Herbert B. Patrotage 


a controversial, fictitious human rights activist 

I employ a pseudonym because it’s my Trudeau-given constitutional right, even in the one-party Banana Republic of Alberta. (I'm a big Charter of Rights booster; heck, I got married on the Charter's 10th anniversary.) Readers should judge words on their merit, not on preconceptions about the author. If my use of a pen name offends some, be assured I don’t give a fiddler’s fart - if you’ll excuse my Irish. For what it’s worth, I don’t hide my true identity, a matter of fact that a 30 second google search will confirm.  


“I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” -- Francois-Marie Arouet, under the pseudonym Voltaire


“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- Eric Arthur Blair, under the pseudonym George Orwell


Writing under a nom de plume has a long and distinguished history. Fictitious names have been adopted by political and literary writers from the earliest times in nearly all countries. Eminent Albertan Emily Murphy, the first female magistrate in the Commonwealth and leader of the Famous Five in the historic Persons Case, often wrote under pseudonyms including Emily Chetwood, Earl York, and Janey Canuck. Newspaper columnists (and twin sisters) Esther Lederer and Pauline Phillips long doled out advice using the pseudonyms Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren.


In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission 514 U.S. 334 (1995), the United States Supreme Court upheld anonymous and pseudonymous writing as nothing less than a fundamental right of expression. The United States has a strong tradition of anonymous speech in both literary and political contexts. For example, the Court in McIntyre notes that "American names such as Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) and O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) come readily to mind. Benjamin Franklin employed numerous different pseudonyms." Politically, the Court added, "[t]hat tradition is most famously embodied in the Federalist Papers, authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, but signed 'Publius.'"


In a previous case, Talley v. California 362 U.S. 60 (1960), the US Supreme Court noted, "Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind." Commenting on the Talley case in McIntyre, the Court said, "The specific holding in Talley related to advocacy of an economic boycott, but the Court's reasoning embraced a respected tradition of anonymity in the advocacy of political causes."


The Supreme Court in McIntyre added, "Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. See generally J. S. Mill, On Liberty, in On Liberty and Considerations on Representative Government 1, 3-4 (R. McCallum ed. 1947)."


In conclusion, long live freedom, democracy, and Herbert Belfonz Patrotage! And that's all I've got to say about that.