Yaroslav Romanchuk at Cato’s 2004 Moscow Conference
Jaroslav Romanchuk, a man I greatly admire for his courage, his intelligence, and his resolution in promoting freedom, has been smeared by the eager apologists for totalitarianism at LewRockwell.com as one of “the loyal adjuncts of the intelligence agencies who foment the color-coded revolutions much the same as did their intellectual and moral forebears.” (In other words, he is a tool of the CIA/MainStreamMedia/Israeli/Jewish/etc. forces undermining the great Socialist Motherland ruled by that man of the people, Alexander Lukashenko.) The attempt by the Rockwell Cult to tie in the president of the Mises Research Center of Minsk (Romanchuk) with the Bolsheviks (note the links, but also note the shrill, over-the-top Bolshevik-style rhetoric they use) is a rather poor joke, since the man who is so admired by the Rockwellites, Alexander Lukashenko, is the one who is eagerly trying to resurrect the Soviet Union and the man they denounce is promoting laissez faire.
More on the subject of the the Rockwell Cult’s love affair with authoritarian and totalitarian thugs can be found in The Fever Swamp. And for the head of the Mises Center in Minsk to be attacked in such disgusting terms by the leaders of the “Mises Institute” of Auburn tells us how far the latter have drifted from any connection to the ideas of Ludwig von Mises. They are a disgrace.
42 Responses to ““Mises Institute” Cultists Blast Mises Center Head for Opposing Authoritarian Socialism”
Oh my, here we go again. Once again, Palmer degenerates into self-parody whenever the subject of the Mises Institute comes up. Let’s count the errors and distortions in Palmer’s screed. His friend Romanchuk has been smeared by the “eager apologists for totalitarianism” at LewRockwell.com. Apologists, plural, based on a posting entry by one individual, Danial McAdams, on a group blog. Somehow the Mises Institute, as a corporate entity, is responsible for this individual’s comments on a website not operated by the Mises Institute. I suppose the Cato Institute, as an entity, is guilty of fraud because Doug Bandow didn’t reveal his Abramoff payments? Again, the “Rockwell Cult” is blamed, collectively, for one individual’s comments. Palmer then repeats the canard, challenged more than once by commentators on this blog but never once substantiated by Palmer or his acolytes, that Alexander Lukashenko is “so admired by the Rockwellites.” Neither Palmer nor any of the Palmerites has ever documented any admiration for Lukashenko by Lew Rockwell or anyone affiliated with the Mises Institute. (The last time this issue came up, Palmer’s reponse was to quote something by Justin Raimondo in defense of Vladimir Putin!)
Palmer goes on to bemoan how his friend has been attacked by “the leaders of the ‘Mises Institute’ of Auburn.” (Note the scare quotes.) Ridiculous. McAdams is a “leader”? Is the “Cato Institute” responsible for every dopey thing said by, say, Ryan Sager?
Look, if you want to attack someone’s blog post, fine, go for it. But please, stop smearing an entire organization with sloppy, inaccurate, and ill-documented charges that should be directed against the individual in question. Have the decency to aim precisely when you sling your mud.
Out come the eager defenders of the Rockwell cult. Well, fine. The more you talk, the more people find out about what you promote, the more decent people will decide to go elsewhere. Consider the reports of a number of contributors to LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com, not only this one particularly sickening character. It’s clear that the rot starts with Rockwell. The connections between Rockwell, John Laughland, Raimondo, the British Helsinki Human Rights Group*, and the echo chamber at Antiwar.com, are quite clear. Rockwell, Raimondo, DiLorenzo, McAdams, and others on those sites truly hate and despise pro-liberty activists abroad and stand shoulder to shoulder with Serbian nationalists, the Kuchma regime, the Lukashenko regime, and, of course, they get starry eyed over Putin’s every step closer to an openly undemocratic and authoritarian regime. Lukashenko is a terribly wronged, maligned, misunderstood leader … on Lew Rockwell’s blog, that is. The rot starts with the person who started the whole cult, who gave his name to his blog, and who appropriated the name of a great thinker and now drags it through the gutter.
