Can a Stateless Society defend itself?

One of the most longstanding objections to a stateless society is that some other State Government would invade and enslave the people of the anarchy. Facts like the 1000 years of Irish anarchy where this did not happen don’t mean much to most folks as they have been propagandized their entire life that we must have a government else the “bad guys” will kill, rape, and rob us. Just last night there was a discussion of how an anarchy could cope with an invasion on twitter. (hard to address big questions 140 characters at a time)

Of all the objections to anarchy, this one (‘what about an invasion?’) seems to me to be the easiest to handle in some ways. There are present day examples of non-state groups (can you say ‘middle east’ kiddies?) fighting off the mightiest empire the Earth has ever seen, so no need to wistfully look back at medieval Ireland! So, let us imagine that the US were to drop its government and move to fully voluntary, free-will, private cooperation. The country would become much stronger economically and the wealth of the people would increase dramatically which might make the territory a tempting target for invasion.

Most of us realize that trading with others is far more profitable than going to war with them, and most countries would be overjoyed to trade with the government-less north American territory, but there are always people who can’t see reason even if it is right in front of them so let us suppose England is led by a Prime Minister who wants to re-take the old colonies.

Let us speculate the Prime Minister of England looked with great envy upon the wealth being generated in this new anarchy and decided he wanted to grab some of that wealth by invading. The PM and various other leaders would make speeches, inflame the population, and have their military prepare for invasion. With England ready to invade, how would the people and their private protection agencies (PPAs) of the anarchy respond?

First of all, we have a Forth Generation Warfare situation under discussion. In our stateless society there is no single target such as the White House or the Pentagon. All authority is diffused and decentralized much like the Internet is and so cannot be targeted. Plus there are 310 million armed civilians to contend with after the English forces arrive!

The PPAs have the most to lose in an invasion since they would be disbanded at the least; if not all executed. They would declare that the PM of England is a target for assassination if he continues to threaten the people of the state-less US. Leaders of governments never launch wars if they personally would face great risk. Targeted assassination would be a prime method of self-defence by Private Protection Agencies. One speculates that there might be agents trained and ready for just such contingencies.

At the same time, an offer of $200 million in gold to whoever can change the mind of the English Prime Minister and his allies by any means necessary would be a logical move in addition to all others. Another move would be to put a bounty on every politician in England until the situation is defused.

A union of PPAs, wealthy businesses, and private individuals might pledge a large amount to pay a third country to attack England in aid to our moral cause of self-defence.

I think that would be enough to stop the plans of the English PM, but perhaps England when ahead anyway. Now what?

The invading English army cannot tell which citizens have which weapons since there is no government to ban any particular weapons. Some large businesses might even have WMD. This raises a significant “fog of war” problem. Over 310 million armed Americans ready to defend their society and armed with the moral high ground of self-defence would present a real challenge to the English military. With the citizens and their private defense companies using guerilla tactics in a war of attrition England would face a much larger problem than we did in Vietnam. (and that did not go well for us for those of you who slept through history class)

And let us not forget that the PPAs will hire mercenaries to repel the invaders. The mercenaries combatants will engage government troops in many fashions in support of the other 4th generation warfare activities of the 310 million population.

Since the reason leaders use to launch aggressive wars in the first place is to convince their people that the target is a threat, and an anarchy can hardly be a threat, it seems unlikely that a leader could convince his people to go to war against a stateless society. But if he were a dictator without need of the agreement of the population he would be assassinated. And if all else failed, a 4th generation war against the invader would be unwinnable by the invader.

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