Posts tagged Lew Rockwell
Lew Rockwell On Endemic Corruption of US Government
Former New Orleans, La. Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted of 20 counts of corruption, while found not guilty on one count. Nagin was the mayor of the Crescent City from 2002 to 2010, shepherding the city through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding that began immediately after. But during the rebuilding phase, Nagin required kickbacks from people looking to help the battered city. RT’s Perianne Boring discusses the case and corruption in America with libertarian author Lew Rockwell.
The latest book by Lew Rockwell available here:
Mussolini’s Idea of the State and Its American Defenders
All social theory can be reduced to two categories: those that conceive of society as the result of peace, and those for which the indispensable ingredient is violence. This is the fundamental distinction between liberalism and fascism, a point I discuss further in a book I released earlier this year called Fascism vs. Capitalism.
There is some confusion surrounding terms here. When Ludwig von Mises published his book Liberalism in English translation, he changed the title to The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth. He did so because by the latter half of the twentieth century, the word “liberal” no longer carried the meaning it once had. It had come to mean centralization, the welfare state, and a substantial government presence in economic and social life.
The liberalism I have in mind, of course, is not the modern liberalism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but the classical liberalism of Thomas Jefferson and Frédéric Bastiat. Classical liberalism, by contrast, believed in free markets, free trade, toleration, and civil liberties.
It represented a movement toward a theory of society in which human cooperation emerged spontaneously and without coercion, by means of the natural processes of the market economy. It recognized that society seemed to manage itself without the involvement of extraneous forces like kings, aristocracies, or parliaments, and that the intervention of those forces was more likely aimed at the enrichment of a favored group or of the state itself than of at the well-being of society at large.
The price system, a spontaneous product of the free-market economy, helped entrepreneurs arrange the factors of production in such a way as to produce those outputs most highly valued by society, and to produce them in a way that was least costly in terms of opportunities foregone. Individuals specialized in those areas in which they had the greatest skill or knowledge, and the resulting division of labor meant a vastly greater output of consumer goods for everyone to enjoy. None of this required the intervention of the state.
For the classical liberal, the state was almost an afterthought. Some would have it provide a few basic services, while others conceived of it as nothing more than a night watchman. Beginning with Gustave de Molinari, the classical-liberal tradition even groped toward the possibility that the state was a dangerous, parasitical, and ultimately unnecessary monopoly.
And, of course, it was against a backdrop of peace that the classical liberal described the progress of mankind.
Fascists looked at society and the state quite differently. The prosaic bourgeois virtues of commerce, of producing, trading, and earning profit, are viewed with contempt next to the code of the warrior, which is what the fascist truly respects. Greatness comes not through the ordinary pursuits of the market or the obedience to the duties of one’s state in life, but through struggle.
It is Benito Mussolini’s famous remark — “Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state” — that truly sums up the essence of fascism. The good of the Nation, as defined by the fascist leader, surpasses all other concerns and allegiances. The fascist speaks of the Nation with a religious reverence. An Italian fascist youth movement in the 1920s composed the following creed:
I believe in Rome the Eternal, the mother of my country, and in Italy her eldest Daughter, who was born in her virginal bosom by the grace of God; who suffered through the barbarian invasions, was crucified and buried; who descended to the grave and was raised from the dead in the nineteenth century; who ascended into Heaven in her glory in 1918 and 1922; who is seated on the right hand of her mother Rome; and who for this reason shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the genius of Mussolini, in our Holy Father Fascism, in the communion of its martyrs, in the conversion of Italians, and in the resurrection of the Empire.
This devotion to the Nation is concentrated in allegiance to the charismatic leader. The untrammeled exercise of the leader’s will is a central ingredient in the realization of the Nation’s destiny. Moreover, the leader’s will must trump the array of activities that comprise the free market. The various companies, professions, unions, and government must work together with a conscious plan to ensure the best outcome for the Nation. This is why it is so preposterous to hear opponents of the market economy describe libertarians as “fascists.” No one could be more anti-fascist than a libertarian.
