Prescription for Disaster
Rite of Passage
Sam Aurelius Milam III
We've all heard of Mary Kay LeTourneau. She's the 36-year-old ex-teacher who had the misfortune of falling in love with someone a lot younger than herself. Consequently, she'll be in prison for seven or so years. She has lost her husband and family. Her first child by her lover has been taken from her. She will probably lose the second when it is born. Her life and career are ruined.
Why has all this misfortune been heaped upon her? She didn't force him. He didn't force her. The misfortune has resulted not from their consensual sexual relationship, but from the condemnation of it by people who should mind their own business.
The claim that her lover was only a child is nonsense. The legally imposed age of majority in our culture is arbitrary and fictitious. For most of the history of the human race, women have been mothers by age 14. In most cultures, the rites of passage for men have involved the accomplishment of some important act of adult behavior or ability. A boy becomes a man when it happens, not when he reaches 18 years of age. The rigid segregation of romance by age in our culture is of little value, and obstructs the many benefits that people of different ages could offer to one another in romantic relationships.
It's time to end the witch hunt in this country. Sex isn't dirty and people who engage in its many variations ought not to be thrown in jail. Age 18 isn't magic or even significant. If a 35-year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy engage in a rite of passage, neither the cops, the legislature, nor the courts ought to be involved.
|The Great Middle Eastern Punch and Judy Show
Don J. Cormier
British children have enjoyed "Punch and Judy" shows for generations. Punch and Judy are traditional characters who are always fighting, much like Popeye and Bluto, or Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Punch and Judy are most commonly represented in puppet shows. The cheapest, simplest puppet shows use hand puppets, which are frequently operated by a single person. Currently, the world is watching a life-size puppet show in the middle East. The puppets are Iraq, Iran, Israel, and the other middle eastern nations. The puppet master is the United States of America.
As I write these words at the end of February, 1998, the world is sighing with relief over the fact that war between the United States and Iraq has been avoided. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has negotiated an agreement regarding the inspection of suspected Iraqi weapons sites. Whether this agreement turns out to be the foundation of long term peace, or simply a Neville Chamberlain style delaying tactic, remains to be seen. Already, senators such as Trent Lott are denouncing the agreement, alleging that it does not give the United States everything which has been demanded. One ominous sign is that the United States is continuing to build up military forces in the area.
All this is a great Punch and Judy show, despite the fact that it may involve real bloodshed. The United States of America helped put Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein in power, and supported him for many years when he seemed to be a bulwark against the power of fundamentalist Iran. In 1991, after the Gulf War, the United States had the chance to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and it refrained from doing so.
It is in the United States' perceived self-interest to keep the middle east broken up into small, quarrelsome states, because a united middle east could cut off the supply of oil to the "First World". This is the reason why the United States government gives covert support to the belligerent, dictatorial rulers of the middle east, despite pious lip service to human rights and democracy. This is why the region remains in turmoil, and why it's history is punctuated by "small" wars. These wars seem small to those of us watching them on television, but they are large to those who fight and die in them.
It isn't just in the middle east that the U.S. government runs it's puppet shows. The U.S. supports any dictator who is willing to support U.S. business interests, and denounces any dictatorial ruler, democratically elected or otherwise, who dares to confront the "Policeman of the World".
It may seem presumptuous for a citizen of the United States to offer advice to Iraqi citizens, but surely presumptuous advice is more welcome than bombs. I further make the presumptuous claim that the following advice is useful to the resident of any geographic area tyrannized directly or indirectly by the government sitting in Washington D.C.
A revolution must destroy the tyrants, such as Saddam Hussein, who are repressing the people — but that is only the first step! After the puppets have been stripped from the Iron Hand of the puppet master, the Iron Hand itself must controlled. The "Third World" must break the handcuffs imposed by the "First World".
After recognizing the need for revolution, the Iraqi freedom fighter must first revolutionize himself. This self-revolution takes the form of decisions and behavior changes.
The first decision is to learn to live independently of all other people and government assistance. Implementing this decision requires considerable work and dedication, but it's value will be revealed if the Iraqi revolutionary finds it necessary to drop out of society and to live as an outlaw. News sources suggest that many rural Iraqis are already living this way, to a certain extent.
The second decision is to judge all forms of technology in relation to human freedom. Only those forms of technology which are compatible with freedom should be encouraged. The Iraqi revolutionary should realize that he may be happier, and his children may be happier, living in a free wilderness environment than in a government-controlled city. Oddly enough, the United States sanctions against Iraq may be making this step easier, as the infrastructure deteriorates and makes conventional city living less feasible.
The third decision is to use force to the extent needed to secure one's proper rights. Depending on the circumstances, it may be proper and just to kill people who oppose the project of liberation, and it may be proper and just to destroy various buildings and machines which might be used for enslavement.
After having made these decisions, the Iraqi revolutionary will have to make some changes in behavior. Knowing what to do is in one sense easy, and in another sense difficult. In the easy sense, what must be done is to destroy the power of those who enslave. It means nullifying their weapons and dissolving their system of hierarchical command. In another sense, it's very difficult, not only because of the practical difficulties in overcoming superior physical force, but also because educating people to reject habits of submission instilled over a lifetime is very difficult.
Saddam's government is by all reports based on disarmament of the population, regimentation, and enslavement. Previous attempts to rebel by under-armed groups have resulted in terrible massacres. It is documented that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against rebellious Kurds, a slaughter which the U.S. government only mildly protested because, at the
|time, we were siding with Iraq in the Iraq/Iran
war. The odds of success in a direct confrontation with Saddam's
authorities are small.
