August 11, 2014

New Hoppe Book: “A Tale of Moral and Economic Folly and Decay”

By In Blogs, C.Jay Engel

In a time when I personally am becoming more and more disillusioned with the pop-libertarian “movement” –primarily because of the trending progressivism that has clouded its culture and atmosphere– a warm feeling sweeps over me when I consider the more personally conservative members of the libertarian world that still exist, principled and uncompromising.  Most of these are associated with the Mises Institute. And chief among those whom I appreciate more than all the rest are Murray Rothbard, Ludwig von Mises, and Hans Hoppe.  Hoppe, of course, is the only one still living.

I am ecstatic about the newest announcement from the Mises Institute, which is posted below.  It seems that he makes a summary argument, among other things, regarding his stance against the great disease of the Western World: “democracy.”  It is unfortunate, as is alluded to below, that Hoppe’s work on democracy is not owned by the Mises Institute.  It is for this reason that it remains so expensive (compared to the majority of other Mises Institute publications) and unavailable in ebook format.  In fact, as Hoppe once stated in this interview, he is regretful that neither he nor the Mises Institute owns Democracy: The God that Failed.  While all his other books (especially Theory of Socialism and The Great Fiction) can certainly be described as “profound” and “impactful,” his book on Democracy slaughters sacred cows and puts forth a remarkable and stunning new paradigm.

The title of this new book successfully summarizes his position on the Western World’s great trial of democracy.  It is a grand failure, not only in economic terms, but also in moral terms.  It has plagued not only Western prosperity, but ultimately, it has also eliminated any hope of a virtuous and ethical society.  For more on the ethical connection of government policy (especially its centrally controlled monetary policy), please watch Hans Hoppe’s festschrift editor Guido Hulsmann speak about The Cultural Consequences of Fiat Money.

Indeed, if any theme was to be simultaneously both preserved at the Mises Insitute and rejected by the Progressivist libertarians who have become the face of the libertarian mass at large, it is the function of the State in the downfall of culture, society, and civilization.  Perhaps more than anyone except Mises, Hoppe is prepared to make such a case. I will most definitely be buying his newest works.

From the Mises blog:

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Distinguished Fellow at the Mises Institute, counts among the greatest Austro-libertarian intellectuals alive today. Like his friend and mentor Murray Rothbard, Hoppe’s work in economics, philosophy, history, law, and social theory is legendary. And like Murray, his new books, articles, and speeches are widely anticipated by fans around the world.

Dr. Hoppe recently provided us with a new manuscript and asked the Mises Institute to serve as publisher. It’s a brief but devastating exposition of governance across human history, from the establishment of privileged aristocracy to the divine right of kings to popularized democracy. In one sense the manuscript serves as a synopsis of arguments made in Dr. Hoppe’s seminal book, Democracy: The God That Failed.

Hoppe pulls no punches, arguing that conflict resolution monopolized by a central state has never been just, efficient, or intellectually defensible. Contracts between rulers and ruled, whether implied or expressed (e.g., in the form of constitutions) are meaningless when states or kings are the final arbiters of those contracts.

Monarchs, for all their failings and unearned privilege, at least have an incentive to maintain, if not increase, the capital stock of their territories. Democratically-elected politicians, by contrast, have every incentive to maximize plunder during their limited time in office. The end result of democracy is the inexorable growth of central states, complete with ruinous taxation, monetary debasement, and warlike tendencies. It’s a Hoppean “tale of moral and economic folly and decay.”

Like Democracy: The God That Failed, Dr. Hoppe’s new work is vitally important. It represents Hoppe at his best: calmly and methodically skewering sacred cows.

But the Mises Institute does not own the rights to Democracy, and as a result the book never received the attention it deserves. Nor has it been released in an eBook format, which is sorely needed.

We plan to offer Dr. Hoppe’s new book in both printed and eBook form, making it very affordable and accessible to all. In fact, this new title will be the least expensive Hoppe book in print! The Mises Institute will distribute it widely at no cost to students and college organizations. And Dr. Gordon has agreed to provide an introduction.

We also plan to publish Dr. Hoppe’s new manuscript in a broader volume tentatively entitled The History of Man: An Austro-Libertarian Reconstruction. This new book will combine previously-released chapters from Hoppe addressing the rise of family structures, the development of private property, and social evolution prior to the Industrial Revolution. This combined work will serve as nothing less than a sweeping revisionist economic history of man, skillfully presented by Hoppe in roughly 150 pages!

Your donation of any amount helps make this publishing project a reality. A donation of $500 enables you to become a Patron of these two important books, and places your name (if desired) on an acknowledgment page in each volume. Of course donations above $500 will be gratefully accepted.

Both Dr. Hoppe and everyone at the Mises Institute deeply appreciate your support. Please help us bring Dr. Hoppe’s vital works to the broad audience they deserve!

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com