Defense and the State

July 13th, 2014   Submitted by Anthony Caprio

TalkBreakOne of the most common objections to a stateless society is “Who will provide the defense?” Doesn’t any nation with a weak military or no military suffer the same fate as Poland in WWII, subjection to a larger force bent on looting wealth, and enslaving the native population? It turns out the answer is “no.” There are a number of examples of states (just to be clear I am talking about sovereign nations) with no military. These are places that exist today in the 21st century, and many have been around for quite a while. They happily go about their lives with no standing army.

Now, to be sure, none of these states are perfect Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalist societies, but they do exist, and prosper without any military. That is something that conventional wisdom, and state sponsored education would have us believe is impossible. They show that states can and do exist without a standing Army, Navy, or Air Force, which then begs the question, “If we don’t need the state to provide national defense, then what is the purpose of the state?” Can people exist and interact peacefully based on voluntary co-operation?

Those states fall into two categories. Some of these nations have no standing military and no protection agreements with larger nations. For example, Lichtenstein has been without a standing army since 1868, yet it has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, has survived two world wars, and guarantees the right of succession in their constitution by a simple majority vote. Lichtenstein shared a border with Nazi Germany, the strongest most aggressive government in world history, and survived without a military. They even had a Jewish princess from 1929-1938, and harbored Jewish refugees during the war, but had no military.

The second category is states with no standing military that do have protection agreements with larger nations. One example of this would be the tiny nation state of Monaco, which has a protection agreement with France. However, this agreement did little to protect Monaco from being invaded by the Nazis and Italians during WWII. I think the lesson here is don’t enter protection agreements with France, but I digress. Other examples are Nauru, which has an agreement with the Australian Government, and Samoa which has an agreement with the New Zealand government.

These categories address two separate but related arguments against Anarcho-Capitalism.

The first argument goes that no civilization can exist without a state funded defense force. Countries with no protection agreements prove this is not true. The second argument goes that the state must solve the free rider problem. The free rider argument goes something like this, “No one will pay for defense services if they think someone else will cover the bill. Therefore no one will pay for defense services, and their territory will be overtaken.” Existing protection agreements show that is not the case among nation states in the 21st century.

Smaller nations are essentially free riders when they have protection agreements with larger nations. Defense services are provided for them by the larger state because it’s in the larger state’s best interest to protect both territories. So, if nation states already exist as free riders it fails as an objection that individuals or businesses might do the same in an Anarcho-Capitalist society.

There are real life examples of nations that exist without a standing military, and no protection agreement with a larger state. Lichtenstein is probably the best example of a nation that kept its sovereignty intact despite sharing the border with the most aggressive state in modern history. Costa Rica has also had no standing army since 1949 despite being located in Central America, an area known for violent dictators and revolutions. Panama abolished its army in 1990 after the United States backed dictator who ruled the country got uppity and the United States invaded and deposed the dictator. Since abolishing the army Panama has seen an unprecedented level of prosperity.

So if countries can, and do prosper without a standing military, if private arbitration is already solving disputes, and families by the millions are choosing private education and home schooling over public education, and millions more are using non-state issued currencies for their transactions, then the question must be asked, why do we need the state?

69 Responses to “Defense and the State”

  1. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    Utopia is not an option. A Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalist society would not be perfect. During WWII Germany planned to invade Lichtenstein. The reason Lichtenstein was not invaded by Germany is because the Germans were busy invading and waging war on larger countries. Germany simply never got around to invading Lichtenstein and because they lost the war they never did invade tiny Lichtenstein. Had Germany won the war Lichtenstein would have fallen to Germany. The fact is that a plan for the invasion of Lichtenstein by German general Jodl. Jodl was not happy about planning an operation against a country as insignificant as Lichtenstein. He submitted a plan calling for 4 divisions based on the justification that Switzerland might renounce neutrality and intervene. To make the story short there was a big conflict among Hitler’s generals over the plan and it was cancelled. The fact is German generals saw a lack of glory in invading a country about the size of Washington DC and preferred to take on larger countries.

    • MarkNo Gravatar says:

      Basically, if the region is nearly worthless no one considers invading or annexing or defending for that matter.

      The arbitration thing is also puzzling. How does a toothless entity make any decision stick?

      • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

        Private arbitration is used by many companies and individuals who want to avoid going to court. What makes it work is voluntary co-operation and wanting to avoid damage to one’s reputation.

        • MarkNo Gravatar says:

          What happens when one side ignores the agreement or never agrees in the first place?

          • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

            For the company I currently work for arbitration is designated in our contracts as the method for dispute resolution. Both parties have an interest in not going to court because of the heavy costs involved, and the penalties they risk. Both parties also risk damage to their reputation if they are seen as not honoring their agreements. In business as in life reputation is very important, because no one wants to deal with an unreasonable party.

            • MarkNo Gravatar says:

              Both parties have an interest in not going to court because of the heavy costs involved, and the penalties they risk.”

              Court. Who runs the courts? What if one party loses but refuses to pay the penalty?

              • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

                Today if one side fails to abide by an arbitration ruling the two parties can decide if they want to try another arbitratior or go to civil court. Neither side wants to go to civil court usually becasue of the costs and penalties involved. Both parties have an incentive to co-operate. Under an AnCap system. Both parties would want to come to some agreement to avoid damaging their reputations. There is some interesting work being done right now in block chain technolgy where a persons reputation can be rated, similar to how an Amazon or ebay rating works. In a free soceity a person’s reputation becomes their most valuable asset.

