Hans-Hermann Hoppe Quotes on Liberty, Freedom, Government, and More

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Hans-Herman Hoppe is a German-born Austrian school economist and paleolibertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher. He did his undergraduate studies at Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, received his MA and PhD at Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, and was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before earning his habilitation back at Goethe-Universität. Hoppe immigrated to America in 1986 to study under Murray Rothbard in New York City, with whom he remained close until Rothbard’s death in 1995.

A culturally conservative libertarian, Hoppe founded the The Property and Freedom Society in 2006. His goal was twofold: to explain the requirements and features of a free, stateless natural order, and to expose the state itself as “an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots.” Hoppe leaves little to interpretation regarding his feelings on government.

Hoppe introduced his argumentation ethics theory in 1988. It is a meaty theory to say the least, but at its heart it holds that any argument against individual sovereignty is inherently unsound; that any transgression against self-ownership is unjustifiable. In short, one who takes your property without your consent can never purport to serve a higher purpose – they are only a thief, and a thug.

In his 2011 book Democracy: The God That Failed, Hoppe details the problems which inevitably arise in a democratic government as the result of groups which pressure it for greater regulation. He advises unequivocal freedom of contract, decentralization of government, and succession in order to combat these ills. 

In Democracy Hoppe also details a libertarian society in which people would voluntarily form covenant communities based on shared self-interests. This hypothetical society would place the utmost value on freedom of association and private property rather than get bogged down appeasing the left with endless concessions to social justice. 

Interestingly for so steadfast a libertarian, Hoppe does believe that the state, so long as it exists, should impose some restrictions on immigration so as to avert forced integration. This view has provoked ire from the usual circles, which are quick to point out that Hoppe himself is an immigrant. Hoppe kicked yet another hornet’s nest in 2004 when he made an offhand, negative comment during a lecture about the money saving habits of homosexuals, but attempts to force that incident to color his entire academic career have proven rather toothless.

Hoppe’s other notable English language works include A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (1989), Economic Science and the Austrian Method (1995), and The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (2006). He also wrote the 1998 introduction to Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty.

Hoppe was a professor of economics at University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 1986 until his retirement in 2008, and is currently a distinguished fellow with the Mises Institute which published much of his work. He now resides in Turkey.

