Hans-Hermann Hoppe and the German Extremist Nationalist Right

by Tom Palmer on July 1, 2005

Rockwell and Hoppe.jpg
Lew Rockwell and Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Together They Have
Opened the Gates of Hell and Welcomed the Most Extreme Right
-Wing Racists, Nationalists, and Assorted Cranks

The nutty professor from Las Vegas who has had such problems with his remarks about “undesirables” has been interviewed in the right-wing extreme nationalist German publication, Junge Freiheit, which celebrated his attacks on “democracy,” a concept which, it turns out, they also oppose. Junge Freiheit describes itself as follows:

Die JUNGE FREIHEIT h��?���¤lt die gro��?���¸e kulturelle und geistige Tradition der deutschen Nation in Ehren. Ihr Ziel ist die politische Emanzipation Deutschlands und Europas und die Bewahrung der Identit��?���¤t und der Freiheit der V��?���¶lker der Welt.

Translation: The YOUNG FREEDOM (paper) upholds the honor of the great cultural and spiritual tradition of the German nation. Its goal is the political emancipation of Germany and of Europe and the protection of the identity and the freedom of the peoples of the world.

Hmmmm…. “Emancipation” from…whom? Maybe from that group of alleged oppressors from which an earlier German nationalist movement sought to emancipate the Fatherland? The identity of the oppressors is coyly left unspecified, but those who understand German history should have no doubts. (Note also that there is no discussion of individual identity or freedom, but that of the “peoples of the world.” In the “PC Politics” that Hoppe and Junge Freiheit deride, that is known as “identity politics.”)

The paper has the distinction of having just won on June 28 a court case that has at least temporarily lifted its pariah status as being under the observation of the office for protection of the constitution, as Der Spiegel has reported. (The interviewer made a joking reference to the issue by asking “Sind Sie ein Fall für den Verfassungsschutz?” “Are you a case for the Office of Constitutional Protection?”) Perhaps a victory for freedom of speech that that they are no longer under observation, but when publications in Germany have been put under observation it is for some reason. Junge Freiheit promotes the ideas of holocaust denier David Irving, for example, although it’s always careful to stay juuuuussst on the legal side of the line. Perhaps holocaust denial, for example, should not be illegal at this time in Germany (I disagree with those who think that it should have been legal in 1945 or 1950), but allowing people to say something doesn’t mean that it’s true. Its writers also promote “revisionism” over long settled border issues regarding Poland and the Czech Republic.

The text of Hoppe’s zany interview has been posted online by an evidently similarly minded crank (also Geistes-Kranken in the German sense of that term) named Heinrich Kraemer, whose handle shows a charming little sign with a crescent and star attacking a German eagle and the words “Yesterday Bosnia, Today Kosovo, Tomorrow Germany.”

A commentator named “Prediger” ["Preacher"], who adorns his handle with the phrase “Freedom for Ernst Zündel” (Zündel is a notorious neo-Nazi currently being held in Germany awaiting trial for “Volksverhetzung,” incitement of the masses, which includes holocaust denial) posted Hoppe’s remarks and added “I like him!” Kein Wunder! No surprise!

Hoppe offers an inane attack on “democracy” per se, identifying it with unrestricted mob rule and not distinguishing such a system from the constitutional liberal idea of a limited republican government based on A) constitutionally protected freedoms and B) democratic voting for the choice of representatives.

It seems that Hoppe is not the only one opposed to democracy, for the upholders of the honor of the German nation at Junge Freiheit also oppose democracy. Imagine that! Junge Freiheit had also run a gushing review of one of Hoppe’s parodies of philosophy and social science last year.

Hoppe offers a particularly dumb comparison of democracy with monarchy, in which the former is simply a system of uncontrolled theft and redistribution, whereas under the latter justice is respected:

VerschÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤rfend kommt hinzu, daÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¸ die Partei, die gerade herrscht, dazu nur vier Jahre Zeit hat — bis wieder gewÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤hlt wird. Um so schneller und verantwortungsloser vollzieht sich diese Umverteilung. In der Monarchie dagegen, als deren “glückliche” Ã?Â??Ã?Â??berwindung die Demokratie zu Unrecht gilt, war der Staat potentiell für immer in den HÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤nden ein und derselben Dynastie. Dementsprechend schonend geht ein Monarch mit seinem “Besitz” um. In der Demokratie gehÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¶rt der Staat dagegen keinem, dementsprechend hemmungslos saugt ihn die gerade herrschende Partei aus.

Translation: Aggravatingly added to that is the fact that the party which currently rules has only four years until there are elections again, meaning that that redistribution will be carried out all the more quickly and irresponsibly. In contrast, under monarchy, of which democracy is unjustly considered the “fortunate” overcoming, the state was potentially forever in the hands of one and the same dynasty. Correspondingly a monarch treats what he possesses [sein Besitz] quite carefully. In contrast, under democracy the state belongs to no one; correspondingly the currently governing party exhausts the state without restraint.

Not only does Hoppe fail to understand a basic distinction (in his native language!) between “Besitz” (posession, tenure, or occupancy) and “Eigentum” (property), but he shows barely any understanding of why property generates economic growth. Property (rather than mere possession) is the foundation of markets, through which goods are traded and capital values are established; the right to capture the residual (e.g., the difference between the purchase price and the sale price) is what leads people to take actions that will maximize the capital value of their property; since there is not much of a market for the buying and selling of monarchical “Besitz,” there’s damn little incentive for monarchs to act so as to increase the capital value (since there’s no market to establish one) of what they “possess.” Moreover, there is a connection between the legal security of property, as distinct from mere possession, and economic growth and prosperity. (One might compare the experiences of monarchies the rulers of which considered the entire realm their “Besitz” with the republican/democratic U.S. during the nineteenth century to see how that worked.) The late Mancur Olson, who was an economist (in contrast to Hoppe, whose knowledge of economics is profoundly cartoonish), understood the relation between the institutions necessary to economic freedom and those of democracy:

Interestingly, the conditions that are needed to have the individual rights needed for maximum economic development are exactly the same conditions taht are needed to have a lasting democracy. Obviously, a democracy is not viable if individuals, including the leading rivals of the administration in power, lack the rights to free speech and to security for their property and contracts or if the rule of law is not followed even when it calls for the current administration to leave office. Thus the same court system, independent judiciary, and respect for law and individual rights that are needed for a lasting democracy are also required for security of property and contract rights.” — Mancur Olson, “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 87, No. 3, September 1993, p. 572

(It turns out that another Lew Rockwell writer, Paul Gottfried, writes for Junge Freiheit and “defends the magazine for rejecting ‘the view that every German patriot should be evermore browbeaten by self-appointed victims of the Holocaust.’“)

There’s more to be said, but people can figure out the implications for themselves. Hoppe and his promoter, Lew Rockwell, have done their best to open the gates to the nastiest denizens of the fever swamps. They have laid out the welcome mat to holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, bigots, racists, neo-Confederates, and others who are understandably unwelcome elsewhere. Decent people should take a stand against them.

P.S. I expect the usual comments about being an “idiot,” a “queer,” and the like. What I urge fair minded readers to ask is whether eager defenses of the free-speech rights of Junge Freiheit and their ilk are equivalent to defenses of what they believe and of Rockwell and Hoppe for associating with the racist, nationalist, extremist fringe of German and American politics.

P.P.S. Well, my fears were realized. Rather than defend Hoppe’s strange and economically ignorant views about “Besitz,” “Eigentum,” and prosperity, or his flirtation with extremist German-nationalists, or the call for “the political emancipation of Germany and Europe” and the associated “identity politics” of nationalism associated with it, the defender (well, one and a half defenders) of Hoppe have tried to paint me as a denier of free speech because…..in 1945 and 1950 I would have kept the ban on the National Socialist party. So let me repeat just to be clear: just because a party should not be banned doesn’t mean you should admire them. Just because they defend their freedom to speak it does not follow that they would defend yours. My point is not to ban or to maintain observation of Junge Freiheit, but to insist that decent people don’t get in bed with them.

P.P.P.S. Someone writing under the name of “Clement Goettel” (who, when googled, shows up in one and only one place, this blog posting) has taken up the bulk of the comments, so new readers might scan them (not to take them lightly, of course) and find a variety of other commentators, as well, some of whom offer corroboration of what I document or who pose other but related issues.

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Bill Woolsey July 2, 2005 at 10:22 pm

A few years ago, I read on an email list a proposal the Joseph Sobran be the Libertarian Parties candidate for President. The email post was linked to an article by Sobran that outlined his perspective on things. It certainly looked libertarian to me, and there wasn’t anything about the Jews or Israel.

