Nuclear Anarchism Part 1: The Specter of Private Nuclear Weapons

May 4th, 2014   Submitted by Foo Quuxman

PrivateNuke

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me” ~ John Galt

If you follow a gun control debate long enough eventually the anti-weapon side will bring up nuclear weapons as something that no one would ever support. This is usually at the end of a series of progressively more powerful weapons, challenging the pro-weapon side until they cave in. Then the anti-weapon side will argue the line in the sand back to progressively less powerful weapons. Usually the pro-weapon side caves when nuclear weapons are brought up, but if they don’t the anti-weapon people will simply say that the idea of a privately owned nuke is too ludicrous to bother arguing about. Better to simply ridicule it. Unfortunately private nuclear weapons is a concept so far outside the Overton window of the average person that this argument works.

I intend to show that the arguments deployed against private nuclear weapons are faulty, inconsistent, and ultimately based on pure fear. I focus on nuclear weapons, but these arguments could apply to most nuclear devices.

Conservative Incoherence

I should give credit where it is due. Conservatives get it half right about weapons. Partly because they worship The Founders, and partly because they understand some of the ramifications of privately owned weapons. Sadly they also get it half wrong. This is because their theories are a hodgepodge of ad hoc justifications for what they know to be true under certain conditions. Because their theories are for the most part non-generative they fail when pushed out of that narrow range. This leads to arguments such as the Cooper Rules argument, and the Indiscriminate Destruction argument.

Cooper Rules Argument

One argument against private nuclear weapons has to do with what are known as the “Cooper Rules” aka “The Four Rules” for safely using a firearm:

1) The gun is always loaded

2) Never point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy

3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire

4) Always be aware of your target and what is behind it

Most of these translate to nuclear weapons in obvious ways (please don’t play with the detonate button). The problem comes from trying to apply rule 2. The detractors say that it is nearly impossible to avoid “pointing” a warhead at anyone. I guess governments do not have to abide by these rules. Are state controlled weapons inherently safe? Bridge For Sale; Cheap.

But being consistent in this leads to some problems. Am I “pointing” a demolition charge at everyone inside the potential blast radius when transporting it? Am I “pointing” my car at people when driving down the road, what about in icy conditions? Is a railroad “pointing” at people when it transports hazardous materials?

And then there are aircraft.

A commercial aircraft is an inherently unstable machine for at least two reasons:

1. It requires a constant input of energy to stay in the air.

2. Aircraft are designed to be unstable (it turns out that a completely stable plane is also uncontrollable).

This means that keeping an aircraft in a safe working condition requires constant monitoring and control input, whether by a human pilot or autopilot. While in flight there is a lot of energy stored in the plane itself in the form of its speed (kinetic energy) and altitude (gravitational potential energy), as well as the fuel. 

This is a problem because the stored energy of a plane in flight is effectively “pointing” at every single thing in its potential glide path. Whether directly in front, or off to the side should the plane curve as it goes down. To push the comparison further, with an only slightly looser definition of “pointing,” the argument could be made that an aircraft in flight points at everything in its range, worse in fact than an ICBM in flight which only points at what is in its ballistic trajectory.

When confronted with these inconsistencies the person will respond that, for example, a commercial airliner is not intended to be a weapon. However, intentions were not considered relevant when they put forth their argument, so I see no reason to give their argument the prop of intentions either.

Indiscriminate Destruction Arguement

Another argument against private ownership is that a nuclear weapon is “indiscriminate” in its use (both in the size of its effect and the lingering fallout) and therefore has no function in self-defense. This argument is not against nuclear weapons per se, but any weapon which is either imprecisely targeted, or has an area of effect larger than some arbitrary threshold. Aside from the amazing prescience that this person has in knowing that there will never be a self defense situation where a nuclear weapon is the correct option, it conflates human controlled targeting with area of effect. A weapon’s area of effect does not say anything about whether it will injure an innocent, it merely changes the scenarios in which the weapon can be used without injuring an innocent. Similarly the possession of a weapon does not constitute an aggression to another person, in and of itself. Only the actual use or serious threat of use can be aggression, whether intentionally or by incompetence (drunk jerk with a gun).

