Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lew Rockwell: building alliances

Following in the coalition-building tradition of the great Murray Rothbard, our friend and fellow traveler Lew Rockwell spoke a week or so ago at a peace march and rally in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsored by the left-wing Alabama Peace and Justice Coalition. Lew acknowledged that his invitation to appear came from “leftists who rightly oppose the war but want big government to run the economy.” But he added:

“I accepted [their invitation] for the same reason I would accept an engagement to speak against taxes even if sponsored by a right-wing group that also favored the war and militarism.

“The opportunity to make a difference in favor of freedom should not be passed up, even if one’s associates have a mixed-up ideology. After all, most ideologies these days are mixed up, and have been for the better part of a century. ...

“In any case, I was glad to speak before this group, and they were gracious to ask.”

Much more gracious, it seems, than right-wingers at and, who began furiously attacking Lew this morning for both his speech and for extending a libertarian hand to the Left. Wrote Jacob Laksin in a piece titled “The Right’s Left Turn”:

“With its foam-flecked denunciations of the United States for ‘the evil of imperialism, the immorality of enslaving a foreign people, the malice of colonialism, and the intolerable brutality of authoritarianism,’ its paranoiac allusions to a dissent-crushing ‘state,’ and its unelaborated call for ‘resistance,’ Rockwell’s speech could have been given by any of the more literate ringleaders of the anti-war left.”

Laksin went on to attack as “a gathering ground for a querulous cult of libertarian-anarchist true-believers” that has begun “the migration into the territory of far left hysteria.”

Postings in response to Laksin’s article have run like this (I quote directly):

  • “[Rockwell] is obviously an idiot and with his world view he will never go further than being watched by a few other looneys.”
  • “[Rockwell] has always been in the tinfoil hat camp.”
  • “The subhead on their site [] reads, ‘anti-state, anti-war, pro-market.’ Sounds to me like they want anarchy, but in a capitalist sort of way. Does the irony totally escape them? LOL!”
  • “During my more sinister moods I believe [Rockwell] to be a Marxist plant roaming the net and perverting the concept of national self-defense.”

I don’t think any further evidence is needed to conclude that there’s no home for radical libertarians in the right-wing. That was determined more than three decades ago by Samuel Edward Konkin III, more than three years ago by Justin Raimondo at, and more recently by a rapidly growing number of agorists, georgists, and mutualists (i.e., market anarchists). I hope we’ll now see Lew Rockwell continue even more fervently his libertarian march out of the Right.

Leftward ho!

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At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Lew intends to "march away from the Right." Sure, he's getting denounced by the rabid neo-cons now. But he already has a solid reputation among "Old Right" types (such as John Birch Society members) who regard U.S. foreign policy as way too "nationalist" for their tastes.

In days to come the political winds will shift again and Lew will be getting praises from conservatives and cat-calls from "progressives" once again.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor Rockwell would be wise to recall the old proverb: "When supping with the Devil, use a long spoon." He will change few minds among those those operatives and their dupes, who are accustomed to engage in politics and the economy as conspirators. The great accomplishment of the American LEFT has been their convincing of the indifferent American Citizenry that the LEFT protects that Citizenry from the voracious RIGHT. In Truth, the LEFT and the RIGHT are but two sides of the same coin, and have been since the enfranchisement of the American Blacks. The real so-called "Class Struggle" in these United States involves the Credentialed versus the Productive, Rent Seekers versus Workers.

Reform the RENTIERS with a ROPE? Never happen!

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