So, perhaps Sobran is an anti-semite, but he may well be a libertarian one. I did skim over all of the posted material and I saw no where that Sobran favored anything other than equality under the law for Jewish people.

Further, it is pretty clear that all of this is being driven primarily by opposition to America’s pro-Israel policies. And, the fact, that he can get no traction in complaining about Israel.

Frankly, I have never understood this notion taht it is anti-semitic to emphasize the misbehavior of Israel. Sure, there are plenty of places where the government behaves much worse than that of Israel, but many of them are enemies of the U.S. North Korea, Burma, etc. You know, if the U.S. was devoted to the survival of North Korea, one might get fixated on them as well.

And those states that misbehave and remain allies of the U.S. get plenty of criticism. For example, Saudi Arabia imposes horrible religious discrimination. They are generally criticized for it, and America remains its ally because they have lots of oil.

Sobran’s discussion of Jewishness was interesting. However, I don’t really buy into this notion that secularism has been generated by modern Judaism. (Actually, he doesn’t state it in quite that way–he calls it “the Jewish problem” and describes it as a conflict between Jewish and Christian culture!)

It is a bit sad.

Tom G. Palmer July 3, 2005 at 2:28 am

It’s certainly true that being critical of Israel is not by itself sufficient evidence of anti-Semitism. (Anti-Semites are critical of Israel, but not all critics of Israel are anti-Semitic.) The same is true of criticism of U.S. policy toward the middle east. But Mr. Sobran goes far, far beyond that. Criticism of Israeli policy or of U.S. policy toward Israel is not the issue. He has a problem with “the Jews,” which is quite a different matter altogether.

He was, for very good reasons, booted out by the conservatives. He should not be welcome among libertarians. Anti-Semitism, racism, and the like are forms of collectivism that do not comport with libertarianism, which is founded on respect for the rights and responsibilities of individuals. They do comport well with varieties of anti-libertarian collectivism, which is why Mr. Sobran is quite willing to hang out with the truly evil neo-Nazi activists at the Institute for Historical Review.

For the same reasons, I am quite disturbed at how and why “libertarianism” is being connected by a character such as H-H Hoppe to the horrible anti-libertarian nationalist collectivism at Junge Freiheit.

Bill Woolsey July 3, 2005 at 10:12 am

Libertarianism requires equality under the law for members of various ethnic and religious groups. While people who oppose that view because they are anti-Semitic cannot be libertarian, I disagree with the claim that one can only be a libertarian if one has expunged every sort of collectism from one’s mind. I think the confusion there is that one cannot be an Objectivist unless one has freed one’s mind from all forms of collectivism (and more than a few other things.) One can be a libertarian and have all sorts of wrong views–even views based on negative stereotypes of religious or ethnic groups.

The modern libertarian movement was traditionally very “intellectual,” with much of the rank-and-file following various libertarian thinkers. A few years back, Liberty did a sort of contest on who was the most important libertarian thinker. The candidates–Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Von Mises, Hayek, and Milton Friedman. Only one gentile in the bunch. Mises was declared the winner.

The conventional wisdom (which I pretty much hold to) is that the modern libetarian movement was intitially dominated by followers of Rand. The promotion of Murray-Rothbard thought in the seventies had a major impact. Mises’ influence is mostly indirect and largely existed because he was venerated by Rand and Rothbard. Hayek and Friedman had marginal effects on the movement, largely because they were despised by the masters–Rand and Rothbard.

I do think things have changed a bit. Many libertarian scholars and intellectuals may have started as followers of Rand or Rothbard, but have since broadened their horizons. Much of the rank-and-file that continues to advocate Rothbard’s line (and maybe a bit of Rand,) are largely influenced by secondary sources. L. Neil Smith and David Bergland come to mind. Further, the “constitutionalist” line promoted by the Libertarian Party for the last decade or so has had an impact. And even World’s Smallest Political Quiz has had an effect. There are a good number of self-described libertarians who never followed Rand, Rothbard, or any of their more devoted followers.

Anyway, Rothbard was fixated on Israel. Those who have passed through a more-or-less Rothbardian “stage” may well have adopted and maintained this anti-Zionist position. And, of course, those libertarians who remain Rothbardians should be expected to continue with the peculiar focus of their deceased guru.

Because conflict in the Middle East is so often in the news, and because the U.S. has been involved in two wars there, it may look like Israel is a fixation with some libertarians. If the area calmed down, or the U.S. wasn’t involved, then a continued focus on Zionism might raise some questions. But that hasn’t been the situation since the birth of the modern libertarian movement.

I suppose there are Zionists who would describe Rothbard as a self-hating Jew. To speculate why Rothbard emphasized Israel would probably lead to avenues of thought that would result in being condemned as another Sobran.

I was exposed to Holocaust revisionism through the libertarian movement. It had to do with the general question of pro-war propaganda. Propagandists invent atrocities or exaggerate atrocities that did occur in various wars to justify and motivate their side.

The Rothbardian “line” was strict nonintervention. The Rothbardian “method” was proving that no activity of the U.S. government was ever justified, and that included any intervention into any past war. And that, of course, included World War II. WW2 revisionism was part of Rothbard’s grand science of “libertarianism” that was so influential in the libertarian movement of the seventies.

I’m pretty sure it was Fritz Marshall, the anti-public school guy who founded the Advocates for Self-Government, who defended Holocaust revisionism on some talk radio show and invoked Rothbard as an authority. The story I heard is that Rothbard denied that he ever believed any such thing.

On the other hand, there were WW2 revisionists who did promote Holocaust revisionism and Rothbard promoted those historians without bothering to mention that they had what he considered wrong views about the Holocaust. For example, Harry Elmer Barnes. While he was not a libertarian, Rothbard wrote glowing things about his work. And Barnes promoted Holocaust revisionism. He even claimed that the exaggerations of anti-Jewish atrocites by the Nazis were aimed at justifying and promoting Zionism. Sobran made much the same point in one of the articles cited by Palmer.

There were some libertarian WW2 revisionist historians who at least flirted with Holocaust revisionism. I believe there was an interview of one in Reason years ago.

While I have never been an expert on Holocaust revisionism, my impression is that even stripped of alledged exaggeration, the anti-Jewish atrocities of the Nazi’s were plenty henious. If the issue is whether or not the U.S. should have gone to war against Germany to stop anti-Jewish persecution, Holocaust revisionism doesn’t make much difference. I don’t have much interest in the project of proving that the U.S. should have never intervened anywhere, ever in the past. And, even if that were “proved” to be true, it could never show that no foreign intervention in the future would be justified.

Also, I don’t think the extent of the Nazi’s anti-Jewish atrocities have anything to do with the justification of Zionism. That is, even stripped of alleged exaggeration, they were plenty henious for those inclined to break a few Arab eggs for the Jewish homeland omelate. In my opinion, even if the Nazi anti-Jewish atrocities were worse than conventionally believed, it doesn’t justify creating a state based upon religion or ethnicity anywhere, much less in a place where there were native people of the wrong religion and ethnicity. On the other hand, Jewish people should be able to live in Palestine if they want. And the Jewish people born there have as much right to live there as anyone else, with full individual rights to life, liberty and property.

I agree that there is a pattern by Rockwell (and Rothbard when he was living) to “build bridges” to various far right groups. I don’t think it was a sensible strategy. Still, I don’t believe this scorched-earth rhetorical approach is helpful in combating that wrongheaded strategy.

Charles N. Steele July 3, 2005 at 11:14 am

Bill writes “While I have never been an expert on Holocaust revisionism, my impression is that even stripped of alledged exaggeration, the anti-Jewish atrocities of the Nazi’s were plenty henious.”

I was a charter subscriber to IHR’s “Journal of Historical Review,” expecting it to be devoted to general history, not holocaust revisionism. At least 90% of it was holocaust revisionism, and I read it cover-to-cover for two years. One paper argued that the actual verifiable number of Jews killed in Nazi camps was 1 million, and largely via starvation. This claim aroused no controversy among the other revisionists, but is certainly sufficient to convict the Nazis of mass murder.

As an aside, the level of scholarship in the journal was poor — primarily polemics rather than research. I recall the above article both because it was actually an argument *for* the holocaust, and because it relied largely on (alleged) data, rather than personal anecdote and diatribe.

Charles N. Steele July 3, 2005 at 11:52 am

Bill also writes: “I agree that there is a pattern by Rockwell (and Rothbard when he was living) to “build bridges” to various far right groups. I don’t think it was a sensible strategy. Still, I don’t believe this scorched-earth rhetorical approach is helpful in combating that wrongheaded strategy.”