It also assumes that a person requires a “self-defense” justification to own something classified as a weapon. Why? Why does someone need to give anyone any reason whatsoever? And who does the classification? The universe doesn’t have convenient slots built into its structure labeled “weapon,” and “not weapon.”

But this quote deserves special attention:

“The following tools are completely indiscriminate, and may harm innocent people decades after their use.” ~ Lazamataz, Free Republic

Really? So a nuclear weapon is completely impossible to target? Again, then why are states allowed to have them? As for the possibility of fallout hurting people in the future, in order to be consistent with this argument it is necessary to forbid any activity which can result in dangerous pollution (even on a person’s own property), not just radioactive pollution. Does this person want to be consistent? Kiss all industrial activity goodbye, unless someone can find a process that not only does not emit pollution past the property line, but does not emit any pollution. And it doesn’t stop there. There can not even be the chance that it ever emits pollution. Because if it does, someone, someday might be hurt by it.

Destructive Power

The foundational argument against private nuclear weapons (and many other things) is that they are simply too powerful to allow civilians to have them (remind me again why states can be trusted with them?). Much of this is wrapped up in the scale problem.

This argument is structurally identical to arguments against private firearms:

“If you have [evil object] there are potential scenarios which are undesirable, therefore you are not allowed to have [evil object] regardless of any mitigating factors or positive outcomes, and regardless of how probable or real they may be.”

The problem with this is that most people are not bloodthirsty maniacs, and the possibility of someone hurting another person is not the same thing as actually causing injury. If it were then a person’s mere existence is enough to make them guilty. Who decides what the evil objects are? What gives them the right? And how are they different from any other band of holier-than-thou thugs?

What has the person who simply owns or builds a nuclear weapon (without intent to injure) done that counts as aggression against anyone?

The defining feature of a nuclear weapon is that its energy is sourced from the mass converted to energy when atomic bonds are broken, not the size or composition of the energy release. It is (at least theoretically) possible to build low yield, and “clean” nukes that emit very little fallout. Aiming this argument at nuclear weapons requires a form of naturalistic bias/magical thinking, resulting in the ridiculous position that a hypothetical clean 50 ton yield nuke is BAD, but 50 tons of TNT is acceptable. This doesn’t even consider antimatter or large kinetic weapons.

Even ignoring implementation, the argument from destructive power is never held consistently. If it were then the person asserting that nuclear weapons should be banned would also be forced to ban innumerable other things that can injure or kill on a large scale. If the person is consistent with this argument the situation does not get any better. Unfortunately many, if not most forms of heavy industry have the feature that if Murphy decides to unleash his wrath a lot of people are going to die. Consider for example the 2005 Graniteville, SC collision of two freight trains due to an improperly lined switch. The crash ruptured one of the tank cars, which was filled with chlorine, spilling approximately 60 tons of its 90 ton load (a typical chlorine tank car holds a little over 17,000 gallons). Nine people died and hundreds were injured, and this was a tiny disaster.

This argument would also necessitate a complete ban on spaceflight, because any launch method that can put a given mass in low orbit can easily put that same mass in a suborbital trajectory towards any target the launching entity may choose, possibly in the form of several hundred guided kinetic kill penetrators, aka “Rods From God.” And any spacecraft on an interplanetary trajectory can release kinetic weapons against any target along its vector, doing damage equivalent to several times the mass of the attacking projectile in TNT, even on a “slow” interplanetary orbit.

Being consistent

Let’s ignore all the problems with the arguments against private nuclear weapons, all the false assumptions, and all the inconsistencies. Assume for purposes of argument that nuclear weapons really are as uncontrollable, polluting, and generally horrible as they say. Why does the state get a pass? America alone has detonated a little over 1,500 warheads (by official counts), plus the Soviet Union and other countries. State ownership doesn’t change physics. If anything it’s been proven time after time that states and organizations intertwined with states never manage to do things in a way that is both safe, and economically efficient (see NASA for an example of Safety Über Alles).

The Nut Job Problem, or rather: The Scary One

Even after arguing that most people are not going to go out and blow up the nearest city because someone burned their breakfast there is still another problem, which is a subset of the Destructive Power argument. That is:

“What about the people who really are insane? The true psychopaths who really think that they are doing a good thing by spreading murder, torture, and whatever other evils they come up with.

The problem here is not that the people who are still somewhat rational can’t be deterred from aggression. They can be, even if at a cost. The problem is not even that a lone nut job stops taking his meds and wants to go out with a bigger bang then shooting up the local mall. They can do that now, but pretty much don’t. The lone nut job almost invariably has a certain sort of fantasy, and impersonal explosives just don’t fit that fantasy. The problem is people who have an idea, and are willing to commit the most horrible acts in service of that idea. That may be a Marxist destroying “capitalist oppressors”, or it might be a Muslim breathing fire at the infidel, or a Christian who has decided that blowing up the abortion clinic isn’t enough, but he must destroy the city that contains it.

I concede that I do not know how to handle this one. It is a hard problem. When nuclear weapons were first developed there were serious engineering difficulties building them, such as getting all the explosives to detonate within a sufficiently short period of time. Most of those difficulties can now be solved with hobbyist level equipment, and as far as I know the only real showstopper at this point is the availability of the nuclear materials themselves. The implication is that if wealth levels increase much further the last difficulties will fall away.

For a while everyone could pretend that nuclear weapons would always be too hard for anyone to build on their own. Most people still have their heads in that sand. But given these conditions it is only a matter of time until Bin Laden 2.0 turns some port into a radioactive crater, or a General Ripper flips out and attempts to protect the Purity Of Essence. At that point whoever is around, whether that is a state or a private defense network, is going to have a massive headache on their hands. About the only method I know of that could actually work, and does not involve extreme totalitarianism, is the retaliatory punitive expedition, but this will cause many libertarians to scream bloody murder because it violates the purity of the NAP.

Will the earth become a mushroom patch? Will people irradiate each other over petty disputes? Will the vegetables in your garden attack you?  We need to come up with some better ideas, whether we have a state or not.

 

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24 Responses to “Nuclear Anarchism Part 1: The Specter of Private Nuclear Weapons”

  1. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    In the absence of a state it is very unlikely that anyone would bother to produce long range nukes because they would have no reason to use such weapons. Why would someone need to have a nuke that can kill mass numbers of people they have never met in some other part of the world that they may not have even been to? States have had such weapons built. States are why such weapons exist.

    • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

      In the absence of a state it is very unlikely that anyone would bother to produce long range nukes because they would have no reason to use such weapons.

      Be aware that the phrase “long range nuke” is meaningless, what you are referring to is a long range missile with a nuke attached to it.

      But there is a form of nuke that can be said to have a “range”, that would be the nuclear shaped charge, which was originally developed as part of the Orion program for non-weapons uses. The designers figured out that with some changes the device could be turned into a potent directed energy weapon, and the Cabasa Howitzer was born.

      It is still mostly classified.

  2. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent article! I’m looking forward to the next installments.

    I would challenge one of your premises though. You talk about how if nuclear weapons are bad because if detonated they pollute beyond a person’s property lines, and if that’s that case then so is every other type of industry. That argument might work against a statist, but to an anarchist, or at least to myself, that argument doesn’t hold water, because I do believe that every type of pollution that crosses one’s property line is aggression.

    For example, I know that driving my car around is violating the NAP. A lot of anarchists might try to make excuses and say that it’s not, but it really is. The pollutants that come out of my tailpipe violate the NAP, and frankly, I could live without a car. People will say they couldn’t live without a car, and therefore they feel that they get a pass, but that’s bullshit and a cop out.

    Fortunately, we’re only a few short years away from fully electric vehicles, which no longer require individuals to be polluters. Pollution is a big deal and we followers of the NAP need to be consistent, even if we do violate the NAP, we have to not give B.S. excuses, admit that we’re doing wrong, and work towards the right.

    • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

      because I do believe that every type of pollution that crosses one’s property line is aggression.

      I agree, with reservations.

      In practice there will be a level of pollution that people are willing to tolerate for various reasons, a trivial example would be the noise of a child playing with an RC car for an hour in the middle of the day. The actual level will be determined by a combination of transaction costs, sensor tech, and what people care about.

      As for pollution being treated as “torturous assault” (one way I’ve seen it put) the implications of Coase’s Therom mean that it is effectively irrelevant who has the “right”, some series of transactions will internalize everything. As such I don’t bother much with the moral component.

      I talk about this in the next parts.

    • state haterNo Gravatar says:

      Seth, in practice (i.e, for the sake of arbitration proceedings), there would still need to be (1) a level of pollution that crosses the threshold of detection, and (2) causes demonstrable, quantifiable harm, and (3) the owner of which can be located and brought into arbitration.

    • International Man of MysteryNo Gravatar says:

      Seth, Foo above summarized above what I was going to write about pollution. Not all “pollution” is initiated aggression.

      Another point: electric cars are not non-polluting. The electricity on which they run is produced by power plants that run on coal, nuclear fuel, natural gas or oil; i.e., when someone plugs in an electric car, the power is coming from one of those plants which pollutes by burning one of those fuel types.

      • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

        Electric cars are non-polluting by the driver. The electric company may be guilty of polluting, but that’s not the driver’s fault. The next step would be to get the electric company to stop polluting.

        • Ash HatNo Gravatar says:

          The battery company too. Their manufacture shucks out quite a lot of pollution. Then we have solar cells -same deal, light plastics… same, even with bioplastics.

          • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

            Good point. Every item we buy is likely produced by plants that cause air pollution. If I buy a bottle of water, the onus is on my to dispose of that plastic bottle in a way that does not violate the NAP, like paying a disposal company to take it. But if the production of that plastic bottle created air pollution, that’s not my fault. It’s the company who created it. Perhaps there are ways to create plastic bottles without causing air pollution.

            • KeithNo Gravatar says:

              Hi Seth,
              I don’t think that a zero “pollution” is possible.

              From where I’m sat typing, my nearest neighbours are about 400m away.

              Even with the best will in the world, if the wind is blowing from me to them, the noise from my generator, smoke from my fire, the pollen from my plants and the fumes from my farts will all drift their way.

              Although I think we can accept that there is some level at which my emissions would start to represent a tort, I think it is also evident that that would be subjective; the smell from a field of flowering lavender might be more easily tolerated on a warm summer evening than the stench of a field fertilized with liquid slaughterhouse waste (unfortunately lavender doesn’t grow well with the cold, wet, acid soils, and short, cool and wet summers here, but the grass starts to look greener as soon as the slaughterhouse waste tanker crosses the county boundary – it really is that good a fertilizer).

              To someone with asthma and a poor sense of smell, the subjective assessment and tolerances might be different.

              Interestingly, it appears that with radiation, depending on how you draw your graphs of ill effects versus radiation dose (I’ll take cancer rates as a proxy for all ill effects):
              Very low lifetime radiation exposure does not plot with lower than average cancer rates: there is a background level of cancer, not associated with radiation exposure.

              More interestingly, areas with unusually high radiation exposure (see Bionerd23’s youtube channel for this – she’s a young German woman who takes her holidays places like Chernobyl), for example Brazilian beaches with a high proportion of monazite in the sand (a thorium bearing mineral), which are popular with the locals. There is no increase in local rates of cancer or early mortality. It seems that a threshold (a surprisingly high one) must be reached before there is a detectable increase in ill effects from radiation exposure.

              We are naturally exposed to Uranium and thorium decay series elements, and below some threshold, these are of no consequence.

