National Review / Digital
Courting the Cranks
Murray Rothbard is still hurting the Right

(Roman Genn)


Rothbard and his faction fully embrace the first form of revisionism and are culpably indulgent of the the second, which specifically denies that the Holocaust actually happened or holds that it was in some way exaggerated. It is this that explains the association of Rothbard, a secular Jew, with the likes of James J. Martin, the libertarian revisionist and publisher who ended his career with a stint on the editorial board of the Institute for Historical Review, as slimy a bunch of anti-Semites as you will find outside of a United Nations conference. It is very much the same impulse that today allows the Ron Paul movement to make common cause with the conspiracy theorists of the John Birch Society: Sure, they’re a bunch of space cadets, but they’re great on monetary policy.

The main vector of contagion transmitting Rothbardism to the Ron Paul movement is Lew Rockwell, formerly Ron Paul’s congressional chief of staff and believed by many libertarians to be the author of the controversial passages in the Ron Paul newsletters. (Rockwell denies this.) Rockwell has had a long career on the right. He worked at  Hillsdale College and is the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and he has probably done more than any other figure to keep alive Rothbard’s dream of a grand far-right/far-left alliance, with the David Duke populists and the John Birch Society and the Fed obsessives joining up with the Vietnam-vintage anti-war Left. As the current state of American libertarianism suggests, Rockwell is every inch as defective a political strategist as Rothbard, but without his mentor’s energy or scholarly flair. What Rockwell lacks in intellect, he makes up for in savagery. Like Rothbard, he is happy to associate with the worst sort of cranks, among them the late Joseph Sobran, who spent the end of his career hobnobbing with the aforementioned slimy anti-Semites of the Institute for Historical Review. After WFB fired Sobran from National Review because of his Jewish obsessions, Rockwell provided him with an outlet. Sobran’s later output was characterized by such gems as this: “History is replete with the lesson that a country in which the Jews get the upper hand is in danger.” Don’t tell it to the people of the American West: One of the zanier proposals floated by Rockwell’s website is to achieve peace in the Middle East by establishing a “New Israel” straddling the Nevada–Utah border and relocating Israelis there, a kind of Navajo reservation for Jews (perhaps with a casino?), a Zionist entity near Zion National Park.

January 23, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 1

Books, Arts & Manners
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .