UPDATED: In Defense Of Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Free Markets,Free Speech,IMMIGRATION,libertarianism,Paleoconservatism,Political Correctness,Political Philosophy


Tom Piatak’s article, “Nazis and Other Delusions: A Response to Hoppe,” is generating a lot of heat at Chronicles Magazine, edited by the peerless Dr. Fleming. Hans Hoppe, whom I know and like, is said to have referred to some prominent paleoconservatives, Pat Buchanan and the late Sam Francis, as national socialists.

Writes Piatak, “All the paleoconservatives present at the 1996 meeting with whom I spoke confirmed my recollection of this, and I can attest that Sam Francis understood Hoppe to be calling him a Nazi as well.”

Hard-hitting, for sure, I have always understood Hoppe’s “national socialism” comments to be a condemnation of the economic thinking of his philosophical foes. Besides being an unbelievably hackneyed and meaningless label, libeling someone a Nazi usually refers to their alleged anti-Semitism or racism. Hoppe’s libertarianism is the kind that doesn’t give a hoot if someone harbors such sentiments, just as long as the so-called Nazi keeps his mitts to himself.

That’s my position as a paleolibertarian. I don’t care if you hate me for being Jewish, just stay out of my face. In fact, I will go so far as to say that I despise sanctimonious neocons (like the stupid E. Hasslebeck on “The View”) who go out of their way to hunt down and humiliate anyone who shows “prejudice.” (I want to start a “Protect the Prejudiced” movement.) I think Hoppe is pretty much like that.

More important: Hoppe has been hounded by the PC police and accused of racism, homophobia—you name it. He is pretty uncompromising on race, culture—is a defender of the natural aristocracy and the West they way it ought to be. Mr. Piatak himself quotes the uncompromising Hoppe using designations such as “human trash” and “inferior people” quite comfortably. This doesn’t sound like a person who would turn around and, self-righteously, call another a Nazi.

Why would someone with Hans’ views,then, use the “national socialism” pejorative in the way he is accused of doing against his interlocutors? It’s just not Hoppe’s style. Coming from Hoppe, I am inclined to see any use of the national socialism label as descriptive of their economics. Economics is his field, after all.

“What have Hoppe’s fellow libertarians done on immigration since 1996?” asks Piatak. Unless he has backpedalled on immigration, Hans was one of the few libertarians to oppose the mass immigration immolation.

See “TRADE GOODS, NOT PLACES.” I’ve always taken Hans to be both anarchist and immigration restrictionist, which is, some would argue, inconsistent. “TRADE GOODS, NOT PLACES” does not paper over the inconsistencies:

Matters would be simple if all libertarians agreed that a constitutional government has an obligation to repel foreign invaders. They don’t, not if they are anarchists. Both open-border and closed-border libertarian anarcho-capitalists posit that an ideal society is one where there is no entity—government—to monopolize defense and justice functions. In a society based on anarcho-capitalism, where every bit of property is privately owned, the reasoning goes, private property owners cannot object if X invites Y onto his property, so long as he keeps him there, or so long as Y obtains permission to venture onto other spaces. Despite their shared anarchism, limited-immigration anarcho-libertarians and free-immigration anarcho-libertarians arrive respectively at different conclusions when they make the transition from utopia to real life.

The latter believe the state must refrain from interfering with the free movement of people despite the danger they may pose to nationals. The former arrive at the exact opposite conclusion: So long as the modern American Welfare State stands, and so long as it owns large swaths of property, it’s permissible to expect the state to carry out its traditional defensive functions. This includes repelling incomers who may endanger the lives and livelihoods of locals. [UPDATE (June 27): This, in my understanding, is Hoppe’s position.]

The open-border libertarian will claim that his is the less porous position. He will accuse the limited-immigration libertarian of being guilty of, on the one hand, wanting the state to take action to counter immigration, but, on the other hand, because of his anarchism, being at pains to find a basis for the interventions he favors. Not being an anarchist, and hence not having to justify the limited use by government of force against invaders, I hope I have escaped these contradictions.

This essay is in my libertarian manifesto, Broad Sides: One Woman’s Clash With A Corrupt Society. Get it.

By the by, Hans, whom many people vilify as haughty, can be a lot of fun.

3 thoughts on “UPDATED: In Defense Of Hans-Hermann Hoppe

  1. robert

    I appreciate your insight into this because I do not know Mr. Hoppe as you do. I do think I know you somewhat and your treatment of friends and acquaintances is something to be admired.
    I think I may have sent this to you from the discussion about Piatak’s article but I do appreciate your honesty and respect for those you know.

    “Yes, but Ilana Mercer describes herself as a paloe-libertarian yet her natural instincts are toward self sacrifice and civility. She is not haughty and does not look for opportune times to sabotage her friends and acquaintances. I really believe this is all a matter of class more than ideology or as the Aristotelians would have it:
    “a matter of a manners related to morals.” We must not turn this into a diatribe against thoughtful libertarians. I prefer it as an attack against low class scoundrels with poor demeanor and morals. I would defend Ilana Mercer to say whatever she pleases because she is honest in allowing others to respond and has respect for the truth of things. It is different for those fearful of poverty and willing to say or do anything for a buck –even the sacrifice of friends and fools alike.”

  2. james huggins

    I don’t know Herr Hoppe nor do I know anything about him. But I do know and understand national socialism and have always detested those who quickly shout “Nazi” at anybody who doesn’ fit their particular view. The same goes for “racist”, “fascist”, “communist”, “homophobe” etc. Most accusers haven’t the slightest idea what goes to make up the group they which they happily accuse others of belonging. What a crock.

  3. Myron Pauli

    I don’t feel qualified to get into 14 + year intellectual jousts between paleolibertarians, paleoconservatives, anarcho-libertarians, and classical liberals. I will say this about immigration:

    Our current de facto situation between the 50 states, federal government, and Mexico is nothing resembling any sort of libertarian ideal. Everything has been distorted by: (1) War on Drugs, (2) Labor laws (minimum wages, etc.),
    (3) Welfare state benefits, and (4) Spottily enforced immigration laws. The result is 1-1.5 million new people coming each year into the USA, mostly illegal, and not per se culturally consistent with the rest of the nation. Also, there are 10 – 20 million people in some legal purgatory collecting some benefits and working while also available for exploitation by criminal mafias and unscrupulous employers (seeking a competitive edge with “illegal” labor).

    My suggestion is to first plug the leak with a SECURE BORDER. Secondly, reduce or eliminate the war on Drugs. Third, eliminate “benefits” for trespassers (and everyone else eventually). AFTER that, reducing labor restrictions, selective earned amnesties (for otherwise law abiding productive workers), etc. could be discussed in a hopefully libertarian context. No doubt, it will be a very acrimonious debate!

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