The United Bases Of America And The Paradox Of Imperialism

Tyler Durden's picture

The United States is estimated to have anything from 700 military bases around the world to more than 1000. Hans-Hermann Hoppe asks "how can democracy be a stable equilibrium if it is possible that it be transformed democratically into a dictatorship, i.e., a system which is considered not stable?" Concluding it may be better to heed the advice of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and, instead of aiming to make the world safe for democracy, we try making it safe from democracy - everywhere, but most importantly in the United States.



Excerpted from Hans-Hermann Hoppe via the Ludwig von Mises Institute,

The Paradox Of Imperialism

"Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else."



On theoretical grounds: How can democracy be a stable equilibrium if it is possible that it be transformed democratically into a dictatorship, i.e., a system which is considered not stable? Answer: that makes no sense!

Moreover, empirically democracies are anything but stable. As indicated, in multi-cultural societies democracy regularly leads to the discrimination, oppression, or even expulsion and extermination of minorities — hardly a peaceful equilibrium. And in ethnically homogeneous societies, democracy regularly leads to class warfare, which leads to economic crisis, which leads to dictatorship. Think, for example, of post-Czarist Russia, post-World War I Italy, Weimar Germany, Spain, Portugal, and in more recent times Greece, Turkey, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, and Pakistan.

Not only is this close correlation between democracy and dictatorship troublesome for democratic-peace theorists; worse, they must come to grips with the fact that the dictatorships emerging from crises of democracy are by no means always worse, from a classical liberal or libertarian view, than what would have resulted otherwise. Cases can be easily cited where dictatorships were preferable and an improvement. Think of Italy and Mussolini or Spain and Franco. In addition, how is one to square the starry-eyed advocacy of democracy with the fact that dictators, quite unlike kings who owe their rank to an accident of birth, are often favorites of the masses and in this sense highly democratic? Just think of Lenin or Stalin, who were certainly more democratic than Czar Nicholas II; or think of Hitler, who was definitely more democratic and a "man of the people" than Kaiser Wilhelm II or Kaiser Franz Joseph.

According to democratic-peace theorists, then, it would seem that we are supposed to war against foreign dictators, whether kings or demagogues, in order to install democracies, which then turn into (modern) dictatorships, until finally, one supposes, the United States itself has turned into a dictatorship, owing to the growth of internal state power which results from the endless "emergencies" engendered by foreign wars.

Better, I dare say, to heed the advice of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and, instead of aiming to make the world safe for democracy, we try making it safe from democracy — everywhere, but most importantly in the United States.

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jomama's picture

excellent post.

lolmao500's picture

Hitler was a true democrat, elected and most Germans loved him... like 90%+ easy...

LetThemEatRand's picture

Dancing with the Swastikas.

Terminus C's picture

historical revisionism and made up statistics.  Your dissembling of historical reality only helps convince the uninformed but, in reality, makes you look foolish.  Hitler was not elected with a majority of Germans, but through the mechanations of a proportional democratic system he won a slight majority of the seats in the Reichstag.

Squiddly Diddly's picture

He murdered 77,000 of his own people and they had families.  Guess they didn't feel the love.  USA seems to be following the German script.

Dixie Rect's picture

America!! FUCK YA!

SmallerGovNow2's picture

+1 for the nice rack dude...

Bárðarbunga's picture

In AD 2101

War was beginning

Captain: What happen?

Mechanic: Someone set up us the bomb

Operator: We get signal

Captain: What!

Operator: Main screen turn on

Captain: It's you!

Cats: How are you gentlemen


LetThemEatRand's picture

I'll bite.  What the fuck are you talking about?

Bearwagon's picture

He's reciting the intro of the 1989 computer game "Zero Wing".

ebworthen's picture

Time to re-read Plato's "Republic".

Problem is our current leaders in government and the corporatocracy think they are elites when they are mostly a bunch of jack-booted dopes.

F. Bastiat's picture

Affirmative action doth not intelligence make.

IamtheREALmario's picture

What I find incredibly ironic is how TPTB can transfor a gay, jewish, cocaine head, racist, commie, lying fucktard, who cannot even hold his law license and does not even know his real name , where he is borna nd whether he needs a green card or a fake SS card into the penultimate symbol of power in the western half of earth.

It is a joke, no?

LetThemEatRand's picture

Clearly, the problem is too many "transfors" of gay jewish commie cocaine heads.   Oh look, "ow my balls" is on! 

Peter Pan's picture

Democracy and capitalism are one and the same thing. Where they fall down is when:

1. Public officials and politicians are not punished for being unfaithful to their citizens and the nation.

2. Private individuals steal from the public and are not punished (Corzine etc)

3. Private businesses are not allowed to fail

4. Government is allowed to grow faster than the rest of the nation.

SmallerGovNow2's picture

I'm glad that someone here gets it.  Spot on Peterpan....

yogibear's picture

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

We never stopped fighting WWII........

Scro's picture

I saw that too on Gillian's Island.

