Monday, March 24, 2014

On Mises' Unique View of Government

In light of the questions raised by Peter Boettke, with regard to the supposed similarities between Hayek and Mises on government, it is instructive to review part of an Austrian Economics Newsletter interview of Hans-Hermann Hoppe that was conducted in 1998:
AEN: Was Mises better than the classical liberals on the question of the state?

HOPPE: Mises thought it was necessary to have an institution that suppresses those people who cannot behave appropriately in society, people who are a danger because they steal and murder. He calls this institution government.

But he has a unique idea of how government should work. To check its power, every group and every individual, if possible, must have the right to secede from the territory of the state. He called this the right of self determination, not of nations as the League of Nations said, but of villages, districts, and groups of any size. In Liberalism and Nation, State, and Economy, he elevates secession to a central principle of classical liberalism. If it were possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, he says, it would have to be done. Thus the democratic state becomes, for Mises, a voluntary organization.
Compare this Misesian view with the role Hayek saw for government.


  1. That's a Hoppean view of Mises, OK, sure.

    But where are the references to original material to suppport the claim that Mises himself held such a view?

    Provide the quotes from Mises elaborating on the notions of secession from the state, and also the ones illustrating where Mises agrees with this particular interpretation of "the right to self-determination"

    Don't provide easy cannon fodder to your clueless opponents!

  2. He elevates secession to a central principle of classical liberalism. So if you want to keep your slaves, you can secede from the federal govt that is turning against slavery.

    1. Jerry, the central government you have so mythologized supported slavery through it's enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act! Decentralization is the friend of freedom for all individuals, not centralized statism.

    2. Poor Jerry One Note. . .so slavery is behind the Venetian secession?

      Actually, it is: tax slavery.

    3. Not to mention that noted slave owner Kirkpatrick Sale. No doubt keeping his slaves population intact is only reason for supporting secession. (And should you deign for once to reply, please don't trot out that slanderous SPLC guilt by association garbage about him.)

    4. "Poor Jerry One Note. . .so slavery is behind the Venetian secession? "

      Don't forget the Scots, Sardinians, and Catalonians. They're talking secession so they must be "neoconfederates!" LOL!

    5. The standard view here is that the CSA wasn't primarily seceding because of slavery however they should been allowed to secede with slavery anyway because slavery wasn't economical and it would been phased out voluntarily by the end of the 19 century anyway.

    6. Jerry Wolfgang is projecting.

      It's by the way that Jerry has an appropriate surname.

  3. ...or if you'd rather not be a slave yourself.

  4. Unfortunately much of what is contained in Hoppe's seminal work Democracy: The God That Failed has/is come true in the United States. I no longer recognize the country I grew up in, nor my parents. One other read I recommend is War And The Rise Of The State by Bruce Porter. Presents a convincing argument on how European nation-states (including state boundaries) evolved from dispersed elite ruling factions. Ultimately the power to cause the less powerful to acquiesce seems to prevail, and large nation states are much better at marshalling this via taxation, debt issuance, fooling the populace through clever propaganda and diversions - and of course militarizing in their own nations to incite fear/submission.

  5. Hoppe is being disingenuous. Mises favored establishment of a worldwide superstate, and he said so in Liberalismus. Mises also sneered at people who are hostile to collectivism.

    Since German is Hoppe's native language, and since Mises' thought is abundantly clear in English translation, too, Hoppe lacks a good excuse here.