There is a case to be made that all strains of libertarian thought are at their root utopian. It even makes some sense when you think about the natural human bias for preferring security and known outcomes over the unknown and risks. This reality makes humans very progressive, so how could they desire a libertarian society? By and large, libertarians have found ways to cope with and suppress this instinct towards utopian thought. They think tanks and elected officials make reasonable reforms where they can and are mostly content to dream otherwise.
This is not universally the case however. There is a strain of libertarianism currently growing in publicity and attention that makes so many absurd assumptions that it threatens the liberty movement itself. This strain is born of historical revisionism, wishful thinking, and a willing blindness to some of the very core tenants of libertarianism. This strain is the resurgent monarchism in right libertarianism.
The face of this phenomenon is no doubt Hans-Herman Hoppe. There are others but he has been the most full-throated and honest about it.
I’ve been following and researching his work for several months now, after I first began to see an even greater increase in “helicopter right” and “physical removal” jokes from culture warriors. He is a property rights absolutist. He is a fellow at the Mises Institute. He was a direct disciple of Rothbard himself. Most importantly however he seems to have talked himself into becoming a monarchist.
He has a published book by the name of “Democracy: The God that Failed.” I have yet to read it, but I have added it to my list for further analysis. What I have been able to do to this point is sink over fifteen hours of my time into listening to his lectures on these topics and about this book. What I heard horrified me, and should equally frighten any friend of freedom.
In the system he advocates we see a king unlike any ruler that ever has or ever will exercise in human history. He speaks of a king that will happily extract a market settled rate for protection from his subjects. He speaks of a king that will have no desire for further property or monetary gains so long as he is paid. He speaks of a king that will ideally occupy himself with nothing but counting coins and fighting defensive wars when the time comes.
This is where I ask, what on Earth could make a person think this would work? The reason we threw off the collar of the British monarchy was a lengthy list of abuses that we’re historically quite typical of Kings and queens. Kings and queens consistently raise taxes. They drafted citizens and compelled military service. They seized property and possessions whenever it struck their fancy. The concentration of this sort of power has without fail led to rampant theft and murder.
Even the most “enlightened” monarchs have shown this horrible rot and corruption. Peter the Great who modernized and Westernized Europe imprisoned and killed men who refused to shave their beards. The Spanish royals tried to torture and kill whole races out of their own paranoia. King Leopold a modern Western monarch butchered natives en masse in the congo.
There can be no philosopher king. There can be no truly enlightened ruler. Humans are by our nature flawed, petty, corrupt, greedy creatures. This is why we defuse the authority placed over us. This is why we introduced checks and balances into our political philosophies. Don’t look back with Rose colored glasses. There can be no king in a libertarian society, nor should there be. I am not an anarchist, not by any stretch but they have a turn off phrase that should always be used to refute this sort of nonsense. “No Gods, No Masters” it isn’t perfect but it rings true.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to the wishful thinking of wannabe tyrants who drape themselves in liberty.