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Dear Ken and Teny,
In case you haven’t seen my reply to Neil’s Facebook post about Counter-Economics, here is what I posted a couple of days ago (capitalization in original, since Facebook doesn’t allow italics for titles):
I have a few points to share about the manuscript of SEK3’s COUNTER-ECONOMICS. Reading the above, I’d be upset with me, too, if I thought I was unreasonably holding back a work the world needed to see. The world deserves to read it, but not in its existing inchoate, incomplete form.
As most of you know, but some may not, Sam considered me to be the official New Libertarian archivist, provender of back issues, and publisher of previously unpublished works of Samuel Edward Konkin III. Through my (egregiously) tiny publishing concern, KoPubCo.com, I have kept NEW LIBERTARIAN MANIFESTO in print since 1983, including an entirely new and redesigned (and proofread) 25th Anniversary Edition with the complete contents of both issues of STRATEGY OF THE NEW LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE, also newly re-typeset, added as a bonus.
I took one of the few existing Xerox copies of a prototype version of AN AGORIST PRIMER, scanned it in, and took months to clean up the wretched OCR, carefully update the book to reference post-1985 events (e.g., the fall of Soviet Communism, the World Wide Web, and modern cryptography, to name a few important occurrences) while maintaining Sam’s agorist viewpoints, format the book with InDesign, create the dust-wrapper art, and publish the book as a quality hardcover first edition. I’ve wanted nothing less for COUNTER-ECONOMICS. The idea of publishing a verbatim or facsimile edition — replete with typos and confusing footnotes and outdated references — is very upsetting to my aesthetic and to my desires to maintain and expand Sam’s legacy.
First, the ms. is incomplete (only six chapters completed, though I scanned in his articles for CLAUSTROPHOBIA for a seventh & eighth chapter on “Space Counter-Economics” and "Genetic Counter-Economics "). It is also woefully outdated (all references are no more recent than 1985). For example, even though the Russian black market (nalevo) is briefly covered, the fall of the Soviet Union happened seven years after SEK3 abandoned work on the book.
Scanning the manuscript in was an immensely frustrating effort (in the mid-1990s, with OmniPage and a primitive scanner). Sam’s aging IBM Executive had a floating “t” key that caused an OCR spelling error in every word containing that letter, as well as a spacing error in nearly every word with an “o”. I spent hours and hours over the ensuing years correcting the errors and trying to straighten out Sam’s inconsistent footnotes and endnotes. Let’s face it, this was only his first draft. Because the book proposal had already made the rounds to several publishers and been rejected, Sam never felt it worthwhile to put any more effort into a rewrite or even a polish. When Sam gave me the manuscript (probably 1993 or so), he doubted its marketability a decade after its writing, but I told him I might be able to do something with it and he gave me his permission to do so.
I knew, however, that I would not be able to complete the book by my 1996 self without some academic underpinning. Over the ensuing 18 or so years, I completed four university degrees, from an Associate of Arts, through a BSIS and an MBA, to a PhD in Information Assurance and Security. I also published the aforementioned SEK3 books and republished a few of my own through KoPubCo. All that while working full time at my web-app development job, 1996 –2014.
A second problem with the ms. is that SEK3 quoted extensively from news and magazine articles, much more than could be reasonably described as " fair use". This may create a problem with the copyright holders of the original articles. It would be an Herculean task to pursue reprint permission from the numerous sources. Failure to do so might (I’m not a lawyer, though) expose the publisher to legal risk. My notion was to reduce the size of each of the excerpts and add reasonable-length quotes from the plethora of new sources that have ensued in the last 30+ years.
Finally, Sam was a lifelong opponent of the statist notion of copyright. As we have seen over the decades, publishers and media companies have extended the length of copyrights so that anything written in the last century will likely not enter the public domain until the next. This is, effectively, using the State to restrict free access to ideas, art, and literature—long after they would be useful to the public or supportive of the creator. While I have acquiesced to mainstream publishers and copyrighted my own works, I respect Sam’s principled position and have purposely kept copyright notices off of the KoPubCo editions of NEW LIBERTARIAN MANIFESTO and AN AGORIST PRIMER. I appreciate Neil recommending a Creative Commons License for the proposed compromise edition. My main reason, though, for not wanting to publish an as-is facsimile of the COUNTER-ECONOMICS manuscript was to protect Sam’s reputation.
