Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. (born 1 July 1944, Boston), widely known as Lew Rockwell, is an American libertarian political commentator, activist, and proponent of the Austrian School of economics.
Life and work
Rockwell is a Roman Catholic and has a degree in English from Tufts University. He served as Ron Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982. He has maintained a working relationship with Paul over the years, as a contributing editor to "The Ron Paul Investment Letter; as a consultant to Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party campaign for President of the United States; and as vice-chair of the exploratory committee for Paul's aborted run for the 1992 Republican Party nomination for president.
He is the author of Speaking of Liberty, an anthology of editorials which were originally published on his web site along with transcripts from some of his speaking engagements. Rockwell and the Ludwig von Mises Institute together publish the Journal of Libertarian Studies.
Ludwig von Mises Institute
In 1982, Rockwell founded the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama and is its president. He also is Vice President of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, California and publisher of the political weblog LewRockwell.com. Rockwell was closely associated with his teacher and colleague Murray Rothbard until Rothbard's death in 1995. Rockwell's political ideology, like Rothbard's in his later years, combines a form of anarcho-capitalism with cultural conservatism and the Austrian School of economics. He also advocates federalist concepts as a means of promoting freedom from central government, and also advocates secession for the same political decentralist reasons. Rockwell has called environmentalism "[a]n ideology as pitiless and Messianic as Marxism.
In 1985, he was named a contributing editor to Conservative Digest
. During the 1990s Rothbard, Rockwell and others described their views as paleolibertarian
, but Rockwell no longer uses the term to describe his ideas. Jean Hardisty, founder of Political Research Associates
, wrote in 1999
that Rockwell was one of the most influential proponents of the paleoconservative faction of "right-wing libertarianism.
Lew Rockwell's web site
features a selection of articles, including opposition to war and imperialism
along with occasional articles criticizing the presidency of Abraham Lincoln
. The site also carries essays which argue against the participation of the United States in the Second World War
, speculation about an end of the United States as a cohesive union and assertions the Western world is threatened by an intersection of fascism
and socialism alike as politicians and states centralize their power. These writings are sometimes controversial and have brought harsh criticism from some on the political right.
As of August 21
, his web site also provides a daily podcast on weekdays, usually consisting of interviews with scholars
affiliated the Mises Institute
Ron Paul newsletter controversy
On January 16
libertarian publication Reason
claimed "a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists—including some still close to Paul" had identified Rockwell as the "chief ghostwriter" of several controversial, anonymously written articles published in Ron Paul
newsletters from "roughly 1989 to 1994." According to Reason,
"Rockwell has denied responsibility for the newsletters' contents to The New Republic's
Jamie Kirchick." Rockwell "has characterized discussion of the newsletters as 'hysterical smears aimed at political enemies.'
- Speaking of Liberty (2003; online e-book) ISBN 0-945466-38-2
- Man, Economy, and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard (with Walter Block) (1986), (online e-book) ISBN 99911-786-2-7
- The Free Market Reader (1988), (online e-book)ISBN 0-945466-02-1
- The Economics of Liberty (1990), (online e-book) ISBN 0-945466-08-0
- The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School (1992), ISBN 0-945466-11-0
- Murray N. Rothbard: In Memoriam (1995), (online e-book) ISBN 0945466196
- The Irrepressible Rothbard (2000), (online e-book) ISBN 1-883959-02-0