Economics

JNeilCare


Repeal and replace ObamaCare? Like this is hard to figure out?

Look. I’m an anarchist-libertarian but I also take notice of politics.

The libertarian position is getting the State completely out of the business of health, healthcare, healthcare insurance, and medicine, whether at the federal, state, or local level.

No drug laws.

No Drug War.

No requirements for drug prescriptions.

No legal penalties for possession or sale of any quantity of drugs, so long as no violence, force, coercion, or fraud is involved.

No FDA approval or control of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or supplements.

No restrictions on the importation of pharmaceuticals.

No Drug Enforcement Agency.

No medical licensing of doctors, nurses, dentists, or any other healthcare provider.

The premise of a free society is that what you put into your body, what you see as beneficial for your pursuit of happiness, what free people trade, are all private matters protected as preexisting unenumerated rights under the 9th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and — since not specifically granted to any branch of the federal government within the text of the Constitution — denied all branches of the federal government under the 10th amendment.

Oh, and all federal legislation and regulations are null and void ab initio, and prosecutable as criminal activity “under color of law” under Title 18, Section 242 of the United States Code.

If you’re feeling generous all these restrictions are incorporated to the States as well under the 14th Amendment.

That’s the libertarian position. That’s my position.

So let’s move on. The “Overton window” of the politically possible is not where a libertarian like me is.

Conservatives and Minarchists (this latter a term coined by my old friend, Samuel Edward Konkin III) believe in restricting the State as much as humanly possible.

Democrats, liberals, progressives all favor Universal Health Care, also known as “Single Payer” also known as Socialized Medicine.

Even a former Nixon administration economist like Ben Stein sees this as inevitable.

I don’t.

I see a possible stopgap from destroying all remnants of the free market in medicine, health care, and health insurance.

It’s my point One in the list below.

Caduceus

The issue the Democrats, liberals, and progressives all use against the “Repeal and Replace” of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is the disposition of those with preexisting conditions. The “heartless” Republicans want to kill off the poor because they oppose (they really don’t oppose it) Universal Socialized Medicine.

So let’s remove everyone with a preexisting condition from the health insurance market by putting them all on Medicare.

Yes, this is single-payer. But it’s not universal single-payer. It limits those who are single-payer clients to those who are currently breaking the back of the health-insurance market.

The Affordable Care Act — by legally requiring those with preexisting medical conditions to be included in the insurance pool — denies the purpose and nature of insurance, as a market product, itself.

Insurance, by definition, is based on risk of something happening in the future, a happening to which there can be an actuarial projection.

Someone with a preexisting medical condition is to health insurance precisely like buying automobile liability insurance after you’ve already crashed. It’s a past, not future, event.

Take these people out of the insurance market by putting them all on Medicare and everyone else can participate in a market for health insurance.

It’s not a libertarian solution. It is, however, a solution that limits government and preserves a free-market in health insurance for everyone else.

It’s a conservative or Minarchist solution.

My other points all address increasing competition, breaking up medical and pharmaceutical cartels and increasing market entry to healthcare providers.

Here then is a nonlibertarian proposal for JNeilCare:

1. Anyone with a preexisting condition regardless of age can sign up for Medicare.

2. All restrictions and barriers to Americans purchasing pharmaceuticals from foreign manufacturers and foreign pharmacies are hereby repealed.

3. Any health-insurance-qualified provider is allowed to provide services directly to a patient at a cash discount of their choosing.

4. Any physician’s, surgeon’s, nursing, dental, or other medical or health service provider’s license issued by any state or U.S. territory is good throughout the United States and its territories. Any foreign physician, surgeon, nursing, dental, or other medical or health service provider licensed in any state or U.S. territory may practice anywhere in the United States and its territories.

5. Anyone may purchase health insurance from any company selling such policies regardless of location of either seller or buyer.

It ain’t libertarian but it sucks a whole lot less than the United States adopting Universal Socialist Single-payer Medicine.

Oh, and feel free to sweeten this with as much of the libertarian position as you can get away with.

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Schooling the Academics


As I write this Cinemax is running the 1986 comedy Back to School.

The movie stars Rodney Dangerfield, the brilliant stand-up comic whose theme was always, “I get no respect.”

The theme of Back to School is Dangerfield’s, who co-wrote the story, about a successful self-made multi-millionaire whose only schooling is the School of Hard Knocks, versus snobbish and entitled academics with no real-world accomplishments who give the real-world achiever no respect. As Dangerfield’s movie portrays, the feeling is mutual.

Back to School poster

I dropped out of college, the only community college that would accept me based on a certificate of completion from a private tutorial academy, in my second semester. It wasn’t only that I was bored by instructors who couldn’t write or argue as well as I already could from what I’d learned in my own reading and teenage entrepreneurial pursuits, but the academic atmosphere itself offended me. A psychology course expected me to share my personal life with other students, all strangers, as if this were group therapy. I’d already undergone several years of private psychiatry which had been personally beneficial and knew what issues were mine to resolve, but nobody else’s business.

As well, after years of sitting in classrooms that taught me far less than days reading books I’d chosen from visits to libraries, I was impatient to test myself in the real world. I’d already achieved minor success as a photo-journalist who beginning at age 14 had sold photography to local newspapers and portrait photography to individual clients. Now, pursuing writing as my new profession, I was more interested in making sales to newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Delaying this by sitting in classrooms that had nothing to teach me that I couldn’t teach myself more efficiently had no appeal to me. The social approval of others who would judge me not on my actual work but on academic degrees struck me as remnants of an aristocratic Old World that I thought the American Revolution was fought to disestablish.

