinton was brought up on charges of impeachment — and cleared in a Senate trial — for perjury he committed while denying various sex acts — and his accusers have even accused Clinton of rape — a charge on which he has never been arraigned or tried.
Anita Hill was brought in by opponents of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas to accuse now Justice Thomas of serial sexual harrassment. Today whether you believe Hill or Thomas depends entirely not on indisputable facts but on political leanings.
So we get to 2016 Republican candidate Donald J. Trump, bragging to Billy Bush of being sexually aggressive (in Trump’s own words ending not in a sexual conquest but in furniture shopping), and now what the Clintonistas referred to as a “bimbo eruption” is bringing forth accusers, many years later, accusing the current Republican candidate of unwanted sexual assaults.
As I write this there are 27 days until the populist presidential balloting. The actual presidential electors selected on November 8, 2016, vote on December 12, 2016 and are legally unbound to vote for a candidate; they can elect whom they wish.
For either election there is no time to investigate these brand-new charges against candidate Donald Trump and find out whether there are any truth to these women’s allegations or alternatively their fantastic political constructs.
What we do know is that major media made up almost entirely of liberals, progressives, and radical leftists who find Donald J. Trump poisonous to their agendas will obsess on these charges to the exclusion of any discussion of policy debates and charges against their own preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, defender of Bill Clinton.
I can only hope that — unlike all the other times — the witch hunt is exposed and foiled before it’s too late to matter.
Samuel Edward Konkin III, and I, co-founded what today is called Agorism or the Agorist movement.
Sam was Agorism’s chief theoretician in published works such as The New Libertarian Manifesto (1980) and The Agorist Primer (1986). Before that Sam introduced counter-economics in his talks to the CounterCon conferences I organized in fall 1974 and spring 1975.
The first printed explication of Agorism was in my novel, Alongside Night (Crown Publishers, 1979).
The first explication of Agorism in a movie was my adaptation of the Alongside Night novel into the Alongside Night movie, previewed to libertarian and science-fiction venues in 2013 showings and released in limited theatrical showings in 2014.
The Alongside Night movie is an independent film produced for under a million dollars. Compared to studio productions for theatrical or network television release that’s ultra-low-budget. Nonetheless, the Alongside Night movie achieved production values including starring actors who have appeared in major theatrical movies and network television series, visual effects produced by artists whose work has appeared in blockbuster movies, a musical soundtrack composed, orchestrated, and conducted by a musical artist whose work has been used in numerous major studio movies and recorded by a major symphony orchestra — and additional music licensed with a major recording artist and another full symphony orchestra — and both interior and exterior locations worthy of a studio picture.
This is not debatable opinion. These are provable facts.
Yet the only explicitly Agorist-content movie has been relentlessly denigrated by persons calling themselves Agorists. They not only attack every aspect of the movie’s production they go on to attack the Agorist content of the movie itself. Sometimes these attacks on the movie are by persons claiming to like the novel — but the attacks on content in the movie are on content that originated in the novel.
Here is a new example.
On the Agora Club Facebook page, “Agoristball” writes, “The book was pretty good but… just… wow… As far as libertarian message is not subtle at all and beats you over the head with liberty in ever frame and honestly it seems to glorify a lot of libertarian straw men. Like at one point the main character goes to buy nuke from a market. Not exactly the film I’d want representing my ideology.”
So let’s compare the sequence from the novel, and from the movie, that “beats you over the head with liberty,” glorifies “a lot of libertarian straw men,” and which this man claiming to represent Agorism writes is “Not exactly the film I’d want representing my ideology.”
Keep in mind that both the novel sequence and movie sequence were written by one of the founders of Agorism and the novel version was vetted by Agorism’s universally-acknowledged theoretician, Samuel Edward Konkin III.
The guard looked them over, and saw they were genuinely confused. He motioned with the Taser. “Come on.”
He led Elliot and Lorimer to the security alcove, and told the commandant — a different one from the previous night, “Two for Aurora Proper.”
The commandant then asked them, “Anything you want from the lockers?”
“I have a pistol,” said Elliot. “Do you think I need it?”
“I couldn’t say,” he replied. “Cadre are not allowed on the trading floor.”
“Why not?” Lorimer asked.
