Hans-Hermann Hoppe

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Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Born (1949-09-02) September 2, 1949 (age 74)
Peine, West Germany
Nationality German American
Institution Business school of University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Field Political philosophy, economics, epistemology
School or tradition
Austrian School
Alma mater Goethe University Frankfurt
Influences Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises
Contributions Argumentation ethics, Property and Freedom Society
Awards The Gary G. Schlarbaum Prize (2006)[1]
Franz Cuhel Memorial Prize (Prague Conference on Political Economy 2009)[2][3]

Hans-Hermann Hoppe (German: [ˈhɔpə]; born September 2, 1949) is a German-born American Austrian School economist, and libertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher.[4][5][6] He is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the founder and president of the Property and Freedom Society.[7][8]

Hoppe identifies as a culturally conservative libertarian. His remarks on the rights of property owners to establish private covenant communities to which "undesirable" people, such as homosexuals and political dissidents, may be denied entrance has provoked controversy among both the libertarian community and Hoppe's colleagues at UNLV Business School.[9][10] Hoppe also garners controversy due to his support for federal enforcement of immigration laws, which critics argue is at odds with libertarianism and anarchism.[11]

Life and work

Hoppe called Rothbard his mentor and master.

Hoppe was born in Peine, West Germany, did undergraduate studies at Universität des Saarlandes[12] and received his MA and PhD degrees from Goethe University Frankfurt.[8] He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, from 1976 to 1978 and earned his habilitation in Foundations of Sociology and Economics from the University of Frankfurt in 1981. From 1986[13] until his retirement in 2008,[2] Hoppe was a Professor in the School of Business at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the publisher of much of his work, and was editor of various Mises Institute periodicals.[14]

Hoppe has stated that Murray Rothbard was his "principal teacher, mentor and master".[2] After reading Rothbard's books and being converted to a Rothbardian political position, Hoppe moved from Germany to New York City to be with Rothbard, and then followed Rothbard to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "working and living side-by-side with him, in constant and immediate personal contact." According to Hoppe, from 1985 until Rothbard's 1995 death, Hoppe considered Rothbard his "dearest fatherly friend".[15]

Property and Freedom Society

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In 2006, Hoppe founded The Property & Freedom Society ("PFS") as a reaction against the Milton Friedman-influenced Mont Pelerin Society, which he has derided as "socialist".[16] On the fifth anniversary of PFS, Hoppe reflected on its goals:[17]

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On the one hand, positively, it was to explain and elucidate the legal, economic, cognitive and cultural requirements and features of a free, state-less natural order.
On the other hand, negatively, it was to unmask the State and showcase it for what it really is: an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots – an institution that dirties and taints everything it touches.

Argumentation ethics

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In the September 1988 issue of Liberty,[18] Hoppe attempted to establish an a priori and value-neutral justification for libertarian ethics by devising a new theory which he named argumentation ethics.[19] Hoppe asserts that any argument which in any respect purports to contradict libertarian principles is logically incoherent.[20] In the following issue, Liberty published comments by ten of Hoppe's fellow libertarians, followed by a rejoinder from Hoppe.[21] In his comment, Hoppe's friend and Mises Institute supervisor Murray Rothbard wrote that Hoppe's theory was "a dazzling breakthrough for political philosophy in general and for libertarianism in particular" and that Hoppe, "has managed to transcend the famous is/ought, fact/value dichotomy that has plagued philosophy since the days of the Scholastics, and that had brought modern libertarianism into a tiresome deadlock". However, the majority of Hoppe's colleagues surveyed by Liberty rejected his theory. In his response, Hoppe derided his critics as "utilitarians".[19]

Fellow Mises Institute Senior Fellow Roderick T. Long states that Hoppe's a priori formulation of libertarianism denies the fundamental principle of Misesean praxeology. On the issue of utilitarianism, Long writes, "Hoppe’s argument, if it worked, would commit us to recognizing and respecting libertarian rights regardless of what our goals are – but as a praxeologist, I have trouble seeing how any practical requirement can be justified apart from a means-end structure."[22] Another critic argues that Hoppe has not provided any non-circular reasons why we "have to regard moral values as something that must be regarded as being established through (consensual) argument instead of 'mere' subjective preferences for situations turning out in certain ways". In other words, the theory relies "on the existence [of] certain intuitions, the acceptance of which cannot itself be the result of 'value-free' reasoning."[23]

