Lew Rockwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lew Rockwell
Rockwell in 2007
Chairman of the Mises Institute
Assumed office
October 1982
Personal details
Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell Jr.

(1944-07-01) July 1, 1944 (age 79)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
SpouseMardelle Rockwell
EducationTufts University (BA)

Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell Jr. (born July 1, 1944) is an American author, editor, and political consultant. A libertarian and a self-professed anarcho-capitalist,[1] he founded and is the chairman of the Mises Institute, a non-profit promoting the Austrian School of economics.

After graduating from university, Rockwell had jobs at the conservative Arlington House Publishers, the radical-right John Birch Society, and the traditionalist Hillsdale College.[2][3] Reading the works of Murray Rothbard, who became his mentor, led Rockwell to become an ardent believer in Austrian economics and what he calls "libertarian anarchism". Rockwell was chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul from 1978 to 1982, and was a founding officer and former vice president at Ron Paul & Associates, which published political and investment-oriented newsletters bearing Paul's name.[4][5] Racist and homophobic content in those newsletters became a controversy in Paul's later campaigns; Rockwell denied ghostwriting it but acknowledged a role in the promotion.[6][7] Rockwell partnered with Rothbard in 1982 to found the Mises Institute in Alabama, where as of 2024, Rockwell still serves as chairman.[8]

Rockwell's website, LewRockwell.com, was launched in 1999. The website features articles about political philosophy, economics, and contemporary politics. The website's motto is "anti-war, anti-state, pro-market". Rockwell, his website and the Mises Institute have promoted neo-Confederate views.[9][3][10][11]

Life and career[edit]

Rockwell was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1944. After college,[specify] Rockwell worked at Arlington House publishers[when?] and became acquainted with the works of Ludwig von Mises.[12]

A former lifetime member of the radical-right John Birch Society, Rockwell worked in its Member's Monthly Message Department before resigning amid disputes with the society's leaders.[when?][3] In the mid-1970s, Rockwell worked at the traditionalist Hillsdale College in fundraising and public relations.[12][2]

Rockwell met the anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard in 1975 and credits Rothbard with convincing him to abandon minarchism and reject the state completely.[13][12] In 1985, Rockwell was named a contributing editor to Conservative Digest.[14] Rockwell also served as Vice President of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, California,[when?] which published the Rothbard-Rockwell Report.[15] Rockwell was closely associated with Rothbard until Rothbard's death in 1995.

Work for Ron Paul (1978–)[edit]

Rockwell was Ron Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982[16][17] and was a consultant to Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party campaign for President of the United States.[18] He was vice-chair of the exploratory committee for Paul's run for the 1992 Republican Party nomination for president.[19]

Ron Paul newsletters[edit]

Rockwell was a founding officer and former vice president at Ron Paul & Associates,[20] which was one of the publishers of a variety of political and investment-oriented newsletters bearing Paul's name.[4][5]

In January 2008, during Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign, James Kirchick of The New Republic uncovered a collection of Ron Paul newsletters that contained "decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays."[5][21] For instance, one issue approved of the slogan "Sodomy = Death" and said homosexuals suffering from HIV/AIDS "enjoy the pity and attention that comes with being sick".[5]

Most of the articles contained no bylines.[5] Numerous sources alleged that Rockwell had ghostwritten the controversial newsletters;[22] Rockwell is listed as "contributing editor" on physical copies of some newsletters[23][24] and listed as sole Editor of the May 1988 "Ron Paul investment Newsletter".[25] Reason magazine reported that "a half-dozen longtime libertarian activists – including some still close to Paul" had identified Rockwell as the "chief ghostwriter" of the newsletters,[20] as did former Ron Paul Chief of Staff (1981–1985) John W. Robbins.[26]

