Mr. Rockwell is a very gracious and well-spoken person. He delivered a prepared speech that will be posted online by the Ludwig von Mises Institute at some point. Our bottom line up front: the hard-core Libertarians are a one-trick-pony with an obsessive focus on one thing and one thing only: all against the State. Sadly, despite a great deal of hand waving about Austrian economists, there is not much in the way of economic reflection visible, and the gentlemen was specifically unable to address a question about a natural alliance between the Libertarians armed with scarcity-centered Austrian economics, and the Greens, armed with Ecological Economics, Natural Capitalism, and “true cost” accounting; nor was he able to engage with a subsequent question on a natural alliance with those interested in Evolutionary Living.
Mr. Rockwell, who served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Ron Paul and is now Chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute at a time when it is experiencing extraordinary growth and drawing a great deal of attention, sought to do several things with his planned remarks:
1. All against the State. See his book, The Left, the Right, and the State, in which he quite properly proclaims them both to be enemies of the public interest and unfit to govern.
2. Moral courage matters, and speaking truth to the public and to power is the non-negotiable OTHER qualification for being a good economist, the first being technical competence. He is totally consistent with Murray Rockbard’s and other philosopher’s who advocate and exemplify “the truth at any cost.”
3. Those who stick to their principles are ultimately immortalized when their ideas take root, as opposed to those who chase ephemeral and temporal gratification. We learned that Ludwig van Mises’s book, Human Action, took six years to write in German, was completely lost to Nazi looting, and then another nine years to write in English. It is well-presented at Amazon, were we to recommend one book for a student of economics, this would be the one; and for the student of philosophy, we would recommend two: Enemy of the State, and Philosophy and the Social Problem.
We departed at this point. The event was *very* well attended, with close to 100 people crowded into a room intended for 60. With more advance planning and a more interactive form that is able to address the politics of populism and the possibility of convergence among Independents, Greens, Reforms, and Libertarians, this speaker, perhaps augmented by Michael Ostrolenk and a Herman Daly himself, could easily enthrall and satisfy hundreds if not thousands.
ECONOMIC LIBERTY LECTURE SERIES
DATE: September 9, 2009 – Wednesday
PLACE: GMU Student Union Building 2, Rm. 5
SPEAKER: Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. is chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and author of The Left, the Right, and the State.