Racism and Bigotry, Delivered Courtesy of Lew Rockwell

by Tom Palmer on January 21, 2005

I posted a note below on the zany Dr. Dobson’s outrage over SpongeBob SquarePants and on the fulminations of the religious right, in the person of Christopher Manion, lewrockwell.com columnist. One of the acolytes over there posted a note indicating shock that I would suggest that Manion is a bigot. Of course not! No animus to gay people at all. No way. (Read through his columns — to which I link in my response — and make up your own mind.)

So when I got in to Texas (I’m in Dallas at the moment) and checked my email and site, I figured I’d go over to lewrockwell.com to see what else they’re up to. Yep, citations of anti-immigration material (of course!) and enthusiastic links to the columns of one Sam Francis, one of the creepiest and most stomach-churning figures on the American political scene. He’s not “racially insensitive”; he’s a proud and outspoken racist. Check out his website and then follow the link to the “Council of Conservative Citizens,” for which he is the newsletter editor. There you’ll find this “Special Photo Essay” (don’t click through unless you have a strong stomach), which is full of photos of murdered white South Africans, accompanied by this:

Terrorism In South Africa

The photos on this page are gruesome and hideous. However, these pictures reveal the terror that looms over White South Africans. Since the African National Conference took power in South Africa, crime and violence have run rampant. Cannibalism is on the rise. White Afrikaan farmers are the prefered targets of black gangs, black political militants, and black bandits. According to well informed sources, the death of Nelson Mandela will trigger a massacre of the White population. Looking at these images, do you believe a slaughter of Whites is not in the future?

Some died in bed, though not peacefully. Unaware of their ghastly fate, these White South Africans no doubt believed they were safe in their homes. But they are not safe anywhere in the country their noble ancestors raised from brute wilderness. The brutes have returned…with a vengeance.

Today South Africa is less than 10% White. Someday, American Whites will be a minority. IT CAN HAPPEN HERE!

There’s more, of course. Francis also offers a prominent link to the openly racist group that calls itself “American Renaissance,” where you can check out guides to “Building White Communities.” (His other links are to: “Middle American News,” which greets you with a warning that “White Americans may soon find themselves unable or unwilling to stand up to challenge the new political methods that will be the inevitable result of the ethnic metamorphosis now taking place in America.”; and to “VDare,” which specializes in bashing immigrants and non-whites and features….Sam Francis!)

Hats off to Lew Rockwell and his friends, for doing their best to debase libertarian ideas by associating them so closely with some of the the worst and scariest people ever to scuttle under a rock. (There’s more under the archives labeled “The Fever Swamp.”)

Now I’m going to go and wash my hands. The experience of sorting through all the dirt that Lew Rockwell churns out has that effect on me.

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Marcus Epstein January 21, 2005 at 8:18 pm

As one of the people who had the audacity to link to Sam Francis, who I think is certainly one of the most.

I don’t agree with Sam Francis on a lot of things, but I found the column pretty insightful, so I linked it. I’ve also linked on the LRC blog to various left wing sites and even the Cato Institute when they have something interesting to say.

If you want to call LRC racist because I linked to Sam Francis who links to American Rennisance and VDARE think about this. Peter Brimelow, the editor of VDARE has recently spoke at the Cato Institute sponsored event. AmRen’s Jared Taylor’s book was positively reviewed by a Cato Fellow (Clint Bollick). Does that make Cato all racists? Of course not.

As for them building a white community, is that the worse thing in the world or unlibertarian? You obviously don’t have to live there if you don’t want to, but my guess is that you live in Bethesda, Great Falls, or some other extremely diverse neighborhood in beltway.

Brian Radzinsky January 21, 2005 at 9:11 pm

Lew Rockwell and his cronies are about as libertarian as the southern secessionists were people genuinely concerned about the scope of the federal government. They use the veil of libertarianism to vent their half-baked frustrations because of some hidden bias they have towards the US and the social path its taking. Bigotry to them is somehow honest dissent, libertarianism is not only criticizing American policy, but wishing America ill because of her sometimes faulty policy. And they have the nerve to invoke Jefferson, Mises, Hayek, or any other prominent libertarian thinker who has maybe once said something that might be twisted and taken out of context enough to fit their ends.

Tom G. Palmer January 21, 2005 at 11:15 pm

Mr. Epstein points out that everyone can be linked to everyone else; in the internet age, we’re all a finite number of mouse clicks away from somebody. Peter Brimelow writes at VDare; he wrote a book on teachers’ unions that was published by Harper Collins; two years ago he presented the book in Washington at Cato and comments were presented by Jay Matthews of the Washington Post. Click, click, click.