It’s clear that there are racists who are also libertarians. But they are *terrible* spokesmen for liberty and we indeed should avoid them and take pains to expose them. Racism is irrational and anti-individual by nature — the idea of judging a person not by her/his character but rather her/his racial characteristics (which are quite subjective, BTW) is inherently contrary to reason and to the idea of individual rights.

And those who would build bridges to German nationalists and closet neo-nazis lose any shred of credibility as libertarians.

The great Jewish economist Ludwig von Mises eloquently exposed the irrationality of nationalism (esp. German nationalism), of racism, and of naziism, and he had to flee for life from the nazis. It is time for the “Mises” Institute to find a new name.

Recent reader July 3, 2005 at 1:26 pm

You should know that the Rightwatch blog has a piece on Sobran. http://rightwatch.tblog.com/

It itemizes Sobran’s connections with the IHR and his view on Jews, which he calls “the Tribe”. The article also shows the IHR is anti Jewish and pro Nazi in spite of Sobran saying the contrary.It doesn’t cover the same territory as here but goes into new areas not mentioned here.

Andreas July 3, 2005 at 3:09 pm

I have read through carefully most of the above written comments (some seemed personal so I read them quicker). My main point is that everyone who knows about such topics in Germany knows that Junge Freiheit is a very antifreedom newspaper and that they play a game with the public, to broadcast the racist and extremist ideas of the German past but without being too closely tied to them. That is called ‘deniability’. Professor Hoppe is happy to be affiliated with the most extremist and antilibertarian part of the German political spectrum and that tells us a lot about him and his friends. I learn from the works/ideas of Mises, but I cannot affiliate with the ones who have appropriated his name in America, because they have a agenda that is totally different from the one of Mises.

Andreas July 3, 2005 at 3:09 pm

I have read through carefully most of the above written comments (some seemed personal so I read them quicker). My main point is that everyone who knows about such topics in Germany knows that Junge Freiheit is a very antifreedom newspaper and that they play a game with the public, to broadcast the racist and extremist ideas of the German past but without being too closely tied to them. That is called ‘deniability’. Professor Hoppe is happy to be affiliated with the most extremist and antilibertarian part of the German political spectrum and that tells us a lot about him and his friends. I learn from the works/ideas of Mises, but I cannot affiliate with the ones who have appropriated his name in America, because they have a agenda that is totally different from the one of Mises.

Aaron (Cologne) July 3, 2005 at 4:55 pm

Clement can’t be much of a German not to know what the “Junge Freiheit” stands for. Or maybe he knows and he is a revisionist and a neo-nazi himself.
It is a forum neither for libertarians nor for conservatives. It is by no means a respectable newspaper or a newspaper like any other. Their articles are subtle but people who are able to read between the lines know that they are full of hatred against minorities. It is really terrible. When Tom Palmer says these people are no libertarians , that is even an understatement. Just one example : they are the biggest America – haters. You constantly read the most shocking things on GB too.
They hate what the US is all about. Take the Bill of Rights or the Declaration of IndependenceÃ?Â?Ã?¢Ã?¢?Ã?¬Ã?Â?Ã?¦it is JUST the opposite of what these people stand for. Now, imagine people who know nothing on libertarianism …reading Hoppe`s statements on monarchy, democracy, the rule of law, ownership, minorities, European and American history. Which picture do they get from a movement they associate with von Mises?
Look at the fans they have in Germany. Doesn`t it tell it all?
Hoppe (and Rockwell for that matter) are a true disgrace to libertarianism.
Aaron(Cologne)
aarcomega2@yahoo.com

Bill Woolsey July 3, 2005 at 5:22 pm

What do the readers of Junge Freiheit think about an institute named for an Austrian Jewish economist whose library was burned by the Nazis?

By the way, I’m sure that one of the greatest commonalities between Junge Freiheit and the Mises Institute is ugly things they say and believe about George Bush.

It is all about hating the U.S. government.

Tom G. Palmer July 3, 2005 at 9:59 pm

On another posting (dealing with the Batman movie), a commentator named Tom wrote the following:

Tom,

A general comment. You’re a good and intelligent man. You should take care, however, not to descend to the level of your nastiest opponents when you disagree with people. Your screeds against Hoppe do not put you in a good light, no matter how right you may be. Your piece on the Supreme Court was not served by cheap slights about people who favor states’ rights. If you want to be taken seriously you have to remain dignified in the face of opponents who may themselves be very undignified.

Posted by: Tom at July 3, 2005 06:54 PM

I do appreciate the kind introductory remark and also the caution, which is well put and well taken. I am quite concerned that a group of really dangerous people are trying to infiltrate or subvert libertarianism and it upsets me greatly. Their scholarship is generally of a very poor quality but trumpeted as genius by those attracted to cults; far worse than that, however, is that the ideas to which they are trying to link libertarianism are abhorrent to any libertarian and, more generally, to any decent person. Junge Freiheit is, as a number of German commentators have pointed out above, truly a voice for statism, violence, and collectivism, for reconquest of lost territory, for sublimation of the individual to the group, and it is viewed with horror by people in Germany. Readers who don’t read German wouldn’t know that without someone publicizing the fact. (Hoppe certainly knows; despite his lack of understanding of the significance of terms such as Besitz [possession] and Eigentum [property], he cannot claim ignorance of German. He shows himself as eager to make connections people who look back fondly to the darkest days of Germany’s past.) How does one tell people that the guest who’s been invited into their home is of such a character?

In my posting on the Kelo case, I wrote, “The advocates of unlimited ‘states rights’ will be heartened. After all, the federal government refused to enforce a clear constitutional prohibition on the action of state and local governments, as set out in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.” My prediction was correct:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella17.html The writer was indeed heartened.

I am opposed to “states rights,” for I believe that it betrays both a basic conceptual confusion and a misunderstanding of the relationship of the states to the federal government. States don’t have “rights”; under the American constitutional system “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The question is: what powers are prohibited to the states? In the opinion of the writer who defended the Kelo decision as a victory for “states rights” and therefore as a just and lawful decision, it seems that no powers are prohibited to the states, that their powers are plenary. I strongly dissent.

Tom G. Palmer July 3, 2005 at 10:12 pm

Mr. Woolsey makes a good comment (although believe me, Junge Freiheit doesn’t just hate George Bush; they hate Democratic presidents, too, indeed, they hate Americans per se) and poses an interesting question:

“What do the readers of Junge Freiheit think about an institute named for an Austrian Jewish economist whose library was burned by the Nazis?”

I suspect that I know the answer. They hate the economist (individualist, “cosmopolitan” — if you get my drift, and so on) and seem quite favorable to the institute that so sadly bears his name.

1234 July 3, 2005 at 10:50 pm

To the comment about what Tom does with his free time in criticizing the Mises people, this response: Better him than me. Some may view it as petty internecine disagreements among various sects of libertarians. I do not. For too many years, the Mises Institute has attracted a fair number of unsuspecting people who are intrigued by the reactionary pose those people strike. Many of us have known for years the kind of people associated with Lew Rockwell: from the merely odd and wierd like Hoppe, to the reactionary like Paul Gottfried, to the anti-semites like Sobran, to the lunatic fanatics like Gary North. These people do not represent libertarianism as I understand it. They are fringe elements. And, while I certainly think classical liberalism allows for different approaches and strains, anti-liberal elements need to be identified and exposed for what they are.

Peter July 4, 2005 at 9:31 am

Hoppe and his friends can say whatever they want as long as they do not call that “libertarianism”. Hoppe deliberatly chose the readers of “Junge Freiheit” for his strange theories. Let us put is this way: Palmer gets interviewed by “die Zeit” and Hoppe by “Junge Freiheit”. Everyone gets the difference in Germany… PK from Bonn

Peter July 4, 2005 at 9:31 am

Hoppe and his friends can say whatever they want as long as they do not call that “libertarianism”. Hoppe deliberatly chose the readers of “Junge Freiheit” for his strange theories. Let us put is this way: Palmer gets interviewed by “die Zeit” and Hoppe by “Junge Freiheit”. Everyone gets the difference in Germany… PK from Bonn

Steve Horwitz July 4, 2005 at 10:20 am

Sigh. Thanks for your diligence on this Tom. Indeed, let these folks say whatever they want to whomever they want, but leave the good name of libertarianism out of it. More important, I wish there was an easy way to let all of the young minds attending LVMI events this summer know who they are associating with and to convey to them that this is not, and should not be, what libertarianism is all about.