Today, after decades in the real-world marketplace, I can acknowledge lost opportunities because I didn’t pursue academic degrees. I wasn’t entirely allergic to classrooms and audited Murray Rothbard classes in economics he taught in Brooklyn. I’ve taken extension courses in subjects that interested me at UCLA. I achieved a certificate from college courses in police work that qualified me to become a California peace officer, though I never was offered employment in the field. And I even taught a graduate course in digital publishing for the New School, based on my own early entrepreneurship in the field, to students seeking a Masters degree. One of my students was a vice-president at Prentice-Hall publishing.

Nonetheless, when in the 1990′s I applied for a full-time editorial position at Reason Magazine after having been published in Reason, National Review, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page; had two award-winning novels published by major New York publishers; and had written for prime-time network television, Reason editor Virginia Postrel told me in a phone follow-up to my job application that I didn’t even make her top-ten for the position because I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree.

The only paid editorial office position I ever scored in my career was working for a soft-core porn pulp magazine published by Screw Magazine’s Al Goldstein.

Today — even having achieved endorsements and praise on my writing from numerous doctorate-wielding university professors — academics with no publishing credits nearing my own in both popular media and academic journals, dominate conferences from the Independent Institute, Students for Liberty, CATO, the Reason Foundation, and conferences like PorcFest leaning to the left and FreedomFest leaning to the right — and I haven’t received a main-program-track speaking offer at any of these events for years.

I have friends like Brad Linaweaver — who holds a Masters Degree in English from the ivy-league Rollins College — who has real-world publishing credits as long or longer than my own. Academic achievement does not preclude real-world results.

But my disgust and contempt for supposedly libertarian publishers, conference organizers, and organizations that give out grants and awards for writing, publishing, and producing serious works encompassing free-market and libertarian ideas — preferencing academics over marketplace achievers like myself — makes me want to aim projectile vomit over their revanchist Old World Class.

This, alone, loses the libertarian future, and don’t think this autodidact doesn’t hate their guts because of their discriminatory lack of respect.

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Making Liberty Go Viral


In the 1970′s, as a young radical-libertarian fiction writer, I had the thought: What If — instead of setting the struggle for liberty in the past, or on another world, or in a parallel dimension or alternate timeline or post-apocalyptic future — I played that story on streets barely changed from ones outside my own window?

I didn’t write Alongside Night to be another Atlas Shrugged or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I wrote it to say that you didn’t need to go to the Land of Oz if you wanted to see the wizardry of freedom. It could be right on the sidewalks you walked every day and you didn’t need any ruby or glass slippers.

I believe that in seeking liberty stories are far more important than either elections or marches. Ideas without the imagination to visualize them remain stillborn.

I knew right from the beginning that Alongside Night would have to be more than a novel. I wrote my first draft of a screenplay adaptation before the first book came off the printing press.

Today, Alongside Night is the novel which was its first expression; but it is now also a movie, a graphic novel, an audiobook, and a song. All versions tell pretty much the same story.

I tried and failed to get the major film festivals and Hollywood studios to put my movie onto hundreds or thousands of movieplex screens. They didn’t want it. Knowing their politics, in which sugar and safety rank much higher than liberty, that should not have been a surprise … but I’m always an optimist.

More disappointing to me were people whom I thought prized liberty as much as I do only to discover their conventionality and timidity when courageous imagination was needed.

I did meet some heroes along the way, too — both old friends and some new ones.

We who love liberty, whoever we are, have to get the word out ourselves and if they’re to be deeply ingrained not just words, but pictures, voices, music, and ideas.

Alongside Night is already in distribution as a novel, graphic novel, and audiobook. You can find all of those for sale on Amazon.com if nowhere else. In a few months the Blu-Ray and DVD of the movie will be just as available — we’re aiming at Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, and Redbox.

If you’re a blogger, a podcaster, or just have Facebook friends or Twitter followers — hey, maybe you even have a face, voice, or byline in the Big Media — you don’t have to wait. I just made a secret web page with links to watch the full Alongside Night movie, to read the movie edition of the novel, to read the graphic novel, and to listen to the audiobook.

If you want to write or talk about Alongside Night in any or all of these versions you just need to email me (jneil[at]jesulu.com) or send me a Facebook message promising me you’ll keep the page and its links secret and I’ll give you the secret URL.

Yours in liberty,

J. Neil Schulman

Alongside Night The Movie

Alongside Night The Movie Edition

Alongside Night The Graphic Novel

Alongside Night The Audiobook

It’s the near future and America is in trouble. Hyperinflation and disorder reign in the towns and cities of the nation. The government doesn’t have money to pay the military. A revolutionary group inspired by the Declaration of Independence is fomenting a second American Revolution and the director of a futuristic FEMA is arresting political enemies without court-issued warrants and imprisoning them in a secret prison.

This is the nonstop action and suspense in award-winning indie filmmaker J. Neil Schulman’s latest production, Alongside Night, based on his award-winning 1979 novel endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and Dr. Ron Paul.

Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Said Faraj (Green Zone), Contact and Starship Troopers’ Jake Busey, Star Trek Voyager’s Tim Russ and Garrett Wang, Alien Nation’s Gary Graham, Men in Black 3′s Valence Thomas, Parks and Recreation’s Mara Marini, Lady Magdalene’s Ethan Keogh, Adam Meir and Susan Smythe, Kevin Sorbo’s real-life wife, actress Sam Sorbo, singer/songwriter Jordan Page, and real-life activist Adam Kokesh, as well as up-and-coming actors Christian Kramme, Reid Cox, Kyle Leatherberry, Rebekah Kennedy, Charlie Morgan Patton, and Eric Colton, this is a film far more current than The Hunger Games or Divergence series.

This is the story of Elliot Vreeland (Kramme), son of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Martin Vreeland (Sorbo). When his family goes missing and while being shadowed by federal agents (Faraj and Leatherberry), Elliot, with the help of his mysterious companion Lorimer (Cox), explore the underground world of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to find them. It’s a story of romance, intrigue, action, adventure, and exhilarating science fiction thrills.

“J.Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night is at the forefront of libertarian cinema.” — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly

“I’d like to mention to the viewers, hopefully when you get the chance take a look at this movie, read the book. Neil’s worked hard in the libertarian movement. And we’d like to move it along and get it a lot of attention because that’s exactly what we want to do on this program, on this channel, is to promote the cause of liberty and I believe Alongside Night will do that.”
–Dr. Ron Paul, Ron Paul Channel, June 16, 2014

“The story is, by turns, touching, suspense-filled, violent when violence was called for, highly polemic, and altogether satisfying.”
L. Neil Smith, The Libertarian Enterprise

“A movie dedicated to promoting liberty and warning about a too powerful government.” — Coos County Democrat

“Abundant professional talent …supported the making of this fine movie. The result is visually bright and stunning, laced and layered with great music and pregnant with the theme of the unquenchable human spirit seeking liberty.”
–Jerry Jewett, Mondo Cult

Alongside Night has been recognized as an important projection of near-future crises on such diverse mass media as Fox News’ Red Eye, ABC’s On The Red Carpet, The Ron Paul Channel, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Reason.TV, the Larry Elder Show, Las Vegas Weekly, the Libertarian Republic, the Sam Sorbo Show, and many blogs, local TV and radio shows, and podcasts. With recommendations from Ron Paul and Alex Jones to their millions of listeners and viewers this movie has a fan base eagerly awaiting it.

Alongside Night has had successful paid ticketed theatrical screenings in Santa Monica, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Spokane, WA; Apple Valley, MN; Schaumburg, IL; Lansing, MI; Okemos, MI; and Lehi, UT.

Official Movie Website

Official Facebook

Official Twitter

YouTube Short Video Play List

Alongside Night Freedom Poster

Las Vegas Weekly article by Josh Bell

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Goodbye Jay Leno — Goodbye Television?


Next month — February 6th, to be precise — the NBC television network is forcing the retirement of their number one late night star — Tonight Show host Jay Leno — in favor of the talented but Tonight Show-ratings untested Jimmy Fallon, who currently follows Leno with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. With rare exception, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has held first place in the 11:35 PM ET/PT late-night time slot ratings since 1995, winning the late-night war for NBC against competition such as David Letterman on CBS, Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, and currently syndicated reruns on Fox.

In a 60 Minutes interview Sunday night Leno said he understood NBC’s decision to replace him with a younger host because Leno’s prime demographic is Baby-Boomers (including me, born in 1953) whereas Fallon’s prime demographic is Millennials — the age-demographic including my college-age daughter. According to Leno, NBC is worried that Fallon would jump ship to another network (most likely Fox) if they don’t give him The Tonight Show now. Apparently they are less worried that Jay’s loyal demographic — people closer to my age — will jump ship to watching David Letterman on CBS, a network known for programming to the Baby-Boomer demo in both prime-time and late night.

Jay LenoJimmy Fallon
Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon

I haven’t run the late-night numbers. But NBC programmers don’t have a crystal ball that assures The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon will have a viewership anywhere near as good as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has established. We do know that in 2009 when Leno was originally replaced with Conan O’Brien the ratings for The Tonight Show plummeted so badly NBC begged Leno to come back to The Tonight Show from the disastrous 10:00 PM ET/PT weeknights time slot they tried The Jay Leno Show in, to keep Jay from jumping to another network’s late-night time slot.

I also haven’t run commercial-revenue comparisons between Baby-Boomers and Millennials. But I can’t see how late-night ad revenues could come out with higher commercial buy rates by preferentially advertising to Millennials. Not to put too fine a point on it but even with the drop in 401(K)’s, home equity losses, and worsening fixed-income-to-inflation ratios, Baby-Boomers tend to have a lot more disposal income than Millennials who are having a hard time getting a job, paying off student loans, and — if not living in the old bedroom in their parents’ house — struggling to afford groceries. Is NBC figuring on maintaining ad-rates replacing sponsors such as BMW and Kay Jewelers with Thunderbird and Cup Noodles? Or are they counting on future advertising from pot dispensaries?

Anecdotally, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has been regularly programmed into my DVR because I enjoy his monologue, like his bits “Headlines” and “Jaywalking,” and — even though David Letterman is frequently hilarious — Jay isn’t an-anti-right-to-keep-and-bear-arms New York intellectual like Letterman and, being a gearhead, Jay doesn’t piss me off as often.

I watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon only when he has a guest I want to see, because Fallon’s stand-ups are often repetitive and less polished, he wastes valuable airtime playing games with his guests instead of asking them anything penetrating (this is where Letterman is even better than Leno), and — if I’m to be honest when making a marginal-utility calculation regarding who gets the second hour of my late-night attention span — the funniest person to me on late-night week nights is Craig Ferguson, who follows Letterman on CBS.

All other things being equal, NBC’s decision to lose their lock on late-night for an untested 11:35 PM show with a less-rich viewership just doesn’t make sense.

Unless — as Louie C.K. says — “But maybe…”

But maybe the most important thing about Jimmy Fallon is that his bits frequently become worldwide trending hashtag topics on Twitter.

But maybe NBC is looking a few years down the line when the late-night time-slot wars are over because a lot more people will get their programming directly from web-based services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, viewed either on smart phones and tablets, or connected to their big-screen monitors through Roku boxes and gaming consoles.

I may be a Baby Boomer but my Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions — connected with a Roku box to my living-room plasma screen — are already cutting the time I spend on my DirecTV channel line-up by half.

In the last 24 hours my daughter, away at college, didn’t ask me for a new TV set, like I might have asked my parents for at her age.

She asked to piggyback on my Netflix subscription.

The future, right there.

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ObamaCare Blowback


I received a certified letter from my physician yesterday.

It read:

This letter will serve as notification to you that (clinic name) is withdrawing you from further treatment as of the date of this letter. You are hereby discharged from care by all of our physicians and treatment locations. … We suggest that you place yourself under the care of another physician and medical facility immediately.

My doctor was firing me as a patient? What was up? Was I dying from some disease they had failed to properly diagnose, and they were hoping I was dead before I discovered their malpractice and sued? Did the nurse who couldn’t draw blood from my arm file a grievance against me as a preemptive move? Had I failed to pay a bill?

None of the above.

Star of Life

I phoned the doctor’s office today. They are no longer accepting any patient who doesn’t sign up for their “Concierge Service” — a yearly fee in four figures for unlimited clinic visits.

Cash only.

No medical insurance accepted, no Medicare, total opting out from any part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — ObamaCare.

Welcome to the future of private medical practice in the United States.



Now in post-production: Alongside Night. Look for it later this year!

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Human Property

The basic premise of libertarianism is well stated in the movie The Fifth Element: “Seno Akta Gamat!”

Property is a selfish idea.

This statement has two components.

Property is selfish.

Property is an idea.

You look around and nothing in a state of nature is made with a stamp on it saying that anybody owns it. There are mountains, valleys, plains, lakes, seas, ice masses, and oceans. There are creatures great and small. There are fields of grasses, dense forests, trees and vines bearing fruit, all sorts of edible plants and fungi.

Then come human beings who look around, put up fences, take stuff and turn it into other — sometimes brand new — stuff, and say to other human beings, “This which I messed around with is mine and not yours. Use it without my permission and there’s going to be big trouble.”

I’m called a defender of “intellectual” property. I’ve been denying this for as long as it’s been said for a simple reason: nothing but human intellect makes anything property.

Nothing in a state of nature is property.

Ideas are not property. Ideas make things property.
–J. Neil Schulman, Tweet June 6, 2012

It’s only the application of human intellect to things found in a state of nature that makes anything property.

There is no more of a distinction to be made between “intellectual” property and “stupid” property than there are distinctions between any other kinds of property.

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009

Human action encompasses activities that are both obviously useful and activities the utility of which is intangible.

If I put food on a plate in front of you, the usefulness of the food is barely debatable: human beings are animals that survive by ingesting food used by the body to sustain life.

If I make a dwelling that keeps you dry during rains, warm during winter, unmolested by the sun’s lethal radiation, the utility of the dwelling is also obvious.

But if I tell you a joke, sing you a song, tell you a story that in the retelling helps you put your child to bed, make a book that by trying to explain your place in the universe makes it easier for you to put yourself to bed at night, the utility is subtler.

The utility of any thing is defined by what a user can do with it. The value of a thing is defined by what a user is willing to exchange for it — either one’s own investment in time and toil or by exchange with someone else to get it. All of modern economics is an attempt to analyze, understand, and better plan human activities based on the above fundamental truths.

Beginning a few decades beyond two centuries ago, a moral philosopher named Adam Smith wrote a book launching a new discussion on the right and wrong ways to make nations richer. Since then others have called this book the beginnings of economics as a science, and subsequent writers from Karl Marx to Ludwig von Mises have written their own books to take up Adam Smith’s discussion.

It’s beyond my scope in this brief essay to discuss the overall history of ideas in the science of economics; but I do want to make it clear that what we debate in discussions about property are ideas.

Property does not exist in nature.

Property is an abstract intellectual concept.

When we discuss “property” we are discussing what human actions are rightful by general moral principles, by utility to the individual human being or some wider group of individual human beings — and these days there are human beings who demand that the discussion be widened to the general welfare of non-human animals, plants, and even the spiritual needs of our planet, which they address as “Gaia.”

I’m a libertarian. My moral philosophy is that only beings that can communicate the thought “I am and this is what I demand” qualify for my consideration as actors — and that to qualify as a member of the class of moral actors one needs to be able to be put on trial by other moral actors for the consequences to others of one’s acts. Anything other than responsible moral actors may be worthy of privileges, immunities, and protection — but how and what those are will be decided in councils of moral actors.

