Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hoppe’s Realistic Libertarianism

In response to my post, Antonio Gramsci Libertarians, I was offered up the following selection by Hans Herman Hoppe:  A Realistic Libertarianism.”  Apparently this is an attempt to put me in my place – a dare, if you will, for me to give to Hoppe the same treatment that I have so lovingly offered to the left libertarians.  You see, Hoppe is apparently the poster boy for “right” libertarianism for those who identify as left-libertarians.

It may not seem like it for the next 2000 words or so, but trust me…I will have disagreements with Hoppe the realist.

Hoppe’s position can best be summarized in the opening paragraph, by citing Rothbard:

“Libertarianism is logically consistent with almost any attitude toward culture, society, religion, or moral principle. In strict logic, libertarian political doctrine can be severed from all other considerations; logically one can be – and indeed most libertarians in fact are: hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion in general and Christianity in particular – and still be consistent adherents of libertarian politics. In fact, in strict logic, one can be a consistent devotee of property rights politically and be a moocher, a scamster, and a petty crook and racketeer in practice, as all too many libertarians turn out to be.

You will note: libertarian theory is thin.  Rothbard defines it as such, and as Hoppe cites Rothbard on this, I will assume he agrees.  I could end this post here, I suppose, as the question has been answered.  But there would be no fun in that.  So I press on.

Strictly logically, one can do these things, but psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way.  [my emphasis, HHH]

Murray Rothbard, “Big-Government Libertarians,” in: L. Rockwell, ed., The Irrepressible Rothbard, Auburn, Al: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000, p. 101

According to Hoppe (and Rothbard), life isn’t so simple.  According to me, too.

In summary, Hoppe presents a practical-logical analysis of libertarianism left and right.  He concludes that positions generally considered “left” are incompatible with libertarianism and positions generally considered “right” are compatible with libertarianism.

I believe I can summarize Hoppe’s position even more concisely: the objectives of “left” and the objectives of “libertarian” will always be in tension; “left” toward positive rights, and “libertarian” grounded in property rights and non-aggression.  The positions of “right” result in no similar tensions with “libertarian.”

Tension is eventually relieved; history has made plain that the relief often comes in the form of a savior, promising positive rights.  Many of these saviors have been the most brutal humans ever to roam the earth.  This is the future of left-libertarian thinking, and the brutal humans know it – Gramsci knew it when he concluded that alliance with all leftists groups would help lead to communism.

Hoppe offers an even more succinct statement:

You cannot be a consistent left-libertarian, because the left-libertarian doctrine, even if unintended, promotes Statist, i.e., un-libertarian, ends.

The reason Hoppe believes this to be true can best (and briefly) be explained via an observation of the real world – a world made up of humans, not new utopian men.

The difference between the Right and the Left, as Paul Gottfried has often noted, is a fundamental disagreement concerning an empirical question. The Right recognizes, as a matter of fact, the existence of individual human differences and diversities and accepts them as natural, whereas the Left denies the existence of such differences and diversities or tries to explain them away and in any case regards them as something unnatural that must be rectified to establish a natural state of human equality.

This fits well the left, bleeding heart, Antonio Gramsci model of libertarianism: according to left-libertarians, libertarians should not (or must not) let differences or diversities stand in the way of…well…anything.

In a world made up of people with differences – and within the framework of a political philosophy built on absolute recognition of property rights and non-aggression principle – the logic of left-libertarians falls short; it is self-contradictory.

I can hear the left-libertarians screaming: “bionic, we are the ones who advocate for those who are different.  It is the right that wants to discriminate against them.”

The issue is not the differences of the observed, but of the observer; not the one acted upon, but the one doing the acting.  The issue is not that of the gay couple, but that of the baker.  I, as an individual, have preferences – “differences” and “diversities” if you will; every individual does.  To say I should or must relieve myself of these in order to be a proper libertarian is diametrically opposed to the meaning of property.  It is also a wish that flies in the face of human history and human nature. 

Advocates of such thinking believe in man as something other than human.  A new, utopian, man is a pre-requisite for bankrupt and corrupt political philosophies – communism, fascism, democracy, national socialism.  Why would libertarians want the same for libertarianism?

