Gary North, Lew Rockwell, and the Politics of Stoning Heretics and Homosexuals to Death

by Tom Palmer on September 25, 2004

Since there’s seems to be more than a bit of interest in the antics of those on the fever swamp fringes of American political thought (see below), I thought that I’d link to some research that Walter Olson, a very fine writer and researcher at the Manhattan Institute (and driving force behind overlawyered.com, which is always full of great information) found on one of the frequent Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell.com contributors, one of the oddest of oddballs, Gary North. North favors stoning of homosexuals (stoning is preferred on economic grounds, since the instruments of murder can be used over and over — how economical!) and exploitation of religious toleration just until his own madcap sect gains power, after which they will kill the rest of us. Some people have scoffed at the idea that the Lew Rockwell crowd could be involved with that sort of thing. Well, read what Olson found out about North and co., which he published in this Reason article. (Other columnists for Lew Rockwell include Joe Sobran, who speaks at neo-Nazi conferences of the Institute for Historical Review [do a quick Google search on your own; I hate the idea of linking my site to their vile and sickening web site], Sam Francis of the racist Council of Concerned Citizens, and others.) If you associate with Lew Rockwell and co. and find it hard to believe that such pure evil would be just a few steps away, check the facts for yourself.

P.S. I’ve already received several emails accusing me of favoring “censorship.” How many times do advocates of free speech have to explain this? I do not favor using coercion to forbid people with reprehensible views from publishing them. It’s not censorship to refuse to be associated with those views or to criticize them. I think that KKK members should not be legally forbidden to express their evil views, but that doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to let them come into my home to express them or to lend them a megaphone. The same is true of a doddering old crank like Gary North. It’s not censorship to refuse to be associated with him, but it is — at the very least — astonishingly bad judgement and a sign of a lack of moral sense for anyone to associate with him or to list him as a columnist.

{ 27 comments }

Anonymous September 25, 2004 at 6:58 pm

Joe Sobran is associated with neo-nazis? That’s it! I’m not reading National Review anymore. I have a copy (within the last couple years) of NR in which I read Sobran. National Review has disgracefully linked itself to a vile and sickening movement by printing Sobran’s words. I can’t believe that such pure evil is only a few steps away from the place I get my news. :)

Tom G. Palmer September 25, 2004 at 7:06 pm

There’s a reason that they got rid of him. He went, shall we say, off the deep end. It’s to their credit when National Review drops kooky writers, whether of the Joe Sobran sort or the (much less offensive, but offensive, nonetheless) Ann Coulter sort.

Anonymous September 25, 2004 at 7:10 pm

I just found another group I like associating with MI scum. The Presidential Campaign of Michael Badnarik has prominently linked to lewrockwell.com on its front page!

Enough of these ‘libertarian’nutcase, oddball, fringe kooks. No Libertarian Party will be getting my vote. Thank you for showing me how to recognize these false friends of liberty Tom.

Tom G. Palmer September 25, 2004 at 7:28 pm

Well, whoever has posted these just doesn’t get the point. So I’ll say it verrryyy slooowwwlly for him or her: I wouldn’t sit down for a drink with someone who just came from taking part in a cross-burning. I don’t approve of that sort of thing and so I don’t approve of people who do it and I don’t want to be associated with them. I prefer to keep far away from such folk. If you hang out with the Rockwell crowd, you’re hanging out with people who want to kill homosexuals and heretics (North), give keynote addresses at conventions of neo-Nazi crackpots (Sobran), work directly with the racist and KKK-sympathizing Council of Concerned Citizens (Francis), etc., etc. You can make choices about with whom to associate. I think that if more decent people knew what kind of moths were fluttering around the Lew Rockwell flame, they’d stay away.

A. Non September 26, 2004 at 9:53 am

Nothing by North, Sobran, or Francis has ever been published on LRC that advocates stoning homosexuals, advocating anti-semitism, etc. To imply that Sobran–a wonderful thinker and writer–is anti-semitic is an ignoble calumny.

Steve Horwitz September 26, 2004 at 10:14 am

People are having a tough time reading you Tom. Just because Francis, Sobran, or North haven’t said racist/anti-Semitic things *on LRC* doesn’t mean they haven’t said them elsewhere. Note Tom’s comments about “association.” The point is, for me, that as a long-time libertarian, I do not want the word “libertarian” associated in any way shape or form with the likes of that crowd, which is just what LRC and the MI does. “The moths that fly around the Lew Rockwell flame” is exactly right.

They are free to spout their nonsense all they want, just as I’m free to name it for what it is and encourage others to disassociate themselves from it.

And Badnarik is doing himself no good by linking to LRC. I’m a conscientious abstainer myself, so it does me no harm to point out that link.

Finally, if you don’t think Sobran is anti-Semitic, then you better get on your google-horse and do some investigative journalism.

A. Non September 26, 2004 at 12:01 pm

Sobran is not anti-semitic in the least. You people have cried wolf too many times on this issue, sorry. You’ve just about used up all your smart bombs.

Micha Ghertner September 26, 2004 at 12:43 pm

What is this “you people” business? And it’s pretty obvious that anyone who associates with the Institute for Hysterical Review has a serious problem with Jews.

IW September 26, 2004 at 12:59 pm

The issue of stoning homosexuals is bad enough in itself. No one should be murdered for their sexual practices. While I disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, I’ve friends and relatives who are gay and I cannot ever imagine raising a hand against them, much less murdering them. Of the homosexuals I’ve known, all have been kind to me and very intelligent. The idea of killing any of the people I love, or even a stranger who has done me no harm, is just awful on a moral level. Advocating this form of hate to others is even more abominable. The problem with North is that he advocates the stoning of one’s own children when they show a spirit of rebelliousness towards authority. Mr. Kinsella loves to regale people with his non-violence and non-aggression philosophy — a commendable philosophy I might add — but laymen like myself are left wondering why it is that Lew Rockwell continues to give North a perch from which to write. Apparently, the spirit of charity that Christians are called to doesn’t apply to those who, like Hoppe, feel that they can judge and condemn others from a throne of moral superiority. In fairness, Rocky censors North’s theological tracts — the good doctor just writes grumpy doom n’ gloom stuff on economics. Even here though, North has a bad record. In the years leading up to Y2K, he was apparently warning readers of us little newsletter that the end of the world was upon us. I’m sure that sort of crap appeals to “remnant” types.

The hate and antipathy shown to others is not limited to North. A number of LRC readers bore us with their pretense to moral supremacy (a la Hoppe), but they show none of the basic notions of charity when dealing with people in public or private. DiLorenzo slurred a fine instructor I know by the name of Dr. Richard Ferrier on a blog post one time, telling people that he was some grad school drop-out. In fact, Dr. Ferrier is a kind and brilliant PhD who teaches at a fine Catholic school that I had the good fortune to attend in the early 90s. Ironically, it’s also a school that HHH lectured at in November of 2003. These slurs are issued all the time by their writers, Karen De Caustic being a good case in point. This woman is constitutionally incapable of posting anything without calling someone an idiot, nitwit, etc. She’s nothing original to say on anything at all.

Given the hateful nature of the Rockwellians, many of us ordinary working folk who actually make an honest living in the private sector feel a sense of shame at having to explain the bile of those claiming to represent our ethical and political views. I gave only $50 to LRC in donations before I figured out that the site is an embarrassment to Catholicism and libertarianism.

Kinsella has posted a link to one of Hoppe’s little essays on Lavoie in which he castigates him for suggesting a different kind of pedagogical model for the university, one that eschews a traditional teacher-student relationship. Hoppe stupidly attacks the model because he is an authoritarian at heart. As a student at a Great Books school, I can say that there is much to be praised in such an approach and that Lavoie’s opinions are very close to those of the traditional Thomists that I studied with at Thomas Aquinas College. The founders of the school were educated at major Catholic universities and all are committed to transmitting the wisdom of the West and of the Christian faith to their students, they just do so in a unique format. I thank God every day that I had the opportunity to study Aristotle and St. Thomas in a discussion format with other students and tutors at Thomas Aquinas College. The people that I went to school with were better read than any Hoppe or Kinsella or De Caustic. Many of these fellow students and friends have gone on to serve in the academy, law, medicine and religious life. I can name three classmates whose experiences in the tutorial method at TAC, along with other factors, led them to enter traditional priestly fraternities. Hoppe’s little state-run school in Sin City couldn’t make that claim.

