Michael Grossberg on Libertarian Futurism and Pretty Much Everything
By David Henderson
I’m not big on libertarian futurism or on science fiction. I’m not bragging. On the contrary, I think it’s due to my lack of imagination.
So when I recommend an interview on the Libertarian Futurist Society’s (LFS) Prometheus Blog, you can be fairly confident that it would interest not just libertarian futurists but also libertarians and maybe even an audience broader than that.
I highly recommend the blog’s interview with LFS founder Michael Grossberg. (I knew Michael briefly in the early to mid-1980s and we lost touch.) It covers lots of ground. Some highlights follow.
On current Democratic president candidate Marianne Williamson:
Yes, but back then Marianne was an aspiring actress, very talented and stylish, and a very smart student, in several of my advanced classes, including English.
I cast Marianne and directed her in Love Street, a short psychedelic film I conceived about an LSD trip gone wrong during a high-school date. Her performance was excellent.
On Woodrow Wilson:
Among the films I selected to watch from their large video library were the major cinematic landmarks, starting with the 1910s (such as D.W. Griffith’s epic Intolerance, his atonement for and guilty follow-up to the racism of his Birth of a Nation. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, a eugenics-Progressive-elitist-warmonger and the most explicitly racist President in U.S. history, praised and screened that incendiary Ku Klux Klan drama at the White House. What I’d like to know: How come The New York Times hasn’t re-evaluated and shredded Wilson’s reputation yet? In his case, it’s long overdue.)
On Timothy Leary’s compliment:
One column/profile I wrote about Timothy Leary (who was about to visit the campus to speak) challenged popular misconceptions and outlined what he actually believed (including some libertarian futurist themes similar to Robert Anton Wilson’s writings.) When Leary arrived, he read the column and asked to meet me – a happy surprise – and complimented me on being a rare writer and journalist who actually “got” him. He appreciated the way I accurately summarized his real views at a time when the media significantly warped public perceptions about him and his quasi-libertarian futurism.
I still treasure Leary’s compliment. And I’ve dedicated my journalism career to continuing to be as accurate as I can in every profile, feature and review.
My comment: I’ve noticed how often reporters and news writers do a bad job of stating the views and thoughts of those on whom they’re reporting. From knowing Michael 35 years ago, I’m confident that the compliment was justified.
Definition of a libertarian futurist:
When F. Paul Wilson won the first Prometheus Award in 1979 for Wheels within Wheels, he coined a definition in his acceptance speech: “A libertarian futurist, in case you didn’t know, is someone who, when you tell him that nothing is certain in this world but death and taxes, will differ with you on both counts.”
Michael’s upbringing, which I hadn’t known about:
Plus, now that I’m 67 and as I look back at my upbringing and my now-departed parents, I appreciate more how my coming of age was influenced by my mother Esther Grossberg, a pioneering travel agent who had the beauty and passion of a Susan Hayward and the soul of a confident entrepreneur a la Dagny Taggart; and my father Fred Grossberg, an attorney active in the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai Brith and A.C.L.U., who often defended the powerless and poor (such as maritime workers at the Houston Ship Channel).
The whole thing, which is long, is well worth reading.