In contrast, Sam Francis is a regular presence at LRC. (Do a search on his name on the lewrockwell.com site and it comes up….a lot.) He is deeply involved with a variety of profoundly racist (i.e., collectivist)organizations, including the paradigmatically anti-libertarian “Council of Conservative Citizens,” the successor to the segregationist Citizens’ Councils that defended Jim Crow. That represents a consistent agenda of racial hatred and violence.

Now, what about people who are eager to embark on “building a white community”? I agree that if someone is dumb enough to want to limit his or her friendships and connections on the basis of skin tone, that is indeed his or her business. The one who limits his connections is the primary loser. But there’s more; judging people solely on the basis of the color of their skin shows a deeply anti-individualist and collectivist mentality. Ugh. But I’m not making a merely aesthetic judgement of racists; the kind of person who would want to build associations on the basis of an accidental characteristic is not the kind of person who believes in liberty for everyone. There’s no strictly logical requirement that a person with ugly views on race would also believe in coercion, but libertarianism and collectivism do not present a stable or compatible combination. Libertarians tolerate the non-coercive behavior of all sorts (such as expressing crazy collectivist opinions or limiting one’s associations), but it does not follow that having collectivist views is compatible with libertarianism; such people lack the belief in the fundamental moral equality of all human beings that is the foundation of belief in the equality of rights. And people who don’t believe in equality of rights aren’t libertarians.

And — not that it matters — I live in a rather racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse neighborhood, more or less between “Adams Morgan” and the U Street corridor in Washington, D.C. But I wouldn’t read too much into that, just as I wouldn’t read too much into living in Maryland or Virginia. No one I know who lives in Bethesda or Great Falls does so because they wanted to “build a white community.”

John Lopez January 21, 2005 at 11:29 pm

There’s obviously nothing unlibertarian about peaceful white seperatism. If that’s what you’re coming out in favor of, Epstein, then more power to you, you’re more consistent than some of your fellow Lewrockwell.com’ers.

John T. Kennedy January 22, 2005 at 1:23 am

Epstein,

The real problem is not that LRC has links to sites like VDARE and AmRen, the real problem is that no one at LRC offers any criticism of the garbage found there.

Marcus Epstein January 22, 2005 at 1:05 pm

I find Sam Francis to be one of the most original and thoughtful thinkers on the Right. The majority of the references to him come from either myself, Paul Gottfried or R. Kirkwood. So anyway, if you have a problem with that put that on us, not LRC. Like I said, I don’t agree with him on quite a few issues, but I found the article quite insightful, and no one criticized him for that. Here’s an example of crticism of Sam Francis from Paul Gottfried. http://www.lewrockwell.com/gottfried/gottfried51.html

As for the link game, the article I linked to about Sam Francis had nothing to do with race whatsoever, just as Cato giving Mr. Brimelow a forum had nothing to do with Immigration. However, I would like you to explain away “bleeding heart libertarian” Clint Bolick positively reviewing AmRen editor’s Jared Taylor’s “Paved with Good Intentions” which was about Race Relations.

As per your neighborhood, my point is simply that it is hypocritical that many people who are critical of white seperatism (and no, I don’t support it) still insist on sending their kids to all white schools, living in all white neighborhoods etc. The neighborhood in Northern Virginia I lived in was extremely liberal, yet with the exclusion of a few asian women married to whites (including my mother), there was not a single minority who lived there. Most people sent their kids to private schools etc.etc. And the same is true of Bethesda, and much of the DC suburbs. While it’s great that you live in Adams Morgan, I would guess that ig you were to have kids, you wouldn’t be living there. So while I do not endorse white seperatism (and by the way, neither does Sam Francis, who has written against it on many occasions), I find it very hypocritical that most liberals practice it in their daily lives.

George F. January 26, 2005 at 10:58 am

Tom’s increasingly frequent broadsides against the Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com, and Antiwar.com (he always lumps them together, while being careful to distance the Cato Institute from his personal website) are illuminating. To many libertarians, the essence of libertarianism is the non-aggression axiom. As long as one does not advocate the initiation of coercion against non-aggressors, one is a libertarian. Libertarians can be politically correct, multicultural, universalists or they can be racist, sexist, homophobic, fundamentalist neo-Confederates. None of this matters, since libertarianism is a political doctrine, not an overarching moral or social philosophy. In Tom’s formulation, libertarianism is reduced to a mushy universalism, founded on the “fundamental moral equality of all human beings.”

