I started this blog in November of 2004. It came naturally, I guess: I'd been a journalist and magazine editor for a good two decades, on both sides of the Atlantic. Born, raised and educated in the Netherlands, I moved to the United States in 1991 and soon began writing in English for the first time, with some success. I've been published on four continents (not including Antarctica, but I'm working on that). Here in the U.S., my work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, the Christian Science Monitor, Reason magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, and lots of other publications. I'm also a professional photojournalist, and by now probably spend more time on photography than I do on writing.
My Dutch accent is long gone, but I haven't been quite so successful in shedding my lowland stubbornness. The Dutch are moralists at heart — they love to tell others what to think — so a blog comes in really handy. I'll sermonize to my heart's content, you'll quietly sleep through the whole thing, and nobody gets hurt.
On this blog, I return frequently to the things I'm most passionate about — especially civil liberties — from a mostly libertarian point of view. That said, I hate doctrinarian thinking, so every once in a while I'll stray from the course and antagonize even my libertarian friends. Of course, my professional affiliations and long-suffering clients notwithstanding, the thoughts expressed here are mine alone, as are the inevitable typos and other glaring shortcomings. Speaking of which: if you catch a mistake, or a link that doesn't work, please e-mail me and I'll fix it.
I reserve the right to quote e-mails about this blog in my posts. You can specify you don't want me to quote you, and I'll honor that request unless your message to me was exceptionally rude, violent, or threatening. Then I'll hang you out to dry if I choose.
I've borrowed the title "Nobody's Business" from a book that seriously influenced my political thinking: the late Peter McWilliams' "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do" (the Billie Holiday song of that name isn't bad either). Peter's book is a great libertarian screed based on one simple idea: Consenting adults should not be arrested or punished unless they physically harm the person or property of a nonconsenting other. It's an especially powerful argument when you apply it to the War on Drugs that we've been fighting (and losing, no contest) for the better part of a century. Here
's a quick overview of the book. If you want more, you can actually download the whole tome from the McWilliams site — although, really, how cheap do you want to be? Amazon has the paper version
for a mere $9.95.
I'm offering my over-long bloviations entirely for free. (If I could, I
'd pay you
, but life's imperfect.) In return for the countless hours you'll spend at this blog, laughing yourself silly over things that I probably didn't intend to be funny, please ask your friends to share the joy. Remember, visitors are a blogger's fuel (that is one of the brilliant metaphors only a professional writer should attempt), so please check back often. And next time you come over, why not bring the family for some quality time around the computer screen, all of you thrilling to the spectacle of a gorgeous 107-word sentence, or a deftly avoided dangling participle? Live
a little, why don't you!
Rogier van Bakel