terry_freeman on July 15, 2010, 07:03:24 pm
A modern AnCap militia would be a lot more fluid and ready to use tech which would target the weak points of socialist varieties of military agencies. To a degree, this is happening in Afghanistan today. The Taliban are playing by different rules. They don't field one tank versus another; they field cheap IEDs against expensive tanks.

They don't build and try to hold on to fixed bases; they abandon ground which cannot be held, and move elsewhere. This is a lot like the strategy in the game of Go, which is far more fluid than most Western simulations of warfare.

I've used the Afghans for an analogy, since they are making life very difficult for the world's last remaining military superpower, but the analogy only goes so far. A modern AnCap militia would have more capital, more education, and more technology.

In times past, Americans chipped in to build ships equipped for naval warfare. A modern AnCap militia would buy some extremely expensive hardware, if it were necessary. Don't limit yourself by asking "what would the average middle-income guy be able to pay for?" Ask "what would a Bill Gates or George Soros be able to pay for?"

Why would a wealthy person pay a lot for defense? Does not his business depend on a lot of customers, who are geographically dispersed? His interests are widely distributed; he has a considerable interest in defending more than his private domicile.



wdg3rd on July 16, 2010, 12:12:44 am
Kids, advanced tech can be negated with fairly simple weapons.  Fighter-bombers in the 'Nam were brought down by arrows in the engines.  Russian helicopters were brought with Brown Besses (captured during a previous attempt by an evil empire to hold Afghanistan -- unrifled muskets so you didn't have to be that close about how big your balls were) and Look at L. Neil's proposal on county-level SDI -- a gun firing a bunch of BBs into a satellite's or missile's path -- cheap and local.  Yeah, advanced bio tech can be a bitch (hard to fight at local level, also hard to build), advanced or not chem-war is generally easy to beat (not just by wrapping yourself and your house in duct tape and saran wrap per TSA advice)  (if I'm wrapped in either product, it's for sex, not for national defense -- though it's La Esposa's late boyfriend who liked that, I just wear condoms so it's easier to clean up).

Advanced tech tends to be fragile however well it's armored, if government's involved.   NASA's (not that I give them any credit for success) plans were defeated by congressmen who never passed 6th grade public school arithmetic, they just barely could count how many years it took them to get through law school.  But appointed NASA bureaucrats came from that same gene-pool, just like cops and gang-bangers come from the same neighborhoods.  "I got no idea how this works" but it might or it might not -- how do you other ignorant idiots who never had to take remedial science because Dad said we didn't have to vote?
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

Rocketman on July 16, 2010, 12:41:11 am
Conversely, there's a reason muskets aren't used anymore, and I don't expect such a militia would cling to tech and weapons that have truly become out of date.
There is a famous old saying "No weapon system is truly obsolete."  "Just ask anyone who's been hit in the head with a rock lately."  Actually even a musket can and has been used in modern warfare.  When the old soviet union was in Afganistan about 25 years ago at least one chopper was brought down by an old Martini-Henry rifle.  That's the kind of rifle that the British empire used around 1878 during the Zulu wars.  If you can hit the tail rotor with the pure lead bullet of the M-H it supposedly stuck to and unbalanced it.  With no tail rotor to balance the centrifical force of the main rotor the helicopter would crash.

dough560 on July 16, 2010, 01:13:42 am
You''re correct.  Back when, Soldier of Fortune did an article about the locals shooting down soviet helicopters with locally built .75 caliber flintlock rifles and more modern Martini Henry Rifles.  The shooters positioned themselves on ridge lines and were shooting down at the soviet copters when they started their attack runs.  They targeted the tail rotors.  An ounce plus of big, slow, dumb lead brought down multi-million dollar armored copters.

Everyone has to sleep, eat, fuel etc.  No matter how fancy or armored the equipment, the crew is vulnerable during these times.  The vulnerability increases when the opponent has superior mobility.