Hoppe offers the primary contradiction inherent in left-libertarianism:

…how is it possible to reconcile [the left libertarian’s] anti-discrimination stand with private property, which all libertarians are supposed to regard as the cornerstone of their philosophy, and which, after all, means exclusive property and hence, logically implies discrimination?

It cannot be reconciled.  One must stand above the other – property rights or positive rights.  And positive rights have no place in libertarian theory.  While this may not conclusively lead one to the libertarian right, it demolishes any semblance of a logical theory for the libertarian left.  It is a bankrupt theory.

Some left-libertarians will give lip service to the idea that property rights are paramount, yet these words will not relieve the aforementioned tension; tension awaiting a savior for the granting of their positive rights.

Hoppe places paramount importance on the traditional family structure as the rock upon which libertarianism can be built.  Despite the wishes of some left-libertarian anarchists, who believe that a society with no hierarchical order can be achieved, Hoppe believes otherwise.  Thousands of years of recorded human history believes otherwise.  Human nature believes otherwise.  I certainly believe otherwise.

Despite the pipe dreams of these left-libertarians, for a society to thrive, let alone survive, demands governance – not government in the form of a coercive force, as it is known today, but governance.  Hoppe identifies traditional family and kinship as the best, most decentralized, and most libertarian institution to achieve this required governance.  History demonstrates the success and offers the possibility of further development along these lines.  I am most familiar with the example offered throughout hundreds of years of the European Middle Ages.  There are other examples.

Hoppe goes further.  He suggests that acceptance of any egalitarian sentiments threatens a libertarian order.  Advocates of such sentiments should be expelled from the community; on the surface, a stunning statement from a libertarian. 

To examine Hoppe’s views on maintaining a libertarian order, I will take a detour through his book “Democracy – The God That Failed.”

In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. 

So far, nothing controversial.  On my property, I do not tolerate certain forms of speech.  I will remove individuals who persist in speech that I find contrary.  It is my property, after all.  I am also free to make such an agreement with my neighbors – further, my landlord or homeowner’s association is free to have rules governing speech on the property to the extent that the market offers takers.

One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. 

This gets dicey – without discussing and debating ideas, how does the truth come out?  On the other hand, it is my property.  And for libertarians, property trumps all.

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. (Emphasis added)

Hoppe writes of “a libertarian social order”; he is not conditioning the term “libertarian.”

Hoppe advocates (if I recall correctly) tens-of-thousands of small city states around the world, each with their own norms, values, etc., as long as they abide by the NAP and the underlying respect for private property (and if Hoppe does not advocate for this, he should).  I suspect, but don’t know, that if some of these choose to organize on communist principles but leave others outside of the community to their own devices, Hoppe would find no reason to intervene.  Anyway, I find no reason to intervene.

Consider the above superficially stunning statement in the context of this world of tens of thousands of significantly diversified and decentralized political organizations.  Being expelled from a society organized to maintain a libertarian social order only means one is free to move to a society that better fits his political beliefs.  Good riddance, I say.

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. 

Is there something controversial about this?  People have formed a community with the advancement of certain governance structures in mind – being family and kin.  Those who wish for different structures are a) free to go elsewhere if anyone will have them, and b) may be removed as their purposes are in conflict with the covenant of the community.

They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered 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.

Despite the pipe-dreams of some left-libertarian advocates, there will be hierarchy and governance in every thriving and even surviving society.  Hoppe suggests family as the most libertarian form of governance.  I agree. 

If not for family, who or what will provide this governance?  The answer isn’t “no one, it isn’t necessary.”  Therefore the answer is someone else.  And there is the rub; this is Hoppe’s point. 

Hoppe offers that those who believe otherwise can find somewhere else to live, somewhere in accord with their cultural views.

I don’t know why this idea of having other places to go would be controversial – even the left-anarchists at C4SS agree:

…we are all unified by a commitment to create space for diverse decentralized communities to make value decisions for themselves.

Well, they kind of agree.  C4SS makes room for all types of “diverse decentralized communities” except for one:

What’s with the socially conservative strain of anarcho-capitalism coming out of the Mises Institute and Hans-Hermann Hoppe?  If you’re an outsider to the libertarian tradition you might be baffled by some of the positions of some of the libertarian anarchists like Hans-Hermann Hoppe at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

It’s an agenda; it isn’t a consistent political theory.

