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Democracy: The God That Failed

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viresh amin Posted: Thu, Mar 18 2010 8:54 PM

Are there any critiques on this book?

 

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mises.org forum trolls:
A travesty... 1/5 stars

Hoppe longs for a romantic period of feudal slavery

There is not much substance around these parts otherwise. You want to look here though.

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

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Stranger replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 9:17 PM

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.

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/004776.html

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Notice how in all that verbiage there is exactly zero substantive criticism. Skimming through the rest of that guy's rant I was hard pressed to find anything at all. Yep, the truth is a bitter pill, and it is stamped triple H.

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

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Stranger:

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.

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/004776.html

So, where is the part where he actually refutes Hoppe's points? 

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viresh amin:

Are there any critiques on this book?

If I were to make one I'd start with his citation practises. Look guys, it's not exactly a new result that democratic leaders tend to be short sighted and that term limits will only exacerbate said short-sightedness, Hoppe just doesn't know standard citation practises really.

Of course, that'd only be the beginning. I think ERO summed it up nicely when he referred to it as an intellectual travesty. 

By the way, this is coming from somebody who has read D:TGTF twice, and most of Hoppe's other works at least once. So before anybody implies or states otherwise I just thought I'd point out that I didn't like the book because I found it full of empty, angry rhetoric with very little real discussion of the issues at hand. 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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MatthewF replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 9:39 PM

Did you decide that after the first or second read?

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hayekianxyz:

viresh amin:

Are there any critiques on this book?

If I were to make one I'd start with his citation practises. Look guys, it's not exactly a new result that democratic leaders tend to be short sighted and that term limits will only exacerbate said short-sightedness, Hoppe just doesn't know standard citation practises really.

Of course, that'd only be the beginning. I think ERO summed it up nicely when he referred to it as an intellectual travesty. 

By the way, this is coming from somebody who has read D:TGTF twice, and most of Hoppe's other works at least once. So before anybody implies or states otherwise I just thought I'd point out that I didn't like the book because I found it full of empty, angry rhetoric with very little real discussion of the issues at hand. 

So, Hoppe doesn't live up to Giles' citation standards. Thank you for your vacuous criticism. I found it amusing.

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

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E. R. Olovetto:

hayekianxyz:

viresh amin:

Are there any critiques on this book?

 

If I were to make one I'd start with his citation practises. Look guys, it's not exactly a new result that democratic leaders tend to be short sighted and that term limits will only exacerbate said short-sightedness, Hoppe just doesn't know standard citation practises really.

Of course, that'd only be the beginning. I think ERO summed it up nicely when he referred to it as an intellectual travesty. 

By the way, this is coming from somebody who has read D:TGTF twice, and most of Hoppe's other works at least once. So before anybody implies or states otherwise I just thought I'd point out that I didn't like the book because I found it full of empty, angry rhetoric with very little real discussion of the issues at hand. 

 

So, Hoppe doesn't live up to Giles' citation standards. Thank you for your vacuous criticism. I found it amusing.

 

Besides citations, is the links on his website the only arguments against the heart of his book?

 

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hayekianxyz:

viresh amin:

Are there any critiques on this book?

If I were to make one I'd start with his citation practises. Look guys, it's not exactly a new result that democratic leaders tend to be short sighted and that term limits will only exacerbate said short-sightedness, Hoppe just doesn't know standard citation practises really.

Of course, that'd only be the beginning. I think ERO summed it up nicely when he referred to it as an intellectual travesty. 

By the way, this is coming from somebody who has read D:TGTF twice, and most of Hoppe's other works at least once. So before anybody implies or states otherwise I just thought I'd point out that I didn't like the book because I found it full of empty, angry rhetoric with very little real discussion of the issues at hand. 

Sounds a lot like your post. Be specific with your criticisms, or don't bring them up at all. 

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E. R. Olovetto:
So, Hoppe doesn't live up to Giles' citation standards. Thank you for your vacuous criticism. I found it amusing.

Let me put it this way, the sloppy citation practises are indicative of the level of "scholarship" found in the rest of the book. I think what Hayek said about Keynes is relevant here, what's original isn't very interesting, what's interesting isn't very original. Or to put it another way, it's not surprising that Hoppe wrote a book that says nothing about the real world, he can't have a very good view of it from down by the feet of the Prince of Liechtenstein. 