“Privacy,” the commandant explained. “The allied businesses in Aurora have delegated to the Cadre the right to monitor incoming and outgoing goods and communications, to ensure that the location is kept secret. To make sure that the Cadre can’t try to use this authority against them, they forbid us to enter into their domain and maintain their own security force to keep us out. Their guards are armed; except during emergencies we are not allowed to be.”
“Well,” said Elliot, “if I’m allowed to, I guess I will take my revolver.”
“Right. Surrender your badges, please.”
Taking their badges and feeding them into a collection slot, the commandant then got Elliot his revolver. After Elliot had put on his holster, the guard led the couple down the same corridor through which they had entered the Cadre complex initially, retracing the 45-degree bend around which was the steel door defended by still another guard. The door was opened for them, and they were instructed to walk to the Terminal corridor’s end and wait at the large portal opposite the Terminal. They did — Elliot meanwhile noting the Terminal door locked — and a few minutes later the portal slid open.
They were facing a freight elevator.
After they had got on, the door automatically slid shut, the elevator creeping down. When the door opened again, they were looking down the main promenade of what looked to be a small village.
Elliot and Lorimer faced a carpeted mall — daylight simulated by sunlight fluorescent panels in a low acoustic ceiling — twenty-feet wide and stretching ahead over twice the length of a football field. On each side of the promenade was an array of storefronts and offices the likes of which Elliot had never seen, and shopping in the mall were over a hundred persons obviously of widely varying nationality, creed, and custom.
“This is clearly impossible,” said Elliot. Lorimer did not disagree.
They began down the promenade, on the left passing the Black Supermarket (it looked like a supermarket); next to it, offices of the First Anarchist Bank and Trust Company — AnarchoBank for short; farther down, NoState Insurance; and beyond that, a post office: The American Letter Mail Company, Lysander Spooner, founder.
On the opposite side of the promenade were The Contraband Exchange (jewelry, novelties, duty-free merchandise), Identities by Charles (makeup and disguises), and a restaurant, The TANSTAAFL Café. There were several dozen more shops and offices that looked even more intriguing.
“Well, what do you think?”
Lorimer paused a moment before answering. “I think it might be easier to hide the Lincoln Memorial.”
“We might be under it.”
They walked farther, passing The Gun Nut and an office for Guerdon Construction, coming to a door marked “The G. Gerald Rhoames Boarder Guard and Ketchup Company.” Elliot and Lorimer took one look at it — then at each other — and decided to go in.
A bell of the door tinkled as they entered; the shop was old-fashioned, almost Dickensian in style, with a small, well- dressed man seated behind a glass counter. He stood as they came in. “Yes?”
He bowed slightly.
“We were wondering what you sell here,” Lorimer asked.
“My sign does not convince you?” He spoke with a British accent contaminated by overexposure to Americans.
“Surely not. Gentlemen should deal neither in frontier guards nor ketchup. I am a cannabist.”
“You eat human flesh?”
“Good heavens, no, dear lady. I am a cannabist, not a cannibal. A cannabist deals in Cannabis sativa, the most select parts from the female hemp plant. I am a seller of the finest hybrids from Colombia, Acapulco, Bangladesh.”
“Wholesale or retail?” Elliot asked.
“Both,” said mr. Rhoames, “though naturally my store here is quite limited. Over three kilograms entails outside delivery.”
“What would an ounce of Acapulco go for?”
“Very well, then. Thirty-three.”
Elliot pulled out his wallet, extending a blue. “Do you have change of a hundred?”
Mr. Rhoames looked at it with disdain. “Surely you do not think I was pricing in fiat? The price is thirty-three cents aurum.”
“Well, how much is that in dollars?”
Mr. Rhoames shrugged. “I’m not a clerk.” He pronounced the word clark. “I suggest you utilize a bank here and exchange them.”
“Thanks,” said Elliot. “Come on, Lor.” They started to the door.
“I say — on the subject of dollars . . .”
They turned back to him.
He reached behind the counter, his hand returning with a small box. Inside were five manufactured cigarettes with gold dollar signs engraved on the paper. “A house blend, grown hydroponically in my own tanks.”
“I’m sure they’re excellent, but I can’t do anything until I get my currency exchanged.”
“No, no, no,” said Mr. Rhoames. “On the house.”
“Why, thank you,” said Lorimer. “That’s very kind.”
“Nothing at all. Come back anytime.”
When they were fully out the door, Lorimer turned to Elliot and just said, “Well.”
“I’ll reserve my opinion until I see how these others are,” Elliot replied.
