LvMI

Hunter by Robert Bidinotto

In a recent addition to the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute’s online media library, Jeff Riggenbach uses Objectivist Robert Bidinotto’s novel Hunter as a launchpad to discuss Objectivist subculture and fear.

You can also read the transcript below:

In a recent conversation with a younger libertarian, I heard something that I found somewhat surprising and somewhat disturbing at the same time. But later, on reflection, I realized that what I had heard should not have surprised me, however much it may still disturb me. My young friend had said, and I paraphrase here, that he was surprised to learn that I thought of Objectivists as libertarians at all. Based on what he had seen of the positions they took on political issues, especially foreign policy, he had concluded that they were just another kind of neocon.

I refer to this younger libertarian as “my young friend,” but the fact is, he’s no kid; he’s in his early 40s, which tells you how long the situation with respect to Objectivism that I’m going to describe and deplore has been going on — that a man in his 40s cannot remember a time when leading Objectivists didn’t talk in such a way about questions of US foreign policy (and about other questions as well, as we shall see) that they become hard to differentiate from certain kinds of conservatives and hard to see as any sort of libertarian.

But before I get further into that depressing theme, there’s a new book I’d like to commend to your attention. It’s a novel entitled Hunter: A Thriller, and it’s the work of the prominent Objectivist writer Robert Bidinotto. Now, a word of caution. What follows is not properly a book review, because what I’m really interested in talking about here is not Bidinotto’s thriller in its capacity as a novel, an entertainment, a work of “popular art,” but rather what it can tell us in its capacity as a cultural artifact.

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Robert Anton Wilson

In a recent addition to the Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute’s online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the life of Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007), author of the Illuminatus! trilogy.

You can also read the transcript below:

Robert Anton Wilson was born January 18, 1932 in Brooklyn. He grew up in the section of Brooklyn known as Flatbush and, later, after his father lost his job on the waterfront, in a much poorer section of Brooklyn known as Gerritsen Beach. “Rents were very low” in Gerritsen Beach, Wilson recalled in his book Down to Earth, the largely autobiographical second volume of his Cosmic Trigger Trilogy, “because only the poor Irish Catholics lived there.” At another point in the same account, he refers to his old neighborhood as “an Irish Catholic ghetto.” Not that all Irish Catholics were poor, mind you. “My father had relatives in Brooklyn Heights,” Wilson wrote in 1991,

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Get The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth for free!

Get it for free in epub and mobi formats!

In a recent addition to The Libertarian Tradition podcast series, part of the Mises Institute’s online media library, Jeff Riggenbach discusses the brief life of C.M. Kornbluth (1923–1958) and his novel The Syndic.

You can also read the transcript below:

The late Samuel Edward Konkin III was a firm believer in the power of science fiction to spread the libertarian message. He himself had been converted to libertarianism partly by reading the works of Robert A. Heinlein, and Heinlein remained his favorite science fiction writer for the rest of his life. Every July for years, he threw a joint birthday party for himself and Robert A. Heinlein (Sam’s birthday was July 8; Heinlein’s was July 7). The last and largest issue of his magazine,New Libertarian, was devoted to Heinlein, as was a sort of mini-conference he held, also in the late 1980s, under the auspices of his Agorist Institute. This mini-conference featured presentations by Sam, J. Neil Schulman, and yours truly, along with much spirited discussion.

But if the works of Robert A. Heinlein topped Sam’s list of great libertarian science fiction, they were far from the only titles on that list. He was also a great admirer of Eric Frank Russell’s Great Explosion, for example. He expressed enthusiasm for A.E. van Vogt’s fiction, especially The Weapon Shops of Isher. And, he told me more than once in conversation, he held C.M. Kornbluth’s 1953 novel, The Syndic, in high esteem and considered it lamentably little known and much underappreciated among libertarian science fiction novels. I suspect part of the reason Sam never wrote about The Syndic was that he felt any public display of approval on his part for a writer like C.M. Kornbluth would require at least a bit of explanation. You see, Kornbluth was a Futurian, and libertarian science-fiction fans back in Sam’s heyday — the 1970s and ’80s — were almost always critical of the Futurians, if not openly hostile to them.

Libertarian science fiction fans of today care a good deal less for such ancient controversies, I suspect. Libertarian science-fiction fans under 40 are probably at least a little unclear on just who or what the Futurians were. Those old timers like me who know who they were have now lived long enough that we wonder whether it really matters who they were — whether it mattered even at the time.

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I’m pleased to announce the launch of phpbb-powered Simple:Press-powered community discussion forums for Prometheus Unbound.

You can reach the forums by following the link or clicking on the new tab in the site’s navmenu. The url is prometheus-unbound.org/forums.

We hope to build a community of libertarian and libertarian-leaning readers, viewers, and writers here on Prometheus Unbound.

To that end, we’ve set up not only some forums in which you can discuss Prometheus Unbound posts, give us feedback, and ask questions, but also forums on various fiction genres and awards (science fiction, fantasy, the Prometheus Awards, and more) in various mediums (print, tv, film, the web).

If you’re a writer, we have forums for discussing the craft and business of writing, for workshopping your current short story or novel project, and for spotlighting yourself and showcasing your work. We hope to encourage and facilitate more liberty-loving individuals to produce higher and higher quality fiction.

We even have some forums on non-fiction subjects that impact and influence our fiction: philosophy, science & technology, history, politics, economics.

Best of all: you’ll be able to use the same user account for both the main site and the forums.

So come — join the conversation, help build our community, and promote good libertarian fiction!

 

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