The First Rule of Libertarianism is: You Must Not Question Libertarianism

Speaking of political tribalism, Bob Murphy's previous co-blogger, Gene Callahan, finds this revolting excerpt from Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy: The God That Failed, via Daniel McCarthy:

As soon as mature members of society habitually express acceptance or even advocate egalitarian sentiments, whether in the form of democracy (majority rule) or of communism, it becomes essential that other members, and in particular the natural social elites, be prepared to act decisively and, in the case of continued nonconformity, exclude and ultimately expel these members from society. 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. 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. 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.

So I decided to check to see if this was taken out of context, or preceded by any qualifiers indicating Hoppe was merely stating the fact that such a society could exist and still be described in some way as libertarian, rather than the much more troublesome interpretation that this is the kind of libertarian society Hoppe personally advocates. And what I found was even more astonishing: This is not only the view Hoppe personally advocates, but the view he believes is "obvious" all libertarians must share:

It should be obvious then that and why libertarians must be moral and cultural conservatives of the most uncompromising kind. The current state of moral degeneration, social disintegration and cultural rot is precisely the result of too much--and above all erroneous and misconceived--tolerance. Rather than having all habitual democrats, communists, and alternative lifestylists [read: gay - Micha] quickly isolated, excluded and expelled from civilization in accordance with the principles of the covenant, they were tolerated by society.

I invite any additional context that would show this interpretation to be mistaken.

Share this

I think you should at least

I think you should at least initial your edit there so people can easily see that you wrote "[read:gay]", not Hoppe.

It seems that hardly anyone agrees with Hoppe that this is necessary to libertarianism, even among his fans.

For me errors are errors and irrationality is irrationality. I find Hoppe's bigotry no more alarming than garden variety irrationality about democracy shared by most Americans. It's just less popular (and therefore substantially less dangerous) at the moment.

You on the other hand often seem to view bigotry as the only objective sin.

I think you should at least

I think you should at least initial your edit there so people can easily see that you wrote "[read:gay]", not Hoppe.

Good point, thanks.

I view the widespread irrationality about democracy as an intellectual battle yet to be fought, whereas I view the less popular irrationality of bigotry (although nationalist bigotry is as widespread--and codependent on--democracy) as an intellectual battle already largely won, but at risk of revival under certain circumstances, such as a widespread economic downturn in need of a minority scapegoat.

The battle for speech and

The battle for speech and action cleansed of political incorrectness has been won by force and fear, by legislation and lawsuits, not intellect. I mentioned it before, but I'm reminded again of a Yugoslavian math lecturer who said that Yugoslavia was otherwise a mess but one thing they got right was creating a multiethnic society free of ethnic tensions. He said this before the fall of communism. We know what happened once the political force enforcing Yugoslavian political correctness was relaxed.

The battle for speech and

The battle for speech and action cleansed of political incorrectness has been won by force and fear, by legislation and lawsuits, not intellect.

Not true. Civil rights struggles begin as intellectual battles fought within civil society, make progress, and then are co-opted by legislation once a critical mass of people have changed their minds already, and the state gets to take credit for battles largely won by civil society. For the same phenomenon, see also: The Clean Air Act, post-slavery African American economic development, child labor laws, minimum wage laws, unionization laws, and so on.

I was talking about how it

I was talking about how it was won. You are talking about how it began. I am also talking about political correctness, which is a distortion of enlightened speech and action. Political correctness won, and enlightenment lost.

That's a horror show of

That's a horror show of trophies you have there.

The outcomes are desirable,

The outcomes are desirable, but the means were unjust (and unnecessary).

For comparison, Marxism began

For comparison, Marxism began as an intellectual movement whose intended outcomes were on their face desirable, but it achieved victory in the USSR and Red China by force of bullet, not by force of intellect. It took a long time, really it took until the collapse of the Soviet Union, for the progressive western elite to realize that the program didn't work, that the actual outcomes were not the intended outcomes, and to realize that the costs greatly outweighed any benefits. The progressive western elite still has not quite lost the faith, and palpably resents China's abandonment of socialism.

Marxism has elements of enlightened, perceptive thought, but the imposition of Marxism by force marked the death of free thought, the defeat of enlightenment by what amounted to a state religion.

Political correctness is following the sane pattern, though the takeover is gradual rather than sudden.

The actual outcomes of the

The actual outcomes of the Clean Air Act, post-slavery African American economic development, child labor laws, minimum wage laws, unionization laws, and so on are desirable?

Desired by those whose wealth is taken for the good of others? Desired by children who would work given the choice? Desired by those who would work for less than for minimum wage given the choice? Desired by those who have less choice because government puts it fat thumb on the scale on behalf of unions?

Or do you just mean desired by you?

The actual outcomes of the

The actual outcomes of the Clean Air Act, post-slavery African American economic development, child labor laws, minimum wage laws, unionization laws, and so on are desirable?

No, the intended outcomes are desirable. The unintended outcomes are not.

