“Guard Our Identity”
UPDATE: More posts from Germany condemning Hoppe’s and Rockwell’s connections to nationalist hate-mongers….
For those who don’t read German and may not grasp the significance of a person closely associated with the “Ludwig von Mises Institute” of Alabama furthering an extremely anti-libertarian agenda by tying libertarian ideas to an extremist, collectivist, German-nationalist publication that serves as a forum for the worst fringe elements of German politics, here are a few remarks from Germany. See the thread to an earlier posting for some context (such as the remarks by Hoppe’s defender “Clement,” who insists that the German government is infiltrated with Stasi agents who have conspired to undermine Junge Freiheit).
First of all: This debate is not about Freedom of expression. Noone, and certainly not Dr Palmer wants to limit Hoppe’s Freedom of expression. The entire debate can be reduced to one question: What does Hoppe actually stand for? What does he say, how and to what audience? I could make it short: Hoppe defends the idea of absolutism, rejects the basic and essential principle of poperty in the framework of free market-economy and propagates an ideology of exclusion, call it isolationism or protectionism. I’d call it just an anachronism. But that would be just too simple.
One needs to set the record straight. Let us start by the beginning:
As a German citizen, I am o u t r a g e d by what I read here re: the Verfassungsschutz.
To read that an institution like the Verfassungsschutz can be described as “stasi infiltrated” is truly disturbing. What an insulting and ignorant statement. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution operates in some fields just like the FBI does. The Federal Republic of Germany is not a banana republic. Like it or not, it is a democracy with solid institutions where the rule of law always prevails. So, Dr. Palmer is perfectly right: if the JF has been put under observation, it is indeed for some reason. You need a basis to start an observation and you need a basis to end it as well.
We could list the reasons for the observation and none of them would put Germany in an authoritarian light. The question whether the observation is relevant or not is another.
As to what to think of the “Junge Freiheit”, well very skilled academics (linguists, political scientists and legal experts) have been working on the topic for years.
The Ministry of Interior of North- Rhine- Westfalia and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution organized a huge conference last year in Dusseldorf where very respectable academics discussed the issue. You can find the results of their work in this book, (with a highly interesting analysis of on the Junge Freiheit: “Strategie und Leitlinien der Jungen Freiheit” by Michael Puttkamer, himself an analyst of the Verfassungschutz).
I am also quite surprised that a comment argued that there is nothing to the fact of discussing border issues as it is the case with Poland. Well, the ones who know German history are very well aware that this is the start of all European disasters. These tragedies lead US-soldiers to risk and sometimes alas leave their life to save Europe from the Tyranny of the very people who did not know where Germany’s borders started and ended.
In addition to this, in 2005 one can expect from an educated citizen of the EU to know that the inner-borders between the member states of the EU are settled and non-debatable.
One can also expect from an academic to accept the basic and essential facts and datas on the Holocaust. Well, guess what, David Irving, Robert Faurisson and others do not and JF is very happy to repeatedly say so.
Dr Palmer’s statement re: Hoppe are also absolutely correct. Hoppe fails to understand the difference between the principles of republicanism and calls them “democracy”. He verbally attacks this “democracy” and actually means to attack the republican form of parliamentarism. Neither does he understand the difference between “Besitz” and “eigentum”.
What he managed to do is to take the stand for the worst reactionary circles of Germany, associating with individuals who do have a clear anti-liberal agenda and joining the circles of the many holocaust-deniers and racists interviewed by JF.
By the way, all in all, a fiercely anti-American crowd.
Posted by: Nathalie I. Vogel at July 2, 2005 03:40 PM
In the last couple of weeks I was in touch with several German friends about these issues. First they all said that Junge Frieheit is almost universally seen as an extremist neo-Nazi group that plays very carefully with the words it uses so as to get it’s message out without having to be too explicit. I knew some neo-Nazi types and they all used the same kind of code. (the Klan used it in the past as well). One wouldn’t say “Heil Hitler” but “Eighty-eight”. Why? Because H was the 8th letter and two Hs were the abbreviation for Heil Hitler.
Germany does have laws that restrict freedom of speech and that’s too bad. Those laws are the reason these groups play it so carefully. Take away the laws and the incentive for carefullness and I suspect they will let their true agenda out very fast. But the group is clearly seen as neo-Nazi types here.
One group, that isn’t such a group, had an article on Hoppe on their web site. But the moment they saw the interview with JF they removed it lest they be tainted with being associated with the group — such is the JF reputation in Germany. Friends who attended Hoppe lectures in Germany said many neo Nazi types were there and that he has a big following among them. Why would that be if he’s so libertarian? Or are we to believe the neo Nazi types are now closet libertarians?
They said Hoppe came across very authoritarian but that he was quite careful where to draw the line in what he said. He always came right up to the border without actually crossing over. Irving does that as well. Irving doesn’t attack Jews per se just “our traditional enemy”. But his fans know who he means. Irving says he is not a Holocaust denier then defines the Holocaust so that it means precisely what the IHR crowd says. He rejects the label but accepts the ideas.
I don’t think these people should be censored or banned. I think they should be in the open. Der Spiegel recently ran an article on neoNazi kids in rural towns and how they use specific items of clothing to get their nazi message across. My point is that there are many neo Nazi types who do precisely what I think Hoppe does: they use code words and say things just vague enough to deny explicit racism. But none of the Germans I talked to, who heard Hoppe or have known him, thought he was anything but a racist with a following among the neoNazi crowd in Germany. And none of them worked for Cato, live in the US or are Tom Palmer. Some were friends with Hoppe before he became the new Messiah of the Confederacy of Rockwell.
Posted by: recently at July 2, 2005 04:57 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.
Posted by: Andreas at July 3, 2005 03:09 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?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦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.
Posted by: Aaron (Cologne) at July 3, 2005 04:55 PM
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
Posted by: Peter at July 4, 2005 09:31 AM
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!
Posted by: Sophie at July 4, 2005 07:03 PM
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?Â¤her beschriebenen Publikationen, die eindeutig dem rechtsextremistischen Spektrum zuzurechnen sind, existiert auch eine Zeitung, nÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?Â¤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?Â¤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.
Posted by: Christoph Sprich at July 5, 2005 07:57 AM
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?Â´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?Â¶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?Â¢Ã?Â¢?Ã?Â¬Ã?Â?Ã?Â¦
I do not want to dwell on Prof HoppeÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?Â´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?Â´s greatest increases in size during HitlerÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?Â´s twelve year dictatorship (certainly not a time of “robberish” democracy). As Prof GÃ?Â??Ã?Â?Ã?Â¶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?Â´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?Â´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).
Posted by: C. Verheyen (Hamburg) at July 6, 2005 07:05 PM
And this from Serbia:
This is not limited only to Germany. In Serbia there is a group of people starting a pro-liberty organization. The initial idea was to name the group “Ludwig von Mises Institute,” but then the issue emerged — some of them didn’t like using the name of Mises, in order to avoid association with Alabama institute. So they now discuss whether to call it F.A. Hayek or Bastiat Institute. That is how Alabama institute works for Mises.
Posted by: Jovan at July 2, 2005 05:28 PM
Additional comments can be posted at the original posting. The large quantity of denunciations by “Clement” obscured (as they were intended to do) the conversation that started after others had a chance to see the remarks of Hoppe. If a commentator has difficulty posting a comment, due to the annoying message that is sometimes generated (for me, as well) “rejected for inappropriate content,” please email it to me. I don’t know why the blogging software is doing that; in the past I have been told that the spam filter has become “corrupted,” requiring my volunteer webmaster and friend to uncorrupt it.