J Thomas on July 16, 2010, 09:25:04 am
Kids, advanced tech can be negated with fairly simple weapons.

That can happen, and there are no guarantees. I personally think that a short OODA loop for new military technology would probably be decisive -- except that in peacetime we don't find out what we'll need, and even a long war would only allow a few OODA cycles. And experience with one war doesn't necessarily prepare you for a different one. The US military is learning to be pretty good at suppressing disorganized hostile civilians -- a useful skill if they find themselves with some sort of insurrection in the USA.

Quote
Fighter-bombers in the 'Nam were brought down by arrows in the engines.

Yes, but we didn't lose enough of them to interfere with carrying out their missions.

Quote
Russian helicopters were brought with Brown Besses

Ditto, it took years for the USSR to lose enough to really feel the pain, and the USA took the credit for hi-tech weapons to do that.

Quote
and Look at L. Neil's proposal on county-level SDI -- a gun firing a bunch of BBs into a satellite's or missile's path -- cheap and local.

That sounds great! I'm a little concerned about the medium-run effect of putting a lot of BBs in orbit, but if the alternative is losing a war then it's easier to put off thinking about the problems of the future until after the war is over.

Quote
Yeah, advanced bio tech can be a bitch (hard to fight at local level, also hard to build)

Primitive bioweapons are hard to fight. Start with known plant pathogens and you don't have to do much to them to hit crops pretty hard. But it's also hard to keep the enemy from culturing what you used and sending spies back with it to hit your crops some. But when they depend on different crops, you still get the advantage.

Human pathogens are harder to think about. You don't want to start an epidemic that spreads who-knows-where, and it's hard to judge how well it will spread until you try it for real. So instead you can try for pathogens that won't spread at all except when you deliver them, and then you get something that military men want to avoid. They want to win today's battle today, they don't want something that will incapacitate the enemy 3 days from now and that might cause friendly casualties if the wind is wrong. Easier to hold them back and retaliate with them if the enemy uses them.

Quote
advanced or not chem-war is generally easy to beat


Soldiers tend to leave their chem-war defensive stuff in storage because it's extra weight they probably won't need. It's easy for them to deal with if they know it's coming, and if there isn't too much of it. So it's usually been used against lo-tech opponents and on poor civilians. 

Quote
Advanced tech tends to be fragile however well it's armored, if government's involved.

True! But can they achieve their objectives? That might depend on the objectives. If they go to tremendous expense to shut you down and as a result their own civilians are kept in poverty, by one twisted view that's a win for them. It's certainly a loss for you. If they don't mind genociding you, and they can spend almost as much as they want to do it, that's hard to defend against. But if they're like the USA and want to run an occupation so they can persuade you how much better it is to do things their way, then they will go home eventually unless they are very close and very large. (Panama versus Iraq.)

There's no one way a war has to go. But I can see special advantages for a libertarian society.

If they obviously lack an army that can invade nations, they don't look like as much of a threat and it's harder to get momentum for war. (That didn't help Panama or Afghanistan, but it helps sometimes.)

If they are rich and friendly, they can say "Look, what we're doing works. You can do it too where you live. If you want to come join us we'll find jobs for you" and that might seriously damage morale for an invading army etc. (It didn't help Czechoslovakia to hurt russian army morale that way, but sometimes it could help.)

If a whole lot of people take initiative, some of them will find effective actions. They might make problems 100 times as fast as enemy commanders can resolve them. That's likely to be very effective when the enemy's goal is to "restore order" but it doesn't prevent massive civilian casualties on your side when the enemy wants to do that.

If you wind up with something of an adhocracy, I'd expect it not to be good at uniified military command, coherent central strategies, or big expensive military R&D programs. So you'd play to your strengths, you'd find ways to get by without relying too much on the things you weren't so good at. It might quite likely work out.

NemoUtopia on July 18, 2010, 08:56:51 pm
These are all very good points; I stuck myself into giving the defense a structure it doesn't have to have. However, this also leads to the question of efficiency, minimum casualties, and when a defense force has succeeded. It's certainly true that the average citizen supports those who actively resist oppression in a variety of ways, but many/most of these are methods presume that the technologically advanced state is already in an occupational position. From an invading state's perspective, if they occupy the ground they want and have sufficient control of the resource they are aiming for...well, just look at the U.S. in Iraq. History has shown us through recorded history that when an imperialist state of whatever variety is making resource grabs it takes disproportionate losses to forestall them or something that literally keeps their forces from reaching the final location. Of course, this is not always financial or cost in lives…unpopular wars have ousted many a politician and created insurrections that topple governments.

Speaking from the standpoint of those relying on said defense force; I’m not really sure how either the people or the protectors can believe they’ve succeeded if they’re resorting to resistance tactics on their own land. I’m not trying to argue the semantics about ‘resistance’, ‘freedom fighters’, or other terms: wouldn’t the goal of such a defense force be to prevent/deter invasion, or at least provide swift and complete retribution instead of a long term guerilla war? From one perspective, the resources of individuals not actually part of the defense force must be taken into account. An invasion is very difficult when (nearly) every single person is armed and motivated, and if the more materially wealthy have something analogous to precision ordinance and reliable mass-destruction capacity that’s a strong motivation to stay out. But arrows and lead musket balls aren’t going to stop modern bombers and ground-strafing fighters when they’re already overhead. The technologically advanced are very fragile and vulnerable when holding still or otherwise exposed…the heat of battle is not that time.

When speaking of the advances of defense the said force would have to consider the citizens themselves…I know that I, for one, would not put much faith (much less wealth) in a defense force that would be trying to snipe tank treads with Civil War muskets. I have no expectations that an AnCap society would match might in a traditional military arms race…i.e. they probably won’t be building tanks to combat tanks defensively. But when Menacing Neighbor is developing tank armor and new treads I expect they will develop efficient and reliable answers at relatively low cost when needed and fully exploit design flaws of invading technology. This was also what I meant when speaking of defensive installations, although I’m not thinking of classic gun nests or bunkers. I would expect some kind of mobile and inexpensive ECM/AA equipment if Menacing Neighbor is working on faster fighters with better HUDs and communications arrays...life isn’t a RTS computer game where the answer is to build another [static, vulnerable, and expensive] missile tower when an attacker is massing an air force, but nor can the spunky Human-woks defeat (much less deter) the brainwashed Imperialist Tech-Army with sinew bows and rock-and-log traps.

An established forward base by Menacing Neighbor is a temporary and fixable setback to a defense force. Hell, so are advance positions in other neighboring territories if they can be taken out or made ineffective. An occupying foreign army, on the other hand, means the defense force has failed even if they eventually drive off the invaders. Their land has been taken, their resources are being exploited, and even if you argue that the invader hasn’t truly won it’s just an ‘everyone loses’ situation, not a defensive success. The ability to hit someone standing next to you with the rock in your hand does not equate to using that rock to successfully stop a tank, Indiana Jones movies non-withstanding. Besides, I find a combat knife and cheap and significantly more effective alternate if I’m trying hand to hand combat, and doubt any of you would try using a sling with cobblestones when you have cheap and ready access to accurate firearms with piercing/explosive ammunition. If I have the realistic expectation that an aggressive neighbor [individual, group, or state] has developed an alloy, armor, or edge-sharp method that renders said combat knife useless unless I assassinate my neighbor in his sleep, I’ll be paying for a different blade or the means to actually prevent an altercation. Without the limitations and inefficiencies of that neighbor, I'd probably even be able to afford it and still live the life I want to live.

J Thomas on July 19, 2010, 01:15:19 am
History has shown us through recorded history that when an imperialist state of whatever variety is making resource grabs it takes disproportionate losses to forestall them or something that literally keeps their forces from reaching the final location.