A Lew Rockwell column by McAdams endorsing the closing down of NGOs in Russia by president Putin (also endorsed by Rockwell):
More attacks on reform movements:
Raimondo on “Putin the Peacemaker” and “Putin the Patriot”
Follow the links here regarding Lew Rockwell and John Laughland:
Some sickening smears of Viktor Yushchenko:
(Some previous memorable items, such as those mocking Viktor Yushchenko as a “CIA stooge,” are apparently no longer on the LewRockwell.com blog.)
*Google BHHRG and see what interesting things you come up with; I was recently at a conference with some people from the International Helsinki Human Rights Groups and the discussion turned to the way that sending one or two shills for the ruling regimes is used to try to generate doubt about the reports of hundreds of election observers, foreign media, and other observers. The shadowy and mysteriously financed BHHRG that sends Rockwell columnist McAdams to Belarus to whitewash the dictatorship there gets loads of press in countries ruled by authoritarian states that “counter” the claims of other observers that the game was rigged, the media intimidated, the opposition muzzled, liberty subverted.
I also know Jaroslav and I know the people at the Mises Institute. And I would take Jaroslav over his critics any day. These people are creating a political cult and one way a cult succeeds is by demonising people they see as competition. The Mises Institute is a disgusting collection of racists, bigots, antisemites, theocrats, ad nauseum. I’ve not read this McAdams before but he is the typical nasty Rockwellian. These people have perverted libertarianism, rewritten libertarian history to suit their purposes and done their best to push libertarians to the extreme fringes of the likes of the League of the South, et al.
I agree. Romanchuk is well known for his teaching and his bravery under a very bad regime that represents a movement back to communism and the nostalgia for the great fatherland of the Soviet Union. The Belarusian opposition is very brave but has few resources to oppose the one-party state. We fear for them very much – because they are our neighbors and friends and because we fear that we are going on the same road. Russians and Ukrainians and Poles who have tried to help them are also beaten by the police, as I have seen and experienced it myself. Belarus is not the worst of the postSoviet states -Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are much worse -but it is orgahnized around a cult of personality, it is dictatorial, it denies freedom for the whole population, but especially for the young people there.
Reading the works of Mises was important to me and helped me to open my mind to thinking clearly about society, nation, and state. We know that Mises would have stood with Jaroslav Romanchuk and not with the people who stand with Alexander Lukashenka. It makes me sad that Ludwig Mises – who came from Lvov (in Ukraine)- is used to bring people who seek freedom, which Mises wrote about so clearly, into the arms of Alexander Lukashenka, an advocate of dictatorship, central planning, and state ownership.
I’m wondering why we still give the Mises Institute credence by talking about them.
They’re a third rate group of crackpots down in Alabama who *claim* to be economists but succeed at being low brow polemicists. Their papers aren’t sophisticated, their blog is a barely readable collection of screeds, and their “thinkers” are on the whole too fringe for the fringe.
They make libertarians seem like a lot of unnuanced whiners who don’t put forth constructive solutions and can’t muster a compelling, academic argument to save their lives.
I understand that you, Tom, can comment because you’re very much into the libertarian movement, if there is such a thing. But I think I’ll be quite alright pretending that they don’t exist. And anyone else who wants to have a *constructive* debate on the future of the former Soviet states can just go ahead and ignore that lot altogether. It seems like it’d save a good deal of headache. Not to mention browser cache space.
I wonder if the hatred that many libertarians have for neocon imperialism may lead them to favor brutal dictators over more freedom oriented leaders who are unfortunately affiliated with Washington.
As I understand it, Hans Hoppe’s thesis is that global liberation from oppressive governments will come when small groups within larger nations secede. Thus he favors smaller factions rather than a hegemonic whole, even if the whole is more freedom oriented than one or more of the small breakaway factions. The idea is that these smaller factions will have a better chance of establishing a libertarian society than a hegemonic whole would.
I think that many affiliated with the Mises institute may have accepted this thesis. Thus the nostalgia for the Confederacy and the hatred for Easter European leaders who affiliate themselves with Washington.
This isn’t a defense of the position, nor of Hoppe’s thesis (which I don’t buy); it is rather an attempt at a constructive discussion.
It’s interesting to note that the first comment recognizes the substance of Dr. Palmer’s post, to wit, that a (more) liberal reformer has been smeared by those who claim to support liberalism. The only argument “anon” makes is that the smear shouldn’t extend to Rockwell, et. al.
Perhaps not, but since the “blog post” appeared on a site whose name derives from the “leader of the Mises Institute,” there is a rebuttable presumption that that leader endorses the content of the post (and, at the very least, the writer’s opinions enough to allow him to post).
If the Cato Institute had a blog, and allowed known racists and anti-semites to blog there, they should be held responsible for their posts, and it would be a shame (I would hope Dr. Palmer would oppose such a move, and, because they don’t seem to be kooks, I’m confident the “leaders of the Cato Institute” wouldn’t make it anyway).
Given that Dr. Palmer has chronicled the criticisms of Yushchenko, and that they come from Rockwell’s blog, I think there is a rebuttable presumption that he is correct (at least on this point; as I said, “anon” conceded the substance of this post). Again, it’s “rebuttable.” At this point it’s up to the “leaders of the Mises Institute” to explain why the smears appear on their blogs and web pages, and to show that they don’t agree with McAdams, Raimondo, and the rest.
Enkidu–and what if we were to end the endless “Am Not!” “Are Too!” game that is played whenever Palmer posts some criticism of the Mises institute and instead try to bring some substance into this discussion?
It is quite clear that many people affiliated with the Mises Institute are not enthusiastic about Washington’s allies in Eastern Europe or elsewhere. It is also quite clear that Lew Rockwell does not take enough offense at these “smears” to remove them from his website. So stop debating it. That’s it, DONE.
My question is why? I don’t think it is because McAdams, Raimondo et. hate freedom.
It would not surprise me if these same people in the 1970s favored Salvador Allende over Augusto Pinochet or Fidel Castro over Batista. You can criticize them for that (I don’t know that I would…), but you should also try to understand where they are coming from in order to have a discussion that is going to bring this movement forward rather than factionalize it further.
after reading the piece by Daniel McAdams that you criticise I have to say that he makes some serious points that deserve serious discussion. However, in your rebuttal you fail to represent his opinions fairly. Instead, you accuse him of saying things that do not at all appear in the original Rockwell article, for instance when you write:
“In other words, he is a tool of the CIA/MainStreamMedia/Israeli/Jewish/etc. forces undermining the great Socialist Motherland ruled by that man of the people, Alexander Lukashenko.”
As a neutral reader I have to conclude that Mr McAdams did not “smear” Mr Romanchuk, but criticsed him as every person operating in the public political arena can be criticsed. You, however, do your deliberate best to smear Mr McAdams by putting words and opinions in his mouth he never stated.
That, I am afraid, makes your piece and opinions not particularly credible to this reader. Stick to the arguments, Mr Palmer, and don’t insult the intelligence of your readership with cheap smearing tactics. We aren’t stupid – we can actually read and think for ourselves. If you don’t take your readers seriously, you cannot blame them for ultimately concluding that you are a ridiculous hack without any particular substance.
In your view, it’s not a smear to refer to an opposition political figure as “the loyal adjuncts of the intelligence agencies.” You have an odd view of smears. “The intelligence agencies” certainly refers to the CIA. What about the Media and the Israelis? 1 – McAdams has attacked the media as all liars (in this column on Lukashenko http://www.antiwar.com/orig/mcadams.php?articleid=8763 he insists that “”Western Media Lies”). 2 – the “Zionists” and the “Lobby” get a lot of attention from that corner for their alleged huge influence over the world. Is it a smear to mention them after the phrase “in other words”? No. It tells you fairly and clearly that a writer is telling you what he thinks another is saying and in this case it is reasonably employed. The Lukashenko backers – McAdams included – do lump the CIA, the media, and the Israelis together in one dark conspiracy.
Your post is an unconvincing appeal to fairness. I don’t buy it.
Like you, I strongly dislike the dogmatic, alarmist temperament of the Rockwell crowd. It’s likely that they are doing a disservice to the cause of liberty in the world.
OTOH, I also dislike the milquetoast libertarianism of the Cato crowd–a group that always seems intent on currying favor with whatever administration is in power. Does this come from a need to be seen as “inside the beltway”? I don’t know, but I’m sure it also does a disservice to the cause of liberty in the world.
I tend to agree with Martin, too, that the tone of this post does little to persuade one to your perspective.
I am sorry, but it seems to me that you are making the same mistake as Mr Palmer when you write:
“The Lukashenko backers – McAdams included – do lump the CIA, the media, and the Israelis together in one dark conspiracy.”
Where does he write that? Where does Mr McAdams say anything about Israel? Maybe I missed something, but I simply read a critical piece by him on the politics of Belarus – nothing to do with Israel. Neither do I think it fair to infer opinions that an author does not publicly espouse. Why not anser the arguments he poses rather than smearing him by putting words in his mouth he never used?
As to the media publishing lies: do you believe everything you read in the papers? I certainly don’t, because I have been taught to read widely and weigh the situation based on its merits.
That is why I wrote that Mr Palmer runs the risk of insulting his readership’s intelligence. He should stick to the argument and not engage in ad hominems and mud-slinging. Of course, he is free to choose whichever approach he prefers, but this reader cannot take him very seriously if he refuses to address the arguments, which he does not do in any sufficient manner, in my view.
Absolutely. There will be no break from ad hominems, guilt by association, emotional straw men, and inappropriate hysterics every time Lew Rockwell’s name is brought up on this blog in the context of the fairness of one of Palmer’s accusations. Everytime he does this, appeals to logic go nowhere. So instead of wasting time on it, how about a substantive discussion about why a libertarian might not be too enthusiastic about a free market oriented yet Washington affiliated leader in the former soviet block?
Hosting book forums called “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy” and publishing books like “The Rule of Law in the Wake of Clinton: How President Clinton seriously undermined the cornerstone of American democracy — the rule of law,” seem to be a very unconventional way for the Cato Institute of “currying favor with whatever administration is in power.”
You seem to be missing the point. Tom isn’t mentioning that the “Rockwell crowd” is dogmatic and alarmist (although that is also remarkable), but that they openly side with people who are actively anti-liberty. That’s not a dogmatic defense of liberty, but an active betrayal of liberty. That’s a different thing altogether.
A quick Google check tells that McAdams writes for a notoriously anti-semitic publication, Pravda.ru
Read his “How Lukashenko Won” essay, with its remarks on how all of the western media is “lying” and therefore….a part of a conspiracy.
And read the Israel-conspiracy mongering on Antiwar.com (for which he also writes), especially from the likes of Justin Raimondo. It’s all of a piece. You write, “I simply read a critical piece by him on the politics of Belarus.” Come on.
Juan Carlos Hidalgo makes the point effectively that Cato is hardly “currying favor with whatever administration is in power.” That is an easily refuted claim.
Enzige: First of all, I’d be weary to say that *either* the Mises Institute or the Cato Insitute can be judged solely on the basis of the stuff their individuals say.
The Cato Institute, as far as I know and I don’t work there, isn’t a monolithic operation. It’s views are merely the views of the people writing the papers. And there’s often disagreement.
The same can be said for the Mises Institute, though to a lesser degree. It can’t be held responsible for the controversial views of its writers.
But an organization is ultimately the sum of its parts. And while you may see what comes out of Cato as “milquetoasty” I see what comes out of the LvMI as sensationalist and unacademic. Also the Cato Institute doesn’t give air time to bigots.
So while your criticism is, I think, wrong, when you make it I’d just keep in mind that there’s somes subtle division between organization and idea.
Brian Radzinsky makes several good points. One is the one above. The other is the remark that one might be best advised to leave the Mises/Rockwell/Antiwar crowd to the obscurity they so richly deserve. On the other hand, I had mildly a positive impression of at least the Mises Institute (just from the name, I suspect) until I found out from this blog what complete nutters they attract and publish. I was gobsmacked to find out about the supposedly great attractions of the Confederate States of America, the writings of the advocate of “Christian Economics” Gary “Stone them all to Death” North, and so on. This just adds to the list. I’m convinced they’re nutters. But sometimes the best reaction to such people is to ignore them.