Back to Hoppe’s Realistic Libertarianism post: Hoppe goes on to examine a few of the prominent wishes of left-libertarians.  First is the desire to correct past wrongs via restitution.  Hoppe offers that proper restitution is only possible in cases where there is an individualized case of victimhood at the hands of an individualized perpetrator. 

Within libertarian theory, this seems not only reasonable, but the only justifiable response.  Is it reasonable that an individual be subject to punishment for the crimes of another?  This inherently contradicts the NAP – as force is initiated against someone not an aggressor.

All [insert your favorite privileged class] benefitted on the backs of [insert your favorite class of historic victims].  I have news for you: every human being on earth has both benefitted from and been harmed by countless historic violations of the NAP.  Go sort that out and rectify it at a level other than the individual without violating the NAP; it can’t be done.

Next, Hoppe examines migration.  People may freely migrate according to Hoppe.  Yes, I know this isn’t how many on the left portray his position – it isn’t even really how Hoppe portrays it, at least not on the surface.

See, Hoppe conditions this free migration – and it is this condition that upsets left-libertarians.  Hoppe has the audacity to suggest that an individual may come upon my property only with my permission, and an employee may only work for me only at my pleasure.  Why is this a problem?  This is also quite consistent with libertarian theory and the NAP.  Why would the necessity for the permission of the property owner or businessman upset left-libertarians?

“Borders should be open” the left-libertarians scream.  But the borders of my property are not “open.”  The issue is not the positive right of the immigrant, but of the property right of the owner to prevent trespass.  This conflict cannot be reconciled by left-libertarians.

Of course, the problem is clouded by political lines drawn on a map:

In a world where all places are privately owned, the immigration problem vanishes. There exists no right to immigration.  There only exists the right to trade, buy or rent various places.

Consider the simple and obvious truth in that statement.  Is there any wonder that consistent libertarians keep the focus on property rights and non-aggression?  Is it any wonder that consistent libertarians are anarchist (in the Rothbardian sense of the term)?

Yet what about immigration in the real world with public property administered by local, regional or central State-governments?

First off: What would immigration policies be like if the State would, as it is supposed to do, act as a trustee of the taxpayer-owners’ public property? What about immigration if the State acted like the manager of the community property jointly owned and funded by the members of a housing association or gated community?

Hoppe offers as the answer “the full cost principle”; an immigrant, or the individual inviting him, is responsible for paying the full cost of the benefits received.

In theory, it seems Hoppe cannot know this answer – some communities might have an open door or open gate policy.  In theory…

In practice?  I wouldn’t want to live in such communities (and I bet not too many left-libertarians would either).  Some communities may freely choose this model; my community won’t.

There is ample proof all around us that individuals desire to be exclusionary to the maximum extent that the law allows.  I suspect that every housing association and gated community has controls regarding access to common areas, and certainly for non-residents. 

Summarizing these left-libertarian positions:

The views held by left-libertarians in this regard are not entirely uniform, but they typically differ little from those promoted by cultural Marxists.

Finally, a reason to strongly disagree with Hoppe – I told you this was coming.  Left libertarians do not hold cultural Marxist views; as I explained in great detail in my last post on this topic, they hold cultural Gramsci-ist views.  Hoppe really should do his homework.

Another disagreement between me and Hans:

…many libertarians have drawn the conclusion that libertarianism is neither Left nor Right. That it is just “thin” libertarianism.

It isn’t from this that I conclude that libertarianism is thin.  I conclude it for the same reason Rothbard did in the opening quote: “Libertarianism is logically consistent with almost any attitude toward culture, society, religion, or moral principle. In strict logic, libertarian political doctrine can be severed from all other considerations…”

Libertarianism is that simple.  The problem is…life isn’t.

Hoppe calls himself a right-libertarian, “or, if that may sound more appealing, a realistic or commonsensical libertarian – and a consistent one at that.”  I agree – he is realistic and commonsensical…and consistent.

But wait, I am not done disagreeing with Hoppe:

In light of this, as a right-libertarian, I would of course first say to my children and students: always respect and do not invade others’ private property rights and recognize the State as an enemy and indeed the very anti-thesis of private property.

