By Al Stankard, a political dissident and novelist living in New York City. Since becoming unemployable due to my political activism, I’ve been earning college degrees for the children of my oppressors. Business is booming – but it makes me sick to my stomach.
“I’m an escort in New York so I know firsthand how strange and stressful your life becomes when you’re outside the law,” writes April Adams in an aging VICE article explaining how and why she became a prostitute. She recalls one of the first men she nervously sold herself to, worried she might be breaking the law. Unsurprisingly, his purchasing power was built on a confident working knowledge of the outer limits of contract law. He assured her that, generally speaking, “it’s legal to charge for your time, so it’s legal to advertise [on Craigslist].” It’s an aging logic, but it’s proved so vital to our society’s shrewdly efficient arrangement of power relations that we all know and accept it by heart, without having ever read The Wealth of Nations.
Although my views on ‘sex work’ are mostly negative, I nevertheless find a kindred spirit in April Adams because I, too, have been forced by circumstance to make a living in a way that many presume to be dirty, if not illegal. Where April whores her body, I whore my mind. I write college papers for rich kids as an ‘academic freelance ghostwriter.’ I started out a decade ago on a shady Ukrainian website, though have long since carved out an independent reputation for myself to the extent that I offer multi-year, white-glove ghostwriting services to students at America’s most prestigious institutions. Remember that bleeding-heart movement against test-taking? It’s about making things easier for those who already command enormous social advantages and financial resources, yet who can’t be bothered to ace tests. ‘Social justice’ is just the front. In the age of lockdown-mandated remote learning, rich kids are leaping at my feet like salmon at the spawning. I do all the work, for a fee, and they walk away with a diploma.
You’d be amazed, too, by how fast I can churn out papers on virtually any topic. The only thing I can’t do is engage primary curriculum for graduate-level hard sciences. But I can clarify those ideas. If you’re curious how I have such a comprehensive mastery of all subjects – I don’t. Writing essays is hardly different from solving a Rubik’s cube. You master the basic algorithm and structure, inputting new variables for each new paper you write. Once you’ve written a few Plato papers, you’ve written them all.
In my early, naïve days, I guesstimated that 90% of my clientele were from impoverished backgrounds in the Middle East, Asia and India, lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps in ways I could not imagine. That’s what I grew up being told, anyway. Thus, I was merely helping them make do in spite of unfair standards which privileged native English-speakers.
Then there were the 9% of single mothers working full-time jobs, I told myself. The obnoxiously dumb, lazy, and rich party kids, I imagined, made up only the final 1% of my clientele. I could even empathize with that 1% by remembering the times in college when I was too desperation-drunk to do my coursework. If I had had the money, I too would have cynically outsourced some of those final papers.
As with the legality of advertising prostitution services, with a wink and a lip-bite, the baffles and whorls of Western legal theory allowed me to build a career as a freelance academic ghostwriter without risk of facing any real consequences. Sure, plagiarism in college is considered ‘academically unethical,’ but me writing college papers for others is not plagiarism, and it is most certainly not illegal. I am merely selling my intellectual property, transferring to each paying customer ownership of the paper I write for them. University administrations make virtually no effort to clamp down on such activities because, by the cold logic of liberalism, my customers are not stealing any intellectual property.
This is not some loophole I am wriggling through in the liberal ideology. The concept of intellectual property forms the bedrock of our corrupt, moribund society. The global capitalist power structure – this pyramid scheme whose ideology is codified and updated principally at Ivy League universities – depends on the fungibility of intellectual property rights in order to exploit those of us not born into privilege like them.
Insights supporting this fever dream of an academic ‘pyramid scheme’ are that, I have observed, one’s grades generally correlate not with the quality of one’s writing and arguments but, rather, with how densely you pack parenthetical citations into the text of your essay, as well as the institutional pedigree of your sources. If your paper looks coherent on its face, and is peppered with the right references, you will get an A. The content of your writing is mostly arbitrary; even your deference to political correctness, or its lack thereof, plays second fiddle to the citations themselves.
Crucially, I have learned, the more private, prestigious, and influential a university is, the less rigid are the formatting requirements of a paper’s references. At Ivy League universities, for example, it is generally acceptable to informally cite sources because their students are already insiders. At public universities, however, a strict adherence to referencing formats is mandated from on high – from those very same Ivy League universities.
As the political situation in the US has evolved, I have come to realize that the overwhelming majority of my clientele are obnoxious rich kids after all. This goes even for the 90% hailing from the Global South. As an American millennial, I had been thoroughly brainwashed into believing that foreign students arrive at American universities carrying on their backs the weight of unfathomable disadvantage. In reality, for the most part anyway, they come from privilege back home. Even those with more tenuous footholds in the American higher learning ecosystem are not as wholly dependent on student loans for their education as myself and others are, nor are they quite so hustled into the higher education system for reasons not to their benefit.
