Libertarian Sci-Fi: Tape 1

Footage of the 1991 Libertarian Party convention in Chicago.

00:00Copy video clip URL Videomaker Bill Stamets talks with Timothy Leary over cigarettes, and hones in on the year’s “Virtual Reality” theme. “The horror of politics in the ’90s is control of the screen,” the man explains. However, he believes that the growing availability of affordable recording devices and computers to be that problem’s “built-in solution.” He likens this accessibility to the spread of literacy after the invention of the printing press, and the social revolutions that followed.

08:24Copy video clip URL “If everyone can make fabrications, then we suddenly realize that reality is simply an individual proposition…We’re all making maps, but we can all make our own maps and share them. That’s called democracy.”

09:10Copy video clip URL “I must tell you with total, total conviction that politics today is virtual, is imaginary…No individual can be as dangerous as a state or as a society. Sure, individuals will put up crazy things–there’ll be people making their own television shows in which they’re the leaders. So what? …That’s your electronic poetry, and it’s not going to draft me, or it’s not going to put me in prison for doing something that you may not approve of.”

11:45Copy video clip URL Leary talks about the riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. “I tried to stop it. I very strongly begged Alan Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman not to go there, because it would be a massacre and it would elect Nixon.”

15:49Copy video clip URL Bill Stamets begins an interview with another convention speaker, Robert Anton Wilson. “There was a fella named Peter Beter, who put out a conspiracy newsletter and claimed all the top American politicians were being killed off one-by-one by the KGB and replaced by robots who acted just like them. And I started studying our politicians, and some of them–especially Ronald Reagan and Dan Quayle– it was very hard to tell…”

18:40Copy video clip URL The two men talk about 1968 and its signature phrase, “The whole world is watching.”

20:20Copy video clip URL Stamets asks Wilson who he’d like to see run for president. “Nobody I’d like to see has a ghost of a chance,” he says. “American politics to me always presents not a choice, but a dilemma.” (His dream ticket, however, would be Paul Newman for president and Barbara Streisand as VP.)

23:46Copy video clip URL Wilson takes the stage at the Convention, delivering a joke-filled address about virtual reality and LSD.

30:58Copy video clip URL Leary delivers a speech about neuroscience and technology. “I know it’s kind of scary to say that we create our own reality, but that’s the amazing responsibility that we began to accept in the 1960s.”

37:43Copy video clip URL Convention officials lead a roll call of of Libertarian delegates.

55:55Copy video clip URL Andre Marrou is named as the winner of the convention vote. “Let’s just do it!”

01:01:50Copy video clip URL Runner-up Dick Boddie gives a speech.

01:23:11Copy video clip URL The beginning of “World Science Fiction,” a pageant play put on by the convention.

01:34:38Copy video clip URL End of tape.




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