like Ares comes the Cowgirl
taller far than a tall man
Some may have noticed that there has recently been an organizational bloodbath at No Treason. With one exception, I demoted the entire editorial staff. Gone from the journal staff are the Senior Editors; the position doesn’t even exist anymore. Robertson? Gone. Condor? Gone!! Schneider, Beck, Starr, and Freely? All gone. Gone likewise are the weblog editors. There are now simply two editors of No Treason, Lynette Warren and John Kennedy. The rest were demoted because they were not performing any editorial function. They occasionally produced good articles and items, but aside from that Lynette is the only one who ever did a lick of work around here.
Most people, even those participating in No Treason, are not aware that since even before the public launch on June 9th 2001 Lynette has been more influential than anyone in determining he course of this project.
I met many of these people on the newsgroup alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater. I didn’t have all that much interest in the Clinton scandals, I thought they were largely irrelevant to the fundamental problems of government. But I was very interested in many of the writers I found on that newsgroup, and the Clinton scandals weren’t the only thing they were writing about. The people in the newsgroup who interested me most comprised the largest collection of individualist anarchists I had ever encountered, in fact Mike Schneider and Billy Beck were the very first such anarchists I became aware of. I don’t mean to delimit any of these people with labels, many of them strongly resist labels of any sort, but it was clear to me that there was a core of writers on the newsgroup who rejected government while recognizing property rights. And from my perspective these people were core of the newsgroup itself, though they certainly were not representative of the whole spectrum of views there. Kipawa Condor called the newsgroup alt.anarcho-capitalism and I think that’s appropriate, the individualist anarchists were the driving force of the newsgroup, they set the agenda.
As the end of Clinton’s term approached many realized that the newsgroup was unlikely to be sustained indefinitely in it’s current form. Sometime in 2000 Mike Schneider and I began a private discussion about ways to sustain what we valued most from the newsgroup. I also had in mind that I wanted to see the writing of some of these people become available to a broader audience than the newsgroup reached. It turned out that Mike and I had different visions. He wanted to create a forum that would continue the anarcho-capitalist discussions taking place in the newsgroup. He also wanted to weed out the weezils. In October of 2000 Mike did just that by launching American Liberty. I always thought American Liberty to be of great value and I offered my assistance from the beginning. I’m pretty sure I was the second moderator of the forum, after Mike. (My performance as a moderator has been entirely undistinguished, about all I can say in my defense is that I did considerably more scut work at AL then Mike ever did at NT.) But while I think I was welcome to join Mike as an equal or near-equal partner in AL, I did not do so. I knew that I wanted to take things in a different direction.
In November of 2000 I saw Union Square Journal and I said “That’s it.”
Martin McPhillips had skimmed the cream off of the Whitewater newsgroup, he had recruited three of the very best writers on the newsgroup and he started publishing articles by them and permanently archiving them on the web. The writers he recruited were Billy Beck, John Sabotta and Lynette Warren. On the I had followed the writing of all three for years, with great interest. Though Beck and Sabotta were writers I identified as individualist anarchists, USJ was by no means an anarchist journal. I decided I wanted to start my own anarchist journal, following the example of USJ.
Lysander Spooner’s No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority had for me forever demolished any pretense of legitimacy for government, so I chose the name No Treason for my project. Ultimately I wanted to recruit as many anarcho-capitalist writers of high quality as I could find, but I decided I needed at least three writers to get the ball rolling and launch the project. One of them would be me. I’ve never considered myself much of a writer, but I do have things I want to say and I judge I developed a voice of my own on usenet, for what it’s worth. It’s worth something to me anyway. I certainly have never considered my writing skills to have approached that of Beck, Sabotta or Warren.
I knew I could count on Mike for some support, but it seemed unwise to depend on him considering his commitment of effort to American Liberty. The first actual recruit to No Treason was Rob Robertson. Rob was also among the cream of the crop in the newsgroup, his writing could stand up against that of the USJ writers and not suffer by comparison. Rob was not an anarcho-capitalist at the time, but he was a very principled libertarian and he was finding it more difficult to defend any government as time went by. Rob was also impressed with USJ and decided he would write some articles for NT. I needed one more writer to get going, but instead I recruited Kipawa Condor. Kip was never one of the most prolific writers on the newsgroup, but he was a much better writer than I was, and his judgment was sound. Kip agreed to take a whack it.
It’s true that Kip has yet to produce an actual article, but it is also true that he was very influential in the planning stages of No Treason and I have always been grateful for his contribution at a crucial point of the project. And he had some great articles planned, perhaps I’ll share them sometime. No Treason could easily have just died then if I didn’t have Rob and Kip on board confirming that the project had a chance to succeed.
Rob and I started to write articles and I started to lay the foundation for he web site. (It’s unclear what Kip was doing.) I settled on the domain name no-treason.com. I was seriously considering the simpler notreason.com, but Rob threatened to bolt because that could be parsed as “not reason”. I think that was very good advice, but not the best advice Rob ever gave me. That came next.
As it became clear that we were going to be able to launch a respectable web site I decided to invite Beck and Sabotta to contribute articles if they had time. Rob insisted that I should invite Lynette too. I objected that while I respected Lynette, and liked her writing very much, she wasn’t close to being an anarchist and her USJ articles would not be appropriate on NT. Rob insisted I’d be stupid not to get Lynette if I could. That was the best advice he ever gave me.
I invited all three of them to contribute. I assured them that I hoped they would continue to be successful at USJ and that I did not see the two sites being in any sort of competition. Beck begged off initially as I recall, he had too much on his plate already. Sabotta seemed inclined to throw something my way, but urged me not to hold my breath. And Lynette said sure, she’d be pleased to contribute to No Treason.
Great, I thought, I bagged the statist.