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A question to anarchists

I consider myself open minded. I recognize that I have been bombarded for the nearly 40 years of my life with the philosophy that more and bigger government is necessary. The result of that philosophy has been the success of a two party duopoly that by force have oppressed any conflicting opinions to the way they would like to govern.
So I can agree with ending the FED, FEMA, the DEA, the NSA, the IRS, the Dept. of Education, and probably a whole bunch of Departments I've never heard of.

My question is, hypothetically, if the US became a system defined by the principles of anarchy, how would this system raise an organized army to resist an invasion by another country intent on enforcing its own system of governance?

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no government will ever

no government will ever invade a country of 100 million armed citizens. if a country tried to bomb us, we could send a group, infiltrate, and destroy whoever was responsible. anarchy equals freedom.

f___ all forms of govt.

oops didnt mean to post

oops didnt mean to post twice.

f___ all forms of govt.

no government will ever

no government will ever invade a country of 100 million armed citizens. if a country tried to bomb us, we could send a group, infiltrate, and destroy whoever was responsible. anarchy equals freedom.

f___ all forms of govt.

Well regulated Militia

I once used Bastiat's essay on disbanding troops (https://mises.org/daily/6304/The-Disbanding-of-Troops) for my defense against gun control. I think it would equally apply to the anarchist's solution to national defense.

My argument was like -
I don't agree that maintaining a standing peace-time army is some-how beneficial upto a given size. IMO, there is a net production loss to the nation to even maintain a standing peace-time army of few hundred people. The article explains why reduction of standing army and leaving money in the hands of the general public are a good things. However Bastiat didn't cover the topic of adequate security in light of disbanding the troops in that article. The answer to adequate security when reducing standing armies is well regulated militia.

The question in the end of the article -
>> If, when every compensation is made, and all interests satisfied, there is a national profit in increasing the army, why not enroll under its banners the entire male population of the country?
Eventhough he posed that question to point out the fallacy in supporting a standing peace-time army, it also gives food for thought on how every citizen can help with the security of the nation. A militia is both productive to the economy as well as guarantee security to the locality. And individuals with firearms form such a militia.

I also read this awesome quote somewhere in DP -
"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass." - Japenese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Private military forces?

Also in the absence of fiat money ('cos fiat money leads to military adventurism), people and corporations can hire private military forces for large-scale protection and border patrol. These forces will not be above the law of the land and cannot infringe upon the rights of the people.

Everything falls back to ending the Fed right?

tasmlab's picture

I digress, but if we were to try...

I digress, but if we were to try living without a standing army, we might want the US to cool off for a generation or two. If we went cold turkey tomorrow I think there would be some other countries still pissed at us for all the murder we commit around the globe.

Not to mention the debt we're going to default on. I could see the Chinese wanting their stuff back after we stick them for a trillion in unpaid debt while gladly taking all of their consumer goods they could've used themselves instead of toiling away in poverty.

This is more of a current events view rather than the armchair anarchism discussion.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

I look at the the

I look at the the Constitution as a deeply flawed document that servred beautifully to forward humanity closer to self government. To go back and patch it up or to just adhere to it as is is to move backwards. The non-aggression principle, the right of self-defense, philosophical/peaceful parenting, and non-violent communication (NVC) are important aspect that will be instrumental in reducing the amount of psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, and those with tendencies to a manageble number. This is a generational approach just like the Fabians and will work just like their plot to implement socialism.

The concern for a voluntarystic societies defense is hopefully transitional one. In the early years their could be a need to fend off an invader but I believe the more invitable scenario is if this geographic territory (north america with her big moat, could organize horizontally and check all power hierarchies; then just as the American Revolution started a firestorm of revolutions, other peoples will want to be as free and prosperous. Individuals will lofically see how much more joyous life can be when we communicate with empathy.

This is the only logical path forward that allows humanity to achieve great things like interstellar travel. My long view is positive.

There is a difference between anarchy and anarchism.

Anarchy is simply the absence of any government or state, that may or may not be expressed violently, while anarchism is a political philosophy that defines a stateless society of self governing individuals. There has never been to my knowledge any society that was successfully anarchistic.

Anarchy is linked in most people's minds with nihilism which was a stream of thought and action arising from a critique of the "critical" philosophy of Immanuel Kant by Friedrich Jacobi that comes to the conclusion that all rationalism (Philosophy as criticism) reduces to nihilism.

In the political nihilism as manifested in 19th. century Russia the targets of the nihilists were the traditional family, law and government. They proposed destruction of these without suggesting any structures to replace them. This movement was then combined with the Marxist theory of scientific socialism to produce a potent brew of justified revolutionary destruction and the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat leading to the pure stateless Communist society. These notions resulted in the Russian Revolution of 1917. These nihilists were the bomb carrying anarchists of popular imagination who carried out many assassinations of aristocrats and other high ranking figures in the late 19th. century and pre-WWI Europe. These acts of political violence were praised as heroic deeds by Marx himself.