While writing this (and — believe me — you would NOT have wanted to read my FIRST draft!), I thought I would try to find some reference in my e-mail logs for the 1990s (yes, I archive everything I can). Searching a 32 Mb text file (and that was back when a megabyte was a megabyte!), I found several references to the COUNTER-ECONOMICS ms. Below are the three that changed my thinking on the subject (names/email addresses redacted):
Re: [LeftLibertarian] Dewaining Revolution
From: paul@———————.—- (P—- C————)
To: LeftLibertarian@onelist.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Definitely like this idea... perhaps they could be monthly downloadable pdfs from the web site..
On Wednesday, November 24, 1999, email@example.com wrote:
Although my “unpublishable” book, Counter-Economics, was only half-written before I gave up trying to find a New York publisher back in the early 1980s (best reply was from one who said, “This is an example of the most immoral writing of the Libertarian Movement …” yeah!), I have around 10 chapters I could retype and put on the web. Each chapter is chock-full of examples of Counter-Economics I sourced from international and local newspapers; and every chapter covers a completely different field.
Freely as ever, SEK3
12/11/99 11:06:30 AM Pacific Standard Time
Fwd: Re: [LeftLibertarian] D—————-]
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Samuel E. Konkin)
To: email@example.com (Koman, Victor)
I got an offer from D———- that did NOT go through the Left Libertarian List, so I am taking it seriously, to OCR all the chapters I wrote of Counter-Economics and turn them into basic HTML.
I am not sure I even have a copy! Didn’t I give you a copy (hope, hope)? And would you be willing to copy them and give them to me to mail? (I have no money but I have a postage meter with $300 on it, yeah, my life remains as weird as ever).
Freely as ever, SEK3
1/26/00 7:17:23 AM Pacific Standard Time
Re: [LeftLibertarian] counter-economic tactics
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Samuel Edward Konkin III)
At 1:51 PM -0500 12/30/99, A-S——-@————.—- wrote:
I have read the "New Libertarian Manifesto" twice now. It outlines the best strategy I’ve seen yet for getting from our present condition to a free society. What I haven’t seen yet, however, are tactics, outlined in a comprehensive form, for those who want to become entrepreneurs in the emerging Agora, or who aspire to start the first protection agencies when the counter-economy reaches the "phase transition".
I have seen one book by Larry Burket called, "How to prosper in the Underground Economy". And of course Harry Browne’s book, "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World", comes to mind. But I’m talking about something that gives people the "nuts and bolts" they need to effectively practice counter-economics. A counter-economics by the numbers, if you will.
Anyone have any info or recommendations?
Another back one I’m not sure I previously responded to:
A-, I mentioned before you got on this list that
I had written ten chapters of a book called Counter-Economics back in the
early 1980s; it was turned down by a dozen Establishment New York publishers,
two citing the "extremist" ideas as the reason and the others less
honest. Each chapter described a particular area of C-E with the effect
building up chapter by chapter until the reader realizes that it covers all
Victor Koman apparently scanned and OCRed the manuscript pages and at Christmas this year presented them to me as a present. If I keep getting encouragement (and more money to live on, say, from Agorist Institute donations), I’ll put them on line. Right now, I’m doing all I can just to hang in, pay the rent, and get the New Libertarian zine (and the somewhat-hated—by people on this List of Ours—Portal) and then the MLL web page up.
But it will eventually happen. And I (and some East Coast people I can recommend who are on this List) are available for private consulting at a fee for those who can’t wait.
Freely as ever, SEK3
The upshot of this is that I had totally forgotten about this exchange with Sam. I knew I’d given him the somewhat-cleaned-up OCR of the ms., but I’d remembered doing it as a gift and as a way to store a backup copy offsite (in the days before Carbonite and iDrive). I have no idea whether he did anything with the disc beyond what I read above.
So all these years I’ve been holding onto the ms. in the hopes of completing it with a scholar’s research and writing skills because I wanted to protect Sam’s reputation (having a PhD on the cover would help “respectability” and thus salability), only to (re)discover that Sam had been ready to convert the manuscript into HTML and post it on the Web back in the previous millennium...
I have to apologize to Neil and others for my reticence on this subject all these years. Here’s what I’ll do [insert emoji of self-flagellant cat saying “mea culpa”]:
1.) I’ll accept Neil’s parameters for
publishing the manuscript
2.) I’ll give the ms. a final proofreading to catch the last of the typos and bad OCR
3.) I’ll make the endnotes uniform and include anchors and hyperlinks
4.) I’ll write an explanatory introduction and run it past Alan
5.) I’ll also re-scan the original manuscript (including the proposal and two versions of the Chapter List) on a modern scanner to create a facsimile-image PDF that can be downloaded for free from the KoPubCo site and any other site that chooses to post it (this may come sometime after the 10/31/18 target date for the e-book itself).
