Who Would Defend?

Medieval scholars debated the number of angels who could fit on a pin. Today’s thinkers debate such abstruse questions as “how would Ancapistan defend itself against a foreign invasion?”

There is no simple answer; it’s like asking “who would build a pencil?” Many people would, each adding their bit of expertise, skills, labor, and materials.

But we can perhaps talk about some general principles. It is said that a German general visited his counterpart in Switzerland, and asked “What would 100,000 Swiss soldiers do, if faced with twice as many Germans at the borders?” The Swiss general replied “Shoot twice, and go home.” The Swiss soldiers were trained to shoot at 300 meters; the Germans, at 100 meters. They had regular marksman competitions in every village.

In Ancapistan, some folks would amass considerable wealth via trading over large scales. Think, perhaps, of today’s Amazon, or Google. Such firms might be more profitable when their customers are not distracted by war. If I were a wealthy man, I might propose long-distance marksmanship prizes in every town and city. I might specifically award prizes to local champions, and invite them to higher level tournaments, and award large prizes to the Best of the Best – I hesitate to say “national” champions since there would be no nations in Ancapistan. I might field teams who would compete against other teams, just as we have auto racing teams today, golf championships, and so forth.

Author H. John Poole has written a great many articles about insurgent warfare. If I were to sum up his ideas about insurgents, it would be this; they are adaptable; they share information; they relentlessly critique and postmortem every operation and try to learn from it; they act autonomously; they seek to destroy targets of strategic value; they seek to embarrass the invaders, to make them afraid, and to raise the cost of the invasion; they seek to increase support from the locals; they strive for economic efficiency and the use of readily available improvised weaponry – and they’re very good at all these things.

One might say that a war against insurgents is a war of a “socialist” top-down authoritarian command-and-control operation, versus fluid, organic free-market movements – but that would explode the heads of many who have deep-seated religious objections to voluntary economic interactions, or those who think that traditional military organizations “defend freedom” and reject the notion that such organizations are fundamentally unfree.

But think on it this way: when occupying forces imposed gun control on Iraq, they limited each family to one full-auto AK-47. Previously, the “oppressed” Iraqis could own as many as they wished.  In “free” America, it is quite difficult for any ordinary person to purchase a full-auto weapon.

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