A two-minute walk returned them to the AnarchoBank, inside three tellers’ windows with a half-dozen customers in line, and a sign on the wall: “Offices in AURORA, AUTONOMY, AUCTION, AURIGA, AUDACITY, AUBERGE, AUSTRIAN SCHOOL, AUNTIE, and AUM.”
Elliot and Lorimer bypassed the line, instead walking over to a good-looking black woman behind a desk marked “New Accounts.” “Excuse me, but who do I see to exchange New Dollars?”
“Do you have an account with us?” she asked pleasantly; Elliot shook his head. “Then I’ll take care of it. Won’t you sit down?” After Elliot and Lorimer had been seated, she asked, “How much would you like exchanged?” Elliot took out his remaining currency, counting out twenty-seven hundred in blues. “You’d like gold or eurofrancs?”
“Uh — gold, I guess.”
She made use of a desktop computer console, then said, “We’ll have to buy your New Dollars at what we estimate is Monday’s rate.” She explained, “That’s the earliest we can sell it. And at 28.165 New Dollars per milligram gold, we can offer you ninety-six mils.”
“How much will that buy around here?”
“Not very much. A carton of cigarettes at Black Supermarket or a light lunch at TANSTAAFL Café. As a reference point, a dime vendy trades at par with four mils, a quarter vendy at ten mils — that is, one cent.”
Elliot thought a moment, then said, “My money will buy me two dozen phone calls?”
“If there were pay phones in Aurora — which there aren’t — yes.”
“In that case,” said Elliot, “I’m interested in another transaction.”
Concealing his motions from both the woman and Lorimer, he unzipped his belt slightly and pulled out a 50-peso piece. He placed it on the desk.
“For eurofrancs,” said Elliot.
Ten minutes later, Elliot had exchanged his blues for a handful of vendies and had been given 405 eurofrancs for his gold piece — ten eurofrancs per gram gold and an 8 percent premium for the coin. The New Accounts officer also showed them AnarchoBank gold coins of various weights, including a one-gram wafer so thin it was sealed into plastic.
“Listen,” said Elliot, after he had been given a thorough sales pitch for minimum-balance checking accounts, interest- bearing time deposits, and a small pamphlet called “The Wonderful World of 100% Gold Reserve Banking.” “I don’t mean this to sound nasty — honestly — but how can I be sure this isn’t a fly-by- night outfit?”
“That’s a fair question,” she replied, though I’m afraid the best way we can prove ourselves to you requires that you simply do business with us long enough to be assured of our honesty. Short of that, you can receive a copy of the auditor’s report from the Independent Arbitration Group, or check with any of our overseas correspondent banks. AnarchoBank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union Commerce Bank in Zurich, and does business through it with aboveground banks throughout the world.”
Elliot and Lorimer got up. “Well, thank you,” said Elliot.
The New Accounts officer extended another pamphlet to him. “Your application for a Bank AnarchoCard,” she said.
For the next hour, Elliot and Lorimer window-shopped, looking at duty-free Swiss watches in the Contraband Exchange, picking up a prospectus for Project Harriman, a countereconomic lunar mining venture, and scrutinizing the wide range of illegal chemicals on sale in Jameson Pharmaceuticals, displayed as in the patent-medicine counters of a discount drugstore. A sign on the wall announced: “NO PRESCRIPTIONS REQUIRED ON ANY PURCHASE — Consult Your Physician for Indications.” And past rows of morphine, paregoric, methadone, and heroin was another smaller sign on the wall, but reproduced on each package: “WARNING: Narcotics Use is Habit-Forming.”
Another counter displayed LSD 25 . . . THC . . . Mescaline . . . cocaine . . . Sweet & Low . . .
In Nalevo Personnel Lorimer was told by a placement manager that they could guarantee her employment at twenty grams gold a week in one of the finer bordellos.
The Black Supermarket impressed them not for what it had — aside from tax-free liquor and cigarettes its merchandise was the kind any supermarket would sell — but for what it did not have: no shortages, no rationing, no listings of “lawful” ceiling prices. Elliot felt a momentary twinge when he saw a shelf stocked with Spam; he had pushed his family to the back of his mind and felt guilty for enjoying himself.
It became evident that the trading floor was primarily a convenience for wholesale countereconomic traders, who shook hands on huge deals here, and made their deliveries outside. It was only slightly unusual to see a person walking around with face masked, though Elliot suspected that most of the people shopping on this floor were “expendable” agents of the actual buyers, whose faces would never risk being seen.
