Tangled Webs of Deception: Tom DiLorenzo

It gets more difficult to follow the absurdities at the Lew Rockwell Cult (LRC) and their spinoffs.

Thomas DiLorenzo, one of America’s finest, um, scholars, remembered something (a meeting of Cato scholars and speakers at a Moscow conference with Vladimir Putin), but was not able to get the link “to work.” So here’s what he wrote:

August 16, 2008
Cato “Hearts” Putin?
Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo at August 16, 2008 11:24 AM

It would seem so, from a photograph on the May/June 2004 Policy Report featuring Ed Crane and other Kochtopusians sitting around with Putin in Moscow. You can find it online by Googling “Putin and Cato in Moscow.” I couldn’t get the link to work, unfortunately. Crane must have had it airbrushed, kind of like the Soviets used to do to their “official photos.” I wonder where the Kochtopus stands on the hostilities in Georgia?

(Google cache, at least temporarily here; screenshot: here.) Then, after his equally brilliant colleague Stephen Kinsella located it, DiLorenzo….airbrushed his own oddly paranoid post and deleted the reference to not being able to locate it, a bit of incompetence on which his mind fastened as evidence that the photo had been “airbrushed.” It’s all so oddly amusing, not the least for mixing so much pure strangeness into one tiny paragraph (“Kochtopus,” a phrase from the last of the prophets, Murray Rothbard, from the 1980s, but a puzzling reference today; classical liberal thinkers referred to as “Kochtopusians sitting around with Putin in Moscow,” evidently referring to Grigory Marchenko of Khazakstan, Cato president Ed Crane, energy analyst Daniel Yergin, Andrei Illarionov of Russia, Kakha Bendukidze [then a businessman in Russia, now in Georgia], Jose Pinera of Chile, Mart Laar of Estonia; the reference to “airbrushing,” in a post that was then “airbrushed,” etc., etc.).

The Ravings of the Rockwell Cult On Russia & Chechnya

Since the Rockwell Cult has been openly jubilant about Russian imperialism and the invasion of neighboring countries by the Russian hegemon, it seems likely that some have suggested that that it blows their cover (claiming to be libertarians, rather than crackpot, racist, neo-Confederate cultists). To try to scrabble back some libertarian cover, the chief priest of the Cult, Lew Rockwell himself, had to post a denunciation of Russian policy in Chechnya, which does not sit well with their earlier endorsements of brutal policies to suppress the Chechens; as loony linkmaster Justin Raimondo so eagerly did. (Quick: get a screenshot before it, too, disappears down the memory hole.) As Raimondo, who seems to melt at the mention of the names of Eastern European strongmen, pointed out of an attack on a train, “That this augurs the beginning of a new round of attacks on Vladimir Putin’s Russia â?? and not only by Chechen separatists and other al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups â?? is a prediction hardly fraught with risk. A lot of people have it in for Holy Mother Russia, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn pointed out the other day in a rare television interview, and the Chechens are the least of it.” There you have it, Chechen separatists are all terrorists and are to be counted among “other al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups.” (Something made true by Russian policy, not by the initial leaders of Chechen independence, who were moderates, such as General Dudayev.) And they all have it in for “Holy Mother Russia.”

The Final Irony

The final irony: the meeting with Putin included former Estonian prime minister Mart Laar explaining to him (a very unwelcome thing to do to a Tsar) that his policy in Chechnya was disastrous and immoral. And, in addition to Mart, the other most visible person at the table is Kakha Bendukidze, the current head of the State Chancellery of Georgia. To his left is Andrei Illarionov, whose views on Chechen independence were well known and publicly articulated even when he was working in the Kremlin (and whose views on Putin’s policies in Georgia are also clear enough).

But actually making a case for freedom is soooo much less satisfying than writing blog posts from obscure little towns (which they proudly call the “new Vienna,” minus, of course, the intellectual life, the cultural life, the interesting people, etc.)

Update: Another Rockwell post down the memory hole because it was so unhinged even Lew Rockwell wanted it taken down. And that’s saying a lot!

Can You Spell “Bigot”?

Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo at 11:35 AM
An emailer sent me a hilarious snippet from the personal blog of Cato’s vice president for international junketeering, hissy fitting, and slandering in which the psychotic one attacks this Web site once again by declaring that “there are no interesting people” in Auburn Alabama. Waaaaaaaa! In addition, says the sick one, there’s no “culture” there, either. (He’s never been to Auburn, of course).

Auburn is one of my favorite spots and yes, there is a culture there, but, admittedly, not one that would be agreeable to the “urbane, cosmopolitan” [T]Reason , magazine crowd, which celebrates the likes of Dennis Rodman, Madonna, Larry Flynt, and a book author who writes about having sex with animals as its cultural icons. D.C. and Hollywood are much more in tune with such cultural depravity.

Cached version here (for a while at least) and screen shot here.

Thomas DiLorenzo The “Historian”

“Sex with animals”…. oooohh-kay. Whatever. But regardless of Mr. D’s other interests, the post is a good example of Mr. DiLorenzo deploying his skills as a “historian.” For example, my statement that Auburn does not have the culture of Vienna (circa 1910) is the same as saying it has “no culture.” And “there are no interesting people” (using real quotation marks, too) is how he “quotes” my mockery of the comparison of Auburn, Alabama to Vienna “which they proudly call the ‘new Vienna,’ minus, of course, the intellectual life, the cultural life, the interesting people, etc.” That man has a reputation for historical reliability, alright. (And, of course, it’s hard to imagine any city in the world today with the intellectual magnificence of Vienna at its peak, and even for many years after. If New York is not close, what of Auburn?)

61 Responses to “Tangled Webs of Deception: Tom DiLorenzo”

  1. GMU student

    I never met Cato’s Edward Crane or the LvMI’s Lew Rockwell. I have however read things they’ve written. I’m sure I would enjoy meeting Crane, having some beers with him and talking economics and other ideas with him. I’m equally sure that I would not enjoy meeting Rockwell. Rockwell seems to me to be too angry and a man confident that he and his cultists are chosen people under seige by a world of inadequate Austrians, Kochtopusians and acolytes of Mr. Palmer.

  2. Anonymous

    “I guess that the Jews were not Germans, so they didn’t count!”

    By 1939, Hitler probably had only killed hundreds, including Jews. The Holocaust as we know it hadn’t begun yet.

  3. Francis-co

    GMU – I really could care less where you go to school, if you’d like to have dinner with Ed Crane or Rockwell, and even whether you find Rothbard’s work distasteful.

    Such issues completely sidestep the original argument, which is to say whether or not the Mises Institute has an authentic lineage, whatever that lineage may be, to Ludwig von Mises himself.

    Tom Palmer, venting in his continuous state of feud with the Mises Institute people, has claimed that they do not. He has likened their connection to Mises with that of Lyndon LaRouche to Adam Smith, has flippantly and without evidence asserted that Mises would have been “appalled” by some of the positions of the Mises crowd, and has put himself forward as some sort of defender of the “true” legacy of von Mises from what he clearly sees as imposters in the Mises Institute.

    I offered three counterarguments to Palmer on these contentions, and not one has been satisfactorily answered. I’ll restate them out of courtesy and convenience to you.

    1. The Mises Institute has a connection to Mises himself through his wife Margit, who gave her blessing to its creation and was active in its leadership for over a decade before she died. To date the only answer to this has been the patently offensive and distinctly un-libertarian suggestion that Margit must have been a feeble-minded senile old lady who was being exploited by Rockwell in denial of her free will of association.

    2. The Mises Institute has a documented intellectual lineage to Mises through his students in the Austrian school’s so-called “fifth generation.” The most direct of these influences was Rothbard, though it also includes other distinguished 5th generation Austrians such as Israel Kirzner, who evidently does not share Mr. Palmer’s opinion of the Mises Institute. To date the only answer to this argument has been to sidestep it by insulting Rothbard’s eccentricities and glossing over Kirzner due to a flap he had with Hoppe at FEE.

