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“Historical Patterns and Tendencies from an Austro-Libertarian Perspective”: Hoppe in Moscow

This is professor Hoppe’s speech for SVTV (SVETOV TV) on Oct. 6, 2019, in Moscow.

From the shownotes:

On the 6th of October 2019 some 1500 Russians came to listen to Libertarian thinker Hans-Hermann Hoppe in Moscow. It was the biggest libertarian event in the history of Russia and the biggest libertarian lecture in Europe. Foreword and afterword by Mikhail Svetov [Михаил Светов].

The event was “Hans Hermann Hoppe: So To Speak”, and the title of Professor Hoppe’s speech was: “Historical Patterns and Tendencies in Austro-Libertarian Perspective” — in which he tells three related stories or narratives that explain the present world.
First: regarding the origin of states and the changes of state constitutions over time: a historical reconstruction.
Second: regarding the concentration of states, issues of war and imperialism.
Third: regarding money and banking and monetary centralization.
Transcript below.

Unedited Transcript from Youtube

Greeting to Moscow! Greetings to the future free people!

Unbelievable! When I was planning this event, I couldn’t imagine that 1500 people will show up to a philosophy lecture.

It’s unprecedented not only for Russia, but for the world.

when I’m told that Russians aren’t ready for freedom, I laugh.

Clearly it’s not true. Russians are born ready for freedom.

When I started my youtube channel, I had a dream to talk with people whom I admire and looked up to.

People who helped me grow intellectually and those who have disappointed me.

People who played a role in my growing up. And it makes me happy to be able to have conversations

not only with Russians, but also with those from overseas. And today, I flew Dr. Hoppe to Moscow.

He is one of the greatest libertarian philosophers of our time. The author of the acclaimed book “Democracy: The God That Failed”.

The disciple of the Murray Rothbard, who is the father of the libertarianism as we know it today.

When I give my own lectures across Russia, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

And I’m proud to say that I got to know one of those giants personally. The one, who influenced me so much.

And today he will give a speech on this stage. One of Dr. Hoppe’s greatest achievements is that

he popularised libertarianism as a political doctrine,

a legal doctrine He proved that it doesn’t matter what cultural values you uphold,

as long as you agree to a non aggression principle

you are a libertarian. When Dr. Hoppe said it out loud, when he started to defend conservatives from left wing libertarians,

he was slandered by the big and powerful.

If you are interested in the history of Cato Institute and Mises Institute, you can read about how big money

corrupted libertarianism, libertarian movement in the West.

How it became possible with the help of the very rich people. The same thing happened with liberalism in Russia a while ago.

One of the reasons I wanted to organise this event for so long, and the reason I’m so happy that so many of you have showed up today is that

I want to help people understand that libertarians don’t protect rich from the poor, conservatives from liberals or vice versa.

We want to protect everyone who’s ready to live by the non aggression principle from everyone who’s not. Libertarians divide people by the means they use to reach their goals, not by the goals themselves.

It doesn’t matter to us what goals you may have. We care about what means you choose to achieve those goals.

In that sense no values are “toxic”. There’s no such thing as “toxic views”.

There’re views that some of us may prefer to condemn, but as long as they are practised non-aggressively they are neither better nor worse than anybody else’s.

In a minute Hans Hermann Hoppe will take this stage and explain how democracy erodes civil liberties.

And why the decentralisation of power is the key to protect a person’s freedom.

He will explain how there can be no freedom of association without the freedom not to associate.

And how private borders can set a person free.

Because a world without borders is a world with nowhere to run. Thank you very much! Please welcome Hans Hermann Hoppe!

Thank you all very much. I’d like to add a couple of words.

I want to tell you why Philosophy matters and why it’s important to study it.

Why is there a Libertarian theory? What is the purpose behind our principles?

Hans Hermann Hoppe just told you about the goals the Libertarians have. He explained that decentralisation is the key.

There’s no right version of how the society should look like. What matters is to be free to choose the society you want to live in.

What sets a man free is a freedom of choice. It’s impossible to come up with a universal ideal.

It’s impossible to come up with a universal ideal that will set everyone free. That’s what Liberals got wrong.

That’s why liberal experiment is failing in Europe, in the West.

Again, freedom of choice is what liberates a man. And that’s what the libertarians want to protect – your freedom of choice.

So, why do we need Philosophy? When Libertarians advocate for decentralisation, autonomy, absolute freedom,

society with no government, we are not saying that government should fall by tomorrow.

We are not saying that all these ideas – those ideals – can be achieved straight away.

We are not saying that that’s how you can make Russia a free country.

Our ideology – Anarcho-Capitalism – is our guiding star.

It’s our compass. It shows us the right direction. It tells us: “Freedom is that way”.

The compass shows you the right direction no matter what the surroundings are.

However, if you will only look at the compass ignoring what’s on your way, you’ll be soon run over by a car or fall out of the window.

Because ideas by itself are not enough to change the world. You have to take the power consensus into account and work towards changing that consensus.

That’s where real politics start. When we practice libertarian philosophy politically it’s called Minarchism, a night-watchman state.