After a five-minute wait for a table, Elliot and Lorimer were seated in the TANSTAAFL Café, a sign on the wall translating the word as There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, and rightly crediting the acronym to E. “Doc” Pournelle. The special luncheon for Saturday offered split-pea soup, sandwich, french fries, and beverage, all for seven cents. After brief discussion, Elliot ordered it for both of them.
While waiting for the food, they paid a visit to the restaurant’s old Wurlitzer jukebox, finding it stocked only with classical music. Elliot inserted a quarter vendy and pushed I-23; the machine responded by playing the Heifetz recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
Elliot and Lorimer spent another ninety minutes drifting around the floor — talking with document forgers, electronics technicians, and arbitration agents — and visiting, at Elliot’s urging, The Gun Nut. On display was a weapon fancier’s dream, everything from pistols, bazookas, and M-21 automatic machine pistols, to grenade launchers, subsonic generators, and lasers. Its real attraction for Elliot was a fifty-foot-deep shooting range behind a soundproof glass panel. After donning ear protectors, Elliot fast-drew into a Weaver stance at a paper target in the shape of an armed assailant. Afterward, he brought his target up to the front counter.
“The proprietor said, “That’ll be ten cents. How’d you do?”
Elliot showed the man his target. He had shot a number of bull’s-eyes, fewer holes farther out, none out of killing range.
The proprietor nodded respectfully.
“Lor,” said Elliot as they exited to the promenade, “after this place I’d believe you if you told me someone was here hawking nukes.”
The display mock-up had a sign underneath labeling it: “100 KILOTON ATOMIC FISSION DEVICE.”
The salesman in Lowell-Pierre Engineering was telling them, “. . . but of course much smaller than the megaton capabilities of the hydrogen fusion devices.”
“You provide the plutonium?” Elliot asked him.
“No, of course not,” said the salesman. “You’d have to find your own source. But even if you did, you’d have to accept one of our supervisors to ensure that the device would be used only for excavation or drilling, before we would sell you one. We don’t hand over nuclear weapons to fools who want to blow up the world.”
“But you’ve sold these things?” asked Lorimer. “Really?”
“Of course,” said the salesman. “Do you think we’re in business for our health?”
Now here’s the same Agorist shopping floor sequence in the movie:
Speaking as the surviving co-founder of Agorism who came up with this sequence in close consultation with the other co-founder of Agorism, Samuel Edward Konkin III, I think the movie sequence is as representative of Agorism as the novel sequence. If you press me, I think the movie does an even better job at explicating core Agorist ideas than the novel did.
So here’s what the living Original Agorist says about this.
If you don’t like the expression of Agorist ideas in Alongside Night, the original novel or the movie the original author made from it, you’re not an Agorist.
If you don’t recognize and like the Agorist content of the first Agorist movie Alongside Night you have failed the litmus test identifying genuine Agorists and weeding out the phonies, poseurs, dilettantes, communists, fascists, racists, anti-Semites, unfunny comics, belching podcasters, illiterate critics, confidential informants, oppo trolls, and all variation of stealth statists from both left and right.
You can’t claim to be a fundamentalist Christian and hate the Bible. You can’t claim to be a Muslim and declare the Quran is a piece of crap. You can’t claim to be a Student of Objectivism and say Atlas Shrugged is the worst novel ever written. You can’t claim to love America but think half of American voters belong in a basket of deplorables.
If your esthetics are such that a clear expression of Agorist content in a more-than-competently made low-budget indie film turns you off, please stop calling yourself an Agorist, because you’re not. You can claim to be any other flavor of free-thinker you like — minarchist, Libertarian Partyarch, anarcho-communist, mutualist, AnCap, Voluntaryist, distributivist, etc. — but you are not an Agorist.
That’s not an argument from authority, or a claim of trademark.
It’s just cutting through a pile of deviationist claims to reach the historical facts witnessed personally from this guy who was there when it started.
In her strident reply to a May, 2013 Senate committee question whether a YouTube video was the cause of the deadly assault on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answered the question with a question: “What difference at this point does it make?”
I’m going to widen the context of Hillary Clinton’s question to the November presidential election, itself.