I forget who defined a neoconservative as a conservative a liberal wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite to a dinner party. Tom evidently wishes to define libertarianism the same way. The Civil War was a complex affair with many implications for liberty. Tom, like liberals and neoconservatives, reduces it to a simple morality play of good Northern liberals against bad Southern racists. To suggest otherwise would certainly raise eyebrows at those dinner parties!

The question for Tom is this: Suppose logic or evidence convinced you that some politically correct proposition was actually wrong. Imagine, for the sake of argument, Herrnstein Murray turn out to be right. Will you follow them, or continue to denounce them because their conclusions don’t conform to your notions of propriety? Which is primary for you, liberty or political respectability?

It’s hard to say, because Tom rarely addresses the substance of his critics’ complaints. He spends most of his time calling them names — “vile,” “disgusting,” “creepy,” etc. Well, quite frankly, who cares? For example, Gary North wrote an interesting little book on the Coase Theorem. Are we to ignore it because he supports the Levitical codes? Bill Kristol may be a charming, erudite dinner companion, but I’d gladly spend all day with Gary North before I’d spend five minutes with Billy the Kid. I know I’d learn from the former, while vehemently disagreeing with him on many issues. I doubt I’d learn anything from the latter.

I can’t help but notice in these exchanges that Tom refers constantly to “those people in Auburn, Alabama.” Tom lives in Adams-Morgan, dines at fine restaurants, and works out at the same health club as Andrew Sullivan. But these people — My God, they live in … Alabama! (Of course, of the people Tom most frequently attacks, only Lew Rockwell himself actually lives in Alabama, but never mind.) Can anyone doubt that this shorthand is designed to remind us who’s a politically correct sophisticate and who’s a backwards-ass boob?

Maybe we need a new term for Tom’s brand of libertarianism. “PC Libertarianism”? “Neo-Libertarianism”? “Non-Threatening Libertarianism”?

Tom G. Palmer January 26, 2005 at 12:52 pm

I’ll respond to this note (from an increasingly frequent defender of that crowd) soon, probably after I get back from one of the oh, so many swanky dinner parties I attend in my upscale, ethnically diverse, fine-restaurant filled neighborhood. (Note: The remark is ironic.)

Tom G. Palmer January 28, 2005 at 12:35 am

Let’s see, now. “George F.” (whose IP is associated with a multitude of defenses of Lew Rockwell under a variety of names) assumes that I have contempt for people who live in Auburn because I live in Washington, D.C. Far from it. I have not expressed any contempt for Auburn, Alabama, or anywhere else, for that matter. It’s the Lew Rockwellites who keep bringing that matter up. I identify “Auburn, Alabama” as the source (with no note of condemnation at all; I don’t think that I’ve ever been there, in any case) only because Lew Rockwell is so proud of the place, having referred to it as the “New Vienna” on a number of occasions. (I was in the “Old Vienna” a few weeks ago and accordingly I suppose that Auburn must be very similar.) The LewRockwellites are pretty sensitive about location, since they refer to many people as “Beltway libertarians” (not, of course, Ron Paul or his staff members).

George F. asserts that he’d like to spend an evening with Gary North rather than Bill Kristol. I have met Kristol, whom I debated on national security and the USA Patriot Act a little over a year ago (I was told that I did rather well), and he’s pretty smart, despite advocating really awful policies. Nonetheless, I don’t think that he would try to smash my head in with a rock during dinner, as Gary North has written that he would very much like to do. (That’s what George F. delicately alludes to as “supporting the Levitical codes.”) When a friend asked North whether he supported killing homosexuals and heretics by crushing their heads with rocks, he laughed and said that in the short run he would be willing to electrocute them. What a card!

Yes, Gary North hasn’t used his own hands to kill any heretics (to my knowledge, at least, but who knows what odd smells may be coming from his basement, given his public pronouncements on the many benefits of stoning people to death?); he’d just like to do so. I’ll leave George F. and Gary North to enjoy their dinner together. (But remember, George F.: avoid the shellfish, the eating of which is an ABOMINATION according to the very Levitical Codes that North wants to enforce: see http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/.)

I’d prefer to dine with civilized people, whether in the “fine restaurants” that get George F. so worked up, or just around the kitchen table.

Marcus Epstein January 30, 2005 at 6:20 pm

Now you are implying that Gary North may be a serial killer. Look, I find his theology pretty wacky. I probably would have been stoned 10 times over, but when I met Gary North (and for that matter Sam Francis and Joe Sobran) they acted like gentlemen. I will also act that there are a few gay people associated with the Mises Institute and to the best of my knowledge, they manage to get along fine.

