Posts tagged Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Re: Should we women be grateful …


I’m sorry if you find the essay disappointing. I certainly didn’t co-write the essay intending to make women “grateful;” I co-wrote it intending to argue for a specific point of view. I am glad where people have found it useful for clarifying or stimulating thoughts; sorry where they haven’t.

I also don’t think the point of the essay was to “rehabilitate” much of anyone, but rather than my trying to guess here, could you let me know who “the woman who destroyed feminism” is?

@Angela: “‘left-libertarian’ is just another name for another hen’s circle of white males.”

Maybe. Most libertarian circles are predominantly white, and predominantly male. To the extent it’s true, I think that’s a problem with the movement. But that’s not an argument against the content of the paper, is it? (And the fact that I know “left-libertarians” who are not white, and left-libertarians who are not male, is not an argument for it, either.)

@Angela: “You either believe in the NAP or you don’t. All these new names for libertarianism are bullshit”

“Libertarianism,” as I understand it, is a new name for “Anarchism.” (When it’s not — e.g. among Bob Barr supporters or Constitution fundamentalists or bomb-the-world Objectivists — “libertarianism” is generally not something I want anything to do with.) I’m not sure that makes a name bullshit; it just means that language evolves and people have shifting purposes in communicating.

In any case, Roderick and I both believe in the NAP, as we wrote in that essay and have said repeatedly all over the place. But he and I also believe in some other things that not all NAP-adherents believe in — for example, about the relationship between the NAP and some other social or political commitments that I have; and about the best strategy for achieving the political goal of a non-aggressive form of society; etc. So when communicating with other NAP-adherents about why I disagree with some of the details of their approach, it’s handy to have a label to help sum up where I’m coming from, and give a quick suggestion about the differences I have with them. Hence the “left-” prefix. I could just say (using the oldest term for our approach) that I am an “individualist anarchist,” like Tucker, Spooner, or de Cleyre). But that doesn’t mean as much to people now as it did in 1892, so sometimes “left-libertarian” is the best way of clarifying what I’m on about.

@Lassiter: “There is a percentage of left-feminists, female and male genders alike, who really, truly, deeply believe that women, by their nature, need government and laws to protect them from themselves.”

It is certainly true that there are statist feminists, and statist feminists often propose statist laws in the attempt to advance their political goals. Fortunately, there are many feminists (including the radical feminists we discuss in the paper) who have provided valuable critiques questioning that approach. Some are Anarchists; others are not. Those that are not haven’t carried their critiques through to consistent anti-statism; but I don’t need for people to be 100% ideologically consistent anti-statists in order to learn something from their writing or example.

In any case: whatever other “left-feminists” may believe, Roderick and I are Anarchists. We reject the claim that statist “protective” laws are necessary, desirable, or legitimate as means to feminist goals. For reasons that we discuss at some length in the paper.

@Tyler: “Why is there something about feminism written by two men?”

Well, why not?

@Tyler: “why would you not include women in the writing process”

Because it was written to advance a specific argument that Roderick and I had already discussed, in the middle of an ongoing conversation in which we represent only two voices. It’s not a manifesto written by committee, or intended (the Good forbid) to try and say everything that there is to say about libertarian feminism, let alone feminism as such.

@Bryan: “aside from a few questionable/unfortunate comments on homosexuals”

  1. Well, aside from that, I think that Hoppe’s expressed views about immigration are both despicable and anti-libertarian (in the sense that he directly proposes continuing — indeed, escalating — massive government violence against innocent victims, solely on the basis of nationality and socioeconomic class).

  2. While not involving direct proposals for state aggression, I also think that his expressed views on “internal ranks of authority” within the family (as discussed in the LibFem essay), traditional authority and “natural elites” within society, his qualified praise for hereditary monarchy, and his demand that “libertarians must be moral and cultural conservatives of the most uncompromising kind” are all absolute rot.

  3. I think Hoppe’s comments about homosexuality are rather worse than “questionable” or “unfortunate.” I’m not sure what you have in mind here — do you mean his (ridiculous and insulting) comments about homosexuality and time-preference in his UNLV lectures? His bizarre series of sexuality-related personal attacks on Tom Palmer? His frankly totalitarian insistence (in D:TGTF) that “the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered life-styles, such as, for instance … homosexuality … will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order”? I think these are all pretty despicable, and while you might be able to pass off the first two as personal idiocies of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s, which can be passed over in order to get at the core of his theory, the last — the stuff about his “covenant communities” — is part of the core of what his theory is, of what he thinks a free society has to look like in order to be sustainable. (Much the same goes for, e.g., his Know-Nothing views on immigration, which are also attached to the hip to his picture of “covenant communities.”)