“What difference at this point does it make?” can well be applied to asking whether anyone elected President of the United States can do a thing about rescuing an economy in which the federal government’s accumulated national debt, continuing payments of legal entitlements such as Medicare, Social Security, and Veterans’ benefits, and treaty commitments are far beyond what the base of American taxpayers can service.
When there is no point on a Laffer Curve of Taxation where incoming taxes are equal to paying the interest on the national debt, much less future commitments of government spending, “what difference at this point does it make?” can be applied to the very question of who will sit in the Oval Office beginning January 20, 2017.
Government by its nature is parasitic on the private economic sector where goods and services are traded. Government makes nothing nor offers any benefit not paid for by taking wealth from people working and making things in the private economic sector. Government can spend nothing without removing it from the private economic sector, whether that taking is by taxes, fees, or the particularly pernicious method of expanding its fiat money or credit such that anyone calculating their holdings figured in that fiat money has their wealth transferred to the government by the stealthy theft of monetary devaluation.
Of course I’m being if not outright dishonest, then at least disingenuous — because, of course, there is indeed something the President of the United States could do to pay for things the American taxpayer can not afford.
The President, as Commander in Chief, can use the U.S. military, or at least use its muscular threats, to plunder foreign wealth and give it to Americans.
Even that, however, has its limits. Every Ponzi scheme has a tipping point where the availability of new suckers is less than the requirement of new suckers to maintain the cash flow needed to keep the scheme afloat.
We can observe that the continuing viability of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency demonstrates that inevitable point of collapse has not yet arrived. What we can not readily observe is how close we are to a tipping point when foreigners recognize their victimhood and — by switching to a reserve currency other than the U.S. dollar — decline to be further victimized.
It’s an open question in my mind whether there could possibly be an “economic miracle” to change this equation. That’s historical language for such a sudden creation of new wealth that it dwarfs the existing accumulated debt and demands for future government income to pay for future commitments. Economic history of post-World-War-II Germany suggests that economic freedom can produce gobs of new wealth quickly.
Before that, the relative economic freedom of the Industrial Revolution also suggests such a possibility.
A technological breakthrough such as anti-gravity or “warp drive” — enabling cheap and robust space industrialization — could theoretically create such an economic “miracle” as access to solar energy and minerals outside the earth’s atmosphere provides a new frontier to plunder — this time without natives needing to be displaced.
But that’s why it’s called a miracle. You can’t count on it. And if such a miracle happens, it’s highly unlikely anyone sitting in the Oval Office will have done anything to let it happen.
My fellow Americans, the hope for your future well-being is to be found in that part of the social order out of reach of the politicians.
So if you feel compelled to vote, vote for the presidential candidate most likely to be an incompetent blowhard.
I have no witnesses I know of to what I’m about to relate, so you can believe me or not.
I once had a conversation at a science-fiction convention with Isaac Asimov, whom I knew advocated a one-world government. Isaac knew I was a libertarian science-fiction writer.
I asked Dr. Asimov, “If you can’t get a one-world government, would you settle for a world anarchy?”
Dr. Asimov replied, “Yes.”
UK Brexit Ballot
I write this right after the British people in national referendum voted to extract the UK from its decades-long immersion in the European Union. I suspect when Britain joined the EU they saw the advantages to border-irrelevant trade, travel, and freedom of migration with European countries. Instead what they got was an overriding bureaucracy and a mass influx of Muslims to a country that still has an established Christian Church and a Christian monarchy.
I’m a libertarian. I’m entirely for doing away with national borders that restrict the free movement of people and trade goods. But I understand entirely why the British people thought the European Union tyrannical. My own country came to that same conclusion in 1776 regarding a British monarch and parliament.
Today when governments make trade agreements it’s called “free trade.” It isn’t free trade. It’s an expansion of mercantilism, by which one national power historically used troops and warships to install economic monopolies on other nations.
The European Union is a trade cartel and an aggressive multinational bureaucracy with a fiat currency not backed by any real commodity.
In theory I favor knocking down barriers to free migration and free trade. But I also favor the principle of eliminating, weakening, and decentralizing statist power to whatever extent possible.
In a politicized world that is not free — and in which there are vast affiliations of nationalists, ethnic groups, and religious identities — there are often nothing but conundrums for people like me who just want more freedom for as many people as possible.
Which is why I see the British exit from the European Union as a good thing. I see it as decentralization of power.
Whether the British people use that decentralization of power to submit to a more-localized oppression, or to institute a new era of real free trade and cultural values based on their historic expansion of enlightenment-based human rights, is something I will just have to wait and see.