              In terms of the ongoing Fukashima scare, the figures I’ve seen for Cs137 in sea water on the american pacific coast, would require around a cubic metre of sea water to give you a radiation dose from Cs137 equivalent to the dose you’d get from naturally occuring K40 from eating one banana (Ceasium substitutes biologically for potassium, and both Cs137 and K40 are gamma emitters, I’ve just eaten 2 bananas, I’m hardly likely to drink a cubic metre of sea water, and in any event, that cubic metre will contain around a pound of potassium, that’s more bananas than I eat in several months…)

              Of the other fission products from nukes which have notable biological activity, radioactive iodine decays in a few days and is of little consequence so long as nukes are not going off in the atmosphere, or the venting can be delayed for a few days. Only Sr90 remains, which has strong biological activity (it substitutes for calcium in bones, so has a long biological half life and has radioactive half life of around 4 decades), but unlike Cs137 and K40, I cannot think of a naturally occuring analogue to compare Sr90 to. Fortunately, strontium is no where near as mobile as ceasium.

              The absolute isn’t achievable, the debate is over what can be acceptable to whom – without causing damage. To my mind that is an assessment of what constitutes a tort.
              +++++++++++++++++

              Some examples of naturally high exposures of radiation:

              There are sources of naturally occuring, very high radiation doses, for example this house in Ireland; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15296255 where the annual allowable dose for a radiation worker would be received in around 24 hours; the occupant’s spouse had died of lung cancer and the occupant was receiving treatment for lung cancer, and has since died.

              Areas of similar geology elsewhere in Britain and Ireland (karstic limestones in close association with black shales. Or areas of uranium and thorium enriched granites) have yielded less dramatic but still unpleasantly high domestic radiation exposures.

              Before engineering works took place to improve ventilation (ventilation boreholes and fans (thanks to Deak), and other new connections to surface (thanks to Moose)) the owners of tourist show caves around Castleton in Derbyshire, generally used to die of lung cancer. Again, at certain times of year, and certain weather conditions it was possible to measure radon levels which would have given a radiation worker their allowable annual dose within around 24 hours. In the case of Dunmore cave near Kilkenny in Ireland, in some of the remote parts of the system, that dose could be achieved much faster – should anyone have chosen to spend the time in those cramped and somewhat boring locations.

              Simillarly drinking water boreholes may contain significant concentrations of uranium and thorium (interestingly if you’ve got toxic levels of arsenic, you’re probably not getting much uranium…).

              • KeithNo Gravatar says:

                In terms of naturally occuring radio-nucleides in commercially bottled well waters, there are some interesting results in this state sector investigation in Ireland. http://www.rpii.ie/Site/Media/News-and-Updates/Survey-of-natural- radioactivity-in-bottled-water Kilkenny, which I’ve already touched on for high radon levels in a natural cave near to the city, is built ontop of Carboniferous age limestones, in turn deposited onto the Leinster block, this is a continuation of the caledonian orogeny, of which the Appalachians are a part, and was intruded by uranium and thorium enriched granites.

                Groundwater flow since the limestones were deposited has distributed uranium through them – allong with its associated decay products.

    • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

      Flatulation comes to mind. How do “we” determine the appropriate response if the neighbor passes drifting gas? Sam

  3. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    Such categories of weapons are simply too cost-prohibitive for liberated individuals (including company shareholders) to bother maintaining year over year. The real danger is the period of transition toward liberty, the time during which NWO stooges will turn first and foremost as ways to “prove” that everyone needs government protection to those very tools that no one would want to maintain on their own dime. To paraphrase the stoogery: “Use ’em while we got ’em,”

    The key is to endure and stay liberated, even if billions of murder victims have perished to provide artificial “proof” that liberty is dangerous.

    • Ash HatNo Gravatar says:

      Don’t forget the wanna-be Fyourers out there who go by the motto “If I can’t rule them, no one will!”

  4. autonomousNo Gravatar says:

    Great article. Arguably, religious elements already have access at least crude nuclear devices. Certainly narcotics dispensing organizations could afford to buy them, though they would be less inclined to use them than either religious or political groups are, though crime syndicates have no demonstrated compunction against pollution Religions either if one includes noise pollution.

