Libertarian Book Club

So I took a look at the book terp recommended in the Walker thread. Moving my reply to its own thread as people might actually want to talk about the GA race and not the latest entry into libertarian book club (previous entry here).

As a matter of principle, I made sure to get the book without paying for it. If there were some way to make each download of the book somehow count as a sale and increase his taxable income, I'd do that.

He starts off by explicitly rejecting an empirical approach. His arguments are to be understood as being true a priori, like mathematical theorems. "A priori theory trumps and corrects experience", and his claims about society, economics, and human nature he puts on the same level. He seems the sort of person who, for example, might post "1+1=2" to Twitter and believe he'd made some profound point about gender identity.

Good thing for his argument he started off that way, as much of his book makes all sorts of claims about how monarchies and various states work which, if compared with actual history, would immediately collapse. This inability of libertarian theory to make a convincing case for itself in the actual world we live in, rather than abstract fantasy castles, is one I've frequently pointed out, and this book is lousy with it. But as that's a point of long belabored, I won't do so again here.

No, what I found most interesting about this book is that it reveals the question of who exactly libertarians are appealing to. It's pretty common, IME, to see libertarians making populist, anti-elite arguments. If you actually read libertarian writings, though, it's clear that it's not the idea of elites they have a problem with, they just think we have the wrong elites. The proper elites, naturally, would be themselves.

Hoppe is pretty explicit about this. He thinks monarchy was better than democracy, though still sees monarchy as fatally flawed. In his discussions of monarchy, though, he quite clearly identifies with the nobles, not the commoners. Somewhat amazingly, he manages to write a whole book that spends a great deal of time talking about monarchy and only twice even references serfs, and then only to claim that contemporary tax payers pay a heavier economic burden than they did. As I said, good thing for his argument he began by rejecting actual history.

He's opposed to any kind of egalitarianism. He wants a hierarchy, and believes certain men (and yes, he almost certainly means "men") ought naturally to be at the top.

As a society becomes more egalitarian in its outlook, it becomes skeptical of claims that the inputs of some persons are intrinsically superior to those of others, and thus its members become more disposed to describe others' output as unjustly earned. There can be little doubt, we think, that the trend of thought in modem nations has been toward more egalitarian views, buttressed in some instances by the rising belief among disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and religious minorities that the deference they once paid need be paid no longer; on the contrary, now the majority group owes them something as reparations for past injustices.

...

But at the same time, and still more importantly, a positive alternative to monarchy and democracy-the idea of a natural order-must be delineated and understood. On the one hand, this involves the recognition that it is not exploitation, either monarchical or democratic, but private property, production, and voluntary exchange that are the ultimate sources of human civilization. On the other hand, it involves the recognition of a fundamental sociological insight (which incidentally also helps identify precisely where the historic opposition to monarchy went wrong): that the maintenance and preservation of a private property based exchange economy requires as its sociological presupposition the existence of a voluntarily acknowledged natural elite-a nobilitas naturalis"

You'll be unsurprised to learn that there's not merely an economic, but a, uh, let's wink and call it a "cultural" component, to this natural nobility. His complaint in the previous quote about demands for reparations is of course one clue (funny how libertarian thinkers spend so much time railing against taxation as theft, but are so opposed to the idea of reparations, isn't it?) He talks a lot about immigration. Here's one passage:

What should one advocate as the relatively correct immigration policy, however, as long as the democratic central state is still in place and successfully arrogates the power to determine a uniform national immigration policy? The best one may hope for, even if it goes against the "nature" of a democracy and thus is not very likely to happen, is that the democratic rulers act as if they were the personal owners of the country and as if they had to decide who to include and who to exclude from their own personal property (into their very own houses). This means following a policy of the strictest discrimination in favor of the human qualities of skill, character, and cultural compatibility. More specifically, it means distinguishing strictly between "citizens" (naturalized immigrants) and "resident aliens" and excluding the latter from all welfare entitlements. It means requiring, for resident alien status as well as for citizenship, the personal sponsorship by a resident citizen and his assumption of liability for all property damage caused by the immigrant. It implies requiring an existing employment contract with a resident citizen; moreover, for both categories but especially that of citizenship, it implies that all immigrants must demonstrate through tests not only English language proficiency, but all-around superior (above-average) intellectual performance and character structure as well as a compatible system of values-with the predictable result of a systematic pro-European immigration bias.""


Or, as a certain washed up reality tv host put it, no sh*-hole countries.

There's a lot more of that kind of stuff.

In distinct contrast, a society in which the right to exclusion is fully restored to owners of private property would be profoundly unegalitarian, intolerant, and discriminatory. There would be little or no "tolerance" and "open-mindedness" so dear to left~libertarians. Instead, one would be on the right path toward restoring the freedom of association and exclusion implied in the institution of private property, if only towns and villages could and would do what they did as a matter of course until well into the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States. There would be signs regarding entrance requirements to the town, and, once in town, requirements for entering specific pieces of property (for example, no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, or Zulus), and those who did not meet these entrance requirements would be kicked out as trespassers. Almost instantly, cultural and moral normalcy would reassert itself.