Sophie July 4, 2005 at 7:03 pm

We know well the Junge Freiheit in Germany. They are certainly a front group for Neo-Nazis and it reveals a lot that Mr. Hoppe and Mr. Rockwell choose them to spread their influence in Germany. Aaron from Cologne is correct. They are not only not libertarians, but not conservatives, not even “patriotic”. They are a Neo-Nazi front. Dr. Palmer is interviewed in Die Presse and Die Zeit, which are serious papers in Europe, but Hoppe chose Junge Freiheit, which is not only not a serious paper, but an antisemitic propaganda paper that is against foreigners, against people of other races, for preserving so called German purity, and so on and so forth. How could such terrible ideas be associated with a name of an Anti-Nazi and victim of the Nazis as Ludwig von Mises? It is an insult!

The ideas that Hoppe expressed there were to support their attack on the democratic gains of the Federal Republic of Germany after the Hitler dictatorship, but they were very foolishly expressed, even stupid. No wonder that he complained and cried in the interview that he could not find a teaching post in Germany, so he was compelled to go to the U.S!

Sophie (München)

Christoph Sprich July 5, 2005 at 7:57 am

I also know the Junge Freiheit since many years and there can be no dispute on the fact that it is an extremist right wing newspaper. The Verfassungsschutz, which is observing the activity of that newspaper is, on the other hand, by no means a Stasi-like political police, normally they state relatively objective opinions, for example in Verfassungsschutzbericht 2003 (BW): “Neben diesen beiden Zeitschriften und weiteren hier nicht nÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤her beschriebenen Publikationen, die eindeutig dem rechtsextremistischen Spektrum zuzurechnen sind, existiert auch eine Zeitung, nÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤mlich die Wochenzeitung ‘Junge Freiheit’ (FJ), deren ideologische Einordnung weniger eindeutig und die daher seit Jahren immer wieder Diskussionsgegenstand im politisch-parlamentarischen Raum und in den Medien ist.” Well, there is no “witch hunting” in germany but a open debate about right wing extremism and the JF, and in my opinion JF it is clearly right wing extremist, even if they have the better lawyers.

I have critizised the unholy alliance between so called libertarians and right wing extremists early. I know that there are arguments in the Hoppe-”libertarianism” which are comfortable for Nationalsozialisten, e.g. in Hoppes book Democracy on page 408: “In einer libertÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤ren Sozialordnung kann es keine Toleranz gegenüber Demokraten und Kommunisten geben. Sie müssen aus der Gesellschaft physisch entfernten und ausgewiesen werden.” So I’ve understood the alliance between the JF and Hoppe, because the JF has no friends in Germany outside the right wing scene. But I am worried about the free speech alliance between the JF and the (until now!) only libertarian magazine in germany, the Eigentümlich Frei and other german libertarians.

As liberals or libertarians we clearly have to oppose restrictions of the freedom of speech. Here in germany there is a lot of frustration about that topic, especially among young libertarians. They argue that we have to fight for the freedom of speech, even if we fight for the freedom of right wing extremists. I understand that fight for the freedom of speech, but libertarians in germany are in danger to become a tool of the right wingers! Because of that I urge german libertarians to realize that the struggle of liberalism is to make people free, and that the collectivists from right and left are the biggest enemies of that freedom. Like Sophie I want to ask about what Mises, a victim of the nazis, would say to alliances with right wing extremists.

Manuel Lora July 5, 2005 at 9:04 am

Mr. Palmer says: “States don’t have “rights”; under the American constitutional system “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The question is: what powers are prohibited to the states?”

Well, for starters, whatever’s in Article 1, section 8 (post offices, money must be gold or silver, etc). So those are the very few and limited things that states can’t do and the feds can, which is the reason for having a federal government anyway. The states do indeed have plenary police powers (some even came before the constitution) and are sovereign. They give up only a tiny bit of those general powers to the feds. Conversely, the feds have only limited and enumerated powers and the rest go to the states. Looks like Mr. Palmer needs a new book on the Constitution and federalism, and not an FDR version of it.

Tom G. Palmer July 5, 2005 at 9:17 am

Mr. Lora should read the whole Constitution. A variety of powers are explicitly denied to the states (abrogation of contracts, for example) in the unamended Constitution, and still more are denied in the Amendments. (And those were not passed by FDR.) As Mr. Lora inadvertently admits, Article I, Section 8 is “for starters.” A bit more reading would have helped; the Constitution isn’t all that long, after all.

Manuel Lora July 5, 2005 at 10:47 am

Have you answered your own question then? “what powers are prohibited to the states?”

I was looking at Cato.org and found this:

“But most liberals can’t give up their addiction to centralization. Even as they rail against federal intervention in the Schiavo case — arch-liberal Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate in Congress, discovers for the first time in her life that “the bedrock of who we are” is the “Founders’ limited vision of the federal government” — they push for stricter regulations on pesticides and painkillers, a higher national minimum wage, and federal gun control laws.” (by D. Boaz).

You certainly sound more like a centralist liberal, accoridng to Boaz, than a decentralist libertarian. Could you point me to an article you’ve written where you claim otherwise?

Manuel Lora July 5, 2005 at 10:47 am

Have you answered your own question then? “what powers are prohibited to the states?”

I was looking at Cato.org and found this:

“But most liberals can’t give up their addiction to centralization. Even as they rail against federal intervention in the Schiavo case — arch-liberal Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate in Congress, discovers for the first time in her life that “the bedrock of who we are” is the “Founders’ limited vision of the federal government” — they push for stricter regulations on pesticides and painkillers, a higher national minimum wage, and federal gun control laws.” (by D. Boaz).

You certainly sound more like a centralist liberal, accoridng to Boaz, than a decentralist libertarian. Could you point me to an article you’ve written where you claim otherwise?

Send Neocons To Gulags July 5, 2005 at 11:24 am

“Send Neocons to Gulags” posted a several page attack on me and several other persons (as well as Reason magazine), all of which is to be found — word for word — in a column by Justin Raimondo, so I am replacing it with this simple link:

http://www.antiwar.com/blog/index.php?id=P1954

That takes up a bit less space, delivers all of the content, and supplies the context (of the date prior to my last trip to Iraq).
–The editor

Charles N. Steele July 5, 2005 at 12:05 pm

To “Send Neocons:”

Question: What does your post have to do with Hoppe’s disturbing conflation of libertarianism with national socialism? (Answer: nothing.)

Second question: You entirely misrepresent Palmer’s posts regarding his visit to Iraq, as well as his positions in general. What is gained in attacking someone by *misrepresenting* their ideas? (Answer: nothing.)

Third question: why do you hide your identity? Are you ashamed of what you are posting?

(If you really are in favor of sending *anyone* to Gulags, shame would be understandable.)

For everone in general: in criticizing someone’s (anyone’s) position, strive to accurately represent it — that way your criticisms, valid or not, will have some value to the rest of us.

Huh? July 5, 2005 at 1:20 pm

Manuel should do what Palmer says and read the Constitution. I even have my handy dandy Cato pocket Constitution in front of me, which includes (guess Manuel’s doesn’t) Article I Section 10:
No State shall enter into any treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills
of Credit; make any Thing but gold
and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

It goes on; there are more powers denied to the states in Article I Section 10. Then there’s Article IV Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then the Bill of Rights (some mention the Congress and some don’t, like the 5th Amendment) and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which apply those rights to the states. Lots of powers are denied to the states. They don’t have free hands to squash us whenever they want to. Read the Constitution itself. (And as a libertarian, I don’t want to be oppressed by the states or by the feds, so when the Constitution gives a solid reason why I shouldn’t be oppressed by the feds, I say go for it.)

Anyway, what does that have to do with whether Lew Rockwell and Hans Hoppe are in bed with Nazis? And what does the long letter by the other idiot (Send Neocons To Gulags) have to do with that? They’re just attacks on Palmer that are on other issues (and pretty stupid attacks, anyway). Manuel and the guy who wants to send people to Gulags are just trying to “defend” Hoppe’s and Rockwell’s craziness by filling the comment section with spam.

rothbardian4life July 5, 2005 at 2:56 pm

true libertarians would rather chill with nazis and racists than whore for neocons.

Charles N. Steele July 5, 2005 at 4:34 pm

to Rothbardian:It’s hard to argue with logic like that!

