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Who else thinks that Hoppe's argument about elections is loose?

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Kenneth Posted: Wed, Feb 24 2010 9:35 AM

I am not well versed in praxeology but how exaclty can he draw the conclusion that only bad men rule?

His argument that some people express the desire for others' property more than others and that's why they go into politics is erroneous. You does not go into politics because you want to steal another man's property. You become a politician because you want to make society better and even if your policies result in the opposite of that goal, there is clearly no intention of wanting another man's property. A lot of leftist politicians are just ignorant about economics.

Can anybody explain the praxeology of this conclusion?

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Can anybody explain the praxeology of this conclusion?

I'd imagine it would go something like this:

"If theft is bad, than thieves are bad"

"If the state is institutionalized theft, than members of the state are thieves."


"If the state is institutionalized theft, and theft is bad, than members of the state are thieves, and are bad."

Of course, you have to buy into morality as objective to buy this poop, but that's another conversation.

"What Stirner says is a word, a thought, a concept; what he means is no word, no thought, no concept. What he says is not what is meant, and what he means is unsayable." - Max Stirner, Stirner's Critics
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Do me the favour of reproducing his argument in whole here by quoting rather than loose paraphrasing.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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DD5 replied on Wed, Feb 24 2010 10:11 AM


I fail to see how ignorance somehow refutes the "bad men rule" hypothesis, although this is not exactly Hoppe's way of putting it..  So if Hitler actually thought that he was helping mankind by exterminating millions of Jews, that would somehow get him off your list for "bad men"?

Their action is bad.  They are competing for positions that require coercion, compulsion, extortion, confiscations, etc.... to practically do anything.  Sometimes, one "bad" apple may slip through, like Ron Paul who may actually want to hamper the system itself, but the overall tendency will always remain.  I don't think the political means can be a long term method by which you can achieve freedom.


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Angurse replied on Wed, Feb 24 2010 11:37 AM

That isn't his argument.

"I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality."
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DBratton replied on Wed, Feb 24 2010 12:43 PM

but how exaclty can he draw the conclusion that only bad men rule?

His argument is that undesirable qualities such as the ability to deceive give those who possess them an advantage in electoral politics. That's a long way from saying "only bad men rule".

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I. Ryan replied on Wed, Feb 24 2010 3:05 PM

Essentially, his point is that the men who generally "get to the top" are the men who are the most effective demagogues.

If I wrote it more than a few weeks ago, I probably hate it by now.

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Hairnet replied on Wed, Feb 24 2010 3:19 PM

No no no. It is like none of you read Hoppe.

 The point is that men who are elected are elected as care takers of the state, not owners of the state. In the sense that they are care takers, they are have tendency towards present-oriented behavior rather than long term behavior.

   As Hoppe defines a monarchy, a monarch essentially by law owns the state apparatus, and treats it as capital. He is still a parasite, but because he owns it, he will have to deal with the long term consequences of his policies. So rulers, if they are informerd I suppose, have a tendency to have lower taxes and smaller government, because they want the economy to grow (so they will have more wealth) and they want to have less people to share the wealth with.

   In a democracy, a representative is elected as a care taker of a the state apparatus, and thus looses all of the incentives to think long term about the health of the population or the state apparatus. Read his book, as he argues this better than I can at this moment.

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Read French's piece from p. 237 of the PDF of the Höppe Fettschrift.

I have some problems with Maslow's pyramid in general, but the application here seems fine.

One readily sees that Maslow’s self-actualizers have nothing in common with politicians in a democracy, but closely fit the profile that Hoppe describes of the natural elite that would lead a natural order. But a step down from the top of the hierarchy of needs pyramid is the need for esteem. Maslow described two types of esteem needs according to Maslow expert Dr. C. George Boeree, a lower esteem need and a higher one. And while the higher form of esteem calls for healthy attributes such as freedom, independence, confidence and achievement, the lower form “is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, even dominance.”

“The negative version of these needs is low self-esteem and inferiority complexes,” Dr. Boeree writes. “Maslow felt [Alfred] Adler was really onto something when he proposed that these were at the roots of many, if not most, of our psychological problems.”

Now we see the qualities displayed by virtually all politicians in democracy: the constant need for status and recognition. The ends—compensating for an inferiority complex—justify whatever Machiavellian means.

Because democracy is open to any and all who can get themselves elected, either through connections, personality, or personal wealth, it is a social system where leadership positions become a hotbed for sociopaths. Maslow’s self-actualizing man won’t have an interest in politics. But those stuck on the need for esteem are drawn to it like flies to dung.

Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.—Karl Kraus.

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