Now while I seriously disagree with his theological views, it doesn’t change he says good things about economics foreign policy etc.etc. Also, Gary North has not been responsible for the death of a single homosexual or anyone, while Bill Kristol actually has enough influence, that it would be reasonable to say that he is at least partly responsible for the deaths of thousands through his war policy.

Would you not have dinner with Thomas Jefferson, who actually prescribed for gays?

As for shrimp, your understanding of theology seems to be rather weak. Christian Reconstructionists only seek to revive old testament laws that were reaffirmed in the Gospelss (which does include strictures against homosexuality.) Shellfish eating is not reaffirmed, but that’s why Orthodox Jews don’t eat it. Also, I’m pretty sure stoning is not proscribed for Shellfish eaters in the Old Testament.

Tom G. Palmer January 30, 2005 at 10:21 pm

Not quite, Mr. Epstein. I’m stating that Gary North would very much *like* to be a serial killer.

No doubt when you met he did act like a gentleman. The key words there, however, are “act” and “like,” for he certainly is no gentleman. Setting aside a long career as a con man (known for his crazy newsletters promoting bizarre investment schemes, Y2K-created chaos, and on and on, all of which he was happy to help you handle for a price), which is hardly compatible with actually being a gentleman (in contrast to “acting like” one), he’s a quite vicious advocate of mass murder.

Now you do raise a most interesting point. How to compare people who merely advocate mass murder, genocide, and the like with people who have carried out or promoted policies that, although not genocidal, did lead to the deaths of innocents? George Lincoln Rockwell (who had no biological relation to the other Rockwell of which I am aware) never actually killed anyone (at least, not to my knowledge). He was just the founder and leader of the American Nazi Party and *advocated* killing Jews, blacks, homosexuals, Gypsies, mixed race people, etc., etc. How would I compare him to, say, George McGovern, who did kill people in World War II as a bomber pilot? Or to some journalist who supported the Iraq War, in which lots of people were killed? On the one hand, you have a person who didn’t actually kill anyone, but who yearned to do so, in huge numbers, too. On the other, you have someone who didn’t hold out mass murder as a positive value, but who supported policies that did result in the deaths of innocents. Which would make the acceptable dinner companion? Rockwell (the other one) and North, or McGovern and Kristol? I think…um….gosh, I’d rather dine with the latter. At least I could keep the food down.

As to Thomas Jefferson, he had some bad views (although his views on gay people, bad as they were, were considered an advance over what others favored) and some even worse practices (like holding people as slaves). The same could be said of Cicero. Were there a time machine (and were I able to learn conversational Latin), I would eagerly dine with either or both. And I’m sure that I would try to change their views on important matters, just as I would try to learn as much as I could from their amazing intellects.

I’ll just take your word for it on the precise details of Gary North’s theology.

Aaron Singleton July 22, 2005 at 3:23 am

I don’t understand why so much time seems to be dedicated on this site to attacking the character of LRC columnists. Little attention is ever given to the quality content that makes up the majority of the site. Instead, it seems that Mr. Palmer scours the LRC universe looking for shocking quotes he can use to scare people into never visiting LRC.com. The only conclusion I can come to is that there must be some personal vendetta or rivalry going on here. It’s quite amusing I must say but it definitely seems to be a waste of time. Sure you’re not going to agree with everything every one of the 150+ LRC columnists say or advocate. Sure some of them may even believe really strange things or things that you or I personally find repulsive. But if I find that this same person writes thoughtful, interesting and or humorous articles that I happen to enjoy, I’m going to read them. I don’t agree with the lifestyle or the philosophies of many entertainers and rockstars but that won’t stop me from enjoying their art and music. If I wanted to start an anti-Thomas Jefferson site and vilify him so that those who were unfamiliar with the man would be horrified and would be turned off to his teachings completely, it would be very easy. He believed and did some things that today are just unacceptable by modern PC standards. That does not change the fact that the majority of his beliefs and views are worth serious study. I’m not trying to compare LRC columnists with Jefferson, It just seems strange to accept him despite his obvious flaws, yet to completely reject and defame LRC.com in its entirety because some of its columnists have strange opinions.

Tom G. Palmer July 22, 2005 at 4:16 am

Mr. Singleton might ask himself whether the fetish for the Confederate States of America at LewRockwell.com might not be evidence of something more. It certainly attracts certain kinds of characters, such as Mr. Bob Wallace (see the most recent evidence of racism and anti-semitism at http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/023978.php ). If Mr. Singleton were to attend a rally for a cause he liked and found that a substantial number of the people seated around him were wearing KKK symbols, would it cause him at least to wonder whether the cause he supported was being infiltrated and taken over by people with a very different agenda? How much evidence would it take? How many racists like Mr. Wallace would it take to cause him to have any worries at all?

