Saturday, January 30, 2016

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Interview One Year Of Parole Finished

Sunday, October 10th, 2010 ... the morning of my release from prison. 

A former student dutifully conducted these interviews, a half dozen over the years, transcribing and publishing during the entire time I was on parole (three years). She called, asked if I had time to talk, clicked on her recorder, and went at it. She also womaned the email account, answering questions and passing along phone numbers of students and friends who wanted to reconnect. After parole, she gave me access to the account, and I am now taking from those posts and placing them in checala ... if only to have a permanent record of them. Many people have said it was a good way to keep tabs on me, to better understand my thinking. I do not miss that time, but I do miss her infrequent phone calls. They were cathartic. Anyway, here's looking back at roughly half a decade ago, before Myra, before our new family, before it all. At this point, I'd completed one year of parole with two more hanging over my head.  


How have you been?
Keeping my pimp hand strong. 

Don’t do that!

Don’t talk like you’re an idiot.
Oh, but I am. Ha.

I know you ARE, but don’t talk like one.

But on that subject …

Come on, you said I could ask you ANY question.
I know, but I didn’t say I’d answer them.

So are you dating yet?
[Sighs] Absolutely not.

Still scared?

Of what exactly?
Women, exactly.

But most of your friends are women.
Yeah, but they’re not my honey or a potential honey.

Oh, I see.

So how long will you go without?
For as long as I need in order to get my life to a point where I can even begin to think about broads.

Things are still bad?
Well, they’re not good in terms of having something to offer. Even the most basic of tasks is a chore for someone in my position. There’s so much I have to do in order to survive. Bringing someone else into my world isn’t really practical right now.

Will it ever be?
I honestly do not know.

But you said before you want a relationship in the future.
Yep. I do. I love, LOVE women and their company. I need them and all that. But my standards are HIGH, and I am not going to ever settle again for anything less than my dream babe. She’s out there, somewhere, and  I’ve put myself in a social standing where I might not be able to find her.

That sounds like a song or a movie. Are you always so dramatic?

Answer the question!
I guess. No woman has ever been able to keep up with me. I exhaust them. I have so much energy. I am constantly scheming, moving, learning, and attempting to get the most out of life. And now that I’ve lost weight, it’s worse. I am unstoppable. The next woman is going to have to be a dynamo. Ha.

No, what I meant was, can’t you just relax and date someone? Does it always have to be about love and marriage? Can’t you have fun?
Oh, wow, good questions. Yeah, I have A LOT of trouble being promiscuous …

God, no, I am not talking about sex …
No, I know. I mean to say I am not promiscuous in ANY sense. Friends I’ve had, I’ve had for YEARS. I love to get to know someone in the deepest sense. It is very, very difficult for me to be casual. I don’t do casual well. Not at all. My world is the greatest one, I believe, and to let someone in to that world is an HONOR for them, or it should be seen as such by them. I guard my world with all my being. Some people find that off-putting. 

I think sometimes you’re too intense.

You don’t have a problem with me saying that about you?

You need to relax.
I relax all the time. I find ways. I have an active and very fulfilling interior life. I journal. I am still a voracious reader of all kinds of literature.

What are you reading now?
I just got this KILLER edition of Rothbard’s MAN, ECONOMY, & STATE, put out by the Mises Institute. It’s in paperback, and it includes his follow up, POWER & MARKET. It’s fucking awesome. Rothbard blows me away. It’s an intellectual achievement like none I’ve encountered. He has a breadth and scope of knowledge of economics few have. A bad ass of the highest order, Rothbard is.

I still do not understand your obsession with economics.
Economics in the Austrian tradition, and within the Anarcho-Capitalist framework, isn’t just about economics, it’s about EVERYTHING. The sum total of human action, human wants, human desires. History. Science. Philosophy. Law. Religion. It’s all there.

What is with all this Ayn Rand stuff you have us post? Are you a Randian?
No, no, and NO. She and her followers were complete boobs in many respects. I finished three biographies about her, and while I wouldn’t trust second hand accounts in order to evaluate a person, she comes across as someone I would never want to know. There is such a thing as fetishizing reason and logic, eschewing emotion altogether. That is NOT healthy. I also do not believe in the Great Man theory of history, something she implicitly endorsed. I do, of course, believe in Great Men and find them invaluable, but these Great Humans come with a context, a society, a family. That is important.

Sounds like you are totally against Rand.
Naw. I just don’t worship her. She’s, at heart, a silly little Jewish girl. She’s very much a creature of her times and circumstances, but her embrace of a sense of life is wonderfully revelatory for me. That she won’t apologize for loving life, for seeing it as an end in and of itself, I greatly admire. She is a thinker to be reconciled with, a thinker worth entertaining, but it’s important not to be swept away. I guess that’s true of every philosophy. 

Are you reading anything else, something a normal person would read?
Ha. I have a few magazine subscriptions.

Like what?
The New England Journal of Medicine …

Ha. Wait …

That’s NOT a normal magazine …
I know, I know. I don’t really even read it. I just skim it. It might as well be written in French. When I first got out, I was so starving for intellectual stimulation, I kind of went overboard with ordering it. But I also get Scientific American, Fast Company, Wired, GQ, Reason, Skeptic, The Match!, The New Individualist, The Sun …

You’re crazy.
Ha. Those aren’t normal?

No. And that you don’t know they’re not normal makes you even crazier.
Ha. GQ is normal!

If you say so. Have you seen any good movies lately?
Yeah. But you’re going to say I am not normal.

Stop it!
Ha. Okay, I loved the movie Amelie, for example. It’s this French existentialist romance, and the climax, where they kiss in unconventional ways is so beautiful. It really is a great film. Run Lola, Run, a German film, was also very good. Both are a bit dated by today’s standards.

You’re so weird.
SEE. I knew you would say that. I rented The Tourist …

That’s a normal movie …
It was HORRIBLE. Really bad. The only good part is when Angelina’s character comes out in an evening gown, and Depp turns around and says, FUCK. Ha. The rest of it was trash.

Do you still hate Obama?
He’s a monster, but he’s yet to reach Bush, Jr.’s lows. Obama is getting there, though. As we talk, President Obama has the US in FIVE wars.

How do you get that number? You’re exaggerating.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan. He’s bombing ALL five in one form or another.

But he got Osama!
You’re purposefully trying to piss me off. I can tell. Ha. Think, just think, of the hundreds of billions of dollars, now into the trillions, wasted on the effort! I am not for welfare programs, but the US could have given everyone health care, bought them a new Mercedes, AND gotten breast implants for all our wives for that amount of money …

[Laughing] … breast implants?
You get the point. Factor in all that lost money, lost treasure, and then add to it the hundreds of thousands of lives lost compared with the measly three thousand or so the US whines about. That’s not even touching on the incredible expansion of government police power over civilians. I am flabbergasted at how stupid Americans are. They truly are the dumbest people on the planet.

You really think Americans are the dumbest?
Easily the stupidest people to have ever existed.

You’re being dramatic, again.
Maybe. No good will come of American interventionism. None. Be it foreign policy or domestic monetary policy, the US is a legitimate force for real evil in the world. The US is creating trends and consequences it can’t begin to understand. You thought 9/11 was bad; just wait. Fuckers are coming here, and soon, and they’re going to bring Americans hell. Look, when Americans go over to other countries and kill people’s grandmothers, people take that personally.

Are you working finally?
Yeah. I have been for a few months.

Tell us about it.
It’s the worst job in United States …

Tell us without the dramatics!
Ha. Well, it is a horrible way to earn money, but I am grateful for the opportunity.

Do they know about … your … past?

And they obviously accept you?
Yes. I earned their respect by hustling, by working hard. Again, the job is miserable, and it does not pay well. I barely earn enough to live. But I love it. I finally feel like I am making honest money.

That makes no sense at all.
When I was teaching, I loved the students and some of my colleagues. But I hated the fact I was working for the state, for the government. It really weighed on me. That final year, I was making arrangements to leave the profession, actually. It was a moral question for me.

What were you going to do?
I was going to intern that summer at brokerage firm, and then see if I could cut it … if I could make it. Hopefully, they’d sponsor me for the Series 7 exam, and so forth. That, and I was going to go back to college and enter a PhD program.

Yeah. I had had enough of public education. It sucks so badly, and there was no way to really reform it. It’s an authoritarian institution, a compulsory system. The whole she-bang is just awful. My hope was to move into some kind of private gig, possibly a private college or something like that. I’d given serious thought to applying to foundations to see if I could work at a think tank or foundation. I didn’t want my efforts to go toward helping the government any longer. I’d made up my mind. And, well, then I did something really, really stupid.

I’ll say!
Yeah, oh well. 

But you like your job now?
I do. The people are very special. They’re kind and funny. I work extremely hard, and at the end of the day I feel like I earned every fucking penny! I trade value for value, and the service I provide does NOT depend on confiscatory taxes or the threat of police coercion. It’s kind of an old school, romantic way to earn a meager living.

You always sound up-beat and happy.
That’s because I am. I am loving every minute of existence, or trying to. I’ve faced down some serious shit, and now I can take most of what happens in stride. I can let a lot go. It’s something like a skill, I guess. I have developed the ability to not be morose or to dwell. I do not forget. I won’t suppress. I stand square and look at the past. But I’ve come to believe I am those experiences and they comprise who I have become, but they’re not all I am.

What I like about you is how you have come out better than before.
I don’t know about that. I am a late bloomer, I guess. I have had to fight to get to this psychological state. It is the healthiest mentally I’ve been as an adult. I am comfortable with the man I am, the man I continue to develop. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. That is a nice feeling.



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