              • MarkNo Gravatar says:

                What if the business (quite possibly a monopoly) or individual doesn’t care about reputation?

                • SaraNo Gravatar says:

                  Then it’s possible, via this reputation system similar to the BBB, would publish this information and make it available to the public. Then, individuals or other organizations could make informed decisions about whether or not to conduct business with said company, individual or other organization. We don’t need an armed force pointing guns at people – that is the point – because the use of violence in society destroys human capacity for reason and creativity.

                  We can all agree that good parenting does not involve intimidation, threats of violence or cages, or the carrying out of such punishment. Then why do we accept this behavior toward one another in the society at large? Isn’t it contradictory?

                  • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

                    Yes, it’s contradictory, but much in life is contradictory, so that alone isn’t actually an argument. As for the thing about not using threats of violence against children, this is, itself, contradictory. While I can easily agree that the *ideal* would to be able to raise children without corporal punishment (threats of violence, and actual violence), I actually have five kids. The practical variations on the personalities of children means that one child may never need corporal punishment, while another simply cannot be reasoned with. I have both those children, as well as three more in the middle. Likewise, the idea that we don’t need a violent state is true enough for the types of people who consider these ideas. I certainly don’t need men with guns and badges to remind me how to behave around other people. However, I know that is not true for all people. Not all crime, nor all criminals, a product of the violence of the state.

                    And that is why I am not an anarchist. Not because I can’t see the logic to it’s conclusion, but because I know that not all mankind will ever follow that logic. There will always be the smallest minority of people for whom the rational ethics of any society are simply rules to be broken toward their personal gain, and thus there will always a demand for a state that pretends to keep those people away from the ‘good’ people.

                    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                      The existence of contradictions does not validate them or mean we should accept them anymore than injustice, poverty, or institutionalized violence.

                      Your justification for rulers by citing the existence of sociopaths was refuted by T. Jefferson in a logical argument and by the actual results of your “solution”. The ones who are given a moral/physical blank check to protect us turn out to be the very sociopaths you fear, only with greatly increased power. Hence, 100s of millions murdered by their govt. instead of protected.

                      You like contradictions? How about that contradiction?

                    • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

                      I was not advocating for government, I was simply noting why a market for it exists, and will continue to exist. One sign for maturity is the ability to accept contradictions for what they are, and understand why they exist.

                    • SaraNo Gravatar says:

                      Thanks for the reply.

                      I’m not an anarchist either.

                      However, in a later post than this one, you mention that there’s ‘a market for governments’ (forgive my paraphrasing)

                      I agree with this assessment.

                      I however do not agree that one group should ever have a monopoly on force in one specific area. In that sense I agree with anarchists… but not all the way, since yes there are crazy/evil people in this world.

                      That monopoly breeds tyrants, history has shown us this. All I ask is what are the alternatives to monopolistic government?

                      I also believe that crime prevention and restitution is far more important and beneficial to society, since our law enforcement and punishment model has filled our prisons with a vast majority of “policy breakers” alongside the so-called violent prisoners. It has also created a police force which is becoming more militarized and violent by the minute.

                      This need in society can and should be handled in the market – since yes, as you so succinctly stated there is a market for it.

                      But how would it be handled?

                      Should we only lock up the violent ones? What about the fact that this removes someone from society that *could* be productive if given the chance? Why not rehabilitate them? Does our current system do this? Does the current system allow for said violent criminal to work and pay restitution to his/her victims?

                      How would we force them to do this? I can hear that question being asked.

                      Well, force isn’t so good of a word. How about I put it this way:

                      Security Company (after a thorough investigation into the matter and a trial by peers): Sir, you have been found to be guilty of assault and battery. You have one of two choices.

                      You may remain here and completely free, but we will add your name to the database of “do not conduct business with this man/woman”, and your social reputation will forever be marked. Our company is rather large, and we will share this information with all of our affiliates in many regions of the world. From now on, you will have a very difficult time procuring many of the necessities of your life, not to mention the luxuries, since you will find our affiliates, and the affiliates of our affiliates unwilling to conduct any business of any kind with you.

                      Your second option is to come with us, work with our company for an amount of time sufficient to cover the damages you have caused another individual. During this time you will stay with us at all times of the day and night, and you will be supervised so that you do not cause harm to others. You will be treated fairly, however, as this is not a prison. During your time with us you will receive counseling and rehabilitation. You will also have on the job training, and learn new skills that you can use to be productive once your time with us is over.

                      Now, if you would come with us, this blemish on your social reputation will be erased after all restitution has been paid to the victim. Or you can stay here and find that you’ll have a very hard life being ostracized by most of your surroundings.

                      I guess the question is: What would you rather have for yourself and others who make mistakes?

                      I don’t know really what to do with the criminally insane, however. I’m looking for suggestions!

                    • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

                      Both Sara and Moon Shadow made good points about child rearing. Then both turned around and said, “…I am not anarchist…”

                      I, too, avoid the “ist’s” as well as all “ism’s”. The late Delmar England, in his introductory statement to Insanity as the Social Norm provides my reason: I don’t need guns pointing at me, nor do I need guns pointing at you — and I don’t need “anarchy” (in quotes for a reason) for me to be sovereign. And, most of all, I am not equipped to state how you should live in order for you or those you love to be free. I don’t see how anyone can make much of a comment on this topic without first reading that short paragraph.