In my more recent white-glove services to Ivy League students, meanwhile, I have gotten to know and understand them more intimately. They are not merely somewhat dumb and somewhat rich. Rather, they are more or less on an intellectual par with me, yet are so extravagantly rich that it makes utmost career sense for them to outsource intellectual labor. This allows them to more effectively schmooze their professors and network with their peers. This is how the investor class operates – they sit atop massive wealth, with insider access, and buy and bring to scale all and every good idea, often from the desperate, in order to extract even greater wealth from the world around them.
I sympathize with April’s vindictive yet empowered retrospective on her career as a sex worker. While this may sound inconsistent for somebody as I who was, without remorse, a strident participant in the greater ‘alt-right’ movement, the fact stands that I am similarly forced into a grey market profession due to the crush of life circumstances. In my case, however, whatever disadvantages I may have already been heir to in life were compounded and ratified as a result of my dissident politics. In even starker contrast from April, I feel more vindictive than empowered, for it is the parents of these students I earn diplomas for who are, at least indirectly, responsible for barring me from the possibility of employment in polite society. The entire strata of society they occupy, the investor class, bears sole responsibility for creating and exacerbating the economic conditions that gave rise to the alt-right. Their collective scapegoating of all white people, for their own persistent sins and excesses, logically implied the birth of a new white ethnosolidarity. They needed the alt-right to exist, as a false effigy of their own global right-wing ideology, just as much as they needed to then ritually destroy those who wore its colors. Also on rt.com Chris Hedges: Cancel culture, where liberalism goes to die
I always used my real name while engaging in political activism because I believe there is more to life than throwing stray jabs at injustice in the dark, only to recede into an even deeper darkness. That, and I wanted to be held accountable to my higher self. You can’t live in this world as it is, participating in a rigged game that preys on our human foibles rather than correcting them. When our hollow consent is considered the gold standard for ethical, ‘win-win’ exploitation, things will only continue to deteriorate. I had made myself a persona non grata in our McWorld, as expressed through everything from VICE hit pieces to hysterical antifa fatwas, to the extent that I was forced into my particular brand of anonymous intellectual prostitution to make ends meet.
It’s almost an understatement to cite condemnatory Google search results to explain just how underground I had been forced. At one point, antifa hatched a plot to kidnap my sister after I peacefully confronted and briefly unmasked the man who slugged Richard Spencer at Trump’s inauguration. At another point, I had federal agents trying to blackmail me. Even as recently as last year, I have been violently confronted by antifa brawlers who may or may not have been sic’d on me by those same federal agents. This should give some indication of how unemployable I was made to be. I even resorted to a long stint as a handyman on the TaskRabbit platform. The last time I was publicly called out for being a ‘Nazi’ was by April Adams herself, the socially dislocated prostitute-turned-writer. April is not her real name. I feel bad that she should feel forced by her precarious station in life to try to come at me like that.
Since my earlier political activism, which culminated in my involvement in 2018’s Unite the Right 2 rally, my worldview has evolved dramatically. I no longer hold the mistaken belief that anti-white political rhetoric and policies are the product of some well-intentioned ignorance on the parts of those we generously refer to as the ‘elite.’ Nor do I believe that our steadily unraveling society can be saved by cleaving to the Enlightenment values of free speech and open inquiry.
I know now that all of today’s so-called ‘wokeness’ traces its origins to the earlier desperate need of the Western imperialists to court the Global South in building a firewall against the spread of Soviet Communism. Phony intersectional and cultural Marxism, the Rawlsian fixation on “the vulnerable,” gender wars, and anti-white scapegoating are all motivated by the investor class’s existential imperative of misdirecting criticism that threatens to bring them back down to earth with the rest of us.
Most who are taught by the corporate media into self-identifying as members of the ‘dissident right’ overlook the manner by which the investor class funds this self-defeating pairing of toxic race and gender politics with Marxist and anti-capitalist notions. They know that most of us will gag on the former while thinking they are part and parcel to the latter’s promise of economic justice. That, and by presenting racial equality and equality writ large on the same continuum, those of us with vigorous intuitions of justice are easily bogged down, or else diverted outright, by the vexing mission creep of the racial and gender social justice wars. It was not an accident that the asinine pursuit of sideshow justice went into hyperdrive in the wake of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement, and even more so in France since the Yellow Vest protests.
It is for these reasons that I am eager to blow a lid, however I can, on the widespread practice of freelance academic ghostwriting. Get off my neck.