The final society envisaged in Marxist-Leninism bears a close resemblance in my view to that ideal condition envisioned by the true anarchist and there is indeed a stream of political thought called anarcho-communism. Given the fragmenting tendencies of all political movements it seems very unlikely that any of these political philosophies will achieve their objectives whether peacefully or violently.

The only successful political movements, so far as I can see, have been those of small elites using deception to gain support from the masses by appealing to their desires and appetites and manipulating this support into a kind of perpetual domination of society. These small elites have been ostensibly unmasked and replaced by others from time to time but the same social edifice is re-established and many of the old order remain in power to rule the new order. This at least is my personal observation and I am sure it is not a novel one.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

There has been..

"There has never been to my knowledge any society that was successfully anarchistic."

In Spain, during the Spanish Civil War in 1936–39 there was quite a few cities, including the capital, that went to Anarchism, even some being pure Anarchy(my fav), but after Franco won the army shut it down and tried to capture most of the people. There is a documentary about it from firsthand accounts, people saying how wonderful those 3 years were and how they never felt so free..
There has also been Native Tribes that lived in an anarchist society as well.

It works beautifully because it's personal and people actually have power over their lives, we just have to get people to truly understand what it is exactly. Most hear the word and think chaos, but that's not what the philosophy is about at all. It can be very organized, but never controlled by outsiders.

I discounted the Spanish experience since it was during a war.

The country was divided and there were many opposing forces including interference from other nations. It is therefore more correct I think to call these examples an "experimental" rather than a "successful" anarchistic society. There are other examples of this in existence today amongst the commune movement I believe.

I also left aside tribal entities since they are quintessentially conservative and traditional societies with well defined hierarchies, rites of passage and governing councils of elders. The endemic conflict amongst competing tribes also argues against calling them an anarchistic society.

The very notion of anarchism is a relatively modern one and although it may hearken back to a more idyllic past in its emotional content it is nevertheless associated with the modern idea of the state since it proposes a departure from that model.

To say "it works beautifully" is I think aspirational rather than actual. There is nevertheless I believe a future society that will be everything we ascribe to the perfectly anarchistic one. That will be the Kingdom of God on Earth when everyone will have the Law of God written on their hearts and minds and will by nature act in accordance with the will of God. The nature of this society will be "righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit". It is this society I am convinced that is foreshadowed in the longings that humanity has for a perfect society.

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

tasmlab's picture

See how anarchism raises the conversation?

Besides the posts below, both Rothbard (For a New Liberty) and Molyneux tackle the issue pretty thoroughly, although nobody quite knows how individuals and markets would solve issues sans government. I really liked the Swiss example posted below.

I like how the anarchism debate makes analysis of government focus on really tough issues. You've already tossed out 10 functions of government as irrelevant and aren't talking about whether president A or president B would be better.

You get to dig right into the proper role of violence in a society and can skip right to the hard stuff: defense, dealing with murderers, handling child molesters, hard to track pollution, etc.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

The Myth of National Defense

Good article by Hoppe



Red Dawn at morning, invaders take warning.

Historical Example

There is no way to answer the question without defining the meaning of the word anarchism.

If the word anarchism is defined as a non-aggression principle applied by human beings then there is no reason to think that defense has been ruled out by anarchists who are truly applying a non-aggression principle.

If that is understood, then we can proceed to answer the question, you and I, or anyone looking from a non-aggression principled application of brain power focused on actually answering the question.

There was an example of non-aggression principled people defending against aggression.

That was the period between The Declaration of Independence and the enforcement of the Usurpation of Liberty (aggression) called The Constitution in 1788.

So the actions of people employing a non-aggression principle, while employing the power of defense, answers your question, in that time period between 1776 and 1788 here in America, or at least in those areas of conflict where the defenders drove out the aggressors.

Now, you may have a problem understanding this, and to offer a measure of evidence I can link you to one source now, and if you ask for more sources I can link more sources.


That link explains how the defenders themselves can be invaded by aggressors among their own ranks.

It may be a good idea to know who is on the side of Liberty, what makes someone on the side of Liberty, and what constitutes the opposite side, and do so accurately, or failing to do so can be costly.


Privately Funded Defense

I could write pages on how this would work without issue, but Stefan Moleneux does a better job in 'Practical Anarchy'. All of his books are availablein many forms including audio books at Freedomainradio.com

Anyway, to answer your question: This is an obvious issue that society is concerned about and people are voted into office in large part for defense reasons. People are also, in general, willing to pay taxes for invasion defense. Thus, people would pay for it in a stateless society. The benefit is that is subject to best practices and competion to drive down prices, would be infinitely cheaper due to it being purely defensive, and is not implemented with the initiaton of the use of force. Society can also use databases of contributors to use societal pressure to help ensure people help pay.

If you have questions about this, I would be happy to oblige, but suffice it to say I will not give near as good of an explanation as is in the above book, which I highly recommend.


For the book suggestion and info.