 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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viresh amin:
Besides citations, is the links on his website the only arguments against the heart of his book?

You know, there is actually more about argumentation ethics that I know of there. Sorry if there isn't much criticism of DTGTF.

Here are a couple of links I found from a quick google, YMMV.

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

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haha this is kind of cool. The "travesty" part. I never really cared too much about if a book was written in correct intellectual format. I'm not sure if thats a good thing (tell me if I should care and why). I always just tried to get what I can out of the books I read. 

 

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hayekianxyz:

E. R. Olovetto:
So, Hoppe doesn't live up to Giles' citation standards. Thank you for your vacuous criticism. I found it amusing.

Let me put it this way, the sloppy citation practises are indicative of the level of "scholarship" found in the rest of the book. I think what Hayek said about Keynes is relevant here, what's original isn't very interesting, what's interesting isn't very original. Or to put it another way, it's not surprising that Hoppe wrote a book that says nothing about the real world, he can't have a very good view of it from down by the feet of the Prince of Liechtenstein.

Can you cite these sloppy citation practices with a page # and explanation? I have the book right here and have actually read it. I am a bit skeptical that the same is true for you, considering that you still have said nothing of substance.

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

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While Giles is warming up for his next act, let's read Rothbard on Hoppephobia.

...

The Lomasky review is an interesting example of what is getting to be a fairly common phenomenon: Hoppephobia. Although he is an amiable man personally, Hoppe's written work seems to have the remarkable capacity to send some readers up the wall, blood pressure soaring, muttering and chewing the carpet. It is not impolite attacks on critics that does it. Perhaps the answer is Hoppe's logical and deductive mode of thought and writing, demonstrating the truth of his propositions and showing that those who differ are often trapped in self-contradiction and self-refutation.

In the good old days, this was a common style in philosophy, employed by Kantians, Thomists, Misesians, and Randians alike. In the modern age, however, this method of thought and writing has gone severely out of fashion in philosophy, where truth is almost never arrived at – and certainly never argued for in a deductive fashion. The modern mode is utilitarian, positivist, tangential, puzzle-oriented, and pseudo-empiricist. As a result, modern positivist types have gone flabby and complacent, and reading hard-core deductivists – to say nothing of hard-core libertarians! – hits these people with the force of a blow to the gut.

Well, shape up, guys! In argument as in politics, those who can’t stand deductivist heat should get out of the philosophic or economic kitchen.

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

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E. R. Olovetto:
I am a bit skeptical that the same is true for you, considering that you still have said nothing of substance.

Haha! I anticipated that one. Like I said, I've read the book twice, I've listened to his lecture series, I've read A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, The Ethics & Economics of Private Property and Economic Science and the Austrian Method. In retrospect, it appears like I've wasted my time, but nonetheless, I'm sure I learned something from those books, I'm just not sure it was the intended message(s). 

OK, about sloppy citation practises, I'm flicking through my copy now and I don't see one reference that would give the reader the impression that his conclusions on discount rates of democratic leaders was not original (when it was anything but original). I can't say I see much in the way of references to serious discussions of the political economy of democracy (anything in the public choice tradition, Lomasky & Brennan's book), what I do see is a few caricatures and "discussion" of a few catchphrases that are used in favour of democracy.

They have a word for this type of work: propaganda. 

You know, ERO, having a reputation for being obnoxious is never something to be proud of, much less when one is a scholar. 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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MNR:
send some readers up the wall.... chewing the carpet.

Carpeted ceilings?

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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hayekianxyz:

E. R. Olovetto:
I am a bit skeptical that the same is true for you, considering that you still have said nothing of substance.

Haha! I anticipated that one. Like I said, I've read the book twice, I've listened to his lecture series, I've read A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, The Ethics & Economics of Private Property and Economic Science and the Austrian Method. In retrospect, it appears like I've wasted my time, but nonetheless, I'm sure I learned something from those books, I'm just not sure it was the intended message(s). 

OK, about sloppy citation practises, I'm flicking through my copy now and I don't see one reference that would give the reader the impression that his conclusions on discount rates of democratic leaders was not original (when it was anything but original). I can't say I see much in the way of references to serious discussions of the political economy of democracy (anything in the public choice tradition, Lomasky & Brennan's book), what I do see is a few caricatures and "discussion" of a few catchphrases that are used in favour of democracy.

They have a word for this type of work: propaganda. 

You know, ERO, having a reputation for being obnoxious is never something to be proud of, much less when one is a scholar. 

What page will I be looking for "his conclusions on discount rates of democratic leaders"? Does he make the claim that whatever it is you are referencing is original, or else who should he have referenced? Maybe he didn't discuss Lomasky & Brennan because he thought it is twaddle. What is one concrete point of their work that is relevant to a concrete point of Hoppe's? If you can materialize something, I will look into it, otherwise this seems like run of the mill Giles "appeal to authority" Stratton to me.

So, I really don't see how you have made much of a case here. Cite a page (I always take the time to transcribe) and say what your criticism is.

edit: 10 seconds searching and I can see why Hoppe ignored these 2:

Public choice generally assumes that (1) people are rational wealth-maximizers (homo economicus)

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

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 1:05 AM

Grayson Lilburne:

MNR:
send some readers up the wall.... chewing the carpet.

Carpeted ceilings?

Nay. lol.

"Hoppe's written work seems to have the remarkable capacity to send some readers up the wall, blood pressure soaring, muttering and chewing the carpet."

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=785043

"Although it's used with reference to overacting in the quote, the original meaning is supposed to be to react with uncontrolled anger or anxiety according to the Random House Dictionary of American Slang."

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Conza88:

Grayson Lilburne:

MNR:
send some readers up the wall.... chewing the carpet.

Carpeted ceilings?

Nay. lol.

"Hoppe's written work seems to have the remarkable capacity to send some readers up the wall, blood pressure soaring, muttering and chewing the carpet."

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=785043

"Although it's used with reference to overacting in the quote, the original meaning is supposed to be to react with uncontrolled anger or anxiety according to the Random House Dictionary of American Slang."

Yes, I knew that; it was a joke.  Wink

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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hayekianxyz:

viresh amin:

Are there any critiques on this book?

If I were to make one I'd start with his citation practises. Look guys, it's not exactly a new result that democratic leaders tend to be short sighted and that term limits will only exacerbate said short-sightedness, Hoppe just doesn't know standard citation practises really.

Of course, that'd only be the beginning. I think ERO summed it up nicely when he referred to it as an intellectual travesty. 

By the way, this is coming from somebody who has read D:TGTF twice, and most of Hoppe's other works at least once. So before anybody implies or states otherwise I just thought I'd point out that I didn't like the book because I found it full of empty, angry rhetoric with very little real discussion of the issues at hand. 

Forgive the ignorance but who is ERO? But can you link a critique of it? I've had a look round the web before and couldn't really find any. It seems to be a book enthusiastically accepted by the Rothbardian branch and just abused by everyone else.

 

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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Esuric replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 3:51 AM

Physiocrat:
Forgive the ignorance but who is ERO? But can you link a critique of it? I've had a look round the web before and couldn't really find any. It seems to be a book enthusiastically accepted by the Rothbardian branch and just abused by everyone else.

Check amazon. The book is highly controversial, and Hoppe's argument appears to be rooted in social darwinism. I haven't read it, so I don't really know, but the public choice school has probably put forth a much stronger case against democracy. If Hoppe is indeed supporting social darwinism, then it would be wise for the libertarian movement to disassociate themselves from Hoppe and his dangerous ideology. Most people support capitalism and freedom because it will elevate the masses to opulence, and not because it kills off the "weak."

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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E. R. Olovetto:

...

Perhaps the answer is Hoppe's logical and deductive mode of thought and writing, demonstrating the truth of his propositions and showing that those who differ are often trapped in self-contradiction and self-refutation.

So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh? How did he logically deduce that they would be excluded completely in a free society?  And what the hell is even wrong with the followers of "alternative, non-family centered lifestyles" anyway? Don't these people deserve freedom too? Hans-Hermann Hoppe doesn't seem to think so.  

Does Mr. Hoppe think he knows how to best run peoples' lives; like the state?

Well then, if he does, I say we make Hans-Herrman Hoppe a king! Hey, since he truely believes that he knows which lifestyle everyone should follow, why shouldn't he be?

It is Hoppe who is the one trapped in self-contradiction and self-refutation.

