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Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Walking on the wild side

Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy fans will remember the ultimate cocktail drink; the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Imbibing this infectious blend was like being hit in the head by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. But does the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster remain the ultimate cocktail? I think I may have stumbled across something even stronger.

Imagine a blowtorch. A really fierce one glowing bluely in the dark. Turn it up a little, hear that roar. Stuff a small lemon into the top of an Irish whiskey flagon. Lay the flagon on its side, perhaps propped up on some old hitchhiking towels, and place the blowtorch against the flagon’s newly exposed underside. Retire to an unsafe distance. When the flagon explodes, try to catch the whiskey-flavoured lemon between your teeth. Suck it and see what you think. Because that’s what it’s like reading Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book, Democracy: The God That Failed, first published in 2001. As the latest professor of economics at the University of Nevada, and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises institute, this book out-Rothbards Hoppe’s old Austrian mentor, Uncle Murray Rothbard. Did you even imagine this was possible? Check this:

The mass of people, as La Boetie and Mises recognised, always and everywhere consists of “brutes”, “dullards”, and “fools”, easily deluded and sunk into habitual submission. Thus today, inundated from early childhood with government propaganda in public schools and educational institutions by legions of publicly certified intellectuals, most people mindlessly accept and repeat nonsense such as that democracy is self-rule and government is of, by, and for the people.

Schwing, Baby. And that’s just the warm-up. Try this, if you like your lemon juice even sharper:

Hence, the decision by members of the [libertarian] elite to secede from and not cooperate with government must always include the resolve of engaging in, or contributing to, a continuous ideological struggle, for if the power of government rests on the widespread acceptance of false indeed absurd and foolish ideas, then the only genuine protection is the systematic attack of these ideas and the propagation and proliferation of true ones.

Sounds like a great idea for a web site.

And if you like it really rough, try this:

As a result of subsidizing the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Aids-infected, and the physically and mentally challenged through insurance regulation and compulsory health insurance, there will be more illness, malingering, neuroticism, carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, Aids infection, and physical and mental retardation.

Crazy, dude. Hoppe’s book is subtitled ‘the economics and politics of monarchy, democracy, and natural order’. It is based on the premise that the privately-owned governments of the monarchical age, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were bad, but far better than the publicly-owned governments of the democratic age, such as the United States of America. Having established this platform in the first third of the book, Hoppe then moves on to describe how government-free countries adopting the spontaneous natural order of liberty would be the best option of all, and how we could achieve this against the odds of worldwide statist malevolence.

Hoppe goes beyond Von Mises and Rothbard, his intellectual predecessors, both believers in democracy, and tries to answer the question many of us have recently struggled with on Samizdata. (Any socialists reading this may wish to turn away now.)

Given that libertarianism is clearly the best way of organising society, which will maximise the desired ends of everyone alive, and given that humans are clearly intelligent beings, most of whom have at least the potential to see this, even if they haven’t reached that point yet, why is the western world currently drowning in a swamp of welfare-dependency, increasing poverty, decivilisation, family break-up, graffiti, random violence, drugs culture, anti-social behaviour, fecklessness, and all the other evil stigmata associated with socialism? And furthermore, given that at least the United States of America, and possibly the United Kingdom, approached a near-Golden age of liberty over 200 years ago, which only started collapsing around the time of the First World War, what is it that is driving these virulent forces of socialism and neo-conservatism along, when all the evidence around us shows us clearly that collectivism is the worst thing that humanity has ever had the misfortune to stumble across? That the situation is only going to get worse is also apparent, but still we sleepwalk on into the socialist super states of NAFTA and the EU, and their eventual combined world government, muttering the mantra ‘More Government, More Government, More Government’. Nothing seems capable of halting this ‘inevitable’ steamroller. Why?

Hoppe thinks he has the answer: Democracy. Its growth in the western world is linked directly to the growth of socialism and Big Government. Hoppe wonders whether this is coincidental or causal?

We’ve been living in a dream world, he says. All this time we thought democracy and its associated documents, such as the Magna Carta and the American Constitution, were our salvation from the demagoguery of rogue government, but all along democracy has just been a longer chain to wrap us up in, another way of persuading us that Big Brother, Uncle Sam and Aunty Nanny State always knew best.

Hoppe’s essential argument is that when a monarchical king owned a territory, over which he possessed a governmental monopoly of tax and judgement, he passed it on to his heirs with some amount of farsightedness. He always tried to preserve his state’s capital value. Although he also tried to raise revenue from this monopoly of power, and pushed this to the limit, the population around him always knew who their enemy was, the king, and restrained him accordingly. Thus, taxes never rose above eight per cent, and in most cases rarely got above five per cent. In the centuries-long battles between the City of London and the English King in Westminster, it was often the king who came off worst. And because the king was also chosen at random, through inheritance, and could only come from a small in-bred royal family, the general population never entertained the idea of entering government themselves. It was therefore always something outside of their experience, or possible future experience, so they always tried to restrain it. Quite successfully, for the most part.

But this attitude changed with democracy. Now anyone could enter government and become the caretaker-king (or president). But the caretaker-king could not pass on the capital wealth of his country onto his heirs. He could be replaced in the publicly-owned government by anyone else at almost any time. However, he did have temporary control of his country’s resources. Therefore it made sense to forget capital values and to concentrate on revenues, something the caretaker-king did own. Hence taxes rose in direct proportion to the amount of democracy in a country, all the better to buy off the voters with their own money at the next election, to maintain the current caretaker-king’s power. Democracy also kicked out the second prop against rising taxes. Because now anyone could entertain the idea of being caretaker-king. This meant less people of intellectual substance opposed the rising confiscatory power of the government, for they too could foresee a future in which they themselves took up the caretaker-king’s Ring of Power. An alluring prospect, as any Tolkienesque wizard will tell you.

Add to this the selfish mooch process, where we all abuse our majority democratic voting powers to force other people to give us their possessions, and the democratic rollercoaster whizzes down to the present age, with its inflated paper currencies, 40% taxes, and regulations covering every single tiny aspect of our lives right down to how much cardboard and plastic waste we have to put out for our garbage collectors.

Given that in any aspect of life there will always be more ‘have-nots’ than ‘haves’, the ‘have-nots’ will always be in a terrorising majority, able to steal the goods and the services of the ‘haves’, in whichever sphere you choose, whether it’s in schools, health, or plain old redistributive taxation. That this will destroy the incentive to create the things worth having in the first place is forgotten, in our rush to steal from our neighbours, thereby breaking down society’s natural order and in turn creating decivilisation and higher time preference values where we all live for the moment. Why worry about the future? If we make anything, the government will take it from us. If we don’t make anything, the government will take stuff from those stupid enough to keep working and hand it on over to us. Whoopee! Live for the moment. Wealth consumed is wealth enjoyed. Let the devil take the hindmost.

This lack of foresight thus encourages crime, hedonism, and self-destructive behaviour, because all the bad consequences which may follow from these acts occur only in an increasingly blurred future. As for criminals, they can see the increasing ineffectiveness of state monopolised justice, where more is spent and less is done, as in all monopolies. So steal away. It’s what the tax authorities do anyway, rob from the rich to give to the poor. I’m poor, so I’ll help myself. The chances of actually being caught and put away are minimal anyway, so what’s the worry?

You can also add to this the government’s need to break apart the independence of the family and turn us into government dependants, to head off any strong familial resistance at the pass, hence social security, pensions, and ‘free’ healthcare and education systems. So why do families need each other now? They don’t. They only need the government. Pensioners don’t need children to support them in their old age, so the birth rate goes down; nobody needs to save, so capital investment goes down; children don’t even need their parents, so divorce rates rise, and so down the rabbit hole we go, Dorothy, all living on current income, often lifted from the pockets of other people. The government will take care of the future. Except of course we know the government doesn’t even have a clue about the next five minutes. Witness the scandalous borrowing of current world governments who haven’t a clue how all of this money is to be repaid. Oh well, we’ll worry about that after the next election. Look at that lovely hospital we’ve just built!

Having persuaded us that he is right, and that democracy all along has been a red herring, Hoppe’s plan for our ultimate emancipation from the yoke of government essentially boils down to a secession of all of us, as best we can, from all the processes of government. We all need to do a ‘Perry de Havilland’! We must also persuade as many others as we can to do likewise, and show up the Emperor for his lack of clothes. This includes an alliance with what Hoppe calls those true forces of conservatism who also believe in a natural order, as opposed to those neo-conservatives whom Hoppe dismisses as right-wing socialists, particularly those propagating welfare-warfare wealth destruction. Hoppe is also scathing of leftist-leaning libertarians, recalling Rothbard’s earlier definition of a ‘Modal Libertarian’ (ML):

The ML does not, unfortunately, hate the State because he sees it as the unique social instrument of organized aggression against person and property. Instead, the ML is an adolescent rebel against everyone around him: first, against his parents, second against his family, third against his neighbours, and finally against society itself…The ML’s modal occupation is computer programmer…Computers appeal indeed to the ML’s scientific and theoretical bent; but they also appeal to his aggravated nomadism, to his need not to have a regular payroll or regular abode…The ML also has the thousand-mile stare of the fanatic.

As a former leftist-libertarian myself, accused occasionally of being a mad-staring-eyed lunatic, who makes his nomadic living from computing, I find this description rather too close to the knuckle. But it clearly demonstrates that Hoppe is opposed to the libertine aspects of libertarianism, preferring instead the idea of a world intolerant of deviation, based on family and kin, and spontaneously arising aristocratic elites, though elites which fail to assume the monopolies of taxation and jurisdiction typically associated with monarchy, but which fit more into the conservative idea of noblesse oblige. I think Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress may be the best fictional guide to the natural family-based order Hoppe desires. It is also this return to a family-based welfare-independent community, which Hoppe uses to form the bridge between Austrian anarchic libertarianism and true natural order conservatism, two schools of thought he tries to link into one.