Historical examples show it won't work

Privately funded defense exists in many parts of the world through out history. Even as late as the 1930s to 40s in China, many towns have their own private militia to defend against bandits. However, these private militia is no match against the centralized, well trained, well armed, well supplied Japanese Imperial Army. Even putting these local militias together to form an army, it's fighting strength is still about 8:1 compare to the Japanese Imperial Army. Even the National Army of China has a fighting strength of about 3:1 against the Japanese army. A private army will not work in today's day an age against professional centrally funded army.

Apples and Oranges

Your argument is basically: it cannot work because it did not work in an agrarian society tried to defend against an industrialized society with decades-to-centuries greater levels of technology attempted to invade.

You're attempting to compare based on all other things being equal. They are not. Not even close.

Show me a government funded

Show me a government funded army without fiat money and I will show you a better private military force?

This question is mostly similar to 'Who will build the roads?' - Of course government contracts private builders and pay them via tax. People can handle this themselves by directly paying the private contractors.

It is also important to note how in the so-called 'dark' ages, a king had to get the support and services of several semi-private miltiary forces of the Lords. The Lords had complete freedom in their geographical jurisdication and his fealty to the king was not set in stone. Hans Hermanns Hoppe has written much about the de-centralized peaceful nature of the middle ages.

Devil's Advocate

Every war since the use of the atomic bomb by the United States has been illegitimate. No country in the world would be crazy enough to actually launch a land invasion on this country. MAD (Mutually assured destruction) is still very real.

the anarchists would argue

the anarchists would argue them back to their borders. they would all be scarred for life.

the same way it was done when this country was last invaded

by the British in 1776

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

The better question is, is a monopoly better?

I have a lot more to say on this topic but there is one clear way to look at it.

Where does a monopoly make anything better? Ever?

Beyond that

I can agree with ending the FED, FEMA, the DEA, the NSA, the IRS, the Dept. of Education

My brother in liberty, though I would take some further steps, I would be most happy, MOST HAPPY, to stop at the Constitution.

I do understand the Constitution is flawed. Even flawed, obeying it is better than the rampant lawlessness we have today.

Let's uphold the Constitution.

I recommend reading

'Chaos Theory', by Robert Murphy (Mises Institute). It's a very small book, but lays out one point of view on this issue. Download it for free here http://library.mises.org/books/Robert%20P%20Murphy/Chaos%20T...

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry


and also this:

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Take a look at Switzerland ...

... which has officially been neutral towards all other countries since the year 1515. Nobody messes with tiny Switzerland. Why is that?

First, all adult males own and are trained in automatic weapons and maintain them in their homes for the national miliita in case of invasion.

Second, Switzerland has defense positions all over the country. Go through a Swiss tunnel and there will be metal plates on the road. These are tank traps. If a foreign tank went through, it would get caught in the trap. Then, there are houses up on the hill looking down at the tunnel. Except, some of those "houses" are only facades with Gatling guns or other weapons trained on the tunnels. IOW, they have set up deterrents to anyone who might want to occupy. Sure, anybody could invade, but they could never occupy Switzerland. So, why bother invading?

Third, the central government has little power. The political power is the the cantons (similar to US states). So, all the cantons would have to be conquered, not just the federal government.

Fourth, the Swiss do not accept "friendly rules" when it comes to war. Back in the day, the kings and generals had a "gentleman's agreement" that during a battle, the soldiers would shoot at other soldiers and not the high-ranking generals or kings. The Swiss said f&ck that and made it knows that the generals and the kings would be the FIRST to be taken out. Guess what? No kings or generals wanted to deal with that.

So, imagine a situation where the Canadian government declared war on an anarchic America. The first thing the Americans would do would be to put out contract hits for all the members of the Canadian government who voted for the declaration. No doubt, there would be Special Forces types going into Canada to find and take out the Canadian leaders. The fight would be taken to them. It would become PERSONAL to those individuals who initiated force (the Canadian leaders).

If the Canadians tried to send in their army, there would be all sorts of defenses set up like in Switzerland, not to mention the 300 million weapons owned by Americans (and in such a situation, you can be sure new weapons would be shipped in from around the world, as well).

Of course, there is the issue of nukes and other weapons, but anarcho-capitalists have put forth ways of handling these in responsible ways, as well.

It is hard for us to grasp this because we have grown up in a world where governments are assumed to be necessary. But are they really? Remember: anarchy ALREADY exists -- governments relate to each other on an anarchic basis, since there is no world government. How do THEY (mostly) get along? They enter into agreements. Yes, they have disagreements and wars, but then they are mostly run by psychopaths. An anarchic society that came about based on philosophical ideas would have a lot of responsible people figuring out how to make it work and how to protect themselves against the various psychos out there. That does not happen now.

tasmlab's picture

Bravo! Nice post

Good information.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

In the Way Prescribed by the Constitution

A heavily armed civilian population is a deterrent to invasion. This fact alone has deterred any invasion of the U.S. mainland for over two centuries. This is especially true during the periods where we had no standing army, and we were not a world super-power.

The Soviet Union and the U.S.A., the two greatest super-powers of the last century have now both tried unsuccessfully to conquer Afghanistan (a country which is miniscule by comparison). Why? A heavily armed civilian population. Granted, in this particular case it did not deter invasion, but it should have.