10 votes

Private Military Defense In An Anarcho-Capitalist Society?

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.

Continue Reading

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

For those with objection or suggestions

For other topics to cover, please let me know. I plan to expand this series and keep it going as long as there are still interesting topics to cover and objections to deflect!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Excellent read

Love the anarcho-cap days. Its fun breaking down preconceived statist

nice article. now we just

nice article. now we just have to convince enough people that anarchy is the answer.

f___ all forms of govt.


And that's exactly what we're tryin to do!

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

It would undoubtedly work

It would undoubtedly work like it did in the Middle Ages after the breakdown of centralized government and the rise of feudalism, which initially was voluntary.

Ventura 2012

One would think those

One would think those fancying themselves the serfs in the current day version of that plot, would have learned enough not to give up their means of self defense.

Current day (and 100 years ago, and 1000 years ago. It's a pretty stable system) Afghanistan is probably a better roadmap than feudal Europe.


Keep'em coming, MarcMadness. Everyone should read "Chaos Theory," "Private Production of Defense," and Rothbard's "For a New Liberty."

"It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go - maybe even longer. If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play Go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs." - Piet Hut

Thanks for the kind words

Those are the same works I'd recommend to just about everyone, right after they start off with "Anatomy of the State" as a primer.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Reminds me of

Private police forces that used to exist (and I think still do occasionally). I know San Fan used to have them.

Detroit has something like that...

More a public security force.


LOL New sign over Motor city!!! BEWARE: Be AnyWhere But Here!