Wait, that’s not it; it’s this:

But I would not leave it at that. I would not say (or silently imply) that once you have satisfied this requirement “anything goes.” Which is pretty much what ‘thin’ libertarians appear to be saying!  I would not be a cultural relativist as most “thin” libertarians at least implicitly are.

Them’s fightin’ words, Hoppe.  A “cultural relativist”?  Not THIS thin libertarian.  Life requires so much more for surviving and thriving than merely an agreement regarding property and aggression. 

As Hoppe demonstrates, however, maintaining a libertarian social order requires certain cultural parameters…unless someone believes that no tyrant will step into the void of a horizontal hierarchical structure.  (You can’t hear me laughing out loud at the naïve or devious advocates of this view, but I am.)

In any case, my world does not begin and end with “anything goes”; only my libertarian theory does.  To all the cultural relativist libertarians out there, I welcome you to go start your community.

To prove my non-cultural relativist cred, I offer:

I am a traditional-culture-Christian-guitar-based-metal/progressive-rock-fan-Austrian-Economic-revisionist-history-anti-state-anti-war-Rothbardian-anarcho-capitalist-started-with-Ayn-Rand-via-2112-unborn-child-defending-greens-are-watermelons-IP-(if-you-can-defend-it-without-the-state)-supporting-free-banking-fractional-reserve-banking-isn’t-fraud-public-education-is-state-enforced-brainwashing-European-middle-age-admiring-end-the-Fed-libertarian (and this only includes items that I have commented on within this blog).

And my support for property rights is unequivocal.

My tent is very large, with as many rooms as there might be need for different communities with different values.  As long as you respect property rights and the NAP in regard to those in other rooms, I only exclude people who cannot appreciate this as the height of man’s musical achievement.

You will scream – “bionic, this exclusion proves you are also not a thin libertarian.”  Save it.  After all, I may be thin but I am still human; not perfect.


  1. Thank-you, Bionic Mosquito.

    I have had other travails in my life that led me to consider asking you to post something that would cheer me up. For instance other sites that I was visiting decided that 'Capitalism' was a bull-hockey theory. From the owner of that site.

    I *needed* some cheering up, and I am glad your fine article did just that. Short of the 'Liquid Tension Experiment' mishap, I was 'down' with that.

    1. No mishap, gpond. But given our very long relationship, I will find a small room in the tent just for you!

    2. Thanks for the room, in the tent.
      This for you:

    3. Off topic, but thanks gpond for posting that link.

      As a long-time fan of Dream Theaters music it would be nice if the boys from down under eventually come to America to play.

  2. Why exactly to not ban homosexuality and let homo (a minority) coexist with etero (the majority) is incompatible with have family as the ground of society? relatioship between two men or two women what exactly take away from relatioship between men and women? why to be realistic - and to be realistic is the only way to exist and not perish in this word - you have to refuse liberty in realtionship? why not let people free to live their sexual and sentimental life, if they do it peacefully? why to be a libertarian that want liberty in this earth and not in Utopia implies to soppress this liberty? I think Hoppe is confusing his own preferences and his own intolerance with libertarianism.

    This is not a defense of left libertarianism. For what i know i'm not a left libertarian.

    1. Friction with homosexuals has largely moved beyond the now general tolerance to aggressive governmental imposition of gay mores on the populace as a whole. The operative word is aggressive.


  3. "Hoppe places paramount importance on the traditional family structure as the rock upon which libertarianism can be built. Despite the wishes of some left-libertarian anarchists, who believe that a society with no hierarchical order can be achieved, Hoppe believes otherwise. Thousands of years of recorded human history believes otherwise. Human nature believes otherwise. I certainly believe otherwise."

    What if there is a different option: No "traditional" family, and no "hierarchical structure.

    Might be hard to "believe" by those who "believe" differently.

    Splitting the horns of the dilemma is such a fun, yet, irritating endeavor.

    1. Not that it proves that such a lack of structure is impossible, but it has never before been seen in history. Nothing even coming close to it has ever existed.

      But I will play along. Let's start here: Who will take responsibility for children?

    2. The responsibility for very young children is obvious and really natural: The mother. Everything else is open. There are lots of societies where the biological father is irrelevant and the male part of education is done by the brothers of the mother. There are others where men do not care about young children at all, and at some age, 8-10 or so, boys switch into the male community which takes a collective responsibility. All these variants observed in traditional societies of the past, thus, known to be stable.

  4. Very excellent post. And brave. Seriously. You disagreed with Hoppe, which made the hair on my neck stand up. ( how big is this mosquito? Bigger than the May Alaskan??)
    Where I differed, was in your own explanation of who you are, as I would have added "Speed metal" instead of progressive rock.... But I suppose with the right of secession, that wouldn't really matter much.

  5. I am a traditional-culture-Christian-guitar-based-metal/progressive-rock-fan-Austrian-Economic-revisionist-history-anti-state-anti-war-Rothbardian-anarcho-capitalist-started-with-Ayn-Rand-via-2112-unborn-child-defending-greens-are-watermelons-IP-(if-you-can-defend-it-without-the-state)-supporting-free-banking-fractional-reserve-banking-isn’t-fraud-public-education-is-state-enforced-brainwashing-European-middle-age-admiring-end-the-Fed-libertarian (and this only includes items that I have commented on within this blog).
    Traditional-culture-Christian? I don't think so. And your taste in "music" is appalling. Typical American wingnut. Thinks it is "cool" to possess the most incongruous mentality possible. Very late maturation cycle.

    1. James, you got me. I just want to be "cool." I sit around and write blog posts that almost no one will read because I think Taylor Swift or Rihanna will notice.

    2. As I said, late adolesence. You don't address the critique--that you're no "traditional Christian." The claim is ludicrous! Also, I have no idea whether you want to be or are indifferent to being cool, nor do I care. You missed the point. Personally, I think your self-description is a mess.

    3. Perhaps you can recommend a shrink?

    4. Why? You're a "traditional Christian", aren't you? So search your tradition--the real tradition, of course--for the criteria and principles that will eliminate your chaos and rubbish--your love of "heavy metal" and the rest of the trash bin. I doubt you have the dispassion and intellectual integrity to do it though. You are too satisfied with your "melange", your "eclecticism", your nice little recipe.

    5. James, I never wrote that I was a "traditional Christian." I also never mentioned "heavy metal." Finally, just because an item is on the list does not mean I "love" it.

      Remember whose property this is. Your rudeness will not be tolerated here if you cannot even quote me properly in order to find reason to criticize and be judgmental.

      You demonstrate a perfect example of why many are driven from the Church. Get the log out of your eye; you might be able to read my actual words.

    6. This is what I read: am a traditional-culture-Christian-guitar-based-metal/progressive-rock-fan.

      I guess I misinterpreted the word "metal" in connection with "rock" to mean "heavy metal" rock. Is there any other? And I guess I misread "traditional-culture-Christian" as a phrase without the "culture" in between. Sorry for the misquote, and for mistakenly thinking that when you I identify with something ("I am a...") that you also like or love it.
      Sorry you don't accept my less than positive evaluation of your libertarianism. I promise I won't be back.

  6. On Cultural Marxism read 'Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt' and 'The Strange Death of Marxism' by Paul Gottfried.
    On Central Banking read The Economics and Ethics of Private Property by Hans Hoppe.

  7. Ah, LTE...

    I knew I liked you, BM.



  8. Excellent work as always, BM. Bravo!

    Igor Karbinovskiy

  9. Thanks for the posting, I must admit that I could never understand why so many who call themselves libertarian seem to think that the have a right to immigration or to move on other peoples property.

    The free market is all about making deals, you agree that I can use your property to get to the river, and I agree to let you use my property to get to the forest. These would not be unlimited rights, I can not then build a house by the river on your property without making getting a further agreement. Giving unlimited rights would be stupid since once someone has unlimited rights then you are a very short step from losing control of your property.

    And even in a minimal government which has public roads you now have to get agreement from the public on what rules applies to these roads made in the publics name, maybe 51%, maybe 2/3, maybe 9/10 will have to agree on these rules and just like in a private property situation it would be stupid for the public to give away to everyone the right to use them.

