Category Archives: Reviews (Books)

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and ‘Leftism’ – An Appreciation


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

As John the Baptist to the Jesus Christ of Hans-Hermann Hope, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn forms an essential reading component of any modern Miseo-Rothbardo-Hoppeian. As a Renaissance gentleman swimming in a sea of kleptocratic fools – perhaps whilst holding his head aloft and smoking a fine Cuban cigar – Kuehnelt-Leddihn successfully negotiated these seas and serially and routinely speared and devoured our enemies, the hate-filled envious class warriors of ‘social justice’.

Although an Austrian nobleman by birth, he never became a full true ‘Austrian’ in the sense of Ludwig von Mises. However, rising up from the water, he definitely flew within the ambit of angels, describing himself as an ‘extreme conservative arch-liberal’. In one sense of the word, I would personally regard myself as completely ‘apolitical’. I simply wish that everyone else in the world would leave me alone, so long as I abstain from infringing upon their rights of property and freedom. However, if someone compelled me to bear a political label, then I would hold myself happy to concur with this description.

So, if you’ve never read Kuehnelt-Leddihn before, where do you begin? Should you start with Liberty or Equality, The Menace of the Herd, or Leftism? (To my mind, these three immense works rise up clearly as the triumvirate pinnacle of his many books.) Well, as a labour of love I’ve already read all three for you, along with most of the rest, and for me the clear winner stands out as Leftism. It’s historical, it’s complete, and it stands alone by itself. If there existed only one of his books in the vaults of history, it sums up his thinking best of all. Fortunately, it’s also freely available to download and read via Mises.org at the link here! Quickly, before all stocks go!

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Interview: Analysing ‘Democracy, The God That Failed’


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

With the PFS 2018 conference rapidly coming up at Bodrum, I thought it might be worth dusting off an interview I did a couple of years ago with a friend of mine, Greg Moffitt, from the Legalise Freedom podcast.

Greg had earlier contacted Professor Hoppe to ask whether he could interview the current Dean of the Austrian School about his books, particularly, Democracy – The God That Failed. To my great personal surprise, the professor had then directed Greg to contact me instead, to sort of stand in as an ‘Ersatz’ Hoppeian!

As an Austrian, and as a believer in a totally voluntary society, it’s really difficult to think of any higher honour, so I stepped manfully into the breach.

In preparation for the interview, I re-read all of the main Hoppe books, and then in this quite extensive interview, we discuss most of them, with me in an unfamiliar role as a podcast guest rather than in my more familiar role as a podcast host.

Although most of the podcast is dedicated to DTGTF – along with Hoppe’s other major works – we also cover a number other books, by various other Austrian luminaries, so it really is quite a smorgasbord of Austrian economics.

Anyhow, that’s enough talking, here’s the podcast:

Book Review: Hans-Hermann Hoppe – Defying Leviathan


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I used to be a singer in a rock and roll band.

Well, okay, maybe not, but I was a lead guitarist in a punk rock band. I even had my Fender copy tuned so I could play the major rock chords with a single sliding finger, just like those anarcho-punk legends, Crass.

If only our band had possessed some luck, a good manager, a driving licence between us, some money, a van, and a small pet monkey named Brian, we might have made it big. Especially if the lead guitarist had actually possessed any talent.

But, alas, this punk dream faded, as it did for a million others, and my brush with anarchy submerged itself for another twenty years. However, much to my surprise it resurfaced, a little rusty but largely unscathed, when it experienced a depth charge blast from Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s mental mind bomb, Democracy: The God That Failed.

There are few in the world who dare promote the dissolution of all forms of government, especially in the hostile spitting face of a billion state-supporting rent seekers. And of those few brave men, only a tiny handful, mostly Austro-libertarians, possess the requisite economic theory, moral strength, and political knowledge to really frighten all of those state-loving horses. Foremost amongst them is Professor Hoppe, a man in the proper Austrian tradition of being a German speaker by birth, though also a man at odds with many inside proper libertarian circles, as opposed to those Christmas-voting leftist libertarian turkeys who believe the state is the ultimate guarantor of individual rights. Which makes about as much sense as taxman with genuine friends. Proper libertarians divide themselves into two broad camps; Minarchists and Anarchists; those who believe in a minimalist night-watchman state, on the grounds that even though the state is odious and should be limited in every way possible, it is still necessary to provide security; and those who believe that we need no odious government at all, because even security, that last bastion of the coercive apparatus of the state, can itself be provided on the open market.

