Probably the next frequent concern with anarchism is “What about the national defense? How would we protect ourselves from other countries that might want to invade us?” This is certainly a fair apprehension, and one which we as anarchists must offer some practical solutions to. Believe it or not, there are more possible solutions to this problem than we can even explain fully here, but that won’t stop us from trying.
The first point is that without a tax structure, there would be a vastly lessened incentive to invade our landmass, because there would be no economic hierarchy or income to inherit. The invading power would literally have to go to every single door and hijack the person’s money, and even without a national (military) or local (police) defense, this would be very impractical and inefficient, and just a huge pain. We would also expect that in a free society, the populace would be well-armed, as many may opt not to subscribe to a police service – so an aggressive force would not know what to expect from each home.
Now, remember – morality first, then practicality. Stealing $10,000 from someone might let me buy a nice home security system with the money, but that does not mean that we should steal. People should be able to choose which services they wish to subscribe to without the use of force. For example, if you are reading this, then clearly you would wish to continue funding something like a ‘national defense’ (or ‘regional defense’, since technically there would be no nation) – and surely there are plenty of others in north America just like you – so in short, that’s how it would be funded.
So you’re saying that if I donate my part, I should also expect that others will contribute enough money to provide for the defense?
In a sense, yes. The key here, again, is the non-aggression principle. So let’s say that without the force of the state, you and only 10% of others would voluntarily fund national defense. Your first reaction may be, that’s not enough. Does that then give you (the minority) the right to forcefully extort money from the others who disagree with you, in order to better procure a sense of your own security? Well, of course not. Now let’s imagine that 51% or 90% would voluntarily fund it. Now that you are the majority, does that still give you the right to forcefully extort money from the others who disagree with you? Of course not! BUT – clearly if there are enough others who agree with you on national defense, then that’s how it would be funded.
Of course, we would all be free to start intentional communities, perhaps similar to HOAs, that could act as *voluntary* states. So let’s imagine again that only 10% of us wanted to voluntarily fund national defense. Well, we could all get together and form a community – let’s call it Texas – and we could all agree that in order to live in our community, you had to pay 10% of your income towards defense. Anyone who doesn’t pay gets ejected – they broke the contract!
Who would actually provide the defense services?
If the US government were to be abolished, we would probably first see a progressive cutback in the size of the military, and might then see branches of the military sold to different private companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop, etc. Boeing might defend the western border, Lockheed the east, and Northrop the south. It would be in the best interests of the consumers and therefore of the businesses for them to work together tactically – in a way, to continue as branches or divisions of the military.
As far as actual war-making decisions and policy, this would be left up to the consumers and companies. The consumers may want to have majority votes on individual efforts – for example, the company could provide an online voting system – or they may choose to delegate those decisions to the company – and we would probably see an evolution of both systems. Within each company, the military would probably function much the same as it does now, hierarchically.
There would be almost no incentive for a branch to “go rogue”. For one thing, their entire consumer base would instantly defund them. Then, as the other branches would be charged with protecting the citizens that would be affected, the rogue branch would come under attack from multiple other parties. The cost-benefit analysis is clearly on the side of peace in the long-term. Additionally, consumers could demand an open ledger of assets, or periodic audits, or some other system to hold each branch in check and maintain their own peace of mind.
But some people might not pay for the defense, and they would be afforded the same protections as the rest of us. That’s not fair.
Well, do we consider it moral when the mafia gives “protection” to a businessman by extorting money from him, and if he opts out, they use force against him? Of course not! The mafia has the option NOT to provide (or fund) the “protection”, and the fact that they do it anyways does NOT imply that anyone who receives a perceived benefit as a byproduct of that should be morally liable to pay for those benefits.
Why am I expected to pay for protections that I didn’t ask for? Conservatives will recognize that this is exactly what the US government is trying to do in forcing everyone to purchase healthcare. If enough people are concerned that they will be nuked (and I suspect there will be plenty), then they are all free to contribute to such a fund of their own volition. Again, in fact, those people could even move to the same neighborhood or area (which might function as a state, voluntarily/contractually), and develop or fund whatever kind of defense systems they wanted to. All we ask is for the same right to freely and peacefully do elsewise.
Consider what the Bible has to say about war. We know in the New Testament that Christ teaches nonviolence through Love before all else. Christ teaches that we are not to be militant, but to be men of peace whenever possible.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:3
Even in the Old Testament (the Old Covenant), where the Lord is described as “a man of war” (Exodus 15:3), His instruction is to first seek peace before war, and to spare the lives of the innocent:
When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace… As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.
Deuteronomy 20:10, 14
As Christians, let us remember that our greatest value on earth is Love, and that we must strive for peace in all things as a token of that Love.