    3. Mises himself had a friendly and supportive relationship with, and held cabinet ministry positions in, the quasi-theocratic Rerum Novarum-based corporatist governments of Chancellors Seipel and Dollfuss in Austria. This suggests that he would have been anything but “appalled” by the Mises Institute for doing things that Palmer deems insufficiently critical of non-democracies, or perhaps too friendly with Hapsburg Austria. To date this argument has gone completely unanswered.

  4. Francis-co

    Oh, and for the record to any who may be wondering, Palmer is once again attempting to block me from commenting here.

    The sole provocation for him doing so seems to be his frustrations with me for committing the “sin” of exposing the vulnerabilities of his silly feud with Rockwell.

    I don’t dispute his property right to do whatever he wants with his personal website. But his oft-professed devotion to the exchange of idea is in fact being put forth in a plainly deceptive manner. Far from it, he does not desire the exchange of ideas he purports; he only (briefly) tolerates mild dissent then silences anything that becomes an annoyance by calling attention to weaknesses in his positions.

    Furthermore, he is engaged in an act of pure hypocrisy considering the amount of space he devotes to chastising the Mises crowd for editing their blog posts, allegedly stifling dissent, and the sort.

    Fortunately their are many ways to get around IP blocks. And lest any of this disappear “down the memory hole” as Palmer is so fond of saying, he should also know he is not the only one who knows how to use screen captures.

  5. Francis-co

    Also, GMU, I think it takes some degree of self delusion to suggest that either the Cato Institute or the Mises Institute is taken seriously in the real world. Our government in practice is so plainly removed from even the most basic principles of libertarian government that any libertarian organization’s quest for influence is automatically confined to the extreme periphery of the policy sphere.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop Cato from trying to be the biggest fish in the smallest pond. And at that they do excel…

  6. GMU student


    I wasn’t complaining about Murray Rothbard’s eccentricities. I do not care about these. I was complaining about Rothbard’s scholarship, which is largely a joke and became more of a joke as he aged. Even the most dull witted neoclassical economist of the kind that Rothbard liked to poke fun at probably did less to harm the cause of economic understanding than Rothbard did.

  7. Anonymous

    Francisco, if it’s who I think it is, is the nuttiest of the nuts. But there’s a kernel of truth (for once) in this:

    “Also, GMU, I think it takes some degree of self delusion to suggest that either the Cato Institute or the Mises Institute is taken seriously in the real world. Our government in practice is so plainly removed from even the most basic principles of libertarian government that any libertarian organization’s quest for influence is automatically confined to the extreme periphery of the policy sphere.”

    Devil his due, stopped clock and all that…

  8. NotCrazy,

    I live in Auburn and attend Auburn University am I am hardly a fan of the Mises’ Institute or the LRC but most of the ludicrous rantings about the Cato Institute come from the LRC website, not Mises.org. Both think tanks (rather, one think tank and a nut house) have mostly kept the feud away from the official websites.

    Outside of the writings in Austrian economics, I believe you will find very few people in Auburn who actually agree with the writings and positions you find at LRC. The few scholars at Auburn who openly associate with the Mises Institute (Roger Garrison, Roderick Long, David Laband, etc.) only offer comment on economics or philosophy and Roderick Long has often served as a moderating voice in the Cato – LvMI feud.

    Actually, you will only find one true Austrian (Roger Garrison) in Auburn’s entire economics departments, although, this may have to do with the idiotic decision of Auburn’s Board of Trustees to kill the PhD program.

  9. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, I managed to get back online here in Malaysia.

    There’s been a lot of back and forth and many interesting points made, and so I’m going to close this thread off.

    Thank you, Billy, for your comments. I regret that some may have read my final post comment above as an attack on “the people of Auburn,” which it certainly was not. I know and have worked with a few of the people you mention and I respect them. I was making an oblique reference to the remarks of Rockwell that Auburn had become “the new Vienna,” as if his presence there should be equated with the presence of such figures as Mach, Freud, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Neurath, Popper, Musil, Mises, Hayek, and others associated with the intellectual life of Vienna.