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Hans-Hermann Hoppe: A Unified Theory of Everything


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I possess three brain cells. One is concerned with food and beer, particularly Sam Adams light, the black stuff from Guinness, and any full strength export lager originating from Sweden. The second brain cell is concerned with personal visions of a possible future in a couple of thousand years. The third brain cell, God bless it, is concerned with music, philosophy, chess, politics, writing, art, fine Pinot Noir wine, provocative Stilton cheese, good conversation, and, when it has the chance, the brown-eyed charms of Penelope Cruz.

I have just read Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism. That poor old overloaded third brain cell has just been fried. And it’s going to take more than a Sam Adams to bring it back online again.

This book, available freely online as a PDF file, is essentially a description of everything around us in the political world, and a superb platform for any aspiring Austro-libertarian to base their world view upon. Personally speaking, it has quite shaken my world, and finally caused me to sever any hope I once held for the world’s two major conservative parties, the Tories in the UK, and the Republicans in the US, to help bring the rest of us towards a prosperous happy future containing much greater liberty.

Unlike the Professor’s later books, such as Dmmocracy: The God That Failed, and The Myth of National Defense, this older book is written with much less tempered anger, and with much more cool rationalism. Indeed, the Professor could be a chemist discussing the physical properties of hydrocarbons, for all the hearty emotion he displays on his sleeve.

But this book is all the more powerful for this cold-blooded analytical approach. The hydrocarbons the Professor discusses are the ingredients necessary to blow up the ideology behind every political ruling class in the world.

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Book Review: Democracy – The God That Failed


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy fans will remember the ultimate cocktail drink; the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Imbibing this infectious blend was like being hit in the head by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. But does the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster remain the ultimate cocktail? I think I may have stumbled across something even stronger.

Imagine a blowtorch. A really fierce one glowing bluely in the dark. Turn it up a little, hear that roar. Stuff a small lemon into the top of an Irish whiskey flagon. Lay the flagon on its side, perhaps propped up on some old hitchhiking towels, and place the blowtorch against the flagon’s newly exposed underside. Retire to an unsafe distance. When the flagon explodes, try to catch the whiskey-flavoured lemon between your teeth. Suck it and see what you think. Because that’s what it’s like reading Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book, Democracy: The God That Failed, first published in 2001. As the latest professor of economics at the University of Nevada, and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises institute, this book out-Rothbards Hoppe’s old Austrian mentor, Uncle Murray Rothbard. Did you even imagine this was possible? Check this: Read more

The Oddest Book Review in History?


Note – As of the 12th May 2018, this review is being published in instalments here. It is supposed to be a bad review. All I can say is that I wish I had more reviews like this one! The writer is going through the book a chapter at a time, with almost as much concentration as I put into writing it. He has only reached Chapter Three, and his review and the comments on his review have reached five thousand words. SIG 


Being an entirely partisan review and analysis of The Churchill Memorandum – Or ‘Dirigibles, Acid Baths and Bullet-Trams, Oh My!’

In December 2017 I was scrolling through the entries in the Alternate History recommendations on the Kindle store, when I came across The Churchill Memorandum, an alternate history novel featuring a (rather bad) waxwork of Winston Churchill on the cover. It was written by Sean Gabb (who I recommend you Google) and was free, so I purchased it, hoping that I had found another hidden gem in the AH genre, so rare these days outside of Sea Lion Press.

How wrong I was.

How

Wrong Read more

Jerome and His Women


Joan O’Hagen
Jerome and His Women
Black Quill Press, Sydney, 2015 (pb)
ISBN: 9780646943701 

Review by Richard Blake

This novel explores the background to one of the most important events in history. When Constantine established Christianity as the preferred state religion in 313, he was saving Western civilisation. Until then, the religious settlement in the Roman Empire was divided both vertically and horizontally. The vertical division marked off the educated elite. For those at the top, the pagan cults were approaches to the concept of a Supreme Being and a universal moral law. Those at the bottom took these cults at face value, with their alarming or simply scandalous mythologies, and their frequent lack of mutual sympathy.

Christianity was a universal religion. For all its sectarian tendencies, it crossed every boundary of language and race and class. It was a way of life, and it had philosophical content. Once spread beyond the frontiers, it did much to humanise the barbarians, who would otherwise have invaded as pure savages. It also provided a check to misgovernment. The Jews aside, it is hard to think of any religious group that had been able to face down a determined pagan emperor. Once Constantine himself was dead, the clergy could rally the faithful as they pleased – usually for the Empire that they now dominated, but also against any emperor who in their opinion went too far. Read more

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