More Campus Outrage – The Hoppe Affair

"There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and removed from society. Likewise, in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal. They – the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism – will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order."

Hans-Hermann Hoppe Democracy, The God That Failed

Over at Catallaxy, Rafe Champion has backed Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe‘s successful struggle against his employer – the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. So has the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

In case you haven’t been following this latest campus outrage, here’s a synopsis.

Hoppe, a Professor of economics, was lecturing his Economics 303 class about time preferences in March last year. According to UNLV student newspaper Rebel Yell:

…Hoppe said that homosexuals tend to plan less for the future than heterosexuals.

Factors Hoppe offered to support his statement were the ideas that homosexuals live riskier lifestyles and tend not to have children.

Hoppe then went on to address theories that economist John Maynard Keynes may have been influenced by his homosexuality when he adopted his "spend it now" philosophy to keep the economy strong and cyclical, suggesting that homosexuality entails spontaneity.

Michael Knight, a student in Hoppe’s class, was offended and lodged an informal complaint. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that:

"He was stereotyping homosexuals – we don’t have any family values; we don’t know how to manage our money; we basically just blow all our money immediately — that was my take on it," said Knight, who is gay. "When the door closes and the lecture began, he needs to make sure he is remaining as politically correct as possible."

Knight told the Chronicle of Higher Education’s David Glenn that: "I was just shocked and appalled. I said to myself, Where the hell is he getting this information from? I was completely surprised, and that’s why I went to the university about this." When Hoppe remained unapologetic Knight made his complaint formal. After various attempts at mediation and an administrative review, a grievance committee recommended that Hoppe be reprimanded and lose his merit pay.

UNLV Provost, Raymond Alden, sent Hoppe a ‘letter of instruction’ (pdf) which informed Hoppe that the committee:

specifically determined that purportedly empirical statements in your lectures regarding homosexuals and time preferences were not supported by peer reviewed academic literature. These statements of alleged facts had the effect of being discriminatory and creating a hostile learning environment because they were not qualified as opinions, theories without experimental/statistical support, topics open to debate, or otherwise limited.

Hoppe protested and sought legal advice. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal "The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, on Hoppe’s behalf, sent a letter to UNLV officials alleging that the university violated Hoppe’s free speech rights and his right to academic freedom." The university eventually decided to withdraw the reprimand with UNLV President Carol Harter saying: "I believe professors are entitled the freedom to teach theories and to espouse opinions that are out of the mainstream or are controversial" (pdf).

Hoppe’s side of the dispute appears on the Hans-Hermann Hoppe Victory Blog. Knight discusses his experience on his own weblog.

As for that Hoppe quote this post began with…. Hoppe told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Nowhere do I say that the various ‘offenders,’ such as communists, democrats, etc., may not be allowed to found their own communities, based on their own principles … after all I am a libertarian, as my entire life’s work attests to."

I guess you’ll have to read the book and make up your own mind.

This entry was posted in Law. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

Hoppe was, according to his account, giving examples of the concept of time preference – the ratio at which people will surrender gratification now to larger gratification later. People with higher time preferences are supposed to prefer less now to more later on.

He advanced the idea that homosexuals, who are unlikely to raise children, might have a higher time preference. I don’t know how sensible it is to link child rearing to time preference (talk to Centrelink workers to find out why), but the point is that Hoppe’s comments about time preferences apply to *anyone* with a high time preference, not homosexuals in particular.

In any case, it was an almighty blue and he stuck it out. I think he may have been wrong theoretically, but he was clearly within his contractual and (in the USA) constitutional rights to say what he did.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

“…will surrender gratification now to larger gratification later”

Pardon me, they will *prefer* immediate gratification.

For example, I might prefer $100 now to $105 in a week. However I would prefer to take $300 in a week over $100 now. The ratio at which I trade time and gratification is my time preference.

This idea is pretty central to Austrian economics, as it forms the basis of the rate of interest in a free market.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

One more thing. The quotation you reproduce above is universally produced whenever Hoppe is discussed these days. It seemed – well – rather unlibertarian, so I fossicked around to see if it may have been taken out of context.