Political centralization was also central to fascism, for if the Nation is the embodiment of the people, and if it is through the Nation that every individual realizes his destiny, we cannot tolerate resistance by lesser jurisdictions within the Nation.
To say that there are fascist trends and features in the United States of today is not to say that this country is just like interwar Italy or Germany. There are some features of fascism as traditionally understood that can be found only faintly in American society today, and others than can be found not at all.
But it would be foolish to pretend that America is the very opposite of the fascist dystopias. Whether it’s the emphasis on centralization, the glorification of the police and the military, the yearning for a “third way” between capitalism and socialism, the elevation of “public service” above the services we freely provide one another on the market, the creepy and incessant references to “my president” or “our president,” or the depiction of the state as a quasi-divine instrument, the commonalities are neither trivial nor few.
Americans no doubt recoil from or laugh at that passage from the Italian fascists I shared with you a few moments ago. But few Americans are in a position to render such a judgment. Most have absorbed the idea that their government, far from a merely utilitarian contrivance established to provide them with some basic services, as many early Americans doubtless conceived of it, is a redemptive force in the world.
John Winthrop appropriated a biblical image of the church when he spoke of his settlement of Puritans as resembling a “city on a hill.” By the time Ronald Reagan made that phrase a rhetorical commonplace in American politics, it had been fully secularized. Not the church but the American state would transform mankind as God’s instrument.
Americans, even (or perhaps especially) American Christians, are for that reason not scandalized at politicians’ appropriation of religious language to describe their government. It bothers them not at all to learn that the iconic Abraham Lincoln said “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” American government ideals, or that when George W. Bush said “the light shined in darkness and the darkness did not overcome it,” by “light” he meant American government ideals.
In US history, presidents who avoided war, or who viewed the presidential office modestly and without messianic overtones, are neglected or even denounced by our official historians. You can guess at the views and activities of the presidents favored by the opinion molders. “Beware any politician who is ‘beloved,’” historian Ralph Raico once warned.
The cult of personality surrounding the US president has only grown over the past century, culminating in the creepy videos of schoolchildren pledging allegiance to Barack Obama and the YouTube videos of Hollywood actors promising their eternal loyalty. But some of those who ridiculed these ridiculous displays had themselves been part of the cult of George W. Bush. During the Bush years, Christian neocons made a video about the president set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s classic “When the Man Comes Around.” That song had been written about Jesus Christ. Here are some of the words they set to a video about George W. Bush:
There’s a man goin’ ‘round takin’ names. An’ he decides who to free and who to blame. Everybody won’t be treated all the same. There’ll be a golden ladder reaching down. When the man comes around.
Till Armageddon, no Shalam, no Shalom. Then the father hen will call his chickens home. The wise men will bow down before the throne. And at his feet they’ll cast their golden crown. When the man comes around.
That man, remember, was George W. Bush.
Americans are taught that they owe their freedoms to their government’s military. Whether it’s a country music concert, a sporting event, or even a restaurant chain, Americans are subjected to a ceaseless stream of reminders of what they allegedly owe to this particular class of government employees. (Let’s not forget the popular bumper sticker: “Only two defining forces have ever died for you: Jesus the Christ and the American soldier.”) How exactly their freedoms were threatened in any of the military conflicts in question is one of those impertinent questions one does not ask in polite society.
The propaganda has worked, to some extent at least. When Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which their government was spying on and lying to them, many listeners of right-wing radio demanded not that these activities cease, but that the leaker himself be silenced. The man who had embarrassed their rulers should be tried for treason and executed. I have heard this phenomenon described as a case of society-wide Stockholm Syndrome, and I don’t think that’s far from the mark.
If some of the superstitions of fascism have made their way into American life, it could be because both fascism and whatever it is that America has become share a superstition in common — namely, the state itself. The state has been cloaked in all manner of flattering but obfuscating rhetoric. The state looks after the general welfare, provides economic stability, protects us from the bad guys, prevents inequality, and binds us together in a common cause greater than ourselves.
