Today I feel like the guy who brought the king some Bud-Light, although I have the feeling that Hoppe would prefer a nice Waldhaus Schwarzwald Weisse while overlooking the Bodensee and enjoying a nice Wiener Schnitzel. From Hans Hoppe and his essay On Getting Libertarianism Right:
Throughout the entire period, the Ludwig von Mises Institute – mises.org – and Lew Rockwell – lewrockwell.com – have stood out as bulwarks against the infiltration of libertarianism by leftist thought….More recently, outlets for explicitly and decidedly anti-leftist libertarian thought have proliferated. There is “Bionic Mosquito” with his blog – bionicmosquito.blogspot.com.
I should end this post now, as it can only go downhill from here! Yet, against my better judgment, I move forward. While what I have cited above is easily the most important point Hoppe makes in his essay, I will offer an examination of a few of his comments that lead to this, the most important point ever made by this student of Rothbard.
Hoppe begins with a summary of his most familiar argument regarding the respect for absolute private property rights in the strictest libertarian tradition as the only method of minimizing the possibility of conflicts between and among humans.
While the importance of this “Austro-libertarian” insight can hardly be overrated, however, it is just as important to recognize what questions this theory does not answer.
What? The NAP is not omnipotent? This is not a shortcoming of the theory; instead, it is a shortcoming of those who place the theory as the highest good, or those who proclaim it the one true faith. It is a shortcoming in those who expect that this is a theory that can bring itself to fruition – a creation story equal to the one found in Genesis: creating something from nothing.
Hoppe points out that the theory does not offer an answer to how a libertarian order is to be achieved – and, once achieved, how it is to be maintained. These are fair questions, given that the world around us is anything other than one embracing a libertarian social and political order. Too many self-proclaimed libertarians ignore the reality of the world around them, instead naively embracing…
…the currently reigning – and only “politically correct” – view that all people and in particular all groups of people are essentially equal as regards their mental and motivational make-up…
Hoppe describes these as left-libertarians. These left-libertarians embrace precisely the same world view as those Western elites intent on destroying what remains of our freedom:
…multi-culturalism, unrestricted “free” immigration, “non-discrimination,” “affirmative action” and “openness” to “diversity” and “alternative lifestyles.”
Hoppe asks, regarding the Western elite, “are they all secretly libertarians?”
Of course, they are not. Which, therefore, leads to one of the only two remaining possibilities: libertarians such as these are either knowingly doing the bidding of those Western elites or they are dolts. Regardless of which of these is true for each individual leftist, it is undeniably true that it is so-called libertarians such as these that are “acceptable” to the mainstream.
Hoppe paraphrases Rothbard when he writes:
Owing to their patently false, unrealistic assumptions concerning the nature of man, [Rothbard] had pointed out, the very means and measures advocated by left-libertarians for the attainment of libertarian ends were false as well. In fact, given the libertarian end, they were counter-productive and would lead to more rather than less conflict and infringements of private property rights.
You would think that all students who learned at Rothbard’s knee would understand and incorporate this into their thinking the way Hoppe has done; either that, or explicitly challenge Rothbard – demonstrate how destroying culture and tradition is the path toward liberty. (Don’t hold your breath – it is an argument never coming because it is a laughable argument.)
Real libertarians – in contrast to left-libertarian fakes – must study and take account of real people and real human history in order to design a libertarian strategy of social change, and even the most cursory study in this regard – indeed, little more than common sense – yields results completely opposite from those proposed by libertarian fakes.
I tell you, I am not as blunt or harsh as Hoppe…or maybe I am worse. I guess it depends on how you read the following: the issue isn’t one of “real libertarians.” What is lacking is not the “libertarian”; what is lacking is the ability to think critically, to incorporate “real people and real human history” in the study of bringing theory to application.
In other words, what is lacking is thought – it is either this or “libertarians” such as these are working as agents for those bent on your destruction.
Hoppe sees that it is in the thinking of Western men where the ideas of liberty were developed and nurtured:
…i.e., men born and raised in countries of Western and Central Europe or their various overseas dependencies and settlements and intellectually and culturally united by a common lingua franca (once Latin and now English) and the trans-national Catholic Church or more lately and vaguely a common Christianity.