Minarchism is what happens when we start to acknowledge the circumstances we’re in.

When we acknowledge the rules that living in a society sets.

If we ignore those things, we will never be able to guide people towards a freer world, towards decentralisation.

So, Anarcho-Capitalism and Minarchism are two sides of the same coin. Anarcho-Capitalism is our ideology.

Minarchism is how we apply it to the real world. You combine these two things and you get Libertarianism.

Anarcho-Capitalism is not something you can ever achieve. Perfection doesn’t exist in real world.

Anarcho-Capitalistic theory is there to give us answers, to show us the direction of freedom.

But, despite the fact that we can’t make dreams a reality, we can neveretheless move only in the direction of freedom.

One of the most important things I took away from Dr. Hoppe’s book

is that we have to fight against power, not for the power.

We should fight against the concentration of power that turned Russia into a prison of nations hundreds of years ago.

It’s not just a cute phrase, it has a strong meaning behind it.

When we say that Russia is a prison of nations, we mean that the concentration of power has led to the situation

where the politicians are now making laws to benefit them and not the people. People in charge are not accountable to the society.

But even if they were… Let’s imagine that a saint man is now in charge.

A person who’s willing to sacrifice his own interests and desires in order to make Russia a better place.

Will he succeed? Of course, not. Because in a place with so much centralised power

you can’t make laws that will make everyone happy, even if you try.

There is no such law that can equally benefit people from Moscow, Kaliningrad, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Bashkiria, Yakutia.

Because we have different needs and goals. And now we’re in a situation where laws are equally harmful to all people living in Russia.

Today we are fighting for our future. We are fighting to take the power away from our enemies.

We are fighting for the Iron Throne. In the past, I used an example of the one ring from “The Lord of the Rings”. That’s what power is.

But I think, all of you’ve watched Game of Thrones too. It’s impossible to win the war by taking over the Iron Throne.

You can only win the war by destroying the Iron Throne. Thats what libertarians are fighting against.

We want the centralised power to go. Unlike leftist dreams, this dream more than possible to achieve within the borders of a single country.

Russia is so big and mighty, and to protect its greatness and our freedoms

we have to fight for our freedom to make choices for ourselves.

To be free of the Iron Throne. Laws shouldn’t be made in Kremlin.

It may be hard to explain to Moscow citizens… I just came back from my tour across the country, where people really get what I have to say.

Maybe, if you forget for a minute that you live under Kremlin’s walls, you will get what I’m saying too.

Today, laws are only made to benefit people in power. Today, it’s impossible to make them any other way.

In Moscow we at least have political institution to which we can go protest.

Other Russians are not that lucky. Today, Dr. Hoppe talked about privileges a lot.

The government is a propagator of those privileges. It’s the exact reason we have social stratification.

Only with the help of the governmental coercion can you make a privileged group of people.

It happened in Czarist Russia, it happened in Soviet Uniot and and it’s happening today.

When you dream about The Great Russia of the Future,

when you try to come up with the ways to help Russia and Russian people, you should realise that the big centralised government is the greatest threat to that dream.

I already mention that Russia today remains a prison of nations.

And the right-wingers have one fair point – that Russia is an anti-Russian state.

It’s true, nationalists got that right. Russia is an anti-Russian state.

It’s also an anti-Bashkir state, anti-Chechen state, anti-Yakut state.

Because it doesn’t benefit any of the nations living our great country.

The right-wingers have another fair point.

When USSR fell apart, Yeltsin came up with a horrible phrase “People of Russia”.

So, what does “People of Russia” mean? It’s a homunculus of a soviet man.

When the soviet experiment failed horribly, what was left of a soviet man is a homunculus.

But that phrase used not only to erase Russian identity. It’s used to erase every single identity in Russia.

And until we realise that we should fight the oppressive government instead of fighting each other,

we all end up grinded into People of Russia. Again, we have to fight against the source of power, not for the power.

We have to fight for our country, for our people. We must hate those who try to destroy our country. Resist them.

If we don’t resist, we will perish from this world, as did other great nations.

Remember there was the great Roman culture? Great language, art.

They had Gods they prayed to, traditions they wanted to pass on to future generations.

So, what happened to them? They turned into a footnote in a History book.

Now Barbarians live there. There was Egypt. Great culture, great language.

They gave us Geometry. Who lives there now?

The Arabs, that’s right. So, what happened to the Egyptians? They turned into a footnote in a History book.

There was Babylon. They, too, had their Gods. They had culture they cherished.

What happened to the Babylonians? They too turned into a footnote in a History book. So who passed through millennia?

Who preserved their values, their Gods, their culture?

Who have successfully preserved their identity up until today, and why?

It was the Jews.

So, why did they succeed? They were persecuted everywhere all the time. In Egypt, in Babylon, in Rome.

However, they never confused the survival of their nation with survival of the state. That’s why they were never buried under the rubble of fallen empires.

So, if you cherish your traditions, your language, your country, your culture,

you have no right to entrust the state with these things. Otherwise, all of it will be destroyed.

Become a Libertarian! Thank you very much for your attention!

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