LIBERTARIAN SCREENWRITERS DISCUSS SCI-FI, ELECTION
2000, AND 9/11
by Hank Willow, staff reporter
[March 20, 2002]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] The Karl Hess Club, convening
monthly in Marie Callender's in Marina del Rey, has become the hot spot
for Tinseltown's libertarian scribes.
And shockingly -- the KHC
is open to the public!
Founded by Samuel E. Konkin
III as a libertarian sci-fi literary salon in 1994, the club's name honors
Karl Hess, the late Goldwater
speechwriter ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation
in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.") who later supported the Black
Panthers and the Libertarian Party.
The KHC's monthly guest speakers
extend beyond libertarians, having included Christian homeschoolers, neo-pagans
for group marriage, hemp activists, NRA reps, Marxist publishers, porn
stars, Objectivists, and tax avoidance lawyers. And while regular
attendees come from many fields, libertarian scribes arrive in abundance,
Neil Schulman, scripter for the New Twilight Zone (Profile
in Silver) and author of The
Frame of the Century (suggesting OJ's innocence),
The Classic Episodes, Moon
* Victor Koman (The
Jehovah Contract -- under option to Hollywood),
* John DeChancie (Other
States of Being, Witchblade:
M. Sipos (Vampire
While KHC regulars mostly
regard themselves as libertarian, they also reflect the movement's factions. And because many libertarians oppose the Libertarian
Party, in October 2000 a KHC panel debated the question: Who should
support in the election?
62 rep Robert Weber spoke for LP candidate Harry Browne. Linaweaver
argued that the strongest libertarian message would be sent by voting for
Pat Buchanan, because he was who the establishment most feared. A
representative from the Republican Liberty
Caucus said that since it would be either Bush or Gore, libertarians
should support Bush.
Konkin, a self-described "Free Market Leftist"
made the intellectual case for not voting: "It achieves nothing and endorses
the state." The KHC had tried, but failed, to find a Green rep to offer a libertarian case for Ralph Nader. No invite was extended
to the Gore camp. No one spoke for L. Neil Smith, a libertarian sci-fi
Wardove) who was the LP presidential candidate in Arizona. (Due
to a factional split, Browne only ran on the other 49 state LPs.)
After 9/11, splits within
the libertarian movement widened, largely between a peace faction (Harry
Browne, Lew Rockwell, Libertarians
for Peace, AntiWar) that currently
dominates the libertarian establishment, and a war faction evident in grassroots weblogs (Libertarian Samizdata). Leonard Peikoff, dean of the "Objectivist movment" (founded by the late Ayn
Rand, and often confused with libertarians), also advocates
The Libertarian Party itself
has staked a moderate position "calling for a measured
response," to the dismay of Libertarians for Peace. Another libertarian
call for moderation -- in mideast matters -- was issued by Anti-State.
To date, the KHC has hosted
two debates on the same question: What is the appropriate libertarian response
Taking the "purist" position,
Konkin believes that wars can only exist between states, therefore 9/11
was not an act of war. It was an attack by individuals, who, although
they died in the attack, were primarily to blame. States remain, as always,
a fiction. 9/11 does not change that. It does not justify the
US government killing innocent foreign individuals merely because they
happen to live in an area of the world circumscribed by imaginary political
lines on a map. States have no validity, thus 9/11 is not an attack
by "them" against "us."
Konkin also observed that
the Taliban asked the US to present evidence against Osama bin Laden in
an international court, but the US refused. He believes this is because
the US was never interested in bringing any terrorists to justice, but
was instead seeking an excuse to replace the Taliban with a regime that
would allow the US to build a Caspian
oil pipeline to Russia.
Schulman disagreed that "9/11
changes nothing." On the contrary, he believes that when a few ordinary
men using cheap off-the-shelf tools can cause such vast destruction, history
has experienced a shift in geopolitical "paradigms" such that traditional
political analyses based on nation-states are obsolete.
Schulman said that a "war
on terror" is both necessary and moral, partially because, whatever the
past wrongs in US interventionist foreign policy, he sees no present alternative
that would protect innocent civilians. This is because: (1) the terrorists
were not deterred by criminal prosecutions
for their previous 1993 terrorist
attack on the World Trade Center, (2) because they do not follow the Geneva
convention which requires them to wear uniforms identifying what army they
belong to, and (3) because they do not distinguish between state/military
and civilian/commercial targets.