Dietmar-Dominik Hennig July 6, 2005 at 10:00 am

The TRUELY Fascists in our Western civilisation are the NEOCONS!!! Not the Libertarians!!!

amerrepublic July 6, 2005 at 10:47 am

It is hard to believe there are people who actually cite Mr. Sobran’s
“argument” as proof that he is not a holocaust denier…his “argument”
is the same as saying one cannot understand that the car over there is blue
in color because one does not understand how light waves interact with the
molecules in the paint to produce the blue color….or that I can’t come to
a conclusion about Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor because I do not understand
how a Japanese Zero flies…people who buy his arguments really need help

amerrepublic July 6, 2005 at 11:04 am

..saw some news related to the BTK trials the other day…thought it fitting
that the BTK guy is a dead ringer for Lew Rockwell

Todd July 6, 2005 at 11:41 am

Maybe people should focus more on the crazy ideas of the Rockwell group, rather than their appearance. I’ve had experience with that group of sad loonies; rest assured that they’ll pick up on comments like the one on Lew’s appearance in order to discredit all the substantive concerns about their ideas, including their choice of friends (KKK sympathizers, The-South-Shall-Rise-Agin types, German Fascists — you get the picture)

Nathalie I. Vogel July 6, 2005 at 11:43 am

why do these people keep bringing up the “neo-conservative” issue ? this is not the question, the question is whether Hoppe is a Libertarian. And if not, what do you call what he stands for?
As simple as that.
NV

amerrepublic July 6, 2005 at 12:09 pm

of course I did not intend do demean the anti-loon stance
..I think it is clear from my previous comment….anyway I did
not need an “experience” with them to figure them out as you did …a simple reading
of the LR website was enough for me..but perhaps it wasn’t for you..
so please put away the implied intellectual haughtiness….
in addition, the symbolism is
worthwhile here…evil hiding under the face of civility

Andrew S. July 6, 2005 at 12:23 pm

I wrote to Professor Hoppe to get his response after a friend tipped me to this site.

Here it is:

Dear Professor Hoppe,

I read on a website an article about an interview you had with a German newspaper. The article is at http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/022289.php#comments. I see that you had one defender on the site who was very active in defending you from the criticism. I would like to know what your view is so that I could determine whether there is any merit to the criticism. Have you written a response anywhere (in English, please) that I could look at?

Andrew S.

Prof. Hoppe sent me a short email,

I do not comment on Mr. Palmer. My interview speaks for itself. There is nothing unusual or particularly controversial about it. Why don’t you ask someone who speaks German.
HHH

I sent it to one of my professors who speaks German and he sent back a quick response that said that Hoppe was wrong and the interview was definitely very unsual and very controversial. Also that he then did some research and looked at Mr. Palmer’s site and confirmed all of the remarks about Hoppe and “Junge Freiheit” being not in any way libertarian at all (my professor is more of a conservative, but friendly to libertarian ideas)-they are far right wing fascists and a nutty cult. And also that they’re the type of people you might listen to – like you would to anyone – but definitely I should stay far away. I’m taking his advice.

Simon Jester July 6, 2005 at 1:00 pm

“The TRUELY Fascists in our Western civilisation are the NEOCONS!!! Not the Libertarians!!!”

So let’s do some math and take a purity test. Let’s assume:

Rothbardians = 100% libertarian
Libertarian Party/Cato = 80% libertarian
National Review = 60% libertarian
Christian Conservative Joe-Six Pack = 50% libertarian
Neoconservatives = 45% libertarian
USA in Civil War = 30% libertarian

…compared to:

National Socialists: 100% totalitarian (non-libertarian)
Communists: 100% totalitarian
Confederate States of America = 100% totalitarian (to black people)

But Rothbardians would rather affliate or ally with Communists, Nazis and Confederates. Even though this is:

1) Vile and disgusting

2) Politically stupid, as these groups are unpopular to most Americans

3) Counter-productive and potenitally suicidal, as Confederates, Nazis and Communists will try to enslave or murder them.

Looking at #3 alone, I can only conclude that the Rothbardians are insane. They would rather assume a 100% loss of their ends to spite those who are actually open to their ideas. To act in such a way so removed from reality is the defination of insanity.

This is most likely due to the cultish nature of the group, which reminds me of Scientology ir LaRouchies. These “libertarians” need to be cut loose and exposed for lunatics they are if we have any hope at all of increasing liberty around the globe.

amerrepublic July 6, 2005 at 1:14 pm

nice post simon jester….

I fear that the real danger from these types does not lie in the present..
these guys lurk in the shadows for decades waiting for a period of
crisis or instability…at that point desperate people listen to
what they say

David Bernauer July 6, 2005 at 2:18 pm

I’m a gay and I agree with Mr. Hoppe! He isn’t “homophob”!!!

Nathale I. Vogel July 6, 2005 at 2:38 pm

you agree on … what exactly? on the time preference theory?
NV

Todd July 6, 2005 at 3:00 pm

David
Do you agree that gay people should be expelled from communities? Do you agree that they should not be allowed to enter the U.S? Do you believe that it’s a good thing to make common cause with segregationists and neonazis? Do you agree that rule by unlimited monarchs is better than limited democracy? Just what do you agree on with the brilliant professor from Las Vegas?

C. Verheyen (Hamburg) July 6, 2005 at 7:05 pm

Some remarks on Hoppe and “Junge Freiheit”

First of all I have to admit that I usually do not waste my time reading publications such as “Junge Freiheit (JF)” — in my humble opinion the content is not worth the paper it is printed on. Unfortunately, the problem does not end right there — even today way too many sympathize with such publications and the ideology that stands behind it, apparently not having learned a thing from the darkest hours of German history (which, of course, proofs quite tricky if you deny much of it). That is sad, but even the most ignorant of us have the right to express their ignorance, even publicly.

What, however, truly disgusts me is if a self-proclaimed “libertarian” and a person associated with the “Ludwig-von-Mises Institute”, such as Prof Hoppe, gets in bed with such publications. And make no doubt about it: JF is not a mainstream paper in Germany (as a native German who has lived most of his life here I think I know what I am talking about) but rather a melting pot for the twisted ideas of GermanyÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s extreme right — from Neonazis to old Nazis (yeah, there are still a few around), from anti-Semites to other racists, they all find a forum in JF and similar publications. And even though JF is very careful with the words it uses, the message behind it is very clear and easily traces back to Nazi ideology or, to be more precisely, since the Nazis added nothing new, the “VÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¶lkische” ideology laid out by confused minds such as Lagarde, von Treitschke, Fritsche, Sombart, Chamberlain and so on (for a detailed study see Donald Niewyk, “Solving the “Jewish Problem”: Continuity and Change in German Antisemitism, 1871-1945″). It is also a no-brainer that if you give an interview in JF, you know exactly who your audience is.

That leaves one question: Why would a so called “libertarian” deliberately have his views published in such a paper? The one and only sound reason that comes to my mind is that he or she sympathizes with that paper. And taking a look at what Prof Hoppe has to say, this becomes fairly obvious. Not only does he ride a weak and unconvincing attack on democracy (or his weird understanding thereof), but also, though denying being a monarchist, praises the economic advantages of monarchy over democracy. Considering that he is interviewed by JF and that it is quite common for demagogues to disguise their real message in well-sounding phrases, just replace the monarch (whom Prof Hoppe does not like, but the system he stands for) with a “Führer”. You get the ideaÃ?Â?Ã?¢Ã?¢?Ã?¬Ã?Â?Ã?¦

I do not want to dwell on Prof HoppeÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s understanding of economics or the lack thereof as Dr Palmer has already pointed that out but a short glimpse at the historic evidence is good enough to proof Prof Hoppe wrong. Taking a look at continental Europe from the 16th to the 18th century (the blossom of monarchy) I would find it difficult to label this time as one of economic prosperity, rule of law or great scientific progress. Even though I hate to agree with someone like Prof Hoppe, he does have a point on the oversized European welfare states and the redistribution that comes with it. What he does not tell his readers at JF is the fact that the German welfare state experienced one of itÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s greatest increases in size during HitlerÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s twelve year dictatorship (certainly not a time of “robberish” democracy). As Prof GÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¶tz Aly showed in a recent publication (“Hitlers Volksstaat”), the Nazi regime was a “dictatorship of favours” to buy the peopleÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s support, especially during the war years. What occurred was a massive redistribution, and often enough that meant taking from Jews and other “undesirables” across Europe and handing it to the German population. Many of GermanyÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?´s welfare laws that are still in existence today date back to that period!!!

To sum things up, it is disgusting if a so called “libertarian” uses a creepy extreme right-wing paper to present his views, but as a famous saying goes “Sage mir, wer Deine Freunde sind, und ich sage Dir, wer Du bist” (Translation: Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are).

