THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 758, February 16, 2014
What we need are thinkers and heroes.
What we are stuck with is politicians.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Since I got my Netflix subscription two months ago I've been immersing myself in documentaries. I've watched documentaries suggesting a partisan Republican agenda Rupert Murdoch allegedly has for Fox News (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism), two documentaries on Sarah Palin—one pro, one con (The Undefeated, Sarah Palin: You Betcha!)—one looking at the late Andrew Breitbart (Hating Breitbart), one on Wikileaks (We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks), and—right now -- one called The Billionaires' Tea Party, suggesting that the Tea Party movement is "Astroturf"—recruiting dupes unknowingly to support the financial interests of the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David.
My old friend and mentor, Samuel Edward Konkin III, was hostile to the Koch brothers because they promoted the Libertarian Party, which Sam—an anti-political movementist—opposed. He invented the term "Kochtopus" to attack the Kochs for what he saw as their politicization of the anti-political libertarian movement, decades before segments of the American left decided on the Koch brothers as their nemesis.
I appreciate Sam's reasons for purist anti-politics, but I never agreed with him that participation in politics as a form of harm-minimization is always counter-productive. I often cited Lysander Spooner's arguments in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority that participation in politics could be a form of self-defense, and later reversed the anti-political argument that ballots were just another form of bullets to argue that if I could carry a gun in self defense I could mark a ballot in self defense.
Sam and I used to have long discussions in which he would invoke the strategy of encouraging crisis as a form of catalyzing revolution, and Taylor Caldwell's 1952 novel, The Devil's Advocate, often came up in these discussions, since in that novel conscious acceleration of totalitarian controls beyond the rate a public could be convinced to accept is a conscious strategy of fomenting rebellion. I guess, compared to my old friend, I'm just a wuss when it comes to revolution. I want merely to convince people using sweet reason and exposing villainy, not manipulate people by fomenting outrage and fear. I want to shock the conscience, not the adrenal glands.
The Billionaires' Tea Party, if accurate at all, shows Koch money being invested in many foundations, think tanks, and political action groups that would not have thrived or been as effective without their money. I can't see how this is evil. I have never received a dime of Koch money yet I agree with them that the so-called scientific "consensus" that anthropogenic global warming is a worldwide crisis-in-making is a politically-cobbled megafraud at the level of Soviet Lamarckism or Nazi racial theories. So if Koch Oil is funding political opposition to this fraud because policies based on this horseshit impacts their business negatively, I agree with the Kochs not because they're paying me to agree but because this poor artist thinks the oil billionaires are correct.
I wrote my novel, Alongside Night, in the 1970's and it was published in 1979. The only financing I got from anyone other than my parents was a $300 gift from family friends, Herman and Molly Geller, which paid my Long Beach, California rent for the three months I needed to complete my first-draft manuscript. To the best of my knowledge the Gellers were communists—whether or not "card carrying" I never knew. But I do know that historically communists have supported novelists, musicians, and filmmakers a lot more than conservatives and libertarians. David Koch, who provided millions of dollars to refurbish New York City's performing-arts mecca, Lincoln Center, is a high-profile exception.
Over the past three years I wrote, produced, and directed my feature-film adaptation of my novel Alongside Night and it's now available for play in American movie theaters. The movie was mostly financed by Patrick A. Heller, an ideological libertarian who heads up Liberty Coin Service.
Before I ran into Pat Heller I separately asked both of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, for financing to make the movie; Charles ignored my email and David turned me down.
Neither has any of the institutions shown in a chart in The Billionaires' Tea Party supported the production or so-far the distribution of my movie. I've sent out emails to Matt Kibbe at FreedomWorks and Joel Cheatwood at Glenn-Beck's TheBlaze asking for strategic marketing partnerships between their organizations and my pro-liberty movie and I've been ignored. I've gotten nowhere with the Campaign for Liberty and its youth wing, Young Americans for Liberty; nor with Students for Liberty. I thought—and still think—that Alongside Night is uniquely focused in dramatizing a pro-freedom worldview that these organizations say they also hold, so the empty echoes of my own voice asking to join forces is surprising to me.
But then why do I also have to listen to voices to my left that class me with a right-wing that evidently wants nothing to do with me either?
Is being a truly anti-political libertarian so far off out of the Talking Points War between conservatives and liberals that there's no place for my voice?
This is not a theoretical question for me. It's a pressing matter of whether there is any organization out there that will embrace Alongside Night as a means of coalescing a vibrant libertarian movement in the future.
But in the meantime, at least know that if you think I made Alongside Night to advance a profit agenda of some oil billionaires, the oil billionaires aren't haven't any of it.
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