    1. It took my working through Hoppe's logic to fully grasp this. Hoppe is considering the rights of the property owner; the left is considering the wishes of the one who desires access.

    2. You are not perceiving the correct issue. All libertarians violently agree private property owners alone decide who enters their property.

      The correct issue is who decides for "public property." The libertarian debate around immigration solely revolves around this. Hoppe makes a flawed argument that government property should be subject to "the will of those it was stolen from" as determined by....wait for it.... government. I.e. majority rules voting, politicians, etc. The problem with that way of thinking should be immediately apparent.

    3. All libertarians deserving of the name must agree nothing may rival the NAP as the singular primary human value. Philosophy proves this from the nature of man and physical reality. The only question remaining is whether or not any particular cultural values may be granted elevated status as libertarian-affiliated values, i.e. promoting non-aggressive order / society / institutions.

      Your stance in this article clashes with your past articles. Here, you repeatedly affirm secondary values do matter to life qua libertarian with such statements as:

      “According to Hoppe (and Rothbard), life isn’t so simple. According to me, too.”
      “Libertarianism is that simple. The problem is…life isn’t.”
      “Life requires so much more for surviving and thriving than merely an agreement regarding property and aggression.”
      “As Hoppe demonstrates, however, maintaining a libertarian social order requires certain cultural parameters.”
      “In any case, my world does not begin and end with ‘anything goes’; only my libertarian theory does.”

      I see more similarity than difference between these statements and Sheldon Richman’s statement that “I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force.”

      If Richman were to explicitly acknowledge the primacy of the NAP, then it would seem the only difference between the Richman view and the Bionic Mosquito view is whether secondary values ought to be labelled part of libertarianism (Richman) or be labelled libertarian life-affiliated (Bionic). And of course whether said libertarian life-affiliated values should be culturally left (Richman) or culturally right (Bionic).

      In recent articles you castigate Richman for his thickness. Yet in this article you largely agree with and cheer on thick-libertarian Hoppe. For example, you explicitly associate a cultural value with libertarianism when you state, “Hoppe suggests family as the most libertarian form of governance. I agree.”

      Richman likewise also associates cultural values with libertarianism when he states, “As I see it, the libertarian view is necessarily associated with certain underlying values, and this association seems entirely natural…. To put it more concretely, if a libertarian observed a growing propensity to embrace (nonviolent) racism, that person, qua libertarian, ought to be concerned. Why? Because that attitude and resulting conduct can be expected to eat away at the values conducive to libertarianism. It’s the same sort of reason that a libertarian would be concerned by, say, a growing acceptance of Keynesian ideas, even though merely holding and advocating those ideas does not require the use of force.” [from “In Praise of ‘Thick’ Libertarianism”]

      Whether Richman successfully identifies cultural values relevant to influencing aggressive behaviors is a separate debate, but at least Richman is upfront about why he ascribes cultural values to libertarianism. He ties these values back to human proclivities to respect vs. stray from non-aggression. Seems to me in sync with Rothbard’s “psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way” acknowledgement there is a practical challenge to completely isolating non-aggression from other values.


    4. ....continued

      Hoppe is correct when he points out beyond non-aggression the strictly thin libertarian must be a cultural relativist. Given that individual value is subjective, on what basis could a strict thin libertarian claim objective moral superiority for his individual choice of values if not by tying them to non-aggression in some way?

      The non-cultural-relativist must be able to demonstrably link particular cultural values to non-aggression somehow, for example, by establishing psychologically and sociologically how they further human fidelity toward non-aggression. To the extent he succeeds, then surely such values correspondingly earn association with libertarianism as practiced by humans. They arguably warrant promotion as subordinate cultural values along with non-aggression. Even though they are not part of the defining theoretical principle of libertarianism.

      The horse of the non-aggression principle draws the cart of human cultural values that make it practicable. The two come as a package deal not for reasons of theory but reasons of practical incentives. Libertarian Martians with a different psychology and sociology would follow the same horse but that horse would draw a cart filled with different, Martian cultural values reflecting Martian psychology and sociology. For Martians, those come as a package deal as well for the same practical reasons.

      Technically, one can lose weight by drinking a can of Coke and eating a Twinkie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as the total calorie count of these is lower than the daily metabolic burn rate. However, the severe blood sugar swings and all but irresistible hunger cravings associated with this diet plan make it viable only in theory, not in practice.

