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Thread: How an Anarchist Society Would Provide National Defense | Jeff Hummel

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    Default How an Anarchist Society Would Provide National Defense | Jeff Hummel

    I have found that this is a recurring topic among libertarians that often appears in the minarchist vs anarchist debate. I recently encountered this great talk on the subject by Prof. Jeffrey Hummel from way back in 1980 that I thought I would share in case anyone is interested. Peace.



    "How an Anarchist Society Would Provide National Defense: The Solution to Libertarianism's Hardest Problem"

    By Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

    This lecture was delivered at the University of Texas at Austin on April 7, 1980. It was recorded by Jim Cartwright, who subsequently marketed it as three audio cassettes. The lecture was recently edited and converted into an MP3 audio file with meticulous care by Bill Courtney.

    The audio of this speech was obtained from:
    http://www.jrhummel.com/

    Jeffrey Hummel is a Professor of Economics at San Jose State University:
    http://www.sjsu.edu/economics/faculty/jeff.hummel.html

    My blog post on this lecture:
    http://wp.me/p2cdsV-it

    Discussion Topic

    I agree with Prof. Hummel's position in the video. I think some* free market anarchist societies could successfully defend themselves against invasion by foreign states.

    I think the minarchist position that the service of "national defense" (defense against invasion by foreign states) can only be successfully provided by a state is mistaken. I think free market anarchist societies would do at least as good a job providing this service as societies with governments (all else being equal), and perhaps a much better job in many cases.

    If anyone wants to discuss anything that Jeff Hummel said in the video, or what I just wrote, or anything else related to this topic I would be glad to discuss it with you.

    * Some, but obviously not all. For example, "anarchist Luxembourg" would have little to no chance defending itself against the governments of France and/or Germany if those governments and the French and German people wanted to invade Luxembourg and impose a government on the people there badly enough. Of course, if Luxembourg had a state it wouldn't stand a chance defending itself either (assuming all other conditions were the same), and perhaps would stand even less of a chance.

    Some other videos/essays I have watched/read on this subject

    The Market for Security | Robert P. Murphy (2011) Lecture


    Market for Security | Robert P. Murphy (2012) Lecture


    The essays "Private Law" and "Private Defense" in Robert Murphy's Chaos Theory.

    Robert Murphy's essay But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over?

    David Friedman's book The Machinery of Freedom [PDF] (pages 58-83 are especially applicable to this thread)

    Murray Rothbard's book For a New Liberty [PDF]

    I am currently reading (I'm on page 134 as I write this) Bruce L. Benson's book The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State

    For other works I've read see here: http://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpress.com/works/

    The first time that I was exposed to the subject of Law without Government was this short 3-video series:
    Last edited by PeaceRequiresAnarchy; 01-31-2013 at 04:10 PM. Reason: To clarify thread discussion topic
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/



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  3. #2

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    Individual gun rights takes care of the vast majority of national defence. The rest is comparatively small, to be honest.

    No one in their right mind would attempt an invasion of mainland USA even if you removed NATO operations.

    Let me see you roll down the streets of America - 300 million guns. Not. A. Chance.
    "Like an army falling, one by one by one" - Linkin Park

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    libertarian <> anarchist

    This belongs in the Political Philosophy subforum.
    I have many friends in the libertarian movement who look down on those of us who get involved in political activity,
    he acknowledged, but "eventually, if you want to bring about changes what you have to do is participate in political
    action.
    -- Ron Paul


    "We do have some differences and our approaches will be different, but that makes him his own person. I mean why should he [Rand] be a clone and do everything and think just exactly as I have. I think it's an opportunity to be independent minded. We are about 99% the same on issues." "People Try To Drive Wedges Between Rand And Me." --Ron Paul

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=pB5JgzBVHN0

    The Property Basis of Rights

  5. #4

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    The PRINCIPLES and real world applied means of effecting change are extremely similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by LibertyEagle View Post
    libertarian <> anarchist

    This belongs in the Political Philosophy subforum.
    "Like an army falling, one by one by one" - Linkin Park

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    ^^ Italic because real world means = economic discussion.
    "Like an army falling, one by one by one" - Linkin Park

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    Quote Originally Posted by LibertyEagle View Post
    libertarian <> anarchist