"No person is so grand or wise or perfect as to be the master of another person." ~ Karl Hess

"look, property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property. Therefore this ship is mine, OK?" ~Zaphod Beeblebrox

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DBratton replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 6:51 AM

fancyshirtman:
So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Hoppe's comments about homosexuals and society are completely supportable based on observation. Societies that have tolerated homosexual behavior are historically few in number. Furthermore, any society that is truly free must not only permit individuals to engage in socially discouraged behavior, but must also permit the rest of society to shun individuals who engage in those behaviors - discrimination being the very essence of liberty.

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DBratton:
Hoppe's comments about homosexuals and society are completely supportable based on observation. Societies that have tolerated homosexual behavior are historically few in number. Furthermore, any society that is truly free must not only permit individuals to engage in socially discouraged behavior, but must also permit the rest of society to shun individuals who engage in those behaviors - discrimination being the very essence of liberty.

I think it is a rather poor justification to engage in neo-victorian behavior. Homosexuals ekk! On a side note, this mantra is why libertarianism can't simply  be about the NAP and must contain non-state forms of oppression. How long before you take away the human rights of a group that is actively being dehumanized?  

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Physiocrat:
Forgive the ignorance but who is ERO? But can you link a critique of it? I've had a look round the web before and couldn't really find any. It seems to be a book enthusiastically accepted by the Rothbardian branch and just abused by everyone else.

Because nobody outside the "Rothbardian bunch" even takes Hoppe seriously, I'm not even trying to be insulting here, it's just a fact. Look, one can find many economists who would identify themselves as Austrian who would be considered serious economists outside the Austrian community, hell, Peter Leeson is visiting at Chicago.

I'm not sure I can think of anybody outside of LRC and the LvMI community who considers Hoppe to be anything but a bad joke (and this is being generous, most people haven't even heard of him). There are no reviews or criticism of the book because nobody takes it seriously. I might post some arguments up when I get some time, but I doubt I'll get to it because I don't feel like wading through Hoppe's angry rhetoric in search for something substantive. 

E. R. Olovetto:

edit: 10 seconds searching and I can see why Hoppe ignored these 2:

Public choice generally assumes that (1) people are rational wealth-maximizers (homo economicus)

Well, the fact that you have to search to know what public choice is probably reveals more about yourself than it does about anybody else. I'm not really sure that it makes much sense to reject public choice based on one simplifying assumption it makes, all the more so when Hoppe makes a very similar assumption and is quite explicit about it, I might even post some quotes from the introduction if I get around to it. In fact, one of the problems I have with the Hoppe book is precisely that assumption, which is why I referenced the Brennan and Lomasky work which also rejects that approach to explaining democracy. 
From the Coordination Problem blog, I saw this:
While I was here at the LSE I read closely Tim Besley'sPrincipled Agents?: The Political Economy of Good Government (Oxford University Press, 2006).  Besley seeks to place his contribution between the social welfare function tradition of public economics associated with traditional economics from Pigou through Samuelson up to Stiglitz, and the public choice tradition of public finance identified with Buchanan, Buchanan and Tullock, and Brennan and Buchanan.  Standard social choice theory is judged to be naively optimistic about government's ability to introduce public policy as if it is being done by a benevolent social planner, but standard public choice is too pessimistic with its assumption that all men are knaves.  Besley, instead, wants to focus on how political institutions can be set up to select political leaders that reflect the virtues and talents required to rule in the public interest.  Thus the title of his book.

It is a powerful book and reflects one of the most informed challenges to standard public choice yet written.  The older criticisms of public choice found in Green and Shapiro's The Pathologies of Rational Choice (which was empirical in nature) and Wittman's The Myth of Democratic Failure(which was theoretical in nature) both falter as criticisms of the work of Buchanan et.al., in the Virginia school of political economy.  But Besley's book is fundamentally different and constitutes both an internal critique of the Virginia School and a transcendent one that examines how the political structure can also feedback on to character traits of political actors (echoing in this regard the very insiightful paper by Brennan and Pettit the theme of how while power can corrupt political office can ennoble).  Besley's book gives the reader from within the Virigina School of Political Economy a lot to think about.

Now, Hoppe can't be faulted for not discussing a book that was released a few years after Democracy: The God That Failed but what about the Brennan & Pettit paper that was cited? Somehow I think I must have missed that in the footnotes. Like I said, any serious work would have to take these sorts of discussions into hand, instead Hoppe thinks he can prove that monarchy is somehow superior to democracy in 50 short pages.