                      The human newborn is unique among living beings in that s/he enters the world totally dependent upon the care and supervision of adult human beings — hopefully a loving Mom and Dad, committed to each other and the well-being of the child. As Moon Shadow stated (I, too, am father of 7, grandpa of 25, and a great-grandpa to many), each child (even in the same household) will be somewhat different in how they need to be reared — a factor not present in the animal kingdom. We are not animals. Go ahead — fight with me over that one.

                      The family is the only legitimate governing unit. Not all parents will govern the same. Some will produce delinquent kids — some of which could even grow up to be state employees. L-rd have mercy.

                      I am a sovereign state. I am responsible for the defense of my borders. You must not cross them without my explicit permission — or, I wish you wouldn’t. I’m old and feeble and not as capable of defending them as I once might have been.

                      But I’m probably more wily now than ever before at flying under the white man’s radar — whether I’m living here, Costa Rica, or Lichtenstein. I am totally responsible for the defense of me and those I love — with their help (I’ve got some big kids and grandkids).



                    • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

                      The “criminally” insane will do as they always have before. Die by the direct results of their actions. Those who are not dangerous, but still disturbed, would be cared for by their families in one fashion or another; also like it’s been handled up until the modern age. Or cared for by charity & religious institutions.

    • Jacob TotheNo Gravatar says:

      You leap from advocacy of a less-coercive society to supposition that it is Utopian. there is nothing more utopian than imagining that governments will refrain from aggression against people inside and outside its territorial claim. Further, how can you conquer a stateless society? There is no central power to overthrow, no capitol to capture, no leadership hierarchy to co-opt. After 12 years, the US still has no real control over an impoverished Afghanistan where obsolete Soviet technology is the chief weaponry. Afghanistan does not exist as a nation-state outside Kabul. Imagine how much harder it would be to control a wealthy market society with access to modern anti-air and anti-armor weapons, modern transportation, and sound philosophy.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        I did no such thing. Neither Statism or Anarcho-Capitalism is a Utopia my point. The writer seemed to suggest that Rothbardian Anarcho-capitalism is a Utopia because he described it as perfect.

        • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

          Just to clarify what I said is the nations I am discussing are not perfect Rothbarian anarcho-capitalist states. What I meant is the states I am discussing are not perfect adherants to Anarcho-Captialism. I did not mean to suggest Anarcho-Capitalism is perfect or a utopia.

    • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

      To me this is the beauty of Lichtenstein and the advantage of not having a standing Army, they were so small that Hitler (the biggest bully in history) did not want to look like a bully by invading. This allowed the citizens to survive the war in relative peace.

      • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

        I don’t think the reason Hitler did not invade Lichtenstein is because he didn’t want to look like a bully. He didn’t care if he looked like a bully to the rest of the world. Like I stated in all likelihood he would have invaded Lichtenstein but he just did not get around to it because he was busy bullying other larger countries.

    • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

      Liechtenstein can nearly be considered a part of switzerland, since both have always been economically and administratively very closely tied together to this day.
      So the reason Hitler didn’t invade Liechtenstein is the same reason he didn’t invade Switzerland.
      As is very well explained in the book “Tower of Basel” by Adam LeBor, back then (and to this day) switzerland had been the center of the global banking system, and Hitler – like everyone who wants to wage limitless wars – needed funding and access to the global currency system, which was given to him thru switzerland.

      “Tower of Basel”, there is a chapter in the book called “Hitler’s Bankers”.
      I highly recommend it. 9254X

      • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

        George thanks for the book reccomendation. I would agree that a primary reason neither Switzerland or Lichtenstein went to war with Germany was because of their mutual commerical interests. It is often said that Hitler was born at Versaille. Meaning that if crippling sanctions and war reperations had not been imposed on Germany, Hitler never would have come to power. Imagine if the rest of europe had engaged in trade and commerce with Germany and followed the Swiss/Lichtenstien model of allowing their citizens to be armed and allowing the private business within their borders to engage in commerce with whomever they chose. Would WWII have ever occured? We will never know for sure, but around the world whenever countries engage in trade there is peace. When they allow their polticans to issue sanctions and trade restrictions war often follows. I like the swiss model of allowing its citizens to be armed and conduct free trade. I think the freedom of both countries shows this is a model that works.

        • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

          Hitler was “playing to the crowd”, i.e., telling people what they wanted to hear. He probably would have been elected in good or bad times. As for the quick economic boom and military buildup, it was not German superiority or efficiency or work ethic or authoritarian efficiency (as often suggested) that was responsible. It was American financial backing. Why build up Germany? Why did they build up Japan? They saw economic opportunity. And perhaps they thought they could buy political input. It was not just the Jews that were vilified. Despite fascism and communism both being variants of socialism, communism was sold as an enemy of Germany. Why? Who put that idea in their head? It certainly did not occur to Stalin that Germany was anymore an enemy than any other power hungry ruler. My theory is that Hitler was supported and groomed by the West to attack Russia. But,”the best laid plans” got delayed a little by the unstable dictator.

          • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

            It is almost certainly the case that Western powers tried to influence Hitler towards overextending his military by attacking Russia, while at the same time supporting & influencing Stalin to do the same to Germany. We now know that is exactly what Stalin was planning, and his military wasn’t prepared for defenses because they were in the process of moving towards their Western border for that reason, and were thus caught ‘flat-footed’ when the Nazis invaded. Tricking your enemies into fighting each other is classic ‘Art of War’ stuff, and has much to do with why a few American Neocons (inside the Obama admin, that is) were so deeply involved in the disaster in Ukraine. While the US government is not presently in either a hot nor cold war with either Germany nor Russia, they are always plotting for one. That is the primary reason governments exist, it’s their *job* to plan for war. It’s just a pity that our current regime is so epicly bad at the ‘Art of War’ stuff as to manage to f*ck up so badly and openly. These neocons don’t want Russia gaining improved relations with Europe, it would be bad (for the US government) in the event of a major war, and it’s definately bad for business. The latter motive is likely the driving force, since I seriously doubt these guys have ever read Sun Tzu, while George Bush certainly did, even if he didn’t understand it without the pictures.

            • George MargarisNo Gravatar says:

              I don’t think today’s government is dumber or more incapable in “the art of war” and deception… it is just that today we have the internet and a widespread mistrust against government.
              Imagine what the world and the state of mind of the people would be if we weren’t able to talk with each other over the internet, express ideas without gatekeepers and thinking “dangerous” thoughts while simultaneously giving a crap about what government thinks about that. Imagine if mass media were your only source of information. Holy cow!
              What internet gave us was a revolution of freedom. An intensification of freedom, to levels that didn’t exist before. What was a snail once, has now become a turbo ferrari.
              I like that trend, and I think if the trend intensifies we will also realize that governments are not only dumb, violent and sociopaths, we will also learn that they are totally inhuman bastards who will totally want to kill millions of people to keep their power. It will be horrible…

  2. Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks to everyone for their comments. My purpose in this article is not to suggest that any society is a Utopia. My goal is to point out that a state is not necessary for defense. To support this thesis I showed examples of nations with no national defense who have survived and thrived. One of the benefits of being a small nation with no military is being left alone by larger aggressive neighbors. As a person who supports liberty what could be better than being ignored by a large aggressive government?

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      You used the words: perfect Rothbardian Anarcho-capitalist societies. My impression was that you believe that a Rothbardian Anarcho-capatilist society would be Utopia given that you describe it is “perfect”. Isn’t that what Utopia is, a perfect society? I do not believe that Utopia is an option. In whatever arrangement people live in there will be disagreements and people holding different opinions about how things should be done. Striving to make things better is a worthy goal but Utopia is not a realistic goal. Maybe not having a standing army is viable but at some point organizing an army for defense may be necessary. If it wasn’t necessary at some point then gun control laws would work but they don’t. Despite gun control laws there are people who have managed to commit mass murder. People have the right to defend themselves. If it is not realistic for a community to be unarmed and safe then why would one think that an entire country of people without an army for defense is safe?

      • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

        I was trying to make the point that the countries I was discussing are not AnCap societies. I in no way think an AnCap society would be perfect, just better than the statist system we have now. Standing Armies like states exercise a monopoly on force not enjoyed by private individuals. I see nothing wrong with individuals owning weapons or private companies hiring security firms to protect their assets. A standing Army however is quite different. They are seldom voluntary and do not exercise at will employment. What’s more they are usually used by the state against the individual. Security is a service. Today in the 21st century it is a service normally provided by the state, and usually used as a justification for the states monopoly on force. Perhaps Hitler would have gotten around to invading Lichteinstein but he didn’t, and this tiny nation without an Army remained free while large nations with an Army (an alleged legitimate function of the state) where subdued. This goes against the entire statist narrative.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          But the thing you have overlooked or not looked at is the fact that the reason Hitler did not get around to invading Lichtenstein is because countries that did have standing armies prevented him from doing so by defending their country from his army. Lichtenstein rather than take responsibility for it’s own defense relied on other countries to take on the bully. That is sort of like someone hearing a person screaming and doing nothing because they figure someone else will come to the screaming person’s aid. Do you believe that’s ok? Do you believe that it ok for small countries to rely on larger countries to come to their aid when thy are threatened rather than be responsible for their own defense? The purpose of a military is to defend the country of it’s soldiers not some other country. Military interventionism is why the world is in the situation it is in now. I’m am not for military interventionism.

          • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

            HR Reardon your position is confusing me. You say you are not for military interventionism yet you imply Lichtenstein is some sort of coward for not having a military which intervened in WWII? I don’t really buy the defense that Hitler never got around to invading Lichtenstein. Liechtenstein was Germany’s closest neighbor, and invading would have been a matter of simply marching in a company of infantry. The country’s other neighbor is Switzerland which is hardly a large military force. Lichtenstein is not an Anarcho-Capitalist state but it is a mini-archist state. During this conflict which lasted six years and engulfed all the states around it Lichtenstein didn’t buy into the argument that it needed a state sponsored military. I find it very odd to be on a site the advocates stateless communities. Arguing with someone who wants state protection? You seem to be confusing states and individuals. If an individual see’s someone in need of help I would argue it’s a good thing for one individual to help another individual. I would even argue that a group of individuals voluntarily helping another group of individuals is a good thing. But when a state claims to be using a defense force to help others in your name. I say beware. Hitler used this same arguement to justify his invasions claiming he was “helping” German speaking people. States rarely if ever make good on their promises. Almost always they use their militaries as a front to gain more power. As we saw in the case of Poland and France they are often incompetent. When it comes to defense why would you trust the state over the market?

            • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

              uh, I have not advocated a state military. I was referring to a standing military. There can be an Anarcho-standing military. Actually I don’t necessarily advocate a standing military. I simply stated fact that the Axis powers during WWII were defeated by state standing armies. I believe in personal responsibility. It is unrealistic to believe that an Anarcho-army of a particular geographic region will believe that it should be responsible for the defense of people in another geographic region. I don’t trust the state over the market. I am a Voluntaryist. It is irresponsible for people in a particular geographic to think they can or should rely on people of another geographic region to defend them against people of yet another geographic region who want to wage war on them.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        You assume the opposite of the Founding Fathers, namely a standing army makes a country safer than no army. The opposite is true. As long as people insist on a monopoly of power (govt.), it is foolhardy to trust that monopoly with such a powerful weapon that could be turned against them, and history has shown troops being used here in America to crush the American Dream from the beginning. See: The Whiskey Rebellion.

        The thirteen nations that united to fight the most powerful empire in the world had no standing army. And when they assembled an army, it would have lost without the well-armed citizen militia. The militia had better rifles, better tactics, and a voluntary, less authoritarian force. These advantages won the war. Alexander the Great Warmonger paid tribute to cross a territory with no govt. or army. Every family was armed and ready to defend against aggression. He wisely calculated the cost of wiping them out was not worth it.

        Gene Sharp analyses various wars and shows how the goals could have been achieved without violence.

  3. AnonymousNo Gravatar says:

    Utopia is an option,….when the workers are educated in the fact that if they work today the stores will be full tomorrow whether they get paid in script or free passes to the store utopia will be here. ( I know, we’ll need more workers to cover demand and the first few weeks will see shortages, but the fact remains, as long as the workers remain on the job the stores will continue to be full and only the exploiters will be upset.)

    I would think that the bankers who financed Hitler had some say about Lichtenstein not getting invaded. Lots of banksters in Lichtenstein.

    As for Panama, I would think that nobody wants to fight a war, least of all those most impacted by it. Central america has fought cia financed proxy wars long enough and are tired of the killings. They, as with most workers, just want to be left alone to be exploited by a financial system they don’t understand.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      Utopia only exists on Star Trek and it is a socialist Utopia. Utopia is not possible. People are not perfect.

      • AnonymousNo Gravatar says:

        Fritz Springmeier

        Before you are too certain about certainty of the thoughts that occur to you you may want to search the ways that what you think has been programmed into you.

        No perfection is not an option, yes there are other economic systems than capitalism.


        Utopia is an option, the mechanism in your head that denies that fact was programmed into you by sophisticated mind control techniques. Perhaps you can escape them now that you are aware of them.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          Utopia may be an option for you because your definition of Utopia differs from mine. That is why Utopia is not an option. There is no arrangement of living and interacting with others that everyone is going to agree with 100% and will satisfy everyone 100%. I am not a communist. Communism does not appeal to me. As far as I am concerned communism is far from Utopia.

          • FreeBorn AngelNo Gravatar says:

            If we truly could achieve anarchy (no violent aggression towards others, ie,…not forcing anybody to do anything they dont want to do.) utopia would be the inevitable result.

            Ask yourself, is it better to feed a bum(carry a non worker) or to enslave him?

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            We can be damn glad no society has ever existed where 100% were satisfied. It is dissatisfaction that drives innovation, or invention. The general premise that everyone has a right to be free from inequality of outcome, insult, or suffering is an irrational, impractical, and undesirable goal. But that is the utopian goal of many. They can have their stupid dream. I don’t care. What I will fight to the death to stop, is their belief that they have the right to force their dream on me.

            My idea of utopia is the non-aggression principle practiced by the majority in my society. For example, I won’t pay to finance a standing army, if given a choice. I find forced “pooling of resources” repugnant, even if I agreed the reason was a good one. “If one takes care with the means, the end will take care of itself.”

            • FreeBorn AngelNo Gravatar says:

              Yes, as long as the majority accepts violence as an acceptable means to their ends utopia is not an option.

              I would agree that somebody out of the 7 billion people on earth would not be happy if utopia broke out. They are just contrary to be contrary.

  4. Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

    HR Reardon peace be with you brother. I am glad to hear you are a voluntaryist! We have a common philosophical foundation to work from! As you are no doubt aware a common objection to voluntaryism is a state is needed to provide defense. So to counter this argument I found examples of modern day States with no defense forces which have prospered. Now please explain to me where I madethe claim that Lichtenstein or any other country is obligated to be protected by a larger state? I do not remember making that claim in this article or at any other time. But if I do please point it out so I can make my writing more clear. Oh and can we all stop talking about utopia? My sole goal in this article is to show a nation state is not needed to provide defends of a region. And in cases where small states rely on large States for protection it refutes the free rider argument

  5. HReardenNo Gravatar says:

    I didn’t state you stated that small countries are obligated to be protected by large states. What I stated is that what you call “free riders” are irresponsible. Every country should be responsible for it’s own defense regardless of the size of the country. Even people living in the city-state of Monaco should be responsible for establishing it’s own naval defense. Obviously people in small countries do not have the resources to establish a military the size of a large country but they should be responsible for whatever defense they can establish and not rely on people from another country for their defense.

    • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

      HRearden thank you for the clarification of YOUR position that free riders are irresponsible. I maintain that free riding states like free riding indivduals would not be protected if it were not in the best interest of their benefactors to do so. But aside from that disagreement. I think we also disagree on whether or not Lichtenstein is a free rider nation. I argue that they are not. Lichtenstein has been military free since 1868. It has survived the Prussian wars two world wars and 60 years of threatening communist neighbors. I believe they owe their success to following Jefferson’s advice about avoiding entangling alliances, and conducting free trade with all. To my knowledge Lichtenstein has no protection agreements with other nations. I find it a stretch to believe they owe their freedom to the benevolence of the US millitary half a world away or the benevolence of the weaker Swiss military at it’s doorstep. Especially given the Swiss tradition of neutrality and avoiding entangling alliances. Although I am sure polticans in both the US and Switzerland would back up your claim, that tiny Lichtenstein somehow owes it’s freedom to their benevolent military.

      I hope to clarify my position in a future article that will specifically discuss Lichtenstein and how it has remained free despite having no standing military. Thanks again for your comments. I hope we can show the world that a Voluntary society is not only possible but desirable.

  6. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    We would have defense without the state. We just have to get the state out of the way. -With-Private-Security

    • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

      I completly agree. Defense is a service best left to individuals to contracted to the private sector not the state.

  7. Single Acts of TyrannyNo Gravatar says:

    If anyone mentioned this I apologise, but Costa Rica

  8. Jim DaviesNo Gravatar says:

    Great article, Anthony. Nations wage war only when their governments calculate they will gain a net advantage.

    Reminds me of Harry Browne’s wonderful story “A Visit to Rhinegold” in which the Wehrmacht had arrived but, failing to find a leader with whom to negotiate a surrender, stole some cheese and marched on towards France.

    • Anthony CaprioNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Jim Davies, I greatly appreciate the compliment! Thanks for posting a visit to Rhinegold. Harry Browne was awesome! I very much identify with him philosophically.

  9. GenghisNo Gravatar says:

    A free man can’t be enslaved and doesn’t need anyone else to defend him. The same holds true for a free people and nation.

    The problem is that slavery is seductive. Just read the story of Enkudu (Epic of Gilgamesh) and weep. People are happiest as slaves. Everyone is as free as they want to be.

    • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

      Sadly, I have to concur. While a small minority of us humans chaff even inside a gilded cage, most just want the master to whip us less. Assuming that the Old Testament can be considered historicly accurate; the Israelites spent 100 generations as a coherent nation without a monarch. In the end, they demanded one from God, despite warnings from the prophets of their day about how kings treat their ‘subjects’. As the saying goes, each generation gets the government they deserve.

    • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

      So is it your belief that the Jews and others who were imprisoned in camps by the National Socialist regime in Germany during the 1930’s and 1940’s were not free before they were enslaved in the camps since you claim that a free man can not be enslaved?

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        Correct. “Iron bars nor stone walls, do not a prison make …” Twenty-five % got out before the mass arrests. The ones that stayed were accomplices in their own imprisonment. They self organized, with no resistance, the relocation to what they told themselves were “work camps. Rabbis were the chief organizers. After the war interviews confirmed this. Two quotes: “I wanted to prove I was a good German first, before I was a good Jew.” and “My (twin) sister and I discussed leaving the country, but we decided it was better to stay because ‘The devil we knew was better than the devil we didn’t.'” They were more afraid of the unknown, e.g., being foreigners in a strange land. They were swept up, like everybody else, in nationalist fervor. It was this mass hysteria that blinded and enslaved them.

        Regardless of our society, or religions and political indoctrination, we are responsible for our thoughts and actions. Paraphrasing a nineteenth century abolitionist, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed thousands more if only they knew they were slaves.” It is this crippled mentality that is our biggest obstacle in the US, and the world: Blind obedience to the superstition of violent centralized control.

        • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

          How do you know everyone who wanted to leave were able to? There were situations in which other countries refused to allow Jews to immigrate or even just enter the country. It is easy to say that you would left but you may not have been able to. It is easy for you to day that you would have resisted. You don’t know that because you were not there. You may have been afraid like many were.

          • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

            I know about the ships that were turned away from ports of country after country. I know that the NY times was owned by a Jew who could have written an editorial or used his influence to open up immigration here but chose not to. I know that FDR, hailed as a great humanitarian, could have saved millions but chose not to. None of these facts are relevant to my point. Neither is what I would have done. That comment is very strange.

            Then, and now, billions worship the state. The historians, pundits, and social theorists would have us believe that past atrocities are not the fault of the victims. They would have us believe that collectivism would work if we could just someday get the right leaders. At the same time they violently oppose any system that recognizes the individual as sovereign. This is evil, unworkable. It must never, under any circumstances be tried. Why? If they are correct, the only ones hurt would be a few stubborn anti-social malcontents. Their failure would prove the collectivists are right, and individualism is wrong for humanity. But they won’t allow that. Why? Why can’t anyone buy a piece of land, free and clear, from a state? Why is every piece of land claimed? Why is the moon claimed? Perhaps they understand how dangerous the concept of rights is to collectivism better than most rights advocates.

            • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

              Statism is a non-sequitur regarding the question I asked you. How do you know that all of those sent to the camps were statists? Is it your belief that there are no Jews who are not statists? Have you not heard of David Friedman? As far as land, this(click on link) is not 100% free of a state but it is a lot closer than perhaps anywhere else except Sealand which is not land.


              • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                G.G., Chile is “closer” to being free, i.e., less enslaved, than anywhere else? How does that answer my point that no nation will grant sovereignty, i.e., sell with full property rights? I didn’t say no nation even pretends to grant rights? I didn’t say all nations are equally restrictive. What is your point here?

                A voluntaryist might be caught up in the state’s web depending on his particular circumstances, e.g., returning to rescue a loved one. Therefore, some camp prisoners were probably anti-Nazi, or even anti-state. But what if six million had resisted as a group or individually? I don’t believe the Nazis would have been able to imprison and murder them. Look at all the trouble a handful of violent resisters gave them at the Warsaw Ghetto. I don’t believe the 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned in WWII could have been persecuted if they stood up for themselves. But who take your side if you don’t?

                You ask if I believe all Jews are statists. I ask you to explain what I said that would imply such a collectivist judgement. Unlike you, I don’t jump to the conclusion that all Jews, Christens, or any random classification you can think of, is statist, or voluntaryist, based on the actions of a subset. I specifically mentioned that 25% of the German Jews got out early. I did that to show that not all Germans bought the Nazi myth. Those who saw the socialist monster coming survived. Those who chose to close their minds did not. Thinking is optional. No one can force you to begin or stop. No one can protect you from the punishment of the latter, or deny the rewards of the former. Sometimes, “going along to get along” is fatal.

                I’ve always believed thinking, truth seeking, is a matter of life or death. That belief has served me well for 71 years. .

                • HReardenNo Gravatar says:

                  Why do you falsely accuse me of collectivist thinking when I have not stated anything to suggest that I judge people collectively? It is you who have suggested that all the prisoners in the camps in Germany were statists. It is you who asked why can’t anyone buy a piece of land free and clear of the state? I pointed out the closest thing to that which is in Chile. The fact is that there are people who fear the state and that is why they obey the state. Not everyone who obeys the state is doing so because they want to. People don’t know what to do to be free and someone who comes off self-righteous in their assessment of others I don’t believe is helpful.

                  • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

                    I said the German Jew victims who cooperated with the Nazis were collectivists. I cited two examples. You came back and asked: “Is it your view that there are no Jews who are not statists?” How in the hell do you jump to that conclusion about me without thinking “some” means “all”? For example, when I claim that US citizens who defend the president’s NDAA are statists, I would be surprised if you asked: “Is it your view that there are no US citizens who are not statists?” Or, you say, “Not everybody who defends the state is doing so because they want to.” These statements make no sense unless I assume you think collectively.

                    While watching dozens of films about the holocaust, fiction and documentary, I wondered why people submitted to the Nazis so easily. And, until recently, none of the film makers asked the same question. Why? It was as if this was a forbidden question, or maybe the film makers just assumed everybody obeys authority, that’s the way it is. I wondered why the Japanese Americans and the Native Americans submitted so readily to the fascist US. I wonder why the vast majority of US citizens submit to warrantless, unconstitutional stops.

                    You claim people obey out of fear or ignorance. I agree these are two possible observations. But fear is an emotion, not an explanation. What causes the fear? When I am fearful I am motivated by that fear to think. Some freeze up. Is this the explanation for mass obedience? I am curious because obedience is not a survival strategy. It gets people killed. It gets them confined in concentration camps. It makes them look like statists. It makes them act like statists. If a person behaves like a statist, rationalizes statist rule, obeys the statists, can that person claim to not be a statist? I think not. Does asking these questions make me “self-righteous”? Or are these valuable questions that need to be asked to stimulate public debate and awareness? I think so.

                    I will continue in my “assessment of others” in hopes they will begin to assess themselves. I believe it is helpful. “The unexamined life is the life not worth living.”

  10. States are better at war than tribes. That is why they formed. You don’t have to look hard for examples either:

    The many Germanic nations united after humiliating defeat by Napoleon (inventor of total war). The end of China’s Chou Dynasty was the triumph of a state military over the more voluntary, aristocratic, tribal unions.

    This article is Rothbardian mysticism and its ideas should be abandoned. Look not for a return to our “natural rights” but for a brotherhood of free people who will use violence to enforce the norm of property. Violence is not the first violation property, but it’s creation. Property comes from violence.

    There’s a reason most of your examples of islands. There’s a reason Rothbard’s mysticism begins on Crusoe’s Island and uses induction to conclude idea that renouncing aggression is the only thing necessary for civilization — that we’ll all spontaneously return to our natural state of voluntary cooperation.

    The ocean substitutes for the violence necessary to establish property rights.

    • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

      “… the ocean substitutes for the violence necessary…” ?? Really? Violence is necessary to repel violence, sometimes. It is not necessary in everyday life. It is when the vast majority of people authorize a few to rule by force that a society becomes violent culturally. And afterward that culture self destructs.

      No institutionalized violence existed at first in the ’49er mining camps, but violence was not a major problem. Robbery and murder were much less than in eastern cities. This is a real life example of a society that had all the ingredients for social strife but was not like the myth of the “wild west”. The myth was created by the tabloids to sell.

    • MoonShadowNo Gravatar says:

      This is utter bullshit. Property is not an invention of violence. The concept of property is a natural extention of our own nature, although it’s much more complex today than the natural sort. Anyone who doubts that it is natural, need only try to take a toy away from a two year old, and see what kind of response you get. Although not in language, you would get the same response from a 2 or three year old orangutan. They understand the concept of ‘property’. While the concept of property as applied to real estate complicates things a great deal, it’s not difficult to see the relationship. While nation-states are certainly better at warfare than tribal militias, personal property (and in most cultures, real estate) predate the rise of nation-states.

      • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

        I agree. The state is an invention to trick people into giving away their property rights. Before the state it was much more difficult to steal.

        Religion probably came before the state, and was a primitive attempt to explain everything, to satisfy a deep need for a comprehensive world view. It became a scam. Pretending to have all the answers and thereby satisfy needs, gave power. This power later morphed into the state. Or as Ayn Rand called it: “Faith and Force: Destroyers of the Modern World”.

      • The tears of a two year old do not prove anything about the naturalness of property. The history of humanity is filled with tears. Are they somehow a violation of our nature? The fact that the majority of gold miners were able to cooperate also fails to prove the naturalness of property.

        I think libertarianism has lost itself in an incestuous Lockean-Misesian-Rothbardian jungle gym. The connection to reality has been severed.

        “Rights” are a weak man’s claim to the things he wants but lacks the strength to enforce.

        Yes, people cooperate very well. It’s an amazing talent our species has.

        That does not mean that the weak man’s strategies of nagging, name calling, declarations of “rights”, arguments about what is “nautral” are sufficient to suppress free riding — be it free riding via aggression, fraud or non-contribution to social norms.

        You have libertarian property rights when you and your neighbors can enforce libertarian property rights.

        Arguing that free riders are only a minority doesn’t change this fact.

        • SaraNo Gravatar says:

          “The tears of a two year old do not prove anything about the naturalness of property. The history of humanity is filled with tears. Are they somehow a violation of our nature?”

          “The fact that the majority of gold miners were able to cooperate also fails to prove the naturalness of property.”

          What if someone came in and tried to take away their cooperative property that they worked so hard to attain? I’m pretty sure they would be angry, then “nag” and complain about “natural rights” and whatnot.

          • Sara,

            Regarding the miners — I’m pretty sure they would pick up their long rifles and enforce property rights. Deeds, not words. One of the reasons I admire the Free State crowd so much is because they’re doing more than just complaining.

            However I think they need more sensitivity to the idea that freedom isn’t for everyone. Despite its virtues, most people don’t want it and never will. The market demands a state, and the market provides a state. (Bend your libertarian brain around that one. Lol.)

            The question remains: What are we going to do about it?

            • JohnNo Gravatar says:

              “they would pick up their long rifles and enforce property rights. Deeds, not words”.

              Damn! That is what I have been telling you dude. If only you faced a mirror once in a while.

              I will remember to quote you elsewhere for it is such an awesome quote.

              “DEEDS, NOT WORDS.”
              Roman in Summer 2014.

        • Don DuncanNo Gravatar says:

          “Libertarian property rights” is a redundant term. Rights are inherent in our nature as human. Our natural means of existence needed to be discovered, not invented by “weak men”. Once discovered the concept explained self-enslavement, war, and poverty. They are products of ignorance of rights, i.e., our natural way of co-existing. Once enough people come to realize that each is sovereign and must stand up to authoritarianism, renouncing it, then true civilization can begin.

          If you meant to imply that people should talk less, and act more, I would like to hear some explicit examples. Talk, i.e., the spreading of ideas, is the first step in establishing a power base from which to act. It begins with one person on a soap box. Ideas take time to spread but that time is getting shorter since the internet.

          • > “Libertarian property rights” is a redundant term. Rights are inherent in our nature as human. Our natural means of existence needed to be discovered, not invented by “weak men”. Once discovered the concept explained self-enslavement, war, and poverty. They are products of ignorance of rights, i.e., our natural way of co-existing. Once enough people come to realize that each is sovereign and must stand up to authoritarianism, renouncing it, then true civilization can begin.

            This is EXACTLY the nonsense that needs to be exorcised from libertarianism if we want to become relevant. I could not have illustrated it better myself. This is religion/mysticism divorced from reality. This is the attempt to create reality via repetition of albeit desirable lies — the tradition of the Zoroastrian and Abrahamic religions.

            If anything, familial/tribal property rights have been more common in history than libertarian/individual property rights. (See Fukuyama – Origin of the Political Order. He may be lacking as an economist, but he’s a brilliant historian.) If any sort of property rights are natural it is familial/tribal ones.

            But we need to get away from this “natural” nonsense.

            Individual property rights are a choice — a choice preferred by a very small minority of people. Us.

            It is a choice first made by Northern/Western Europeans where the populations outbred so much that all society became indistinguishable from your family. The dual loyalty between family and society which existed (and still exists) in the rest of the world vanished and individual property rights arose. They laid the foundation for modern civilization.

            • Sam SpadeNo Gravatar says:

              Some years ago I ceased using the term “rights”. Instances where I once may have used “rights”, I now use “choices”.

              I am a sovereign state. How was my state brought into being? I chose sovereignty.

              I believe anybody anywhere can choose sovereignty. Here. Now. I do not need to move to Costa Rica, or the US state of New Hampshire — or a floating platform on the sea (g-d save the poor dupes trying to escape the psychopathic “rulership” that will form if they ever get that monstrosity afloat!).

              The white man’s “rule” is about to implode. I do not need to anxiously await that episode to unfold. Nor do I need to wail and gnash my teeth over machinations of those psychopaths who have grouped themselves into that egregious monopoly called “state”.

              It’s in the Book.