What Must Be Done
In this concise and ever-timely essay on how anarcho-capitalists should engage the modern state, Hans-Hermann Hoppe dissects the nature of the modern democratic state and then suggests strategies for enacting a bottom-up libertarian revolution in ideology and civil government.
Hoppe begins by examining the nature of the state as “a monopolist of defense and the
provision and enforcement of law and order.” Recent centuries have experienced almost non-stop and untrammeled growth in the size and scope of the state, and the trend only accelerated with the expansion of democratic states.
How can the libertarian fight back against this trend?
Hoppe offers a program for the libertarian revolution that consists of a few key tenets such as a tireless defense of private property and support for decentralization of all states.
Hoppe also outlines a highly pragmatic strategy of localism, self-sufficiency, passive resistance, and non-cooperation with central governments that can pave the way for a new libertarian society. Hoppe tells us that anarcho-capitalists should largely ignore the great debates at the center of major states, and instead concentrate on creating small-scale self-sufficient communities that can be in a position to assert a sort of informal independence from central government. Overt secession movements are impractical, so Hoppe suggests instead policies in which localized communities devoted to the true protection or private property can refuse to cooperate and assist central governments. Over time, and as the movement grows, the effective power of central states will decline to the point of becoming irrelevant.
First delivered as a speech in 1997, What Must be Done contains many of the themes and assertion later covered in more detail in Hoppe’s 2001 book Democracy: The God that Failed, while providing a number of insights into how libertarians can reach beyond the intellectual sphere to bring about a libertarian society.