I don’t know or care about Mr. Palmer’s sexual orientation. I’ve read his site off and on for awhile now and am interested in his opinions, not his sexual life. I appreciate his intelligence and that’s reason enough to read his opinions.

Anonymous September 26, 2004 at 2:00 pm

For the record, I, Lew Rockwell, and others are routinely attacked by anti-semites because we refuse to promulgate crack-pot, anti-semitic crap. http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/005697.html

Stephan Kinsella September 26, 2004 at 2:01 pm

(Sorry, forgot to include name)

For the record, I, Lew Rockwell, and others are routinely attacked by anti-semites because we refuse to promulgate crack-pot, anti-semitic crap. http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/005697.html

Andy September 26, 2004 at 2:07 pm

So they don’t publish openly anti-Semitic rants on lewrockwell, but they proudly list as columnists people who DO publish anti-Semitic rants on the site of the Institute for Historical Review and elsewhere? And they don’t publish calls for exterminating peaceful minorities (or majorities, since North wants to kill all the “heretics”) on their site, but they are more than happy to promote the people who call for that elsewhere. Well, count me out. (And also the weird anti-Americanism of their site creeps me out, too. You can be anti-war, but they go over the line and sympathize with the people who want to kill Americans, Jews, etc. Yuck!)

Mat��?�¢?�ºj ��?��� uster September 26, 2004 at 3:45 pm

As for Gary North, here��?���´s yet another interesting story:

Declan McCullagh – There’s Something About Gary
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,17193,00.html

As it appears, Gary North has a first- class doomsaying history:

“For decades Gary North has made a living predicting modern society will end in panic and ruin.

In 1980, he forecast rationing of housing and a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. He warned his followers to buy “gold, silver, a safe place outside the major cities.”

Then AIDS became the threat: “In 1992, we will run out of available hospital beds…. The world will eventually panic,” he wrote in 1987.

Now North has found Y2K and a skittish audience receptive to predictions of doom.

A recent advertisement for his Remnant Review newsletter proclaims: “A bank run like no other will bankrupt banks all over the world in 1999.”
———–

Also, some interesting quotes:
http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/n/north-gary_reconstructionist.html

“(On Stoning By Government)
“The fifth and by far the most important reason is that stoning is literally a means of crushing the murderer’s head by means of a rock, which is symbolic of God. This is analogous to the crushing of the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15. This symbolism testifies to the final victory of God over all the hosts of Satan.

Stoning is therefore integral to the commandment against murder. ” (Gary North, The Sinai Strategy: Economics and the Ten Commandments (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), p. 123)

(On Political Ambitions)
“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant–baptism and holy communion–must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel. ” (Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), p. 87.)

RG September 26, 2004 at 3:58 pm

How does Sobran go from being someone who has spoken before an IHR meeting to someone who “publishes anti-semitic rants”? Through the kind of smearing that the DC types engage in again and again, that’s how.

LRC has published so much stuff explicitly rejecting anti-semitism that this stuff is incredible. Your only hope is to disgust people so much that they won’t go look for themselves.

You people (note to Ghertner: that means you DC, left-libertarian people) have to reach sooo far to try to keep people away from even looking in the direction of the Mises Institute. And why wouldn’t you, when they keep saving so many of the best and brightest young people from the DC/Chicago path?

Anyway, I don’t agree with Gary North’s religious views, but I’d rather associate with him than a Murdoch or a Rumsfeld any day.

IW September 26, 2004 at 4:31 pm

Anyway, I don’t agree with Gary North’s religious views, but I’d rather associate with him than a Murdoch or a Rumsfeld any day.

