What is true, just, and beautiful is not determined by popular vote. The masses everywhere are ignorant, short-sighted, motivated by envy, and easy to fool. Democratic politicians must appeal to these masses in order to be elected. Whoever is the best demagogue will win. Almost by necessity, then, democracy will lead to the perversion of truth, justice and beauty.
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Let’s take a brief look at Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s fantastic work, Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order. Although I am not a libertarian, I believe Hoppe’s work is critical for understanding the decline and degeneration that is currently devastating Western civilization and its people. According to Hoppe, the state is an evil in all its forms; however, monarchy is, in many ways, far less pernicious than democracy. Hoppe explores the evolution of government from aristocracy, through monarchy, to the corruption and irresponsibility of contemporary liberal democracy—a progression of decline that has led to today’s monstrous leviathan state.
Democracy: The God That Failed makes two cases: first, that government is an unnecessary evil that should cease existing, and second, that monarchism is superior to democracy because monarchism tends to keep government’s most unpleasant features in check, whereas democracy exacerbates these features. Hence, the transition from monarchy to democracy is a state of civilizational decline and not “progress.”
Hoppe’s main argument against the institution of government is that it is “a compulsory territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making and property rights violations.” He argues that all governments, by their nature, violate property rights in an institutionalized and legal manner. This results in the exploitation of private owners and contributes to a process he terms “decivilization.” Delving into this assertion, Hoppe outlines several critical viewpoints:
- The foundational belief in morally justified private property rights is essential for any successful free society. Hoppe argues that all governmental actions inherently violate these rights, thus deeming the government an abomination.
- He contends that the government, being the ultimate decision-maker, strips its citizens of true freedom, sovereignty, and control over their destiny.
- From an economic standpoint, Hoppe highlights the disadvantages of a governmental monopoly in sectors like defense and justice. He suggests that such a monopoly leads to higher costs and lower quality than would be present in a competitive, free-market environment.
- Additionally, Hoppe points out the involuntary nature of government rule, where citizens are compelled to follow its mandates rather than choosing to do so. -Lastly, he notes the government’s inherent tendency to grow and expand its influence, a process he argues inexorably leads towards tyranny.
As previously discussed, Hoppe argues that monarchy, despite the inherent flaws of all government forms, is less harmful to society than democracy. His primary argument centers on the concept of time preference: monarchs, who typically rule for life and pass down their rule hereditarily, exhibit a lower time preference (i.e., engage in more long-term, strategic thinking) compared to leaders in democratic states, who are elected for fixed terms. A monarch, with the potential of ruling for a lifetime and the possibility of passing on power to a successor, is more inclined to weigh the long-term consequences of their actions.
This approach aims to secure long-term benefits, which, according to Hoppe, aligns with enhancing the prosperity of people in their domain. Consequently, he suggests that a monarch is less prone to exploit subjects, engage in excessive borrowing, fund wars, or violate property rights, as these actions would threaten their own wealth. Conversely, democratic leaders, whom Hoppe sees as temporary stewards rather than true proprietors of government, exhibit a higher time preference, thereby prioritizing short-term objectives.
He asserts that this mindset leads to greater tendencies for expropriation, tax hikes (both directly and through inflation), and reckless borrowing, leaving the burden of repayment to future leaders and generations of citizens. Hoppe also believes that these leaders are more likely to grant privileges to specific groups and implement extensive redistribution policies via taxes or regulations on private property and markets. Additionally, he theorizes that they are more inclined to initiate wars.
In order to address the current state of Western civilizational decline, Hoppe proposes two solutions:
- A massive shift in public opinion needs to occur, which would lead to democracy being perceived as illegitimate; this process is currently underway.
- Hoppe also suggests secession as a possible solution. He envisions people around the globe seceding from their nations, leading to the formation of new, stateless territories.
Hoppe correctly asserts that all tyranny relies on the people’s unwillingness or inability to resist the excesses of the state. In this vein, I would argue that an armed populace possesses at least some capacity for resistance and we should always keep this very real fact in mind.
Bringing this to a close, Hoppe should also be commended for acknowledging several aspects of reality that the current ruling Regime is unwilling and literally unable to recognize, namely:
- Races vary in average intelligence and criminality.
- Religiously and ethnically homogeneous communities typically experience less conflict than diverse, multicultural ones.
- Private property owners possess the moral right to make discriminatory decisions in their hiring and service practices.
- The concept of “free immigration” is nonsensical and misleading, as it infringes upon the rights of Native populations to free association.