I see that there are a number of interesting comments. I’ll print them out and read them carefully this evening and post a response.
The following passage appears on p. 65 of James Bovard’s _Attention Deficit Democracy_:
“The US government pulled out all the stops to help a US-favored candidate win a free and fair election in 2004 in the Ukraine. In the two years prior to the election, the US government spent over $65 million ‘to aid political organizations in Ukraine, paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet US leaders and helping to underwrite exit polls indicating he won a disputed runoff election.'” (The quote within the quote is from an AP report.)
McAdams, Raimondo, and others denounced by Palmer and the Palmerites strongly oppose the expenditure of this $65 million. For this reason, Palmer labels them “Stalinists” and “enemies of liberty.” (The idea that these “Rockwellians” have some sort of general _admiration_ for Yanukovych and his ilk, independent of the US foreign policy role in the region, is ludicrous, about as credible as the view that Rothbard had a warm, personal affection for Stalin; presumably even the Palmerites wouldn’t go that far.) Bovard’s remarks are in the context of a general attack on the National Endowment for Democracy, so I guess that makes Bovard a Stalinist as well. (If only his publisher knew!)
Now, given the praise continually heaped on Yushchenko at this site, we can only conclude that Palmer and the Palmerites support the expenditure of $65 million of US taxpayer funds to get their man elected. (I don’t recall reading a single word of Palmerite criticism for the NED or other uses of US taxpayer funds to support foreign candidate X over candidate Y.)
To sum up: Opposing US government intervention to elect a “pro-liberty” candidate in a foreign election makes one anti-liberty. Supporting such intervention makes one a friend of liberty.
Remind me again, who is the libertarian here?
Bravo, Dmitri! (Or am I still banned?)
So Dmitri, it sounds like you are saying that those affiliated with the Mises institute who don’t completely adore certain Washington-favored politicians in eastern europe are really more opposed to Washington. I agree, I think that that is the proper context in which to understand the majority of these articles on international politics.
In my haste to write a comment I chose my words poorly, so I can understand why you’d say I was missing the point of the post. My mistake. I was also trying to write something with a broader focus than just this item here. I guess I should have made that clearer.
As far as “siding with people who are anti-liberty,” what say you about Jose Pinera?
I don’t know how you might feel about it, but to my mind, Cato’s affiliation with Rupert Murdoch doesn’t improve its libertarian credentials.
Let me get all this straight. The US sends money to various places to help get rid of dictatorships. Some people don’t like the expenditure of tax monies abroad. Therefore, anyone in those places who is oppressed by the dictatorships and who wants to replace them with freedom is … an enemy of freedom? Is that it? Ellennita Muetze Hellmer’s explanation tells us what we want to know. The people who were oppressed by the Nazis and the Soviets were themselves enemies of freedom, because the US spent taxpayers’ money to try to liberate them.
I would like to react to two of your earlier statements which I quote below:
“A quick Google check tells that McAdams writes for a notoriously anti-semitic publication, Pravda.ru. Read his “How Lukashenko Won” essay, with its remarks on how all of the western media is “lying” and therefore….a part of a conspiracy.
And read the Israel-conspiracy mongering on Antiwar.com (for which he also writes), especially from the likes of Justin Raimondo. It’s all of a piece. You write, “I simply read a critical piece by him on the politics of Belarus.” Come on.”
“The other is the remark that one might be best advised to leave the Mises/Rockwell/Antiwar crowd to the obscurity they so richly deserve.”
Firstly, I am never easily convinced by a guilt by association argument. It may well be that Pravda.ru publishes anti-Semitic material but does that make every author who has the odd article published there an anti-Semite? Don’t get me wrong, I do not support any sort of anti-Semitism, but neither do I want to accuse people of that “affliction” who have never shown any hint of anti-Semitism. I cannot see how the piece by Mr McAdams should be rejected on those grounds, because:
1. He does not say anything about Israel, let alone that he writes anything even remotely anti-Semitic.
2. as an occasional author without editorial influence in an outlet that also publishes (and I have to take your word for that; I never really encountered it, but I don’t read it often) anti-Semitic material, his opinions on Belarus and American foreign policy cannot be dismissed, in my view.
Therefore, I am sorry, but I am not convinced by that argument.
On the point of the conspiracy-mongering: aren’t you doing more or less the same when you state that Mr McAdams et al are “all of a piece”? Aren’t you in fact saying that they form a conspiracy to spread another conspiracy, more particularly the idea that Israel is the real foreign policy maker in the US (an idea I have seen published on antiwar.com many times and one that I do not adhere to)?
I picked the second quote to illustrate my impression that there is some sort of “institutional infighting” going on that is responsible for the lack of debate on the issue at hand, which was my original criticism on this site. As a non-American – I am a citizen of “Old Europe”- I have not enough knowledge about these various institutes, so maybe my impression is entirely wrong.
Once more, I’d like to come back to my point: in my view Mr McAdams has written a piece critical of American foreign policy with regard to Belarus. The response by Mr Palmer was not factual but attacking the writer in a way that is childish and insults the intelligence of readers like me. Given that fact, Mr McAdams piece has the upperhand to my mind for I rate an argument (whether I agree with it or not is insignificant here) over a rant. Maybe the lack of a reasoned rebuttal by Mr Palmer is due to the “institutional infighting” I mentioned. If not, than I have to conclude that Mr Palmer has nothing more substantial to say about the subject of Belarus. Which make his opinions, such as they are, not credible, to put it mildly.
On the other hand, if there are more reasoned rebuttals forthcoming I am looking forward to reading those.
whoa whoa whoa there slugger. Let’s just take a deep breath.
Okay, that’s better. Now, go back and read the post. Just the words…
Now, only comment on what is written. To do otherwise is intellectually dishonest and philosophically fallacious (finger wagging).
sorry. my last post is in response to Sandeep’s post directly above the anonymous post
the anonymous post was by me. I forgot to fill in my name. Apologies.
The attack comments about Palmer rest on a simple falsehood. It is simply not true that the McAdams piece is a criticism of US foreign policy. It is a criticism of the Cato Institute and their guest for talking about what is happening in Belarus. McAdams isn’t criticizing US foreign policy. He’s telling everybody to shut up about Europe’s last dictatorship and insisting that all of the criticisms are lies. People, read the McAdams posting and make up your own mind. It’s not a critique of US foreign policy — it’s a defense of a dictator and a demand that other people shut up about him. He writes that There is nothing unlibertarian about criticizing foreign dictatorships just because the US government has also criticized them. He accuses the Cato guests of being ” the loyal adjuncts of the intelligence agencies” and tells us that it is a first principle of libertarianism not to criticize other governments. What is wrong with you people that you don’t see that? McAdams wants to go from not wanting to invade to not wanting to criticize. He’s either an idiot or he thinks his readers are.
Sorry, I kind of garbled that post because I got distracted. It should have read:
The attack comments about Palmer rest on a simple falsehood. It is simply not true that the McAdams piece is a criticism of US foreign policy. It is a criticism of the Cato Institute and their guest for talking about what is happening in Belarus. McAdams isn’t criticizing US foreign policy. He’s telling everybody to shut up about Europe’s last dictatorship and insisting that all of the criticisms are lies. People, read the McAdams posting and make up your own mind. It’s not a critique of US foreign policy — it’s a defense of a dictator and a demand that other people shut up about him. There is nothing unlibertarian about criticizing foreign dictatorships just because the US government has also criticized them. McAdams accuses the Cato guests of being ” the loyal adjuncts of the intelligence agencies” and tells us that it is a “first principle” of libertarianism not to criticize other governments. He calls it non-interventionism, but libertarians favor non-intervention as a foreign policy for government; we don’t say that private people are not allowed even to criticize foreign governments. What is wrong with you people that you don’t see that? McAdams wants to go from not wanting to invade (non-interventionism) to not wanting to criticize. He’s either an idiot or he thinks his readers are.