Those acts that moral actors may take without prior permission of another moral actor is the beginning of the abstract concept of a “right.” Those rights — the collection of actions that may be taken without another’s permission — those right-sanctioned actions when taken as a whole — is called “liberty.”

Making the use of a thing exclusive to the decisions of a particular moral actor is the foundation of what we call property rights. A property right is an action with respect to a non-sapient thing that a morally responsible actor may take without permission from another.

Now.

There are current writers who argue that there is a distinction to be made between things that are scarce and common — the use of which is “rivalrous” or “non-rivalrous” — and these distinctions define what may and may not rightfully be considered property.

But absolute non-scarcity of a thing is not a distinction that universally disqualifies a thing as ineligible for a claim that a particular human being has a rightful moral claim to its exclusive use.

Water is ubiquitous on planet Earth — three quarters of the surface of this planet is covered with it, sometimes to great depth — yet a canteen of potable water to a man trekking through a desert can be private property that is the difference between life and death.

Nor is the “rivalrous” or “non-rivalrous” use of a particular thing a distinction that disqualifies a thing from being the exclusive property of a specific human owner.

A bed that I use only eight hours a night does not become open to “non-rivalrous” use during the other 16 hours in a day merely because my body is not lying on it. If I own the bed — if it is my private property — my moral rights to exclusive determination of how and when that bed is used are the definition of ownership.

Declaring me selfish by my disallowing others to use the bed in my absence is an attack on the concept of private property, and the negation of individual human rights as the moral basis for organizing human utilization of the things we dedicate to our uses.

This is an abstract discussion of moral premises.

So far this is not a discussion of what things are but what moral actions we may take with respect to them.

But there is now a discussion that things which human beings make that exist only as replicable art may not be private property. The argument is made that a thing which is replicable can be used by more than one person at a time because another’s use of a copy does not deprive the original owner of anything. He still has exclusive use of the original.

But that’s simply not true.

Art is not knowledge.
–Brad Linaweaver, in a discussion with the author

A novel is a longish written-down story, the function of which is to be communicated from its author to someone else, who is its audience. Writers do not write novels for their own individual use. It is written as a trade good for the use of others.

When I write the novel it exists first as a thing separate and distinguishable from anything which carries it — paper, computer-readable memory, or even the brain of a human being with eidetic memory.

If the composition of words is rendered into digital form, the file has a unique file size and each line of text has a unique checksum; but the novel itself is a uniquely identifiable sequence of alphanumeric characters. A computer can identify this novel in comparison to other digital files as a unique thing as easily as it can compare the digital images of two fingerprints and determine one of them to be a unique identifier of a single human being among billions.

Ever notice thieves and communists scream like Gollum “My precious! Mine! Mine! Mine!” the second you enforce the original property right?
–J. Neil Schulman, Tweet June 6, 2012

A thing which can be identified as a unique object qualifies as a thing that can be claimed as private property. The number of media carriers upon which this unique thing can be stored and displayed is a variable; yet there is a singular and unique thing that exists no matter whether the number of displays or carriers is the single manuscript upon which it was first imprinted or the millions of carriers upon which it is communicated to its intended audience.

To deny this property right is to deny that the thing exists, or that it is a commercial trade good. Without this recognition there is no thing that the audience may enjoy and no thing that its author has made for their use.

The distinction between these media-carried properties and other kinds of property is not a question of economics or morality.

The primary question is not who does or does not own this thing. That moral and economic question is answered when we have acknowledged that a thing exists. At that point, those who believe in individual, selfish property rights grant the right of ownership to the human being who brought it forth from nothingness in an act of ex nihilo creation.

Or at least it is as close to nothingness that can be observed on a blank piece of paper, or gazing at a blank monitor screen, when I fill it in with avalanches of words.

The persistent fallacy of the anti-IP crowd: all private property is an expression of human intellect. Private property is itself an idea.
–J. Neil Schulman, Tweet June 6, 2012

Atheists these day debate with the religious about whether the universe is the product of dumb nature or intelligent design.

Atheists these days debate with the religious about whether God created the Heavens and the Earth.

Surely atheists do not need to debate with the religious about whether J. Neil Schulman created this essay you just read?

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I’ve been cornered into writing about “intellectual” property for over three decades. It’s been a distraction from the fundamental core arguments about the nature of property I’ve intended to make.

It’s not an accident I titled this article “Human Property.” I intended that title to have the impact of titles like Capital and Human Action.

It’s not a complicated idea I’m trying to get across so I was able to be terse about it. Unlike Marx and Mises, I did not need to expound at tome length.

But if shorter essays by Thoreau can inspire a Gandhi or Martin Luther King, I don’t see any reason why my little essay on the nature of human property can’t be as inspirational for a new generation of libertarians who have been lied to by moral idiots.

–J. Neil Schulman, from an email about this article written to Brad Linaweaver

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Related Articles by J. Neil Schulman:

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Poverty of Nations

Who Has Rights?

The Libertarian Case for IP

MCP

Copying Is Not Theft? How About Identity Theft?

Copying Is Not Theft? How About Forgery? Counterfeiting? Plagiarism?

My Unfinished 30-Year-Old Debate with Wendy McElroy

Karl Marx versus Political Correctness

Also L. Neil Smith’s Guest Editorial:

Little Criminals — The Context of Consent

This article is Copyright © 2012 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.

