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Hoppe has arrived.....in Italy

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Paleolibertarism: Il pensiero di Hans-Hermann Hoppe [Paleolibertarianism: The Thought of Hans-Hermann Hoppe], by Piero Vernaglione, was published just a few weeks ago in Italian.

This 116 page book provides a brief description of Hoppe's entire "system" of thought--property ethics, epistemology, failed economic systems (socialism and democracy), anarcho-capitalism in operation, and strategy (secession).

Here is a book review in Italian and its English translation, courtesy Google.

In addition to works in foreign languages about Hoppe's thought, Hoppe's own publications have been translated into over 20 foreign languages.Update: Mr. Robert newson has translated the aforementioned review:

Review of "Paleolibertarianismo: Il pensiero di Hans-Hermann Hoppe" (translated from http://passaggioalbosco.blogspot.com/2007/07/paleolibertarismo.html)

A nimble, 119 page work, edited by Rubbettino (12euro), "Paleolibertarismo..." is researcher Piero Vernaglione's monograph on the school of thought which has been most able to rigorously unite economic freedom and conservative culture, with special emphasis on the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Briefly, libertarianism (or anarcho-capitalism) is the "theory of justice" that promotes a free, stateless society centred around private property, consensual exchange, and the non-aggression principle. In particular, all individual rights (these days conflated with expressions such as "human rights", "civil rights", etc.) are conceived as property rights: for example "freedom of speech" cannot mean to claim to be able to say what one pleases at another's house.

Libertarian theory, especially in its systematization by Murrary N. Rothbard, envisions and hopes for a society free of the state, the Leviathan responsible for aggression - above all through taxation - against individuals' property (hence their freedoms).

By dint of a coherent, detailed and undoubtedly fascinating doctrine, it is maintained that all functions presently carried out by the state, including the administration of law and order could be performed by private actors in a free society.

In the introduction, Vernaglione writes: "Libertarianism is the theory that in the last half-century has probably presented the most serious challenge to the dominant political culture." Certainly it is the doctrine that has provided the best tools to recognize the "emperor's nudity": the violent, abstract, unjust, and subversive mechanisms of state power and political modernity.

Coming of age in the US from the 1960's and 70's on, libertarianism was promptly highjacked by the social protest movements, easily able to twist the words and concepts of a rigorous doctrine that exalted merit, the market, personal responsibility, and serious commitment to the achievement of important objectives in one's own life, for their own counter-cultural, multi-cultural, anti-religious and libertine ends.

This sort of manipulation of libertarian theory by left-libertarians (and the Libertarian Party), shrinking it down to a socialist-leaning and generalized anti-prohibitionism, claiming ever more "new rights", and turning libertarian society into a sort of eternal rave-party of happiness,freeing man from work to deliver him to the paradise of irresponsibility, has had the merit of inspiring, from the 1980's on, a more in-depth study of libertarianism, which, regarding theory of justice, had previously concentrated mainly on the distortions of political power, ignoring the cultural aspects decisive in promoting a free society.

Rothbard himself was a protagonist in this work, but the term "paleolibertarism" was coined in the 1990's by Llewelyn H. Rockwell, Jr.: "We must get rid of the culturally defective framework of libertarianism. I suggest calling this substitute, with its ethical and cultural principles, "paleolibertarianism", that is, old libertarianism. I use the term in the same way that conservatives use the term "paleoconservatism": not as a new credo, but a reprising of one's own roots, a way of distinguishing oneself from the neocons. We haven't got an equivalent of neocons, but it's urgent and appropriate to distinguish libertarianism from libertinism."

In "The Manifesto of Paleolibertarianism", Rockwell continues,"conservatives have always maintained, rightly so, that political freedom is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a good society. Political freedom isn't even sufficient for free society. We also need social institutions and moral standards that encourage public virtue, and protect the individual from the state. Unfortunately, many libertarians - especially those of the Libertarian Party - see liberty as a necessary and sufficient condition for all purposes. Worse still, these people equate freedom from state oppression with freedom from cultural norms, religion, bourgeois morality, and social authority. In its seventeen years, the Libertarian Party has never reached one percent in a national election, but has ruined the most glorious political idea of human history, confusing it with libertinism. For the love of that glorious ideal, it's time to give it a good cleaning-up."