Schulman opposes nation-building
as an appropriate libertarian response. Whenever the US must enter
a foreign nation to neutralize terrorists, it should first seek the cooperation
of the local government. Only if cooperation is refused should the
US enter by force -- and even then with no more force than necessary to
protect American lives and neutralize the terrorists. The US should
also strive to minimize harm to innocent civilians, and troops must be
withdrawn as soon as the terrorist threat is eliminated. Domestically,
the "war on terror" must not lead to the persecution of ethnic and religious
minorities, nor to the violation
of anyone's civil liberties.
A longtime gun rights advocate
Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns), Schulman suggested that
airline passengers be allowed to carry guns. Had this been the case,
the 9/11 terrorists could easily have been overpowered. At worst,
the planes would have crashed -- but before hitting their targets.
Linaweaver agreed that minority
rights must be protected, and praised George Bush for -- immediately following
9/11 -- assuring Muslim and Arab-Americans that they are not the enemy.
Linaweaver termed Bush's response that of "a true libertarian president,"
and contrasted Bush's acts with FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans.
Unlike Schulman, who supported
the war with grim resignation, Linaweaver enthusiastically endorsed both
the war, and the "empire." Citing A
Republic, Not an Empire, Linaweaver said that Buchanan was right, but
had lost. Our Constitutional liberties long ago eroded, the US has
long been an empire. "As long as we already have the bad parts of
an empire, it's about time we had the good parts! If America is going
to be an empire, then let's be an empire!"
Citing Israel's attack
on the USS Liberty, Linaweaver
said that no true empire tolerates abuse -- from friends or enemies. It's time America called the shots in the Mideast, and in its own interests,
rather than allowing itself to be bullied by all sides.
Linaweaver praised the war
in Afghanistan, and suggested that Iraq and Saudi Arabia may justifiably
follow. "There are bad wars and good wars, and after
9/11, this war
is one of the most historically just wars I can think of."
Outside the KHC, Konkin represents
other libertarian groups. In yet another 9/11 debate (sponsored by
LP Region 63), Konkin spoke for his Movement
of the Libertarian Left when he criticized Bush's Patriot Act as a
violation of civil liberties. In that debate, Jewish
Defense League leader Irv Rubin praised the Patriot Act, and enthused
over the war. (Rubin had previously joined
the LP, but by then had allowed his membership to lapse.) Seated
between Konkin and Rubin, the LP rep noted this was the first time he was
the "moderate" in any debate. (The LP has since called for the repeal
of the Patriot Act.)
Ironically, weeks later,
the FBI arrested
Rubin in a bomb plot, making Rubin the first American to be charged
under the Patriot Act.
Adding further irony, Konkin
fully supports Rubin. In an exclusive statement issued to the Hollywood Investigator, Konkin stated: "I think
Irv Rubin, though guilty of a lot, was set up by a police infiltrator. Classic '60's COINTELPRO tactics."
Konkin adds that his New
Libertarian magazine is "'The Journal of Record of the Libertarian
Movement Since 1970' and, for a time in the 1980s, second largest in circulation
As with the larger libertarian
movement, the regulars at the KHC are divided over the war. Some
take a "purist" anti-war, anti-state position. Others are more moderate,
nervously supporting limited surgical strikes against identifiable terrorists. Still others see a clash of civilizations, the West under attack by what
Christopher Hitchens terms "Islamo-fascism"
and which justifies a sweeping "imperial" response.
and Koman are all past winners of the Prometheus Award, established by
the Libertarian Futurist Society to honor
science fiction that celebrates freedom over the statism found in mainstream
sci-fi (e.g., the fascism of
The KHC convenes every third
Monday at Marie Callender's in Marina del Rey on Lincoln Blvd., just off
the 90 Fwy. Meetings from 7-10 pm. Admission is $20, which
includes a full course all-you-can-eat dinner (alcohol excluded).
report was written, the KHC has twice moved. Its current location
into at KarlHessClub.org. Also, Samuel E. Konkin III died in 2004.
Hank Willow is a Los Angeles based tabloid reporter who investigates Hollywood scams and Tinseltown's occult underbelly. Read about his adventures in tabloid journalism in Hollywood Witches