Kreditanstalt's picture

"Democracy" is mob rule by the dumbest 50%+1.

booboo's picture

Hoppe is one of our times most brilliant thinkers, he articulates the message so well that once it takes hold you truely understand how to think, act and behave as a free man. I listened to him take Hayek to the woodshed today. 100 years from now his name will be as common as Plato in acedamic circles. He aslo lays to waste the U.S. doctrine of "spreading democracy" and the reasoning that "we will have peace by spreading democracy since democracy's do not war against one another" by pointing out that of all the so called "democratic governments" around the globe they all have a substantial presence of United States Military standing on their soil which would be akin to saying "a state will not war against itself"

Also, since the rise of "democracy" taxes in Europe have risen to 50% of GDP and America, 40% of GDP from single digits under monarchs.

Bastiat's picture


"The New York State Senate today passed a bill that creates the crime of aggravated harassment of a police or peace officer. The bill  (S.2402), sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo (R-C-I, Rome) would make it a felony to harass, annoy, or threaten a police officer while on duty."


"annoy?"   They've got to be kidding.

krispkritter's picture

New York, like California, should be abandoned by all sane persons and left to fail by their own devices.  IMO they cannot be fixed and should be left to implode after they are walled off to prevent the infection from spreading. After the die-off they can be repopulated with those who originally inhabited them and rebuilt from scratch...

Squiddly Diddly's picture

I am making this up:  CNBS reported that an amendment to issue kneepads for the public to worship said "officials" was defeated by the senate as cost prohibitive but worship is an approved response.   Kneeling on the grass would remain illegal as slaves are not worthy of damaging valuable public vegitation.

Citxmech's picture

OMFG.  That is absolutely crazy.  This amounts to saying that "Since the public has lost respect for our arm of power, we will beat you until you sufficiently bend to our will."  "That asshole quoted in the article is a grade "A" douche - would've been right at home in the SS.  Replace every use of  the word"respect" with "fear" and it would be more honest.

q99x2's picture

That is why the geniuses of this century have released BitCoin and other crypto-currencies. They will help prevent the corruption of the system (whatever system) by distributing the wealth of it. You want a society that will make it into the next level of consciousness you distribute the wealth throughout and out of the hands of the oligarchs. I suggest you eliminate the largest of systems such as national and global corporations completely with open source software that is based on the functions of the Constitution. Then as required over time phase out the State bureaucracies. At this point in human development no reason exists to have the concentrations of power and wealth as is.

cherry picker's picture

It is an interesting post.  Tito in Yugoslvaia was good for the country as well.

I wouldn't trust those currently in power in DC to be a "good" dictator, but would give Ron Paul a run for it.

The way they do things now is no longer to the benefit of the country in my view.  It is too bloated, too many elected and un-elected dictators in the USA affecting too many lives.  Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.  "Bad" Dictators have been associated with torture, police state tactics and killings.  Is the US, a so called "democratic" republic any different?

decentralizedscutinizer's picture


There's really only two kinds of people in this republic: Corporatists and Constitutionalists. There are more of the former than you'd think. Most "educated" scholars don't even know which of the two they are. What kind of future would you prefer;  the status quo, or this:  

28th Amendment (The Constitutional Emergency Amendment)

    Corporations are not persons and shall be granted only those rights and privileges that Congress deems necessary for the well-being of the People. Congress shall provide legislation defining the terms and conditions of corporate charters according to their purpose; which shall include, but are not limited to:
    1, prohibitions against any corporation;
    a, owning another corporation,
    b, becoming economically indispensable or monopolistic, or
    c, otherwise distorting the general economy;
    2, prohibitions against any form of intervention in the affairs of government by means of;
    a, congressional lobbying
    b, electoral sponsorship or advocacy
    c, educational sponsorship or publication
    d, media news reporting
    3, provisions for;
    a, the auditing of standardized, current, and transparent account books
    b, closing the FRB and the establishment of state-owned banks
    c, civil and criminal penalties to be suffered by corporate executives et al for violation of the terms of a corporate charter.

Optional: (or possible 29th amendment)

    The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is hereby repealed and Congress shall re-write the U.S. Code to reflect the changes embodied herein. 

    (And repeal the 17th amendment while we're at it.)


Sandmann's picture

Lenin was defeated imn Russia's only proper election in 1918. Why did you ignore Hitler in your discussion ? It was a choice in 1933 between Hitler and a military junta. Stalin was not popular simply over-exposed in the media as was Hitler.

Caveman93's picture

But but we won the Cold War so this is our spoils ...right?

mr. mirbach's picture

There is something cosmically magic about having a military installation at every node of every ley line on the planet, like the US does.

falak pema's picture

so cosmically magic that it costs a real arm and a leg of every US citizen.

Before we chose oligarchy and military dictatorship over democracy lets just contemplate recent western history of the 20th century and remember this famous quote :

Democracy : the wost form of governance barring all others. Its the transition to non transparent governance that kills the cat every time. As we can't see the wood from the trees under dictatorship. Everything is totally manipulated.

