Private Military Defense In An Anarcho-Capitalist Society?Submitted by Marc Clair on Wed, 10/10/2012 - 12:46
The general assumption that most people in our society make, including many libertarians, is that at a minimum we need the existence of a State to form an army and protect the citizens of the land from all of the Evil Foreign Menaces the world over just itching to bomb the living daylights out of us. And of course, the only way to do this “fairly” is to forcefully extract the money from all of the citizens of the land, otherwise not everyone would chip in and defense would be unsustainable.
To begin to understand how military defense would work in an anarcho-capitalist society, we must first begin to rethink what “military defense” actually means. Wars are typically fought between States, usually in a dispute over land or resources of some kind. In today’s world we have the “War on Terror”, meant to track down every possible “terrorist” around the world and stop them before they commit a horrific act against of some kind. In reality, practically all acts of terrorism are committed either by a State or State-funded actors, or by various groups rebelling against a State that is occupying territory they claim to be their own. A stateless, anarcho-capitalist society would remove many of these conditions. There would be no wars of aggression against other States, and their would be no large occupying forces or military bases abroad creating enemies. In fact, a society such as this with bustling free markets would likely be very wealthy and be an excellent international trading partner. There would be no central entity with which a foreign government could have a dispute. At worst, any dispute with a foreign State would be between that State and possibly a single individual or a private company. And without a central government “representing” an entire geographical area, there would be no reason for a foreign country to invade a large region if they did have such a dispute.
All of that aside, it is certainly recognized that the entire planet will likely not be a perfect anarcho-capitalist society anytime soon, and even if some regions of anarcho-capitalism do pop up and prosper, there will always be some sort of governments out there that could potentially pose a military threat to a society. Anarcho-capitalist theorists in no way disregard this possibility. Many such as Hans Herman-Hoppe (“The Private Production of Defense”) and Robert Murphy (“Chaos Theory”) have addressed the issue in depth. I will attempt to address the issue in slightly less depth here in blog post form, but I hope to create the foundation for understanding how private defense could work under a system of anarcho-capitalism.