WARNING: The following article violates the equal rights provision of the National Illiteracy Act, and may not be read by any person with less than a fourth-grade (US) vocabulary. See appendix.
Some years ago I wrote an article for LRC called The License.
WARNING: The following sentence may contain false information, exaggeration, or sarcasm detrimental to your mental health. Mature guidance is recommended. See appendix.
I wrote: "I do hope that I haven’t given somebody an agenda in that paragraph, but here’s another idea, the government could license writers too. Didn’t the Soviet Union do something like that? This wouldn’t be censorship, mind you, that would be unconstitutional, but no writer could be published who was not licensed, a wholly different matter. I wonder what committee would set the standards? Ah, the New York Times! I wonder about the rules a writer would have to obey? Education requirements, tests, continuing education, fees to be paid? A whole new bureaucracy devoted to ignoring complaints? And all paid for by the victims, just like the DMV and the state licensing boards."
WARNING: The following sentence may be or may not be a flat-out lie. See appendix.
I’m sorry I suggested it, dear readers, but it’s happened, as you can see. Oh, sure, we can write whatever we want, for now, but we have to include these warnings to protect the sentiments of those folks who can’t figure out what we’re talking about. Our license depends on it.
WARNING: The following sentence may be offensive to different subspecies. See appendix.
So to keep the skulking hulks in flak jackets from leaning over our shoulders and mouthing the words as we write, we are required to police ourselves in accordance with the guidelines published by the National Education Association and the Collegiate Beer Drinkers Union.
WARNING: The following sentence may or may not be insulting. See appendix.
Hence the paucity, no, I mean, the dearth, no, I mean, the lack of variety, color, imagery, and humor in our writing henceforth — no! I mean, from now on — may make our writing appear dull, but at least it will be clear to everybody who can read it, no, I mean, make it out.
WARNING: The following sentence is a total fabrication, as allowed under A5.S6.P12, the creative writing clause, and permitted solely to licenses so endorsed. See appendix.
I would like to thank the very nice and friendly and helpful people at the Department of Illiteracy for their fun and fine two-week retraining program where I learned a lot. I don’t mind paying the bill at all. And thanks for the license!
WARNING: The appendix has been impounded and classified Secret under the Disinformation Act while it is being investigated for truth in vocabulary and grammar by five Congressional Committees. We expect a full report within one average lifetime.
Robert Klassen [send him mail] retired from a forty-year career in critical-care respiratory therapy. He is the author of five books, including Atlantis: A Novel about Economic Government, and Economic Government, which describe a solution to the problem of political government. Here’s his web site.