    I would point out, however, that there is no “Cato – LvMI feud,” as was pointed out above (NotCrazy at August 20, 2008 3:40 PM). You cannot find any mention of the Mises Institute of Auburn, Alabama in any Cato publications. (You can find the Mises Institute of Minsk, Belarus, but they have been denounced by the Cultists in Auburn for opposing the dictator of Belarus, whom the Auburn Cultists hold in high esteem for being so tidy: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/008051.html .) All one can find is my humble personal blog. That’s it. The occasional spare time writings of someone who cares about liberty and doesn’t like to see it dragged through the mud. But that’s it. To have a “feud” between two organizations, they both have to be fighting. But one isn’t.

    For Anonymous, I should point out that the Hoppe comparison of Hitler to Stalin, with Hitler looking much better, because he didn’t kill his “own” (scare qutoes) people, overlooks that, in addition to ruining “the businesses and careers of hundreds of thousands of German citizen,” the National Socialists had set up forced labor camps for, well, for people who were not considered Germans. That is a bit more than ruining their businesses and careers. The mass program of total extermination, which Hoppe seems to consider a detail of the war, had not yet started, but the expropriations, the humiliations, the arrests, the deportations, and the slave labor were well underway. I recommend Goetz Aly’s books (and others) on the topic. Hoppe was papering over the crimes of the National Socialists, as you would expect from such a person, who is so close to extremist German neo-Nazis such as Junge Freiheit. (He told a Scandinavian friend of mine many years ago that my friend should be proud that his grandfather, who had cooperated with the Nazis, had done so, as that was the right thing to do at the time. My friend was horrified, as you can imagine.)

    Lastly, “Francisco,” you have posted a great many posts in my comment sections, an infinite multiple of those that are allowed to be posted on Lew Rockwell’s site when he writes or posts really strange articles about me or about those with whom I work (or about anyone else whom they slime). And you’ve also posted really astonishingly bizarre remarks on other sites alleging various things (notably, that I had been “behind” the discovery of Ron Paul’s ugly newsletters, which was false, and that a part of that alleged involvement was having an affair of some sort with the journalist who did, all based on something you call “social networking theory”). So I have a limited tolerance for your personal quirks and obsessions; your strategy of posting long points over and over to make the comment section too long for people to wade through needs to be curtailed occasionally. I figured your strategy out, so from now on, if you post over two paragraphs at a time, I will just delete them.

    As to the issue of lineage, get a grip. The abuse of Mrs. Mises by the Institute has been a subject of discussion for some years; she was an elegant lady who was very advanced in years and not actively involved in the activities of Rockwell, especially when he began to delve more deeply into the fever swamps of the extreme right, and then the weirdness of endorsing Eastern European post-Communist dictators. Chicago Student compares the issues you raise — quite rightly — to a matter of apostolic succession. That’s for religion, not for social science or political philosophy. I agree entirely. So why care about the name? Because it’s the name of a great man who would have recoiled in horror from the racism and bigotry there. His involvement in peripheral roles in various Austrian governments (partly to keep out the Nazis and really extremist anti-Semites — I hope you know at least a little of what happened at that time) is not comparable to being in favor of reviving the Confederacy, mocking Rosa Parks (yes, that was especially ugly. ( http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/026647.php )

    So, Adios for now. I have a meeting shortly with some Malaysian libertarians. Cheers!

    P.S. A quick correction to the anonymous comment posted at 2:46 PM: I did not refuse “to support immediate withdrawal from Iraq for several years.” I supported a clear withdrawal plan and said that articulating one, with clear deadlines, would be far better than just a mad dash to the exits. Ron Paul also supported a clear withdrawal plan, not merely a helter skelter retreat. Unfortunately, George Bush doesn’t ask my advice much, and our troops are still there. Once the elections were held and a new government set up, which was a responsibility of the US government under international law, the US should have begun its withdrawal. So, for a year, I called for the US to articulate a plan to withdraw. The commentator’s remark suggests I supported an occupation for several years, rather than that for a year I called for the US to set out a withdrawal plan. Those are two very, very different positions and the description given of my view is dishonest.