Democracy: The God That Failed

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Democracy: The God That Failed
Cover of the first edition
AuthorHans-Hermann Hoppe
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)

Democracy: The God That Failed is a 2001 book by Hans-Hermann Hoppe containing thirteen essays on democracy. Passages in the book oppose universal suffrage and favor "natural elites".[1] The book helped popularize Hoppe on the far-right.[1][2]

Hoppe is a German-born economist who was a professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is associated with the Mises Institute, a libertarian think tank.[1]


In the book, Hoppe argues that democracy is a cause of civilizational decline.[3] The book "examines modern democracies in the light of various evident failures" which, in Hoppe's view, include rising unemployment rates, expanding public debt, and insolvent social security systems. He attributes democracy's failures to pressure groups seeking increased government expenditures, regulations and taxation and a lack of counter-measures to them. Potential solutions he discusses include secession, "shifting of control over the nationalised wealth from a larger, central government to a smaller, regional one" and "complete freedom of contract, occupation, trade and migration introduced".[4]

Hoppe characterizes democracy as "publicly owned government", and when he compares it with monarchy—"privately owned government"—he concludes that the latter is preferable; however, Hoppe aims to show that both monarchy and democracy are deficient systems compared to his preferred structure for advancing civilization—something he calls the natural order, a system free of both taxation and coercive monopoly in which jurisdictions freely compete for adherents. In his Introduction, he lists other names used elsewhere to refer to this concept of "natural order", including "ordered anarchy", "private property anarchism", "anarcho-capitalism", "autogovernment", "private law society", and "pure capitalism".[5]

The title of the work is an allusion to The God that Failed, a 1949 work in which six authors who formerly held communist views describe their experience of and subsequent disillusion with communism.


The book helped popularize Hoppe in the far-right, particularly a section of the book that called for the expulsion of political rivals.[1][2] Asked by The Intercept in 2021 about his incorporation into far-right internet memes celebrating political murder, Hoppe responded that the question was ignorant, writing, "I have been an intellectual champion of private property right, free markets, freedom of contract and association, and peace", and, "What do I know? There are lots of crazy people out there!"[2]

Walter Block, a colleague of Hoppe's at the Mises Institute, reviewed the book in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology and gave it a generally favorable review, writing, "This book will take by storm the field of political economy, and no one interested in these topics can afford to be without it."[6]

In a 2017 perspective article in The Washington Post about libertarian connections with the alt-right, John Ganz wrote that Hoppe's book "cites specious scholarship on the IQ differences inherent in race to support his arguments, presents an 'anarcho-capitalist' defense of segregation as the prerogative of property owners, and is so unabashedly anti-egalitarian he doubts the basic humanity of people who don’t fit into his ideological schema."[7]

Publishing history[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Slobodian, Quinn (2023). Crack-up capitalism: market radicals and the dream of a world without democracy (First ed.). New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-1-250-75390-8.
  2. ^ a b c Ketcham, Christopher (2021-02-04). "What the Far-Right Fascination With Pinochet's Death Squads Should Tell Us". The Intercept. Retrieved 2023-08-13.
  3. ^ Sedgwick, Mark, ed. (2019). "Mencius Moldbug and Neoreaction". Key Thinkers of the Radical Right: Behind the New Threat to Liberal Democracy. United States: Oxford University Press. p. 191. ISBN 9780190877606.
  4. ^ R.M. Pearce, National Observer (Australia), No. 56, Autumn 2003.
  5. ^ Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Introduction to Democracy, The God That Failed, reprinted at Ludwig von Mises Institute website.
  6. ^ Block, Walter E. (2002). "Democracy: The God that Failed: A Review". American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 61. SSRN 1946360. American Journal of Economics and Sociology No. 3.
  7. ^ Ganz, John (2021-10-28). "Perspective | Libertarians have more in common with the alt-right than they want you to think". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-08-13.