For reference, here’s Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy: The God that Failed (p. 218): “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. … 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.

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

Of course, none of this prevents one from citing Hoppe on those occasions where he is right. But may I just suggest that in a paper intended to discuss a radical form of libertarian feminism, I’ve found those occasions pretty rare?

Re: Repair Your Defective Robot


Rothbard’s plumbline position in “Kid Lib” (1974) and The Ethics of Liberty ch. 14 (1982) is that parents have a right to set household conduct rules, as the proprietor of the household, until children move out and take up living on their own; but that parents have no right to physically aggress against children [*], that children should be able to legally prosecute parents for injuries committed against them in the name of “discipline,” that children have an unconditional right to end their parents’ guardianship at any age where they are physically capable of running away, to strike out on their own or to take up with any foster parents who agree to take them in, and that neither parents nor the State have any right to force “runaway” children to return to the guardianship of any adult against the child’s will.

In “Kid Lib,” Rothbard aims to position his view as a middle-road between traditional coercive parenting and (his notion of) “Progressive” anything-goes parenting, with most of the rhetorical energy being spent on the latter, so he spends a fair amount of time grumping about kids “kicking adults in the shins” and discussing how he thinks that parents should insist on rules of conduct and a certain degree of unilateral authority, but that it must be on a “my house, my rules” basis and not on the basis of using physical or legal coercion to keep the child captive. But the last, which he views as “the fundamental tyranny” of the contemporary parent-child relationship, he denounces as “kidnapping,” and as “enslavement” of children by parents.

In “Ethics of Liberty” most of the stuff about theories of parenting and house-rules is dropped in favor of a more systematic examination of children’s rights, with a long section on the violation of children’s rights by statist law in particular, with highlights on the evils of truancy and other Fugitive Child laws, use of catch-all “juvenile delinquency,” inquisitorial proceedings without basic due process rights, the parens patriae doctrine, etc. to extend and intensify the power of abusive parents over “wayward” children, or to step in if a parent isn’t vigorously abusive enough, etc.

[*] Rothbard talks about “mutilating” and “abusing” children as aggressions and as violations of the parent’s role as trustee for the child’s self-ownership. I think his position logically implies that it’s illegitimate for parents to use any form of corporal punishment at all against children, but as far as I know Rothbard neither confirmed nor denied that in his writing on the topic.

As far as I know, even after his paleo turn, Rothbard never actually declared that his prior position on children’s rights was false. (He actually hardly ever repudiated any ideological positions, no matter how many strategic 180s he did; just swapped out his rhetoric and tended to write a if he had never said the things that he said before.) But by 1992, mainly in the interest of demonizing Hillary Rodham Clinton, he was scare-quote ridiculing any discussion of children’s rights, declaring that children should quote-unquote “get governed by their parents,” and denouncing Tibor Machan for supporting children who sued their parents for damages or for termination of custody. (I haven’t read any of Tibor’s stuff from that period, so I can’t be sure, but from the date and from what Rothbard writes, my guess would be that this was in response to high-profile cases like Kingsley v. Kingsley, in which a child was granted legal standing to sue for a transfer of custody from his biological parents to foster parents. Anyone know for sure?)

Anyway, after the paleo turn, Rothbard was looking to hook up with political allies who took rock-ribbed conservative positions on parental control, so all that stuff about the rights of wayward children and the use of state violence to keep children enslaved to their parents was pretty quickly dropped out, in favor of a line about the state’s meddling in parental rights, with folks like Hoppe throwing in paeans to the authority of the paterfamilias and the order of rank within the family, and the occasional supportive shout-out to the pro-child-beating conservatives from LRC.

Of course, after Rothbard’s paleo turn, there were still plenty of other non-paleo anarcho-capitalists who differed with Rothbard and with his newfound allies on all this stuff, and who generally took something more like the older Rothbard line. (George H. Smith, for example, defends the early Spencer’s position against parental coercion.) And the decline of paleolibertarianism (both as a strategic alliance and as an ideology) since Mr. Bush’s wars and the rise of Red State America has resulted in a pretty significant drop-off.

Most anarcho-capitalists, however, just don’t write about the issue at all. Presumably because they either don’t think about it, or don’t care, or both. Which is unfortunate but not surprising: most political theorists don’t spend much time discussing the status of children. Not because it’s unimportant to them (patriarchal authority is very important to lots of theories) but rather because they have reasons for wanting certain bedrock commitments to be left unspoken so that they cannot be identified, and without any explicit defense so that they cannot be challenged.