12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
1]7 IewrockweII.com]hoppe]hoppe31.1.htmI

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Obsessed by Megalomania
Interview with Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Recentlv bv Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Entrepreneurship With
Fiat Propertv and Fiat Monev
The following
interview with
Hoppe first
appeared in the
German weeklv
Junge Freiheit on
November 2, 2012,
and was conducted
bv Morit: Schwar:.
It has been
translated here into
English bv Robert
Are taxes nothing but protection money? The state a kind
of mafia? Democracy a fraud? Philosopher +DQV+HUPDQQ
+RSSH is not only considered one of the most prominent
pioneering intellectuals of the libertarian movement, but
also perhaps the sharpest critic of the Western political
Professor Hoppe. In vour essav collection Der Wettbewerb
der Gauner (The Competition of Crooks) vou write that 99
percent of citi:ens, asked if the state was necessarv, would
answer ves. Me too' Whv am I wrong?
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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Hans-Hermann Hoppe...
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answer ves. Me too' Whv am I wrong?
+RSSH: All oI us, Irom childhood, have been moulded by state
or state licensed institutions preschools, schools, universities.
So the result you quoted is not surprising. However, iI I asked
you whether you said yes to an institution having the last word
in each conIlict, even in those it is itselI involved in, you
would certainly say no unless you hoped to be in charge oI
this institution yourselI.
Er ... correct.
+RSSH: OI course, because you know that such an institution
cannot only mediate in conIlicts but also cause them, you can
recognize that it can then resolve them to its own advantage.
In the Iace oI this I, Ior one, would live in Iear oI my liIe and
property. However, it is precisely this, the ultimate power oI
judicial decision-making, that is the specific characteristic oI
the institution known as the state.
Correct, but on the other hand the state is
based on a social contract, which provides
the individual with protection and space for
personal fulfilment, which without the state
he would not have in a struggle of all
against all.
+RSSH: No, the state is anything but the
result oI a contract! No one with even just
an ounce oI common sense would agree to
such a contract. I have a lot oI contracts in
my Iiles, but nowhere is there one like this.
The state is the result oI aggressive Iorce and subjugation. It
has evolved without contractual Ioundation, just like a gang oI
protection racketeers. And concerning the struggle oI all
against all: that is a myth. OI course the racketeer protects his
victims on "his" territory Irom other racketeers, but only so he
can conduct his own racket more successIully. Moreover: It is
states that are responsible Ior the deaths oI hundreds oI
millions oI people and immeasurable destruction in the 20th
century alone. Compared to that, the victims oI private crimes
are almost negligible. And do you seriously believe that
conIlicts between the inhabitants oI the tri-border region |oI
France, Germany and Switzerland| near Basle, who are living
together in a condition oI anarchy, are more numerous than
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
3]7 IewrockweII.com]hoppe]hoppe31.1.htmI
The Economics and
Ethics of Private ...
Hans-Hermann Hoppe...
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conIlicts between the inhabitants oI Dortmund and DüsseldorI,
who are citizens oI one and the same state |Germany|? Not
that I know oI.
Whv in vour view is democracv fust a "competition of crooks"?
+RSSH: All highly-developed Iorms oI religion Iorbid the
coveting oI someone else`s property. This prohibition is the
Ioundation oI peaceIul cooperation. In a democracy, on the
other hand, anyone can covet anybody else`s property and act
according to his desire the only precondition being that he
can gain access to the corridors oI power. Thus, under
democratic conditions, everybody becomes a potential threat.
And during mass elections what tends to happen is that the
members oI society who attempt to access the corridors oI
power and rise to the highest positions are those who have no
moral inhibitions about misappropriating other people`s
property: habitual amoralists who are particularly talented in
Iorging majorities out oI a multitude oI unbridled and mutually
exclusive demands.
Politicians. la:v and spongers' Arent vou
afraid vou might be reproached for
complaining on the level of the Bild
tabloid newspaper?
+RSSH So what? Up until the 20th century
there was hardly an important political
thinker who didn`t speak disparagingly
about democracy. The keyword was: mob
rule. The populist criticism oI democracy,
as can be Iound in Bild or at the water
cooler, is all very well. But it is not
Iundamental enough, nor does it go Iar enough to date Bild
hasn`t asked me Ior an interview either. OI course politicians
are spongers: they live oII money extorted Irom other people
with the threat oI violence which is called taxation`. But
unIortunately, politicians are not lazy. It would be nice iI all
they did was squander their booty. Instead they are obsessive
megalomaniacal do-gooders, who in addition make liIe
diIIicult Ior their victims with thousands oI laws and
Democracv is onlv one possible varietv of statehood. Would a
different form of state be more acceptable to vou?
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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The Myth of National
Hans-Hermann Hoppe...
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+RSSH In a monarchist state everyone knows who the ruler is
and who the ruled are, and accordingly there is resistance
against any attempt to increase state power. In a democratic
state this distinction becomes blurred, and it becomes all the
easier to expand state power.
Just a moment. thats what courts, laws and the constitution
are for, to limit and control the state government as well as
+RSSH: The maIia also has "executive", "legislative" and
"judicial" branches. Just go and watch the movie "The
GodIather" again!
Another obfection. What about the new internet-based
detractors of the state, such as Occupv or the Pirates, who
demand transparencv and participation, without immediatelv
condemning the state and democracv in their entiretv?
