It is a provocative title for a book; “Democracy: The God that Failed”. The radical title hides one of Hans-Herman Hoppes finest written work. The puzzle pieces laid out in these pages gets carefully assembled into a new way to think about our electoral system, societal economics, and even our justice system – Challenging the reader and the established order with every page.
The introductory chapter of the book covers some basic terminology so the reader gets to be on the same page as the author. It underlines the fundamental aspects of Hoppe’s view that led to the book’s title and to put it simply: Monarchy is a form of private government and democracy is a form of public government. With this as a base Hoppe argues that if we have to have a ruling body, it is under a privatized government we reach a more fruitful state for private citizens than in the democratic system which is the current norm in the western world. But, given a third choice, Mr. Hoppe prefers the free market to solve societal problems over an ever-powerfull State or Ruler.
Indeed, a monopolist of ultimate decision making equipped with the power to tax does not just produce less and lower quality justice, but he will produce more and more ‘bads’ – Hans-Herman Hoppe
This is backed up by an economic theory of time-preference and how a privatized governmental form leads to more positive growth in the economy – The fewer restrictions added to production, the more it can produce, theoretically. Hans-Herman Hoppe heavily cites Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, two Austrian economy theorists. Mr. Hoppe studied under the former and this has greatly influenced him – Not only in this book but most of his academic work.
“Constrained by time preferance; man will only exchange a present good for a future one if he anticipates thereby increasing his amount of future goods” – Hans-Herman Hoppe
I was surprised at how light and easy the reading of “Democracy: The God that Failed” actually is – I was bracing myself for heavy, academic language that I had to look up in dusty tomes to decode. No, Hans-Herman Hoppe’s writing is very to-the-point and the focus in on function rather than form when it comes to the language used.
There is a wealth of citations of other academic work throughout the book. This not only strengthens Mr. Hoppes arguments but also acts as sort of a guide to dig deeper into specific areas you might be interested in – Giving the reader a red thread to follow in the future.
“When I noted earlier that this is not the work of a historian but of a political economist and philosopher, I obviously did not belive this to be a disadvantage” – Hans-Herman Hoppe
Hans-Herman Hoppe points to War collectivism as one of the problems with democratic rule of law: With a starting point of World War 1, the first prominent war that was not a conflict over territory, but by ideology. So when nation states switch to a publicly owned system, the collectivistic spirit of military hit a new high – A peak that will later lead to the second World War.
The first two chapter covers a historical overview of the Western world after World War 1, about the abandonment of the old Monarchy for the new representative governmental system. As the monarchs imposed taxes in the range of 5-10% of GDP, it isn’t rare for modern day democracies to push to +50% of GDP in taxation. The amount of the workforce involved in governmental work (such as bureaucracy) is also severely higher in Democratic-Republic governments than its Monarchic cousin.
“The Tax load imposed on property owners and producers makes the economic burden even on slaves and serfs seem moderate in comparison” – Hans-Herman Hoppe
Not one to leave any stones unturned, Mr. Hoppe also discusses immigration politics and their anti-private property nature. The difference in law and order in the three societal states (The Royalist, the Democratic and the anarchic) is also covered, tying the earlier parts of the book together with the later, in this unusual perspective.
Hans-Herman Hoppe also gives critique to John Locke and gives a lot harsher words about Pat Buchanan’s brand of paleoconservatism, dedicating a large part of the later chapters to discuss how this new form of conservatism is separated from the older philosophy.
In “Democracy The God that Failed”, Hans-Herman Hoppe takes us on a journey to a new breed of radical idea-worlds and he packed the picnic basket full of curiosities. Painted with well-thought-out words, this is a book for those that want something that challenges the current system and you as a reader. It is a powerful book – One that anyone politically inclined should read, even if you disagree with Hans-Herman Hoppe.
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