Views on democracy

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In 2001, Hoppe published Democracy: The God That Failed which examines various social and economic phenomena which, Hoppe argues, are problems caused by democratic forms of government. He attributes democracy's alleged failures to pressure groups which seek to increase government expenditures and regulations. Hoppe proposes alternatives and remedies, including secession, decentralization of government, and "complete freedom of contract, occupation, trade and migration".[24] Hoppe argues that monarchy would preserve individual liberty more effectively than democracy.[25]

In 2013, Hoppe reflected on the relationship between democracy and the arts and concluded that "democracy leads to the subversion and ultimately disappearance of the notion of beauty and universal standards of beauty. Beauty is swamped and submerged by so-called 'modern art'."[26]

Walter Block, a colleague of Hoppe's at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, asserts that Hoppe's arguments shed light "on historical occurrences, from wars to poverty to inflation to interest rates to crime". Block notes that while Hoppe concedes that 21st-century democracies are more prosperous than the monarchies of old, Hoppe argues that if nobles and kings replaced today's political leaders, their ability to take a long term view of a country's well-being would “improve matters”. Block also shared what he called minor criticisms of Hoppe’s theses regarding time preferences, immigration and the gap between libertarianism and conservatism.[27]

According to Hoppe, four years before the publication of Democracy, Alberto Benegas Lynch, Jr. criticized Hoppe's thesis that monarchy is preferable to democracy.[28] A Professor of Economics at the University of Buenos Aires,[29] Benegas Lynch provided empirical evidence demonstrating that modern monarchies tend to be far poorer than modern democracies. In reply, Hoppe stated that as a Misesian economist, he believes that economic theories cannot be "established or refuted by historical data." Hoppe also cited the work of scientist J. Phillipe Rushton to argue that the data are misleading because many modern monarchies are composed of "Negroid" people[citation needed]. According to Hoppe, "since Caucasians have, on the average, a significantly lower degree of time preference than Negroids, any comparison [between African monarchies and Western democracies] would amount to a systematic distortion of the evidence." Regardless, Hoppe argues that these data would otherwise systemically favor his case, "and if anything I have erred - though unavoidably so - on the side of democracy."[28][improper synthesis?]

Expulsion of homosexuals and dissidents

In Democracy Hoppe describes a fully libertarian society[non-primary source needed] of "covenant communities" made up of residents who have signed an agreement defining the nature of that community. Hoppe writes "There would be little or no ‘tolerance’ and ‘openmindedness’ so dear to left-libertarians. Instead, one would be on the right path toward restoring the freedom of association and exclusion implied in the institution of private property". Hoppe writes that towns and villages could have warning signs saying "no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, or Zulus".[30][31]

Hoppe writes:

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In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one's own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.[9]

Commenting on this passage, Martin Snyder of the American Association of University Professors said Hoppe's words will disturb "[t]hose with a better memory than Hoppe for segregation, apartheid, internment facilities and concentration camps, for yellow stars and pink triangles".[32] Hoppe also provoked controversy by calling homosexuality a "perversity or abnormality", alongside vulgarity, drug use, deviant sexual behaviours and pedophilia.[33]

Walter Block wrote that Hoppe's comment calling for "homosexuals and others to be banned from polite society" was "exceedingly difficult to reconcile... with libertarianism" because "the libertarian philosophy would support the rights of both groups to act in such manners". He continues: "As for homosexuality, it is entirely possible that some areas of the country, parts of Gotham and San Francisco for example, will require this practice, and ban, entirely, heterosexuality. If this is done through contract, private property rights, restrictive covenants, it will be entirely compatible with the libertarian legal code."[34]

Support for immigration restrictions and critiques

As a self-proclaimed anarchist who favors abolishing the nation-state, Hoppe believes that as long as states exist, they should impose some restrictions on immigration. Hoppe has equated free immigration to "forced integration" which violates the rights of native peoples, since if land were privately owned, immigration would not be unhindered but would only occur with the consent of private property owners.[35] Hoppe's Mises Institute colleague Walter Block has characterized Hoppe as an "anti-open immigration activist" who argues that, though all public property is "stolen" by the state from taxpayers, "the state compounds the injustice when it allows immigrants to use [public] property, thus further “invading” the private property rights of the original owners".[36] However, Block rejects Hoppe's views as incompatible with libertarianism. Employing a reductio ad absurdum argument, he argues that Hoppe's logic implies that flagrantly unlibertarian laws such as regulations on prostitution and drug use "could be defended on the basis that many tax-paying property owners would not want such behavior on their own private property".[citation needed] Another libertarian author, Simon Guenzl, writing for Libertarian Papers argues that: "supporting a legitimate role for the state as an immigration gatekeeper is inconsistent with Rothbardian and Hoppean libertarian anarchism, as well as with the associated strategy of advocating always and in every instance reductions in the state’s role in society."[11]

