NO! NOT THAT WAY! If that’s what I meant, he would have to “physically remove” me from his (virtual) neighborhood!
I love his intellect, the way he creates the dots that he thereafter connects, his directness, and his very dry and wonderfully refined sense of humor.
It was Hans Hoppe (more precisely, someone who challenged me to challenge Hans Hoppe) that accelerated my interest in what has become the most intellectually satisfying topic that I pursue via this blog, that of libertarians and culture. With that out of the way…
Libertarianism and the Alt-Right: In Search of a Libertarian Strategy for Social Change, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. (Speech delivered at the 12th annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society in Bodrum, Turkey, on September 17, 2017)
You will note, sprinkled throughout my commentary are my “accusations” that Hoppe has stolen some of my material. I hope you understand my meager attempt at humor; everything I have come to on this broad subject (I truly mean “everything”) began because Hoppe set me on that path, long ago.
I recently linked to the video version of this speech, and offered a few brief comments. I purposely waited before giving more extensive thoughts as I wanted to wait for this transcript. This will be a tough post to write…or, shall I say, write concisely. Is it OK with you if I just copy and paste the entire text? You see my point. With this concern noted, I will attempt to be efficient. (Update: I failed.)
Hoppe begins with his well-known examination of the requirement for a private-property-respecting order if one wants to minimize conflict:
If you want to live in peace with other people and avoid all physical clashes and, if such clashes do occur, seek to resolve them peacefully, then you must be an anarchist or more precisely a private property anarchist, an anarcho-capitalist or a proponent of a private law society.
He contrasts this absolute requirement for respect for private property with the views of those broadly known as left-libertarians. He offers a long list of add-ons to this one, simple requirement, added by libertarians who – for whatever reason – do nothing more than destroy the powerful message of the non-aggression principle. My favorite from his list (and probably his):
[Any so-called libertarians who argue for] the existence and justifiability of any so-called “human rights” or “civil rights” other than private property rights, such as “women rights,” “gay rights,” “minority rights,” the “right” not to be discriminated against, the “right” to free and unrestricted immigration, the “right” to a guaranteed minimum income or to free health care, or the “right” to be free of unpleasant speech and thought.
Which automatically places Hoppe (and, he notes, Rothbard) in the camp of “a reactionary, a racist, a sexist, an authoritarian, an elitist, a xenophobe, a fascist and, to top it all off, a self-hating Jewish Nazi.” (That last one, obviously, applicable only to Rothbard; I think they would call Hoppe a “self-loving Nazi” and leave it at that!)
Hoppe moves to the primary subject of his speech: what is the connection and/or relationship between libertarianism and the Alt-Right? He offers various Alt-Right speakers who have attended his annual Bodrum conference; he traces the history of the Alt-Right, beginning with Pat Buchanan; he suggests that the movement accelerated with each US presidency beginning with Bush I.
Hoppe comes to the issue, the connecting point:
…the libertarian doctrine does not imply much if anything concerning thesequestions: First, how to maintain a libertarian order once achieved. And second, how to attain a libertarian order from a non-libertarian starting point, which requires a) that one must correctly describe this starting point and b) correctly identify the obstacles posed in the way of one’s libertarian ends by this very starting point.
Many libertarians are blind to this, because it involves some understanding and respect for a topic which they avoid, whether purposefully (because of their desire to appear “virtuous”) or out of ignorance:
Yet many libertarians and fake libertarians are plain ignorant of human psychology and sociology or even devoid of any common sense.
In other words, useful tools.
Hoppe continues: libertarians have a theory; conversely, the Alt-Right knows what they are against – but with no underlying theory:
While much of contemporary libertarianism can be characterized, then, as theory and theorists without psychology and sociology, much or even most of the Alt-Right can be described, in contrast, as psychology and sociology without theory.
And in this, one will find the reason for the connection; in this, one will see why some libertarians – those who have given more than a moment’s thought to human “psychology and sociology” – find a connection with aspects of the Alt-Right.
One of my favorite lines:
…the Alt-Right also laughs off as hopelessly naïve the programmatic motto of so-called libertarians such as the Students for Liberty (which I have termed the “Stupids for Liberty” and my young German friend Andre Lichtschlag as “Liberallala-Libertarians”) of “Peace, Love, and Liberty,” appropriately translated into German by Lichtschlag as “Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen.”
I have written early and often regarding libertarians such as these. As to the Alt-Right:
“Millennial Woes” (Colin Robertson) has thus aptly summarized the Alt-Right: “Equality is bullshit. Hierarchy is essential. The races are different. The sexes are different. Morality matters and degeneracy is real. All cultures are not equal and we are not obligated to think they are. Man is a fallen creature and there is more to life than hollow materialism. Finally, the white race matters, and civilization is precious. This is the Alt-Right.”
