Sunday, October 30, 2022

A speech by Hans Hoppe

Someone recently sent me links to the text of a talk Hoppe gave. My reaction to both style and content was strongly negative. I am curious how many of my readers would have the same reaction, how many would on the whole approve of at least the style, whether or not they agreed with the content.

Part 1

Part 2


Anonymous said...

1. He starts out a little too black and white for my tastes, but generally correct in his analysis of the woke crowd being parasites.

2. Calling France and Britain vassals of the US is typical of that black and white attitude.

3. The idea that Jewish "re-imported" refugees were partly responsible for de-Nazification is scary and where I lose all respect for him. I don't understand this fascination with blaming Jews for their almighty power while simultaneously pointing out their numerous failures at exercising that almighty power.

4. The idea that political science did not exist before the US invented it is bizarre; does he think all politicians before 1950 or so were saints?

5. Then he jumps to the Holocaust industry, and that is where I stopped reading.

David Friedman said...

My reading of the somewhat ambiguous statements about Jews is that he moves in circles where antisemitism is common but rejects it, or at least wants to claim to reject it. It may be relevant that one of his main intellectual influences, allies, and I think friends, was Murray Rothbard, who was Jewish.

David Friedman said...

I put this up on Facebook. A fair number of commenters had my reaction, a fair number did not. It wasn't clear whether the ones who did not liked his style or whether they were admirers of Hoppe who were not bothered by it.

Part of the reason for putting up the links to his speech was that I thought they made Hoppe look a good deal worse than written things of his I had read, and I wondered if other people would have the same reaction.

Ben Hackett said...

I admire Hoppe only in the sense of his contributions to libertarian thought. Not for his tone or social/historical commentary. The style evokes again the whole reach out to the right-wing populists/paelos strategy of the 1990's, but now revamped for the current times. I find it purposefully provocative and crass as a means to kowtow and virtue signal to that crowd. A crowd that has growing popular support worldwide, and capturing a growing proportion of "right-wing" libertarians. There were so many half-truths (and untruths) and half-baked conclusions drawn from them pushed as absolute fact just to fit a preconceived yet familiar narrative.

David Friedman said...


What do you consider his contributions? He's obviously bright, but the argumentation ethics arguments seems obviously wrong, for reasons I discussed in _Liberty_ many years ago.

His immigration arguments are clever, but they seem part of trying to twist libertarianism to support right wing views. Rothbard admitted that part of what he was doing was a compromise to make the alliance possible, but I think Hoppe really believes in it.

Aside from those two categories, what are his contributions?

Ben Hackett said...


I don't consider argumentation ethics arguments to be obviously wrong. In the way you have construed them, yes, but that's not how I read them. Whether or not they are "right" is a little besides the point when it comes to how I view their novelty in the field of attempting to provide foundations for normative ethics. The synthesis of Frankfurt School critical-theory discourse and the so-called action axiom is certainly an intriguing path to provide such foundations.

Yes, I agree with your second point that Hoppe is exploiting libertarianism to support right wing views, mainly because I believe he himself personally holds many of those "conservative" values. He goes a step further and suggests that only that sort of world (white, heterosexual, male dominant, no communists, etc.), can be conducive for general prosperity and allow for libertarian social order in his image. It's been a common theme throughout his work to emphasize specific exclusionary aspects of property ownership, which just happen to fallen right in line with right-wing narratives.

In terms of other contributions, I think his critiques of democracy, central banking, the highlighting of the ills of the different varieties of socialism, comments on Marxist class analysis, and discussion of liability and property are still valuable.

David Friedman said...


A lot of that I haven't read. Any pointers to places where he says original things on those subjects? Critiques of central banking are pretty standard libertarian fare — does he have a new and different one?

How is the novelty of argumentation ethics valuable if it's wrong? Providing foundations that won't bear the weight to be put on them isn't a benefit. Why isn't it obviously wrong, for the reasons I gave?

Anonymous said...


You are being too charitable. He rejects "jewish conspiracy" but keeps hinting that Jews are problematic in some other ways, important enough to keep mentioning.
Reading between the lines, I am guessing he believes that Jews have qualities that make them natural allies with the globalist elites.
Such views are not inconsistent with respect and admiration for individual Jews, or even admiring Jews collectively for some other qualities.
My only problem with the speech is that he kept hinting at the "Jewish problem" without stating what exactly that problem is.
If you are not comfortable stating it clearly - don't mention it at all. Otherwise, people may think you are embarrassed by your own views.
He also said some unkind things about sexual minorities but my impression is that his real beef is with those who exploit them for political purposes.

I know you disagree with Hoppe on immigration, but you knew that before.
I also expect you disagree with him on the Ukraine war, but why would you react so negatively?
What did you find so objectionable in the substance of the speech?

Anonymous said...

Thinking about it, I think I know why.
Is that because he sounds more reactionary than libertarian?

Frank said...

This is a good example of two people [Hans and me] seeing mostly, not entirely, the same facts, and having different theories to explain them.

--The left wash is a rich country phenomenon. In it's contemporary form, it started before 1968.

--Poor Angie Merkel! What the hell is she supposed to have done? Lose elections? Any idiocy of German politics stems from proportional representation in a country filled with people who have different opinions. It's been very stable compared to Weimar, even after re-unification, thank you.

--Immigration policy is contentious in most rich countries.

--The right wing AfD is not a replacement of conservatives. They are the German version of Trumpists, people who feel the government has let them down. I don't like either, but I understand both.

--The left "social insurance" stuff is universally popular. Hayek would approve. :-)

--German foreign policy has been very cautious, as it must be w/o nukes -- the country lives in a dangerous neighborhood.

--The Euro and the ECB were prices to pay to assuage the neighbors for re-unification. Another function of the neighborhood. Anyway, nothing imposed by the US of A.

Given the electoral system, people have made choices that Hans doesn't like. So what?

Best wishes,


David Friedman said...

"What did you find so objectionable in the substance of the speech?"

Partly that he makes confident assertions with no evidence, the clearest example being the claim that the Russians are trying to avoid civilian targets. The only evidence for that I know of is that it is what the Russians claim. Evidence against is lots of pictures of destroyed apartment buildings and, more recently, explicit statements by the Russians that they are targeting civilian power plants. So while it could be true Hoppe can't know it is true, yet asserts it as fact — because it supports the conclusion he wants.

He asserts lots of other things I am dubious about, but that's the clearest example.

Other than that, the whole tone offends me. It's arrogant, demagogic, full of anger and hatred. Part of what I was curious about was whether some other people saw those elements as positive. Judging by the response to my putting the post on FB the answer is that some do.

German said...

I fully support Hoppe. I think his speech was useful and more true than most others. Hoppe is frustrated, as he should be, as we all are here seeing destruction of Europe on purpose organized by the US. But he was not arrogant, he was even too mild. Also, it was very good Hoppe reminded us about the fact Germany and the rest of the EU are US colonies.

About the Russians trying to avoid civilian casualties, that you think was without evidence. May be you should read again what Hoppe said. He basically used the "compared to what" approach. Compared to the the way the US made its wars around the world and especially compared to the US propaganda and ridiculous accusations, Russians were very human. In the moment Hoppe prepared his speech, that was probably early September, that was still more true than today. But after his speech, Russians escalated because Nord stream explosion and Crimea's bridge destruction happened and now they are targeting even civilians. The pictures of destroyed civilian structures in the previous period mostly happened because Ukraine's tactic was to place its soldiers inside them as much as possible.

Now, let us compare your texts to Hoppe's speech. First of all it is very surprising how little coverage you gave to such an important subject. Second, even when you did, you missed the point completely. Comparing Russia to Hitler's invasion of Sudetenland is simply wrong. It neglects the whole pre-history of this war, NATO expansion and numerous US threats that Russia should be split and invaded because its resources "belonged to the World". The right logical parallel would be another one: what would US do, if Russia did with Mexico what US did with Ukraine? Considering how brutal US was when invading Middle East countries, we would have seen Mexicans killed in millions, being so close to America. Of course, always with some very nice cover story on CNN, like US was exporting democracy to Mexico, Mexicans had the arms of mass destruction etc.

naivetheorist said...


Rothbard was not a jew. his familial origin may have been jewish but Murray was an atheist.

Chris said...

Most of the things he said are fairly typical for some flavor or another of the right wing

- Western countries are degenerate, allow too much immigration, etc
- Taxation is theft, governments are run by crooks
- If you're an ordinary citizen of a western country, the war in Ukraine is none of your concern/ the war was partly justified by US actions
- The green movement is misguided and anti human

Concerning Germany, he said that there is something of a cult of guilt (Schuldkult), the country copies American culture and foreign policy, and the relatively collectivist economic model (compared to the US) is inefficient. Again, these are all completely standard criticisms which have been done to death elsewhere, and everything except the particular relationship to the holocaust is identical in other European countries.

Overall, i saw little either particularly good or bad in the content. I would agree with you about the tone, i don't see any reason to use such turns of phrase. The green- bashing in particular might be amusing, but they are like it or not a mainstream party here, so talking about them like that just alienates people.