Earlier this year I accepted an invitation to speak at Freedom Law School, an anti-IRS technicalitarian tax protest organization. The event is ‘controversial’ (Read: offensive to libertarian establishment pseudo-WASP male middle American sensibilities), in part, because in addition to drawing old school LA anarchists (Think: those who actually knew Galambos, LeFevre, and Konkin), Ron Paul youth, and anyone with something to sell to libertarians, it invites conspiracy cranks, Birchers, LaRouchies, Truthers, assorted eccentrics, weirdos, social outcasts, and, most notably, people without political or social power.
While technicalitarian arguments don’t speak to me either morally or consequentially, first, as a committed counter culture bohemian bisexual of mixed racial and religious heritage, I abhor the putrid stench of dogma and codes which emanates from ‘respectable’ libertarianism which works to recreate the structures of white privilege of the outside statist world. Second, my mission, which is to end USG sponsored mass murder abroad, requires me to pull my head out of my overeducated rear end long enough to remember that Pakistani children blown to bits by killer robots do not have the luxury of giving a damn whether my husband’s friends approve of my activism.
Of course, I live in the physical world. A is still A. Image is reality for the simple and shallow. One must be aware of what one sees and why. Hence, my reluctance when Sanjiv Bhattacharya, the US Correspondent for Esquire Magazine (UK), asked if he could interview me at the event as part of a long form profile piece on the post Ron Paul liberty movement. I hemmed and hawed as the event approached. I was also humbled. For guests far more accomplished and serious than I including Julian Heicklen, Anthony Gregory, Will Grigg, Butler Shaffer, and Ernie Hancock seemed to lack my insecurities.
The event itself was like any other libertarian-flavored right populist event. (Note: the Persians are exceptional hosts. Peymon Mottahedeh was gracious, accommodating, and, of course, antiwar.) Except in addition to extracting myself from long drawn out exchanges on nano-thermite and Glass-Steagall, I was dodging Bhattacharya and his camera crew.
My neuroses were for naught. Bhattacharya, a slight and handsome liberal with just enough of an English accent which Yanks like myself find hypnotic, proved himself to be fair, probing, and incisive in his questioning. But maybe it was the atmosphere. Me, being me, I gathered several of my friends and Bhattacharya to my hotel room where I invited those inclined to join me in smoking marijuana. It was during this conversation that I was most easily able to express my complicated relationship with image, populist activism, and my aggressive anti-racism and anti-collectivism.
In the weeks that followed, I had chastised myself for the sort of elitism and bigotry that would have kept me from attending the event and participating in the interview in the first place. However, I had almost entirely forgotten an article until an email appeared marked “Urgent legal question — Esquire UK.” Bhattacharya, per the lawyers at Esquire, wrote to ask those of us who were locked in my bathroom smoking if we were comfortable with being associated with marijuana — which is currently legal for medical patients — of which I am one — in this way.
Once again, I reiterate: I live in the physical world. A is still A. And in reality, for a significant portion of Americans, marijuana is merely part of any gatherings where one might offer coffee, wine, and beer. Its use is overwhelming among libertarian activists, and has been since the early days of the Libertarian Party when such a gathering was known as an “Oklahoma Caucus.”
In fact, my reaction was not only did I want it mentioned but should insist upon it. The conversation, the location, the tone are essential to understanding what it is I do and why I do it.
The US drug war is part of the hierarchy which maintains racism and suppresses the natural right of freedom, privacy, and autonomy. The drug war, part of the US Empire, is both the goal and the means of the police state which is increasingly militarized and deadly. The drug war is a tool of the state in the ongoing assault on the poor and those without privilege which profits only the political class. The state, which Tom Woods says, “has warped our moral sense.”
The state which suppresses our basic instincts to keep us docile on the issues of killer robots, embarrasses anyone who dare not think like his neighbors and shames us out of enjoying an herb amongst our comrades.2:04 pm on June 14, 2012 Email Angela Keaton