    This belongs in the Political Philosophy subforum.
    I posted this here because I think it's an economic discussion. I did mention the "minarchist vs anarchist debate," which is indeed a question of political philosophy, but the lecture (video) is not about that debate. Regardless of whether someone believes a minimal form of government is compatible with libertarianism or not, we can all still consider the economic question of how libertarian anarchist societies could attempt to deter and/or repel attempts by foreign states to invade.
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/

  9. #8

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    I updated the OP to clarify the discussion topic of this thread. I included a few other resources on the subject that I know of that people may be interested in. I would be glad to discuss any of it here if anyone wants to. Peace.
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/

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    I would still be happy to discuss this if anyone wants to.
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/

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    Too be honest it would likely look a lot like Switzerland.

    Regional Cantons that effectively manage their own local militias with a heavily armed general populace.

    There's a reason why Hitler ASKED the Swiss to march through.
    "Like an army falling, one by one by one" - Linkin Park

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphim View Post
    Too be honest it would likely look a lot like Switzerland.

    Regional Cantons that effectively manage their own local militias with a heavily armed general populace.

    There's a reason why Hitler ASKED the Swiss to march through.
    I'm not sure what exactly a free market anarchist society would look like, but if people wanted to organize their own local militias I agree that would act as a major deterrence.
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/

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    There is also a great illustrated video about David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom", narrated by himself:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTYkd...yer_detailpage

    I especially like that he comes more from a consequentialist point of view. Especially when it comes to defense and justice most people don't care for the moral foundations of your proposed system, they just want to know which one serves their interests best and can't see a good market solution. He shows why private justice and security might be superior with a positive analysis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danan View Post
    There is also a great illustrated video about David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom", narrated by himself:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTYkd...yer_detailpage

    I especially like that he comes more from a consequentialist point of view. Especially when it comes to defense and justice most people don't care for the moral foundations of your proposed system, they just want to know which one serves their interests best and can't see a good market solution. He shows why private justice and security might be superior with a positive analysis.
    Yes, that video is a great summary of what an anarcho-capitalist system of private justice might look like.

    Personally I am not a consequentialist myself. I would be a libertarian for ethical reasons even if the market solutions to problems weren't as efficient from a consequentialist perspective. However, I completely agree that it helps to persuade people to adopt pro-liberty views if you give them the consequentialist arguments and show them that the consequences of abolishing aggressive government would not be chaos, but instead would likely be a much more organized, peaceful, just, and prosperous society than what we have now.

    After I read David Friedman's book "The Machinery of Freedom" I wrote a brief blog post about his consequentialist/utilitarian approach: https://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpre...id-d-friedman/

    I highlighted what I believe is the main issue with putting consequences ahead of libertarian principle by highlighting that even Friedman falters:

    What will I do if, when all other functions of our government have been abolished, I conclude that there is no effective way to defend against aggressive foreign governments save by national defense financed by taxes—financed, in other words, by money taken by force from the taxpayers?

    In such a situation I would not try to abolish that last vestige of government. I do not like paying taxes, but I would rather pay them to Washington than to Moscow—the rates are lower. I would still regard the government as a criminal organization, but one which was, by a freak of fate, temporarily useful. [The Machinery of Freedom, page 75]
    In what way did Friedman falter? Murray Rothbard explains in For a New Liberty, as I discussed in my blog post on Rothbard's book: http://peacerequiresanarchy.wordpres...hbard/#justice

    To say that a utilitarian cannot be "trusted" to maintain libertarian principle in every specific application may sound harsh, but it puts the case fairly. A notable contemporary example is the free-market economist Professor Milton Friedman who, like his classical economist forebears, holds to freedom as against State intervention as a general tendency, but in practice allows a myriad of damaging exceptions, exceptions which serve to vitiate the principle almost completely, notably in the fields of police and military affairs, education, taxation, welfare, "neighborhood effects," antitrust laws, and money and banking. [For a New Liberty, pages 31-32]
    I believe that David Friedman's quote that I gave above is an example of what Rothbard was talking about here. (Although note that Friedman is not completely a utilitarian, although he does make some utilitarian arguments in his book.)
    "A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist." Roderick T. Long, An Open Letter to the Peace Movement, https://peacemovement.wordpress.com/





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