Lew Rockwell

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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 78)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
SpouseMardelle Rockwell
OccupationPolitical commentator, editor, blogger, podcaster, and former Congressional staffer

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 dedicated to promoting the Austrian School of economics.

After graduating from university, Rockwell took a job at Arlington House publishers, a conservative publishing house.[2] Through this work, he encountered the works and political theories of his mentor Murray Rothbard. Reading Rothbard led Rockwell to become an ardent believer in Austrian economics and what he calls "libertarian anarchism". After his ideological transformation, Rockwell went on to work as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul from 1978 to 1982, and partnered with Rothbard in 1982 to found the Mises Institute in Alabama, where as of 2021, Rockwell still serves as chairman.[3]

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". The website is primarily home to right-libertarian authors, although left-wing anti-war writers have been featured.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Rockwell was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1944. After college, Rockwell worked at Arlington House publishers and became acquainted with the works of Ludwig von Mises.[5]

In the mid-1970s, Rockwell worked at Hillsdale College in fundraising and public relations.[5] Rockwell met Murray Rothbard in 1975 and credits Rothbard with convincing him to abandon minarchism and reject the state completely.[5]

Work for Ron Paul[edit]

Rockwell was Ron Paul's congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982[6][7] and was a consultant to Paul's 1988 Libertarian Party campaign for President of the United States.[8] He was vice-chair of the exploratory committee for Paul's run for the 1992 Republican Party nomination for president.[9]

Mises Institute[edit]

In 1982, Rockwell founded the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is chairman of the board.[10]

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.

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


In 1985, Rockwell was named a contributing editor to Conservative Digest.[11] During the 1990s, Rothbard, Rockwell and others described their views as paleolibertarian to emphasize their commitment to cultural conservatism, even as they continued to hold anti-statist beliefs.[12]

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...."[13]


Rockwell's website, LewRockwell.com, formed in 1999, features articles and blog entries by multiple columnists and writers. Its motto is "anti-war, anti-state, pro-market".[14] There also is a weekly podcast called The Lew Rockwell Show.[15] As of March 2017, it was in the top 10,000 websites in the United States.[16] LewRockwell.com publishes articles questioning United States participation in World War II, opposing "economic fascism" and supporting Austrian economics and secessionism.[17]

Brian Doherty of Reason wrote that the site's "Mises Institute-associated writers" tend to emphasize the domestic and international fallout from government action.[18] 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.[19] A writer in The American Conservative described the site as paleolibertarian and "an indispensable source" of news on Ron Paul.[20] The site has been criticized for presenting articles which advocate HIV/AIDS denialism, the view that HIV does not cause AIDS,[21] and the view that vaccines cause autism.[22]

Ron Paul newsletters[edit]

Reason magazine reported Rockwell was a founding officer and former vice president at Ron Paul & Associates[23] which was one of the publishers of a variety of political and investment-oriented newsletters bearing Paul's name.[24][25]

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."[25][26] 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".[25]

Kirchick wrote that most of the articles contained no bylines.[25] Numerous sources alleged that Rockwell had ghostwritten the controversial newsletters;[27] Rockwell is listed as "contributing editor" on physical copies of some newsletters[28][29] and listed as sole Editor of the May 1988 "Ron Paul investment Newsletter".[30] 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,[23] as did former Ron Paul Chief of Staff (1981–1985) John W. Robbins.[31]

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", but whom he did not identify, was in charge of editing and publishing the newsletters.[32] 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.[27] 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".[33]

Other activities and views[edit]

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

Rockwell was closely associated with anarcho-capitalist theorist Murray Rothbard until Rothbard's death in 1995. 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."[34][non-primary source needed]

Rockwell also serves as Vice President of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, California.



  • 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.
  2. ^ Rockwell, L. H., Jr. (2006, August 5). Libertarianism and the Old Right.
  3. ^ "Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr". mises.org. Mises Institute. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  4. ^ "LewRockwell.com". LewRockwell. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  5. ^ a b c Doherty, Brian. "Libertarianism and the Old Right", Mises.org. 1999. Orig. published by SpintechMag.org. May 12, 1999.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Hayes, Christopher, The Nation, Ron Paul's Roots, December 6, 2007, retrieved January 14, 2008
  8. ^ "Campaign staffs announced", LPNEWS, May/June 1987, 10
  9. ^ Burton Blumert, "Ron Paul for President Exploratory Committee" fundraising letter, October 1, 1991.
  10. ^ About the Mises Institute page at Ludwig von Mises Institute website.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. "The Case for Paleo-libertarianism" in Liberty magazine, January 1990, 34–38.
  13. ^ Kenny Johnsson, Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, interview with Lew Rockwell, May 25, 2007.
  14. ^ About LewRockwell.com; Columnists listing; The LRC Blog at LewRockwell.com website.
  15. ^ Lew Rockwell Show.
  16. ^ Alexa analyctics for LewRockwell.com, accessed May 5, 2013.
  17. ^ For example: Rogers, Mike. "Dying For the Emperor? No Way." LewRockwell.com. October 12, 2005; Gonella, Jason. "The Decline and Fall of the United States Empire." LewRockwell.com. December 9, 2004; DiLorenzo, Thomas J. "Economic Fascism" LewRockwell.com. November 23, 2004.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Antle III, W. James (January 14, 2008). "The Paleocon Dilemma… The Ron Paul campaign illustrates the choices facing the antiwar Right". The American Conservative. [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'.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Gorski, David (June 22, 2009). "Cranks, quacks, and peer-review." 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)
  23. ^ a b "Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?". Reason.com. January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  24. ^ 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).
  25. ^ a b c d Kirchick, James (January 8, 2008). "Angry White Man: The Bigoted Past of Ron Paul". The New Republic. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  26. ^ "TNR Exclusive: A Collection of Ron Paul's Most Incendiary Newsletters". The New Republic. December 23, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  27. ^ a b Jim Rutenberg and Serge F. Kovaleski, Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support, The New York Times, December 25, 2011.
  28. ^ Hicks, Josh (December 27, 2011). "Ron Paul and the racist newsletters (Fact Checker biography)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  29. ^ "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)
  30. ^ "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)
  31. ^ Thomas, Will (January 18, 2008). "Likely Author of Shocking Ron Paul Letters Exposed". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  32. ^ Kirchick, James. "Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?". New Republic. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  33. ^ Jackie Kucinich, Paul's story changes on racial comments, USA TODAY, December 21, 2011.
  34. ^ 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, May 1, 2000 version published by Lewrockwell.com

External links[edit]