Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. The previous eight can be read in this collection here. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.”
Todd Seavey has written for various libertarian and libertarian-leaning venues including the American Council on Science and Health, Reason, John Stossel, Judge Andrew Napolitano, New York Press, and more. He has also written Justice League comic books for DC Comics, hosts a series of political bar gatherings in New York City, and blogs at ToddSeavey.com. He studied philosophy at Brown University. He is Liberty Island’s comics editor and writer of the punk time travel short story “No Future” — when not writing, ghostwriting, or TV-producing libertarian non-fiction things.
1. Who are some of your favorite writers, books, movies, and intellectual influences?
It was Star Wars that taught me to love science, fantasy, music, and capitalism simultaneously. All else is a footnote to Star Wars
2. How do you describe yourself ideologically?
I’m an anarcho-capitalist, that is, a libertarian consistent enough to want all governments completely abolished, from welfare to police to regulators to the military — and replaced by the simple, decentralized, private enforcement of property rights. Any other political position is manifestly insane.
3. Which thinkers/commentators have influenced you?
Libertarian writers including David Friedman, Murray Rothbard, and Robert Nozick were big influences, but also skeptical, pro-science writers such as James “the Amazing” Randi. Together, they made it much easier to imagine life without government and without religion or other supernatural/irrational beliefs.
4. Where are you from/currently reside?
I grew up in New England, which has a nice history of mellow yet revolutionary sentiment. I now live in Manhattan, which is not mellow.
5. What are your writing goals?
If through non-fiction, comedy, or fiction in various media I can help make people more comfortable thinking they don’t need these systems of collective control, I’ve helped make the world a better place. As a good utilitarian, I just want everyone to be happy.
6. Where can people find/follow you online?
I can be found at:
7.What’s your craziest hobby/pastime/interest?
I’ve hosted debates in New York City for years that have brought together some rather opinionated and eccentric characters, but it is always my hope that the larger goal of learning from each other will overcome the short-term philosophical or personal scuffles, just as the cantina at Mos Eisley continues to operate despite fights among the clientele.
DATA LOG, Octobriana-768F android.
“The President must die, John. You have to kill him for me. That’s how history is supposed to unfold.”
Simulating voice of: Jodie Foster, actress (reference: Taxi Driver).
Viewing: Subject: John Hinckley.
Time: March 1, 1981.
Subject Hinckley speaks:
“Then we can be together? A few months ago, when I tried to visit you at Yale, you stopped answering my phone calls. I thought it was hopeless and that we could never be together.”
Reference: September 17, 1980: visit by Subject Hinckley to template-human’s educational institution. Feign recollection.
“John, I was very busy. I had just started the school year. It was unfair of me to ignore you.”
Ensure Subject Hinckley does not deviate from familiar historical pattern. Affirm desirability of Ronald Reagan’s death, as recorded on March 30, 1981.
“The only thing I need to convince me that you’re serious about your love for me is the one last deed.”
Eye contact, firm pressure on right arm. “You are meant to shoot the President. Our future depends on it.”
Accessing internal history files: March 30, 1981.
ABC News television broadcast. Glimpse of bloodied body of Target: Ronald Wilson Reagan. Two newspaper cameramen stumble backwards and Subject Hinckley is wrestled to the ground. White House Press Secretary James Brady lies nearby. A head wound, but he will recover. His role in the events of later years is not significant.
Newscaster Frank Reynolds speaking: “After some earlier confusion, we now have more details nailed down on today’s incident outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. President Ronald Reagan is dead. He was shot and killed by a gunman–possibly mentally unbalanced, we do not yet know–named John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. The nation has not yet had time to mourn, and already the speculation begins about how this could affect the economy, negotiations with the Soviet Union, and countless other political factors. Once again: confirmed now, the President of the United States is dead.”
Subject Hinckley must not deviate from historical role. Approximate warm smile. Subject Hinckley appears happy. The hooligans must be prevented from interfering with him.
EXCERPT from interview with lead singer of the Russian band Divisigoths, from Spinningmagazine, Oct. 2016:
SPINNING: Is it safe to assume your new album is called More because it will be a lot like your previous album, Timelines?
JIMMY SALVO (singer/bassist): No, album is called More because album marks 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s stupid book Utopia.
SPINNING: Ah. Is it safe, then, to guess that this will be another big “political concept album,” like Timelines, which described an alternate history in which Ronald Reagan died early in his presidency and the Soviet Union took over the world? Isn’t doing these big art rock projects risky for a punk-influenced band? I think it was Dave Whitney from the band the Elizabeth Tailors who once warned, “Eight-minute songs about gnomes are just wrong.”
JIMMY SALVO: Timelines was not “concept album”! Always we are saying this. Was truest pieces of what band was feeling back in 2012, when we go through some, hey, you know, really weird shit, man.
SPINNING: And by “really weird shit” you mean time travel? [laughs] Ah, so…Divisigoths are “real” time travelers sort of the way, shall we say, the band Gwar is a bunch of “real” monsters from outer space, is that fair to say?
JIMMY SALVO: Gwar is just joke for children! Divisigoths traveled through time!
ELECTRONIC MEMO to Vladimir Putin, Minister of Internal Affairs, Global Soviet Alliance, London Office, Dec. 22, 2012 (from Physics Institute Director Gurevich):
It is with deepest regret that my office confirms the earlier report of an unforeseen complication at the Chernogolovka facility.
Despite my earlier objections, test subjects chosen for our initial time travel experiments were all young convicts, supposedly eager to redeem themselves in the eyes of the state by volunteering to participate. One of them was prone to the wearing of counter-revolutionary stilyagi and punk clothing and, prior to his time under the careful supervision of the Institute, was in a rock n’ roll band known as the Divisigoths, calling himself “Jimmy Salvo” in an obvious attempt to suggest American aesthetic sympathies.
We believe that yesterday he broke into the facility and activated the time travel device without authorization, entering the past with three of his former bandmates. We also suspect we know his temporal destination. Salvo, according to former associates, had lately become fixated on the conspiracy theory hypothesis that if Ronald Reagan, the last American president, had not been assassinated on March 30, 1981, the Soviet Global Alliance might never have triumphed and forged a single world democratic republic.
I realize how speculative and abnormal all of this must sound–and I refer you to the enclosed diagrams in which I attempt a graphic explanation of how our present experiences might be only short-term, lingering residue of a version of history that has already been erased.
Though our current perceptions–my eyes on the words of this memo, my fingers on this keyboard–would seem to suggest that reality as we know it endures, I humbly suggest we discuss countermeasures immediately.
Dr. Aleksandr Viktorovich Gurevich
Director, Physics Institute