Scott Horton Interviews Lew Rockwell

Scott Horton, November 04, 2008

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Lew Rockwell, president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and proprietor of LewRockwell.com, discusses how voting propagates the myth of a representative participatory democracy, the virtue of not voting, the continuation of election fraud from ballot stuffing to computerized tampering, voting as sacrament to the state religion, why imposing higher thresholds of voting eligibility would be an improvement and how Ron Paul’s prescience about the economy and his widely heard public criticism of the Federal Reserve has more than compensated for the blame free markets, and by extension libertarianism, are getting for the financial crisis.

MP3 here. (37:19)

Lew Rockwell is the founder and President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, Vice President of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, California, and publisher of the political Web site LewRockwell.com. He served as Ron Paul’s congressional chief of staff between 1978 and 1982. Check out his new podcast show here.

12 Responses to “Lew Rockwell”

  1. Scott, You should find a reason to interview Fred Reed, one of LRC’s longtime contributors.

  2. How about a Chomsky interview? I wanna see you guy debate the merits of ‘libertarianism’.

  3. How about William Lind or Scott Ritter? I wonder if anyone has attempted to interview Admiral Fallon? It’s doubtful he’d agree to an interview, but you never know.

    Or how about that whistle-blowing couple? The guy worked in the State Dept, and his wife was in the NSA, or something like that. Their last name escapes me.

  4. Reed. Good Idea.

    Chomsky. Is always “too busy” – from now until forever I guess.

    Lind is hard to get a hold of lately.

    Ritter is overdue for a followup.

    The couple is Flynt Leverette and Hillary Mann. Never called me back…

    Please keep good suggestions coming…

  5. If President Obama means what he says, it´s a Declaration of War, “Iran should be barred from importing gasoline”. That´s sheer madness ! There´s ZERO evidence Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

  6. Man, Lew Rockwell is one of the most arrogant sounding people I’ve heard. I have listened to his interviews here a few time, and very rarely can I stomach the entire interview. I thought from the by-line that he was going to talk more about election integrity, my bad.
    Lew undermines the idea that voting is of any importance, claiming that it’s a false god religon. I find it interesting he can so easily diss voting but will have the same kind of religious fervor about the sainted free market. I can be just a cynical about his idealistic market system as he is about voting. Get real Lew, both are flawed, highly corrupted and criminally driven. Neither is beetter, but both are at the heart of our flawed society. We do not have a real democracy nor do we have a real market system. We have a watered down version of both (pallatable to the plutocrats and imperialists)
    Like the market system the voting system, it is inherantly flawed because it is run by human beings, but that should be no reason to give up and not try to make either of them better. If you give up and are apathetic you are turning over all power to the corrupted people in the two major parties. To me the two major parties have not had a good idea since the progressives of the previous turn of the century. We need a multi-party system.
    Scott, you obviously admire Lew very much. I have a question for you. If voting is so obsolete and useless then in future interviews you should not note any of your guest’s elected office since they are useless titles? They didn’t really earn the title so they shouldn’t be recognized (including Ron Paul). Recognize their books and organizations they represent but since you don’t think their title was earned don’t recognize them.

  7. HA! You want to talk idealism? Go to Hegel and Marx. Austrian economic theory CAN and HAS been validated empirically (with sufficient reason, to get nit-picky), whereas socialism is de facto psuedo-science buncombe precisely because it cannot be falsified! “Stalin didn’t do it right, if only . . .” —ad infinitum, there are more sane options than to continue putting more force into a entropic system.

    2. Multiparty States (where State=referee)
    Multiparty systems lead to impotent coalitions, and lobbying groups have even greater power in such environments. Example: Germans then and now. They’re caught by the balls with ex-communists, neo-Marxists and reform socialists of all stripes.

    3. Voting -an imposed institution in violation of contract, property and ethics.
    VOTING IS NOT A PRODUCT OF ‘FREE’ MARKET RELATIONS!!! It is a State institution, an ideology: 1 man, one vote = Good for all. We do not have to hold a plebiscite if A is being robbed by B, A is within his rights to maintain his sovereignty and life by enforcing his rights be it through immediate retaliation or a mediating body, be it legislative or insurance related. Voting allows relations involving 3 or more peoples which are expropriative on no other principle than “might makes right” 2>1. —Or as Ben. Franklin put it, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to eat for supper.” What then, perchance, is more anti-Christian than democracy?

    4. Egalitarianism—or, Why Marx wrote his mail-order thesis on Democritus.
    There is no real democracy short of a race of clones/zombies; I don’t know how effective you regard public schooling to be in this respect, but reduced to biology, the problem of ‘true-democracy’ is not solved until everyone is identical, i.e. ‘exactly equal’. Even then, psychologically not everyone can have the exact same experience as any other, and differences arise nonetheless. The point is, the drive governing this impulse in democracy is Envy: to which I direct your attention to Helmut Schoeck’s treatise on the matter.

  8. skripkejr:
    Free market idealism works under the principle that people in the system will work for the benefit of themselves and because all things are equal under market conditions, the most efficient and productive will win out. It might work out empirically, but it’s not very practical.

    Our recent market problems were partly governmental and partly marketplace in origin. The problem stemmed from individuals trying to privatize profit and socialize risk. Socializing the risk came in two forms, one the bundling of loans of high risk with low risk and then selling them all as low risk securities. I believe this tactic would have occurred regardless of governmental involvement (giving investors the false sense of security of backing the loans with governmental funds). People in the investment system were doing unethical practices and the whole market suffered because many made bad investments based on incomplete information.

    The marketplace is idealistic because people work for their own self interest. If an individual or group of individuals had enough monetary or political clout (or even by force of intimidation) will game the system for their benefit (like the current problems where some gamed the system with loan bundling). The market then would not be efficient because someone has bought off others or is controlling/manipulating it. The flawed governmental systems then try to even the playing field by imposing rules or regulations but end up tilting the market place to someone else. Free market idealism only works if we are all clones/zombies.

    I think of the bootleggers of Prohibition as the ultimate in Libertarian Free-Marketers. They worked outside of the law, so they had no illusions of having to adhere to any societal norms. The price was set for their product based on demand, but also on whether a supplier could get his product through to market without being killed. You may find this romantic and ideal but it seems a very difficult way to try to do business and maintain some sense of calm in society.

    Our education system is an attempt (not perfect) to try to level the playing field again. Instead of giving education only to those who can afford it and leaving the masses as illiterate serfs (see Tzarist Russia), our system tries to give everyone a standard amount of knowledge. Because this is a form of socialism many fund it ineffectively so that it only balances things so much. Our current president is an example of how the educational socialism doesn’t balance things out because a mental midget with the right money and family connections can off-set many more intellectually deserving individuals.

    You seem to be very anti-socialism/communism. I wonder if you realize that to take your point of view to its extreme you would have to say that any or all religions or constitutions where there is some kind of agreement between a group of people on a set of behaviors that is acceptable is a form of socialism or communism. Lew seems to lean toward this extremism where anarchism is glorified. I share most of the criticism of our governmental system that are proported on Anti-War.com. I look at the criticisms as a starting point of where we should fix or improve the societal systems. We may make it worse, but the alternative that you seem to support of throwing out all of our laws and norms seems worse to me. I do question libertarianism when they go to the point of wanting to ban all government. Without an agreed upon set of rules of behavior (in laws/justice, the marketplace, etiquette) there would be no norms for anything. We would all act like self serving fiends that would care nothing for the survival of anyone else but himself (e.g. Al Capone). That survival attitude exists but is tempered some by the socialistic norms of religion and government. Yes religions and governments overstep their bounds, but that’s because we are not clones/zombies.

    Again our flawed governmental system tries to give individuals a chance to have some say in the collective system that is set up by giving us a vote in who will be making decisions on our behalf. Like the free market individuals and groups (parties) game the system to favor themselves. As a result of our current system Libertarian ideals, as well as green party, constitutional party, or other independent thoughts are stifled. It’s easy to blame the government for everything, but it’s an accumulated (over centuries) pile of attempts to make the systems better. Religions caused as many problems as they cured, governments also cure and cause problems for the individual. Since humans are imperfect their systems are going to be imperfect. Do we try to make the systems better or do we insist that we should shed all of them and become bootleggers and pirates.

  9. “We would all act like self serving fiends that would care nothing for the survival of anyone else but himself (e.g. Al Capone).”

    Thank you for your posts, Alex. But you need to bring it down to reality. You pound your words on and on but don’t connect it to every day living.

    Caring for the “survival” of others is key to staying in business. We don’t need government to care for others “survival”. It is the focus on and understanding of the needs of the customer, our fellow human being, that spells the “self serving” and “fiendish” success of the individual.

    If the individual truly wants to walk down that road of exploiting others as a “self serving fiend”, what better way than to enlist government in a “moral play” for “special protection”? That is how the current game is played and it has nothing to do with Liberty.

    You know what Lew wants? I’ve never heard him say it. But I can tell you what he wants. He wants to hear someone yell out, “Ship sailing for America”. I’ve always loved those words. If only there were an America to sail to. I’d be on that ship. Would you?

  10. [...] Nero vs Caligula Lew Rockwell interviewed by Scott Horton [...]

  11. xearther:
    I am trying to point out reality.
    My point that I am trying to make is that it is an unfortunate part of human nature to be fiendish or self serving. The ugliness can rear its head in a government or a corporation. Neither is automatically immune from human frailties because there’s a bottom line, or a voter’s check on their job. People have a way of avoiding responsibility even if it means cheating/lying or stealing. The market might act more quickly, but not more decently.
    Religion has also been a socially accepted check on human shortcomings, like government and markets. All have their good points and bad points, because they all are guided by human beings trying to do the best they know how. They fall short because humans are involved. Neither the markets, religion nor government have all the answers. Putting too much stock in any one of them will leave you open to predation from the fiends within each system.
    Businesses care about their customers but when it comes down to survival the business will sacrifice others to stay alive (as we are seeing in spades in the current economic struggles). Government workers/beaurocrats and priests will often do the same, because we’re human.
    America’s saving grace in the past was that it had less of a past (ugly baggage of religious or political revolutions and in-fighting). We still have some semblance of a positive reputation but we are becoming like older countries, because our systems are devolving into petty arguments over who’s right instead of what can be done to improve ourselves.
    I am not saying markets do not provide certain important truths and checks on our society, I am saying it has its problems too. Once we get past which philosophy is more correct, and try to find ways to utilize all parts of our society the better our systems will be.

  12. [...] certainly have. Rep. Ron Paul, Noam Chomsky, John Cusack, Juan Cole, Frida Berrigan, Chris Floyd, Lew Rockwell, Patrick Cockburn, Andrew Bacevich, Russell Means, Scott Ritter, Philip Weiss, Lawrence Wilkerson, [...]

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