Hans-Hermann Hoppe

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History is ultimately determined by ideas, and ideas can, at least in principle, change almost instantly.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe (born 2 September 1949) is an Austrian school economist, an anarcho-capitalist (libertarian) philosopher, and a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

On Ideas[edit]

  • History is ultimately determined by ideas, and ideas can, at least in principle, change almost instantly. But in order for ideas to change it is not sufficient for people to see that something is wrong. At least a significant number must also be intelligent enough to recognize what it is that is wrong. That is, they must understand the basic principles upon which society — human cooperation — rests … And they must have sufficient will power to act according to this insight.

On Economics[edit]

  • Essentially, economic analysis consists of: (1) an understanding of the categories of action and an understanding of the meaning of a change in values, costs, technological knowledge, etc.; (2) a description of a situation in which these categories assume concrete meaning, where definite people are identified as actors with definite objects specified as their means of action, with definite goals identified as values and definite things specified as costs; and (3) a deduction of the consequences that result from the performance of some specified action in this situation, or of the consequences that result for an actor if this situation is changed in a specified way. And this deduction must yield a priori-valid conclusions, provided there is no flaw in the very process of deduction and the situation and the change introduced into it being given, and a priori—valid conclusions about reality if the situation and situation—change, as described, can themselves be identified as real, because then their validity would ultimately go back to the indisputable validity of the categories of action.
    • A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics (Kluwer: 1989): 118-19

On Private Property[edit]

  • [O]ur existence is due to the fact that we do not, indeed cannot accept a norm outlawing property in other scarce resources next to and in addition to that of one's physical body. Hence, the right to acquire such goods must be assumed to exist.
    • The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy (Kluwer: 1993): 185.
  • [The] property right in one's own body must be said to be justified a priori, for anyone who would try to justify any norm whatsoever would already have to presuppose the exclusive right to control over his body as a valid norm simply in order to say "I propose such in such."
    • The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (2nd edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute: 2006): 335
  • In a covenant...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. 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 covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and removed from society.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 218

On Government[edit]

  • If no one can appeal to justice except to government, justice will be perverted in favor of the government, constitutions and supreme courts notwithstanding. Constitutions and supreme courts are state constitutions and agencies, and whatever limitations to state action they might contain or find is invariably decided by agents of the very institution under consideration. Predictably, the definition of property and protection will continually be altered and the range of jurisdiction expanded to the government’s advantage until, ultimately, the notion of universal and immutable human rights – and in particular property rights – will disappear and be replaced by that of law as government-made legislation and rights as government-given grants.
  • According to the pronouncements of our state rulers and their intellectual bodyguards (of whom there are more than ever before), we are better protected and more secure than ever. We are supposedly protected from global warming and cooling, from the extinction of animals and plants, from the abuses of husbands and wives, parents and employers, from poverty, disease, disaster, ignorance, prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other public enemies and dangers. In fact, however, matters are strikingly different. In order to provide us with all this protection, the state managers expropriate more than 40 percent of the incomes of private producers year in and year out. Government debt and liabilities have increased without interruption, thus increasing the need for future expropriations. Owing to the substitution of government paper money for gold, financial insecurity has increased sharply, and we are continually robbed through currency depreciation. Every detail of private life, property, trade, and contract is regulated by ever higher mountains of laws legislation), thereby creating permanent legal uncertainty and moral hazard. In particular, we have been gradually stripped of the right to exclusion implied in the very concept of private property. … In short, the more the state has increased its expenditures on social security and public safety, the more our private property rights have been eroded, the more our property has been expropriated, confiscated, destroyed, or depreciated, and the more we have been deprived of the very foundation of all protection: economic independence, financial strength, and personal wealth.
  • The monopolization of money and banking is the ultimate pillar on which the modern state rests. In fact, it is probably become the most cherished instrument for increasing state income. For nowhere else can the state make the connection between redistribution-expenditure and exploitation-return more directly, quickly, and securely than by monopolizing money and banking. And nowhere else are the state's schemes less clearly understood than here.