Frankly, publishing the partial manuscript this way saves me from the truly daunting task of researching, writing, and finding a mainstream publisher for the book. While I still think that’s what the book deserves, now that I’ve rediscovered that Sam didn’t have similar expectations, I feel a wave of relief.
Once more, apologies to all who have waited so long to see what little exists of this book. Your wait will soon be over.
Victor Koman, PhD
P.S.: This may also be salient. In the same reply-thread to Neil’s post was this exchange, which I replied to at the same time that I posted the above:
Was that worth reading?
Then why not:
Lately I’ve run into complaints that libertarianism supports racism. Racism has become a lazy term for bigotry. It has also become the lazy way for the left to criticize anyone they disagree with.
Bigots have tried to take over conservatism and libertarianism over the years. With the power of the progressive state focused on suppressing certain forms of bigotry (I notice that the left has no problem making bigoted statements about white straight males, Christians in general and Catholics in general, gun owners, and others) bigots like the rhetoric of reducing the power of the state. I’ve noticed that left wingers have been in a rush to surrender us to the “racists,” even going so far as to claim libertarianism and conservatism are in fact merely sophistries to excuse racist behavior.
I like people. Yes, there are some jerks and flat out monsters out there, and some express themselves through bigotry. However, I also am old enough to remember when bigotry was enforced by the state. I’ve seen the end of poll taxes, laws requiring segregation of schools, hospitals, and other facilities, and laws forbidding interracial marriages. Each was an injustice, an insult to human dignity.
And I’ve seen that in the end as laws enforcing racism were eliminated most people rejected segregation, the denial of economic opportunity, the denial of the franchise, and so on. Yes, there are bigoted individuals and habits that still linger. Yes, there has been a backlash and revival of racism, just as a landed gator gar can still bite for an hour or two after it’s landed (that’s why you shoot them in the head or whack them with a machete as soon as they’re properly landed). But to be honest, I trust them American people to ultimately reject this folly.
And I also trust the state to institutionalize this backlash, or the left’s bigotry against groups listed earlier in parentheses. The state makes laws, and those laws will stay in place long after the common sense (polite term for bigotries) of the age that created it is recognized as not so amusing folly. At the same time with a stroke of the pen the state can make current passions law in disregard of the hard learned lessons of the past.
And that is why I consider myself a libertaran and conservative. Over the long run I trust the people in general better than the power hungry gadgies who run governments.
Introducing the latest Plebeian Tyrant.
This could be the Next Obama! For some reason this article reminds me of back in the early 2000s when someone trotted out Barak Hussein Obama and the media fawned over him like the best thing since sliced bread.
The author notes that Puerto Rico from where Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s family hails is a basket case because of the very same policies that she advocates—ten percent unemployment and has for some mysterious reason lost ten percent of its population to the mainland USA. And no doubt ; ten percent less capable of dealing with unexpected disasters on its own; like the recent hurricane that devastated the island last summer. The author also notes that even before the advent of this latest incarnation of the plebeian tyrant—the likes of which have haunted civilization since antiquity ; the USA has been well on that road with now a 21 Trillion debt. Would be nice to even see 16 again!
Seems people never learn from history and they always keep insisting on the promise of a free lunch. The ultimate cost is bankruptcy and collapse and loss of freedom and in the worse cases loss of country when societies become so disorganized and impoverished they are totally unable to deal with natural disasters or repel foreign invasions and end up being occupied or picked apart by their neighbors.
We seriously need to do a better job at educating new immigrants and even our native born who’ve been here for generations on our founding values and the reason that a free lunch is not free and why pursuing such a promise poses a mortal danger to us all. What not a better topic to ponder on the 4th of July and onward to the upcoming mid term elections.
Read: The Demagoguery of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Star Parker, at the Townhall website.
EEjits in Charge
This last 4th of July people celebrated Independence Day by reading the Declaration of Independence on NPR and posting it on Facebook. The result was amusing, pathetic, and quite 21st Century America. Conservatives condemned the NPR broadcast as radical and anti- American. While not anti-American, Jefferson’s “magnificent poetry” will do for radical: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes . While destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
At the same time Facebook took down quotes from the Declaration as hate speech. While there is one somewhat racist statement, “ has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages..” I doubt King George III was calling on the Native American tribes to act in a kindly civilized manner towards the rebelling Colonists. However it must be admitted the Declaration of Independence is “hate speech,” it expresses hatred towards a tyrannical king. It is a document written by the man who a couple of decades later wrote “for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hatred against every form of tyranny over the minds of men”
I think he would we be quite willing to include the deliberate ignorance and ideologically driven narrowmindedness of the mental shilpit culls that seem to have gained control of America’s political dialogue.
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