Rockwell admitted to Kirchick that he was "involved in the promotion" of the newsletters and wrote the subscription letters but denied ghostwriting the articles. He said there were "seven or eight freelancers involved at various stages" of the newsletter's history and indicated another individual who had "left in unfortunate circumstances" and "is now long gone", but whom he did not identify, was in charge of editing and publishing the newsletters.[6] Rockwell has described discussion of the newsletters scandal as "hysterical smears aimed at political enemies."[27] Ron Paul himself repudiated the newsletters' content and said he was not involved in the daily operations of the newsletters or saw much of their content until years later.[22] In 2011, Paul's spokesperson Jesse Benton said that Paul had "taken moral responsibility because they appeared under his name and slipped through under his watch".[28]

Mises Institute (1982–)[edit]

In 1982, Rockwell founded the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is chairman of the board.[29]

The Mises Institute published Rockwell's Speaking of Liberty, an anthology of editorials which were originally published on his website, along with transcripts from some of his speaking engagements. The institute hosted conferences on secession;[9] Rockwell wrote before a 1995 conference, "We'll explore what causes [secession] and how to promote it."[5]

Burton Blumert, Rockwell, economist and philosopher David Gordon, and Murray Rothbard.

Paleolibertarianism (1980s–2000s)[edit]

Rothbard, Rockwell and others described their views as paleolibertarian to describe their cultural conservatism fused with their otherwise anti-statist beliefs.[13][30] They forged a "paleo alliance" between paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives in the form of the John Randolph Club in 1989, which allied the Mises Institute and the paleoconservative Rockford Institute.[13][31]

In a 2007 interview, Rockwell revealed he no longer considered himself a "paleolibertarian" and was "happy with the term libertarian." He explained "the term paleolibertarian became confused because of its association with paleoconservative, so it came to mean some sort of socially conservative libertarian, which wasn't the point at all...."[32]

LewRockwell.com (1999–)[edit]

Rockwell's website, LewRockwell.com, formed in 1999, features articles and blog entries by various columnists and writers.[13] Its motto is "anti-war, anti-state, pro-market".[33] There also is a weekly podcast called The Lew Rockwell Show.[34] As of March 2017, it was in the top 10,000 websites in the United States.[35] LewRockwell.com publishes articles questioning United States participation in World War II, opposing "economic fascism" and supporting Austrian economics and secessionism.[36][third-party source needed] The website is primarily home to right-libertarian authors, although left-wing anti-war writers have been featured.[37][third-party source needed] The academic Tanni Haas wrote in his 2011 book on political bloggers that of the 20 figures he interviewed, "none have more radical views" than Rockwell, whose avowed goal was to "do everything he can to undermine the state".[38]

Brian Doherty of Reason wrote that the site's "Mises Institute-associated writers" tend to emphasize the domestic and international fallout from government action.[39] Conservative writer Jonah Goldberg of National Review wrote that the site regularly hosts invective against icons of American mainstream conservatism, including National Review, The Weekly Standard, neoconservatives, and William F. Buckley Jr.[40] A writer in The American Conservative described the site as paleolibertarian and "an indispensable source" of news on Ron Paul.[41] The site published InfoWars articles by the conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson from 2011 to 2016.[42] The site has been criticized for presenting articles which advocate HIV/AIDS denialism, the view that HIV does not cause AIDS,[43] and the view that vaccines cause autism.[44]

Other activities and views[edit]

Lew Rockwell speaking at an event hosted by the Mises Institute.

Rockwell's paleolibertarian ideology, like Rothbard's in his later years, combines a right-libertarian theory of anarcho-capitalism based on natural rights with the cultural conservative values and concerns of paleoconservatism, and he identifies strongly with the modern Rothbardian tradition of Austrian economics. In politics, he advocates federalist or Anti-Federalist policies as means to achieve increasing degrees of freedom from central government and secession for the same political decentralist reasons. Rockwell has called environmentalism "an ideology as pitiless and Messianic as Marxism."[45][non-primary source needed]

Rockwell is Catholic.[46][self-published source?]