The final third of Hoppe’s book rounds off his general argument for how we can throw off the yoke of publicly-owned government, and how to eliminate the errors of liberty, such as the belief that constitutions can effectively limit governments, a view Hoppe describes as utopian, with some choice words for Ayn Rand thrown in, just for fun. He particularly takes issue with the general pride of Americans. He states that they are right to be proud of their not-so-distant past as a land of pioneers, in an anarcho-capitalist order of natural liberty. He also thinks they should be proud of the American Revolution, where they threw off the yoke of European government, but that they are fundamentally flawed when it comes to being proud of the American Constitution. A sharp intake of breath, perhaps?

This document was created by elitists whom most early American colonists knew nothing about. It cast in stone the idea that the government could legitimately tax its subjects and establish a monopolistic jurisdiction over them. This had never ever happened before, even in bad old Europe. Here kings had obviously taxed and judged their subjects, in their given territories, but this monopoly governmental right had never actually been legitimated. Only in America.

And from that point on America was sunk. Because once you accept that a government has these two territorial monopolistic rights, of taxation and judgement, socialism is inevitable. It is only a question of time. Or in America’s case, about 200 years. So today we see people like Tony Blair swatting aside his opponents in the British Parliament, because given that government is a legitimate institution which has the legitimate right to tax everyone within its jurisdiction, parliamentarians of different parties are only arguing over the details as to which group of ‘have-nots’ is going to raid the property of which group of ‘haves’. And because Tony Blair has more charisma and is more immoral than any other crook in Parliament, he is the Prime Minister. End of story. If you believe in democracy.

Or as Hoppe puts it:

Given that the characteristics and talents required for political success – of good looks, sociability, oratorical power, charisma, etc. – are distributed unequally among men, then those with these particular characteristics and skills will have a sound advantage in the competition for scarce resources (economic success) as compared to those without them…Therefore entrance into and success within government will become increasingly impossible for anyone hampered by moral scruples against lying and stealing. Moreover, even outside the orbit of government, within civil society, individuals will increasingly rise to the top of economic and financial success not on account of their productive or entrepreneurial talents or even their superior defensive political talents, but rather because of their superior skills as unscrupulous political entrepreneurs and lobbyists. Thus, the Constitution virtually assures that exclusively dangerous men will rise to the pinnacle of government power and that moral behaviour and ethical standards will tend to decline and deteriorate all-around.

So bang goes the American Constitution! Sorry.

As for the unwritten British version, poor old Iain Duncan Smith! My kiss of death obviously failed to come soon enough. As to those men in civil society who’ve succeeded due to political machinations, rather than business ability, a few spring to mind. But none whom the libel laws of several continents will allow me to name. You may be able to fill in a few of your own.

Hoppe then tries to square that anarcho-capitalist circle of how we defend ourselves against other aggressive states, via the use of powerful insurance corporations. The SAS Prudence Company certainly has a ring to it, or the Scots Guards Cooperative Society. That non-libertarian states will still exist, he is in no doubt. There will be no fully-libertarian world, under Hoppe’s plan, because otherwise we’d have nowhere to exclude people to. Because much though Hoppe’s rhetoric appeals to my increasingly Austrian nature, one final quote does give me pause for thought:

There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centred lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.

Whoa, Baby! Professor Hoppe’s writings should certainly be avoided by the faint-hearted. Will these excluded people repent of their ways, see the benefits of conservative-libertarianism, and try to re-apply to Hoppe-World? Or will they form up into aggressive socialist states with nuclear-tipped missiles pointed at the Lichtensteins, Singapores, and all the other Hellenic-style cities which will make up the Hopperite Libertarian Confederation? I’m unsure. Let’s hope the SAS Prudence Company operatives will take out these socialist leaders, in sufficiently well-targeted pre-retaliatory strikes, before they turn the rest of us over into a world government socialist hell.

Hoppe concludes with a plan to get from where we are now, to the Libertarian Confederation outlined above. Given that America managed to secede from Britain, but that the southern states of America failed to secede from the northern ones, how are we to establish Hoppe’s vision of a world of independent privately-owned anarcho-capitalist territories? He acknowledges that it’s going to be tough. But thinks America may be our salvation again, this time via small territories gradually seceding to the point where they are virtually independent of the United States.

They will then be much more successful than surrounding areas, which will then gradually follow their example until it can be seen that these micro-territories are the best way for everyone to go, creating a flood of anarcho-capitalism around the world. In particular, like frogs in hot water, we must be gradualist about this and fail to provoke central states into retaliatory action. It must be all over before they’re sufficiently roused to do anything about it.

It seems the Free State Project has a lot riding on it. I wonder if Professor Hoppe is going to move from Nevada to New Hampshire?

As to the book, itself, I would recommend that you think of it as being the fifth in a series, the first four being written by Uncle Murray; Man, Economy and State; Power and Market; The Ethics of Liberty and For a New Liberty. You might want to describe Hoppe’s book as the missing fifth volume. It is also written as a series of independent chapters. This made it heavy-going as a serial read, for many of the same ideas and passages are repeated multiple times, which often caused your humble reviewer to think he was on the wrong page. It’s also one of the books where the footnotes are struggling to become a book in their own right. It’s like watching one of those DVD movies where the director keeps interrupting the film every 30 seconds to spend two minutes discussing why he adopted a particular camera shot. However, although the footnotes can almost swallow entire pages, leaving some of them with only three lines for the main text, some of the most interesting anecdotes are contained within them. They’re well worth reading.

But now I’ve read it once, it will entail further study to try to disentangle all of these parallel ideas. It would’ve been much harder for Professor Hoppe to write, but I hope if he puts this hand-grenade of a book into a second edition, he tries to blend the anecdotes into the text and leaves the footnotes purely for references.

Even so, despite this dual-book nature, and the numerous repetitions, this book is an explosive monster, and one which ought to be read alike by every serious libertarian, Chicagoan, Austrian, Minarchist, Randite, or plain mad-eyed-staring lunatic.

It ain’t your Grandmother.

70 comments to Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Walking on the wild side

  • R.C. Dean

    There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.

    Who will do this expelling, exactly? Some sort of purity police? How will they know who the democrats and the commies are? A network of informers, perhaps?

    And one supposes that the expulsions will be done without the initiation of violence, perhaps in the way Elian Gonzalez, that born commie, was returned to Cuba.

    Color me skeptical about this rather critical piece of the puzzle. Nothing says “libertarian” like intolerance of dissent.

  • Charles Copeland

    Congratulations, Andy, for your intellectual growth! I thought you were permanently stuck in some Randian time warp. But I was mistaken.

    Congrats too for your article in full — — though I reckon that it is far too long for the 3-minute attention span of most Samizdatarians.

    Samizdatarians will enjoy in particular HHH’s approach to immigration — he belongs to the Enoch Powell school of the libertarian movement (like myself) and, again, pulls no punches. Here’s a citation from one of his online articles:

    [T]he masses of immigrants […] remain what they are: Zulus, Hindus, Ibos, Albanians, or Bangladeshis. Assimilation can work when the number of immigrants is small. It is entirely impossible, however, if immigration occurs on a mass scale. In that case, immigrants will simply transport their own ethno-culture onto the new territory. Accordingly, when the welfare state has imploded there will be a multitude of “little” (or not so little) Calcuttas, Daccas, Lagos’, and Tiranas strewn all over ….” For the full text, go here. And for a big bumper basket of HHH goodies go here.

    In his book he even states that “a king [i.e. HHH] would want to expel his nonproductive and destructive subjects (criminals, bums, beggars, gypsies, vagabonds, etc.)…” (p. 142).

    Sounds good to me.

    This is true libertarianism, libertarianism at its best — without that open border bullshit propagated by the Wall Street Journal and co. In fact, it’s the kind of libertarianism that makes even run of the mill paleolibertarians seem somewhat to the left of Pol Pot.

    Yummy.

  • Rob Read

    There CAN be no tolerance of those that espouse imposing communisism-lite viewpoints on others. They are commiting a crime i.e. the aiding of a theft with menaces.

    Prison is the safest place for them (and us)!

    However voluntary socialism could take easily form and endure in a minarchist/libertarian state. This is the important difference between democrats (group tyrannists) and individualists/libertarians. Namely democratists think if the majority support it then its ok, whereas libertarians think imposing behaviours on individuals who do nothing to others is wrong FULL STOP.

  • Charles Copeland

    Hi R.C. Dean!

    [SARCASM ON]Couldn’t we dump all the democrats and Commies on the Gaza strip?
    Be realistic, demand the impossible!
    [SARCASM OFF]

    The point is that HHH views the libertarian state as a kind of gated community with the right to exclude whoever it wishes on the basis of the principle of freedom of association. The libertarian state is a kind of private club with blackballing rights. Its territory is collective private property. So it can exclude whoever it likes for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all.

    Of course it’s all fantasy, the stuff that dreams are made of.

    That’s what I like about it.

  • Charles Copeland

    Rob Read writes:
    There CAN be no tolerance of those that espouse imposing communisism-lite viewpoints on others. They are commiting a crime i.e. the aiding of a theft with menaces.

    Communism-lite?

    What about Hayek? He recommended government assistance for the poor.

    So does Milton Friedman.

    Do they end up in prison too?

    Perhaps just six months on probation?

  • Dave O'Neill

    Charles,

    I can see real problems for the model you propose when it has to interface with other communities.

  • R.C. Dean

    I sympathize with the notion that a nation has the right to exclude non-citizens.