Hoppe Quotes

“Liberty instead of Democracy!”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hans-Hermann Hoppe quotes - "Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant..."
“Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“As soon as a crisis breaks out, within the given institutional framework, the same mistake will be made over and over again, on a larger and larger scale. Every future crisis will be bigger than the crisis that we had before.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“[O]ur existence is due to the fact that we do not, indeed cannot accept a norm outlawing property in other scarce resources next to and in addition to that of one’s physical body. Hence, the right to acquire such goods must be assumed to exist.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“[The] property right in one’s own body must be said to be justified a priori, for anyone who would try to justify any norm whatsoever would already have to presuppose the exclusive right to control over his body as a valid norm simply in order to say “I propose such in such.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“if the power of government rests on the widespread acceptance of false indeed absurd and foolish ideas, then the only genuine protection is the systematic attack of these ideas and the propagation and proliferation of true ones.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“A state is a territorial monopolist of compulsion – an agency which may engage in continual, institutionalized property rights violations and the expropriation, taxation and regulation – of private property owners.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“In accordance with his high time preference, he may want to be a vagabond, a drifter, a drunkard, a junkie, a daydreamer, or simply a happy go-lucky kind of guy who likes to work as little as possible in order to enjoy each and every day to the fullest.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“Egalitarian and relativistic sentiments find steady support among ever new generations of adolescents. Owing to their still incomplete mental development, juveniles, especially of the male variety, are always susceptible to both ideas.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hans-Hermann Hoppe quotes - "Conflict is not unavoidable. However, it is nonsensical to consider the institution of a state..."
“Conflict is not unavoidable. However, it is nonsensical to consider the institution of a state as a solution to the problem of possible conflict, because it is precisely the institution of a state which first makes conflict unavoidable and permanent.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“Without the continued existence of the democratic system and of publicly funded education and research, however, most current teachers and intellectuals would be unemployed or their income would fall to a small fraction of its present level. Instead of researching the syntax of Ebonics, the love life of mosquitoes, or the relationship between poverty and crime for $100 grand a year, they would research the science of potato growing or the technology of gas pump operation for $20 grand.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“There can be no socialism without a state, and as long as there is a state there is socialism. The state, then, is the very institution that puts socialism into action; and as socialism rests on aggressive violence directed against innocent victims, aggressive violence is the nature of any state.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“Egalitarianism, in every form and shape, is incompatible with the idea of private property. Private property implies exclusivity, inequality, and difference. And cultural relativism is incompatible with the fundamental – indeed foundational – fact of families and intergenerational kinship relations. Families and kinship relations imply cultural absolutism.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hans-Hermann Hoppe quotes - "As for the moral status of majority rule, it must be pointed out that it allows for A and B..."
“As for the moral status of majority rule, it must be pointed out that it allows for A and B to band together to rip off C, C and A in turn joining to rip off B, and then B and C conspiring against A, and so on.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“…bums and inferior people will likely support his egalitarian policies, whereas geniuses and superior people will not. For [this] reason … a democratic ruler undertakes little to actively expel those people whose presence within the country constitutes a negative externality (human trash which drives individual property values down).”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“A member of the human race who is completely incapable of understanding the higher productivity of labor performed under a division of labor based on private property is not properly speaking a person … but falls instead into the same moral category as an animal – of either the harmless sort (to be domesticated and employed as a producer or consumer good, or to be enjoyed as a “free good”) or the wild and dangerous one (to be fought as a pest). On the other hand, there are members of the human species who are capable of understanding the [value of the division of labor] but … who knowingly act wrongly … [B]esides having to be tamed or even physically defeated [they] must also be punished … to make them understand the nature of their wrongdoings and hopefully teach them a lesson for the future.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“In every society, a few individuals acquire the status of an elite through talent. Due to superior achievements of wealth, wisdom, and bravery, these individuals come to possess natural authority, and their opinions and judgments enjoy wide-spread respect. Moreover, because of selective mating, marriage, and the laws of civil and genetic inheritance, positions of natural authority are likely to be passed on within a few noble families. It is to the heads of these families with long-established records of superior achievement, farsightedness, and exemplary personal conduct that men turn to with their conflicts and complaints against each other. These leaders of the natural elite act as judges and peacemakers, often free of charge out of a sense of duty expected of a person of authority or out of concern for civil justice as a privately produced ‘public good.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“According to the pronouncements of our state rulers and their intellectual bodyguards (of whom there are more than ever before), we are better protected and more secure than ever. We are supposedly protected from global warming and cooling, from the extinction of animals and plants, from the abuses of husbands and wives, parents and employers, from poverty, disease, disaster, ignorance, prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other public enemies and dangers. In fact, however, matters are strikingly different. In order to provide us with all this protection, the state managers expropriate more than 40 percent of the incomes of private producers year in and year out. Government debt and liabilities have increased without interruption, thus increasing the need for future expropriations. Owing to the substitution of government paper money for gold, financial insecurity has increased sharply, and we are continually robbed through currency depreciation. Every detail of private life, property, trade, and contract is regulated by ever higher mountains of laws legislation), thereby creating permanent legal uncertainty and moral hazard. In particular, we have been gradually stripped of the right to exclusion implied in the very concept of private property. … In short, the more the state has increased its expenditures on social security and public safety, the more our private property rights have been eroded, the more our property has been expropriated, confiscated, destroyed, or depreciated, and the more we have been deprived of the very foundation of all protection: economic independence, financial strength, and personal wealth.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“If no one can appeal to justice except to government, justice will be perverted in favor of the government, constitutions and supreme courts notwithstanding. Constitutions and supreme courts are state constitutions and agencies, and whatever limitations to state action they might contain or find is invariably decided by agents of the very institution under consideration. Predictably, the definition of property and protection will continually be altered and the range of jurisdiction expanded to the government’s advantage until, ultimately, the notion of universal and immutable human rights – and in particular property rights – will disappear and be replaced by that of law as government-made legislation and rights as government-given grants.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“We must promote the idea of secession. Or more specifically, we must promote the idea of a world composed of tens of thousands of distinct districts, regions, and cantons, and hundred of thousands of independent free cities such as the present day oddities of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Greatly increased opportunities for economically motivated migration would thus result, and the world would be one of small [classically] liberal governments economically integrated through free trade and an international commodity money such as gold.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“The monopolization of money and banking is the ultimate pillar on which the modern state rests. In fact, it is probably become the most cherished instrument for increasing state income. For nowhere else can the state make the connection between redistribution-expenditure and exploitation-return more directly, quickly, and securely than by monopolizing money and banking. And nowhere else are the state’s schemes less clearly understood than here.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe