While the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world became enormously wealthy by kissing the boots of the neocon businessmen who have monopolized the talk radio industry in America there was one "old Right" voice of freedom that did not waver: Ron Smith of WBAL Radio in Baltimore. When the neocons lied the nation into the senseless and unconstitutional war in Iraq in 2003, cheered on by conservative chickenhawks like Limbaugh and Hannity, Ron Smith remained "the voice of reason," as he is known in Baltimore, by opposing the war. (Unlike these chickenhawks, Ron Smith joined the Marines as a teenager).
For opposing the war Ron quickly lost 40 percent of his audience, but stuck to his guns and continued to oppose the war over the airwaves. The heroic management of WBAL Radio stood by Ron, and it paid off: nearly all of the audience returned once it became glaringly obvious that Ron was right about the war all along, and that the entire nation had been neo-conned (and continues to be).
I first met Ron Smith in the early u201890s when I moved to Baltimore and he invited me to join him on his radio program to talk about the free market, Austrian School of economics. He called me the "Minister of Economic Truth," which I thought was hilarious in light of the fact that the totalitarian nightmare of the Soviet Union was still a fresh memory in the minds of many Americans. Every year since then, Ron has invited me on the show on occasion to talk about markets, capitalism, interventionism, the evils of Maryland politics and politicians, my books, my LewRockwell.com articles, and more.
I run a lecture series at Loyola University Maryland and have arranged for many of my speakers to appear on Ron' show. These have included Congressman Ron Paul, Tom Woods, Yuri Maltsev, John Lott, Gene Epstein of Barron's, and many other voices of freedom. The very first guest who I recommended and who Ron interviewed was the late Murray Rothbard. Murray appeared on Ron's show in the early u201890s to make the case against the Fed. I recall Ron saying to me that Murray was brilliant, but really did not have much of a radio voice! Anyone who knew Murray would agree.
In addition to educating his audiences about markets and the evils of intervention for some thirty years, Ron Smith has been a powerful voice in defense of constitutionalism, especially the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. I have never heard a more articulate and educated defender of the Second Amendment on any other radio or television program.
He has also been fearless in his critiques of the totalitarian-minded censors who have turned much of higher education into an Orwellian farce of political correctness. When the "multicultural" Marxist president of Loyola College maliciously libeled Professor Walter Block for daring to present a public lecture in which he challenged some of the superstitions of academic feminism (the university president's academic "specialty"), Ron invited Professor Block and me to spend a total of three hours on his show to respond to such bullying.
The academic Left has so monopolized the university world that such people routinely assume that they can libel and smear any and all dissenters to their Official Leftist Dogma by simply calling them vile-sounding names. Ron Smith enabled Walter Block and me to force these intellectual and moral frauds to pay a very heavy price for their bullying, for once. (I had university alumni writing me to say such things as, "after hearing this, I'm giving that $50,000 donation to my church instead of giving it to Loyola College").
When a despicable, serpentine political hack named Congressman Lacy Clay (D-Banksters) libeled me as a supposed member of a "hate group" for my writing and speaking in favor of the traditional, Jeffersonian ideas of decentralized government, nullification, and secession, Ron immediately invited me on his show to respond to the sleaze. ("You've been favorably quoted by a Web site called Dump D.C.!" the congress critter hysterically and indignantly ranted at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in Washington).
Thanks to such people as Ron Smith, Mike Church of Sirius Radio, Lew Rockwell, RealClearPolitics, and other elements of "the new media," Clay was also forced to pay a price in terms of negative publicity for his boorish, bullying behavior. He and his Democratic colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee (including the odious Barney Frank) responded to the bad publicity by boycotting the next hearing of the committee held by Congressman Ron Paul, behaving like so many five-year-olds.
Readers of LewRockwell.com learned on the blog last week that Ron Smith is now battling inoperable stage-four pancreatic cancer. Ron is once again behaving heroically by carrying on with his show, which I pray he will do for many years to come.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today.