+RSSH: The Occupy` movement consists oI
economic ignoramuses who Iail to
understand that the banks` dirty tricks,
which they rightly deplore, are possible only
because there is a state-licensed central bank
that acts as a "lender oI last resort," and that
the current Iinancial crisis thereIore is not a
crisis oI capitalism but a crisis oI statism.
The Pirates`, with their demand Ior an
unconditional basic income, are well on the
way to becoming another Iree beer Ior all`
party. They have a single issue: criticism oI
intellectual property rights` (IP rights), which could make
them very popular and earn them the enmity in particular oI
the music, Iilm and pharmaceutical industries. But even there
they are clueless wimps. They just need to google Stephan
Kinsella. Then they`d see that IP has nothing to do with
property, but rather with state privileges. IP allows the
inventor (I) or Iirst maker` oI a product a text, picture, song
or whatever to Iorbid all other people to replicate this
product, or to charge them license Iees, even iI the replicator
(R) thereby uses his own property only (and does not take
away any oI I`s property). This way, I is elevated to the status
oI co-owner oI R`s property. This shows: IP rights are not
property but, on the contrary, are an attack on property and
thereIore completely illegitimate.
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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A Theory of Socialism
and Capitalism...
Hans-Hermann Hoppe...
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In The Competition of Crooks vou outline as an alternative
the model of a private law societv. How does it work?
+RSSH The basic concept is simple. The idea oI a
monopolistic property protector and law keeper is selI-
contradictory. This monopolist, whether king or president, will
always be an expropriating property protector and a law
breaking law keeper who will characterize his actions as
being in the public interest`. In order to guarantee the
protection oI property and saIeguard the law there has to be
Iree competition in the area oI law as well. Other institutions
apart Irom the state must be allowed to provide property and
law protection services. The state then becomes a normal
subject oI private law, on an equal Iooting with all other
people. It can`t raise taxes any more or unilaterally enact laws.
Its employees will have to Iinance themselves just the same as
everybody else does: by producing and oIIering something that
Ireely engaging customers consider value Ior money.
Wouldnt that quicklv lead to a war between
these providers?
+RSSHWar and aggression are costly.
States go to war because they can, via taxes,
pass on the cost to third parties who are not
directly involved. By contrast, Ior
voluntarily Iinanced companies war is
economic suicide. As a private law subject
the state too will, like all other security
providers, have to oIIer its customers
contracts that can only be changed by
mutual agreement, and which in particular regulate what is to
be done in the case oI a conIlict between itselI and its
customers, or between itselI and the customers oI other,
competing security providers. And Ior that there is only one
solution acceptable to everyone: that in these sorts oI conIlicts
not the state, but an independent third party decides
arbitrators and judges who in turn compete with each other,
whose most important asset is their reputation as keepers oI
the law, and whose actions and judgments can be challenged
and, iI need be, revised, just as anyone else`s can be.
Who should be such a third partv? And with what
instruments of power should it assert the interests of an
individual citi:en against his contractual partner the private
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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state, which of course is much more powerful?
+RSSH In local conIlicts, in a village or a small town, these
will very oIten be universally respected natural aristocrats`.
Or else arbitrating organisations and courts oI appeal, which
insurers and insured have contractually agreed on Irom the
start. Whoever then does not abide by the judgments will not
only be deIaulting, he will become a pariah in the world oI
business. Nobody will want to have anything to do with him,
and he will immediately lose all his customers. This is no
utopian idea. This is already the usual practice in international
anarchical business transactions today. And another
question Ior you: How should the individual citizen assert his
interests in the Iace oI a monopolistic tax-state? It is much
more powerIul and always has the last word!
Do vou understand the continuing scepticism with regard to
vour proposition?
+RSSH: OI course, as most people have never heard oI this
idea, let alone thought about it seriously. I am only
unsympathetic towards those who yell out at the top oI their
voices when they hear this idea and demand the condemnation
oI its representatives, without having the least knowledge oI
economics and political philosophy.
It is hardlv likelv that a
maforitv of citi:ens will ever
support such an unfamiliar
model. But what parts of it at
least could be adopted, in
order to achieve at least
partial improvements of our current svstem, without a
complete abandonment of state and democracv?
+RSSH: There is an interim solution. It`s called secession and
political decentralization. Small states must be libertarian,
otherwise the productive people will desert them. Desirable
thereIore is a world made up oI thousands oI Liechtensteins,
Singapores and Hong Kongs. In contrast, a European central
government and even more so a world government with a
harmonized` tax and regulation policy, is the gravest threat to
For that too vou will probablv not find a maforitv. Therefore
30.12.12 Obsessed by MegaIomanIa: ÌntervIew wIth Hans-Hermann Hoppe
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how will state and democracv develop in future? Where will
we finallv end up?
+RSSH: The Western welIare state model`, socialism light,`
will collapse just like classical` socialism oI course, I can`t
say whether in Iive, ten or 15 years. The key words are: state
bankruptcy, hyperinIlation, currency reIorm and violent
distribution battles. Then it will either come to a call Ior a
strong man` or hopeIully a massive secession movement.
December 29, 2012
Hans-Hermann Hoppe [send him mail] is distinguished fellow
at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and founder and president of
the Propertv and Freedom Societv. His books include
Democracy: The God That Failed and The Myth oI National
DeIense. Jisit his website.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole
or in part is gladly granted, provided Iull credit is given.
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