December 22, 2009

Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Strategy for Achieving Peace and Liberty

From Democracy: The God that Failed, pages 91-94:

“In order to strip government of its powers and repair it to the status of a voluntary membership organization (as before 1861), it is not necessary to take it over, to engage in violent battle against it, or even to lay hands on one’s rulers. In fact, to do so would only reaffirm the principle of compulsion and aggressive violence underlying the current system and inevitably lead to the replacement of one government or tyrant by another. To the contrary, it is only necessary that one decide to withdraw from the compulsory union and reassume one’s right to self protection. Indeed, it is essential that one proceed in no other way than by peaceful secession and noncooperation.

“If this advice seems at first naïve (what difference does it make if you or I decide to secede from the Union?), its status as a genuine strategy of social revolution becomes apparent once the full implications of an act of person secession are spelled out. The decision to secede involves that one regard the central government as illegitimate, and that one accordingly treat it and its agents as an outlaw agency and ‘foreign’ occupying forces. That is, if compelled by them, one complies, out of prudence and for no other reason than self-preservation, but one does nothing to support or facilitate their operations. One tries to keep as much of one’s property and surrender as little tax money as possible. One considers all federal law, legislation and regulation null and void and ignores it whenever possible. One does not work or volunteer for the central government, whether its executive, legislative, or judicial branch, and one does not associate with anyone who does (and in particular not with those high up in the hierarchy of caretakers). One does not participate in central government politics and contributes nothing to the operation of the federal political machinery. One does not contribute to any national political party or political campaign, nor to any organization, agency, foundation, institute, or think-tank cooperating with or funded by any branch of the federal Leviathan or anyone living or working in or near Washington D.C.

“Instead, with as much of one’s property as can possibly be secured from the hands of government one begins to provide for one’s own protection and adopts a new systematic twofold investment strategy. On the one hand, just as the existence of private crime requires an appropriate defense such as locks, guns, gates, guards, and insurance, so the existence of government requires specific defense measures: that one invest in such forms and at such locations which withdraw, remove, hide, or conceal one’s wealth as far as possible from the eyes and arms of government. But defensive measures are not sufficient. In order to gain full protection of one’s property from the reaches of government, it is necessary not to remain isolated in one’s decision to secede. Not everyone must follow one’s example, of course. Indeed, it is not even necessary that a majority of the entire population do so. It is necessary, however, that at least a majority of the population at many separate localities do so, and to reach this critical level of mass withdrawal it is essential to complement one’s defensive measures with an offensive strategy; to invest in an ideological campaign of delegitimzing the idea and institution of democratic government among the public.

“The mass of people, as La Boetie and Mises recognized, always and everywhere consists of ‘brutes,’ ‘dullards,’ and ‘fools,’ especially deluded and sunk into habitual submission. Thus today, inundated from early childhood with government propaganda in public schools and educational institutions by legions of publicly certified intellectuals, most people mindlessly accept and repeat nonsense such as that democracy is self-rule and government is of, by, and for the people. Even if they can see through this deception, most still unquestioningly accept democratic government on account of the fact that it provides them with a multitude of goods and benefits. Such ‘foods,’ observed La Boetie, do not realize that they are ‘merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them.’ Thus, every social revolution will necessarily have to begin with just a few uncommon men: the natural elite…

“Just as there can be no revolution without a liberal-libertarian elite, however, so can there also be no revolution without some form of mass participation. That is, the elite cannot reach its own goal of restoring private property rights and law and order unless it succeeds in communicating its ideas to the public, openly if possible and secretly if necessary, and awakening the masses from the subservient slumber by arousing, at least temporarily, their natural instinct of wanting to be free…

“In fact, there must never be even the slightest wavering in one’s commitment to uncompromising ideological radicalism (‘extremism’). Not only would anything less be counterproductive, but more importantly, only radical—indeed, radically simple—ideas can possible stir the emotions of the dull and indolent masses. And nothing is more effective in persuading the masses to cease cooperating with government than the constant and relentless exposure, desanctification, and ridicule of government and its representatives as moral and economic frauds and imposters: as emperors without clothes subject to contempt and the butt of all jokes.”

4 comments:

Enlightened Rogue said...

Great timing! I just recently ordered this book from Amazon, along with a couple others. They’ll be arriving any day.

My appetite is hereby declared wetted……

Don Emmerich said...

I'm surprised you haven't read it already. It probably changed my political thinking more than any book I've ever read. Before reading it, I supported anarchism for moral reasons, but Hoppe puts all the pieces together, explains why American democracy was found to fail, why every minarchist government is bound to grow bigger and bigger. We throw the word "classic" around far too often, but this work truly is a classic. You're going to be blown away.

john said...

well, i've got one more book to read. thanks a lot !!!

merry christmas!!!

Don Emmerich said...

It's an absolute must-read, John.

And Merry Christmas to you too!