      P.S. The raw artistic talent behind that rock music transcends tastes and genre.

    5. @ Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM

      So, who do you suggest should decide for so-called public property? The flaw of your argument should be immediately apparent.

      For a return of stolen property – what you call “public property” – Ragnar Danneskjöld used as an estimated basis the taxes paid as documented on historic tax returns. No need for government.

    6. Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 5:34 AM / 5:35 AM

      As you point out – and therefore contradict your statement that this post conflicts with my past statements – the difference is…are these other values an inherent part of libertarian theory. Richman says yes; I have said – and continue to say – no. I suppose I should thank you for writing my reply to this portion of your comment.

      “For example, you explicitly associate a cultural value with libertarianism when you state, ‘Hoppe suggests family as the most libertarian form of governance. I agree.’”

      The theory will take practical application in some form. No governance of any kind? Laughable.

      As I believe life requires governance (and you have not disagreed), could you provide possibilities that take into account human nature and human history that are more libertarian (or less non-libertarian, if you like) as a basis? This is not a libertarian theory question; it is a practical application of libertarian theory to actual human life question.

      “Richman likewise also associates cultural values with libertarianism when he states…”

      As Hoppe suggests, and I agree, left cultural values work toward creating an environment conducive to initiating force against property owners and for positive rights. History proves this as well.

      That communists, socialists, fascists, and democrats want to create the same conflicts via left cultural values suggests their belief of a positive-rights outcome from such a path. I guess they all could be wrong, except history has always proven them right – at the cost of hundreds of millions of deaths. Not one example of libertarian society arising from the leveraging of left-cultural values exists in all of human history to my knowledge.

      “…on what basis could a strict thin libertarian claim objective moral superiority for his individual choice of values if not by tying them to non-aggression in some way?”

      By tying them to the best means of maintaining non-aggression in some way, considering man is human. For a further explanation, read again my post….

    7. Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AMAugust 10, 2015 at 5:16 AM


      “So, who do you suggest should decide for so-called public property?”

      No one. If recovery and restitution is infeasible, stolen property reverts to the status of unowned property, i.e. in a state of nature. Block eloquently explains why this must be so according to the NAP. Occupancy of unowned property by anyone cannot be interfered with.

      - Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM

    8. @ Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM

      Restitution is completely feasible. Ragnar Danneskjöld resolved this problem.

      Every government owned asset - including all land and buildings - sold. The proceeds returned based on taxes paid. Even after this, not all taxes paid can be recovered. There won't be anything left for nature to claim.

    9. Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AMAugust 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM

      “Restitution is completely feasible….Every government owned asset - including all land and buildings - sold.”

      Yes, if you can implement this. That is, you can recover government-stolen property from its control and return it to its owners. Restitution is indeed required if it is feasible during whatever is the _first_ possible opportunity to obtain access to the stolen property. But alas, unlike Ragnar, no one currently has the means to recover much of anything from the government. Thus there are only two options available: regard the stolen resources as if custodially held by the government in hopes at some future date some might be returnable to its original owners. Or regard the stolen resources as unowned subject to homesteading, liberation, destruction of any all possible kinds by those who do happen to come by some kind of access to it yet are not able to effect restitution.

      If you argue the former, as Hoppe does, you allow the government to maintain control and thus utilize the stolen property to support its ongoing campaigns of aggression. You would, in fact, need to forcibly stop anyone from depriving the government of the use of that stolen property, in the name of preserving it. Logically, you must advocate we go to great lengths to cooperate with government programs as much as possible to minimize government expenditures. Help government become efficient at its aggressive deeds to conserve its resources. Because some day, somehow, in some future century, it might be possible to return some small fraction of previously stolen property to the descendants of its original owners. Nevermind the incremental aggressions this policy of preservation entails.

      That’s the problem with Hoppe’s position. Defending and protecting government’s ongoing possession of stolen property makes one an accessory to subsequent government aggressions using that property. This is true of anyone, including the original owners of the property. If there is a conflict between effecting restitution for past aggression and abetting incremental aggression, the NAP dictates non-aggression must come first.