That says alot about you. Anyone else with a moral sense would have said that they would, like Mr. Palmer, just prefer not to associate with anyone who advocates hate and violence towards others.

It’s interesting that there are a number of writers at LRC — including Rocky himself — who profess a belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church, yet they give succor to creeps like North who advocate murdering one’s own children for rebelliousness. How’s killing your child by old fashioned stoning any different from abortion?

Here’s North on child-rearing (taken from a Reason.com article by Walter Olson):

“When people curse their parents, it unquestionably is a capital crime,” he [Gary North] writes. “The integrity of the family must be maintained by the threat of death.” Likewise with blasphemy, dealt with summarily in Leviticus 24:16: “And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.”

rest is here at http://reason.com/9811/col.olson.shtml

The question is why Mr. Kinsella hasn’t stepped forth to denounce North for his advocacy of murder, but has offered a feeble defense against the charge of anti-Semitism. (Hint: maybe because he’d get a dishonorable discharge from the cult.) Why is that pseudo-intellectuals like Dr. Thomas Woods, Jr., who profess to be ultra-traditionalist Catholics, continue to associate with a group of people like Gary North? BTW, when Gary North talks about the Church, I seriously doubt he’s referring to the one that Woods claims to support and love.

In short, the more you look at LRC, the more hypocrisy you see. According to a writer over Chronicles Magazine, the land where the Mises Institute sits is actually public land that’s part of Auburn University, a state-funded school. I don’t know whether it’s true, but it wouldn’t suprise me in the least. Given that, why is that people like Rockwell have to have tax payer extorted monies in order to support and advance their cause?

Here’s another quote from North, a fraudster among fraudsters who probably fancies himself some sort of Antonio Gramsci of the fundamentalist variety:

We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

RG September 26, 2004 at 5:23 pm

Interesting how people can argue that something is a cult at the same time they are observing that its members have widely divergent beliefs!

Micha Ghertner September 26, 2004 at 6:09 pm

RG,

I, for one, never claimed that LewRockwell.com or the Mises Institute are anti-Semitic organizations; only that they make some bad choices associating with the likes of Sobran and North. They might also want to tell Hoppe to put a sock in it every now and then.

I’ve never even been to DC for more than a day or two site-seeing; I did spend a week in Auburn recently attending Mises University. I wouldn’t waste my time criticizing them if I didn’t think they had something valuable to say. Their willingness to associate with the dregs of society turns many people off who would otherwise be sympathetic to their generally pro-liberty message.

Regarding the label “left-libertarian”, allow me to paraphrase Milton Friedman and say that there are only good libertarians and bad libertarians. I’m the good kind.

Micha Ghertner September 26, 2004 at 6:16 pm

Well, to be fair to Mr. North, killing an unruly child is explicitly advocated by the literal words of the Old Testament while abortion is not (nor is abortion condemned, for that matter). Not that this is a justification for North’s beliefs as much as it is a criticism of a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Stephan Kinsella September 26, 2004 at 9:20 pm

“The question is why Mr. Kinsella hasn’t stepped forth to denounce North for his advocacy of murder, but has offered a feeble defense against the charge of anti-Semitism. (Hint: maybe because he’d get a dishonorable discharge from the cult.)”

This is ridiculous. One advantage of having a career unrelated to one’s intellectual interests is independence. No one can fire me. (And sigh: here we go again, the tedium of making it about me. Jesus.)

As for North, I have no idea if he has actually advocated the murder others have mentioned here; if and to the extent he does, of course I denounce it completely.

As for Sobran, every charge I have seen in the past of his alleged anti-semitism is utter bunk when one examines it closely (same with Pat Buchanan, also falsely accused of anti-semitism). From what I’ve seen of Sobran, he is very libertarianly sound (though the Shakespeare stuff does not persuade, nor interest, me).

As for Sam Francis, to my knowledge he is not a columnist of nor affiliated with LRC or Mises Institute. The Chronicles crowd and the Mises Institute crowd don’t seem to have much overlap.