I favor world freedom, which I believe comes about by recognizing, as did a universalist document written in 1776:
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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
–The Declaration of Independence
My British friends, you have just voted to be American. Facing toward the future, I hope you adopt the above principles better than we Americans have.
Talking today with fellow libertarian author/filmmaker/publisher, Brad Linaweaver, the seeming unstoppability of Donald J. Trump’s march to the Republican presidential nomination came up for discussion. We tended to agree that the problems the Republican National Committee and future of the GOP in blocking Trump would be costly – with blowback that might be prohibitively costly to the party.
We also agreed that there were multiple ways carrots and sticks could be used to stop Bernie Sanders from running as a third-party candidate for the Greens or another of the minor left-wing parties with established ballot lines, which if it happened could deprive Hillary Clinton of votes in a tight race the way Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in his race against George W. Bush in 2000.
But given Trump’s “America First” foreign policy speech of April 27, 2016 to the Center for the National Interest, a speech outlining a policy reminiscent of Pat Buchanan and paleo-conservatives with only a few rhetorical flourishes lifted from Neocon talking points, the necessity of the globalist Neocon/liberal alliance to put Hillary Clinton in the White House becomes obvious.
Brad suggested the possibility of a Ted Cruz or other conservative candidacy to draw votes from a Trump GOP candidacy, electing Hillary. I pointed out that by the time of the Republican Convention in Cleveland, July 18 to 21, 2016, 18 states would have closed ballot access for independent candidacies.
I then suggested a strategy the NeverTrump forces could use to elect Hillary: throw PAC support and inclusion of its candidate in the presidential debates to the candidate of the Libertarian Party, who will be on most if not all of the 50 state ballots.
Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate,
It would not matter that the Libertarian Party candidate is not appealing to social conservatives or evangelicals, though pro-life Libertarian Party candidate Austin Petersen just might appeal to them. Any of the three top Libertarian Party candidates seen on the Fox Business Channel’s John Stossel two-hour debate – Austin Petersen, John McAfee, or Gary Johnson could possibly – if well-financed by a never-Trump PAC – pull enough votes away from Donald Trump to throw the election to the establishment’s choice, Hillary Clinton.
After over four decades of marginal election returns and media invisibility, how many Libertarians would ignore the possibility of putting an actual “America First” president in the White House just finally to have their moment in the sun?
Virtually all, let me assure you.
Samuel Edward Konkin III, founder not only of the Agorist movement but of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus in 1973, considered that if the ruling classes ever needed the Libertarian Party they would not hesitate to use it. He always considered the Libertarian Party, like all political parties, as a tentacle of the State.
To add irony, how do you think I’d feel if Donald J. Trump, the only political candidate in our time who could win the White House and pull the American Empire back from its Orwellian “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” Neocon/globalist policies, were defeated, putting imperialist/pro-war Hillary Clinton into the White house …. by an executive producer of the pro-Agorist Alongside Night movie, Austin Petersen?
Addendum June 22, 2016
I watched the CNN Libertarian Presidential Town Hall tonight. It’s clear my article was prescient. I don’t know that Johnson/Weld have been promised big PAC money from the NeverTrump/pro-Hillary contingent but everything they said suggests it. Weld intimated his fund-raising experience would yield fruit soon. Weld declared Trump unfit for office and “a huckster” then praised Hillary as a good public servant and qualified. Johnson refused to prefer Hillary to Trump explicitly but praised Hillary’s character and attacked Trump’s positions.
They were weak on the Second Amendment, favoring universal background checks (there goes the gun show and internet “loopholes”) and favoring a process to deny terrorists guns. Weld talked about a “thousand man” FBI task force against Isis similar to the one Guiliani used against the Mafia.
They abandoned their previous “legalize all drugs/anti-Drug War” position and explicitly said they favor legalizing only marijuana.
Perhaps responding to Ron Paul’s criticism they now say “fiscally conservative but inclusive” instead of “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”
On abortion they moderated their “solidly pro-choice” position to “no abortion once the fetus is viable outside the womb” but did say they have no problem “on constitutional grounds” with the government guaranteeing women access to abortion clinics.
Their campaign is now officially NeverTrump and designed to move to pull votes from moderate Republicans. They don’t seem to care about losing their core Libertarian base… or electing Hillary.