    It troubles me that the justifications for this rest on collectivist notions – the notion that the nation’s territory is “collective” private property, or that there is a “collective” right to freedom of association. Totalitarians everywhere are no doubt nodding their heads in agreement with these notions. Collective rights are the intellectual anchor of statists everywhere.

    What I struggle with even more is the idea of a community that will expel those who dissent. Once again, totalitarians everywhere . . . .

    I myself have noted on more than one occasion that the rise of socialism dates, not to the formation of a Constitution, but rather to the expansion of the franchise. I tend to date it to letting women vote, but that is mostly just to get a rise out of people.

    As always, the business of designing the ideal state comes down to choosing least bad alternatives. I will need to be sold on the idea that a “benevolent” aristocracy with a head full of notions like collective property and collective freedom of association is less bad than Constitutional democracy.

    The genius of the Founders was that they recognized that liberty arises only in a situation where competing power centers limit each other. HHH seems to recognize this, but I am not sure how he establishes these competing power centers in his “benevolent” aristocracy. I see no reason to believe that his new elite will remain benevolent, and for the first time in history refrain from accumulating all the power they can. But I haven’t read the book – maybe he has an answer for this.

  • Charles Copeland

    Dave,
    I didn’t propose anything. It’s just that I enjoy libertarian science-fiction…

  • RK Jones

    Hey, sass that hoopy Hans-Hermann Hoppe. There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is!

    RK Jones

  • Dave O'Neill

    Oh, ok, sorry… I think we all need our own separate O’Neill colonies then ;-)

  • The genius of the Founders was that they recognized that liberty arises only in a situation where competing power centers limit each other.

    In general I respect the ideas of the Founders very much, but believing that the Courts could limit the power of the Executive or that the Executive could limit the power of the Legislature is just…well, utopian. The 3 branches work together and synergize the centralization of power. The Founders were right about most things, but were wrong in believing that the various branches of govt could somehow ‘balance’ each other out and act as a check to tyranny.

  • Charles Copeland

    R.C. Dean,
    I think you’ve got a bit confused about the nature of freedom of association. Presumably it also includes the right to set up your own mini-state, if you can find enough wannabe residents who will move there. Such a mini-state would be no more ‘totalitarian’ than a religious order or a Hutterite community or Robert Owen’s socialist ‘New Lanark’ (though the latter was dismal failure, needless to say).

    As I said, it’s all science fiction anyhow.

    But it’s great fun!!!

  • Michael

    They will not be expelled, rather they would be shunned. Everyone would choose who to shun, and anyone who was sufficiently disliked would be unable to survive on anything higher than a subsistance level.

    At least that’s the theory.

    Personally, I think that theory is excrement of a male cow. People will band together on any terms which they percieve benifiting them. Attempts to elliminate that will end with a culture dying of stagnation as the best minds leave to form groups more suitable to their temperments. The only good thing the system suggested by Prof. Hoppe is that the people who want to leave won’t have to physically move to accomplish that objective.

    Prof. Hoppe and other utopian-anarchists miss one critical point: The choice between anarchy and tyranny is not a simple binary, they are ends of a scale that has nothing to do with the form of government. For instance; Prof Hoppe has proposed a government of Families and Family alliances, much like that which existed in the US mafia (at least as depicted in film, I’m unfamiliar with the reality). Prof Hoppe then mistook that for ‘not a government’ merely because it resembled none he was familiar with.

    There are admitedly trends towards more tyranical governments is many nations today, whether those governments are truely democratic, laughably so, or openly despotic. Those trends have nothing to do with the form of government, and lots to do with other situations. For instance, the current trends towards increasing power/tyranny (at least in the US government) can be traced back to the cessation of growth as a nation and a society. This can in turn be traced to the assimilation of the territorial frontier, and the failure (for various reasons) of several generations to open up new ones which could inspire wonder and the desire to explore in subsequent generations. If those frontiers are opened, then the trend would either reverse or the frontiers would inevitably break off; as fledglings taking wing on the winds of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’.
    Until those frontiers are open we will remain with the illusory mental growth of the lotus eaters and navel grazers, and the self-indulgence of sybarites who lounge on accumulated wealth, or on the support of the state. The only available relief comes from the occasional coal of new knowledge lost among the briquettes produced by recombining the duff information mined by in what is currently pleased to call itself science.

    Others have mentioned that the checks and balances in the US constitution were illusory, or utopian. This is true only because the final check, the ability of the people to move out, has been stymied by their having nowhere clearly better to go. And the problem that it not yet bad enough for someone to have made the investment required to start a new place to go.

  • Charles Copeland

    A modest proposal:
    Let’s get back to reality and forget all the fantasy stuff about libertarian mini-states. Partly my own fault, sorry.

    Where HHH kicks ass in the real existing world is on the issue of immigration. This is the libertarians’ elephant dancing a jig in the living room — at least here in Samizdata, unless I’ve missed something out.

    HHH argues that immigration policy should be decentralised and localised. I quote at length:

    The current situation in the United States and in Western Europe has nothing whatsoever to do with “free” immigration. It is forced integration, plain and simple, and forced integration is the predictable outcome of democratic – one-man-one-vote – rule. Abolishing forced integration requires a de-democratization of society, and ultimately the abolition of democracy. More specifically, the authority to admit or exclude should be stripped from the hands of the central government and re-assigned to the states, provinces, cities, towns, villages, residential districts, and ultimately to private property owners and their voluntary associations. The means to achieve this goal are decentralization and secession (both inherently un-democratic, and un-majoritarian). One would be well on the way toward a restoration of the freedom of association and exclusion as it is implied in the idea and institution of private property, and much of the social strife currently caused by forced integration would disappear, if only towns and villages could and would do what they did as a matter of course until well into the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States: to post signs regarding entrance requirements to the town, and once in town for entering specific pieces of property (no beggars or bums or homeless, but also no Moslems, Hindus, Jews, Catholics, etc.) … (online here).

    Now there’s a proposal that might trigger a few libertarian knee-jerks ..

  • Andy, a wonderful review. I feel that I not only read this tome but know the man well! Were the latter true, though, I rather suspect that I’d find a couple of bones to pick with him.

    First off, and even though it would deny Charles his rottweiler moment, I am not prepared to give up so easily on the malingerers, neurotics et alia. These are my people, too, and I could not shut them out of Hoppetania in good conscience. Removing the weak and the failing en masse from the equasion is Nazism without the railway wagons and arbeit.

    Second, how inviting but how flawed it is to conclude, as does Hoppe, that democracy sires our modern social disorders. He’s obviously not read his Durkheim. Specifically, we have to thank the invention of the birth pill and Roy Jenkins’ liberalisations for the pass in which we now find ourselves. Neither of these, as I recall, were brought about through the demands of a grasping underclass.

    Third, and this applies to all Libertarian utopianists, there is not a hint in your review that Hoppe comprehends the human condition. I make no particular claim to do so myself. But I do know that the Libertarian idea of freedom is a light and shallow thing, and that true freedom is not a product of any polity, however condign. To use the word in a Dostoevskian sense, I feel that Hoppe may be simply a very bad psychologist.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    The Founders realized that liberty would be and is diminished over time by any government. That is why Jefferson was of the opinion that you needed a revolution every 40 years or so.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

    They designed our system too well. The revolutions did not come. But the system is not, and can never be, perfect.

    The only cure for statism is violence. But that requires sacrifice and motivation. We are not there yet.

    Jefferson was pretty serious about this stuff: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

  • Andy for monarch.

    King Duncan has a certain ring to it does it not?

  • Shannon Love

    “The mass of people, as La Boetie and Mises recognized, always and everywhere consists of “brutes”, “dullards”, and “fools”, easily deluded and sunk into habitual submission.”

    This is elitist drivel. Libertarianism only makes since if you assume that the majority of people in population are capable of managing their own affairs via voluntary arrangements with others.

    If most people are idiots, then Leftist are correct that the some elite much manage their economic affairs for them and social conservatives are correct that an elite must manage their personal lives.

    Hans-Hermann Hopp echoes the ego-gratifying trope of the Marxist who believed themselves, alone of all the people of the society, to have freed themselves from economic determinism. He invites his readers to join a self-appointed elite by embracing his utopian libertarianism while sneering at the ignorant masses.

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • ernest young

    “Congratulations, Andy, for your intellectual growth! I thought you were permanently stuck in some Randian time warp. But I was mistaken.

    Congrats too for your article in full — — though I reckon that it is far too long for the 3-minute attention span of most Samizdatarians. “

    Does one have to have the smug, sneering, ‘I’m better than you, you pitiful infants’, attitude that Charles seems to have in abundance, to be considered a ‘pure’ libertarian?. It seems to be very similar to the attitude adopted by some Democrats, that if you are not a believer, then you are a fool.

    Like all third rate critics, he berates any view other than his own, while not actually being too specific about his own point of view. We are allowed a glimpse here and there, of his feelings, (see the remark re Enoch Powell), but a definite ‘statement of position’, remains elusive.

    Of course, I forgot, he regards himself as some sort of intellectual, and ‘fence-sitting’ becomes a habit among that ilk.

    He appears to regard any libertarian view, other than his own, to be intellectually inferior and a source of amusement. I doubt, if in fact he is really a libertarian at heart, seems more like some sort of dictator

  • maggie

    The one premise when analyzing American democracy is that the one vote per citizen rule is actually what is occuring. The voting sysyem in America is thoroughly corrupt. We have yet to witness the experiment called democracy with a honest and verifiable voting system, that reflects the will of the people. Add to that, the mind control that our mass media has perpetrated on the majority of voters and you have in effect a fascist corporate controlled state. See the website blackboxvoting.com for the details.