Yes, but if they don't think they have the advantage they won't invade in the first place. It's hard to tell how many times defensive forces have prevented invasions, since we don't know how many extra invasions would have happened if the defenses looked weaker.

Quote
Speaking from the standpoint of those relying on said defense force; I’m not really sure how either the people or the protectors can believe they’ve succeeded if they’re resorting to resistance tactics on their own land.

There's a long list of reasons for a nation to go to war, and the more of the reasons that apply the more likely the war is. Thinking you'll have an easy win is high on the list. Thinking that you're getting stronger while they're getting weaker and you must invade them before they invade you is less common. Religion can start wars but usually in combination with other reasons. A defense force succeeds when nobody invades, and sort-of succeeds when an enemy makes a tentative attack that gets beaten off easily, demonstrating their strength.

The Swiss model works some places. Every male Swiss citizen has a working automatic weapon and ammo, and skis. (Except convicted felons, who are rare.) They have some armor and artillery, and presumably nowadays RPGs etc. They claim they have a "beehive" strategy. If anybody invades they hit back however they can with no particular strategy. A determined invader might kill off almost the entire male population, incidentally destroying all the industry and winning a bunch of picturesque mountains. They are not worth invading. (Also, the last time they faced a serious threat, they sold Hitler ball bearings he desperately needed, and if he invaded those factories would be destroyed. About the time Hitler could no longer invade Switzerland they stopped selling.)

But that approach has not worked for Lebanon. Lebanon has water and the best land in the middle east. It's a strategic location that Israel and Syria both need to control in their disputes with each other, and lots of it is flat. So Lebanon gets invaded regularly by Israel, and dominated by Syria. It works for the Swiss, it doesn't work for the Lebanese.

Quote
I’m not trying to argue the semantics about ‘resistance’, ‘freedom fighters’, or other terms: wouldn’t the goal of such a defense force be to prevent/deter invasion, or at least provide swift and complete retribution instead of a long term guerilla war?

Certainly the goal would be to deter attack. A larger goal would be to also prevent blockade, which might mean threatening the world's biggest navy. If it turns out that the best you can do is to drive out invaders with guerrilla war, then you can do that or surrender. And if the enemy doesn't mind genociding your population but will accept a surrender, then guerrilla war is probably not workable and surrender is better. There's nothing that works all the time, particularly if your enemy is much larger and richer, and ruthless and dedicated to winning. But a good deterrent will very often be enough.

Quote
I have no expectations that an AnCap society would match might in a traditional military arms race…i.e. they probably won’t be building tanks to combat tanks defensively. But when Menacing Neighbor is developing tank armor and new treads I expect they will develop efficient and reliable answers at relatively low cost when needed and fully exploit design flaws of invading technology.

Ideally they would find lots of dual-use stuff. Maybe modify tractors and road-building equipment and earth-moving machines to quickly build earthworks. Commercial trucks to move lots of material. Motorcycles and trail bikes to move individuals some places. Mobility is vitally important, and helicopters are incredibly fast but they're expensive and take a whole lot of maintenance, expensive to run, and they don't hide very well. The more you can get by using stuff from the civilian economy, the less it costs and the more is available when you need it. You need some weapons that have no other use, but everything that's also useful in peacetime benefits your economy instead of sucking from it.

Quote
I would expect some kind of mobile and inexpensive ECM/AA equipment if Menacing Neighbor is working on faster fighters with better HUDs and communications arrays....

Good thought! ECM is a specialised field. If you're 5 years behind then you might as well not even try. But the pace is slowed by bureacracy. If an AnCap business can stay 10 years ahead of governments, it can sell ECM to governments to make its peacetime living, and if one of them tries to invade....

Quote
An occupying foreign army, on the other hand, means the defense force has failed even if they eventually drive off the invaders. Their land has been taken, their resources are being exploited, and even if you argue that the invader hasn’t truly won it’s just an ‘everyone loses’ situation, not a defensive success.