Aaron Singleton July 23, 2005 at 5:19 am

I am a frequent reader of LRC and I find no basis for your claim that there is a “fetish” for the “Confederate States of America” in existence there. What I do find interesting is the fetish for Rockwell bashing on this site and to me that does suggest “evidence of something more.” Even if you were to convince me that the handful of people you have tried to smear as racists and bigots here really are as you say, there are over 150 columnists currently contributing to the site. It will take more than scattered quotations from a few of them to cause me to get up and leave the “rally.” I would get up and leave however if the rally for my cause turned into a communist style smear campaign rather than a forum where issues and principles could be discussed and learned. If the rally leader started reading a list of names and referring to these people as say imperialist running dogs or reactionary capitalist roaders I might start to think that he was engaged in some sort of power struggle for control of the movement rather than genuinely concerned with promoting it’s principles. I mean come on, what are you afraid of Mr. Palmer? You certainly don’t give the average libertarian internet surfer much credit. Even if LRC truly were a hate promoting site (which it most certainly is not,) do you think we’d all be turned into racists, gay bashers and secessionists because we read a few LRC articles? As if we aren’t capable of forming our own opinions and ignoring things we disagree with. I haven’t read a single comment about you anywhere on Mises.com or LewRockwell.com. I guess they have more important things to discuss. (watch here for Mr. Palmer to respond in classic style with something to the effect of “sure, they have more important things to discuss like stoning all gays and minorities.”) What I have read I have generally found to be thought provoking and in line with Misean, and Rothbardian thought. Which is why I am so confused at your obsession with defaming them.

Merleau-Ponty October 16, 2005 at 5:49 pm

One notes the lack of Mr. Palmer to this last comment. It’s been several months now.

Hmmmm.

Merleau-Ponty October 16, 2005 at 5:49 pm

One notes the lack of a response by Mr. Palmer to this last comment. It’s been several months now.

Hmmmm.

Tom G. Palmer October 17, 2005 at 6:25 pm

The writer who has thought it clever to adopt the name of the Stalinist advocate of terror Maurice Merleau-Ponty should be excused for not knowing that I was in Bulgaria when Mr. Singleton posted his note and had great difficulty getting internet access (not to mention problems typing on a Bulgarian keyboard). No doubt other comments appeared elsewhere to which I did not respond. But I was just alerted to his odd note, so here’s a quick response.

First, and this is of little consequence, Mr. Singleton could have looked a little harder to find references to me on the Lew Rockwell site and on antiwar.com, their sister-site. But that’s a quite insignificant matter, since what matters to me is not whether they write catty remarks about me, but whether they taint the movement for liberty and decency with association with racists and crackpots (such as Mr. Bob Wallace: (http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/023978.php ).

Of much greater importance, Mr. Singleton is correct that some decent people write on LewRockwell.com. I think that that’s a pity and that it lends crazy and indecent people (e.g., North) respectability by being associated with the sane and the decent, while at the same time tainting the sane and the decent by the association with the crazy and the indecent.

The existence of a fetish for the Confederacy with Rockwell and his dearest friends is rather hard to deny. It’s not a matter of “scattered quotations,” but of a pattern of smuggling nuggets of ugly collectivism into a movement that is and should be committed to individualism. The fact that a great advocate of liberty and reason such as L. von Mises is now associated with hate groups and crackpots is disturbing to me. At the very least it turns away some people who might otherwise learn from his writings and his legacy.

Are capable of forming their opinions? If they weren’t why would I have written the post above? It’s part of that process to take such facts into account. Mr. Singleton has evidently already formed his. Others should be aware of the ugly connections at LRC when they form theirs.

Justine Nicholas August 5, 2006 at 11:08 am

As a sometime contributor to LRC, I write with the knowledge that some of its contributors and readers may want to “stone” me for some of my beliefs–and even for a couple of things that I happen to be through no choice of my own. That is their right. I can’t (and don’t want to) control their thoughts: I can only flee or defend myself in the unlikely event that they were to carry out Levitical injunctions or whatever ideologically-based violence they might enact.

More to the point, any time you come to a conclusion about some issue, and express it, you’re bound to be associated with some people whom you would never invite to your home. As an example, I also write about women’s issues and consider myself a feminist. Someone could, if he or she really wanted to, link my name with those of Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, who express opinions that are anathema to me.

Also: Renouncing such ties almost never has any effect on people’s opinion. They’re going to associate you with whomever, anyway, even when presented with evidence to the contrary. So you may as well keep your “eyes on the prize,” as they say.

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