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The Myth of National Defense: Essays on the Theory and History of Security Production Hardcover – October, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 453 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 1st edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945466374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945466376
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #920,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From the introduction:

"Even aside from day-to-day security risks, the reality of terrorism and its resulting mayhem has demonstrated the inability of government to provide adequate security against attacks on person and property. The lesson of September 11 is indisputable: government had not only failed to act as a guardian of security and protection but had actually been the primary agent in creating insecurity and exposure to risk, and, moreover, did not achieve secure justice once the crime had been committed.

"However, this was not the lesson that was drawn from the affair. Instead, the political elite successfully exploited public fears to vastly increase government spending, central credit inflation, bureaucratic management, citizen surveillance, regulation of transportation, and generally wage an all out attack on liberty and property.

"Meanwhile, US foreign policy pursued in the aftermath became more aggressively interventionist, violent, and threatening (the US refused even to rule out the employment of nuclear weapons against enemy regimes) than it had been before, thereby increasing the number of recruits into the ranks of people who are willing to use extreme violence as a means of retribution.

"In the same way that government intervention in times of peace can generate perverse consequences in markets that do not tend toward clearing, in times of war, military intervention can thus have the effect of harming the prospects for peace and security and bringing about a permanent state of violence and political control. Truly, the political affairs of our time cry out for a complete rethinking of the issues of defense and security and the respective roles of government, the market, and society in providing them."

Customer Reviews

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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Pettigrew on December 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Economists that adhere to sound economic theory will inevitably take on many of the political sacred cows of our time. You can take a lot of heat from passionate listeners for stepping out against policies that are politically correct and advocating ones that are politically incorrect. For the brave souls that step out of line to do this, I salute you. However, there remain a few sacred cows that even these courageous individuals will not assail.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his book, Democracy: The God that Failed, took on several of these cows. He took on the ideas that the state is necessary for the production of defense, that democracy was a positive progression, that democracy and freedom go hand in hand, that democracy has no link to tyrannical systems like communism and fascism, and so on. He advocates in this book a system of natural order or anarcho-capitalism. In this system, fundamental private property law applies and the free market has assumed the production of goods that were produced almost exclusively by the state (education, roads, national defense, etc.).
Now Hoppe is back with plenty of assistance. The Myth of National Defense is an expansion of the ideas found inDemocracy:TGTF. The attention this time is primarily on defense. The questions "Does the state do its job of producing defense well?", "Will a free market defense alternative work?", "Would it be preferable to the state institutions?", "Is there any historic precedents?", "What are some of the potential problems involved?", "How can this system be implemented?", "What will keep such a system turning into a state?", "Could such a system adequately defend against states?", and others are raised and answered in this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on November 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
_The Myth of National Defense: Essays on the Theory and History of Security Production_, published in 2003 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and edited by Austrian economist and anarcho-capitalist philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe is a series of essays by noted scholars and anarchists which attempts to show how non-statist solutions to the problem of national defense may be accomplished. These individuals make the claim that the state is a coercive institution that through force or the threat of force preys off the people and seizes their property while making the ideological claim that it is necessary to protect rights and property. As these scholars attempt to prove, this necessity is founded on pure ideology which is widely accepted by most mainstream scholars and by the populace at large. However, alternatives to state monopoly of the production of security may be feasible and these scholars attempt to show how such alternatives could work. In particular, one possibility that has been suggested is the use of privately owned insurance companies as the means for providing defense (in line with a suggestion by liberal economist Gustave de Molinari (1819 - 1912)). If such private production of defense is possible, then the scholars in this book would suggest that the world would become more peaceful and violence against person and property would be minimized. There may however be problems with this view in the sense that it is unclear how monopoly could be prevented from arising among such competing defense producing insurance agencies which would then lead to greater coercion. Also, as pointed out in one of the essays (though argued against), it is unclear as to whether there is not coercion in any club, organization, or group.Read more ›
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alaric on June 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hoppe here smashes myths surrounding the State's apparatus like a belligerent prohibitionist gentle-lady wielding an axe in a glass bar in the 1920's. Get it from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute at mises.org and help support the further publication and dissemination of scholarship in the same vein as Hoppe has accomplished here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who has puzzled over why, since the age of "public ownership" began the world seems to constantly be at war will appreciate the essays in this book. The way in which the modern ruling class has come into being as a gaggle of people eager to jump out in front of the parade and say "it's me!! I am the one!!" is well illustrated in several different essays.
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