Sometimes 'everyone loses' is as good as you can do. Sometimes you can't even make the other guy lose too.

One advantage is that AnCap is essentially a religion. The more it spreads, the fewer and weaker are the governments that can attack. So if you have a great big AnCap area, a government might only want 10% of it. But if they try for that will they be fighting the whole thing?

It might be more efficient to let them have their 10%. Some of the people could become refugees, going to places that are still AnCap so they can live as they want. Others could stay home and continually point out more efficient approaches to their occupiers. The quicker the governments turn minarchist the less threat they become.

A second advantage is that an AnCap area would probably not develop any single military doctrine. Competing businesses would develop a variety of dual-use items, and various "militias" would develop independent tactics. Usually armies have a race -- a slow race -- to figure out each others' tactics and exploit training weaknesses etc. A conventional army facing AnCap militias would be continually surprised, while the militias could share info about what enemy weaknesses are predictable. They should have a much shorter OODA loop. So if they were strong enough not to lose quickly, they should have a reasonable chance due to their innovation and quick adaptation times.

One of the many reasons for war is generals who want a war. They can't always talk a nation out of a bad war, but sometimes they can. Often their best wars are ones where they get to beat a foreign army while demonstrating superior generalship, and then it's over. A war against militias that do not look all that strong, but which somehow attempt multiple simultaneous approaches to destroy supply lines, destroy communications, make sneaky attacks on command posts, etc would not be attractive. Follow that with an endless occupation of a well-armed civilian population.... If one AnCap area gets torn up making life miserable for a government's generals, every nation's generals may oppose invasion of any other AnCap area.

terry_freeman on July 19, 2010, 12:18:01 pm
How often has Switzerland been invaded in the last seven hundred years?

Is their strategy one of galumping all over the world, in search of monsters to destroy? Are there Swiss military bases in a hundred countries? No, their strategy is to defend their own land. It seems to be working well enough. All their neighbors fell to the Nazi army, but Switzerland did not.

Yes, the Swiss have an organized army, sort of. But their military doctrine is to fight as independent units. No central authority is permitted to surrender on behalf of Switzerland; doctrine calls for every unit to assume that such a surrender is invalid, and to continue to fight. Anyone trying to conquer Switzerland would discover that it is like Afghanistan on steroids; Afghanistan with superior wealth, training, and firepower; Afghanistan with a hundred thousand sharpshooters who compete on a weekly or monthly basis. 

A wealthy AnCap society would be at least as good. It is a criminal violation of logic to claim that only governments can organize large projects - what do you think corporations such as IBM and ATT do, if not organize large projects? Why do the brains of statists have such gaping holes when they try to comprehend that "liberty is the mother, not the daughter of order?"




NemoUtopia on July 19, 2010, 05:46:36 pm
A wealthy AnCap society would be at least as good. It is a criminal violation of logic to claim that only governments can organize large projects - what do you think corporations such as IBM and ATT do, if not organize large projects? Why do the brains of statists have such gaping holes when they try to comprehend that "liberty is the mother, not the daughter of order?"

I've got no trouble comprehending this...in fact, my point relies on it. Big projects can (and the best do) include simple solutions, efficiency, exploitation of availbable mechanisms, and foreseeing and countering such problems. It would likely be easy for such an AnCap society to develop successful defenses, but developing these defenses is a new forms of arms race that still takes specialists, time, and resources. While governments and their militaries have made glaringly idiotic mistakes in the past, imperialist and aggressive nations have a fair success rate with oppression through reliable tech. It is perhaps a cause of dismay, but some of the most brain-washed scientists and researchers have been among the most brilliant and build things with amazingly high idiot-proofing. I've no doubt the AnCap society would have an extreme edge in the 'race': defend - hold/reclaim is easier than invade - hold, cheaper, and highly incentivized.

