The Idea of a Private Law Society, and the Limits of Libertarianism

If you want to build a private law society — and, as a Christian whose Lord is intensely focused on matters of law and justice, you should! — then you should look into The Idea of a Private Law Society: The Case of Karl Ludwig von Haller (PFS 2021) for a bit of inspiration.

The viewpoint of the author,  Hans-Hermann Hoppe, is not theonomic. But, it is still of some value to the theonomist. To quote the first few paragraphs:

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The following paper will serve as the basis for Professor Hoppe’s speech “The Idea of a Private Law Society: The Case of Karl Ludwig von Haller,” to be presented at the Property and Freedom Society Annual Meeting, Sep. 19, 2021, Bodrum, Turkey.

The Idea of a Private Law Society: The Case of Karl Ludwig von Haller, Aug. 25, 2021

Hans-Hermann Hoppe1

 “Libertarianism is logically consistent with almost any attitude toward culture, society, religion, or moral principle. In strict logic, libertarian political doctrine can be severed from all other considerations; logically one can be – and indeed most libertarians in fact are: hedonists, libertines, immoralists, militant enemies of religion in general and Christianity in particular – and still be consistent adherents of libertarian politics. In fact, in strict logic, one can be a consistent devotee of property rights politically and be a moocher, a scamster, and a petty crook and racketeer in practice, as all too many libertarians turn out to be. Strictly logically, one can do these things, but psychologically, sociologically, and in practice, it simply doesn’t work that way.”  [my emphasis, HHH] —Murray Rothbard, “Big-Government Libertarians,” in: L. Rockwell, ed., , Auburn, Al: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000, p. 101

A considerable part of my writings in recent years has been concerned with this very last half-sentence of Rothbard’s and its wider implications. Central to the libertarian doctrine are the ideas of private property, of its original acquisition and its transfer, and the corresponding principle of non-aggression. And indeed, it can be safely stated that recognition of these ideas and principles is a necessary requirement of human society, of people living together and cooperating with one another in peace. Just as certainly, however, recognition and adherence to these ideas and principles is not sufficient to make for conviviality, i.e. for friendly neighborly and communal relations among men. For this, as Edmund Burke emphasized, manners are actually more important than any laws. More specifically, the manners typically associated with so-called “bourgeois morality”: of responsibility, conscientiousness, truthfulness, honesty and chivalry, respect- and helpfulness, foresight, courage, self-discipline, moderation and reliability.

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