      Say an aggressive criminal steals my gun and goes on a crime rampage. You can’t recover my gun for me, but you are the first person to get into a position to get close enough to the criminal to knock the gun into the ocean. I may not prohibit you from doing so. In fact, I must exhort you to do so. My claim on property stolen from me is _subordinate_ to my moral imperative to not aid and abet aggression.

      I’m restating Block. You really should read his stuff to get it from the horse’s mouth. He obliterates Hoppe’s argument. He answers your objections.

      - Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM

    10. Sure. Below are all five Block papers on immigration. Most relevant to the above discussion are the last four articles, especially “Hoppe, Kinsella, and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.”

      A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration (1998)

      Is There a Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective (2003)

      On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe (2007)

      Hoppe, Kinsella, and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique (2011)

      Rejoinder to Hoppe on Immigration (2011)

    11. If you are anything like me, you'll find the reading exhilarating.

  10. @ Anonymous August 8, 2015 at 5:34 AM

    Completely agree with you.

    "Hoppe suggests family as the most libertarian form of governance. I agree.’"

    There is no "libertarian form of governance" other than the NAP. Whatever other form of (voluntary) governance there is, is outside of libertarianism, and in the realm of personal preferences regardless of their long term use, effectivity or desirability for the survival of the human race or of society. As long as no force is used, whatever governance there is, is subjective choice and as such has no "libertarian" superiority.
    What i see here, then, and which "anonymous" alludes to in his way, is a rationalization to smuggle the conservative variant of Sheldon Richman's argument into libertarianism, by coupling libertarianism to typically conservative cultural values.

  11. Bionic, sometimes there is more than one anonymous on a thread and it gets confusing. Could you require a kind of username just so we know who is who? It need not compromise real anonymity.

    For open borders libertarians. If in your open borders world migrants are entitled to my money, stolen from me by the state, then their migration is aggression and a violation of the NAP, period. When that reality changes we can discuss open borders again, but not one second before.

    1. I have tried to leave as open a comments policy as possible - other than requiring moderation; I do this because I don't want vulgarity (I allowed it only once, as I recall, regarding a topic where I easily could have taken the same path). Other than a couple of regular trolls (who make me feel important, like I got somebody's attention), the dialogue is often fruitful.

      However, my thoughts about those commenting anonymously: it would be easier to have a proper dialogue if a name of some sort was used. Using "Anonymous," unless the desire is hit and run, only increases the likelihood of shortchanging the conversation.

    2. Open borders ‘libertarians’ don’t want to face the contradictions of their ideology.

      Imagine for a moment a libertarian utopia. In this utopia there is no or very limited government. People are free to do as they wish, as long as they do not steal or use violence or coercion against others. Because of this the libertarian utopia is very prosperous. Many people would like to live there.

      One day the libertarian utopia decides to open it’s borders to newcomers. They flood in. Some of them fit in, but some of them do not. For whatever reason some of them are unable to find employment. Reasons are given such as ill physical or mental health, poor skill set, racism of employers in libertarian utopia, and so on.

      Some of these migrants engage in crime, overburdening the hitherto light police force. Charities are overburdened, and many migrants are refusing to pay hospital bills. Social problems increase, leading to unhappiness among the new migrants and the people that were there in the first place.

      Soon enough the migrants are enough in number that they are able to gain some special privileges in some areas. They demand democracy and social justice, and they get it in the form of welfare benefits, housing, and other government services unknown in the former libertarian utopia until now.

      To the regret of the original residents of libertarian utopia, it turns out that most of the migrants were in fact statists, and did not follow the culture of libertarian utopia at all.

      And thus ended the libertarian utopia experiment. Those liberties, so hard won, were lost in open borders foolishness. The leadership of libertarian utopia believed that the migrants were blank slates they they could mold to their liking. They were wrong.

      Open borders libertarianism is a contradiction in itself. One destroys the other.

    3. Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AMAugust 10, 2015 at 4:50 AM

      @Bionic, @Matt

      Thanks for the wisely open posting policy. I think the forum software also permits arbitrary names to be used so in any discussions beyond this thread, I'll generate a name for the sake of clarity. Sorry for the confusion.

      - Anon August 8, 2015 at 5:30 AM