This interview was originally published by the Rutherford Institute.
John W. Whitehead: There is no end to discussion of John Locke’s impact on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence lists our inalienable rights to ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’ and the Constitution creates a relatively strong central government limited nonetheless by our fundamental freedoms. And so, Americans generally accept that our government is designed to protect our freedoms and natural rights. Llewellyn Harrison ‘Lew’ Rockwell, Jr. challenges that assumption. An avowed anarcho-capitalist, he rejects statism entirely, believing that society would be better able to protect our freedoms if there were no government at all.
The founder and chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a libertarian organization in Auburn, Alabama, Lew Rockwell is also a prolific author and editor who regularly publishes articles denouncing government intervention in markets, war, American imperialism, and the police state. His new book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, he proclaims that the state need not always have the powers it presently retains. He was also Ron Paul’s congressional chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, is Vice President of the Center for Libertarian Studies in Burlingame, California, and runs a libertarian website, LewRockwell.com. Mr. Rockwell took some time from his busy schedule to speak to constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and OldSpeak about his new book, his views on government, and his advice for Americans who want to know what they can do to rein in their runaway government.
JW: What is Anarcho-Capitalism?
Lew Rockwell: Anarcho-Capitalism is a term coined by the late Murray N. Rothbard. Murray coined that term to talk about an anarchism that would be free market and capitalist. So what is anarchism? The dictionary definition means without a government, without rulers. The secondary meaning in the dictionary is chaos and terrible trouble.
Now are we supposed to believe that after the horrendous crimes of government in the 20th century – after the mind-blowingly evil and monstrous crimes of the Communists, the Nazis, the Fascists, the British and the Americans and lots of other people too, and the wars.
JW: Not to mention the carnage and the death. Imperialism is what you are talking about.
LR: Yes. Now are we supposed to believe that the real danger, the real horror, would be to have no government? I mean just look: 100 million people were killed [in the 20th century], not counting the wars. If you count the wars the government caused and participated in, it is more than 200 million innocents killed. That does not even include the soldiers killed. It is quite an astounding record. We are supposed to believe that the real danger, the real horror, would be to have no government?
Anarcho-capitalists would argue that people don’t need a ruling class. Most of us in our private lives are not interested in sticking a gun in our next door neighbor’s ribs and demanding his wallet. Even if the cops would all but disappear, we wouldn’t do that.
The vast majority of us and the vast majority of our encounters – commercial, familial, whatever – everything is done voluntarily. There is no violence or threat of violence. That, of course, is government. Government is violence and the threat of violence.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 02, 2014.