It’s time we viewed the state for what it really is: a mechanism by which rulers enrich themselves at the expense of the ruled. Everything else is a smokescreen.
About the Author
Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. is chairman and CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of Fascism versus Capitalism. Send him mail. See Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.’s article archives.
Image credit: https://mises.org
Lew Rockwell discusses the upside of government default
This RT interview with Lew Rockwell was published yesterday before the great compromise of today when we read Boehner Admits Defeat. Well worth a view, as Lew’s remarks are spot on as always.
Published by misesmedia
About: In his recent appearance on RT, Lew Rockwell discusses the upside of government default. Rockwell is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute. For more information, visit the Mises Institute online at mises.org.
A Political Shift in America – Lew Rockwell (video)
Published by NextNewsNetwork
June 28th podcast by Lew Rockwell
Ron Paul on Snowden, the Federal Reserve, the Gold Market, Homeschooling and Economics
Ron Paul is interviewed by Lew Rockwell, listen here.
Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell discuss today’s important topics, including Edward Snowden, the IRS, the gold and bond markets along with the current and future economics, homeschooling and the sad loss of life due to suicides by our veterans.
I would encourage all to set aside 18 ~ 20 minutes and listen in.
Posted by Lew Rockwell
If, Naughty You, You Don’t Trust the Executive, Congress, nor Federal Judges…
(Thanks to Adrian Day)
The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see Lincoln pried out of his temple before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.
Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term “collateral damage,” along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman.
Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.
(2) Humanize the demonized.
We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too. This will make it marginally more difficult for the warmakers to carry out their Two Minutes’ Hate, and can have the effect of persuading Americans with normal human sympathies to distrust the propaganda that surrounds them.
(3) If we oppose aggression, let us oppose all aggression.
If we believe in the cause of peace, putting a halt to aggressive violence between nations is not enough. We should not want to bring about peace overseas in order that our rulers may turn their guns on peaceful individuals at home. Away with all forms of aggression against peaceful people.
(4) Never use “we” when speaking of the government.
The people and the warmakers are two distinct groups. We must never say “we” when discussing the US government’s foreign policy. For one thing, the warmakers do not care about the opinions of the majority of Americans. It is silly and embarrassing for Americans to speak of “we” when discussing their government’s foreign policy, as if their input were necessary to or desired by those who make war.
But it is also wrong, not to mention mischievous. When people identify themselves so closely with their government, they perceive attacks on their government’s foreign policy as attacks on themselves. It then becomes all the more difficult to reason with them – why, you’re insulting my foreign policy!
Likewise, the use of “we” feeds into war fever. “We” have to get “them.” People root for their governments as they would for a football team. And since we know ourselves to be decent and good, “they” can only be monstrous and evil, and deserving of whatever righteous justice “we” dispense to them.
The antiwar left falls into this error just as often. They appeal to Americans with a catalogue of horrific crimes “we” have committed. But we haven’t committed those crimes. The same sociopaths who victimize Americans themselves every day, and over whom we have no real control, committed those crimes.
(5) War is not “good for the economy.”
A commitment to peace is a wonderful thing and worthy of praise, but it needs to be coupled with an understanding of economics. A well-known US senator recently deplored cuts in military spending because “when you cut military spending you lose jobs.” There is no economic silver lining to war or to preparation for war.
Those who would tell us that war brings prosperity are grossly mistaken, even in the celebrated case of World War II. The particular stimulus that war gives to certain sectors of the economy comes at the expense of civilian needs, and directs resources away from the improvement of the common man’s standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises, the great free-market economist, wrote that “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Elsewhere, Mises described the essence of so-called war prosperity: it “enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.”
(6) Support the free market? Then oppose war.
Ron Paul has restored the proper association of capitalism with peace and nonintervention. Leninists and other leftists, burdened by a false understanding of economics and the market system, used to claim that capitalism needed war, that alleged “overproduction” of goods forced market societies to go abroad – and often to war – in search for external markets for their excess goods.
This was always economic nonsense. It was political nonsense, too: the free market needs no parasitical institution to grease the skids for international commerce, and the same philosophy that urges nonaggression among individual human beings compels nonaggression between geographical areas.
Mises always insisted, contra the Leninists, that war and capitalism could not long coexist. “Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations…. The emergence of the international division of labor requires the total abolition of war…. The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another.”
“The market economy,” Mises said simply, “means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.”
Those who believe in the free and unhampered market economy should be especially skeptical of war and military action. War, after all, is the ultimate government program. War has it all: propaganda, censorship, spying, crony contracts, money printing, skyrocketing spending, debt creation, central planning, hubris – everything we associate with the worst interventions into the economy.
“War,” Mises observed, “is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds; war destroys.”
See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.
Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.
Peace builds. War destroys.
May 1, 2013
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Ron Paul has been retired from Congress for only a few months, but he’s certainly not shying away from politics. The former US representative has already announced his new project: the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
In a press release sent to the media Friday afternoon, the Ron Paul camp confirms that the long-time Texas representative will launch a think-tank of sorts in order to carry on his ideologies after his time in office has ended.
“After decades in and out of the US House of Representatives leading the call for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties, Dr. Paul is launching a revolutionary new vehicle to expand his efforts. The Institute will serve as the focal point of a new coalition that crosses political, ideological and party lines,” the statement begins.
According to the press release, the Ron Paul Institute will focus mainly on two issues: education and coming generations.
“It will fill the growing demand for information on foreign affairs from a non-interventionist perspective through a lively and diverse website, and will provide unique educational opportunities to university students and others,” his office says.
“The neo-conservative era is dead. The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.”
Ron Paul, 77, says he will formally unveil his latest endeavor next Wednesday at a conference in Washington, DC, only a stone’s throw from the congressional office he occupied for nearly three decades. Slated to attend the conference are the members of the Institute’s board of advisors, which contains a number of high-profile names including noted economist Lew Rockwell, the CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a longtime collaborator of Paul’s — he served as the congressman’s chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, and later advised the politician as he vied for the presidency.
Also on the Institutes board is Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Just earlier this month, Ron Paul unveiled his own homeschooling curriculum for students, which he describes as a program aimed to provide “education in liberty like no other.”
“Students will be exposed to thinkers they would never encounter in a government school. They will know history and economics better than anyone their age,” Rockwell wrote in an editorial announcing the start of the “Ron Paul Curriculum” published in The Daily Bell.
Photo source: http://rt.com
Published on Feb 16, 2013
Join us for “50 Days of Freedom” as we chronicle our progress over the last 50+ days, showcase exclusive guests and remote reports from around the nation – this is an event not to be missed. Starting LIVE at 12:00 Central at http://
Danny Panzella, from http://TruthSquad.tv/, will be reporting LIVE from the New Hampshire Liberty Forum bringing us LIVE coverage & updates every hour.
Michael Salvi, host of TFPLive!!! and http://
1 Lew Rockwell
2 Attorney Georgia Sands
3 Alex Jones
4 John Dennis
5 Gerald Celente
6 James Corbett
7 David Keene
8 IRS Agent Joe Banister
9 Sheriff Mack
10 Robert Platshorn
11 Michael Boldin
12 Wayne Walton
13 Michael Badnarik
14 Jim Garrow
15 Jim Babka
16 Larry Pratt
and more surprise guests!
Published on Dec 24, 2012
The Louis E. Carabini Distinguished Lecture, presented at the 2012 Mises Institute Supporters Summit: “The Truth About War: A Revisionist Approach”. Recorded at Callaway Gardens, Georgia, on 26 October 2012. Includes an introduction by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Music by Kevin MacLeod.
NOTE: This video may be reproduced for non-profit, educational purposes ONLY.