Current Pax Americana has taken the world there, under the gun of "terrorism" and "clash of civilisation" and making security and patriot act the cornerstone of modern living; not transparency and analysing cause and effect.

The three cardinal sins of Pax Americana morph : Unilateralism, Diabolising the enemy and making unholy machiavellian alliances with other oligarchies whose values we don't share (Wahhabism, Zionism, State communism turned monopoly slave labour driven capitalism). All to protect a commodity/monetary system that is our lifeblood : arab oil and petrodollar fiat.

Lebensphilosoph's picture

Il n'y a de gouvernement raisonnable et assuré que l'aristocratique. Monarchie ou république basées sur la démocratie sont également absurdes et faibles.

Skin666's picture

Democracy: The God That Failed

scaleindependent's picture

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, the Jesuit intellectual who criticizes those historical figures who desired freedom of religion?

Oh, come on Zerohedge!

The only things keeping us safe and one step away from serfdom are the ten Bill of Rights.

Freedom of religion, to believe, or not to believe as one's conscience dictates being, IMO, the greatest one.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


The only things keeping us safe and one step away from serfdom are the ten Bill of Rights.

Well, then, as the Mogambo Guru would say, we're freakin' doomed.

Terminus C's picture

Yes, this article was mostly pseudo intellectual garbage written by and for a particular groupthink.  I actually only read about half before I could not stomach the propaganda.  The discussion it generated has been good, however.

Shylockracy's picture

Top drawer stuff, Tyler. Thank you.

falak pema's picture

You guys don't read Plato very often. I posted this yesterday on this issue : 

Oligarchy, wrote Plato in the Republic, is government by "greedy men" who love money so much that "they are reluctant to pay taxes" for the common good (Republic VIII, 551e). Although the Greek word "oligarchy" literally means government by the few, Plato spins the word to mean the wealthy few. He thus distinguishes oligarchy from timocracy (from the Greek "timos" or honor), which was also a form of government by the few. For Plato,timocracy is government by a few virtuous men who love honor, whereas oligarchy is government by a few rich men who love money.

Oligarchs believe that the wealth of a society should be redistributed to themselves and their rich cronies, while the rest of the society is reduced to poverty. In fact, observes Plato, nearly all the citizens of an oligarchy are impoverished, except for those in the ruling class who subvert the laws to protect their own interests, leaving the majority of the populace burdened by debt and disenfranchised.

On democracy : Democratic self-government does not work, according to Plato, because ordinary people have not learned how to run the ship of state. They are not familiar enough with such things as economics, military strategy, conditions in other countries, or the confusing intricacies of law and ethics. They are also not inclined to acquire such knowledge. 

On Plato in general :
Monedas's picture

So North Korea is Timocracy .... and South Korea is Oligarchy ?  I'll take my chances in South Korea .... thank you very much .... I have this obsession .... with eating !

tip e. canoe's picture

"timocracy is government by a few virtuous men who love honor"

good on you to bring Plato into this falak.   it seems that humans have not evolved one iota since his time.

agree with his views on the fallacies of democracy.    here's the question though: if his assumptions on "ordinary humans" are correct, then how can one be assured that a timocracy can be created in practice?   that is to say, in a world where morality is a slippery slope and ideals like honor are a smoke & mirrors game, how can those "few virtuous men" be found to run a government?

i'm just wondering aloud whether Plato was trading one false ideal for another.

Sean7k's picture

Plato was one of the priviledged class, but was not allowed to participate in the oligarchy. This idea stems from his frustration. He equates himself with the people that would rule from honor. As if there has ever been a collective group that rules from honor?

When you transfer sovereignty from the individual to another in a manner that is not COMPLETELY voluntary, you seed the garden of tyranny.

Agent 440's picture

Don't buy the hype. McDonalds has branches all over the world as well. The Von Mises Institute is dead wrong on this one, this is hating the state the for the sake of hating the state.

Having a couple thousand free-spending GIs permantly staioned nearby is considered a blessing by the majority of these countries. And it has gone a long way to promoting peace and still can. I won't argue it's perfect or without hazards and risk of abuse, but there are still much worse characters loose than the US.

Having a US base is a luxury good. It means you're nation is now worth something and you've made it. : )

SmallerGovNow2's picture

luxury for the country perhaps, but a huge burden for that small percent of us that pay taxes.  this author seems to be promoting dictatorship and bashing democracy.  we don't have true democracy any more.  how about we keep just a handful of strategic bases in cooperation with partner countries and bring everyone else home.  then secure our own borders.  return the government to constitutional principles.  awe shit, ain't gonna happen...

Monedas's picture

Ya know this guy is for Single Payer Obamacare .... it's simple, direct and efficient .... LOL !

RaceToTheBottom's picture

The buren is paid for in two ways:  Taxes, which you imply that you pay and the "little people" don't, and the deficit financed and driven devaluation of the dollar, which everyone who uses the dollar pays for.

Monedas's picture

Some countries are so crushingly cruel .... a good cleansing invasion .... is like a hot coffee enema !