Two possible strategies present themselves. One is to subvert the members of the Iraqi military and to enlist them on the side of liberation. Mass mutinies and desertions helped put the Bolsheviks in power in Russia in 1917. Another possible strategy, as yet untried but promising, involves the creation of "Temporary Autonomous Zones". The idea, presented by anarchist theorist Hakim Bey and modified by me, is that people will make spaces in which they can temporarily act as though they were truly liberated, and that these situations can be gradually prolonged in duration and enlarged in space "behind the back" of the authorities.
Although they may not be shown in Iraq, a good model for the revolutionary can be found the the Warner Brothers "Roadrunner" cartoon series. The Coyote is always trying to catch and eat the Roadrunner, but the Roadrunner is always able to escape. The Roadrunner doesn't bother to kill the Coyote, because the Coyote is never more than a minor nuisance. The Iraqi revolutionary should become a "Roadrunner" in relation to Saddam, and to the system of world government.
Of course, it would help if the people of the United States decided to stand up and walk out of the great middle eastern Punch and Judy show. After fifty years — from the foundation of modern Israel — this show is tired, tired, tired.
A panelist on a recent NewsHour segment (I forgot the date) commented that the current sanctions against Iraq are, in terms of deaths and disruption, the worst thing to happen there since the Mongol invasion in the thirteenth century. Maybe in a few centuries we'll be forgotten except as the rapacious perpetrators of the American invasion of the twentieth century.
Letter to the Editor
One wonders why Mr. Harris & Mr. Leavitt, members of Aryan Nation of apparently Jewish extraction, are so anxious to possess bubonic plague, anthrax, etc [The Real Threat, March issue]. Mr. Harris is apparently well connected. He can get bubonic plague. He can go on TV & be interviewed on a factoid show (more easily than you or I could get on Oprah, apparently), & talk about how he can get germ warfare weapons in days. A week later he's arrested with what seems to be Anthrax (it's only animal vaccine, but it's still illegal for him, as he's still on probation from the plague incident), right at the height of the Saddam crisis du jour. You say, if this is a free country, Mr. Harris should be allowed to own plague. I say, if the US can have nukes, certainly Saddam can have mustard gas. But Aryan Nation is known to be tight with the CIA, the US military, & the police, & so there's no doubt that the vaccine incident was orchestrated to scare people into supporting the bombing of Iraq. Unfortunately, the Republicans who wanted the bombing didn't demonstrate sufficient leadership by signing the declaration they promised. But don't worry, if the illegal sanctions continue, the Republicans will get another chance to show what men they are. As for libertarians, you might have more success making an issue of the right to possess marijuana, rather than the more questionable right to possess plague. Remember the old civil liberties point that my smoking pot is nobody's business but my own. My using plague in any way is not so clear-cut.
Interesting point about presumed innocence [The Right Stuff, But Not Enough Of It], especially as it applies to Clinton in the Lewinsky affair right now. Here too the media people are saying: the truth must be known. But Clinton is defending himself well by saying: I ain't talking; I ain't confessing' Ain't nobody's business what I do.
As for Cormier's article [Hippie Trek: The Next Generation], I'm afraid the hippie movement is totally irrelevant at this point.
As for Anarchists Anomalous, you're not facing the reality that the reason the powers that be are getting away with what they're getting away with is exactly because contemporary society is so inter-dependent. Only a comprehensive solution can be a real solution. You can't go around the system. There are no frontiers to escape to on this planet any more, & space, as fascinating as it is, is a mass enterprise too. Revolution is still an option in the Third World, & is still being pursued. In the US, any solution must be massive, whether anarchist/cooperative, democratic, or revolutionary. First it is necessary to create a movement; at that point "any means necessary" — any that works — would be justified, & ethically obligatory. Let's not forget that this is a government that defies the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, & international law every day. But no such movement exists. This is why the Third World is still more fertile ground for revolution.
Your point about capital punishment is good [Capital Syllogism]. Self-defense & war are not the same as cold-blooded murder. If ordinary people don't have the right to do it, neither does the government.
Unfortunately, the Libertarian Party is not offering comprehensive solutions to social problems. Nor are they making an issue of specific things like marijuana legalization effectively. That's why neither they nor this society are getting anywhere.
— Elliot; N. Merrick, New York
I don't advocate that Mr. Harris should be "allowed" to own plague. I advocate that he should have a right to own it. The difference is fundamental. Also, I didn't say he should have a right to use it, but a right to have it. Having it harms nobody. Using it does. The line is drawn where someone becomes a victim. Until then, there is no violation. Mere possession of something should never be a crime.
• My thanks to Shirley, of Urbana, Illinois, for her contributions.
• My thanks to The Affiliate, of Vankleek Hill, Ontario for regularly printing reviews of the Frontiersman.
• My thanks to Lady Jan the Voluptuous for her ongoing editorial support and for her countless other efforts in support of this newsletter and of its editor.
• My thanks to Sir John the Generous for obtaining a replacement computer for my ailing Macintosh SE/30, and for his other contributions and assistance.
• My thanks to Sir Donald the Elusive for paying the production costs of this newsletter, and for his additional contributions.
— Puzzled Young Lady
Dear Puzzled Young Lady
I think he prepositioned you.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor