This week on the Ron Paul Liberty Report, Ron Paul discussed with guest Lew Rockwell their many years working to advance liberty, as well as their shared optimism for the future. For people new to libertarian ideas, the engaging conversation is a good starting point for obtaining a feel for the fight for liberty in America since the 1970s and an understanding of the contributions made by Paul and Rockwell in that fight. For anyone brought down by the relentless advance of leviathan government, watching the interview may provide a jolt of assurance that there is hope for the cause of liberty.
Many people are familiar with Rockwell because of his work as the chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, or because of his much-visited news and commentary website lewrockwell.com. But, before all that, Rockwell was Paul’s chief of staff in the House of Representatives. In the interview Paul and Rockwell discuss their first meeting in the 1970s. Also addressed in the interview are Rockwell becoming seminal Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises’ editor at a young age and later working in Paul’s House of Representatives office.
Looking back at his time working for Paul in the House, Rockwell relates Paul’s “steadfastness” in reaction to demands for more government intervention. Rockwell provides an example from when President Ronald Reagan attempted to lobby Paul to support increasing military spending:
Ronald Reagan once called you to try to get you to vote for military spending. Despite Reagan’s reputation, he wasn’t, of course, lobbying you for less spending; he was lobbying you for more spending, especially military spending to kill people. You didn’t budge. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t twist your arm. Your arm was untwistable. This was true of Newt Gingrich. It was true of all the Republican leaders — the big guys in the Republican Party in the House and the Senate, otherwise in the country. They couldn’t make you do the wrong thing. So, I’ve always thought, that’s the way a man should be; we should all strive to try to be a Ron Paul.
Asked by Paul to “compare where the freedom movement was in the ‘70s compared to today,” Rockwell responds that he thinks there has been “huge progress.” While Rockwell notes that the media and the government are full of “bad guys,” “liars,” and “cheats,” he says that people can now on the internet bypass all of that and seek out news on websites such as ronpaulinstitute.org. While on the surface we see the growth of menacing government powers, Rockwell explains that there is great reason for optimism, stating:
You would absolutely get the impression that we’re sunk, that the bad guys have won everything, they control everything. But, actually, underneath that — especially among young people — and Ron you have been the most powerful reason for this, there is a huge difference, huge progress. I remember so strongly back the last time you ran for president the Pew Research people did a poll of young people who supported you, and they wanted to know what was the key issue. And in those days you were being demeaned as ‘oh, [the young people] just want to smoke pot.’ So it turned out the key issue for young people was war and peace. They were against the wars. They wanted peace. And that’s why they loved you.
One way Paul and Rockwell continue to work together to advance liberty is through the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity where Paul is the chairman and Rockwell is an Advisory Board member. Paul is also a member, with Rockwell, of the Mises Institute Board of Directors.
Watch the complete Ron Paul Liberty Report interview here:
At a Mises Institute event in November of last year, Paul further explored “a tremendous growth in the ideas of liberty” over the last thirty years and Paul’s reasons for optimism that “the militarism of big government is coming to an end.” You may read about and watch that speech here.
At the Ron Paul Liberty Report’s YouTube page you can find many episodes of the show, including episodes featuring fascinating interviews with guests including Jacob Hornberger, Michael Scheuer, and Peter Van Buren.
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