On Democracy[edit]

  • As for the moral status of majority rule, it must be pointed out that it allows for A and B to band together to rip off C, C and A in turn joining to rip off B, and then B and C conspiring against A, and so on.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order (Transaction: 2001): 104
  • Predictably, under democratic conditions the tendency of every monopoly - to increase prices and decrease quality - will be only more pronounced. Instead of a prince who regards the country as his private property, a temporary caretaker is put in charge of the country. He does not own the country, but as long as he is in office he is permitted to use it to his and his proteges’ advantage. He owns its current use - usufruct - but not its capital stock. This will not eliminate exploitation. To the contrary, it will make exploitation less calculating and carried out with little or no regard to the capital stock, i.e., short-sighted. Moreover, the perversion of justice will proceed even faster now. Instead of protecting pre-existing private property rights, democratic government becomes a machine for the redistribution of existing property rights in the name of illusory `social security.’
  • The American model – democracy – must be regarded as a historical error, economically as well as morally. Democracy promotes shortsightedness, capital waste, irresponsibility, and moral relativism. It leads to permanent compulsory income and wealth redistribution and legal uncertainty. It is counterproductive. It promotes demagoguery and egalitarianism. It is aggressive and potentially totalitarian internally, vis-à-vis its own population, as well as externally. In sum, it leads to a dramatic growth of state power, as manifested by the amount of parasitically – by means of taxation and expropriation – appropriated government income and wealth in relation to the amount of productively – through market exchange – acquired private income and wealth, and by the range and invasiveness of state legislation. Democracy is doomed to collapse, just as Soviet communism was doomed to collapse.
  • ...bums and inferior people will likely support his egalitarian policies, whereas geniuses and superior people will not. For [this] reason...a democratic ruler undertakes little to actively expel those people whose presence within the country constitutes a negative externality (human trash which drives individual property values down).
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 145
  • A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person… but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest). On the other hand, there are members of the human species who are capable of understanding the [value of the division of labor] but...who knowingly act wrongly… [B]esides having to be tamed or even physically defeated [they] must also be punished… to make them understand the nature of their wrongdoings and hopefully teach them a lesson for the future.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 173

On Natural Elites[edit]

  • In every society, a few individuals acquire the status of an elite through talent. Due to superior achievements of wealth, wisdom, and bravery, these individuals come to possess natural authority, and their opinions and judgments enjoy wide-spread respect. Moreover, because of selective mating, marriage, and the laws of civil and genetic inheritance, positions of natural authority are likely to be passed on within a few noble families. It is to the heads of these families with long-established records of superior achievement, farsightedness, and exemplary personal conduct that men turn to with their conflicts and complaints against each other. These leaders of the natural elite act as judges and peacemakers, often free of charge out of a sense of duty expected of a person of authority or out of concern for civil justice as a privately produced "public good."

On Conservatism[edit]

  • Private property capitalism and egalitarian multiculturalism are as unlikely a combination as socialism and cultural conservatism. And in trying to combine what cannot be combined, much of the modern libertarian movement actually contributed to the further erosion of private property rights (just as much of contemporary conservatism contributed to the erosion of families and traditional morals). What the countercultural libertarians failed to recognize, and what true libertarians cannot emphasize enough, is that the restoration of private property rights and laissez-faire economics implies a sharp and drastic increase in social “discrimination” and will swiftly eliminate most if not all of the multicultural-egalitarian life style experiments so close to the heart of left libertarians. In other words, libertarians must be radical and uncompromising conservatives.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 207-08
  • Families, authority, communities, and social ranks are the empirical-sociological concretization of the abstract philosophical-praxeological categories and concepts of property, production, exchange, and contract. Property and property relations do not exist apart from families and kinship relations.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 203
  • Egalitarianism, in every form and shape, is incompatible with the idea of private property. Private property implies exclusivity, inequality, and difference. And cultural relativism is incompatible with the fundamental----indeed foundational----fact of families and intergenerational kinship relations. Families and kinship relations imply cultural absolutism.
    • Democracy - The God That Failed: 217

On Promoting Libertarianism[edit]

  • We must promote the idea of secession. Or more specifically, we must promote the idea of a world composed of tens of thousands of distinct districts, regions, and cantons, and hundred of thousands of independent free cities such as the present day oddities of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Greatly increased opportunities for economically motivated migration would thus result, and the world would be one of small [classically] liberal governments economically integrated through free trade and an international commodity money such as gold.

On Economic Crisis[edit]

  • As soon as a crisis breaks out, within the given institutional framework, the same mistake will be made over and over again, on a larger and larger scale. Every future crisis will be bigger than the crisis that we had before.

External links[edit]

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