 

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

Bob Dylan

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DBratton replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 7:56 AM

Andrew Cain:
I think it is a rather poor justification to engage in neo-victorian behavior. Homosexuals ekk! On a side note, this mantra is why libertarianism can't simply  be about the NAP and must contain non-state forms of oppression. How long before you take away the human rights of a group that is actively being dehumanized?  

Who is saying anything about taking anything away from anyone? In a free society free people will choose who they want to associate with. And they are entitled to do so for whatever reason they choose, including reasons you don't like.

 

 

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DBratton:
Who is saying anything about taking anything away from anyone? In a free society free people will choose who they want to associate with. And they are entitled to do so for whatever reason they choose, including reasons you don't like

It's hard enough to get people to follow the NAP on issues they deem a necessary evil. Legislation that offers equal protection of human rights under law is hardly necessary to individuals who wish to maintain a free society.  I think the gay community itself has a long way to go before they can stop fighting for equal rights under law.

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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DBratton:
fancyshirtman:
So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Hoppe's comments about homosexuals and society are completely supportable based on observation. Societies that have tolerated homosexual behavior are historically few in number.

There have been few, if not no true instances of anarchy throughout history. So do you not support anarchy, because there have been no real historical instances of it? I don't know about you, but I'd still like to see the end of the state. (^o^)

Historically, it has been the state which has oppressed homosexuals. And when it wasn't the state, homosexuals were oppressed by violence. As libertarians, who hold true to the non-aggression axiom, we are against violence; whether commited by the state or any other gang of thugs .

DBratton:
Furthermore, any society that is truly free must not only permit individuals to engage in socially discouraged behavior, but must also permit the rest of society to shun individuals who engage in those behaviors

What is socially discouraged behaviour? How can you, an individual, decide everything for the “collective”? Does the “collective” even exist? Do you know what's best for everyone? Some people (socialists) would consider making a profit off a good to be "evil" behaviour; are they right?

Of course not.

The fact of the matter is homosexuality is as natural as setting up a business in order to provide a service to their fellow man. So long as it is voluntary, EVERYBODY WINS!

And yes you can "permit" discrimination (so long as it's non-violent), but you cannot enforce it.

So would everyone in a free society decide to cast the homosexuals out to the forests? Such a claim is as ridiculous as saying voluntary socialism could work. There is no way such a massive collective desicion would be made when the market naturally brings people of all kinds together through the division of labour and cooperation.

Of course homosexuals would have a place in a free society; especially in this changing world of ours.

Markets breed diversity not discrimination.

DBratton:
- discrimination being the very essence of liberty.

Freedom from violence is the very essence of liberty. That is if you hold to non-agression axiom. Discrimination is in most cases defeated by diversity as discrimination is often very impratical.

The state divides us! Freedom brings us together! ^o^

I end with this quote from Murray Rothbard:

“And how can the rightist trumpet his devotion to private property and free enterprise while at the same time favoring war, conscription, and the outlawing of noninvasive activities and practices that he deems immoral?”

"No person is so grand or wise or perfect as to be the master of another person." ~ Karl Hess

"look, property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property. Therefore this ship is mine, OK?" ~Zaphod Beeblebrox

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viresh amin:
Are there any critiques on this book?

Not a scholarly one, but I take issue with Hoppe's portrayal of feudalism:

Hoppe:
More interestingly, armed with elementary economic and political theory, I present in my book a revisionist reconstruction of modern Western history: of the rise of absolute monarchical states out of state-less feudal orders, and the transformation, beginning with the French Revolution and essentially completed with the end of World War I, of the Western world from monarchical to democratic States, and the rise of the US to the rank of "universal empire."

I disagree that feudalism was a "stateless" society.

"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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Well, the fact that you have to search to know what public choice is probably reveals more about yourself than it does about anybody else.

Giles, I searched for the 2 authors you mentioned. I know what public choice is. Your only "argument" is an argumentum ad populem or appeal to public sentiment. Most people once believed that the sun revolved around the Earth too. I gave you 2 papers regarding "public goods" in your ridiculous asteroid thread. These assumptions of a homo economicus are part of the flaws of the scientistic professional economist.

I will give you and the others another chance to prove that you actually own the book by scanning/transcribing from pg. 211 where most of today's false claims are addressed.