But there will be thresholds, just not matching classic chess strength-with-strength thinking. Missiles will still be developed to be faster so flyers can't just outrun them, ammunitions will still be developed to deal with advanced armor, jamming tech will advance to counter signal tech, and vehicles will achieve greater mobility to deal with invading forces. The Swiss have the advantage of the Alps, but they still train, advance, and answer enemy tech with a mix of both superior brainpower and advancing their own tech. Are their advances as bulky, clunky, inefficient, idiot prone, risky, costly, or unreliable as aggressive neighbors? No, but they are still advances to keep stride and a far cry from defending themselves with out of date firearms, ammunition, vehicles, and personal safety/comfort gear. Not all potential AnCap societies have the advantage of skiing being superior to vehicle motion, after all.

J Thomas on July 19, 2010, 08:03:58 pm
How often has Switzerland been invaded in the last seven hundred years?
Quote

http://history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz.ch/

1315, 1386, 1388, 1414, 1422, 1499, 1567, 1579, 1602,  1782, 1798, 1802.

Some of these were foreign armies supporting swiss factions. For most of swiss history there were serfs who had no political rights and large areas of land had no rights. Equality of all citizens was proclaimed in 12 cantons in 1833, which pretty much ended special rights for aristocrats.

Quote
Is their strategy one of galumping all over the world, in search of monsters to destroy?

They tried that, but lost an offensive war and quit. They still supplied mercenary armies to multiple sides of conflicts for a long time, and that led to some foreign interference in their politics -- foreigners could not accept that they might choose sides instead of fighting for all sides for money.

Swiss society was divided into cantons. Each canton was often unified but not always. The swiss were divided into french versus german language, city versus rural, eventually catholic versus protestant, and later democratic centralists versus traditional feudalists. Each time Napoleon invaded he was supported by democrats. At least one russian invasion was supported by feudalists.

Quote
Are there Swiss military bases in a hundred countries? No, their strategy is to defend their own land. It seems to be working well enough. All their neighbors fell to the Nazi army, but Switzerland did not.

They enthusiastically sold war material to germany, which would have been cut off after an invasion. Various experts argue that they prolonged the war. I am not an expert but it looks plausible to me. After the war they argued it out and decided that in future they will be neutral in spirit as well as following technical obligations.

Quote
Yes, the Swiss have an organized army, sort of. But their military doctrine is to fight as independent units. No central authority is permitted to surrender on behalf of Switzerland; doctrine calls for every unit to assume that such a surrender is invalid, and to continue to fight. Anyone trying to conquer Switzerland would discover that it is like Afghanistan on steroids; Afghanistan with superior wealth, training, and firepower; Afghanistan with a hundred thousand sharpshooters who compete on a weekly or monthly basis. 

It works for Switzerland, it does not work for Lebanon. The official lebanese army does not fight wars that would result in its utter destruction, and it faces that choice regularly.

[quuote]A wealthy AnCap society would be at least as good. It is a criminal violation of logic to claim that only governments can organize large projects - what do you think corporations such as IBM and ATT do, if not organize large projects?

The bureaucracies of large corporations are similar to those of governments. They tend to organize large projects badly, though I have no examples of alternative organizations that do it well. Large projects are currently difficult. An AnCap society could surely create giant bureaucracies to manage large projects, and pour large amounts of resources into them for long periods with no good way to tell how well they're getting results until the projects mature. That's possible for AnCap societies.

I tend to think that successful AnCap societies might tend to do that less. They might concentrate on smaller projects that are more cost-effective and that can be evaluated sooner. Each large project would require the conviction that it is necessary, and would require frequent injection of new resources in the faith that it will someday pay off. My imagination tells me that in a world with lots of people taking initiative, large projects will tend to be overtaken by events. Multiple small projects will coalesce to produce the results desired from a large project before the large project can deliver. I can't prove that would tend to happen, it's just a hunch that could be wrong.

 

anything