Steve Horwitz July 6, 2005 at 7:30 pm

That German saying perfectly sums up the entire problem with the Mises Institute crowd, and why I find them so loathsome.

Tom G. Palmer July 6, 2005 at 8:08 pm

Sorry I didn’t respond to Mr. Lora’s last defense of state power above. I think that “Huh?” answered him pretty effectively. If you just took out a copy of the constitution and read it, it enumerates a number of powers denied to the states. Perhaps Mr. Lora joins Mr. Rockwell & Co. in opposing the 13th Amendment, which prohibits anyone, including the states, from enslaving other people. What an objectionable restriction on the freedom of the states!

The defense of “states rights” is of a piece with the Rockwell/Hoppe whitewash of the Confederacy and the enslavement of black people, their coziness with the most racist elements of the German far right, and their eager hatred of immigrants (except for the white ones, like Hoppe, but definitely not all those Hispanic immigrants they take delight in bashing), and on and on and on.

I admit that I’m puzzled by his demand: “You certainly sound more like a centralist liberal, accoridng to Boaz, than a decentralist libertarian. Could you point me to an article you’ve written where you claim otherwise?” Since Mr. Boaz and I agree on the Kelo decision, I find the query strange, especially since I don’t go around “claiming” to have views; I just have them. I’ve made it clear that under the constitution the federal government has some powers to protect rights and the states lack some, which is hardly so strange.

Finally, Mr. Lora might consider the difference between “states rights” and a Tenth Amendment doctrine of “enumerated federal powers,” which is what I and my colleague David Boaz support. Those powers include the power of federal courts to ensure that the states do not run roughshod over the fundamental rights of the people, including the right not to have one’s house taken and given to someone else, as happened in the Kelo case. It does not authorize the federal government to intervene in a case over which the Florida courts had jurisdiction or to promote a minimum wage, or federal gun control laws, etc., etc. But I think that “Huh?” had it right on the issue of the powers denied to the states; just read the Constitution cover-to-cover and find out what it says, rather than blindly believing whatever nonsense is served up by a group of cranks.

Mikko Ellil��?���¤ July 7, 2005 at 10:05 am

There is nothing unlibertarian about Hans Hoppe’s opinions in that interview.

It’s totally irrelevant that JF is a nationalist magazine. That doesn’t make Hoppe a nazi. He might be a holocaust revisionist (he says the prohibition on revisionism makes you wonder whether the official story would stand scrutiny, which is actually something that anyone could say; “the truth stands by itself”) but not all revisionists or skeptics are nazis.

It is quite possible to believe that the story of the holocaust might have been exaggerated for propaganda reasons, just like during WWI there were freely fabricated stories in the American press about German soldiers killing babies in Belgium. That is not my view; in fact, I think what the Yad Vashem museum says about the holocaust is 100 % correct. But it’s foolish to say that all those who doubt the story are nazi apologetics. I have met pure libertarians, both minarchists and ancaps, who think that the official story of the holocaust is half propaganda. They are mistaken, but that doesn’t make them nazis. Disagreement about historical FACTS has nothing to do with political ideology per se. It is absurd to say someone is ideologically or morally wrong because some of his factual beliefs are erroneous. And vice versa. If someone is morally wrong, that doesn’t mean his facts aren’t correct. Or if you’re morally right, it doesn’t mean you’re right about the facts.

Argument analysis and logic 101.

Mikko Ellil��?���¤ July 7, 2005 at 10:05 am

There is nothing unlibertarian about Hans Hoppe’s opinions in that interview.

It’s totally irrelevant that JF is a nationalist magazine. That doesn’t make Hoppe a nazi. He might be a holocaust revisionist (he says the prohibition on revisionism makes you wonder whether the official story would stand scrutiny, which is actually something that anyone could say; “the truth stands by itself”) but not all revisionists or skeptics are nazis.

It is quite possible to believe that the story of the holocaust might have been exaggerated for propaganda reasons, just like during WWI there were freely fabricated stories in the American press about German soldiers killing babies in Belgium. That is not my view; in fact, I think what the Yad Vashem museum says about the holocaust is 100 % correct. But it’s foolish to say that all those who doubt the story are nazi apologetics. I have met pure libertarians, both minarchists and ancaps, who think that the official story of the holocaust is half propaganda. They are mistaken, but that doesn’t make them nazis. Disagreement about historical FACTS has nothing to do with political ideology per se. It is absurd to say someone is ideologically or morally wrong because some of his factual beliefs are erroneous. And vice versa. If someone is morally wrong, that doesn’t mean his facts aren’t correct. Or if you’re morally right, it doesn’t mean you’re right about the facts.

Argument analysis and logic 101.

Bill Woolsey July 7, 2005 at 12:04 pm

If some German publication contacted me and asked for an interview, I would probably say, fine. I wouldn’t count answering their questions as being an endorsement of their editorial views.

I admit, that if I knew that the publication had an unsavory reputation, I might reconsider. Would I really want to be interviewed by the Ku Klux Klan newsletter?

Anyway, I believe that one should at least consider the possiblity that Hoppe wasn’t aware of the nature of the publication.

Sure, it seems plausible to me that Hoppe is hoping to convince neo-nazi’s that they can achieve their goal of a pure aryan community in the context of proprietory-community anarchism. But, I’m not _sure_ that such was his intention.

Bill Woolsey July 7, 2005 at 12:04 pm

If some German publication contacted me and asked for an interview, I would probably say, fine. I wouldn’t count answering their questions as being an endorsement of their editorial views.

I admit, that if I knew that the publication had an unsavory reputation, I might reconsider. Would I really want to be interviewed by the Ku Klux Klan newsletter?

Anyway, I believe that one should at least consider the possiblity that Hoppe wasn’t aware of the nature of the publication.

Sure, it seems plausible to me that Hoppe is hoping to convince neo-nazi’s that they can achieve their goal of a pure aryan community in the context of proprietory-community anarchism. But, I’m not _sure_ that such was his intention.

Christian July 7, 2005 at 12:42 pm

For Bill: There is no plausibility that Hoppe did not know. He comes from Germany and he speaks and reads German. The JF is not “some German publication”, it is a well known publication for it’s views. They discussed holocaust denial and even made jokes in the interview over the status of the JF in Germany, whether Hoppe would also be a case for the Office for Constitutional Protection. So believe, he knew and he knows. Maybe you would not know, but you are not Professor Hoppe.

Anti-Rothbardian July 7, 2005 at 2:58 pm

If it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck….

I love how these rothbardians play the victims. Can you imagine what they would say if Tom Palmer was interviewed by the Weekly Standard?

David J. Heinrich July 7, 2005 at 5:37 pm

Normally, I don’t post on this blog, but this is just too much. As someone who’s read Prof. Hoppe’s work, there is nothing unlibertarian about it.

PROF. HOPPE AND JUNGE FREIHEIT
_________________________________

While I don’t read German, the character of the paper in which Prof. Hoppe was interviewed is completely irrelevant, and says nothing about him being unlibertarian. Any assertion that it does is nothing more than a logical fallacy.

Even granting that the paper is neo-fascist, so what? That hardly makes Prof. Hoppe unlibertarian, anymore than it would make Hillary Clinton a Republican by being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly. Even if we grant Mr. Palmer that Junge Freiheit is a closet-fascist paper, is everyone who grants an interview with, talks with, or debates with fascists somehow a fascist? What if you want to try to win some people over?

RE: PALMER’S ACCUSATION OF HOPPE AS A HOLOCAUST DENIER
____________________________________________________________

Mr. Palmer correctly notes that Hoppe’s book does not mention, when comparing Stalin and Hitler, the millions of Jews murdered by Stalin. Whatever one thinks about this omission, it does not make Prof. Hoppe a holocaust-denier.

Prof. Hoppe was comparing the number of people murdered by Stalin and Hitler during peace-time:

QUOTE:
“From 1929 to 1939, in peace time, Stalin and the Bolsheviks killed about 20 million Soviet citizens, for no predictable reason. Hitler and the National Socialists ruined the businesses and careers of hundreds of thousands of German citizens, but the number of people killed by them before the outbreak of the war was only a few hundred, most of them fellow Nazis and all of them for a predictable reason. Even immediately after the onset of the war, when it became known that the Nazis had begun to engage in mercy killings of the incurably insane (euthanasia), the Catholic bishops, led by Bernhard von Galen, openly protested, and German public opinion compelled the Nazis to halt the program. Bishop (later: Cardinal) von Galen survived the Nazi regime. Under Stalin and the Bolsheviks, any such opposition was impossible and Bishop von Galen would have been quickly disposed of.”

