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Democracy--The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  558 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
The core of this book is a systematic treatment of the historic transformation of the West from monarchy to democracy. Revisionist in nature, it reaches the conclusion that monarchy is a lesser evil than democracy, but outlines deficiencies in both. Its methodology is axiomatic-deductive, allowing the writer to derive economic and sociological theorems, and then apply them ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 30th 2001 by Transaction Publishers (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Monica Perez
Dec 14, 2009 Monica Perez rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowing. I had wondered what went wrong and when and started to think maybe it was more WWI than the Civil War, then I thought further, where did the founders go wrong? What should they have put in the constitution to forestall the massive growth of the federal government, then concluded, they did all they could. If everyone who had sworn to uphold the constitution had in good faith tried to do so, the founders' dream would have been realized but no. My conclusion? A just government in the ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing
Hoppe's argument is essentially a well-executed follow through of Etienne de la Boetie's call to "support [the tyrant] no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces." Hoppe does an excellent job extending this line of logic into the modern democratic era. In doing so, he rightfully understands that the institution of the state functions as a monopolist over a territorial region. Consequently, Hoppe ...more
Mike Fox
Apr 30, 2011 Mike Fox rated it it was amazing
To make a comparison, if reading For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard was akin to a refreshing splash of water on the face, Democracy: The God that Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe is akin to being blasted in the face with a fire hose. Dr. Hoppe has, in my opinion, set the bar for original, intellectual, scholarly work with Democracy. There is one graph in the entire book. The graph contains two asymptotes representing a shift in personality arising from the transition from childhood to adulthood, ...more
Nov 05, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it
Democracy is often considered the best political system among the alternatives. Though he does not endorse either system, Hoppe argues that between the two, monarchy has many advantages, not the least of which include greater individual liberty and prosperity. He makes a convincing case.
Mar 16, 2012 Bernie rated it really liked it
This is the second time that I read “Democracy the God that Failed”, by Hans-Herman Hoppe. The first time I gave it three stars. This time I upped its celestial rating by one star. It is a deep book. For most people it will be contrary to their sensibilities as proud Americans….and contrary to what they have been taught. For it is a critical “Austrian view of an American age”…. That is, it is an Austrian Economics school view of world democratization.

Still, if one carefully looks to the US foun
Jonathan Sargent
Jan 09, 2015 Jonathan Sargent rated it liked it
What starts out as an argument against democracy eventually devolves into an argument for an anarcho-capitalist society run by multinational insurance companies. Democracy: The God That Failed has many flaws, but for anyone moderately interested in history, political theory, and political philosophy would be wise to read Hoppe's book. It has a several flaws and will probably have left-wing types foaming at the mouth most of the time, but it's a well-written collection of radical libertarian ...more
M.G. Bianco
Dec 12, 2013 M.G. Bianco rated it really liked it
Been wanting to read this book for awhile, finally have. Over time, I've found myself with a leaning toward monarchy--not sure why. Hoppe provides some excellent examples in this book of why democracies are inherently bad. Throughout, he tends to contrast democracies with either monarchies or anarcho-capitalist communities. While he obviously favors the latter, he has many good things to say for the former.

One point of interest is that he rarely says anything bad about monarchies. When he does,
Apr 26, 2016 Thomas rated it it was ok
This collection of essays is a mixed bag. Hoppe's arguments for the superiority (well, really the less-badness) of monarchy over democracy are startling and persuasive, and he does a good job showing the nonsensical nature of theories of the social contract and the entire concept of democratic representation. His arguments for anarcho-capitalism are less interesting, original and persuasive. Nor is his description of his ideal stateless society based solely on private property and contracts ...more
Kathryn Muratore
Jun 28, 2009 Kathryn Muratore rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: politically "deep"
Expectedly, Hoppe does not hold back views that may rub people the wrong way. If you are capable of looking past your first emotional reaction to his words, you will see that there is a logical consistency that he is arguing. He is also not saying unpopular things just for the wow factor. Rather, he tries to systematically take ethical and economic truths to their logical conclusions.

