Classical liberal fail: privilege, not exclusivity, is the problem

21 June 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in philosophy | 8 Comments »

Toban Wiebe at Libertarian Anarchy has a pretty solid review of the main thesis of Hans Hermann-Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed at “Monarchy vs. Democracy and The Decline of Civilization”. My favorite quote:


Democracy: The God That Failed

Democracy: The God That Failed

Democracy is fairer in the sense that the opportunity to rule is universal, whereas monarchy only allows for arbitrary family rule. In other words, if there must be rulers, then it’s more just that the rulers are selected through open competition than by arbitrary heredity. But this was the fateful error of the classical liberals: to see exclusivity rather than privilege as the problem. They merely replaced personal privileges (of the king) with functional privileges (of the democratic ruler). Of course, the real solution is to remove the privilege of ruling altogether, so that there is no ruler-ruled distinction. (emphasis mine)

Check it out.

  1. 8 Responses to “Classical liberal fail: privilege, not exclusivity, is the problem”

  2. By Toban on 21 June 2009

    Thanks for the plug! (you spelled my name wrong though!)

  3. By Mike Gogulski on 21 June 2009

    Ach, sorry for that! Fixed!

  4. By Miko on 21 June 2009

    And then Hoppe says:

    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.

    His talk on immigration is similar. Of course, nothing about removing the ruler-ruled distinction would imply that one group of people shouldn’t be allowed to drive others off their property because the first group dislikes the values of the second group, right?

    Hoppe is a right-wing nut masquerading as a libertarian; a better name for his views is anarcho-feudalism: he wants to get rid of coercive government so that he and his group of elites can use intimidation and the existing inequalities created by previous state-granted privileges to “buy” all of the world’s land and reduce the vast majority of humanity to serfs, all the while claiming moral purity since his creation of the most hideous government imaginable would be by completely “voluntary” means.

  5. By Mike Gogulski on 21 June 2009

    *Shrug*. I’ll find value where there is value, and cast aside rubbish, too, when I come across it. One needn’t buy all of Hoppe’s preferences to find the analysis of monarchy vs. democracy stimulating, and especially not to find value in Wiebe’s quoted passage.

  6. By Chris Lempa on 22 June 2009

    I agree with you to a point. The problem with using Hoppe’s argument for democracy v. monarchy is that his arguments are, to him, inter-related. Hoppe likes the idea of kings kicking deviants out of their realm.

    I’m not so sure that replacing a somewhat replaceable aggressor with a non-replaceable aggressor is a good idea.

  7. By Mike Gogulski on 22 June 2009

    @Chris: The quote I included above isn’t Hoppe’s at all. It was written by Toban Wiebe.

  8. By Chris Lempa on 23 June 2009

    I emailed Mike a mea culpa and wanted to do so publicly as well. I read the post in a hurry.

    I still don’t like Hoppe!

  9. By Toban on 23 June 2009

    @Miko: That quote is taken out of context (a persistent error among libertarians). If you read the whole chapter, he is explicitly talking about the right of proprietary communities to establish rules and exclude people (i.e., private property rights). In fact, Hoppe quotes Rothbard to the effect that a libertarian society would be a “gorgeous mosaic” of communities with different levels of discrimination according to the preferences of those living there (p. 212 footnote 25).

    I have also confirmed with Hoppe that this is the correct interpretation.

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