That is Prof. Hoppe’s comment. He is discussing peace-time, and ventures into the immediate period after the onset of the war. As can be seen by this timeline (http://tinyurl.com/x0d7), the mass-murder of Jews by Nazis did not begin until 1941, well after (not immediately after) the onset of WWII.

Also, I would note that arguing whether or not the holocaust occured would not make someone an anti-semite, or a vile person. This is a factual matter. If someone says, “the holocaust didn’t happen”, that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. If someone says, “the holocaust was a good thing”, that makes them a bad person. The difference should be as obvious as the difference between arguing “he didn’t commit the murder” and arguing that “murder is ok”.

Including the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis, we can make another comparison between Stalin and Hitler, under which it still comes out that Stalin murdered many more people. Although not an anarchist-libertarian, and mistakenly associates Democracy with peace, no-one’s done a better job of illustrating the (http://tinyurl.com/83gf2) cruel nature of the State than Rummel.

PROF. HOPPE’S VIEWS
_____________________

What are Prof. Hoppe’s so-called racist ideas? Private property. Prof. Hoppe argues that in a libertarian society, individuals could form covenants, with various rules. In a chapter addressing social conservatives, Prof. Hoppe argues that conservative covenants could expel those with views that undermine the purposes’ of that covenant, among which he includes homosexuals, earth-worshippers, socialists/communists, and promoters of democracy. There is nothing that should be controversial about this, if one is a libertarian. Private property owners have the right to remove people from their property for any reason (right or wrong, imagined or not) they so desire.

In an important footnote, Prof. Hoppe mentions that in a libertarian world, there would be all different kinds of communities/covenants, with differing degrees of discrimination and strictness. That is, groups of property owner could form (completely voluntary) covenants with one-another, and there could be various differing groups, with different rules, and whatnot. Prof. Hoppe, however, thinks that there are certain limits as to how tolerant any community could be of certain kinds of behaviour.

Prof. Hoppe expands this idea to cover society as it now exists (with a State) and argues against open-immigration policies. It’s all in Prof. Hoppe’s book, _Democracy: The God That Failed_, which should be read carefully (the footnotes are useful for avoiding misunderstandings).

Reasonable libertarians can disagree heartily over this issue, and still justly bear the label “libertarian”. Prof. Block, for example, disagrees. It seems that from his comments on Hoppe, Tom Palmer would have you believe that anyone not in favor of open borders can’t rightly be called a libertarian. I strongly disagree. As David Gordan (http://tinyurl.com/a34ut), “Some people believe that immigration merits discussion, not curt dismissal and invective.”

Those interested in exploring the issue further can consult the symposium on the topic in the JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES. VOL. 13 NUM. 2. (http://tinyurl.com/4m3at)

DEFENDING THE LUDWIG VON MISES INSTITUTE
___________________________________________

As for some of the disgusting slander that’s gone on here against the Ludwig von Mises Institute…The LvMI is an excellent institution, which publishes excellent libertarian scholarship, and makes it available to all for free. Numerous libertarian books are available from Mises.org for free, as well as papers. The institute was created with the whole-hearted endorsement of Margit von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Friedrich von Hayek. Henry Hazlitt also supported the LvMI.

Thus, I think it is quite fair to say that Ludwig von Mises would have heartily approved of the LvMI. These people, unlike Mr. Palmer, knew Mises very well, and were people he was especially fond of. He considered Rothbard and Hayek among his best students, while not agreeing with them everywhere. Obviously, he was fond of his wife. Hazlitt played a crucial role in helping Mises when he first arrived in the US. That the LvMI does not slavishly adhere to exactly what Mises said is no knock on them. It simply reflects the fact that Austrian economics is in a state of constant development.

And there is no official position at the LvMI, no party line. It is true that there are many Rothbardians at the LvMI, and that Mises’ position on various issues (especially monopoly) has been criticized (rightly so, I think). There’s also a lot of reinterpretation. In _Democracy: The God that Fails_, Prof. Hoppe briefly argues that Mises gave tacit support for unlimited secession.

TOM PALMER’S ANTI-LIBERTARIANISM
__________________________________

It is curious that Tom Palmer has criticized Prof. Hoppe for anti-libertarianism, when his statements in this very blog-item indicate anti-libertarianism. So that there are no misunderstandings, I’m not engaging in an ad hominem here. I’ve placed this section last so-as to hopefully avoid that misunderstanding. In short, it isn’t because of Mr. Palmer’s questionable unlibertarian views that he is wrong about Prof. Hoppe. He is wrong about Prof. Hoppe for the reasons I cited above.

Mr. Palmer said:

QUOTE:
“Perhaps holocaust denial, for example, should not be illegal at this time in Germany (I disagree with those who think that it should have been legal in 1945 or 1950)”

“Perhaps” holocaust denial shouldn’t be illegal currently in Germany? What kind of libertarian doesn’t support the right to free speech (that is, with the important proviso that freedom of speech is on your own property; e.g., no-one has the right to step into my house and “speak freely”).

And how does anything change from the period of 1945 to 1950? Whether or not denying the holocaust is insensitive or immoral, that says nothing about whether or not it should be prohibited by law.

Mr. Palmer elsewhere said that he supports free speech, so he’s contradicting himself. In any event, even granting his contradictory statements, it seems to undermine his libertarianism. It is understandable that non-libertarians might think it ok to ban holocaust-denial, or prohibit nazi-memorabilia. It is baffling when libertarians agree.

Sincerely,
David J. Heinrich

Tom G. Palmer July 7, 2005 at 9:07 pm

Mr. Heinrich deserves some gratitude from Professor Hoppe for having written the best defense I’ve yet read of the Professor. I’m not moved.

Let’s go through Mr. Heinrich’s defense point by point.

1. There’s an interesting question of how likely it is that one could “win over” a group of neo-Nazis by hanging out with them and being interviewed in their magazine. I suppose that it’s possible. One could go to their camps, dress up in brown shirts, and salute the Hakenkreuz (also known as the swastika, which after all, is just an ancient religious symbol that was much used before it was appropriated by the National Socialists) to earn their trust. But I don’t think that it would work. More likely, it would raise questions about whether one thought that one had enough in common with them to make common ground. In the case of National Socialists, unlike, say, members of the SPD, the CDU, or the FDP (or American Democrats or Republicans), that would raise much bigger questions about one’s own ideological attachments. I find remarkably implausible and completely unconvincing the argument that Mr. Hoppe was naively reaching out to a neglected constituency of “neo-fascists” to convert them to something else.

2. The quote from Mr. Hoppe that compares Hitler favorably to Stalin is from a review of another book that had argued that Stalin and Hitler were similar; it is not from “Hoppe’s book.” Setting aside the provenance, what’s interesting is that Hoppe insists (contra Mises, by the way) that they weren’t really comparable at all; Stalin was really terrible, much worse than Hitler. Hoppe criticizes Richard Ebeling because (Hoppe’s words) “he appears to liken and classify as on a par the evils of Stalin and Hitler and the socio-economic character of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.” Mustn’t do that! What follows (all of the text and the link to Hoppe’s review are above) quite clearly suggests that the mass murder of the Jews was somehow something that just happened during the war. In fact, it was a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish populations of the central and eastern European countries. That has been demonstrated beyond a doubt. (That Rudy Rummel is not an anarchist has, by the way, nothing to do with the quality of his scholarship. “Although not an anarchist-libertarian” is a strange disclaimer to give to someone who has documented organized murder by states.)

3. If a man stands on a street corner and says “The holocaust didn’t happen,” that by itself may not “make him a bad man.” After all, he might be crazy, or even merely uttering a claim in quotation marks in order to refute it. But people who make a fetish of denying the holocaust have an agenda, especially since they have to falsify history in order to affirm their claims, or raise absurd standards of evidence (“I don’t know how hard you have to hit a person with a shovel to kill him, so how do I know that ever really happened?”) Let’s look at it logically. A) It may indeed be true that not all anti-Semites are holocaust deniers (after all, sometimes they do go on about how the Nazis didn’t finish the job; that is to say, they are active holocaust affirmers in all senses of the term). Most are, however, holocaust deniers, evidently because they believe that “the Jews” have harmed the reputation of the National Socialists (how beastly of them!) and they want to reassure us that the Nazis weren’t so scary — they were the victims! If they succeed in getting enough people to believe that, then maybe next time they CAN finish the job! B) It may also be true that it’s not logically necessary that all holocaust deniers are anti-Semites. But if you work out those Venn diagrams, the former group is probably going to be close to 100% within the latter. The Institute for Historical Review and all of the other holocaust denial groups are quite openly anti-Semitic. David Irving, a favorite of the Junge Freiheit crowd, has a veritable fetish for Hitler (visit his web site to see it, then rub your eyes in horror) and delights in attacking “the Jews,” teaching his children to recite little rhyming jingles about being “Aryans” and giving fascist salutes for their doting old Dad. But he’s not, mind you, an anti-Semite. That, good sir, would be a lie! (Do you really believe that, Mr. Heinrich?)