This book is a collection of essays that have been published individually before. They are put together at 13 dif
Sep 05, 2016 Syen rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics
This is the second book from the "Mises Institute" that I have started that & had very high hopes for. After finishing it I was left with an irritating feeling that author leaves everything in the middle. So lets discuss pros quickly before I go to cons, which are so many of them.
1. The author lists various cons of democracy and each con is given a separate chapter where each topic is discussed.
2. The comparison between democracy, oligarchy, monarchy & communism is taken up througho
Richard Ward
Sep 21, 2015 Richard Ward rated it liked it
A series of speeches now committed to paper. The first few chapters are true to the book's title. He shows how democracy triumphed over monarchy. It wasn't by people becoming more enlightened, changing their minds as a result of sound reason. Instead democratic governments merely used brute force to impose their wills on other governments. Although monarchy is bad, democracy is worse still. He shows how it's democracies, not monarchies, that run up astronomical debt; turn into nanny states; ...more
Adrián Sánchez
Mar 25, 2016 Adrián Sánchez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libertarismo
Son varios ensayos donde compara la monarquía con la democracia y demuestra que ese sistema puede degenerar la moral y la intelectualidad en la sociedad al largo plazo además de tener el potencial de crear regímenes totalitarios, además de estar caracterizado por un sistema burocrático demasiado enredado llegando a la conclusión de que la democracia podría ser inclusive un mal superior a la monarquía donde sería más fácil rebelarse dado que sabes quién es el responsable del sistema (el rey), ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Haley rated it it was amazing
Highly thought provoking. Not an easy read, very chewy ideas that require a fair bit of time to digest and sink in.

Probably not a beginner read if you're not already accustomed to some of the ideas of liberty but HHH offers compelling and not easily refutable arguments in defense of his ultimate argument that, contrary to popular opinion, democracy leads to a degradation of society and is not actually an improvement to the old monarchical systems of the past.

Ultimately, however, he argues the be
Daniel Valle
Dec 23, 2014 Daniel Valle rated it it was amazing
Great book though I would like to point out three things:
1. I don't find this to be H³'s magnum opus (The Economics and Ethics of Private Property is more "magnus opus-y")
2. Because the book is based on several speeches it can be somewhat repetitive, especially towards the middle (a reason for why I don't find this book his magnum opus)
3. It's not a book for the faint of heart: if you don't know how to not hate (leave your preconceptions at the door) you'll very likely reject this book out of ha
Aug 13, 2013 Alexx rated it liked it
I liked his critique of Democracy, and his application of time preference to civilization, but I disliked his paleo conservative views and anti-multiculturalism and anti-immigration. I do think he tries to interject his personal beliefs in what he envisions to come about spontaneously in a free society.
Aug 13, 2015 Maximus rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Exceptional critique of the democratic order & state aggrandizement... His solutions are also very interesting, promoting secession & decentralization in order to allow an environment in which the natural elite might return, and wherein people might flourish based on the reinstalled foundation of private property.
Daniel Moss
Aug 19, 2016 Daniel Moss rated it it was amazing
So eyeopening. I love the use of economic theory to develop political theory, and to top it off, the use of empiricism to show how this political theory is in fact what has happened in the last 100 years.
Michael Kenan  Baldwin
Often rigorous and powerful, yet deeply flawed.
Michael Marsh
Nov 12, 2016 Michael Marsh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, history
Democracy: The God that Failed is a wittily written and essential read for libertarians and non-libertarians alike. I've actually just now read it after a personal departure from "pure" libertarian thought, and (predictably) found the bits about conservatism, aristocracy, and monarchy vastly more interesting than the bits that repeated the same ol' AnCap talking points for the 6 millionth time (although they'll obviously be fresher to others).

Above all else, this book injects a much-needed strai
Oct 09, 2016 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Devastating critique of democracy from a libertarian perspective. Fully develops arguments first put forward by Rothbard.
Alex Zakharov
Jan 04, 2014 Alex Zakharov rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read and a must-know critique of democracy.