This natural sympathy between (paleo)libertarianism and conservative ideals, which best reflect the cultural roots of American political history, led Rothbard at the start of the 1990's to support the American Religious Right in the scandals of the left-libertarians. Rockwell and other libertarians as well proposed alliances with the "paleoconservatives" of Pat Buchanan. The "dialogue" was subsequently largely interrupted by Rothbard's death and Hans-Hermann Hoppe's clarifications (see: "The Intellectual Incoherence of Conservatism", also presented in Enclave - rivista libertaria magazine, no. 35, march 2007).

Paleolibertarians are opposed both to political conservatism, defined as the claim to unite cultural conservatism and welfare state, and to the left-libertarian or "modal libertarian" position, which confuses the struggle against the state with attacking the family, authority, religion (paleolibertarians are convinced that the cradle of the free society is to be traced back to the Judeo-Christian tradition), and the spontaneous hierarchies of a natural order and market society.

On one hand, in fact, it's held that every good conservative must be an enemy of the state, whose history and growing networks have broken down the traditional institutions of western liberal societies, setting off what Hoppe defines as a process of de-civilization. The state, in fact, erodes individual liberties and intermediate bodies, looking to make for itself a sole interlocutor: the citizen/subject/elector/consumer:

"The state, to impose its role as judge of final recourse, must eliminate all independent jurisdictions and judges, and this requires the erosion or even the destruction of the authority of the head of the family, community, and the churches. This is the main reason for the bulk of the state's policies. Public schooling and welfare serve this destructive objective, as do likewise the promotion of feminism, anti-discrimination policies, quotas, relativism, and multi-culturalism. All this undermines the family, the community, and the church. "Freeing" the individual from the discipline of these institutions, to render him "equal", isolated, defenceless, and weak before the state"

(H.-H. Hoppe, Reviving the West).

In this way, for example, the mammoth systems of compulsory public welfare and assistance pervert the natural relations between parents and children, remove the natural importance of family ties, attack at the base the principles of personal responsibility and saving, promoting irrational social and economic behaviours: "releasing individuals from the obligation of looking after their own income, their own health, their own security, their own old-age and the education of their children, the obligatory state "insurance" represents a systematic attack on personal responsibility and on institutions like the family, relatives, local community, and church. Tthe dimension and the prospects for private provision of these activities are reduced, and so too diminishes the importance of the family, ties to relatives, children, community and church" (Ivi).

On the other hand, paleolibertarianism not only holds that the spreading of individual liberty would not result in a triumph of egotism, but it strongly asserts the incompatibilty of a free society with the diffusion of hedonistic, relativistic, and nihilistic cultures, weak thoughts, antisocial behaviours (eg. drug-taking), multi-culturalism, egalitarianism, etc. The individual cost of deviant behaviours, for example, absent welfare programmes, would be entirely borne by the very same antisocial subjects, rendering them completely marginal (private charity would finally regain its lost and glorious role, with the attention to efficiency and personal merit it has always had). The natural order of a stateless world is composed of freely recognized social authorities, able to guarantee its functioning and preservation from the aggression of politics. The removal of these social ties marks the defeat of the free society.

Rockwell, for example, writes about family: "The traditional family, produced by natural law, is the basic unit of a civil and free society. the family promotes the values necessary for the preservation of a free society such as conjugal love, self-discipline, patience, cooperation, respect for one's elders, and self-denial. Families encourage moral behaviour and provide children with the appropriate education, thereby allowing continuation of the species. Chesterton said that the family "could be broadly defined as anarchic", given that the origins of its authority are purely voluntary; the state didn't invent it and cannot abolish it".

It seems to me that Piero Vernaglione gets to the heart of paleolibertarianism (other important points of which are total rejection of military interventionism, and firm condemnation of all "neolibertarian" political compromises ), with these words:

"Traditional morality and economic freedom mutually reinforce each other in a sequence wherein there initially exists a causal relationship between the former and the latter, but subsequently a feedback mechanism comes into play, with economic freedom in its turn useful in strengthening and consolidating the traditional moral order"

The paleolibertarian proposal is to exit the statist prison via the only possible avenue: that of the virtuous loop between economic freedom and conservative culture.

Stephan Kinsella is an attorney in Houston, director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, and editor of Libertarian Papers.

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