Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “The Hayek Myth” (PFS 2012)

by Stephan Kinsella on November 20, 2012

Hans Hoppe’s speech for the 2012 Annual Meeting is now available:

Hans Hermann Hoppe2 from Property & Freedom Society on Vimeo.

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Bruce Graeme April 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

In F. A. Hayek and the Concept of Coercion, Rothbard states that “It seems clear that the fundamental problem is Hayek’s use of ” coercion” as a portmanteau term to include, not only physical violence but also voluntary, nonviolent, and non-invasive actions such as nagging. The point, of course, is that the wife or husband is free to leave the offending partner, and that staying together is a voluntary choice on his or her part. Nagging might be morally or aesthetically unfortunate, but it is scarcely “coercive” in any sense similar to the use of physical violence.”

However, suppose that the wife or husband leaves the offending partner, but the offending partner in response starts stalking and bullying in public his wife or husband. I find it hard to see this not as a case of coercion.

Or consider mobbing in the workplace. Done by colleagues, subordinates or superiors, the goal of mobbing is to force someone out, using gossip, ostracism, innuendo, humiliation, ridicule, intimidation, and just plain meanness. Many suicides are the result of mobbing in the workplace. Wouldn’t that be a case of coercion inflicted on an employe? Must the employe terminate his employment voluntarily in order to be free from mobbing behaviors?

Renier Maritz May 17, 2013 at 5:42 am

Now I understand why he won the Nobel Prize!

Bruce Graeme November 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Given that men are striving, appetitive, goal-seeking beings, and that in fact their needs and wants are vast beyond enumeration and intense beyond measure, we can ask: Under what conditions is anarchy – the ideal societal state – a possible societal state?

There are two such conditions.

The first would be an environment that contains such a plenitude of satisfactions, an environment so bountiful and benign, that no man would even need to fear frustration of any aim he might have.

The second condition would be a human nature that is totally benevolent or loving.

If anarchy is the ideal societal state, but one that is impossible except under those special circumstances, it follows that the corruption of this ideal must be minimal if the maximum goodness possible is to be obtained. Or in other words, since the restriction of any man’s freedom by coercive law is an unqualified evil, then no man’s freedom should be restricted more than is necessary for the avoidance of even greater evil.

On what principle, then, is it permissible to thus restrict human freedom – that is, to generate coercive criminal laws?

There can, properly, be only one such principle: the prevention of injury. There appear to be only three ways in which men can properly be said to injure each other, and these are: (1) assault, (2) theft, and (3) fraud. No man needs to be taught that an assault upon himself is something bad, and the same is true of theft and fraud.

All three terms should be construed fairly broadly, but not so broadly as to include everything that anyone happens to dislike: among the things that are NOT to be counted as injuries are mere offenses to taste or sensibility (conventional injuries), such as: offensive language, eccentric styles of dress and grooming, disregard of certain sabbatarian observances, desecration of religious or patriotic symbols.

Injury must mean something fairly definite and cannot be expanded to include everything under the sun that this or that man wish to abolish. Otherwise there will really be no principle of legislation at all , other than that of prohibiting what someone happens not to like, which is really the abandonment of principle altogether.

Concerning any practice the lawmaker may ask only: Is it injurious to anyone but the agent? And if he is able to answer “yes” to that question, then he needs to ask still ANOTHER: Is the injury thus wrought of a kind that would be felt by all or most men, independently of their customs and conventions? And only if THAT question, which is a question of sociology rather than of jurisprudence, can yield no answer but “yes” does the lawmaker have any concern with the practice at all.

“Freedom, Anarchy and the Law” by Richard Taylor

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