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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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New Indie Film Distribution Model Pioneered by Nichelle Nichols Comic Thriller Lady Magdalene’s

Strategic business alliance between nutritional supplement company Life Enhancement Products and indie film company Jesulu Productions demonstrates a new distribution model for indie films, where a sponsor’s sales revenues are shared with a producer, repaying movie investors. First up: Lady Magdalene’s, a triple-film-festival-award-winning suspense comedy starring original Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, released for free views both on web and TV, with Life Enhancement infomercial.

(OpenPress) November 8, 2011 — Most entertainment industry observers are confident that new-media distribution of movies to digital devices will become a major part of film distribution, but until now nobody has demonstrated a business model that creates a revenue stream sufficient to repay film investors. Now one indie film company is trying to create just such a digital-media revenue stream, making independent film-making once again attractive to investors by creating new profitable competition to traditional distribution channels monopolized by the interlocking cartels of movie studios, broadcast/cable/satellite systems & networks, and chain theatrical exhibitors.

Jesulu Productions has just released for free viewing on both YouTube and broadcast television its triple-film-festival-award-winning suspense comedy, Lady Magdalene’s, starring the original Star Trek‘s Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, including an up-front infomercial by the nutritional supplement company, Life Enhancement Products. The strategic business alliance between the independent film company and nutritional supplement company pioneers a new distribution model for independent films, whereby the new revenue stream created by the movie’s sponsored distribution is shared with a film’s producer, repaying movie investors for the costs of production.

This business model for infomercial-sponsored independent film distribution was conceived by Lady Magdalene’s writer/producer/director, J. Neil Schulman, also an award-winning novelist and journalist, who in the 1980′s and 1990′s founded and operated two eBook publishing companies, SoftServ Publishing and Pulpless.Com, which were the first companies to make books by bestselling authors available for download to personal computers, first as SoftServ in 1990 via the General Electric Network for Information Exchance (GEnie), then beginning in 1995 from the world wide web as Pulpless.Com.

“I believe movie watchers are already used to seeing commercial messages before a movie starts,” says Schulman, “on TV and even in movie theaters. I also think a well-done and entertaining infomercial is much more likely to produce results than traditional web banner advertising extraneous to the movie, which web surfers are much more used to ignoring.”

Lady Magdalene's Poster #2

In Jesulu Productions’ suspense comedy, Lady Magdalene’s, Nichelle Nichols plays Maggie, the colorful and determined madam of a legal Nevada brothel — relocated from New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — and in tax default to the IRS. However the talented but disgraced federal agent, Jack Goldwater (Ethan Keogh), sent as the federal receiver to manage the brothel, soon uncovers evidence that Lady Magdalene’s is being used by al-Qaeda operatives as a meetup for a plot leading to the tunnels under Hoover Dam. But Agent Goldwater and a female federal agent he soon meets up with (Susan Smythe) can’t figure out what al-Qaeda is really doing until they seek help from Lady Magdalene and the working women at the brothel.

Lady Magdalene’s: Free Web Edition was released on YouTube as a single high-definition video, available for web streaming or download, on October 22, 2011; and on Halloween, October 31, 2011, Lady Magdalene’s had its world television premiere on KPVM TV, Pahrump, Nevada, the town in which most of the movie’s principal photography was shot, using both familiar locations and many locals in the cast. The movie broadcast was preceded by the thirty-minute Lady Magdalene’s KPVM TV Halloween 2011 Premiere Pre-Show (also available on YouTube), hosted by cast member Mara Marini (“Nurse Gretchen”), and featuring interviews with star Nichelle Nichols, writer/director J. Neil Schulman, cast-member Mark Gilvary (who plays two different roles in the movie), and features on Pahrump local actors who were selected from a local casting call.

A second thirty-minute video,Lady Magdalene’s Pre-Show, intended for TV broadcasts elsewhere, is also available for viewing on YouTube.

Both the Life Enhancement infomercial and the two pre-shows were produced by Jesulu Productions.

Lady Magdalene's Film Festival Palm Leaves

Lady Magdalene’s has won three film-festival awards: “Best Cutting Edge Film” after its premiere at the 2008 San Diego Black Film Festival; ” Audience Choice” at the 2008 Cinema City International Film Festival shown on the Citywalk adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood; and, most recently, “Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals” at FreedomFest’s Anthem Film Festival at Bally’s Las Vegas in July 2011.

Life Enhancement Products is the exclusive distributor of the nutritional supplement formulations of New York Times bestselling authors, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, and the infomercial seen in both the movie and the pre-show features Mara Marini interviewing founder, president, CEO, and editor of Life Enhancement Magazine, Will Block.

J. Neil Schulman and Will Block have been friends since they met at a New York libertarian meeting in 1972. Block was the videographer at Schulman’s 1985 wedding to Schulman’s ex-wife, singer/songwriter, Kate O’Neal, two of whose songs are featured on the soundtrack of Lady Magdalene’s.


Alongside Night Poster #1
Alongside Night Poster #2

Schulman and Block are both executive producers on Schulman’s next film production, Alongside Night scheduled to begin principal photography in December, starring international TV and film star, Kevin Sorbo (also an executive producer on the film). Schulman has adapted the screenplay from his Prometheus-Hall-of-Fame 1979 novel, endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and presidential hopeful Congressman Ron Paul, and Schulman will be helming Alongside Night as his second feature. Schulman has referred to Alongside Night as his “1979 novel ripped from today’s headlines” as it follows the teenage son of a Nobel-prizewinning economist through a U.S. facing fall of the United States government due to the hyperinflationary collapse of the U.S. dollar. The movie is scheduled to premiere on the campus of George Mason University in Spring 2012, sponsored by campus organization Mason Liberty and AntiWar.Com.

Full information on Lady Magdalene’s is on the official movie website at http://www.ladymagdalenes.com. The official Lady Magdalene’s Facebook Page is at http://www.facebook.com/ladymagdalenes.

Full information on Alongside Night is on the official movie website at http://www.alongsidenightmovie.com. The official Alongside Night Facebook Page is at http://www.facebook.com/alongsidenightmovie.

Information about Life Enhancement Products can be found on the web at http://www.life-enhancement.com/movie.







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 and as a DVD on Amazon.com. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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Nichelle Nichols Comedy Thriller Lady Magdalene’s Pioneers New Indie Film Distribution Model

Everybody knows that new-media distribution of movies to digital devices will become a major part of film distribution, but to this point nobody has demonstrated a business model that creates a revenue stream sufficient to repay film investors competitive to traditional distribution models that have already shut out all but a handful of independent films. If the cutting-edge Lady Magdalene’s/Life Enhancement business model of free distribution with infomercials works to create such a revenue stream, suddenly independent filmmaking becomes attractive to investors again and for the first time enables competition to traditional distribution channels monopolized by the interlocking cartels of movie studios, broadcast/cable/satellite systems & networks, and chain theatrical exhibitors.

(OpenPress) November 6, 2011 — The triple-film-festival-award-winning suspense comedy, Lady Magdalene’s, starring the original Star Trek‘s Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, has just been released for free viewing on both YouTube and broadcast television, including an up-front infomercial by the nutritional supplement company, Life Enhancement Products. The strategic business alliance between Life Enhancement Products and the independent film company, Jesulu Productions, demonstrates a new distribution model for independent films, whereby the new revenue stream created by the movie’s sponsored distribution is shared with a film’s producer, repaying movie investors for the costs of production.

This business model for sponsored independent film distribution was conceived by Lady Magdalene’s writer/producer/director, J. Neil Schulman, also an award-winning novelist and journalist, who in the 1980′s and 1990′s founded and operated two eBook publishing companies, SoftServ Publishing and Pulpless.Com, which were the first companies to make books by bestselling authors available for download to personal computers, first as SoftServ in 1990 via the General Electric Network for Information Exchance (GEnie), then beginning in 1995 from the world wide web as Pulpless.Com.

Lady Magdalene's Poster #2

In this suspense comedy, Lady Magdalene’s, Nichelle Nichols plays Lady Magdalene, the colorful and determined madam of a legal Nevada brothel — relocated from New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — and in tax default to the IRS. However the talented but disgraced federal agent, Jack Goldwater (Ethan Keogh), sent as the federal receiver to manage the brothel, soon uncovers evidence that Lady Magdalene’s is being used by al-Qaeda operatives as a meetup for a plot leading to the tunnels under Hoover Dam. But Agent Goldwater and a female federal agent he soon meets up with (Susan Smythe) can’t figure out what al-Qaeda is really doing until they seek help from Lady Magdalene and the working women at the brothel.

Lady Magdalene’s: Free Web Edition was released on YouTube as a single high-definition video, available for web streaming or download, on October 22, 2011; and on Halloween, October 31, 2011, Lady Magdalene’s had its world television premiere on KPVM TV, Pahrump, Nevada, the town in which most of the movie’s principal photography was shot, using both familiar locations and many locals in the cast. The movie broadcast was preceded by the thirty-minute Lady Magdalene’s KPVM TV Halloween 2011 Premiere Pre-Show (also available on YouTube), hosted by cast member Mara Marini (“Nurse Gretchen”), and featuring interviews with star Nichelle Nichols, writer/director J. Neil Schulman, cast-member Mark Gilvary (who plays two different roles in the movie), and features on Pahrump local actors who were selected from a local casting call.

A second thirty-minute video,Lady Magdalene’s Pre-Show, intended for TV broadcasts elsewhere, is also available for viewing on YouTube.

Lady Magdalene's Film Festival Palm Leaves

Lady Magdalene’s has won three film-festival awards: “Best Cutting Edge Film” after its premiere at the 2008 San Diego Black Film Festival; ” Audience Choice” at the 2008 Cinema City International Film Festival shown on the Citywalk adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood; and, most recently, “Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals” at FreedomFest’s Anthem Film Festival at Bally’s Las Vegas in July 2011.

Life Enhancement Products is the exclusive distributor of the nutritional supplement formulations of New York Times bestselling authors, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, and the infomercial seen in both the movie and the pre-show features Mara Marini interviewing founder, president, CEO, and editor of Life Enhancement Magazine, Will Block.

J. Neil Schulman and Will Block have been friends since they met at a New York libertarian meeting in 1972. Block was the videographer at Schulman’s 1985 wedding to Schulman’s ex-wife, singer/songwriter, Kate O’Neal, two of whose songs are featured on the soundtrack of Lady Magdalene’s.

Full information on Lady Magdalene’s is on the official movie website at http://www.ladymagdalene’s.com. The official Lady Magdalene’s Facebook Page is at http://www.facebook.com/ladymagdalenes.