  • The type of “Libertarianism” favoured by Charles and Hoppe sounds to me like Old style Social Conservatism dolled up with a bit of anarchism. This is just another form of coerced collectivism.

    Social strife is not caused by “forced integration”, on the contrary, social strife may occur because of insufficient integration.

    It may seem to Charles from the distance of Luxembourg that the UK has gone to hell in a handcart because of immigration and that poor misguided old Enoch has been proved right. This is just plain wrong. The history of England, particularly in cities has been that of immigration, Heugenots, Irish, Jewish, Caribbean, African, Indian. “Mainstream” England consists of people whose ancestors immigrated here as well as “natives”. The British experience has been more or less a happy one, certainly when you compare to France.

  • Charles Copeland

    Glad to see you’re back, Gastarbeiter!

    You write:
    [T]here is not a hint in your review that Hoppe comprehends the human condition […] the Libertarian idea of freedom is a light and shallow thing, and that true freedom is not a product of any polity, however condign.

    In fact, there is no hint in Hoppe’s book either — as you say, psychology is not his forte. But the reductio ad Hitlerum is under the belt. Hoppe is really an arch-conservative paleolibertarian rather than advocate of the ‘light and shallow’ variant of freedom. He just lacks the ‘Mother Theresa’ gene.

    As you point out, Hoppe’s scapegoating of democracy as the root of all evil is a weakness. Is he really putting democracies on a par with the Soviet Union or a banana republic? That’s absurd.

    As you claim, it’s not only democracy that’s to blame — it’s also the sexual revolution and the philosophy of the fun society. The rot set in before the pill and Roy Jenkins though, at least where Catholics are concerned. The rot set in with AntiChrist Pius XI’s encyclical ‘Casti connubii’ of 1930 and the Church’s approbation of the rhythm method of birth control, which allows married couples to abstain from sexual intercourse during the period of the menstrual cycle in which the female is infertile (just before, during and after ovulation, according to Google – and you need a thermometer too). In other words, according to Catholic teaching, you are not obliged to have sex with your spouse every night of the month – phew! However, this method works far too effectively and is partly responsible for the devastating decline in the birth rate of high-IQ Catholics (low IQ Catholics are not so adversely effected because they don’t know how to read a thermometer), just as birth control in general has led to the demographic collapse of the West and, in particular, to the dysgenic skinhead society. Worse still, many intelligent Catholics now believe that even artificial birth control (the pill, the French letter, the Dutch cap, the Russian rub, the Balcony method, etcetera) itself is not incompatible with the true faith and are having even fewer children than the Rhythm Methodists…

    OK, OK, I’m back to my hobbyhorse. But Hans Hermann Hoppe could do worse than learn something more about evolutionary theory and the survival of the dumbest.

  • I haven’t read the book itself, so maybe the quotes selected are unrepresentative, but it sounds like Hoppe advocates a social order based on extended families. Or at least, I don’t see how nuclear families can do all the things he needs families to do. Someone mentioned the Mafia, which is something of a comparison, but much closer, I think, is how Arab societies are structured. And they suck. If the welfare state is the logical end of democracy (maybe, but America was supposed to be a republic anyway), the logical end of what Hoppe has in mind is the House of Saud, or Saddam Hussein. Granted, Hussein had a modern state to work with, but the House of Saud did not, nor did Mohammed. Hoppe’s utopia requires heroic forebearance in choosing the principles of justice over one’s own family interest. In practice, it won’t happen. Every clan that has another in its power will impose exactions or tribute (that is, taxes), and set itself up as the other clan’s judge.

    Not to mention the fact that our whole society is so non-clanish in everything from the fact that we like nuclear families and don’t like marrying cousins (seriously, inbreeding is a necessary part of the clanist program), to the fact that we don’t do everything based on nepotism and favors for friends.

    Shannon Love;

    But he DOES believe in an elite to manage both the personal and economic lives of everyone else. He just wants it to be structured differently.

  • Guy Herbert

    Apart from the fact that he just seems so… inhumane, isn’t there a glaring fault with the Hoppe comparison of limited monarchies with absolute democracies? An absolute monarchy can be at least as nasty as an absolute democracy, but rather depends on the character of the ruler. You can get Marcus Aurelius or Saddam Hussain.

    Different constitutions have differing merits, but a limited government, whether hereditary, democratic, republican, or selected by lot is certainly to be prefered to an absolute one, and probably (in my view) to none at all.

    What really matters is:
    1. how limited the available types of government are, and
    2. whether you can have a choice which one you live under.

    Harmonisation of standards between governments (sometimes disguised as freeing trade) is the big threat, whether your local variety is labelled “democracy” or something else.

  • toolkien

    I think the comments previous referring to Jefferson should be revisited. The underlying concept is that regardless of the model, corruption by the top level in the hierarchy will inevitably lead to revolt of the mass below. What is any association ever devised but a collection of individuals desperate to find security in numbers and predictable outcomes regarding the behavior of others? When the instrument (to provide what is essentially an illusion) is co-opted by a few sharp dressers and smoothe talkers, it will eventually be revealed as illusory, especially when privation strikes randomly (e.g. natural circumstances), revealing the sharpees to have been liars and manipulators all along. Tearing apart the associations then ensues, with new orders emerging. Depending on rather random events which establish stability or instability, a new acceptable order will emerge under which people will allow themselves to be a part of and led, and the whole process begins again. A side point, considering the inevitable rejection of an association and dissipation of the illusions that prompted one to belong in the first place, is one of the strongest reasons to have uncoerced, voluntary associations reign dominant. They will be prone to be less violent, and if there is violence, it will be contained in scope instead of plunging the entire civic population into civil war.

    Despite the limitations of the US Constitution it still is, of itself, limited in scope. It is only when it is constructively interpreted that it becomes the full fledged tool for tyranny. But the seeds are there in any event. But complete dismissal of the US Constitution, and the interesting debates between Statist and Anti-Statist elements, and the compromises eventually reached, is to miss the point. It simply affirms my belief in the inevitable corruption of any model of State and the eventual need for revolt. The Constitution left enough power in the hands of other institutions at the start to give as much room as possible between its establishment and the eventual corruption to come. It shows that an individualist, anarcho-capitalist model staves off the inevitable much longer, and many compromises were made toward those who held these views. As of now, in the US we are in the middle phase of the mass still allowing for comforting delusions, while the privations to come are still distantly around the corner which will lead to violence and establishment of new orders. I can only hope that I can lead an independent life as possible and die before the dire privations and revolution set in. In the mean time I fight the forces the speed up the process (collectivism) as best I can. It is alarming regarding the pace of collectivism here in the US over the last 20 years or so, so my hope of dying before the fe-fe hits the fan blades seems to be eroding. At the very least I’ll live to see a massive, unbearable erosion of liberty just prior revolution. I can’t see myself living long enough to see a resetting to a more libertarian model here in the US.

  • Charles Copeland

    Frank McGahon writes:

    “It may seem to Charles from the distance of Luxembourg that the UK has gone to hell in a handcart because of immigration and that poor misguided old Enoch has been proved right.”

    The UK is going to hell in a handcart for a variety of reasons. Immigration is both part of the problem and part of the solution — and it’s not always easy to quantify its pros and cons. Much depends on the cultural and intellectual calibre of the immigrant breeding population.

    Of course, if the lilywhite native British refuse to procreate, immigration is the only option anyhow. Perhaps Enoch Powell should have focused more on the beam in the Brits’ own eyes – their failure to increase and multiply – than on the mote in the eyes of the immigrants.

    Stil, I’d prefer to live in a Britain without honor killings and female genital mutilation … even with a population of less than a million.

  • G Cooper

    Frank McGahon writes:

    “Social strife is not caused by “forced integration”, on the contrary, social strife may occur because of insufficient integration.”

    Forced integration is hardly the converse of integration, so this argument makes no sense. It is perfectly possible to have integration without enforcement and all the evidence suggests that Mr. Copeland’s point is quite correct. People tend to get the rats when forced to do anything.

    “The British experience has been more or less a happy one, certainly when you compare to France.”

    The British experience for the past umpteen hundred years is not what we are dealing with though, is it?

    Anyone who has troubled himself to go to parts of London and some of our major Northern and Midlands cities will have seen incontrovertible evidence that what we are experiencing isn’t the arrival of a few handfuls of Huguenots, nor even the Jewish immigration at the end of the 19th century. We are dealing with mass, virtually uncontrolled immigration, for which the past is no guide at all.

  • Sage

    “They designed our system too well. The revolutions did not come. ”

    Really? I wonder if the generation that lay bleeding in 1861 would recognize that sentiment.

    I’m as enamored as anybody with the American Constitution, but the bottom line is that it didn’t work. These were men of good faith, but in their zeal to assure our rights would be understood broadly, they crafted a document so light on specifics that entire Amendments could simply be ignored (Ninth, Tenth, Second, etc.).

    Our Constitution failed us, and it has taken a long, agonizing search through my own conscience and the historical record to reach that conclusion. The extent to which the U.S. has succeeded and remained free has less to do with our founding document than it has to do with geography and dumb luck. Slavery, the Civil War, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Great Society…I’m not an anti-nationalist, and I’d rather live here than anywhere else, but the American ideal was and remains a pipe dream. I give them full credit for trying, but the difference between the Eurosocialists and us is only a matter of time and distance. Soon enough, we’ll be no better off than any EU state.

    If you think my opinion too grim to fit the facts, I’ve got two words for you: Social Security. Megan Mcardle is right. We’re kinda screwed. It’s the relative post-war weakness of Europe, and the domination of Asia and South America by Marxism, that has hidden the problems for so long. This is indeed the “unipolar moment,” and I will not be surprised when undemocratic yet functionally capitalist states in Asia start beating us into the ground on every measure that counts. Hoppe’s overall authoritarian/capitalist hybrid might not be appealing in principle–ok, it’s totally unappealing–but it’s not impossible that exactly such a model could be effectively adopted in its essentials. To the extent that the West remains mired in the Social Democratic fantasy–and that’s really what we’re always complaining about–it will be unprepared to deal with the upheavals that are sure to accompany the information revolution.