As I write this Monday February 22, 2016, tomorrow evening is the Nevada caucus. As a Nye County voter still registered as a Republican from the last presidential election when I was a delegate for Ron Paul, I could caucus if I wished to. If I did, the only Republican candidate I could have seriously considered is businessman Donald J. Trump.
Donald J. Trump
Unfortunately, businessman Donald J. Trump is not running for president. The man who has been campaigning for the GOP nomination for president is a body-snatcher politician who has taken over Donald J. Trump’s voice.
The businessman Donald J. Trump as shown on his television series The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice treated all candidates as individuals, judging them based on their performance in achieving results.
The body-snatcher political candidate is a collectivist who speaks in jingoistic terms about nationalities and religious adherents.
The businessman Donald J. Trump gave political contributions to politicians because he knew these were pay-offs necessary to conduct his business as a builder, real-estate developer, and gaming operator. Were this man running for president he would not merely admit his participation in a corrupt system — as he has done — but he would acknowledge that he and businesspeople like him have been victims to a parasitical political class that needs to be destroyed — as much as Bernie Sanders wants to destroy the Wall Street banking/investment oligarchy — if America is ever to be “great again.”
The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump only talks about making better deals.
The businessman Donald J. Trump was pro-choice on abortion because he knew that life begins when the mother decides it begins — not a religious leader, a politician, or a judge.
The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump says he is pro-life because that’s necessary to win the nomination of a political party dominated by theocrats.
The businessman Donald J. Trump would speak of illegal workers as a resource being denied businessmen such as himself who employ such workers because it is the only way to make American manufacturing compete with slave labor in China and near slave labor in Mexico and Malaysia.
The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump talks about protecting “American jobs” instead of the comparatively free-enterprise that made the United States of America exceptional and a reversal of the top-down classist and colonial societies dominating every other continent.
Finally, the businessman Donald J. Trump knew war would bankrupt the American economy and that privacy was the first part of private enterprise.
The body-snatcher Donald J. Trump talks like every other Republican candidate in promising the Pentagon absolute first-strike-capability on the American taxpayer and support for a National Security State that can maintain all its secrets yet invade the privacy of every American citizen at will with no practical limit.
The businessman Donald J. Trump is a candidate that I believe Ayn Rand and Robert A. Heinlein could have supported.
If that man had been running for president even I, an anarchist, might have caucused for him tomorrow evening.
He’s not and I won’t.
A few days ago while watching an award screener of the new movie Trumbo — I’ll leave it to my libertarian friend Brad Linaweaver to review it for its historical inaccuracies — I had an epiphany. There’s a line of dialogue when Dalton Trumbo says:
…no, I can’t tell you what I’m
working on now except to say, the
blacklist is alive and well and so
is the black market.
Although I was aware that communist Hollywood writers were bypassing the Black List by writing under pseudonyms and working through “fronts,” it never occurred to me that this was practicing my own economic philosophy of Agorism.
Irrespective of any contrary propaganda intentions of its filmmakers, Trumbo is a pro-Agorist movie.
Dalton Trumbo — darling of the Hollywood left — was an Agorist: a practitioner of black-market capitalism.
Despite being a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of the USA whose theoretical understanding of free-market economics was somewhere between zero and negative infinity, when his career as the highest-paid screenwriter for the Hollywood studios was stymied and his bourgeois lifestyle capsized, Dalton Trumbo entrepreneured an elaborate counter-economic operation to market screenplays by himself and fellow black-listed writers to movie producers willing to lie about the screen credits and pay in cash.
I wrote, produced, and directed a feature film about Agorism as a strategy to resist and bypass any State, whether right-wing fascist or left-wing communist. It’s titled Alongside Night and as of yesterday it’s now available for free streaming via Amazon Prime. If you’re not a Prime member you can rent or buy it on Amazon as a streaming download or as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. It’s also on iTunes.
But fifty Hollywood distributors and all the major film festivals rejected my movie. They’ll lie and say my movie was substandard — mendacious lying is standard operations for communists and fascists alike — but Alongside Night was rejected because of its anti-political content.
So here’s my revelation to all those in Hollywood who applaud Dalton Trumbo for subverting and eventually destroying the Black List:
Dalton Trumbo used Agorism — the strategy portrayed in my movie Alongside Night — to defeat the oppressors of his time.
Agorism works to defeat tyranny … even if you think you’re a communist.
Wikipedia Article: Agorism