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hayekianxyz:

Because nobody outside the "Rothbardian bunch" even takes Hoppe seriously, I'm not even trying to be insulting here, it's just a fact. Look, one can find many economists who would identify themselves as Austrian who would be considered serious economists outside the Austrian community, hell, Peter Leeson is visiting at Chicago.

Going to meet his statist mob buddies is he? Wink

Well Sean Gabb would and does and he's not on the inside of the LRC or LvMI. Heck, is a Humean minarchist to boot although he's relatively socially conservative.

So in answer to my question of whether you can provide a link for a decent critique that would be a no then. I've looked at some on Amazon and the most substantive claims are that he doesn't detail Monarchical practice in detail and assumes the government to be a monolithic entity. The former has most weight and even though the latter holds it's an empirical matter and thus not covered by the counterfactual nature of the analysis.

 

The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.

Yours sincerely,

Physiocrat

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DBratton replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 8:54 AM

fancyshirtman:

DBratton:
fancyshirtman:
So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Hoppe's comments about homosexuals and society are completely supportable based on observation. Societies that have tolerated homosexual behavior are historically few in number.

There have been few, if not no true instances of anarchy throughout history. So do you not support anarchy, because there have been no real historical instances of it? I don't know about you, but I'd still like to see the end of the state. (^o^)

Your analogy doesn't even begin to work. To end the state all you have to do is remove it. To end discrimination against homosexuals you have to use force against those who would discriminate.

fancyshirtman:
Historically, it has been the state which has oppressed homosexuals. And when it wasn't the state, homosexuals were oppressed by violence. As libertarians, who hold true to the non-aggression axiom, we are against violence; whether commited by the state or any other gang of thugs .

And what does the state get out of it but the approval of the population? Suppression of homosexual behavior has always been primarily a social imperative, though the state sometimes lends its weight. In any case the subject at hand is the free society in which state violence is not an issue. In such a society socially undesireable behavior can and almost certainly will be shunned.

fancyshirtman:

What is socially discouraged behaviour? How can you, an individual, decide everything for the “collective”? Does the “collective” even exist? Do you know what's best for everyone? Some people (socialists) would consider making a profit off a good to be "evil" behaviour; are they right?

Of course not.

Murder is socially discouraged behavior. So is theft. So is farting in elevators.

fancyshirtman:

How can you, an individual, decide everything for the “collective”?

I haven't. Societies have norms though and they look for ways to enforce them. Some methods of enforcement are perfectly legitimate.

fancyshirtman:
And yes you can "permit" discrimination (so long as it's non-violent), but you cannot enforce it.

Have you ever had a homeowner's association? Have you ever belonged to a church? There certainly are ways to enforce social norms and societies are pretty god at finding them. Remember human society is a lot older than the state and social norms have been with us all along.

fancyshirtman:
So would everyone in a free society decide to cast the homosexuals out to the forests? Such a claim is as ridiculous as saying voluntary socialism could work.

In almost every society that has existed to date that is exactly what they have done. Is opposition to homosexual behavior an intrinsic characteristic of the state or is it perhaps an intrinsic characteristic of human society?

BTW for examples of voluntary socialism working see all of the medieval monasteries.

fancyshirtman:

DBratton:
- discrimination being the very essence of liberty.

Freedom from violence is the very essence of liberty. That is if you hold to non-agression axiom. Discrimination is in most cases defeated by diversity as discrimination is often very impratical.

Freedom to do what? Liberty is the freedom to exclude others from your property. It is your right to discriminate.

fancyshirtman:
Of course homosexuals would have a place in a free society; especially in this changing world of ours.

LOL - That's the Paris Hilton fallacy (i.e "Just wait until the new technologies kick in.")

 

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fancyshirtman:

E. R. Olovetto:

...

Perhaps the answer is Hoppe's logical and deductive mode of thought and writing, demonstrating the truth of his propositions and showing that those who differ are often trapped in self-contradiction and self-refutation.

Does Mr. Hoppe think he knows how to best run peoples' lives; like the state?

Well then, if he does, I say we make Hans-Herrman Hoppe a king! Hey, since he truely believes that he knows which lifestyle everyone should follow, why shouldn't he be?

It is Hoppe who is the one trapped in self-contradiction and self-refutation.