  • Speaking of Liberty (2003; online e-book) ISBN 0-945466-38-2
  • The Left, The Right, and The State (2008; online e-book) ISBN 978-1-933550-20-6
  • Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto (2014) ISBN 0990463109
  • Fascism vs. Capitalism (2013) ISBN 1494399806
  • Against The Left: A Rothbardian Libertarianism (2019) ISBN 978-0-9904631-5-3


Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". LewRockwell.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  2. ^ a b Doherty, Brian (2009). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. United States: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9780786731886.
  3. ^ a b c Dallek, Matthew (2023). Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right. United States: Basic Books.
  4. ^ a b The newsletters had various names: Dr. Ron Paul's Freedom Report (OCLC 38365640, 15124395), The Ron Paul Survival Report (OCLC 27301727), the Ron Paul Investment Letter (OCLC 27301651), and the Ron Paul Political Report (OCLC 31695178).
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kirchick, James (January 8, 2008). "Angry White Man: The Bigoted Past of Ron Paul". The New Republic. Archived from the original on December 29, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Kirchick, James (10 January 2008). "Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?". New Republic. Archived from the original on 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  7. ^ Markon, Jerry; Crites, Alice (January 27, 2012). "Ron Paul signed off on racist 1990s newsletters, associates say". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on May 2, 2023.
  8. ^ "Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr". mises.org. Mises Institute. 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 20 November 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  9. ^ a b Sebesta, Edward H.; Hague, Euan; Beirich, Heidi, eds. (2009). Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction. United States: University of Texas Press. pp. 33–34.
  10. ^ Weiner, Rachel (July 10, 2013). "The libertarian war over the Civil War". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "The Neo-Confederates". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2000. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Doherty, Brian. "Libertarianism and the Old Right" Archived 2014-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Mises.org. 1999. Orig. published by SpintechMag.org. May 12, 1999.
  13. ^ a b c d Hawley, George (2016). Right-wing critics of American conservatism. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. pp. 164–171. ISBN 978-0-7006-2193-4. OCLC 925410917.
  14. ^ Berlet, Chip. The Write Stuff: U. S. Serial Print Culture from Conservatives out to Neonazis, Library Trends – Volume 56, Number 3, Winter 2008, pp. 570–600.
  15. ^ Weisberg, J. (1991). "Hunter Gatherers". New Republic. Vol. 205, n. 10. pp. 14–16.
  16. ^ Berlau, John. Now playing right field – Rep. Ron Paul – Interview Archived May 27, 2005, at the Wayback Machine Insight on the News. February 10, 1997.
  17. ^ Hayes, Christopher, The Nation, Ron Paul's Roots Archived 2010-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, December 6, 2007, retrieved January 14, 2008
  18. ^ "Campaign staffs announced", LPNEWS Archived 2021-04-28 at the Wayback Machine, May/June 1987, 10
  19. ^ Burton Blumert, "Ron Paul for President Exploratory Committee" fundraising letter, October 1, 1991.
  20. ^ a b "Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?". Reason.com. January 16, 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  21. ^ "TNR Exclusive: A Collection of Ron Paul's Most Incendiary Newsletters". The New Republic. December 23, 2011. Archived from the original on 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  22. ^ a b Jim Rutenberg and Serge F. Kovaleski, Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support Archived 2020-10-08 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, December 25, 2011.
  23. ^ Hicks, Josh (December 27, 2011). "Ron Paul and the racist newsletters (Fact Checker biography)". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  24. ^ "Masthead of a 1987 Ron Paul Investment Letter" (PDF). Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "May 1988 "Ron Paul investment Newsletter"" (PDF). Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  26. ^ Thomas, Will (January 18, 2008). "Likely Author of Shocking Ron Paul Letters Exposed". Huffingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  27. ^ Rockwell, Llewellyn (January 8, 2008). "The New 'Republic'". LewRockwell.com. Archived from the original on August 12, 2023. Retrieved August 12, 2023.
