Via the East Coast Libertarian, as well as my friend Peter Jaworski, comes this Reason piece, a compilation and analysis of the mounting evidence that Lew Rockwell was Ron Paul's racist ghostwriter, written by Julian Sanchez.
Check it out. Like ECL, I await the spittle-laced rants from Rockwell and his cabal against Tom Palmer and just about anyone else who bucks the party line.
For me, here are the two, semi-new points from Sanchez's article:
- Even if Ron Paul knew absolutely nothing about the racist filth being put out in his name, its publication still made him a lot of money. That's another strike against Dr. Paul.
- Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard are/were assholes.
During the period when the most incendiary [newsletter] items appeared—roughly 1989 to 1994—Rockwell and the prominent libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard championed an open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist "paleoconservatives," producing a flurry of articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and vocabulary mirrored the controversial Paul newslettersWith regard to Rothbard's contribution to this nasty "strategy" Timothy Wirkman Virkkala writes:
I knew what Rockwell and Rothbard believed regarding strategy. They believed in hate. Rothbard famously believed that you had to stir up hate against the state. He came to believe that you should stir up hatred against the underclass. That’s how you had to appeal to the middle-class Christians would turn on the old conservatism.Now, look, contrary to the implication of Lew Rockwell's recent
That goal is to put a politician in prison. Or maybe a bunch of them. Democrat, Republican, it doesn't really matter. That's how much I hold the state in contempt (I wouldn't say I hate it: how can you hate something so incompetent, so blithely unself-conscious about its own failings? Wouldn't that be like hating the dog for leaving
So I don't like the state. But I'm also not an idiot (or evil.) That's why I would never think stirring up racial animosity is the right way to go about reducing the power of the government.
Think about it: if the white middle-class thinks the black lower-class is a bunch of animals ready to riot unless/until they get get their welfare checks (as one of Ron's newsletters opined), they're not going to say, "Oh yeah, better cut off the checks, then." No. They're going to say, "Damn it, we need to hire some more police officers!" Because if you're the kind of racist moron who thinks black people are aggressive and criminal by nature -- and, worse, lots and lots of them live and work all around you -- then you're going to want the state to protect you from them. And that means you're going to be willing to give the state more power.
Why this escaped Rothbard and Rockwell, I have no idea. Not to Godwin twice in as many days, but didn't these buffoons remember how Hitler used popular antisemitism as an excuse to grab more power? Libertarianism requires that we be able to trust each other.
As everyone knows, or should know, trust is a crucial component of the market's efficiency. The more you and I can trust each other, the less we have to rely on expensive enforcement mechanisms that diminish the overall benefit of the trades we make with one another. If I didn't trust most people to be reasonable and honest with me, most of the time, I would simply not be a libertarian. I can't afford to install a ten foot high wall around my apartment, complete with machine-guns, out of fear that the black folk are going to carry off my girlfriend and my computer.
Besides, my landlord would frown on the machine-guns. In any event, if I didn't have trust and faith in the typical person, I sure would want more of those big guns in the hands of the police, and boy, wouldn't that increase taxes. Maybe I'd want cameras installed on every corner. Hell, maybe I'd just empower the state (but just for a while, naturally) to finally, uh, deal with all those scary and swarthy people smart guys like Lew Rockwell always tell me to fear.
But I'm not an asshole. Or evil. Or an idiot. Which one of these is Lew Rockwell?
Incidentally, I've never cared for Murray Rothbard's libertarianism, which basically elevates a controversial (and inherently vague) moral principle to the status of a physical law. Instead, I've drawn inspiration from the contractarian libertarianism of my old mentor Jan Narveson.
Yes, it has problems, but Narveson's theory is focused like a laser on the importance of trust in every day life. This is a theme libertarians should return to again and again: who do you trust, really? Your neighbor or the government? But, unless you live in Beverly Hills, it's a lot harder to trust your neighbors when you're convinced that a good number of them are violent animals ready to riot when the welfare check is late in coming.