In terms of specific immigration restrictions, Hoppe argued that an appropriate policy will require immigrants to the United States to display proficiency in English in addition to "superior (above-average) intellectual performance and character structure as well as a compatible system of values".[37] These requirements will, he argued, result in a "systematic pro-European immigration bias". Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation opined that the immigration test Hoppe advocated would probably be prejudiced against Latin American immigrants to the United States.,[38] due to cultural differences between Americans and Latin Americans and the fact that Latin American nations have lower average IQ's than Europeans and European-descended Americans.

Iraq War and foreign policy views

Hoppe spoke out against invading Iraq (which later happened in 2003) in a 2002 interview and criticized the interventionist foreign policy, stating that "if you meddle in foreign affairs, you should not be surprised if besides some friends you will also make plenty of enemies."[39]

Remarks about homosexuals and academic freedom

Following a March 4, 2004 lecture on time preference at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), a student complained that Hoppe created a hostile classroom environment by stating that homosexuals tend to be more shortsighted than heterosexuals in their ability to save money and plan (economically) for the future, in part because they tend not to have children.[40] Hoppe also suggested that John Maynard Keynes's homosexuality might explain his economic views, with which Hoppe disagreed.[41] Hoppe also stated that very young and very old people, and couples without children, were less likely to plan for the future. Hoppe told a reporter that the comments lasted only 90 seconds of a 75-minute class, no students questioned the comments in that class, and that in 18 years of giving the same lecture all over the world, he had never previously received a complaint about it. At the request of university officials, Hoppe apologized to the class. He said, "Italians tend to eat more spaghetti than Germans, and Germans tend to eat more sauerkraut than Italians" and explained that he was speaking in generalities. Thereafter, Hoppe told the reporter, the student alleged that Hoppe did not take the complaint seriously and filed a formal complaint. Hoppe told the reporter that he felt as if it were he who was the victim in the incident and that the student should have been told to "grow up".[42]

An investigation was conducted and the university's provost, Raymond W. Alden III, issued Hoppe a non-disciplinary letter of instruction on February 9, 2005, with a finding that he had "created a hostile or intimidating educational environment in violation of the University's policies regarding discrimination as to sexual orientation". Alden also instructed Hoppe to "... cease mischaracterizing opinion as objective fact", asserted that Hoppe's opinion was not supported by peer-reviewed academic literature, and remarked that Hoppe had "refus[ed] to substantiate [his] in-class statements of fact..."[43]

Hoppe appealed the decision, saying the university had "blatantly violated its contractual obligations" toward him and described the action as "frivolous interference with my right to academic freedom".[44] He was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU threatened legal action.[45] ACLU attorney Allen Lichtenstein said "The charge against professor Hoppe is totally specious and without merit".[42] The Nevada ACLU executive director said "We don't subscribe to Hans' theories and certainly understand why some students find them offensive... But academic freedom means nothing if it doesn't protect the right of professors to present scholarly ideas that are relevant to their curricula, even if they are controversial and rub people the wrong way".[42] Alden's decision was picked up by Fox News and several blogs and libertarians organized a campaign to contact the university.[45] The university received two weeks of bad publicity and the Interim Chancellor (Nevada System of Higher Education) Jim Rogers expressed concerns about "any attempts to thwart free speech".[46]

Jim Rogers intervened in the matter. He rejected Hoppe's request for a one-year paid sabbatical,[47] and UNLV President UNLV Carol Harter acted upon Hoppe's appeal on February 18, 2005. She decided that Hoppe's views, even if non-mainstream or controversial, should not be cause for reprimanding him. She dismissed the discrimination complaint against Hoppe and the non-disciplinary letter was withdrawn from Hoppe's personnel file.[32] She wrote:

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UNLV, in accordance with policy adopted by the Board of Regents, understands that the freedom afforded to Professor Hoppe and to all members of the academic community carries a significant corresponding academic responsibility. In the balance between freedoms and responsibilities, and where there may be ambiguity between the two, academic freedom must, in the end, be foremost.[48]

Hoppe later wrote about the incident and the UNLV investigation in an article entitled "My Battle With the Thought Police".[49] Martin Snyder of the American Association of University Professors wrote that he should not be "punished for freely expressing his opinions".[32]