Anonymous September 26, 2004 at 9:36 pm

On Palmer’s first thread on Hoppe–he said the LRCers “post on the Lew Rockwell site the strangest personal vilifications, complete with making fun of other peoples’ names and other adolescent behavior.”

I’d be curious what he is referring to. Only think I remember is I called B.K. Marcus Burger King Marcus, but it’s kind of a nickname since I don’t know what BK stands for but where I’m from it stands for Burger King. You know, sense of humor and all that. The kind of thing liberals, feminists, and the PC don’t have.

Funny how on this thread Palmer supporter “IW” refers to Karen De Coster as “Karen De Caustic” and Palmer calls Hoppe “Professor Doktor Hoppe”.

Doppel standard, anyone?

Tom G. Palmer September 26, 2004 at 10:06 pm

Well, the anonymous post above has a point. Touche. I was referring to the constant mocking of “Little Frummer Boy” for David Frum (with whom I often strongly disagree), as if that were sufficient to dismiss him. It’s a feature of their site and applied to others, as well.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I used the “Professor Doktor” phrase to indicate how arrogant and dogmatic Hoppe is. On the only occasion when I had any interaction with him (we had not met and haven’t since), I attended a lecture he had given at George Mason University. He made his really over-the-top statement about Mises setting the foundation for economics, but also for ethics, geometry, and optics. I asked him to explain, since geometry and optics were thousands of years old and Euclid’s treatise on optics was still in use as a fundamental textbook for opticians, with no mention or foreshadowing of Mises’s ideas. (I read it in college.) His response? “Were you not listening to me?” I said that, yes, I had listened, but I wanted to know his reasons for saying that Mises had contributed to, added to, or provided the foundation for those disciplines. His response? “I’m not going to waste time on anyone who won’t listen or isn’t smart enough to understand!” And that was that. It’s his dogmatic mode of behavior, not his name, that I was parodying. He acts like an old Prussian professor who brooks no disagreement.

Pat September 27, 2004 at 12:26 am

Someone above touched on a point above that is fundamental here. Mr. Palmer denounces the Lew Rockwell and the Mises Institute, and anyone associated with them, because they are friendly to Gary North, Joe Sobran, and others whose views Mr. Palmer finds deplorable. But the Cato Institute is as friendly to, say, Donald Rumsfeld as the Mises Institute is to Gary North. Palmer complains that North advocates the stoning of homosexuals. Fine, but how many homosexuals — or heterosexuals — has North actually killed? None as far as I know. Yet Don Rumsfeld, whom Cato is proud to invite to speak, is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocents.

So, let me say it verrryyy slooowwwlly so Mr. Palmer can understand: I wouldn’t sit down for a drink with someone who just came from taking part in a carpet-bombing. I don’t approve of that sort of thing and so I don’t approve of people who do it and I don’t want to be associated with them. I prefer to keep far away from such folk. If you hang out with the Cato crowd, you’re hanging out with people who think it’s OK to drop cluster bombs in civilian areas, are oblivous to the deaths their actions cause (they “don’t do body counts,” after all), etc., etc. You can make choices about with whom to associate.

Pat September 27, 2004 at 1:13 am

To make the point slightly differently: Tom Palmer doesn’t like Hoppe. He really, really, can’t stand the guy. He goes on and on about him. (One could almost say he has an obsession with Hoppe.) OK, fine. De gustibus non est disputandum. But Palmer plays the six-degrees-of-separation game a little too hard. Hoppe is a nutjob, and Hoppe is “Senior Faculty” at the Mises Institute. Ergo, everyone associated with the Mises Institute is either a nutjob himself or naive. Let’s see, what other scholars are associated with the Mises Institute? Pete Boettke (there goes GMU); Roger Garrison (ditto for Auburn University); Bettina Greaves and Richard Ebeling (sorry, FEE); Bob Higgs (forget the Independent Institute); Ralph Raico (what has that guy ever contributed to liberty?). You get the idea. And don’t even get me started on LewRockwell.com; besides Gary North and Joe Sobran the columnists include Ebeling, Higgs, David Henderson, Bumper Hornberger, William Lind, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, and other assorted wackos. (Does David Theroux know his journal is edited by someone with “links” to Christian Reconstructionists?)

The point is that you don’t condemn an organization because you find some of its members’ views distasteful. Despite my slightly tongue-in-cheek remarks in the previous post, I actually have a lot of respect for the Cato Institute. I find it deplorable that Cato staffers (including Palmer) admire a war criminal like Rumsfeld, but I don’t dismiss the entire organization because of a few crackpot views. Likewise, the Mises Institute is not the Hoppe Institute. It is a serious research and policy institute seeking to advance Austrian economics and libertarian scholarship. Why can’t Mr. Palmer get past his personal obsessions to see this?

Tom G. Palmer September 27, 2004 at 1:31 am

Well, Pat, you’ve missed something. My point is that some of the good folks you’ve mentioned sully themselves by being involved with a cult and by their association, direct or indirect, with truly creepy and vile people, such as Joseph Sobran (whose obsession with Jews should ring some bells) and Gary North (whose economics is simply bizarre and who wants to impose a theocratic dictatorship). Pat helps to make my point.

On the issue of meeting with Dick Cheney or Howard Dean or John Kerry or Donald Rumsfeld, there’s no question that they have done bad (very bad) things. Sometimes you can convince them to change course. They might realize that it’s even in their interest to free the economy or avoid a war. Having an effect is a lot better than just talking to yourselves, or holding Chataqua tent revival meetings for “pure Misesian economics,” whatever that might be.

When a group from the conference on classical liberalism in Moscow at which I spoke met with President Putin, they encouraged him to promote privatization, to stop violating the rule of law, to rein in the Russian army in Chechnya and respect human rights, to free the media and stop intimidating journalists, and so on. They told him that for Russia to be strong and important, it had to be free and law-governed. Is that a bad thing? How much easier to hang out with unimportant and marginal people who “have never hurt anyone” but who would eagerly like to if they could. Oh, for a stoning!

And by the way, terms such as “war criminal” have a meaning in law. I think that this war was and is a big mistake and I’d like to get out, but there is a meaning to words, and Rumsfeld does not qualify as a “war criminal.” (Such an abuse of language is both inaccurate and not likely to get us out of the mess in Iraq any sooner. But if you don’t care about having an effect, that wouldn’t matter. I do care about having an effect. That differentiates me from a lot of the moths flying around the Lew Rockwell flame.)

Pat September 27, 2004 at 9:52 am

Tom, you’re wrong. The people associated with LewRockwell.com do care about having an effect. They simply employ a different strategy than you. You favor the Fabian strategy of reaching out to those in power, hoping to nudge them ever-so-slightly toward liberty. Those “moths” you dismiss with a sneer believe your strategy to be fatally flawed. On the one hand, it has an extremely low probability of success. On the other hand, “cozying up” to people in power who do (in your own words) very bad things, lends legitimacy to their actions and their offices.

The LewRocwell.com crowd (generally — there is no unanimity of course) favors a long-term approach of changing fundamentally the political culture through research and education, not publishing yet another technical policy report that 1.5 fellow wonks will read, or attending a meeting with Putin, whom I’m sure is eager to embrace the reforms you suggested to him.

Bob September 27, 2004 at 11:19 am

Just my words, Pat. And nobody has said it better than Lew Rockwell right here: http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?control=1499

Tom G. Palmer September 27, 2004 at 5:43 pm

Well, I’ll let the Rockwellites have the last word. Other people can determine just how close they wish to associate with anti-Semites, racists, bigots, and advocates of a good old-fashioned stoning.

Comments on this entry are closed.

prosoft data rescue mac
purchase cs6 fireworks adobe
Miguel de Cervantes This chapter discusses the algorithms and the canoe passed on one side of the data structures are used to print complex and higherlevel, higherlevel as their principal.
os 10.4 mac x software
cheapest adobe photoshop cs5 download and accept visa key