I really don't have time to respond to every unsubstantiated claim from people who haven't read the book.

So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Where does he say this? Oh right, he doesn't ever say he hates homosexuals, at least to my knowledge. You obviously don't understand Austrian methodology. Hatred of whatever group is a personal value. Libertarianism is only concerned with defending property rights, and all human rights are property rights. From the non-aggression principle is deduced the right of free association. It is impossible for this fact of our existence to either condone or condemn things like racism, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. Whether you, me, or Hoppe likes left-handed leper sex is besides the point. Also, no amount of civil rights or "affirmative action" laws will eliminate things like racism in practice.

How did he logically deduce that they would be excluded completely in a free society?

from pg 212:

Hoppe:
Left-libertarians and multi- or countercultural lifestyle experimentalists, even if they were not engaged in any crime, would once again have to pay a price for their behavior. If they continued with their behavior or lifestyle, they would be barred from civilized society and live physically separate from it, in ghettos or on the fringes of society, and many positions or professions would be unattainable to them. In contrast, if they wished to live and advance within society, they would have to adjust and assimilate to the moral and cultural norms of the society they wish to enter. To thus assimilate would not necessarily imply that one would have to give up one's substandard or abnormal behavior or lifestyle altogether. It would imply, however, that one could no longer "come out" and exhibit one's alternative behavior or lifestyle in public. Such behavior would have to stay in the closet, hidden from the public eye, and physically restricted to the total privacy of one's own four walls. Advertising or displaying in public would lead to expulsion.

First of all, there is this trend around here for people to get so caught up in trying to prove themselves right that they are unable to have an honest discussion. For instance, I tried to ask a simple question of the 2 "libertarians" on this forum who think it is okay for parents to rape and murder their children. Given that you say that this is consistent with libertarianism, how do children become free of their slavedriving parents? I don't wish to discuss this topic here, just point out that in 12 pages of discussion they couldn't answer this simple question.

Now, I urge everyone who wishes to not make a fool of themselves to actually read Hoppe's work before and after what I quoted. He is discussing "a society in which the right to exclusion is fully restored to owners of private property...", then there is also a lengthy footnote including passage from Rothbard that starts, "To avoid any misunderstanding..."

Any possible problems with this passage are not a matter of deduction, but of prediction. Hoppe makes it sound like he is talking about male gay couples holding hands in public or such things. In my opinion, there could be some secular religious communities that ban such things. I don't think this is true for the bulk of American or European society. There is an economic incentive for shopkeepers to not ban homosexual PDA's assuming that his profit from such couples outweighs the amount of bigots who will boycott him. Should I allow tank tops and sandals in my $150 entree restaurant, or will it turn away my clientele?



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

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DBratton replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 9:03 AM

Jackson LaRose:
I disagree that feudalism was a "stateless" society

In that context when he uses the word "state" he means specifically the modern state. Feudal states were not modern states. Absolute monarchies were.

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DBratton -- it's bigots like you who are stoping this ideology from flourishing into the mainstream.

"No person is so grand or wise or perfect as to be the master of another person." ~ Karl Hess

"look, property is theft, right? Therefore theft is property. Therefore this ship is mine, OK?" ~Zaphod Beeblebrox

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Eric replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 9:36 AM

E. R. Olovetto:

So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Where does he say this? Oh right, he doesn't ever say he hates homosexuals, at least to my knowledge. You obviously don't understand Austrian methodology. Hatred of whatever group is a personal value. Libertarianism is only concerned with defending property rights, and all human rights are property rights. From the non-aggression principle is deduced the right of free association. It is impossible for this fact of our existence to either condone or condemn things like racism, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. Whether you, me, or Hoppe likes left-handed leper sex is besides the point. Also, no amount of civil rights or "affirmative action" laws will eliminate things like racism in practice.

"The land that you homestead and claim is yours is actually mine and therefore if you prevent me from burning down the house that you built (and I own), you are committing an act of aggression." How would you respond to someone who says this? The idea of who legitimately owns what and therefore what constitutes aggression is relative to each person. For example, if you prevent a group of people from entering your property to rescue an injured child, I (and 99% of the population) would view that as an act of aggression and a crime on your part. The NAP barely makes sense in the context of moral relativism.

