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Quizzing Lew Rockwell
Published : February 10th, 2013
6593 words - Reading time : 16 - 26 minutes
( 5 votes, 2.6/5 ) , 1 commentary Print article
 
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ANNOUNCER: This is the Lew Rockwell Show.

ROCKWELL: Well, it's great to have as our guest this morning, Dr. Tom Woods. Tom is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute, the author of 11 books and counting. I can't wait to find out what the next one is. But many of them New York Times best sellers, Meltdown and Nullification. We'll link to all of them on this blog. Take a look as well, of course, at Tom's wonderful archive on LRC. Take a look at his own website, tomwoods.com.

And, Tom, you're sort of going to turn the tables on me today. It was your idea that you should be interviewing me.

WOODS: Well, I thought that even though you do a lot of radio and other media and get to ask, or answer a lot of interviewer's questions, I thought I might have different questions from the ones they would ask you. And also that an interview that would run on your own site where long-time readers would be able to access it, might, you know, benefit from asking questions that they might be curious about, just about you, as a person.

So, off we go.

ROCKWELL: OK.

(Laughter)

WOODS: So I want to start from the beginning. I want to know what – because you are, first of all, I think, on the podcast, extremely gracious to all your guests, especially at the end. You sum up all their contributions and give them effusive praise and thanks. And I know that you hate being on the receiving end of those things, so I'll try to contain myself, but just say, you know, we all know that your contributions have been astonishing. And so we'd be curious to know, how did a guy like you get started in terms of these ideas? How were you first exposed to them?

ROCKWELL: I think I have to credit my dad, who was an Old Right Republican. And, in fact, my first political memory is of him pinning a "Taft for President" button on my coat –

(Laughter)

– my winter coat in Boston.

WOODS: Pretty good start though.

ROCKWELL: Yes. So he got me interested in a lot of it. But I also think there's something to the point Ron Paul always makes. He thinks that many of us are born Libertarians. And so I can remember very early on, in school, arguing with one of my teachers. This is long before the '64 Civil Rights Act, but he was arguing for that sort of a bill. And I can remember saying – this is in the seventh grade; having a long argument. It just didn't seem to me right to have the government force business people to have customers they didn't want to have. Now, whether their motives, the business peoples' motives were right or not, you know, that was for somebody else to decide. But that the government should be able to use force to bring about the social changes it wanted just seemed to be wrong. So I think from a very early age I just was inclined against government power.

WOODS: Now some people have compared the Ron Paul phenomenon to Barry Goldwater. Now you supported Goldwater in '64. Did you work for the campaign in any way, formally or informally?

ROCKWELL: I actually was a Goldwater supporter in 1960, when it was first mentioned, and I had a bumper sticker on my car. In fact, I ended up having to have I believe it was 27 bumper stickers because they kept getting ripped off –

(Laughter)

– in Massachusetts, which, of course –

WOODS: It's hard to rip off a bumper sticker.

(Crosstalk)

WOODS: You have to put a lot of effort into that.

(Laughter)

ROCKWELL: Or at least ripped part of it off, anyway. And then in '64, I was a huge Goldwater supporter. I subsequently think incorrectly. But I did my best to ignore his foreign policy and concentrate on his domestic policy. He said a lot of very wonderful things. And in his book, Conscience of a Conservative, very radical in domestic affairs. Not until Ron Paul have we had anybody talking about similar things. I actually gave him a total of $500. That's, you know, for a student –

WOODS: Sure.

ROCKWELL: – I mean, that was a huge – and I worked – just pretty much all I did with my life during the Goldwater – work for the Goldwater campaign.

And partly, that was possible because, in Massachusetts, the entire Republican Party apparatus took a walk after he was nominated.

WOODS: Yes.

ROCKWELL: They wanted nothing to do with it. And so there were positions available that never would have been available to a kid. So it was a great experience.

I subsequently have come to think that it was all a trick. Because if you look at Goldwater's life before and after he ran for president, he was just, you know, sort of a left liberal Republican. What would we say, moderate, or Eisenhower Republican. And at the convention, the Taft-Eisenhower convention, he famously gave a speech saying that we Republicans must not seek to appeal the New Deal and the Fair Deal; we must accept these as givens and move on from there and make things better. And certainly, as a Senator, after he ran, he was a terrible guy. I mean, he was a horrendous militarist. He always was that. But bad on domestic issues, too.

So I think it was – I don't know. Was it sort of a Bill Buckleyite, Neo-Con trick the whole business in order – as part of his very brilliantly conceived and executed plan to destroy the Old Right, the anti-war Republicans, and just bring everybody into the Cold War, the battle for the Cold War and perpetual war?

WOODS: Well, your mention of foreign policy provokes a question in my mind. Are you telling me that, at that time, as early as 1964, you were already one of these very unusual creatures in the American political scene, somebody who was very much for limited-to-no government domestically but who was also critical of U.S. foreign policy? Were you already at that position?

ROCKWELL: No, no. That would be giving me too much credit. But I had the whole atomic bomb business bother me. And I thought that Goldwater was just much too cavalier about the idea of, you know, nuking the men's room at the Kremlin and that sort of thing. I didn't want to see the end of the world. And I thought that a nuclear war would – at least might bring about the end of our civilization, certainly, at the very least, and I wondered was it, you know, worth it. In those days, you were supposed to be evil if you didn't, you know, say you were "better red than dead," which was a British slogan. That was held up as just the most unimaginable evil. But, you know, I always thought, well, you know, if you were red, at least there's hope, there's life, there's change possible. But if everybody's dead – (laughing) –

WOODS: Right.

ROCKWELL: I didn't think that was really mankind's job to be killing everybody.

WOODS: Right.

ROCKWELL: So, but I was not sophisticated about it. I didn't question NATO and the whole Cold War apparatus. But, of course, I despised the Soviets, as we all did. But they were never – of course, I later learned, obviously, never the threat that they were, even though, internally I guess, the worst government ever to exist. But internationally, not anything like the threat. It was all, of course, just another trick.

WOODS: Did you at that time consider yourself a conservative?

ROCKWELL: You know, I always considered myself a Libertarian from very early on. So I considered myself a conservative, I guess, when I was in high school. And that was the word we all used and, at that point, the only word we knew. But because of Leonard Read and others, I started calling myself a Libertarian very early on, because I just disliked parts of the conservative movement.

WOODS: What made you more radical on foreign policy?

ROCKWELL: Well, I think it was the draft. It was the Vietnam War. Murray Rothbard – economy, Rothbard, later – really sort of filled in all the blanks and, of course, taught me a vast amount. But it was the war. I was very active against the Vietnam War. I thought that it was a disaster. And it wasn't only me. I mean, the Birch Society came out against the Vietnam War, too. That's why Robert Welch and the Birch Society had their problems. That's why they were demonized, because they came out against the Vietnam War. That's when Bill Buckley went after them. The war, of course, being always the key thing to all conservatives.

So, you know, and Brent Bozell, who had ghost-written Conscience of a Conservative, also came out against the Vietnam War. And that's when he was demonized by his brother and by the conservative movement, when he said that he had come to the conclusion that the Vietnam War was about installing HEW in Southeast Asia. So – (laughing) – you know, bring in the great society –

WOODS: Right.

ROCKWELL: – to the people of Vietnam.

WOODS: There was something to that, I think.

(Laughter)

ROCKWELL: No, it was great.

WOODS: That was part of LBJ's view, yes.

ROCKWELL: No, I thought that was a great comment.

WOODS: Yes.

ROCKWELL: So, but it was Vietnam.

WOODS: How did you first encounter Murray Rothbard?

ROCKWELL: Well, you know, I had corresponded with Murray and talked to Murray, but I only met him in the late 1970s through Burt Blumert. And it was at a party at Billie and Burt Blumert's house in Manhattan. He had a house there. And that was really when I really got to know Murray well. My great regret, that I didn't take the opportunity earlier in my life to get to know him better, but it certainly was a great blessing in my life to be able to work with him for so many years so closely, to learn so much from him. And, of course, he was such a great guy, in addition to being a brilliant intellectual and unbelievably productive. He just was a sweetheart and funny and just the greatest guy you could have a drink with among many other points about him.

WOODS: You must have become fast friends because you were very close colleagues after that.

ROCKWELL: Yes. We just became instant friends. I would say everybody became Murray's instant friend. So he just was that – he had a gift for friendship among his many other gifts. So I started, first, maybe in the middle '70s – and of course, read a lot of Rothbard, too, and subscribed to the Libertarian Forum, but didn't really get to know him until '79.

WOODS: Now this is, I don't know, maybe an unhappy subject, but I'd like to ask it anyway. To me – and there are some people who say that we worship Rothbard and all, or Mises or whatever. And of course, the last thing Murray or any of the people we admire would have wanted is that we just take what they said as gospel and not investigate on our own or always be modifying where modifications are called for. But the point is he was a great genius. And I think it would be crazy not to admire him, not to respect his work, to adopt what Joe Salerno calls the Austro-punk position.

(Laughter)

But I guess I don't understand why it is that there is such sometimes stated, sometimes implicit hostility toward Rothbard in some sectors of the Libertarian movement. We might call it the official Libertarian movement, where there will be think tanks that will 100 times mention Milton Friedman for every – I was about to say every one time they mention Rothbard –

(Laughter)

– but it's for every zero times. I mean, Rothbard is like a nonentity except perhaps for purposes of ridicule occasionally. What's the source of that? Where is that coming from? Isn't that deranged? Where is that coming from?

ROCKWELL: And of course, they do. They would say we're worshiping Rothbard, but they actually worship Friedman or somebody else, so.

WOODS: Right (laughing). So what's the difference? Right.

ROCKWELL: Yes. Actually, it's a very interesting point. It all goes back to the whole struggle with the Koch brothers, the famous Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch. And when I first started the Mises Institute, I was friends with the man who was head of the Koch Foundation. I was very naive and I wrote and I said, I'm starting this institution and would appreciate their consideration for financial support. And I was given the extremely angry message back from the Koch folks that I was not to start the Mises Institute, that it would be extremely damaging, that they had been working for many years to get rid of Mises, who nobody liked. Even Milton Friedman didn't like him. And I said, hey, a medal on Mises' chest.

(Laughter)

So even Friedman didn't like him. He was a huge drag. And they wanted to make Hayek the key figure. So to start a Mises Institute, not only would they not help, but they would actively oppose it. And, indeed, that, of course, has been the case all these years later. Charles and David are still very bitter. I don't know why. At one point, Charles was a Rothbardian. Charles was. I don't know what happened. I don't know why he has, still to this day, this burning hatred of Murray all these years after Murray's death. But it's true. And so the people you talk about are all either funded by Koch entities or would like to be funded by Koch entities. So really that's what it comes to. It comes to this decades-long hate campaign.

It also goes back to – Murray always said that billionaires don't like to be told no.

(Laughter)

They're used to being told yes by everybody. And they get very upset when they're told no. And Murray had help found the Cato Institute with Charles Koch, and named it and was the chief intellectual guru. And then, at one point, Charles decided that it was best for his, I guess, business interests or ideological interests or a combination of the two that things change, and that Austrian economics was really, whether it was true or not, was a drag, maybe like Mises. But you couldn't get anywhere in Washington if you were promoting Austrian economics. It needed to be maybe a combination of the Chicago School and public choice. And so they wanted the first economist hired by the Cato Institute to be an economist of that sort. But I'll say he's a great guy. Nothing wrong with him. But Murray thought, well, gee – (laughing) – this was supposed to be about Austrian economics, this new institute. So when he opposed Charles' hiring this man, there was just a total blow up. And there were legal things and they took Murray's stock in the institute and just set out to marginalize him and destroy him, still to this day. So that's why it's politically incorrect for people who work for these think tanks to do anything but marginalize him. And you hear reports all the time about, like their summer programs, where they'll have denunciations of Rothbard.

WOODS: It's crazy. I mean, it's like the opposite of – it's like a cult of anti-Rothbard, really.

ROCKWELL: Yes. It's –

WOODS: Like you have to have the anti-Rothbard to be initiated into it.

ROCKWELL: No, and their academic programs seem to be about making sure that nobody likes Rothbard. You can be an anarchist; that's fine. But you can't be a –

WOODS: You can't be a Rothbardian type.

ROCKWELL: No, no. That's still very, very politically incorrect.

WOODS: Yes. And, of course, as you've told me before, the worst thing strategically you can do is tell young people don't read this guy.

(Laughter)

Because what do you think they're going to go do, right?

ROCKWELL: Yes.

WOODS: And what's the most popular Libertarian T-shirt now? The Mises Institute's "Enemy of the State" Rothbard silhouette shirt, right? I mean, everybody wants to wear that thing.

ROCKWELL: No, and, of course, Murray far better known, far more influential today because of the Internet than he ever was during his lifetime. So their attempt to marginalize him just hasn't worked. And, of course, he just still springs off the page at you. When you just open anything he's written, you just say, holy smokes.

WOODS: Yes.

ROCKWELL: And then you just want to read more. So that power, his power, his intellectual power, his power as a writer have overcome all these lobbying efforts against him.

WOODS: Now, I wasn't sure we were going to mention the Koch brothers, but as long as we have, where do you think the left is right about the Koch brothers and where are they wrong?

ROCKWELL: Well, of course, the left many times went to jokers. So, they seem to accept the Kochs' ideological rational. It's like thinking you can interpret John D. Rockefeller by liberal Protestantism, or George Soros by left liberalism. These are just covers for these oligarchs. And they all need an illogical cover. So in the Koch's case, it's the free market. But the idea that these guys are actually promoting the free market or actually seeking to limit government, except in ways that might benefit their own companies, is just, of course, crazy. So the left is wrong to take them seriously ideologically. They are right that they're very, very powerful, that they are the key donors to the Republican Party, open and confidential, ever since really the early 1990s. They're very, very powerful figures. And they're worth scrutiny. If they're getting – you know, whether they're giving themselves contracts in the Iraq war or whatever, these things are worth looking at. And just like George Soros is worth looking at, so are the Kochs. So the left, you know, mostly gets it wrong but not entirely wrong.

WOODS: Now, of course, you worked for Ron Paul for some time. I want to get back to that. But before then, you had already been engaged in some liberty sort of work, like with Arlington House Publishers and other things of that sort, isn't that right?

ROCKWELL: Yes. I had the great honor to work – I always wanted to work as a book – two goals I had in my – it seems slightly silly now, in one sense. I wanted to be a book editor. I loved publishing. And I wanted to be a congressional aide. So thank goodness I worked for Ron Paul –

(Laughter)

WOODS: Yes, right.

ROCKWELL: – rather than somebody else. So I had just a tremendous time at Arlington House. This was the only publisher of its kind, founded by the great Neil McCaffrey, to publish Libertarian and conservative books, too. And I just had tremendous experiences there, one of which was Neil calling me to his office one day and saying, I'd like you to be Ludwig von Mises' editor.

(Laughter)

WOODS: Well, if I have to, I have to.

ROCKWELL: So, you know, I was just a kid. And so that's how I got to meet Mises. We were just bringing back into print three of his books, Omnipotent Government, Bureaucracy, Theory and History, and then published what was then the end publish, The Historical Setting of the Austrian School.

And I can remember still – I can still remember, it feels like yesterday, opening this brown envelope from Mises, and out comes this unpublished manuscript by Mises, and I thought, holy smokes.

(Laughter)

WOODS: I know.

ROCKWELL: So it was a tremendous experience. I got to known Margit von Mises then, too. And got once to have dinner with them. And got to know Margit much better in later years. That was the only time I ever met Mises in person but, of course, it was a tremendous, tremendous experience. Very dignified, warm. A gentleman that, Murray always said, represented an older and a better world. And, boy, the truth. Just his manner, his dress, his dignity, and yet his warmth. He was something.

WOODS: Margit von Mises played a role in the Mises Institute at the start, isn't that right?

ROCKWELL: She did. And she was what Murray once dubbed a one-woman Mises industry. But after his death, she dedicated herself to try and make sure everything was in print, translated, and she just was tremendous. And so when I decided that Mises, the man, was not getting the attention – we all need heroes. These ideas are essential. But they have to be, in terms of teaching, I think, inculcated in great men. So I thought it was important that Mises be recognized for the hero he was. Also, the Austrian School was in decline and I thought there needs to be an institute dedicated to this. And so I approached Mrs. Mises first, even before Murray Rothbard, and asked her if she would be part of it, and she said she would. She said – and she started sort of shaking her finger at me, and she said, now, I know you're only interested in my name. And I said, well, I am interested in your name –

(Laughter)

– but I'm also interested in your advice and guidance.

WOODS: Yes. Sure. Yes.

ROCKWELL: Which she did give. And so she said she would, as long as I agreed that I would dedicate the rest of my life to it. So I gave her that promise. So she was our first chairman.

Then I went to Murray Rothbard and he actually, literally, clapped his hand in glee –

(Laughter)

– at the idea there was going to be a Mises Institute. Of course, he said, I'll do everything. So it was wonderful to – what a thrill to be able to work with those two people. Again, just a blessing.

WOODS: Well, you know, you and I have recently reread an old Rothbard interview from 1990. And one of the lines in there is that he says, "Without the founding of the Mises Institute, I am convinced the whole Misesian program would have collapsed."

Now when you started the Mises Institute, maybe you had more modest goals than that. What did you have in mind? What did you imagine yourself doing? In the best scenario, what was the Mises Institute going to accomplish?

ROCKWELL: Just reviving or rather making sure that the Austrian School didn't disappear. I was concerned that it was going to disappear and that Mises was becoming unknown. So it was just those twin goals of – I think it's turned out much better than I thought it was going to all those years ago. But generally, it's done what I wish, is to make sure all Mises' books are available in inexpensive editions, that scholars in the Austrian School would be encouraged, graduate students supported, publications of all sorts, both scholarly and popular, to try to spread the word. Because, of course, it was always Mises' view and, of course, Rothbard's, too, that economics was too important to be left to the economists and that everybody had to be brought in. So I think that's happened.

WOODS: Well, it's a two-fold or three-fold or four-fold strategy because it's not just publishing the books, but it's also building up an infrastructure for students who are in this tradition, whereby, they can be supported both in terms of moral support, and maybe help them find jobs because they've got connections because they met Professor So and So at a Mises Institute conference. And I think the idea was also to influence economics department, to actually change economics department little by little so that – where we are today. But now, an Austrian going on the job market is no longer radioactive.

ROCKWELL: True.

WOODS: Now there's an interest in it, and the Mises Institute played an indispensible role in this. Nobody else was doing that. And now, suddenly, that's become – we're living in a world that you couldn't have imagined, I think, in the early days.

ROCKWELL: No, it's true. And there's far more openness. We don't have – obviously, the commanding heights of the profession are still Paul Krugmanians and et cetera.

WOODS: Right.

ROCKWELL: But, yes, among younger professors, we've made just unbelievable progress. And the further down you go in terms of age, the more and more people who are interested. Of course, this is a very powerful school of thought. And also, it's very radical. And also, people like the fact that it's against the regime.

WOODS: Yes.

ROCKWELL: I mean, smart kids know they're in trouble; troubles they're facing and the troubles that the whole world is facing. They know changes have to be made, so they're ready for a radical – rather than a radical relook, rather than the lies that typically the senior professors are teaching them.

WOODS: Now I'll just interject as someone who has had some connection to the institute since 1993. What I've seen – and we talked about this at lunch the other day. 1993, I went to the week-long Mises University program, which just got me on the path that I'm on now more than anything else I did in my whole academic career. And I met a lot of really bright young kids, and we were all learning this stuff together.

But today, you go to Mises University, and, sure, there are a lot of bright young kids who don't know that much about this Austrian School but they're intrigued and they want to know more, but what you also see, which we didn't have so much of before, is a lot of young kids who already know a lot of this stuff because they've been reading it on Mises.org, or Ron Paul has recommended certain books, and they've read those and they've read the books that those books recommended. They come in here knowing so much that, when it comes time for the optional oral exam, we've had students come in – where there was one student where, I think it was Walter Block, said to him, you should be sitting on our side of the table asking the questions with us.

(Laughter)

I mean, this is really encouraging. We've got some sharp – we've got some geniuses coming down the road, who the establishment is going to have a really hard time dealing with, because they are energetic, they love smashing myths, and we've got YouTube. This is an explosive combination.

ROCKWELL: Well, it's tremendous. And, of course, the Internet is what made the difference. I can remember, in the old days, you were just thrilled if somebody discovered you. And, of course, we had to do direct mail and, you know –

WOODS: Oh, what a task!

ROCKWELL: – and we tried different – it was much more, much more difficult. So the Internet made it possible.

And, of course, this is not only a burgeoning movement in this country but maybe even more so overseas. In Europe and Latin America and Asia, it's just blossoming like I'm sure never has been the case in the entire history of the Austrian School. So I think there are very, very bright days ahead.

WOODS: There must be somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen Mises Institutes in countries around the world. And I haven't kept track of how many there are, but these are not satellites of the American Mises Institute that you established. These were created spontaneously by people who came to you and said, hey, we want to have a Mises Institute in Brazil, or we want to have – you know, could you come to our kick-off event. And, in fact, you and I did – as a matter of fact, I suppose I didn't pick Brazil at random. We went to the kick-off event –

ROCKWELL: Yes.

WOODS: – last year. And I'm sure you were as surprised as I was that we had hundreds of young – I mean, this was a young audience. Hundreds of young kids spent their weekend listening to English speakers come talk to them about Austrian economics. And they had read our stuff. Even in English, they had read our stuff. They knew who we were. This is great. They were fascinated by this stuff. There's no way you could have predicted something like this.

But let me just say though, I do want to say something about Ron Paul. Now, what was the exact capacity that you worked for him in, and what years are we talking?

ROCKWELL: I first met Ron in 1975. We were both speaking at a Libertarian conference in Miami, Beach. And I was very impressed by him. And I had had a background in medical economics, a magazine that I had edited. Medical Economics is a magazine. This was a magazine called Private Practice, but devoted to the economics of the medical care, especially state intervention into medical care. So because Ron was a doctor, that was sort of our connection.

And so when he was elected to Congress – he had already been in there once, then defeated. And he was elected the next time, he asked me to come and be his chief of staff. And I just found out last year that the impetus for that was Leonard Read. Leonard Read had called him and said, hey, you know, here's the guy you need. So that was very sweet. I never knew that Leonard had done that.

WOODS: Well, just for the newbies here, Leonard Read founded the Foundation for Economic Education. So he's a big, big name. That's quite an endorsement to get. Yes.

ROCKWELL: So that was very, very sweet.

So I helped Ron organize the office. And I was there just a short time, from 1979 to 1982. And I loved working for Ron. He's – what you see is what you get. I mean, he really is the same in private as he is in public. And just so many wonderful things. Somebody called him a Reagan Republican. I remember, for example, the only contact Reagan ever had with him when Reagan was president was to call him and twist his arm or attempt to twist his arm to get him to support some horrible new murder machine, the B1 or the B2 or the B17 or something, but he wouldn't do it. And just, you know, no matter who was trying to get him to do something wrong, he wouldn't do it. So that was universal. I mean, that was Ron Paul's every day. So it was just tremendous.

I eventually got to the point where it was slightly difficult for me to work for the government, even though it was Ron. And I kept telling myself, well, you know, the House is not as bad as the presidency.

WOODS: Right.

ROCKWELL: But it was a tremendous experience working for him.

WOODS: Do you have any illustrative stories from those years that you've never told that just illustrate who he is or just things that happened or just anything that stands our in your mind?

ROCKWELL: Well, there actually could be a million. But I remember the first time I went to the district, and there was a big reception, and the port commissioners from the local port came over to talk to me. And they said, we just love Ron Paul. We’re so glad he's our congressman, you know. He's exactly right. The budget is going crazy with runaway spending and that kind of thing. But they said, you know, we need funding to dredge the port. And we need federal funding for this, so would you please talk to him about that (laughing). Of course, he wouldn't do it. And he told the same thing to them. I mean, he just is very straight with people, I mean, if they're asking for farm subsidies or, in this case, port subsidies or any of that sort of thing that he thought was unconstitutionally and morally and economically wrong, too, he would say no. But he had such a facility, such a friendly sweet man, such a gentleman that people didn't hate him afterwards. I mean, it was quite – you know, this is an odd way to praise Ron Paul. He's an unbelievable politician. I mean, really being a politician is – I'd like to think that those skills could be used in other parts of life – but it's part of the division of labor. He loves campaigning. He loves talking to people. He loves persuading people. And he loves building coalitions and all that sort of thing. So he just was very, very good.

But I can't tell you how many times people would come to him and try to pressure him. They want some special deal, some – and of course, this was true in the House, too. They didn't really know how to deal with him.

I remember when the first Reagan budget came up, that we later found out from Manuel Johnson, who had been a high Treasury official at that time, that they had sent a balanced budget to the White House and the White House had sent it back requesting a deficit. They wanted a $100 billion deficit. Big money in those days.

WOODS: Yes. Sure.

ROCKWELL: And so there was huge pressure on the Republicans to vote for this. Unbelievable pressure. And Ron, you know, wouldn't do it. He was the only one who wouldn't. And they promised them that this would be the only time you'll ever have to vote for a budget deficit. Just vote for this budget. And that's what they said.

WOODS: And then everything will be different in the future.

(Laughter)

ROCKWELL: Yes, Reagan's going to fix it in the future. Well, of course, Reagan, Mr. Deficit, Mr. Big Government, Mr. High Spending and so forth.

But it got to the point where there was an incident during – when Newt Gingrich was speaker and he's lecturing everybody in the Republican conference and putting on what the British call a three-line whip. That is, you must vote for this particular, again, a budget. And he said, you must do it. I'm going to kill anybody in here who doesn't vote and so forth. He was very nasty. And he said, of course, except Ron Paul.

(Laughter)

WOODS: Because he knew it was just impossible.

(Laughter)

ROCKWELL: Right. He knew that it couldn't happen. So Ron, an amazing guy.

And I would say, you know, the phrase "role model" is used pretty lightly but he inspires people. And I think that's why he touches people's hearts and minds in the way he does, because not only has he got the right ideas, but he's lived the right ideas for so long, ever since he first thought of running for office when Nixon put price and wage controls and closed the gold window. So it was a great experience to work for Ron Paul.

WOODS: Well, I would have to say, in terms of role models – and you're going to hate this – but I want to just take this opportunity to thank you, not just for what you've done for mankind, which is great – you know, the Mises Institute, Mises.org, getting these ideas to so many more people than we ever thought would be able to receive them. But also I think back to, what, for me anyway, because I'm a softie and pretty, at least at that time, fairly thinned skinned, it was a very difficult time when The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History came out and I was really being hit hard by some, you know, newspapers and some bad guys and Neo-Cons – I repeat myself. And, you know, you stuck by me through the whole thing. I mean, you promoted me. There is no one who has done more to promote me and the work I've been doing than you. And I'm extremely grateful for that and I always will be. I always describe you as my greatest benefactor.

And I want to say, really, I mean, the courage that it takes to start up something like the Mises Institute, with no guarantee of success, and, indeed, with the array of forces stacked against you that were stacked against you, it's just nothing short of a miracle that you've been able to accomplish this. So on behalf of all of us who have benefited from reading LRC and benefited from the Mises Institute, I want to say thank you.

And I want to tell people that when I recently came up with a list, a short list of books that I think, if you really want to quickly, a fast-track, to get these ideas under your belt, one of the books I recommended was your book, The Left, the Right, and the State. Because you have not only been a benefactor to me, but you've also helped me think issues through much more clearly. I mean, I still clung to some statist superstitions that I didn't even realize until – but I read your blog.

And I also want to make sure people are reading your Political Theater blog*, which is linked on your main site and from your LewRockwell.com/blog. You've got to read the Political Theater blog. This is indispensible. I smile and laugh at this thing every day because of Lew's headlines for the posts (laughing). Because if you can't laugh at politics, what's it good for?

Anyway, Lew, thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on your own program.

ROCKWELL: Well, Tom, thank you. And I just want to add that you were clearly a star to all of us when you were here as an undergraduate for the first time. And I expected great things from you and so did others. And none of us have been disappointed. So it's just a thrill what you have done, all the people that you have taught, all the great books you've written, all the great books you will write, the speeches you give. I'm sure everybody's seen your YouTubes, most recently the one about the appeal to people in Iowa about Ron Paul. We always put them up on LRC.

And, Tom, it's great to have you writing for the site, for all you do for the Mises Institute, all you do for the cause of freedom. Thanks for writing the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, too, one of your great books.

(Laughter)

WOODS: Thank you, Lew.

ANNOUNCER: You've been listening to the Lew Rockwell Show, produced by LewRockwell.com, the best-read Libertarian website in the world, and thanks for listening.

*The Political Theater blog was only used during the election and is no longer functional.

Podcast date, August 2, 2011

 

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If only we could REALLY quiz Mr. Lew Rockwell!!!!! It might go something like this: 1) Mr. Rockwell, as a close friend of Ron Paul, have you ever asked him who it was that wrote the racist and anti-semetic articles that appeared in his newsletters? 2  Read more
Jim C. - 2/11/2013 at 3:22 PM GMT
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Lew Rockwell

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. is founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of Speaking of Liberty.
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If only we could REALLY quiz Mr. Lew Rockwell!!!!! It might go something like this:

1) Mr. Rockwell, as a close friend of Ron Paul, have you ever asked him who it was that wrote the racist and anti-semetic articles that appeared in his newsletters?

2) You frequently published articles by Tom DiLorenzo who routinely takes President Lincoln to task for not allowing the South to secede from the Union with its slave system. I have never read an artilce of DiLorenzo's condemning slavery itself, or the Southern Generals like Robert E. Lee who fought to maintain it. Why is that? And correct me if I am wrong. The same can be said of Ron Paul.

Did you think DiLorenzo and Paul's positions are consistent -- given their constant 'concerns' about individual freedom?

3) Over the years you have had much good to say of Murray Rothbard and his anarchist ideas. Don't you realize that secession by whim would lead to individual against individual with no objective law to mediate? How would such a 'society' not collaspe into myraid of internal civil wars?

4) Recently Doug Casey, avowed anarchist, has proposed (or is in the active stages of creating) a society of individuals based on anarchy -- based in Argentina. Given that country's history of repression and its current economic plight -- they just devalued their currency -- do you think Mr. Casey has made a rational decision?

4) Finally Mr. Rockwell, I would like to ask.....wait, where are you going??????



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