In this description, one can see why even someone like Jordan Peterson can be (and has been) labeled as Alt-Right. I won’t speak for Peterson, but given what I have heard from him I suspect he agrees with every point. Heck, any normal / thinking human would agree with most, if not all, of this statement. In other words, “Alt-Right” pretty much describes anyone who disagrees with some aspect of the neo-liberal, progressive, culture-destroying agenda.
Hoppe next addresses the two main questions, noted above. To the first question: how to maintain a libertarian order once achieved:
Many libertarians hold the view that all that is needed to maintain a libertarian social order is the strict enforcement of the non-aggression principle (NAP)…. while the principle does indeed hold and apply for people living far apart and dealing with each other only indirectly and from afar, it does not hold and apply, or rather it is insufficient, when it comes to people living in close proximity to each other, as neighbors and cohabitants of the same community.
He gives an example of the bad neighbor – not violating the NAP, but…well, I will just say, among the many bad characteristics of this neighbor, Hoppe includes (and I will say stole) one of my well-used examples: the neighbor operates a bordello, with all sorts of creatures coming and going at all hours. (Now, I know, it isn’t exactly my example…but I’m not letting go of this!)
The lesson? The peaceful cohabitation of neighbors and of people in regular direct contact with each other on some territory – a tranquil, convivial social order – requires also a commonality of culture: of language, religion, custom and convention.
And this is what I first glimpsed when someone long ago challenged me to attack Hoppe in the same way I attacked (and still attack) left-libertarians. I wish I could remember who pushed me on this; I really want to thank him.
Now to the second question: how to attain a libertarian order, given our current condition. He first examines the strategy of the “liberallala, the peace-love-and-liberty, the Friede-Freude-Eierkuchen or the capitalism-is-love libertarians.” And, I tell you, I love this:
To illustrate, take my former-friend-turned-foe Jeffrey Tucker’s five “Don’ts When Talking Liberty.” They are “1) don’t be belligerent; 2) don’t presume hatred of liberty; 3) don’t presume different goals; 4) don’t presume ignorance; 5) don’t regard anyone as an enemy.”
Every single one of which Hoppe destroys (as I have done here, long ago; is Hoppe stealing my stuff again?)
As a libertarian strategy, then, Tucker’s advice must be considered simply a bad joke. But surely it is good advice if one seeks entry into the State as some sort of “libertarian” advisor, and this may well explain the enthusiasm with which Tucker’s “humanitarian” libertarianism has been embraced by the entire liberallala-libertarian crowd.
Hoppe offers that the state and the intellectuals that support it have conducted a culture war, in the tradition of cultural Marxism or Gramsciism; I have previously noted that it is the same war supported by the liberallala-libertarian crowd. If this war continues, is there any doubt which side will get the outcome that they claim to desire?
Hoppe describes the culture war:
[It is] aimed at a trans-valuation of all values and the destruction of all natural, or if you will “organic” social bonds and institutions such as families, communities, ethnic groups and genealogically related nations, so as to create an increasingly atomized populace, whose only shared characteristic and unifying bond is its common existential dependency on the State. (Emphasis added)
And these outcast groups and institutions are precisely what must be supported if one truly has an interest in reducing or eliminating the state. Everyone else is a communist…or pretender.
Hoppe draws a clear distinction between the Alt-Right and libertarians on one topic in particular:
…I believe it to be a serious strategic error to make “whiteness” the exclusive criterion on which to base one’s strategic decisions, as some strands of the Alt-Right have suggested to do. After all, it is above all white men that make up the ruling elite and that have foisted the current mess upon us.
Hoppe concludes by offering ten steps necessary to attain a libertarian order from the current condition. He suggests that the order is not important except for the first one, and it is this one on which I will conclude:
One: Stop mass immigration.
No one is against immigration and immigrants per se. But immigration must be by invitation only. All immigrants must be productive people and hence, be barred from all domestic welfare payments. To ensure this, they or their inviting party must place a bond with the community in which they are to settle, and which is to be forfeited and lead to the immigrant’s deportation should he ever become a public burden.
I have concluded something similar; in fact, I believe this as about as close as one can get to libertarian immigration in a world of state borders.
So, what of the open-borders libertarians, the Jacob Hornbergers and Jeffrey Tuckers and Sheldon Richmans of the world?
(Brief message to all open-border and liberallala libertarians, who will surely label this, you guessed it, “fascist”: In a fully privatized libertarian order there exists no such thing as a right to free immigration. Private property implies borders and the owner’s right to exclude at will. And “public property” has borders as well. It is not unowned. It is the property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners. And while it is true that the State is a criminal organization and that to entrust it with the task of border control will inevitably result in numerous injustices to both domestic residents and foreigners, it is also true that the State does something also when it decides not to do anything about border control and that, under the present circumstances, doing nothing at all in this regard will lead to even more and much graver injustices, in particular to the domestic citizenry.)