    Other regions are adapting at a much faster rate (differential growth, as they say), and I agree that it is largely because they do not fetishize democracy. Democracy is rule by others, any way you slice it. Whether those “others” are many or few is not very important, is it? Kings, socialists, and democrats alike are all after what doesn’t rightly belong to them–the difference between one and the next is salesmanship.

  • M. Simon

    Very compelling if the author had a clue.

    We get the same old stupid moralizing about drugs and alcohol. How nice.

    Now it appears that chronic drug or alcohol use is self medication for PTSD type pain. The author, however, writes as if the drugs or alcohol were the problem. Or worse lack of will.

    If in fact chronic drug or alcohol use is a rational answer to PTSD that sort of leaves a big hole in the argument about the proles doesn’t it?

    I think this guy has been spending too much time with the uber lefties whose attitudes to the proles is similar. “We know what is good for you and will make their life hell for their own good if only given half a chance.”

    Nice to see no Stalinists here. We is just a bunch of freedom loving (for us only) libertarians.

    They need a new motto: “we is just libertarians and are only here to help.”

  • M. Simon

    One might want to ask that if the brutes are multiplying why IQ based on a test given around 1900 has risen 20 points in the last century.

    Your borderline mental defective 80 IQ of today would have been average 100 years ago.

    Would be nice if those favoring Hoppe’s argument could at least get their facts straight. If birth control is the cause then it is making us smarter.

  • M. Simon

    Sage,

    You fall into the trap of believing that Constitutions can save us. Or that if they don’t they are useless.

    Only love of Liberty can save us.

  • What I particularly like about this book is the title. It’s a bit like farting during one of those dreadful one-minute silences: not the done thing.

    Not quite sure what he’s got against poofs mind.

  • M. Simon

    The purpose of the state is the reduction of viiolence so that commerce may proceede relatively unimpeded.

    The only question then is it worth the price?

    Evidently in the US of A the bargain has worked relatively well.

  • toolkien

    Our Constitution failed us, and it has taken a long, agonizing search through my own conscience and the historical record to reach that conclusion.

    It’s not necessarily the Constitution which fails, it is the lack of adherence to the principles that helped shape it. It was suitable for the time in which it was written, when there was an underlying assumption of self sufficiency and States’ Rights (and further on down the political chain, until very recently in much of the US the County was the most important political level providing mostly co-op services and bare bones transfers). It was but a few years after the signing of the Constitution that private associations of all kinds, including political clubs, developed, along with the expansion of corporate chartering relatively unreviewed by the State (prior to that chartering corporations involved some element of Public “Good” to receive approval) so in effect prior to 1795 private associations were somewhat frowned upon in general, but advocates who emphasized Anti-Federalist sentiments were the ones who formulated these clubs as well. So in short, this country was quite split on where emphasis should lie but, in the early republic, there was overwhelming support for individualism and a rejection of theocracy and monarchy, falling into two camps, federalist and anti-federalist. Because there was so much compromise for the anti-federalists, the growth and trajectory of Statism much slower and shallower. Unfortunately, beginning with the Civil War, there has been a steady increase in Federalism, as well as power grabs at each State level as well, and responsive government (e.g. county, municipal) has died off. So, again, the Constitution itself isn’t a failure, or anymore of a failure of an attempt to define the role of a Federal Government with highly limited powers to ostensibly provide for collective defense and harmonize State interaction would have intrinsically. It certainly lays the groundwork for power grabs to be sure (Union, New Deal, Great Society etc etc etc etc etc), but such activities will only succeed if the people let it, and the notion that people get the government they deserve is too true. So I certainly buy into a notion of a Constitution, interpreted properly as that instrument which vests power to the Minarchy instead of the reverse (as it is interpreted today) as describing the level of liberty of its adherers. Once the Constitution was interpreted that way, the people allowed themselves to tyrannized and that is the failure in the equation. having said all that, the Constitution did have the elements for its failure, but has allowed for the greatest period of liberty possible when compared to the other contemporary revolutions and the many thereafter. I think eventual Statist control is embedded in the social dynamic, but the Constitution provided a much longer window of liberty and indeed hasn’t closed even yet even though it is quickly getting there.

  • M.Simon,

    Charles knows that of which he speaks. The problem of childless high IQ females is real and not to be underestimated.

    The reason usually put forward for the general advance in IQ since reliable testing began is not birth control but better nutrition. In other words, a hundred years ago IQ levels were suppressed by poor nutrition. This was chiefly a problem of a newly urbanised and industrialised population. But once nutrition began to improve the larger gene pool in the cities produced a steady improvement in average IQ, something that the rural gene pool could not replicate although rural folk were better fed all along.

  • Ken

    “Hoppe’s book is subtitled ‘the economics and politics of monarchy, democracy, and natural order’. It is based on the premise that the privately-owned governments of the monarchical age, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were bad, but far better than the publicly-owned governments of the democratic age, such as the United States of America. ”

    Once Caesar did away with the Roman Republic, his descendants set about jacking up taxes, passing out welfare, inflating the currency, and committing all the familiar economic sins of our age. By 300 AD, the Roman Empire had its very own Directive 10-389.

    Apparenly, the hereditary monarchy wasn’t much of a bulwark in that case.

  • Abby

    With regard to the US Bill of Rights (which is far more significant to liberty than the Constitution proper), I disagree with almost everyone on this thread. Consequently I also disagree with many of the political and historical conclusions which are drawn.

    If we accept, arguendo, that the sole appropriate function of government is to defend the liberty and property of individuals, then the Bill of Rights is designed to do that. It is through foolish amendment (such as the 16th, which allows income tax) and willful misinturpretation (with much help from the left’s precious FDR) that we have gone wrong. We cannot ascribe the failures of the US system to a blueprint which was never fully tried, and which in any case has been long since abandoned.

    Leaving aside the seemingly infinite examples of the Supreme Court’s systematic emasculation of the Bill of Rights (I could go on and on), let’s just look at the Ninth Amendment.

    The Ninth Amendment provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be used to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    Thus it seems obvious that (1) there is a body of rights retained by the people (not the state gov’t, that’s the 10th am.), and (2) power over the disposition of these rights lies with the individual who can do with them as he chooses. Thus, Americans cannot be born into a coerced “social contract” which strips them of a body of unenumerated personal rights.

    The Constitution fails because the Bill of Rights is not understood this way.

  • Abby

    Toolkien,

    I think your analysis is correct, except you seem to see our history as a continuum from liberty to socialism. I agree that in general that is surely the case, and the fetters have but slowly tightened, but certainly since 1787 freedom has ebbed and flowed a great deal with the whims of the Supreme Court. Of course, today we are up to our necks in socialism and since the 1930’s the tide has just kept coming in.

  • Andy Duncan

    David Farrer writes:

    Andy for monarch.

    :-)

    ‘Fraid my ears aren’t big enough. But my mad staring eyes are getting there! :-)

    King Duncan has a certain ring to it does it not?

    Yes, but not the kind of ring I like to think about too often! :-)

    I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
    Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
    That summons thee to heaven or to hell

    Good old Shakespeare.

  • Abby

    As for the imigration-haters, immigration is a problem which would be easily solved if the government simply stopped subsidizing the unemployed and uninsured. People come to places where they can get jobs, and leave places where they cannot. An unfettered job market would be far more efficent at allocating population among the countries of the world and would render your immigration coucerns superfluous.

  • G. Cooper: “Forced integration is hardly the converse of integration, so this argument makes no sense. It is perfectly possible to have integration without enforcement and all the evidence suggests that Mr. Copeland’s point is quite correct. People tend to get the rats when forced to do anything.”

    My point is not to support forced integration. Rather: if you are going to oppose integration you can’t very well complain when multiculturalists argue that integration is not necessary. Integration doesn’t have to be forced but it can be a condition of immigration.

    Charles: “The UK is going to hell in a handcart for a variety of reasons. Immigration is both part of the problem and part of the solution — and it’s not always easy to quantify its pros and cons. Much depends on the cultural and intellectual calibre of the immigrant breeding population.”

    Ok, there are a few erroneous assumptions that Charles, G. Cooper and Guessedworker make. The first is there is strict correlation between genetic inheritance and general intelligence. Smart people have dumb kids and vice versa. Plus possessing a high IQ is no guarantee of success or common sense. Witness the witless outpourings from the campuses from those many “fine minds” with undoubtedly high IQs who believe the most arrant nonsense about Marxism, Anti-Zionism, Environmentalism, Iraq etc. etc. Many successful businessmen, (including a few of Ireland’s richest men) have no university education.

    The second is that “natives” in working class areas who complain about asylum seekers etc. tend to resent immigrants solely because of skin colour and “cultural difference”. Not so. What most people complain about is the lavish benefits they, rightly or wrongly, believe asylum seekers receive at the expense of locals.

    The “elephant dancing the jig in the room” is the relation between welfare and immigration. At the moment there is an incentive to immigrate to Britain, Ireland, pretty much everywhere in the EU which has generous welfare available. Abolish the welfare state and you will solve most of this “strife” in one swoop. You won’t have to worry about resentment at the division of government cheese because there will be no government cheese. And crucially you won’t have to bother with any of these distasteful questions about “intellectual or cultural calibre”. An open immigration policy with no welfare state would mean that it would be those enterprising individuals seeking opportunity who would immigrate, not those who wish to avail of government benefit.