One need not get all antifa about this: just check the history. In other words, if the idea of liberty is to be achieved and sustained, it will be in a society of men who embrace this western culture and tradition.
Speaking of which, I am in the middle of reading a book about medieval Japan. From my very cursory knowledge of the history prior to opening the book, I thought it might offer some views similar to what I have found regarding the European Middle Ages. I am about half-way through the book and, at least to this point, on any commonality with the European Middle Ages on this point of law and liberty I can say…no…not really. But I will write on this in the coming days and weeks.
These observations alone should be sufficient to reveal any libertarian advocate of “free,” unrestricted and non-discriminatory immigration of non-Westerners into the countries of the West as a fool.
Like I said, you decide if Hoppe is more blunt and more harsh in his criticism than am I. It may be an ad-hominem, but if it is true it is not a fallacious ad-hominem, therefore fair game.
For much or even most of the European middle-ages no State and State authority existed. All authority was social authority.
I will add: no man “made” law. Law was based on custom and tradition; law was both old and good. I first came across this entire topic due to a comment posted by someone when I was a member of Gary North’s community. The comment referenced Fritz Kern and his book Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages.
Through Kern’s book, I discovered an examination of Germanic Middle Age law; thereafter, I discovered the decentralized society that both supported and was supported by this law. I also found that Hoppe had been here well before I ever found the space.
Returning to Hoppe:
There were hierarchies of authority: heads of family households, priests, bishops and a distant pope; patrons, lords and over-lords; and countless different and separate communities, religious, social and professional orders, assemblies, guilds, societies, associations and clubs, each with its own rules, hierarchies and rank-orders.
No authority had absolute power; no authority could unilaterally make law and enforce judgment; the serfs had better protection in property than we in the west have today; each noble had veto power over the king’s decision if it could be demonstrated that the king went against the old and good law.
What is the wanna-be totalitarian to do if one wants to become a totalitarian?
The…would-be-State promoter…must undermine, weaken and ultimately destroy all competing authorities and hierarchies of social authority.
As each of these decentralized, voluntary authorities is destroyed, guess which authority is left to provide comfort, warmth and safety to the people? You got it.
No one must be free to autonomously determine its own rules of admission and exclusion.
Free association and dis-association (separation) of people in physical space and free affiliation and dis-affiliation of people through shared or un-shared memberships in various organizations must go.
One by one, each of these decentralized authorities was attacked – attacked by taking away the right to discriminate, attacked by destroying the traditions that supported the authority.
And how to achieve this? By enlisting the support of everyone resentful of not being included or promoted in some particular association or organization or for being expelled and excluded from them…. On every level of social authority, you must encourage and promote deviant behavior (behavior preventing inclusion or leading to exclusion) and then use these deviants to undermine any authority other than your own.
Those who were begging for admittance (to be identified in the beneficiaries of any one of the hundreds of made-up, legislated positive rights) found in the totalitarian state a comforting voice – “we will break down these barriers for you.”
To a right-thinking libertarian, this should read “we will destroy his property rights for you.” To anyone who understands power, this should read “we will destroy all competing authority structures until we are the last one standing.”
And lest one believes Hoppe is afraid to spell out clearly the positions which he finds as destructive to any possibility of moving toward and sustaining liberty…
“Free” mass immigration from the non-Western world, “multiculturalism,” “affirmative action,” “non-discrimination,” the propagation of “openness” to “diversity” and “alternative life-styles,” to “feminism” and “gay- and gender-ism,” and of “anti-authoritarianism”…
Hoppe ends on a promising note:
…today, among self-described libertarians, left-libertarianism is in retreat, while the influence of realistic-right libertarianism has steadily grown.
To any sentient, thinking being, it is quite clear that left-libertarians are “left,” not libertarian.
Against Hoppe, the left-libertarians are left with slur, slander and fallacious ad-hominem attacks; this is because they are unable to take on the argument.
To libertarians such as these – and perhaps my most sincere wishes go to the open borders libertarians – I return to the video at the beginning of this post: please take your spiced honey-mead wine with you as you take your private tour of the pit of misery.