Notes From Hoppe’s Essay: “What Must Be Done”


[G]reat analysis.
Not sure how strong the solution is. (It isn’t strong at all)
I don’t like to criticize the master of our movement.
He should have had one of us edit it (Roman Saskiw) because there are too many small problems with it.
I don’t like mixing analytical rigour and moralistic language. It doesn’t help us.
Not when there isn’t any need for it.
We can maintain rational rigour in our movement.
That aside, I’ll just say that either of my two main solutions is better.
My solution is grander.
But it’s likely to work.
Partly because it’s grander.
Because it has worked so many times in history.
Because momentum matters.
Because the majority adopt the positions of those they trust.

I’ve tried to limit the quotes to the necessary argument, and clarify in brackets what required it.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe. What Must Be Done . Ludwig von Mises Institute. (2013)


[The] ultimate goal … is the demonopolization of protection and justice. Protection, security, defense, law, order, and arbitration in conflicts can and must be supplied competitively— that is, entry into the field of being a judge must be free. – (Kindle Locations 166-168).


Every monopolist takes advantage of his position. The price of protection will go up, and more importantly, the content of the law, that is the product quality, will be altered to the advantage of the monopolist and at the expense of others. – (Kindle Locations 95-96)

…once there is no longer free entry into the business of property protection, or any other business for that matter, the price of protection will rise, and the quality of protection will fall. The monopolist will become increasingly less of a protector of our property, and increasingly more a protection racket, or even a systematic exploiter of property owners. He will become an aggressor against and a destroyer of the people and their property that he was initially supposed to protect.” (Kindle Locations 74-77)

What happens [under democracy, is that] the territorial protection monopoly [is transformed into] public [from] private property. Instead of a prince who regards [the institutions] as his private property, [an elected official, who has the incentives of] a temporary and interchangeable caretaker is put in charge of the protection racket. The caretaker does not own the protection racket. Instead, he is just allowed to use the current resources for his own advantage. He owns [The right to enjoy the use and advantages of another’s property short of the destruction or waste of its substance,] but he does not own the capital value. This does not eliminate the self-interest-driven tendency toward increased exploitation. To the contrary, it only makes exploitation less rational and less calculating, – (Kindle Locations 122-126).

…because entry into a democratic government is open— everyone can become president— resistance against State property invasions is reduced. This leads to the same result: increasingly under democratic conditions, the worst will rise to the top of the State in free competition. Competition is not always good. Competition in the field of becoming the shrewdest aggressor against private property is nothing to be greeted. – (Kindle Locations 127-130).

Under highly centralized democracy, … the security of private property has almost completely disappeared. The price of protection is enormous, and the quality of justice dispensed has gone downhill constantly. It has deteriorated to the point where the idea of immutable laws of justice, of natural law, has almost entirely disappeared from public consciousness. Law is considered nothing but State-made law— positive law. Law and justice is whatever the State says it is. There is still private property in name, but in practice private property owners have been almost completely expropriated. Rather than protecting people from invaders and invasions of person and property, the State has increasingly disarmed its own people, and stripped them of their most elementary right to self-defense. – (Kindle Locations 142-146).

Instead of protecting us, then, the State has delivered us and our property to the mob and mob instincts. Instead of safeguarding us, it impoverishes us, it destroys our families, local organizations, private foundations, clubs and associations, by drawing all of them increasingly into its own orbit. And as a result of all of this, the State has perverted the public sense of justice and of personal responsibility, and bred and attracted an increasing number of moral and economic monsters and monstrosities. – (Kindle Locations 157-160).

1) First: that the protection of private property and of law, justice, and law enforcement, is essential to any human society. But there is no reason whatsoever why this task must be taken on by one single agency, by a monopolist. [Instead]… it is precisely the case that as soon as you have a monopolist taking on this task, he will [of] necessity destroy justice and render us defenseless against foreign as well as domestic invaders and aggressors. – (Kindle Locations 162-165).

2) …because a monopoly of protection is [a violation of natural, moral, and economic laws, then], any territorial expansion of such a monopoly is [a violation of natural, moral, and economic laws]. … Every [attempt, or suggestion, to increase] political centralization must be on principle grounds rejected [and fought against.]. In turn, every attempt at political decentralization— segregation, separation, secession and so forth— must be supported. – (Kindle Locations 169-170).

3) … [the] democratic protection monopoly … must be rejected as a [violation of natural,] moral and economic [laws]. Majority rule and private property protection are incompatible. The idea of democracy must be ridiculed [,criticized, attacked, and delegitimized as systemic corruption]: it is nothing else but mob rule [ and organized expropriation, justified by majority rule]. – (Kindle Locations 170-172).


1) one must attempt to restrict the right to vote on local taxes, in particular on property taxes and regulations, to property and real estate owners. Only property owners must be permitted to vote, and their vote is not equal, but in accordance with the value of the equity owned, and the amount of taxes paid.- (Kindle Locations 346-348). … all public employees— teachers, judges, policemen— and all welfare recipients, must be excluded from voting on local taxes and local regulation matters. These people are being paid out of taxes and should have no say whatsoever how high these taxes are. … The locations have to be small enough and have to have a good number of decent people.- (Kindle Locations 349-353). … Consequently, local taxes and rates as well as local tax revenue will inevitably decrease. Property values and most local incomes would increase whereas the number and payment of public employees would fall. – (Kindle Locations 353-354).

2) In this government funding crisis which breaks out once the right to vote has been taken away from the mob, as a way out of this crisis, all local government assets must be privatized. An inventory of all public buildings, and on the local level that is not that much— schools, fire, police station, courthouses, roads, and so forth— and then property shares or stock should be distributed to the local private property owners in accordance with the total lifetime amount of taxes— property taxes— that these people have paid. After all, it is theirs, they paid for these things. These shares should be freely tradeable, sold and bought, and with this local government would essentially be abolished. – (Kindle Locations 356-360).

3) Under the realistic assumption that there continues to be a local demand for education and protection and justice, the schools, police stations, and courthouses will be still used for the very same purposes. And many former teachers, policemen and judges would be rehired or resume their former position on their own account as self-employed individuals, except that they would be operated or employed by local “bigshots” or elites who own these things, all of whom are personally known figures.- (Kindle Locations 366-369). … Accordingly judges must be freely financed, and free entry into judgeship positions must be assured. Judges are not elected by vote, but chosen by the effective demand of justice seekers. – (Kindle Locations 373-374).

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