Lew Rockwell: Pacifist?

If you haven’t yet perused Serious Self-Defense,” do so before reading this article. It provides background on the issue of political dissidents using violence in order to secure their Liberties.



During a broadcast primarily discussing why voting does not work, Steve Floyd abruptly postulated:

“I get an awful lot of calls from people who get very angry that we talk about not voting because they feel as if they’ve been forced into this false choice where either they go out and vote or they take up arms and start killing people. I’m trying to tell them ‘No, you don’t have to kill anybody; in fact we advise you not to do any violence to anyone, anywhere, that’s not part of our makeup here, that’s not what we’re advocating.’ Who is advocating it? Where is that idea coming from, that somehow we have to take up arms in order to make a change?”


Lew Rockwell replied:

“I think that comes from Obama and Romney, doesn’t it? I mean, aren’t they the ones always advocating war to make a change? Aren’t they the ones who take up arms against anybody who…you know, this is the bunch that claims the right to kill you if you sufficiently resist paying your library fine. They’re the violent ones! So, yes, there are private criminals, but they’re nothing like the public criminals; so, absolutely, that’s the government’s mode of operation – killing people – that’s not our mode of operation. Governments got most of the guns, they’ve got the atom bombs, and so forth. Our battlefield is ideas, but voting is a very important idea. Don’t get roped into the nonsense that somehow voting one crook versus another crook is going to improve your life. Tell me when that’s happened.” – The Lew Rockwell Show #319


Where the hell does Rockwell get off insinuating that anyone who understands the nature of reality by preparing for violence is somehow a government agent or provocateur?! As an Austrian economist, he and the other scholars over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute have done some good work teaching political dissidents how the free market actually works; however, that does not mean he is either qualified or experienced enough to appreciate the field of politics, that is, the study and practice of coercive power. If he claims to understand history as much as he claims to, he is also knowledgeable enough to know that nothing fundamentally changes without violence. As Emma Goldman once quipped, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” My own version would be, “If verbally bludgeoning everyone ever changed anything, it would be illegal.”


I’ve raised the alarm about this kind of behavior before. When I described what controlled opposition was, I warned:

“It is certainly not a stretch to assume that in the relatively near future, some controlled opposition will blame the actual Patriot guerrillas (who would be engaging enemy forces in active operations on the streets) as “false flag” patsies. If you don’t believe me, just look at the rhetoric being spewed now from the Patriot Rockstars about how anyone who even “advocates for violence” is automatically to be considered by the rank and file as agent provocateurs. I think this proves the willingness of such figureheads to sell out the real good guys to the Establishment later on down the road.”


I am not accusing Lew Rockwell of being controlled opposition; what I am pointing out here is that he is attempting to wrap himself with the aura of civil disobedience historical figureheads like MLK, Jr. and Ghandi (the latter of whom actually remarked he would have preferred to have firearms with which to resist the British). Of course, it’s not kosher for these so-called “activists” to mention that the right of revolution is the fallback position of collective self-defense for when the Law fails to secure our property, liberties, and lives from partial or universal plunder (as orchestrated by the State). While non-compliance has a marginal utility, that method by itself will not secure your Liberties from rampant statism.
To be fair, Lew Rockwell stated the following a few minutes later:

“I think we always have to be non-violent, that’s our basic principle. We don’t want violence. The only time violence is justified is in defense, it is never justified in offense. Again, we also say as libertarians the moral law applies to everyone. Just because someone is in a government suit, or getting a government check, that doesn’t make them exempt from the moral law. So the things that are wrong for you and me to do in our private lives are also wrong for the government to do.”


Is it me, or is he just confusing the issue? According to this alleged rationale, is it really a stretch to therefore infer that Captain Prudence Wright was an evil power hungry statist when she held Captain Leonard Whiting at gunpoint? Whenever I refer to the bastardization of libertarianism, especially with manipulating the actual meaning of the Non-Aggression Principle, it’s little stunts like this within the Carnival of Distractions that I am referring to. Needless to say, attempting to decipher what Rockwell means by “the moral law” would have to be an article in and of itself.

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