  • Julian Morrison

    Basically the guy has it all right, up until he starts to project “what after”. Then he loses the plot.

    Any real anarchy is a “free market in lifestyles” – yes, the most effective few would become dominant, but there would always be “niche markets”. It’s in the nature of a free market to serve ALL the demand, not just that fraction that some technocrat (even a libertarian-techocrat) decrees to be good. Plenty of people would tell his overarching insurance companies to go **** themselves, and plenty of businesses wouldn’t mind and would trade with anyone having cash.

    Also, I think when he picks out a “most effective” approach, he ceases to be rational, and chooses from blind personal bias. For example, perhaps a Heinlein-style polyamorous family might actually be able to pack more punch than the nuclear+extended model he favors.

  • Dale Amon

    There is something maddeningly similar to Saddam’s Iraq in the picture this all left in my mind. An interlocking society of armed Families is exactly what Iraq was about. Actually the entire middle east still is that way.

    As to the falling birth rates and enjoying life and different lifestyles… it comes with wealth and education. That’s why the mullahs hate it. They are afraid of capitalism and wealth creation because people will lose interest in that ol’ time religion and won’t keep the girls bare foot and pregnant turning out jihadi’s.

    If you’ve ever studied demographics, the most important predecessor to turning the top of the S-curve is education of women. Educated women refuse to be baby factories.

    A is A. I can live any way I damn well please so long as I don’t piss in your garden.

  • Guy Herbert

    Guessedworker: “The problem of childless high IQ females is real and not to be underestimated.”

    The phenomenon may be real, but is it really a problem?

    Further, I suspect the “high IQ women” might not be having children because they don’t want to. That sounds like a solution to one of their problems, not anything to do with a nebulous collective welfare.

  • G Cooper

    Frank McGahon writes:

    “Ok, there are a few erroneous assumptions that Charles, G. Cooper and Guessedworker make.”

    Do I? Would you care to justify that remark with some evidence? It might be difficult, not least because I happen to believe the IQ argument (such as it is) is full of holes.

    I happen to agree with you that cutting off the supply of ‘benefits’ would help reduce the flood of immigration, but I also happen to believe that a pure ‘free market’ solution is not necessarily any better.

    You are perfectly entitled to enjoy life in Lewisham, if that happens to be your thing. But I have no desire to see my native culture drowned beneath a tidal wave of immigration. And that is *precisely* what is happening in many British cities, thanks to this sort of liberal, culturally relativistic bullshit.

    Your submission that ‘enterprising’ immigrants who are here not for ‘welfare’ but to make something of their lives is all well and good. But not, with all due respect, if they are fanatical moslems who would enforce circumcision on my daughter and all the rest of that idiotic, superstitious, misogynistic, mediaeval claptrap.

  • G.Cooper,

    I do assure you that the IQ debate, as a fundamental component of the greater debate about heritable human difference, is not full of holes. It is, however, full of commentators who have much to learn, myself included. The learning process is genetic in character and, politically, is one-way traffic. There are many excellent sources for keeping up to speed. Top of my list is Gene Expression which happens to be blogged by some very eloquent and bright, right-thinking brown-skinned guys. If you don’t already visit, I commend it to you.

    Guy,

    There is a vast amount of evidence for the heritability of intelligence. We do need the top 10-20% of our population to breed. Just try asking Godless over at GNXP what he thinks about it. There is nothing nebulous about the outcome for a society that replaces only from the bottom.

    As to the real preferences of women with regard to motherhood I learned a lot recently from a very good pamphlet recommended by Peter Cuthbertson. It’s Choosing to be Different (subtitled Work, Woman and the Family), by Jill Kirby and it’s available in PDF free online from the Centre For Policy Studies. It explodes a lot of modern liberal myths that currently inform government policy. Do check it out.

    Frank,

    Do you mean g? If so, you are very wrong. G is heritable. It isn’t the whole story, of course. Smart people have dumb kids (Galton discovered regression to the mean in the 19th century). Beautiful people have ugly kids. But the probability of physical beauty is very much higher, and that’s the point.

    It’s also the point that modern genetics is tearing into this issue. You can’t just wave away it’s discoveries – leave that to the environmentalist left that has nowhere to go.

    Finally, on the subject of genetics and your earlier comment about my people’s fabled mongrelism, you are again wrong. This is work in progress but current research suggests that in England the white population descends from the northern Germanic and Danish invaders. It looks like there was a pretty widespread Celtic wipe-out, including strangely enough in Cornwall where the Celtic language survived. Only in the ancient Sussex and Kentish Weald is there genetic evidence for widespread Celtic survival.

    I do not think that this story justifies the usual, sneering assertion from the left of mongrelism among the English. It is simply a ploy, like saying “misgeneation rules, OK.” Not worthy of you.

  • Guessedworker: it seems to me that you are trying to retain two contradictory viewpoints

    1) “Miscegenation” is wrong and it is in England’s interest to maintain this fable “pure” nordic breeding stock.

    2) Genetic inheritance is the only factor behind intelligence. It is in England’s interest to maintain high IQ breeding stock.

    The thing is, from the genes point of view “Mongrelisation” is a good thing. Pedigree dogs are often as thick as shit. If you rely on a tiny gene pool you will lose out competitively with those who have access to other gene pools.

    My point is not that intelligence is not heritable at all but having two intelligent parents doesn’t guarantee intelligence, likewise parents of low IQ are certainly capable of producing offspring of higher IQ. To take the IQ argument further, there is a conflation of the necessity to have a certain percentage of very high IQ in the population and the necessity of a general level of intelligence in the population. Society can function perfectly well as long as it is not composed entirely of half-wits, the minimum level of intelligence required is pretty low and is easily exceeded in any western country.

    You are not likely to use the services of a lawyer or a brain surgeon with low IQ and you will probably resist employing a plumber who spends all day quoting Kierkegaard.

    G. Cooper: What you are arguing for is a form of coerced collectivism no different to statists. Just as you cannot separate personal and economic freedom neither can you assume that a government which enforces a “correct” behavioural and cultural norm will be content not to intervene further. You may not wish to see your native culture “drowned” and if enough people share your view the market will ensure that won’t happen.

    The idea that enterprising yet fanatical moslems would enforce “circumcision” on your daughter is absurd. For starters fanatacism tends to thrive in the absence of freedom and wither when enterprise is rewarded. It almost seems pedantic of me to point out that infibulation is not a muslim practice but a tribal, mostly african tradition. Such a far-fetched premise is hardly a convincing argument against imigration or cultural integration.

  • Charles Copeland

    Guessedworker,
    Thanks for the info on Jill Kirby’s pamphlet ‘Choosing to be different’. Interested readers will find it here.

    Frank et al:
    OK, the IQ issue is ‘controversial’ — at least in the sense that people who haven’t read a single full-length book about the subject think they know all the answers. At least read Pinker’s ‘The Blank Slate’ before you express your views. I’m not saying you lot are dumb or anything. But you just don’t seem to be very well informed.

    I recommend the following sites by way of introduction. Do your homework at the now defunct PINC. PINC stands for ‘politically incorrect. Even better: try UPSTREAM. You might learn something.

    If you know of any sites which challenge the hereditability of IQ on a scientifically sound basis, please let me know. I’ve been trawling the Net for ages for such a site — to no avail.

    Thanks in advance,
    Charles

  • Crazy Eddie

    As to the falling birth rates and enjoying life and different lifestyles… it comes with wealth and education. That’s why the mullahs hate it. They are afraid of capitalism and wealth creation because people will lose interest in that ol’ time religion and won’t keep the girls bare foot and pregnant turning out jihadi’s.

    So who do we get to turn out wealthy capitalists?

    If you’ve ever studied demographics, the most important predecessor to turning the top of the S-curve is education of women. Educated women refuse to be baby factories.

    But we here in the West don’t have any particular reason to want to turn the top of the S-curve. We’ve got plenty of room, and if we have enough geniuses and enough freedom for them to do their work and profit from it, they’ll turn that empty wasteland above us into more room than we could fill in thousands of years of breeding like rabbits.

    Would it help if the smart guys were to start looking for women willing to be baby factories? Even if the women aren’t the pick of the gene pool, at least the guys who are the pick of the gene pool would pass their genes on and do some good.

  • Harry Powell

    Guessedworker, I have to tip my hat to your ability to cantilever the question of race and IQ into every subject. But since you raise the matter…

    You are of course right to say that IQ heritability is not a quantum and that the difference between enviromentalists and Darwinians comes down to the degree to which they ascribe the probability of inheritance. I wonder then if you are familiar with the recent study by Devlin, Daniels, and Roeder (available in abstract at http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~psy1355/Readings/Devlin_1997.pdf , I believe the full paper requires a subscription to Nature so admittedly I haven’t read it). If I understand it correctly they undertook a Bayesian analysis of some 212 studies on heritability (the same data set used by Murray and Hernstein) and came to the conclusion that there is a stronger correlation between IQ and development in the womb than with genetic influence. Indeed they put the probability of inheritance as low as 34%.

  • Sage

    Abby, your point about immigration is well taken.

  • Charles: I am familiar with Pinker’s work, he has done a pretty effective demolition of the notion that man is perfectible. It is a misrepresentation of his work, no less fallacious than the notion that one is born with a blank slate, to state that environment, and in particular peer group, has no effect on intelligence.

    To paraphrase you: If you know of any sites which demonstrate the hereditability of IQ on a scientifically sound basis, please let me know. The PINC sites is full of junk science and white-suprematist-masturbation. Remember much as you would like to define race strictly along genetic lines it doesn’t work that way. Most Black British and African Americans have a significant “caucasian genetic heritage”. What race is “Latino”? People can appear similar and have vastly different genetic makeups, likewise people can appear different and share many genetic markers. Cultural/community environment is a far more persuasive explanation of “racial” differences than genes.