4. Stating as a firm belief “the holocaust didn’t happen” may not by itself make one a bad person, but it does make one a denier of clearly documented historical fact. Does that “make you a bad person?” Does mocking the eye witness testimony of thousands and thousands of people “make you a bad person”? As “amerrepublic” above notes, the argument offered by some, Joseph Sobran among them, (“I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying I don’t know enough about the German language and the chemistry of Zyklon-B crystals to say it did”) is absurd; one could be a skeptic about whether the Pearl Harbor attack happened because one doesn’t read Japanese and doesn’t know how Zero fighter planes are built. That is an utterly absurd and risible claim. When one finds oneself in a room with people who laugh about “Shoa-business” and who deny that the camps were anything other than workfare centers, it’s a good idea to start quietly sidling toward the exit.

5. Now, about physically expelling the undesirable. Hoppe actually says the following, as Mr. Sprich quotes from the German edition of his book: “In einer libertÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?¤ren Sozialordnung kann es keine Toleranz gegenüber Demokraten und Kommunisten geben. Sie müssen aus der Gesellschaft physisch entfernten und ausgewiesen werden.” Translation: In a libertarian social order there can be no tolerance of democrats and communists. They must be physically removed and exiled from the society.” Hmmmm…he doesn’t say “excluded from of Disneyland,” or “excluded from the White Christian Chess Club.” No, he emphasizes that they must be physically — that is, with force — “removed” and then exiled, not from some civic association within a wider free society, but from a libertarian society per se. That is a remarkable contradiction in terms. It makes no sense. It is the furthest thing from a libertarian approach that I can imagine. Now Mr. Heinrich tries — valiantly, but without success — to rescue Mr. Hoppe from the tyrannical position that he has set out by stating that it’s all just about how “there could be various differing groups, with different rules, and whatnot.” But then he follows that immediately with the clincher, which could be translated into two words — “not really.” “Prof. Hoppe, however, thinks that there are certain limits as to how tolerant any community could be of certain kinds of behaviour.” In other words, all voluntary behavior will be tolerated, except those forms of voluntary behavior that Professor Hoppe thinks could not be tolerated! Circular….interesting…..definitely not even remotely “libertarian.” Regarding his tortured arguments about immigration, I’ve written elsewhere on the strange idea that we should start with the state as the owner of all of the land of a country — an idea that used to be called “socialism,” but which Professor Hoppe has relabeled “libertarianism.” A zanier position would be hard to imagine. But aside from the zaniness, it’s the furthest thing from libertarianism, which always emphasized what Locke, Hayek, and others referred to as “several property.”

6. Now we’re in the end stretch. To write that a number of people were warmed at the establishment over twenty years ago of an institute named after a great and dear scholar and teacher is hardly an endorsement of the turn that that institute has taken over the years. I don’t recall that Mrs. von Mises was a great fan of the Confederacy or burned with hatred against Abraham Lincoln (much as he may deserve it, mind you). I cannot imagine that Mrs. von Mises, Mr. Hazlitt, or Mr. Hayek would endorse the fetish for the Confederacy or the alliances with racists, holocaust deniers, “closet-fascist papers” (Mr. Heinrich’s term), and on and on that Messrs. Rockwell and Hoppe have advanced under the name of a great man. Rothbard may be a different story; he flipped and flopped so often (each time demanding that everyone else execute the same maneuver) that it’s hard to know what he’d think today. But that Mrs. von Mises or Mr. Hazlitt or Mr. Hayek would endorse such matters, or would embrace Junge Freiheit — that I find unimaginable.

7. And now the last point. Tom Palmer is an anti-libertarian, because he would have prohibited Nazi speech in Germany from 1945 to 1950. That clinches it! If he’s such an anti-libertarian, then nothing he has said about Hoppe can be true. All those translations, all those connections, all those criticisms of the anti-libertarian positions of Hans-Hermann Hoppe (the “removal” of the undesirables from society and their perpetual exile, the treatment of the state as the “owner” of all land, the claims that Hoppe is too daft to understand the difference between “property” [Eigentum] and “monarchical tenure” [Besitz], all those letters from people in Germany pointing out what everyone in Germany knows about Junge Freiheit — Lies! Fabrications! Outrages!) It could, of course, be true that Palmer is an anti-libertarian and that the things he says are true. But let’s set that heresy aside. It just couldn’t be the case. So on to whether Palmer is an anti-libertarian. Is it contrary to libertarian principles to overcome the presumption in favor of free speech …. ever? Is it a violation of the free speech rights of soldiers to disrupt their communications when they are encircling your city? What about the free speech rights of the mob boss who merely “tells” his subordinates to rub out a shopkeeper who won’t pay protection money? Should the mob boss be punished for merely telling another to kill someone? Are those rights of free speech, or are they parts of complex acts of aggression? If there is a presumption that one not stop another from speaking, it is a rebuttable one, that is, it can be overrriden if the speech is indeed harmful to one’s rights (say, the right not to be thrown into those non-existent concentration camps where no one was killed in that big musical the Nazis organized, the “Shoa-Business”). No serious person believes that, right after the Nazis were overthrown, they had the right to go back into business and try to take over again. The National Socialist German Worker’s Party was a vast criminal conspiracy to kill, steal, and destroy. They had no right to reorganize where there was a danger that they would come again into power. That was not the case in the U.S. or Canada, which is why such laws have never been justifiable in north America. But in the land where the Nazis actually ruled? Quite a different matter. What about Volksverhetzung, of which holocaust denial is considered under German law to be an example? To march out and tell the Germans that Nazis were the ones who were the victims, that the Nazis were slandered and smeared by the vast Jewish conspiracy, that the Jews had all left and gone east and were in the USSR, plotting to attack Germany again, so that the Germans should restore the Nazis to power — that was a threat to the existence of a free society and to the rights of all Germans and of their neighbors. The strong presumption for unrestricted speech on which libertarians insist was clearly rebutted by the dangers that such a movement would have posed to the continued existence of any liberty at all. Mr. Heinrich asks “How does anything change from the period of 1945 to 1950?” Think about it, Mr. Heinrich. If someone points a gun at me and then points it a little away and a little further away and then yet a little further away, at what point does it cease to be a threat to me? At some point it is pointed so far away (perhaps even in the holster) that it is not a threat. By Heinrichian logic, either all guns are always threats, or none ever are. That would not be a very helpful approach to sorting out when violent defensive actions might be justified.

8. Such restrictions were never justified in north America. Are they justified in Germany today? No, I do not believe so. I would remove them. Let the light of day do the work of driving away the shadows of former tyranny. But I would have kept the Nazis from organizing and spreading their disinformation in 1945. I used the word “perhaps” (see above) to concede the point that there should be no restriction on speech in 2005. It is a term of concession, not of doubt. What is more disputable than whether such speech should be banned in 2005 (no one who has posted here, I think, believes it should be) is whether the government is ever justified in putting any group under observation to determine whether they are a danger to the rights of others. Should KKK meetings ever be put under observation by the FBI (oops…..the Rockwellites would certainly never agree; how about the local sheriff’s office?) if there is any concern that they are planning another of their lynching parties? Or should al Qaeda cells ever be put under observation? There is no a priori answer to those questions. We can only rely on good judgement and the workings of the legal system. “Even Murray Rothbard” did not think that one could offer an a priori definition of when an act became a threat that justified a response.

At last, the wrap up: Mr. Heinrich, your own words above should suggest to you that the group of people around Messrs. Rockwell and Hoppe includes just too many who have to deny too much. And that is putting the matter very, very mildly. Is that the group with which you wish to be associated — allegedly non-anti-Semitic holocaust deniers, allegedly anti-holocaust anti-Semites, people who want to kick gay people “out of society,” Neo-Confederate fetishists, Institute for Historical Review scribblers, newsletter editors for the “Council of Conservative Citizens” (the successor to the pro-KKK “Council of Concerned Citizens”), and on and on? Search your soul, Mr. Heinrich….is that who you really are?

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