Information about Life Enhancement Products can be found on the web at http://www.life-enhancement.com/movie.







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 and as a DVD on Amazon.com. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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An Open Statement to Law Enforcement


Late last night I opened up my email queue and found a Google alert. Google Alerts are like the old newspaper clipping services professional publicists used to subscribe to for their clients. These days it’s a simple, no-cost key word search on the web, and I’ve set up several for my name and the titles of things I’ve written. One of them is my 1979 novel, Alongside Night.

This Google alert sent me to the website of an ABC News local station in Tampa, Florida.

Here’s the website link to the news story:


‘Silk Road’ website called the Amazon, eBay of heroin, cocaine, drug trafficking



That got my attention. I read the story. And discovered that my three-decade-old novel directly inspired this drug-trafficking website.

Alongside Night 30th Anniversary Edition
Alongside Night 30th Anniversary Edition

So let me make this clear and open statement to any law-enforcement investigators.

I don’t know anything more than this news story told me.

Nobody from this website has ever told me they were going to do this, are doing it, or identified themselves to me in any way.

I neither buy nor sell nor use illegal drugs.

Investigating me as a way to get to them is a dry hole.

Alongside Night has been in print since 1979. It’s won literary awards, got reviewed a lot, has gotten written about a lot. In the past couple of years there have been over 275,000 downloads of the novel from my website. No, I don’t have any records of who downloaded the novel.

I’m saying this right up front because I have no desire to have a SWAT team raid the home where I am writing this. If you want to interview me for an investigation, my contact information is publicly available here. Make an appointment with me and I’ll willingly tell you everything I know, which — by the way — I just did.

Here are all the links you need to find out everything about Alongside Night:

Download the Novel for Free
Official Movie Website
Official Novel Facebook Page
Official Movie Facebook Page
Amazon.com Page
Wikipedia Article
IMDb Page

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

P.S. I’m currently working on turning Alongside Night into a movie. If you think financing my movie will be helpful to your investigation, I’m willing to take your money.


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 as a DVD on Amazon.com and for sale or rental on Amazon.com Instant Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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A Variation on Friedman — School Vouchers for Teachers?

“Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman argued for the modern concept of vouchers in the 1950s, stating that competition would improve schools and cost efficiency. The view further gained popularity with the 1980 TV broadcast of Friedman’s series Free to Choose for which volume 6 was devoted entirely to promoting ‘educational freedom’ through programs like school vouchers.” — Wikipedia

See also Milton Friedman on Vouchers

Over half a century ago Milton Friedman — in a libertarian-themed attempt to separate taxes for education from government-run schools — suggested the idea of educational vouchers so that tax-money would not flow to public schools with their top-down bureaucracy and politically-mandated curricula. The tax-funded voucher would satisfy the core value stated by those who argue for universal education of children but restore academic freedom by attaching the funding to the student and allowing parents control by the voucher being spendable in a school of the parents’ choice.

Free to Choose
Free to Choose: The Complete Series
(Original 1980′s Edition)

The tax-funded educational voucher could be spent by the parent by enrolling their student in a public school, a charter school, a private school, and even a religious-based school.

Opposition to Dr. Friedman’s proposal has come from four camps:

  • Public-school teachers — particularly tenured teachers — voiced through their unions, who believe that tax-money flowing away from public schools threatens their jobs;
  • Those who want political control of what is taught to students;
  • Those who — like John Dewey — have supported public schools because they’re opposed to religion-based schools — originally Roman Catholic parochial schools in particular, but since the 1960′s Christian schools in general;
  • Libertarians concerned that the attachment of tax-funds to private schools inevitably gives the government the same control over the curriculum of private schools as exists for public schools — so only severing schooling from government entirely will produce a free-market in education.

The political lobbying against school vouchers has come overwhelmingly from teachers’ unions. The second two factions opposing separation of tax funds from public schools comes from liberal organizations, but they’re less broad-based. Libertarians, as usual, are marginal players in mainstream political debates.

What I’m proposing as an alternative to Milton Friedman’s idea may not be original with me.1 I’ve tried Googling this idea to see if it’s been suggested previously — and I emailed it to Milton Friedman’s son, David, and am awaiting his response — but I’ve come up dry so far.

What if — instead of attaching the educational voucher to the student — the educational voucher was attached to the teacher?

Thus, a teacher’s salary, pension, and other benefits would attach not to the school but to the teacher, and both public and private schools would have to compete for the teacher in order to secure that funding.

Teachers could take their vouchers to schools that empower them, rather than having teachers be a pawn in a political power struggle.

From a libertarian standpoint it’s still an imperfect idea — as imperfect by libertarian perfectionist standards as Milton Friedman’s original voucher proposal — but it has the advantage over the original educational voucher that it empowers teachers such that they are no longer dependent on the political power of their union to keep their jobs.

Still, it changes the debate, and with an educational bureaucracy failing by anyone’s standards, a fresh look with new terms of debate can’t be a bad thing.

1A later Google search located a March 21, 2001 Education Week article by Steve Cohen titled, “Maybe We’re Fighting Over The Wrong Vouchers.” Cohen, cited as “the chief executive officer of www.4to14.com, an e-learning company based in New York City” (dead web link), suggested giving “schools vouchers to purchase ‘teacher services.’” This keeps the control of education funding with school administrators rather than attaching the funding directly to teachers, to bring where they choose, and is not at all the same suggestion I’m putting forward.



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

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