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A Word of Thanks, Lew

December 14, 2017 in Economics

By Jeff Deist


By: Jeff Deist

Many Mises.org readers know that Lew Rockwell, founder of the Mises Institute and quiet benefactor to countless individuals in libertarian circles over the decades, continues to recover from a recent back injury. While the episode has not quelled his enthusiasm for liberty, recovery is no picnic.

Apparently medicine remains in the Dark Ages when it comes to backs, especially lower backs. Some treatments are sketchy and unreliable, cortisone injections provide only fleeting benefit, pain management is fraught with nausea and other nasty side effects, and surgical options portend Armageddon. All that said, Lew is in great hands with innovators at Emory University (yes, xenophobes, we have wonderful doctors down South) and feeling much better. A procedure performed earlier this week appears to have yielded tremendous benefit, and we expect Lew back at 100% very soon.

My point in writing this is twofold: first, to update friends and supporters of the Institute on Lew’s progress, and second to remind all of us of the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe him.

Let me risk Lew’s wrath by sharing a few personal details about him.

Few people know that his much older brother was killed as a young pilot during World War II—by friendly fire. The family never fully recovered, of course, and the event instilled a deep antiwar sentiment in Lew as a boy even though he could not fully grasp the depth of the tragedy and his parents' grief. And while he grew up as a Taft and later a Goldwater conservative, Lew soured on the GOP during the Nixon era and dismissed it as a hopeless and even malevolent force.

Lew and Mardi Rockwell are adoptive parents to a wonderful special needs daughter, who came into the world lacking the devoted parental care she would need. It was Ron Paul who brought her to Lew’s attention, and with his medical partner, facilitated everything.

I’m always puzzled when Lew is attacked as a “right winger,” especially by libertarians. This is a charge made by those who insist on attaching a left-cultural component onto political libertarianism, and thus find Lew’s commitment to his Catholic faith and the natural rights tradition suspicious if not disqualifying. But political liberty is about state power, not extra-libertarian cultural preferences. Lew’s America would allow any and all voluntary social arrangements; that he would not endorse all of them is beside the point.

As mentioned above, his antiwar …read more


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