SL, are you serious? “It is simply not true that the McAdams piece is a criticism of US foreign policy. It is a criticism of the Cato Institute and their guest for talking about what is happening in Belarus.” That’s a bizarre reading of the piece. You think McAdams’s criticism has _nothing to do_ with the US government’s intervention in the Ukraine? He’s just upset that anyone, anywhere, happens to be talking about a dictator he admires? Give me a break. You’re ripping the comments totally out of context. Read anything by Raimondo, McAdams, etc. on Ukraine and it’s obvious they’re upset with what they (rightly or wrongly) perceive to be a US government policy of coercive regime change, “spreading democracy,” and all that. To claim that they simply like Yanukovych, and are upset that someone’s criticizing him, is preposterous.
Whoops, I should obviously have written “Belarus or Ukraine” and “Lukashenko or Yanukovych,” rather than referring simply to Ukraine and Yanukovych. My bad. Most of the back-and-forth on this topic during the last year has been over Ukraine, not Belarus, and I had the former stuck in my mind.
Yes, I am serious. The McAdams essay is an attack on the Cato Institute for hosting critics of the government of Belarus because to do so somehow “violates” a principle of non-intervention. “In adopting verbatim the rhetoric of the neo-con/Trotskyite “regime-changers”, a once-libertarian beltway think-tank has abandoned completely even the pretense of any affection for the libertarian “first principle” of non-interventionism.” Because they are critical of a dictatorship they have “abandoned completely even the pretense of any affection for the libertarian “first principle” of non-interventionism”? Give me a break.
SL, you must be new here. This “debate” has been going on here for many weeks. I suppose if you read McAdams’s words literally, ignoring completely the context, you could conclude that McAdams thinks that criticizing a dictatorship somehow violates the non-intervention axiom. That would be an absurdly literalist reading of McAdams’s comment. I don’t know McAdams at all, but I’d be surprised if he were really 100% ignorant of libertarian doctrine. (I suppose you think the same for Raimondo, Rockwell, etc.)
It baffles me that people on both sides of this “debate” can’t understand that these are disagreements over MEANS, not ENDS. I’m doubt seriously that anyone at either the Mises Institute nor the Cato Institute is literally a statist, that they’re starry-eyed over some Stalinist dictator, or whatever. The question is not whether or not liberty is a good thing, but HOW to achieve it. My charitable reading of Palmer is that he think’s it’s OK to violate the non-intervention axiom “a little” — i.e., by spending US taxpayer funds to support a particular side in a foreign election — in order to secure greater liberty in that nation and/or the US. A charitable reading of McAdams or Raimondo or Rockwell is that they don’t think the Bush Administration really supports liberty at home or abroad, and that attempts to influence foreign elections in favor of the pro-US candidate are, in the long run, harmful to liberty.
We can all disagree over these strategic and tactical issues — in a non-libertarian world, which government policies are the least bad, which non-libertarian groups are worth building alliances with, and so on — but do we have to call each other nasty names and make downright silly accusations that this or that person isn’t a “real” libertarian?
I have read some of the other essays and I am familiar with the “debate.” Defenders of lewrockwell.com and their network say first that you can’t read anything else by the authors or people in their network to draw conclusions about their views. Then, when you focus on the one essay that started this thread, they say that you have to read all their other writings and put it in context.
I have read McAdams essay and it is very clear just what he is saying. Criticisms of Lukashenko are “lies.” Inviting people to criticize him is a violation of libertarian first principles. I’ve also read his other writings and the Raimondo writings and I get the picture that they are supporters of those guys, including Putin and Lukashenko and the other Eastern European authoritarians.
So if you read the essay itself you’re distorting it by not putting it into context and if you read the essay and put it in context, you’re distorting it by not focusing on the essay itself. It’s the intellectual version of the game “heads I win, tails you lose.”