Ah. Like I said: A horror

Ah. Like I said: A horror show of trophies.

Charles Johnson recently

Charles Johnson recently published an article for The Freeman about this issue: Opposing the Civil Rights Act Means Opposing Civil Rights?

It's a good response. But

It's a good response. But this sort of thing is hard to deliver on the fly in front of a TV camera. The only person I can think of who was able to deal with this stuff in real time was Milton Friedman.

It's a lousy response.

Rad writes:

Should lunch counters have been allowed to stay segregated? No...

No? Really? Not allowed?

Tolkien writes:

'If I hear not allowed much oftener,' said Sam, 'I'm going to get angry.'

Whose idea, of libertarian society, is it that racial discrimination would not be allowed? Sure, Rad says this would be done by voluntary means - but Hoppe makes precisely the same defense of his own desired movement.

Discrimination is no crime. Racism is an irrational vice, and so is movementism - this obsession with collective action. I see no reason at all to judge either vice superior to the other.

Hoppe thinks a libertarian society must be purged of some vices (vices by his lights) through collective action. Charles Johnson wants the same, he just chooses different vices. The second passage from Hoppe that Micha quotes above could almost have been written by RadGeek if you swap the vices they abhor. I cannot distinguish between the sentiments.

Men will always have vices. I desire only a free society where individuals pay the costs entailed by their own vices. Given that society I would simply get on with my life.

Discrimination is no crime.

Discrimination is no crime. Racism is an irrational vice, and so is movementism - this obsession with collective action. I see no reason at all to judge either vice superior to the other.

Really? You see no reason at all to judge a collectively organized boycott or protest against racism as any better or worse than organized racial discrimination? Really?

Really. What's the

Really. I find it ludicrous and obnoxious to organize a protest against how a man peacefully disposes of his property, whatever his vices may be. What's the distinction you make?

I'm sympathetic to your

I'm sympathetic to your thinking on this. I was referring specifically to the distinction between the concept of civil rights, and the civil rights law. I thought the comparison to the relationship between patriotism and the Patriot act was illuminating and would have been rhetorically effective. I also found the historical claim interesting - that the effect attributed to the law actually preceded the law. But I don't know the history well enough to judge how true it is.

I'm sympathetic to your

I'm sympathetic to your thinking on this. I was referring specifically to the distinction between the concept of civil rights, and the civil rights law.

That's fair enough. But I take it the rough symmetry between RadGeek's program and Hoppe's is not lost on you.

I thought the comparison to the relationship between patriotism and the Patriot act was illuminating and would have been rhetorically effective.

I'm all for honing rhetoric in service to principle; I'm less pleased to see soft libertarians use it as a crutch. I'd rather help Rachel Maddow sharpen her anti-libertarian rhetoric than help Rand Paul defend against it, because he's not very interesting to me if he can't handle that.

His stated position is this case was extreme and unpopular (and don't think Micha and Radgeek don't contribute to that unpopularity) but it also happened to be correct. Unfortunately Paul wants to get elected so he can't very well defend an unpopular principle.

The one obvious truth of Christianity

The one obvious truth of Christianity is the doctrine of our "sin nature." There is no evidence that humans have become more civilized over the last 10,000 years, only more efficient and sanitary at doing evil.

All discussions about economics and politics should begin, "Admitting that we are evil people, what is the best system for the regulation of evil people?"

I don't find this "truth"

I don't find this "truth" obvious at all. Whether it is genuine cultural progress or merely the necessary changes that go along with movement away from small hunter-gatherer tribes to modern mass civilizations, either way, our moral sense as a community of humans has improved over time.

blockquote>I view the

I view the widespread irrationality about democracy as an intellectual battle yet to be fought, whereas I view the less popular irrationality of bigotry (although nationalist bigotry is as widespread--and codependent on--democracy) as an intellectual battle already largely won, but at risk of revival under certain circumstances, such as a widespread economic downturn in need of a minority scapegoat.

Of course it's going to blossom as soon as people aren't forced to comply. Irrationality is only minimized when it has to compete with private goods, you can't produce rationality as a public good.

I view the widespread

I view the widespread irrationality about democracy as an intellectual battle yet to be fought, whereas I view the less popular irrationality of bigotry (although nationalist bigotry is as widespread--and codependent on--democracy) as an intellectual battle already largely won, but at risk of revival under certain circumstances, such as a widespread economic downturn in need of a minority scapegoat.

Seems to me the widespread irrationality about democracy is likewise at risk of being strengthened during an economic downturn.

I've sense just the opposite

I've sense just the opposite among my lefty, progressivish friends. They are starting to realize the fundamental flaws of democracy, given the populace we are working with, but are unsure of an alternative. They are not impressed when I suggest anarchy, or even a reduction in the number of decisions made by democracy.

Just an example of Hoppe's

Just an example of Hoppe's Naz....er...more "conservative" Germanic tendencies...

The man is a good example of how some views can call themselves libertarian, and in doing so poison the soup when it comes time for the unfamiliar to taste it.