Hoppe is relentless in showing how various facets of governing and state evolution are bound to enter an irredeemable downward spiral once democracy is adopted as a form of government. Broadly speaking many tendencies are correctly identified and make praxeological sense, but in practice praxeology is often out of synch with historical record and in the limit axiomatic deductions tend to be out of synch with actual human behavior. Still Hoppe’
João Ribeiro Alves
Sep 26, 2016 João Ribeiro Alves rated it it was amazing
Excepcional! One of the most importants books ever!
Jun 23, 2013 Christopher rated it liked it
A clear and honest but overly repetitive argument in favor of an anarcho-capitalist system rooted in pure libertarianism. I find little to argue with in its criticism of the past 200 years of social and political "de-civilization" however I find two faults with the book:

Firstly, footnotes. Literally, half of the book is comprised of small-font footnotes; footnotes not simply citing a source, but footnotes including voluminous paragraphs from the source. Some pages are comprised of nothing but fo
Trey Smith
Mar 03, 2016 Trey Smith rated it it was amazing
Hoppe's Democracy-The God that Failed is a must read for any serious student of political philosophy. Hoppe's analysis of monarchy as private government ownership yielding longer time preference than democracy as public ownership of government proves the decline of civilization that is also evidenced by increased government waste, increased positive law, increased in war, and moral decay post WWI. Such an analysis further turns the classical liberal idea of limited government on its head in ...more
Giovani Facchini
Mar 18, 2016 Giovani Facchini rated it liked it
This is really an excellent book in many aspects. I do agree with most and almost all the points about both problems and disadvantages of Monarchy and Democracy.
History of many democratic countries shows how the leviathan is growing and oppressing people taking away their freedom, heavily taxing their work and stealing their money through inflation.

The main problem with his argument is the certainty. Some statements are too strict and do not allow for human ability to avoid democracy oppression.
Jacob Aitken
While I only agree with half of the book, I give it five stars for brilliance. In the first half, Hoppe argues that democracies introduce elements of decivilization and ultimately pave the way for barbarism. He documents how countries actually became poorer when they moved from monarchies to democracies.

His most interesting point is his thesis that World War 1 marked the end of civiliation. He is correct.

To the reviewer that said Hoppe argues for constitutional monarchies over democracies, taht
Oct 23, 2009 Kelsey rated it really liked it
1st half was great.
Understanding time preference really helped me understand society better. In particular, why we have a high time preference (read consumerist) culture.

Part of the 1st chapter on time preference here -

Shorter essay on the same subject here.

I have major issues with some stuff in the later half.
Matt Swartz
Aug 17, 2007 Matt Swartz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of essays discusses the failures of electoral politics and the possibilites of anarcho-capitalism. I appreciated the former treatment more than the latter. The social aspects of the (hypothectical) anarcho-capitalist society were mostly overlooked, and I think that's a shame.

That being said, this book deserves four stars because the editor had an original concept, none of the articles were impenetrable, practical examples abounded, and the last chapter is on guerilla warfare (no
Marco den Ouden
Sep 06, 2016 Marco den Ouden rated it really liked it
An interesting and controversial book. There are parts i agree with but much I disagree with. I plan to do a detailed review at a later date. You'll find that review when it appears, on my blog, The Jolly Libertarian at Check the index and you'll find it there under Democracy: The God That Failed. There are three preliminary articles so far as I intend to review the book in a fair amount of detail over time.
Jul 02, 2015 Marrkvz rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Very enlighting discussion of the transition from monarchy to democracy, which our author sees, contra the current orthodoxy, as a fateful error.
Contains also great insights about the nature and necessities of civilization, a libertarian case against free-immigration, the case in favor of unlimited secession as a fform of libertarian strategy,, and much more.
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“If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.” 9 likes
“In accordance with his high time preference, he may want to be a vagabond, a drifter, a drunkard, a junkie, a daydreamer, or simply a happy go-lucky kind of guy who likes to work as little as possible in order to enjoy each and every day to the fullest.” 7 likes
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