It’s a bit late, so I’ll sign off. I’ll just note that I find it hard to imagine anyone being convinced by the defenders of the Rockwell/McAdams/Raimondo (LRC/MisesInst/Antiwar.com, or whatever else we should call them) approach. That McAdams fellow is attacking anyone who would criticize a dictatorship and insists that all of the critics (ALL of them) are liars. Yeah, right.
I’m busy working on a paper on “Globalization and Good Governance” for a conference in Portugal next week, so I’m a bit too busy to comment on these items right now. I’ll try to go through all of the comments above before I turn in and see if I can add something more to the discussion.
yeah right indeed. You offer no factual criticism of the issue. Why whould I take you seriously? Are you simply a paid hack? If not, give some real serious criticism.
The same goes for Mr Palmer.
it is very nice to hear that you are going to talk in a country that is not yours about globalisation. Maybe you should not. Meanwhile, if you add anything to the discussion, could you say something about Belarus? If you actually know something about it, that is.
Many thanks in advance.
Well, thank you Martin (or whichever Justin Raimondo sock puppet is posting as “Martin” and also posted the last two comments anonymously within a few minutes of each other from the same IP address as “Martin”). It’s a shame that your English has suffered so much in just a few short hours. Anyway, yes, Portugal is “a country that is not [mine],” whatever that means. As a matter of fact, I might even mention Belarus. It is, after all, a country very little touched by globalization and afflicted with a tyrannical Soviet-style government.
Wow. What a hornet’s nest you’ve stirred up, Dr. Palmer. If I were you I’d avoid such people, although I understand why you feel it important to warn people about the way that antilibertarian “nutters”, as Sandeep calls them, are posing as libertarians. Ellennita, in what sounds like an attempt at a half-hearted defense, admits that the people you have unmasked “favor brutal dictators over more freedom oriented leaders who are unfortunately affiliated with Washington.” But in what way is Jaroslav Romanchuk “affiliated with Washington”? I have googled him and cannot find any reason to think that he is “Washington affiliated.” So why attack him? Because he is speaking in Washington? According to what I could find out about Daniel McAdams, he lives there, or at least works for Congress. So is he “Washington affiliated”?
The biggest irony is that while indeed there is no affiliation between Romanchuk and Washington, he has however, written a letter in Prof. Hoppe’s defense and has been favorably (at least in the past) discussed on the Mises blog:
From what it looks like Romanchuk has a history of being an authentic libertarian and a defender of freedom (in more than just a name only). His only offence against the Rockwellites seems to be to have spoken at a Cato conference.
I think these people simply hate the United States of America (as opposed to the Confederate States of America) more than they love freedom. That is the only logical conclusion.
It’s late, I’ve made substantial progress on my presentation (but not enough), and I’ve tried to read through all of the comments above. I don’t have a lot to add to what’s been said, other than that it’s clear that Mr. McAdams, who devotes a great deal of his efforts on LewRockwell.com to defending truly creepy dictators and authoritarian strongmen, has, indeed, smeared Jaroslav Romanchuk for the sole reason that he is opposed to the dictator who rules his country. It’s also clear to me from the arguments offered by the defenders of the Rockwell approach (hate those who work to change governments that are criticized by the U.S.), that they cannot manage a decent defense. As others have noted, they insist that you limit yourself to what is in one text, then they insist that you have to read one text in light of others. They bring up red herrings to take readers off the main trail. They insist that Rockwell not be judged by the fact that he recruits utter crackpots for his “webzine” and blog (the vicious anti-Semite and racist Bob Wallace – http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/023978.php ; Jeremy Sapienza of Antiwar.com, notorious for his wish that all U.S. troops be killed; Gary North of stoning heretics, disobedient children, and homosexuals to death fame; and on and on).
If anyone desperately needs to post another comment, send it to me (with whatever name you want to have it under) and I’ll post it. But for now, I’m closing this thread. I’ve let the Rockwellites have their say. Reasonable readers can read the attack on Romanchuk, the frantic defenses of dictatorship offered by supposed “libertarians,” the truly over-the-top hatred of the United States of America (hated for defeating the Confederate States of America, that haven of freedom), and make up their own minds how far from any concern with liberty, that is, how far from libertarianism, the Rockwell Cult has moved.