Various controversies about academic freedom, including the Hoppe matter and remarks made by Harvard University President Lawrence Summers, prompted the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to hold a conference on academic freedom in October 2005.[50] In 2009 UNLV proposed a new policy that included the encouragement of reporting by people who felt that they had encountered bias.[51] The proposed policy was criticized by the Nevada ACLU and some faculty members who remembered the Hoppe incident as adverse to academic freedom.[51][52]

Selected works




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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. History of PCPE, CEVRO Institute, Prague
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
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  8. 8.0 8.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed, pp. 216–218
  10. "Hoppe writes about those controversies"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  12. Jeff Tucker interviews Hans-Hermann Hoppe (1 October 2011)
  13. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  14. Hans Herman Hoppe, The Ethics and Economics of Private Property, Second Edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, p. xii, ISBN 978-0945466406.
  15. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (1995). L. Rockwell (Ed.), from Murray Rothbard, In Memoriam. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute. pp. 33–37
  16. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
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  19. 19.0 19.1 Symposium: Breakthrough or Buncombe? with comments from Murray Rothbard, David D. Friedman, Leland B. Yeager, David Gordon and Douglas B. Rasmussen and from Hans-Hermann Hoppe. (Liberty, November 1988) [Volume 2, Number 2]
  20. Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Argumentation Ethic: A Critique, Robert Murphy and Gene Callahan. Relevant text on Page 3: "Therefore, [Hoppe] concludes that the libertarian view of property rights is the only one that can possibly be defended by rational argument."
  21. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  22. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  23. J. Mikael Olsson, Austrian Economics as Political Philosophy, Stockholm Studies in Politics 161, p. 157, 161.
  24. R.M. Pearce, Book Review: Democracy: the God That Failed, National Observer (Australia), No. 56, Autumn 2003.
  25. David Gordon, Review of Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God that Failed, "The Mises Review" of Ludwig von Mises Institute, Volume 8, Number 1, Spring 2002; Volume 8, Number 1.
  26. Fonseca, Joel (August 1, 2013). "The Brazilian Philosophy Magazine Dicta & Contradicta Interviews Hans-Hermann Hoppe". Mises Institute Brazil
  27. Walter Block, Review of Democracy: The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 61, No. 3, July, 2002.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (1997). "On Theory and History. Reply to Benegas-Lynch, Jr.". Published in Gerard Radnitzky, ed., Values and the Social Order, Vol. 3 (Aldershot: Avebury, 1997).
  29. "Alberto Benegas Lynch." Cato.org
  30. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (2001). Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, Transaction Publishers, p. 211. ISBN 1412815290
  31. Block, Walter (2007). "Plumb-Line Libertarianism: A Critique of Hoppe". Reason Papers.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  33. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, p. 206.
  34. Walter Block (Loyola University New Orleans), "Libertarianism is unique; it belongs neither to the right nor the left: a critique of the views of Long, Holcombe, and Baden on the left, Hoppe, Feser and Paul on the right", undated, published at Ludwig von Mises Institute website, pp. 22–23.
  35. Hans Hoppe, On Free Immigration and Forced Integration, LewRockwell.com, 1999.
  36. Anthony Gregory and Walter Block On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Volume 21, No. 3, Fall 2007, pp. 25–42.
  37. Walter Block and Gene Callahan, Is There a Right to Immigration?: A Libertarian Perspective, Human Rights Review, October–December 2003.
  38. Jacob Hornberger, Let’s Stick with Traditional American Values!, The Future of Freedom Foundation, February 1, 2000.
  39. http://www.quebecoislibre.org/021207-8.htm
  40. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
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  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Richard Lake, UNLV accused of limiting free speech at the Wayback Machine (archived February 9, 2005) Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 05, 2005.
  43. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  44. Justin Chomintra, Professor, ACLU may sue UNLV, The Rebel Yell, February 10, 2005; reprinted by Stephen Kinsella at Mises.org, February 10, 2005.
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  47. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  48. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  49. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "My Battle With the Thought Police", Ludwig von Mises Institute web site, April 12, 2005.
  50. The role of academic tenure was included during the conference. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  51. 51.0 51.1 The proposed policy defined “bias incidents” as “'verbal, written, or physical acts of intimidation, coercion, interference, frivolous claims, discrimination, and sexual or other harassment motivated, in whole or in part, by bias” based on characteristics including actual or perceived race, religion, sex (including gender identity or gender expression or a pregnancy-related condition), physical appearance and political affiliation.' Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  52. Policy on Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes (Final draft), University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Department of Police Services, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Policy on Bias Incidents and Hate Crimes.

External links