E. R. Olovetto:
Left-libertarians and multi- or countercultural lifestyle experimentalists, even if they were not engaged in any crime, would once again have to pay a price for their behavior. If they continued with their behavior or lifestyle, they would be barred from civilized society and live physically separate from it, in ghettos or on the fringes of society, and many positions or professions would be unattainable to them. In contrast, if they wished to live and advance within society, they would have to adjust and assimilate to the moral and cultural norms of the society they wish to enter. To thus assimilate would not necessarily imply that one would have to give up one's substandard or abnormal behavior or lifestyle altogether. It would imply, however, that one could no longer "come out" and exhibit one's alternative behavior or lifestyle in public. Such behavior would have to stay in the closet, hidden from the public eye, and physically restricted to the total privacy of one's own four walls. Advertising or displaying in public would lead to expulsion.

I don't see Hoppe "logically deducing" anything. This is just speculation.

I read the book a while ago and I didn't like it at all. Caplan's book is much better.

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DBratton:
In that context when he uses the word "state" he means specifically the modern state. Feudal states were not modern states. Absolute monarchies were.

What was the difference?  Should the absolute monarchy of the Sumerian Kings, or the Pharaoh, or the King of Sparta, or Julius Cesar be considered modern states?

"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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Giant_Joe replied on Fri, Mar 19 2010 9:50 AM

E. R. Olovetto:
Hatred of whatever group is a personal value. Libertarianism is only concerned with defending property rights, and all human rights are property rights. From the non-aggression principle is deduced the right of free association. It is impossible for this fact of our existence to either condone or condemn things like racism, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. Whether you, me, or Hoppe likes left-handed leper sex is besides the point.

It kills me that so many libertarians don't understand this. "Ya, I believe fully in the core tenets of libertarianism, but no matter what the costs we have to make sure you're not racist/sexist/etc..."

I thought libertarianism and free markets was more about social expression, whether someone likes that social expression or not.

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Eric:

E. R. Olovetto:

I don't see Hoppe "logically deducing" anything. This is just speculation.

I read the book a while ago and I didn't like it at all. Caplan's book is much better.

You need to read my post again.

Eric:

E. R. Olovetto:

So how did Hoppe manage to deduce his hatred of homosexuals from liberty, eh?

Where does he say this? Oh right, he doesn't ever say he hates homosexuals, at least to my knowledge. You obviously don't understand Austrian methodology. Hatred of whatever group is a personal value. Libertarianism is only concerned with defending property rights, and all human rights are property rights. From the non-aggression principle is deduced the right of free association. It is impossible for this fact of our existence to either condone or condemn things like racism, homosexuality, bestiality, etc. Whether you, me, or Hoppe likes left-handed leper sex is besides the point. Also, no amount of civil rights or "affirmative action" laws will eliminate things like racism in practice.

"The land that you homestead and claim is yours is actually mine and therefore if you prevent me from burning down the house that you built (and I own), you are committing an act of aggression." How would you respond to someone who says this? The idea of who legitimately owns what and therefore what constitutes aggression is relative to each person. For example, if you prevent a group of people from entering your property to rescue an injured child, I (and 99% of the population) would view that as an act of aggression and a crime on your part. The NAP barely makes sense in the context of moral relativism.

See Block's, Is There an "Anomalous" Section of the Laffer Curve?.

"The land that you homestead and claim is yours is actually mine and therefore if you prevent me from burning down the house that you built (and I own), you are committing an act of aggression." How would you respond to someone who says this?

The latecomer would need some proof in a courtroom...?

For the injured child hypothetical, keep this in mind. We might call the actions of the rescuers trespass, or assault, on the homeowner. This is within an exact scientific framework or praxeological legal theory. Still, a judge could simply refuse to press charges against the trespassers. His action as arbitrator is to determine the maximum allowable punishment which he or his security force will uphold.

Also, this would be something good to discuss in my Police Forces thread, rather than here about Hoppe. First of all, people are going to make contractual agreements with security and justice providers ahead of time in many instances. These various agencies will reach agreement amongst themselves. When you sign up with Acme Security Inc., you are ceding your right to determine your own spin on justice and take all matters into your own hands. You are agreeing to abide by their rulings and whatever this may lead to because of the company's other preexisting arrangements. There very may become common a clause to the effect of, "Given no apparent threat to one's own life, the customer agrees to allow rescue efforts on his property, and any restitution for property damage"...[will be handled along such and such lines].

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

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