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No living writer today is more effective at stripping away the illusions almost everyone has about economics and public life. More fundamentally, Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe causes the scales to fall from one’s eyes on the most critical issue facing humanity today: the choice between liberty and statism.
The Great Fiction, published by Laissez Faire Books, is an expansive collection of his writings centering on the theme of the rise of statism and its theoretical underpinning. Some essays have been published in mostly obscure or offbeat places, while others are new and have never appeared in print. Together they constitute a devastating indictment of the many forms of modern despotism and a sweeping reconstruction of the basis of state management itself.
The title comes from a quotation by Frederic Bastiat, the 19th-century economist and pamphleteer: “The state is the great fiction by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” He does not say that this is one feature of the state, one possible aspect of public policy gone wrong, or one sign of a state gone bad in a shift from its night-watchman role to become confiscatory. Bastiat is characterizing the core nature of the state itself.
The whole of Hoppe’s writings on politics can be seen as an elucidation on this point. He sees the state as a gang of thieves that uses propaganda as a means of disguising its true nature. In fleshing this out, Hoppe has made tremendous contributions to the literature, showing how the state originates and how the intellectual class helps perpetuate this cover-up, whether in the name of science, or religion, or the provision of some service like health, security, education, or whatever. The excuses are forever changing; the functioning and goal of the state are always the same.
This particular work goes beyond politics, however, to show the full range of Hoppe’s thought on issues of economics, history, scientific methodology, and the history of thought. It is divided into five sections: Politics and Property, Money and the State, Economic Theory, The Intellectuals, and Biographical. The content ranges from highly structured academic pieces to prepared lectures to impromptu interviews. Together they present an example sampling of his perspective a range of issues.