Libertarian Party

Karl Hess and Robert Anton Wilson Discuss Everything

Subversion for fun and profit.


Tuesday fun link: that time Karl Hess and Robert Anton Wilson got high onstage at a Libertarian Party convention and talked for two and a half hours.

The setting is Seattle in 1987. Topics covered include government informants, running guns to Cuba, the surveillance arm of Playboy magazine, phone phreaking, Iran-contra, Ayn Rand, Groucho Marx, intellectual property, the New Age movement, barbecue potato chips, ghostwriting for a mafioso, and Barry Goldwater's tolerant thoughts about marijuana, among many other subjects.

[Via Tom Jackson.]

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  1. So, basically me and my best friend in high school. Every night.

    Thanks – I’ll pass…seen it already

  2. I’m going to use my two-link-maximum to make awesome recommendations.

    I highly encourage anyone who does not suck to check out Mostly on the Edge, the autobiography of Mr. Hess.

    The very core essence of libertarian awesomeness is summarized by RAW here.

    Thank me at your leisure.

    1. Fuck ostriches.

      1. But *equally*.

  3. “[T]he surveillance arm of Playboy magazine?” Huh?

    1. You have to watch it in order to understand. I dare you to waste your life on that video ProLib.


        *falls off chair laughing*

      2. I get through life so much better being ignorant. I intend to keep it that way.

        1. I’m sure your wife and Epi’s mom prefer it too.

      3. I lived it last night, Hugh. All of it.

        1. Are you with Playboy Intelligence, then?

      4. Why is it a waste? Funnier than 97% of hollywood smegma.

    2. hey, someone has to film the bunnies changing their lingerie every 5 minutes.

    3. RAW explained it in at least one of his non-fiction books, and it was reproduced in close to the same facts in Illuminatus!. Everybody had everybody else infiltrated, around in a circle, in the 1960s, apparently on general paranoid principles, but in some cases it may have been art for art’s sake. Ask Don Meinshausen if you want more info, or more lies, whichever is more interesting.

  4. Is the Libertarian Party actually interested in electing candidates to office?

    1. I feel like it’s a “burning down the house to get at the insurance payout” proposition.

      Of course, it’s a ramshackle hut in the midst of a blighted urban tract, but nonetheless.

    2. Is the Libertarian Party actually interested in electing candidates to office?

      I don’t think anyone involved with this event anticipated it would appear on the Internet one day. Tapes of it have circulated within the movement, but that’s a rather different audience.

      1. I admit that I have not slogged through all 2.5 hours of the video, and I am relying on the summary in your post. My issue is not with what they are talking about or that it is public. It’s just that sometimes I wonder if the LP is nothing more than a somewhat inane discussion group. I’ve been to a few party meetings at the county level, and I’ve seen a few comment threads on the web exhibiting some useless, exasperating internal bickering. I don’t see much of an organization that is able to make a difference in our political system at any level of government. No offense to anyone who has tried.

    3. Of course not! I have a friend who worked on Gary Johnson’s campaign, and he left the party in disgust because many party leaders actively worked to hinder the campaign.

      I swear that most hardcore libertarians would rather lose an election than receive a vote from a non-purist.

  5. Anybody heard is any of the Widow’s Son books were found in his literary estate. I really hoped he would finish those.

    1. Bob Shea had the full screenplay of When Atlantis Ruled The Earth in his attic IIRC.

    2. Anybody heard is any of the Widow’s Son books were found in his literary estate. I really hoped he would finish those.

      Wilson never finished the series?his publishers kept going out of business, and eventually he gave up on the project. (Similarly, I don’t think he ever finished Bride of Illuminatus, though he published what was to be the opening of the book in his newsletter. It was another collaboration with Bob Shea, and when Shea died the project apparently ended.)

      I heard a rumor that he was thinking about writing an outline for his fans of what was going to happen. I suspect that that was just a rumor, and even if it wasn’t I haven’t heard anything about anyone uncovering it anywhere.

      1. Bummer. I liked them more than the Illuminatus stuff, actually.

  6. So video’s start automatically now? Or is that just something in my broswer settings gone haywire?

    1. Didn’t happen to me.

      1. Nor me.

  7. I love that when I refreshed, there were 23 comments.

    I really wish RAW had finished the Historical Illuminatus books, too.

  8. I was a pretty big fan of RAW, and even met him once, and then I wrote a review of one of his books. Oh boy. My take was basically that I liked him a lot, this book was a mixed bag, and that while fans would want to read it, others should read some of his other books instead.

    Some time later, I found out that he was attacking me, by name, as an example of the wrong thinking that he always railed against. Finding out that one of your favorite authors was so thin-skinned and irrational was a sobering experience.

  9. I wish there was an easy way to download long youtube videos as podcasts.

    1. There seem to be a number of ways, e.g.:

      1. Thank you! This took a while but worked like a charm.

    2. You can download an MP3 of it here.

      1. Thanks, Jesse. Unfortunately, the link plays only 34 minutes.

  10. I was there in the audience.

    I drove to Seattle from San Francisco in a VW beetle borrowed from a friend. There were extensive wild fires that year, so the sky was all smoky as I drove up I5. If I stopped for a bit, the VW would vapor lock and I had to pour cold water on the carburetor before I could start the engine.

    The convention had a Puget Sound ship cruise/party with a steel drum band.
    Have you ever heard the Hallelujah Chorus on steel drums?

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