  28. ^ Jackie Kucinich, Paul's story changes on racial comments Archived 2020-08-25 at the Wayback Machine, USA TODAY, December 21, 2011.
  29. ^ About the Mises Institute page Archived 2012-02-02 at the Wayback Machine at Ludwig von Mises Institute Archived 2009-03-19 at the Wayback Machine website.
  30. ^ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. "The Case for Paleo-libertarianism" in Liberty magazine, January 1990, 34–38.
  31. ^ Olsen, Niklas; Slobodian, Quinn (April 2022). "Locating Ludwig von Mises: Introduction". Journal of the History of Ideas. 83 (2): 257–267. doi:10.1353/jhi.2022.0012. ISSN 1086-3222. PMID 35603613. S2CID 248987154. Archived from the original on 2022-05-31. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  32. ^ Kenny Johnsson, Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian? Archived 2019-08-04 at the Wayback Machine, interview with Lew Rockwell, May 25, 2007.
  33. ^ About LewRockwell.com Archived 2022-05-15 at the Wayback Machine; Columnists Archived 2022-03-14 at the Wayback Machine listing; The LRC Blog Archived 2014-03-13 at the Wayback Machine at LewRockwell.com website.
  34. ^ Lew Rockwell Show Archived 2022-05-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Alexa analyctics for LewRockwell.com Archived 2022-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 5, 2013.
  36. ^ For example: Rogers, Mike. "Dying For the Emperor? No Way." Archived 2022-03-14 at the Wayback Machine LewRockwell.com. October 12, 2005; Gonella, Jason. "The Decline and Fall of the United States Empire." Archived 2022-03-24 at the Wayback Machine LewRockwell.com. December 9, 2004; DiLorenzo, Thomas J. "Economic Fascism" LewRockwell.com. November 23, 2004.
  37. ^ "LewRockwell.com". LewRockwell. Archived from the original on 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  38. ^ Haas, Tanni (2011-11-08). Making it in the Political Blogosphere. The Lutterworth Press. p. 92. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1cg4jqm. ISBN 978-0-7188-4015-0.
  39. ^ Doherty, Brian (February 16, 2009). "Libertarianism in an Age of Economic Crisis: Why being truculent, oppositional, and hard to pigeonhole are not signs of ideological death". Reason. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  40. ^ Goldberg, Jonah (March 7, 2001). "Farewell, Lew Rockwell. The final word". National Review. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. The site also features regular screeds about how Abraham Lincoln was a murderous war criminal, how the American military is a hotbed of criminal imperialism and murderous warmongering, and why Southern secession not only was honorable and noble but how it still is a viable option. In this article, Goldberg was responding to criticisms of another article he had written about the website.
  41. ^ Antle III, W. James (January 14, 2008). "The Paleocon Dilemma… The Ron Paul campaign illustrates the choices facing the antiwar Right". The American Conservative. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 30, 2017. [A] decade ago...Rockwell hoped to mobilize grassroots conservatives on behalf of anti-statism, during the Bush era he has detected a whiff of 'red-state fascism' among the Republican base. Other [LRC] writers prefer terms like 'neoconofascist'.
  42. ^ Finlayson, Alan (February 2022). "YouTube and Political Ideologies: Technology, Populism and Rhetorical Form". Political Studies. 70 (1): 62–80. doi:10.1177/0032321720934630. ISSN 0032-3217. S2CID 225642501.
  43. ^ Kalichman, Seth; Nattrass, Nicoli (2008). Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy. New York, London: Springer. pp. 49–53, 142, 182, 191. ISBN 978-0-387-79475-4. OCLC 390487079.
  44. ^ Gorski, David (June 22, 2009). "Cranks, quacks, and peer-review." Archived 2022-04-08 at the Wayback Machine Science-based medicine. Author is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Surgery) at Wayne State University (holding an M.D. and Ph.D. in Cellular Biology from Case Western University)
  45. ^ Rockwell, L. H., Jr. (1990). "An anti-environmentalist manifesto." From The Right, Quarterly II, 1(6), 1. (newsletter of Patrick J. Buchanan), p. 1; Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Rockwell's Anti-Environmentalist Manifesto Archived 2022-05-15 at the Wayback Machine, May 1, 2000 version published by Lewrockwell.com
  46. ^ Matthews, Steve (January 7, 2018). "Anti-Protestant: Lew Rockwell's Ongoing Attack on the Reformation". Lux Lucet. Archived from the original on October 9, 2023. Retrieved September 24, 2023.

External links[edit]