Monday, May 8, 2006

Late to the Loompanics Closing Party

Apparently, I missed the announcement that Loompanics is going out of business. Their website says that they are now selling off the rest of their stuff at 75% off. I'm not sure if they're actually still in business, since the original announcement about the closure of the publishing company was made in January of 2006. I'd recommend making a phone call before typing any credit card info into an order form online.

For those who are in a state of ignorance, here's what Loompanics is/was:

Loompanics was an American book publisher specializing in nonfiction on generally unconventional or controversial topics, with a philosophy arguably tending to a mixture of libertarian and left wing ideals, although Loompanics carries books expressing other political viewpoints (including far right) as well as outspokenly apolitical ones. The topics of their list of the title list include drugs, weapons, anarchism, sex, conspiracy theory, and so on. Many of their titles describe some kind of illicit or extralegal actions, such as Counterfeit I.D. Made Easy, while others are purely informative, like Opium for the Masses. Loompanics has been in business for nearly 30 years. The publisher and editor is Michael Hoy. In January 2006, Loompanics announced that it is going out of business, and that it was selling off its inventory.

I guess I forgot to get onto their mailing list again the last time I moved. I probably did that on purpose, thinking that I could always go to their website when the spirit moved me. But a lot of the "information" that Loompanics published is now more easily obtainable on the web. Like how to set up a travel-trailer homestead, complete with a low-budget septic system. Or how to build a log cabin for under fifteen grand. Or how to obtain a new identity.

What made me think of looking up Loompanics after these past few years? This Washington Post story about a Floridian who apparently has been living under an assumed identity in Great Britain and Germany for more than twenty years. Sounds like he pulled it off for so long by using the sort of information that Loompanics used to publish.

This fellow, if he is who the police think he is, adopted a new identity to evade justice for an act of violence. But not all who adopt new identities without the state's permission (e.g. witness protection programs) are doing it for immoral reasons. Some do it to escape oppression -- or certain death -- at the hands of the state. Imagine if Raoul Wallenberg hadn't saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews by falsely -- and illegally -- issuing them Swedish identity cards.

It is in the spirit of Wallenberg that so many in New Hampshire have been vociferously protesting the national NH Real ID law.

Lauren Canario dressed up in a Nazi-esque khaki uniform and helped run a fake checkpoint where she demanded people's identification.

Real ID "sounds a lot like the old Nazi movies, and we just wanted to illustrate that," she said in an interview last week.

It's true that identity theft and fraud are issues in which the state might legitimately need to get involved. But there should always be a way for people to escape the state's scrutiny when tyranny arises. Or even before the tyranny is anything but a lone demagogue's dream.



Linking to: Pirate's Cove, Committees of Correspondence, Pirates! Man Your Women!

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