According to one poster at Mises.org, it has, with the full passage reading thus:

“In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance towards democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society. Likewise in a covenant founded for the purpose of protecting family and kin, there can be no tolerance toward those habitually promoting lifestyles incompatible with this goal.”

ie, it is about convenanted, contract-based societies (plural). Not some kind of general call to libertarian warfare in society (singular) at-large.

meika
2022 years ago

which means that within three generations at very most everybody will be expelled..

only clones of Hoppe could live there, and then only maybe

biases for social grouping are, I hazard a guess, only 40-50% learnt (social construction) from one’s group, 20-30% learnt through reflection on one’s group and personal experience, and the rest some genetic predisposition with regard to the perception of risk (to nature, morality, Mr Economy) and even time preference

Hoppe in his preferred feudal libertarianism world would have to exclude some 60% plus of humanity

weirdo, I’m glad he don’t have a real job

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Apparently Hoppe wasn’t too happy that his system hasn’t yet been implemented in Guatemala. He wins the award for Biggest Faux Pas – what not to do at dinner (more interesting stuff on this thread by a libertarian critic of HHH):
http://www.tomgpalmer.com/archives/014584.php
(As he asked my friends in Guatemala when they took him to a restaurant: “Do Indians eat in the same restaurants as white people?”

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

“If anyone can tell me just how flinging insults about the Cato and Mises Institutes around on a weblog deals with their respective stances on immigration, I would love to be enlightened… Being involved in high school level debate I can honestly say that if anyone on my policy debate team conducted an argument like this they would promptly get the boot. This is really quite pointless.” — ‘Barrett’, from the same thread.

Graham
2022 years ago

This Hoppe guy is weird. But Voltaire and all that…

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

another weird fact – he was a student of Habermas. Poor guy but typical zealous convert…

http://www.mises.org/journals/aen/aen198.asp

AEN: Did your teacher J

mark
2022 years ago

Jacques, Hoppe seems no less of a nutcase to me in your expanded version as in Don’s quotation.

His choice of homosexuals and commentary on same looks to be about as stupid as we’re likely to see without actively seeking out the idiots in society. That’s not to say he should lose his job, however. There’s something indefinably but creepily /right-wing/ about trying to get him fired for saying something we disagree with…

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

Like Jacques I can see nothing wrong with hypothesizing that childless people, inclusing most gays, might put a higher than average premium on present consumption (although I don’t get the risk bit). Hoppe would deserve rebuke only if he were making an empirical claim where no evidence existed. I seem to remember that there was a proposal some years ago to remove whatever protection academics might have from civil litigation. The idea was that if your professor made a demonstrably false claim in class that subsequently caused you to lose money, you could sue them for any resulting pecuniary disadvantage. I’m not sure how exactly one could lose money through a mistaken belief that gays have a low subjective discount rate, but this could be a promising avenue for the agrieved Mr Knight.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

meika;

If the gated community winds up as a society composed of Hoppe clones, the point is that it’s their business. My personal objection to Hoppe’s theories of immigration is that they may form a basis for long term autarky; though trade would perform a central role in encouraging communities to remain in open relations.

mark,

Once we set limits of what is a “wise” example and an “unwise” example, the academics may as well pack their bags and make for the Lysenko Academy of Socialist Biology. It’s just not good enough. If you can challenge straightlaced white conservative students with any old pomo muck, then you can challenge gay students with any old Hoppean muck.

James,

I agree that Hoppe may have conflated risk with time preference, as properly understood the two are very different things. Maybe this is a misinterpretation arising from the description of the case, but still, it’s not an accurate connection.

Rafe
2022 years ago

The most important thing to note is that Don has agreed that the move against Hoppe was wrong. I dont know if he is prepared to take the next logical step and agree that if leftwing political correctness is a serious problem on US campuses then drawing attention to it should not be stigmatized as whinging.

mark
2022 years ago

Jacques, I agree that there should not be limits on what is and is not a wise example. But, being a smartarse — and a university student — I still must reserve the right to point out whenever someone *has* used an incredibly unwise example. In an ideal world: I (and you, if you so desire) get to point and laugh at Hoppe, but he doesn’t get sacked.

Rafe, the vast — /vast/, no, *vast* — majority of “drawing attention to leftwing [PC]” *is* whingeing. As is complaining to Hoppe’s employers. It’s no more legitimate to complain — to choose a random but sadly prevalent example — about teachers refusing to push creationism than it is for people to complain that Hoppe was being a big meanie.

It’s impossible to deny that there *is* a lot of stupidity coming from faculties around the world, especially in light of some of the stuff I’ve read over the past few days (a feminist deconstruction of contract law principles!). But (i.e., “yes, *but*…”) almost all we hear about university lecturers is from conservative students upset because their teacher doesn’t share their personal prejudices. It *is* whingeing, and to deny it is to ignore the facts in favour of barracking for one’s own tribe — no different than if I were to bay for Hoppe’s blood because I don’t like his Libertarian ideology.