I wish I had Lew Rockwell’s patience:
I was invited to speak at a peace march and rally in Birmingham, Alabama, sponsored by the Alabama Peace and Justice Coalition, and gladly accepted the offer to speak against the war in Iraq.
Yes, as you might guess, the program was dominated by leftists who rightly oppose the war but want big government to run the economy. I accepted for the same reason I would accept an engagement to speak against taxes even if sponsored by a right-wing group that also favored the war and militarism.
I’m not sure how well I could handle doing either one. He goes on:
Those who want free markets domestically typically want central planning and socialism when it comes to war and peace, while those who see the merit of diplomacy and minding one’s own business in foreign policy can’t reconcile themselves to capitalism as the only economic system that lets people alone to live happy, prosperous lives.
After the Cold War, Lew Rockwell (and Murray Rothbard) showed a willingness to “cozy up to the Right” that still makes me uncomfortable. I find it difficult to go back and read some of their stuff from the early- and mid-1990s. I’m a lot more tolerant toward social conservatism than I used to be, but I’m definitely a paleoliberal (by the way, here is how the word is pronounced) not a paleoconservative, nor even a paleolibertarian — even though all 3 share a rejection of both the welfare state and the warfare state. Some questions are really just about nuance, reflex, and aesthetic, and some questions go beyond the legitimacy of coercive government.
But here we are, a decade later, and Lew Rockwell seems to have no problem forming strategic alliances with the enemies of prosperity and freedom, so long as they fight the evils of the warfare state. I see the power in that, but I don’t think I’d have the decency to contemplate diplomacy:
There are two potential failings in such a venue: kowtowing to the audience or, the opposite error, ungraciously rubbing their noses in their inconsistencies.
Yeah, see? I’d definitely have wanted to do me some serious nose-rubbing.
Lew Rockwell is a better man than I am. He found the perfect wedge:
By what ethical standard should we judge the state?