Lew Rockwell is deeply grounded in Austrian-school economics, which makes his writing about economic-financial issues illuminating and powerful. He's a market anarchist, meaning he thinks (without good proof, in my opinion) that a market for justice must present a variety of competing "defense companies", as contrasted with the "Nozick idea" (not original with Nozick) that competition would soon lead to the formation of a natural monopoly, a federation of companies committed to upholding certain laws relating both to procedure and justice. Finally--and this is a really serious intellectual defect--Rockwell is a Christian libertarian, given to publishing tracts on LRC written by various associates that challenge Darwinian natural selection theory with notions about Divine Selection, based on the misguided notion that logical problems connected with peripheral issues in Evolution refute Darwin's insights, leaving only God's Plan as the "logical" explanation. His Christianity also leads him to neglect important inquiry into the foundations of ethics, and to promoting Rothbard's The Ethics of Liberty as supplying all the answers one needs in this realm.
Rockwell was a long-time friend and confidante of Rothbard's, and the two of them set out to build the von Mises Institute to proselytise Mises' economics, a realm intimately familiar to both of them. After Rothbard's death, the Institute began promoting Rothbard's economics and his ideas relating to ethics, politics, history, and war. Rothbard does at times evoke the feeling that one is reading a left-winger, mainly for two reasons.
First, he was opposed to aggressive military adventuring by the US (and other states), so he opposed all the US wars from the Civil War forward. But unless one believes that aggressive war is somehow good, or that Rothbard was wrong about history--as for example, about the history of WWII--then Rothbard was no left-winger, in this sense. The Right in American politics was dramatically transformed in the Twentieth century, from consistent opposition to military adventuring, to persistent support for aggresive war making. So, because the right in American politics shifted, the Old Right today appears left-wing. (But, of course, mostly the left promotes wars of its own liking, as for example WWI and WWII, Vietnam and Korea. Only a strain of left-wing thinking, of the religious left, tends to usually oppose US wars.)
Second, Rothbard seems left-wing, because, to an important extent, he neglects philosophical groundwork in his analysis, while always emphasizing the building of poltical coalitions for the advancement of individual liberty. So his followers include a lot of Christian libertarians from LewRockwell site, as well as Austrian economics "agnostics" about anything philosophical. He wrote a book on ethics that is second rate, that focused on deriving poltical ethical norms without bothering to explain the source and nature of moral principles. He hated Rand, for reasons about which one can only speculate. In fact, my impression is that Rothbard routinely attacked and denigrated as immoral anyone who differed with his ideas about any aspect of politics.
George Reisman was an early associate of Rothbard's, who, together with his boyhood pal Leonard Liggio--began attending von Mises' famous NYU seminars on economics at the age of sixteen! Their first face-to-face encounter with Mises involved a ploy, in which they went to Mises' home to sell him a subscription to the Freeman Magazine; but, of course, they only wanted to see their hero in person. When they asked if they might attend his seminar on economics, Mises said he would permit their attendance, but "you have to be quiet." Reisman studied under Mises for many years, acquired his doctoral degree through Mises, and, along with Rothbard, became Mises' most accomplished disciple. Reisman also was a follower of Rand's, of course; and his book Capitalism integrates Rand's insights about philosophy with Mises' economics. As a college student under Rothbard's guidance, Reisman was a market "anarchist". However, listening to Rand's arguments about the subject changed Reisman's thinking, and he gradually moved out of Rothbard's orbit.
Capitalism is the greatest book on economics ever written, in my (somewhat unqualified) opinion. Reisman is an orginal and powerful thinker, who has made important orginal contributions to the science of economics, including in the area of price theory and competition; and in properly interpreting and resurrecting the contributions of important classical economists such as JS Mill and David Ricardo, to Austrian economic theory.
I've never read Reisman's ideas on foreign policy, except that he wrote a paragraph or two critical of Rothbard's foreign policy ideas in Capitalism. Reisman has written that he considers von Mises, along with Rand, to be the greatest defender of individual liberty in history.
(Edited by Mark Humphrey on 1/26, 4:20pm)
(Edited by Mark Humphrey on 1/26, 4:21pm)