    Bottom line, it’s just a matter of time before they are used again. The first (intentional) user was, at least at one time, the most free organization. It is inevitable, unless humanity somehow grows a brain, that the earth will glow again.

  5. Jim DaviesNo Gravatar says:

    Well done, Foo. That’s the most thoughtful article on the subject I’ve encountered.

  6. Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

    After having several people reading and criticizing here are some patches:

    Calling it a “nuclear weapon” obscures the lack of intention to aggress with the device. It would have been better to call it a “bomb”, which has no inherent intention associated with it.

    As another example of massive non-nuclear destruction from industry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppau_explosion

    Also the current situation is that a single person (US or Russian president) can trigger thousands of nuclear attacks if they lose their marbles, as opposed to the single, or low number of attacks from nutjobs that I mention in the article. And then everyone else responds to the state originated attack……

    I also should have phrased the sentence about statist safety and efficiency differently. The point is that economic efficiency includes the costs and benefits of safety factors. And due to the fundamental scarcity that exists in this universe it is not possible to have everything.

    The result is that one must always trade off between various things, including safety. States do not operate under market forces, thereby making it impossible for them to make a rational choice about those trade offs.

    • KeithNo Gravatar says:

      Foo,
      Excellent reasoning, thanks.

      For emotionally neutral terminology, how about “charge” or just plain “explosive”? that’s all a nuke is, and within very limited areas, nukes may well have some private commercial applications.

      I’ll try to explain that in the long bit that follows;
      The effect of an explosive isn’t so much the energy it releases (my basket of firewood probably contains more joules of stored chemical energy than an equivalent weight of TNT) but the rate at which that energy is released, its velocity of detonation. In conventional explosives that is the speed of sound in the material.

      In most conventional explosives, the detonation front propagates at very approximately a thousand metres a second. Increasing the density of the explosive to increase its sonic velocity doesn’t always help to increase the VoD, as the sonic velocity may be increased beyond the ability of the chemical decomposition to keep pace with it, so the energy runs away ahead of the detonation front and the explosive refuses to detonate, the effect is termed “dead pressing”. commercial ammonium nitrate/fuel oil emulsions can be transported by the truckload without risk, they only become explosive when low density granules or air bubbles are mixed in to lower the density (the bubbles also flash to white heat as they are compressed by the passage of the shock wave, providing additional points of initiation).

      In descriptions of tri nitro glycerine as “a dense liquid and powerful explosive” the property of “powerful explosive” is dependent on the density, which imparts a high sonic velocity, which in this case the chemical decomposition can keep pace with.

      With nuclear explosives, the velocity of detonation and the impulse of energy from it are more comparable to the speed of light, very effective.

      Back in my days at college, there was an 1960s era book, looking at the use of nukes as civil engineering explosives.

      There were illustrations of people stood on top of the debris cones in nuclear excavated underground chambers, and other illustrations of trenches excavated on the surface, both with series of bulk charges of conventional explosives to simulate small nukes, and with arrays of actual nukes used to both break the rock and to “throw” it out of the excavation.

      In Kazakhstan (best country in the world…) there are several pools excavated during the Soviet era, in the steppe grasslands by nukes with the intention of providing water storage for livestock and irrigation.

      Any excavation project is inherently dangerous, lots of heavy machines, steep slopes, maybe even tunnels with all of their hazards of confined spaces and rock to be supported. Explosives often need to be used too. Even with excellent management, it is not unusual for a large project to have several accidental deaths.

      Large excavations take a long time too, it may take several years of capital expenditure on tunneling to reach an ore body, before any actual extraction of paying material can begin, and the capital investment can begun to be paid off (with interest).

      It may be that a few ore bodies with suitable size, geometry and composition (I’m thinking primarily of porphry copper in places like the Andes, and South Pacific Islands) could be sufficeintly fractured using a few well placed nuke charges to allow insitu leaching, at lower human, environmental and financial cost than conventional mining.

      The book in the college library; I think was a typical statist waste of time effort and money, on something completely unworkable; a nuke’s effect is to fracture and loosen rock, the aim in excavations such as highway and canal cuttings or tunneling and underground chambers, is to minimise loosening of the rock, to retain as much of its natural interlock and self supporting strength as possible.

      • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

        Funny you should mention that.

        Part three will have a couple examples of peaceful uses for nuclear devices. I think I will put a link in it to your post, it is very good.

        Engineering uses for nuclear devices is what forced me to face this problem.

  7. Martin BrockNo Gravatar says:

    Would owners of nuclear weapons be content to remain “private”, or would they use their overwhelming force to monopolize force (to become a state)? Assuming more than one “private” individual with nuclear weapons doesn’t address this question, because no individual ever constitutes a state. A state is an organization of persons cooperating systematically to monopolize force in a region. What would prevent two or three or more “private” owners of nuclear weapons from forming such an organization? Of course, the first thing they’d agree is not to nuke each other and only to threaten nuking others to enforce what’s universally “right”. Every state operates this way.

    Since any of these “private” owners can nuke me and mine, how do I know that they haven’t become a state? How is any agreement I reach with any of them voluntary? They tell me they won’t nuke me unless I cross some line they draw, so I get to contract with them within these limits? How does this constraint differ from the decrees of a state?

    Can the President of the U.S. actually launch a nuke entirely on his own authority, or does he require the assent of others in the organization?

    • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

      I acknowledge the ganging up problem, we will need to deal with this regardless of what weapons exist though.

      As far as nukes in general go, they are not unique. Any high energy weapons system raises this problem, hence the paragraph about spaceflight.

    • STLICTXNo Gravatar says:

      The simplest solution to me seems to be consumer cooperatives meant to ensure that more people than the very wealthy have nuclear weaponry access. Since everyone would have an interest in both having a vote in how a nuclear weapon is used, and an interest in being part of an association that uses ownership of a nuclear explosive device to deter the threat of other nuke owners and part-owners, this would likely acquire funds without any real issues, enough to ensure that nuclear technology is available to committed anarchists at the very least. Especially when you consider those involved in the nuclear industry have a strong interest themselves in not selling to malignant individuals, so free market nuclear explosives would be biased in distribution towards those inclined to use such as a peaceful deterrent. Keep in mind as well the one great limitation on ownership in an ancap vs a statist society; you’re paying for your own property protection, and being an individual owner of a nuclear weapon is going to play hell on your insurance-especially considering that this is likely to be a highly divisive issue even in a firmly anarcho-capitalist world and I would be extremely surprised if the equivalent of terrorist groups who wish to stop nuclear proliferation at nearly any cost wouldn’t exist.
      Though nukes being even vaguely useful for anything but a threat(that would be inviting any respond that people gave, and I do not expect that the ‘peoples justice’ would be kind to those who just threatened them with nukes) requires relatively concentrated territorial distribution of your target; polycentric legal systems promotes an intermingling in that regard to at least some degree(there would be covenant communities and such of course, but generally it would be somewhat more distributed than we have now) such that nukes become mainly phased out on thier own merits. Especially when a plague is actually scarier in the ways that count(or would be to people going through a pandemic with particularly nasty symptoms) as well as being a lot cheaper, so that’s more likely to be the mad-mans weapon of choice.

  8. kuy65rfghnjkoiu7y6tfvbnNo Gravatar says:

    >2. Aircraft are designed to be unstable (it turns out that a completely stable plane is also uncontrollable).
    What does that even mean?

  9. jnjbjijjijbjjbijbjhbjjbNo Gravatar says:

    A terrible article.

    >nuclear weapons are ok, because they can theoretically be clean, so if you want to ban it, ban all unclean weapons
    1. All existing nuclear weapons are unclean
    2. That’s what this article should actually be about – not only nuclear weapons, but other “unclean” weapons of mass destruction as well. And that’s what I assumed I would see here when I followed the link in my RSS reader.
    >nuclear weapons should be allowed because all existing arguments against them are invalid
    >there’s no difference between nuclear weapons and
    Then why even make a dedicated article about them?