    Oh, and I did learn something on Upstream:

    Zack Cernovsky
    on JP Rushton:

    “To demonstrate that Blacks are less intelligent and, perhaps, to allege that this is genetically given, with only minor environmental modifications, Rushton (1988, 1991) refers not only to his own biased review of brain size studies but also to Jensen’s work. Yet, it has been shown that the theories favoring hereditarian over environmentalist explanations tend to be based on poor methodology (see Kamin, 1980) and that Jensen’ s estimates of “hereditability” are based on too many assumptions, which hardly could all be met (Taylor, 1980). Some applications of the heritability estimates were shown to have absurd consequences (Flynn, 1987a). Similarly, Jensen’s recent claims about racial differences in reaction time are biased and might lack in scientific integrity (Kamin & Grant-Henry, 1987). There is no solid evidence in favor of heritability over environmental influences with respect to the development of intelligence (see a review in Kamin, 1980, and Flynn, 1987a, 1987b). “

  • Frank,

    I don’t know anyone who says environment has no impact. I certainly don’t think Charles believes that but I wouldn’t presume to speak on his behalf.

    As you must know, the entire environmentalist thing was cranked up by Franz Boas in his 1910-published survey of the CI measurements of pairs of children born before and after immigration to America. His results purportedly demonstrated the overwhelming effect of environment and thus collapsed the scientific racism. It was known for some years that his sums didn’t add up because 4,000 of his measurements went AWOL (or, one may presume, simply never existed). But a study of his original measurements last tear by Sparks & Jantz (A Re-assessmentof Human Cranial Plasticity: Boas Revisited, National Academy of Sciences: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.222389599) revealed that the great man simply fabricated everything to suit his theory – or he was the world’s worst arithmetician.

    Previous to this blow the left had responded to Jensen, the Bell Curvers, Rushton etc through the offices of the avowed Marxist Stephen Jay Gould. He didn’t do much of a job his The Mismeasure of Man, but if you really want to believe in the equality, you will (that is, you will believe in the equality of man’s native intelligence, not of his running ability, of course, or any other measurement that is harmless to the liberal-marxist faith).

    By the way, James Flynn has had his notions tragically blown away in an important study by, of all folk, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.

    Harry,

    You noticed, you bugger! Well, it’s accidental. Yes, I am aware of two other current studies proving environmentalism. But the largest is still only a 350 sample. It wants to be three times that to avoid the obvious pitfalls. My view on these is that is:

    a) the left is working like crazy to try to deflect the oncoming genetic resolution of this great issue.

    b) That resolution will be with us in the next 12 months. From there it is a question of how much time is required to manouvre it into the public consciousness so that it transmogrifies, essentially, into plain commonsence.

    Now, what about this chap Hoope?

  • Nicholas Weininger

    The first major problem I have with Hoppe is his extraordinarily arrogant assumption that there is only one right way to live– namely, the socially-conservative, loyal-to-family way– and that all good, smart people would naturally gravitate toward this in the absence of government.

    The second major problem is that he utterly fails to match his brilliant and necessary account of the corruption resulting from democracy with a parallel account of the corruption resulting from aristocracy or monarchy. Both are serious dangers, and it is really ahistorical to claim that one is always and everywhere a greater danger.

    To give two examples, Hoppe doesn’t engage with either the history of tsarist Russia or the history of the antebellum South. He mentions the example of the Confederacy in search of lessons about secessionist tactics, but the institution of slavery seems not to enter at all into his moral assessment; the Confederates were secessionists, by his reckoning, so they must be good. And if his thesis about the benefits of private monarchical ownership of the State were correct, Russia should have been the preeminent power in Europe; for there, as nowhere else in Europe, the Tsar was literally considered the private owner of the nation, and everything and everyone in it were his chattels.

    Hoppe fails utterly to address either the enormous corruption of the Russian and Southern aristocracies due to serfdom and black slavery, or the negative economic and social consequences of that corruption. For accounts of these from a libertarian (and largely anti-democratic) perspective, I’d recommend, respectively, Richard Pipes’ _Property and Freedom_ and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel’s _Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men_.

  • G Cooper

    Frank McGahon writes:

    “For starters fanatacism tends to thrive in the absence of freedom and wither when enterprise is rewarded.”

    There is plenty of enterprise in moslem countries and it coexists perfectly happily with fanaticism – whatever the theorising of armchair libertarians might suggest.

    To claim, as you appear to be, that immigration will result in the subsuming of moslem culture into that of the mainstream of the indigenous population of the UK is contradicted by the evidence of one’s own eyes in almost every major city in the UK where there is a substantial moslem population. Bradford moslems haven’t turned into Yorkshiremen – rather, they have turned part of Bradford into a little Islamabad.

    As for the rest, perhaps those demonstrations calling for the implementation of Sharia law I witnessed in London last year were some sort of hallucination?

    I don’t mind ivory tower political theorists dreaming their happy dreams – but I worry like hell about the impact on the rest of us if such complacency is allowed to dictate policy. As it has, of course.

  • veryretired

    There is nothing new, or libertarian, in the writings you describe. What Hoppe is proposing is a recipe for a feudal autocracy, complete with repressive social norms and a state “religion”.

    It is nothing more than another variation of the 19th Century reaction to the Enlightenment’s emphasis on individual rights, and not a very attractive one, at that.

    Given the level of intolerance described in your review, some form of Inquisition would not be too far in the society’s future. What would stop it, when there is no legal committment to individual rights?

    But for entertainment, you could always have Rollerball.

  • Ken

    Rome was not an hereditary monarchy. Anyone could aspire to become emperor – there were no laws of succession. That was why they had so many civil wars and that is why the hereditary principle was established in medieval times – it (usually) stopped arguments.

  • G. Cooper:

    There is plenty of enterprise in moslem countries and it coexists perfectly happily with fanaticism – whatever the theorising of armchair libertarians might suggest.

    There is a huge difference between enterprise and cronyism which is what passes for business in repressive regimes. The thing is, economic freedom: freedom to buy whatever you want, watch whatever tv/film you want, tends to lead to “globalisation” which is what all the anti-globo lefties and rulers of repressive regimes abhor.

    To claim, as you appear to be, that immigration will result in the subsuming of moslem culture into that of the mainstream of the indigenous population of the UK is contradicted by the evidence of one’s own eyes in almost every major city in the UK where there is a substantial moslem population. Bradford moslems haven’t turned into Yorkshiremen – rather, they have turned part of Bradford into a little Islamabad.

    The difference between you and me is that I am opposed to grand social engineering to create a “desired outcome” both on principle (it is necessarily coercive) and on utilitarian grounds (enforcing a narrow definition of Britishness is likely to be counterproductive).

    I am confident that a lot of the problems you refer to are intricately linked with welfare. It is easy to remain disassociated from society if you are subsidised to sit around all day and cook up ever elaborate fantasies and conspiracy theories. Going to work, meeting other people, being exposed to people with a different cultural outlook tends to result in greater integration. It is no coincidence that those areas most segregated have high unemployment.

    As for the rest, perhaps those demonstrations calling for the implementation of Sharia law I witnessed in London last year were some sort of hallucination?

    There is this quaint little concept called “freedom of speech”, ever heard of that?

    The fact is your focus is wrong. A true libertarian would oppose the overarching coercive government apparatus which is (however unlikely it may seem) capable of enforcing a new repressive legal regime. To focus on extremist muslims who fantasise about the UK under Sharia but retain support for the coercive apparatus (to do all the things you want it to do, tight immigration controls, policing deviant social and cultural behaviour) leaves the probability of some unforeseen future repressive regime, It may not be sharia at all but something different. The problem is not the loonies on the street but the design of the asylum they, or somebody else, could take over.

    Guessedworker:

    a) the left is working like crazy to try to deflect the oncoming genetic resolution of this great issue.

    b) That resolution will be with us in the next 12 months. From there it is a question of how much time is required to manouvre it into the public consciousness so that it transmogrifies, essentially, into plain commonsence.

    Ok, it is not exactly clear to me what you are on about here (perhaps my IQ is insufficient, as I possess Irish peasant genes!) But there are several huge holes in your grand argument

    1) The notion that IQ is inherited is speculative at least.

    2) Apart from being offensive, the notion that black people are genetically intellectually inferior is white-suprematism backed up by nothing more than junk science and wishful thinking.

    3) If your hypothesis is correct then we should see a gradual degradation of IQ levels as the trends you are worried about (miscegenation, childless High IQ women) continue. In fact IQs have increased.

    4) Even in the event that 1), and 2) are correct and ignoring 3): so what? This is probably the biggest gaping hole in your position. Even taking your IQ levels as granted we are talking about the range between a perfectly ordinary person and a brainiac. We are not talking about mental retardation. There is no reason to think that a society mostly composed of people like Eugene Volokh and Carol Vordeman (or worse, John Nash) would be any more pleasant or desirable than a society mostly composed of people like the Big Brother contestants. We don’t actually need to be all brainiacs.

    5) Even if it was desirable that society be completely composed of those with high IQs, the very notion of socially engineering this outcome is diamettrically opposed to Libertarianism. I feel no obligation towards society and I would chafe at any restrictions on my freedoms in the furtherance of grand utopian schemes.

    Now, what about this chap Hoope?

    Hoppe is no libertarian. He has seduced Andy with his forthrightness and fearless rhetoric but his utopianism (however dystopic it appears to me) and the social engineering he implicitly proposes run counter to Libertarianism.

  • G Cooper

    Frank McGahon writes:

    “The difference between you and me is that I am opposed to grand social engineering…”

    No, the difference between us is that you are hoping your theoretical model of what might happen in this country as a result of mass immigration is what will happen, while I am writing about what is actually taking place.

    “To focus on extremist muslims who fantasise about the UK under Sharia but retain support for the coercive apparatus (to do all the things you want it to do, tight immigration controls, policing deviant social and cultural behaviour….”

    You are making assumptions. The first on that list is quite sufficient and nowhere have advocated either of the others. I can hardly be expected to jusrtify a position which you are inventing to suit your own arguments.

    As to how representative those calling for the installation of Sharia law in the UK may be, the few opinion polls I have seen suggest to me that a troublingly high percentage of the UK’s moslem population would qualify as pretty militant (I’m thinking of those who ‘justify’ 9/11 and more or less openly support bin Laden). And are they, by and large, the recently migrated Imams? No – by and large they are young moslems, often born here, who have been exposed to Western values and education since birth.

    You might well claim they have been insufficiently exposed to them but that is simply illustrating what I said about the difference between theorising and what is actually happening.

    If qualifying as a ‘libertarian’ means one has to believe that a society is not at liberty to take steps to protect itself against subversion, invasion or unwanted cultural change, then I am quite happy to say I am no libertarian at all. Mercifully, of course, it is simply one kind of libertarian that believes such a thing.

  • Frank,

    If higher overall IQs are to be desired, and you view IQ as heritable, then the immigration, with consequent “race-mixing,” of Asians should be advocated by those who claim to be concerned about the problem, eh wot? (G)

  • Neel Krishnaswami

    You know, I didn’t think that it was possible to invent a libertarian analogue to false consciousness or original sin — I just assumed that full-blown radical individualism would provide immunity to the idea that the superior elites should determine how the the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, and the AIDS-infected should live their lives. I guess I was wrong.

  • cj

    I would like to second Nicholas W.’s comment.

    It seems to me Hoppe is guilty of “white washing” history — when he is not ignoring it totally.

    “And because the king was also chosen at random, through inheritance, and could only come from a small in-bred royal family, the general population never entertained the idea of entering government themselves. It was therefore always something outside of their experience, or possible future experience, so they always tried to restrain it. Quite successfully, for the most part.”

    This is only one of many possible examples, but to posit that *the general population* restrained “quite successfully, for the most part” royal families… is either very sloppy writing, or very sloppy thinking.

    Based solely on the quoted text (haven’t read his book), his opinions re: historical reality simply do not stand up to analysis.

  • Hello Frank,

    I’m sorry but you really have not grasped the meaning of the IQ debate. It has nothing whatever to do with aggressive racism. It is to do with the incompatibility of egalitarianism and evolutionary science.

    I won’t recommend Pinc and Upstream. The best possible cure for you will be to visit Gene Expression, written by brown guys, read by everybody who’s interested in the unfolding drama of our knowledge of ourselves.

    Then you can put your undoubtedly genetic Irish locquacity and charm to much better use than supporting liberal-marxist propaganda.

    Happy reading.

  • Guessedworker:

    I take it from your rather trite and facile response that you are uninterested in the broader irrelevance of your little hobby horse of race/genetics/IQ. In the unlikely event of your hypothesis being proved correct, there is still no logical corollary that society should be re-engineered with this “knowledge”.

    I’m afraid that you exhibit the lack of comprehension you attribute to me when you assert my support for liberal-marxist propaganda.

    I am in favour of simple equal treatment, i.e. everybody is treated as an individual and nobody receives any special treatment, positive or negative. That is the position most consistent with libertarianism.

    I would describe the marxist position as proposing special treatment (positive and negative) for everybody in the interests of society as a whole. Your position is identical to this, the only difference is that where marxists desire society to be more equal, you appear to desire a society with higher overall IQ.

    G. Cooper:

    You appear not to understand that the repressive government apparatus you wish to employ against those with whom you disagree may some day be used against people like you.

    Take extremist islam: I am opposed to islamofascism and I actually share your belief that there is too much complacency about this.

    Where we differ is that I would always make a distinction, certainly where government force is used, between terrorist-sympathisers and terrorist-facilitators. (You can take it that any action against actual terrorist is justified). It may be desirable that terrorist-sympathisers are discouraged from their beliefs but the type of government apparatus which would be required to enforce this would represent a freedom “cost” out of proportion to the miniscule “benefit” (that is assuming such action would be successful and not, as would be more likely, counter-productive). The proper way to defend society is action against those who carry out terrorism or facilitate it and not restrictions on ordinary freedoms such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly, association.

  • Hello Frank,

    Sorry for calling you a commie! I was responding to your first two numbered paras in your last post but one. These are standard left defences in the IQ debate, not only in content but tone. Hence my hope – though you consider it trite – that your locquacity will find a better cause to defend.

    You see, calling a Professor Emeritus like Arthur Jensen a junk scientist demonstrates absolutely nothing except that you need to get to grips with the subject. You say that IQ’s have increased, but this picture is far very from clear (go to http://www.jbhe.com/latest/37_b&w_sat.html). At the moment you don’t seem to have got beyond Pinkeriana, ie sociobiology made safe for liberals. Read on, especially the emerging genetic evidence for difference because that is the future of this debate.

    With regard to your perfectly honourable desire for equal treatment for all, I would ask why you are wasting your time supporting the environmentalism of the left and of the culture war. Equal treatment does not flow from this. Egalitarianism does.

    As a point of fact my own view on heritability and plasticity, encephalisation-sexualisation, disposition towards criminality etc is not fixed, Frank. So you are a bit previous with your judgement. I’m running hard to keep up with the evidence. I may wind up an IQ utopian quite close to Hoppe in some respects. I certainly believe we need a high IQ society because that tends to be advanced, prosperous and low-crime. There are genetic scientists who are disturbingly ebullient about their potential role in creating such a society. Perhaps my antecedents are just too working class but I feel we ought to try getting the best of the common man first.

    There’s probably not much deviding you and I, in reality. It is my belief and understanding that in another year or two there will be still less.

  • I’ve been trying to come up with ways libertarianism can go wrong. I think I”ve just spotted another one. What we have here is evidence that, if Caesarism occurs in Western Civilization, the Emperor will have no shortage of propagandists who can use libertarian rhetoric.

  • Cobden Bright

    Hoppe misunderstands democracy. It has no moral status, but is merely a pragmatic device to make it easier to eject bad rulers every few years without having to kill lots of people. In that respect it is vastly superior to the monarchic systems he suggests.

    The real problem is not democracy per se, but rather the notion that theft, social engineering, and other collectivist principles (which are by no means the preserve of democracies) are legitimate just because a majority of people vote for them. Elevating democracy to a moral virtue (rather than a pragmatic necessity) has effectively legitimised and institutionalised the repeated flagrant infringement of individual rights by the state.

    The US Constitution was an attempt to deal with this, but any amendable or unenforced constitution will not be worth the paper it is written on. The only solution is for people to defend their absolute rights by armed force, regardless of the popular vote, and let disputes be settled by a system of common law which begins and ends with the notion of individual rights and the reasonable defence thereof. What could be more democratic than a disinterested jury of one’s peers? Notions of group entitlement or political authority would carry no weight whatsoever.

    Democracy has done its job – it has massively reduced bloodshed, and maintained social order, two of the more important tasks of any state. It is people’s willingness to defend rights that has failed – and that is a matter of guts (sometimes literally so), not votes.

  • Mark Stanford

    Hoppe’s book is full of insights regarding how democracy leads to a decline in the well-being of society over time. However, there is one section which leaves me troubled about his real motives and calls into question whether he is in fact a Libertarian. Here is the quote from the book on which my concern is based.

    “There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centred lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.”

    He advocates the physical separation and expelling from society of many individuals that would fall under the various categories mentioned: democrats, hedonists, nature-environment worshippers, and homosexuals. I specifically am concerned about the last group mentioned, although I have concerns about freedom-loving individuals that fall within the other categories as well.

    He is obviously not aware that homosexuality is, according to much scientific evidence, primarily determined by genetic factors? Thus, homosexuals do not choose their sexual orientation, as people choose homes, plumbers, which of the lesser evils they will support in the next election, etc. Homosexuals are members of families, although most do not bear children (and given that they represent less than 10% of the population, this should not spell disaster for the survival of the species). And yet Hoppe wants physically to remove them from society (an act of agression, against which Libertarians would argue) and thus he wants to penalize them for a fact of nature over which they have no control, except to abstain from sexual activity, which does not change the fact that they are homosexual.

    This is inhumane. It is uncivilized. It is against all that Libertarianism stands for, the non-aggression axiom to wit. Unless Hoppe can reconcile this contradiction and inconsistency, he is not a libertarian at all and should not claim to be, let alone edit the major journal in the field.

  • chad

    there is a two-hour interview with hoppe in streaming and downloadable form at http://www.philipdru.com, along with many others that were recorded off a radio station in austin tx.

  • Alfred Pellingham

    CJ quotes Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

    “And because the king was also chosen at random, through inheritance, and could only come from a small in-bred royal family, the general population never entertained the idea of entering government themselves. It was therefore always something outside of their experience, or possible future experience, so they always tried to restrain it. Quite successfully, for the most part.”

    And you, CJ, then go on to say: “This is only one of many possible examples [of Hoppe’s mistakes], but to posit that *the general population* restrained ‘quite successfully, for the most part’ royal families… is either very sloppy writing, or very sloppy thinking.”

    I must point out that “it” in “they always tried to restrain it” refers to “the idea of entering government”, and does not, as you suggest, refer to the Royal Family per se. Thus, it reads: “they always tried to restrain the idea of entering government.” Your construal that it reads, “the general population restrained, quite successfully, for the most part, royal families”, is either very sloppy reading or very sloppy thinking.