There's more, so much more, but I think we all get the idea. I didn't even get into his thoughts on the American civil war (no points for guessing his views there). But really, is any of this so surprising? Who's shocked to discover that a philosophy that posits the moral superiority of wealthy landowners turns out to be full of white supremacists?


I'm certainly no expert on libertarian theorists, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen anything as vile as these excerpts from Hoppe.

Again. wondering what terp was expecting when he posted this?

Pretty sure he hasn't read it - he's just going by the headline of what's wrong with democracy.


Libertarians just want to be free to do whatever they wish…like owning slaves and stealing native peoples lands. 


Bravo, PVW, and thank you.


Yes, thank you.  That said, I assumed that we would be discussing a book club at which someone selects a book, everyone else reads a different book, then they all speak over one another explaining why the book they independently selected was better.


PVW said:

There's more, so much more, but I think we all get the idea. I didn't even get into his thoughts on the American civil war (no points for guessing his views there). But really, is any of this so surprising? Who's shocked to discover that a philosophy that posits the moral superiority of wealthy landowners turns out to be full of white supremacists?

I'd just like to add that I can't even consider reading any more than that of Hoppe's prose. It's just brutal trying to slog through. Which to me is an indication of someone whose thoughts aren't particularly well organized. 


Just trying to get my hands around this tome, I looked through the table of contents and the index.  I was curious about a word, "decivilization", which seems to be important given its frequency and the fact that it's in a chapter title.

I used a word search on the text to see it used in context.  I still have no idea what its meaning is for the author, it seems to be something that the reader is supposed to be familiar with.  There's a citation in a footnote to something else the author wrote, maybe it's explained more fully there.

So, the only way to perceive what the author and his "libertarian" co-religionists mean by this term, is to see how it's used in context.  Some guidance is provided in this passage on page 185, concluding a chapter, where he describes the opposite of "decivilization", and consequently his ideal society.

"However, even if all of this does not give much hope for the future, all is not lost. There still remain some pockets of civilization and culture. Not in the cities and metropolitan areas, but in the heartland (countryside). In order to preserve these, several requirements must be fulfilled: The state - a judicial - monopoly must be recognized as the source of decivilization: states do not create law and order, they destroy it. Families and households must be recognized as the source of civilization. It is essential that the heads of families and households reassert their ultimate authority as judge in all internal family affairs. (Households must be declared extraterritorial territory, like foreign embassies.) Voluntary spatial segregation, and discrimination, must be recognized as not bad but good things that facilitate peaceful cooperation between different ethnic and racial groups. Welfare must be recognized as a matter exclusively of families and voluntary charity, and state welfare as nothing but the subsidization of irresponsibility."

Prosperous, selfish white guy philosophy.


The paragraph right above the one reprinted in my post above has this gem of a thought:

"Civilization and culture do have a genetic (biological) basis. However, as the result of statism - of forced integration, egalitarianism, welfare policies, and family destruction - the genetic quality of the population has most certainly declined."

He footnotes to a work, by Seymour W. Itzkoff, The Decline of Intelligence in America. So I looked up what that was.  It's pure, unadulterated, "The Bell Curve" racist garbage.


Mark Levin has been very influential in the lives of these people calling themselves “libertarian”. After all he’s an expert on constitutional studies right? 
“De-civilization” could mean they want to go back to the days of the pilgrims, when the individual could abuse his wife and children and nobody is allowed to voice their concerns? Maybe teach their boys to shoot cans for practice … and as they get older have them practice shooting mexi-cans? Have a couple of slaves around the homestead? No law enforcement, in fact they will be the ones making and breaking the laws…

Terp is just another confused person who thinks he’s conservative enough not to be a liberal. He ain’t no stinkin libertarian…


By the way, thank you to PVW for finding and making this available. Our first impression of Hoppe's thought is confirmed by the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. impressions and further examinations.


Jaytee said:

Mark Levin has been very influential in the lives of these people calling themselves “libertarian”. After all he’s an expert on constitutional studies right? 
“De-civilization” could mean they want to go back to the days of the pilgrims, when the individual could abuse his wife and children and nobody is allowed to voice their concerns? Maybe teach their boys to shoot cans for practice … and as they get older have them practice shooting mexi-cans? Have a couple of slaves around the homestead? No law enforcement, in fact they will be the ones making and breaking the laws…

Terp is just another confused person who thinks he’s conservative enough not to be a liberal. He ain’t no stinkin libertarian…

pretty sure he explicitly stated he's not libertarian. 


ml1 said:

pretty sure he explicitly stated he's not libertarian. 

Not anymore anyway. And even if he did, after Terp said he'd vote for DeSantis for President, I'd have laughed him off Libertarian Island.


Oh. I was here for the Librarian Book Club.


DaveSchmidt said:

Oh. I was here for the Librarian Book Club.

That's actually a movie club.



In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.

Advertise here!

Sponsored Business

Find Business