wdg3rd on March 20, 2010, 03:08:00 am
Well, a bunch of folks without support from their own or any other government seem to be doing a fair job defending themselves and their families against the best-armed military on the planet, over in a little shithole called Iraq.
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

SandySandfort on March 20, 2010, 10:20:06 am
Imagine you live in a world entirely composed of sovereign individuals. No government, no army.

A relatively large group of people (large enough to support itself without outside trade,) decides that they should rule the world. Let's call them "The Autarky." This group of people starts training their members to be soldiers, and arming them with the best stuff they can make. The Autarky also taxes its citizens to buy aircraft carriers, fighters and bombers, attack helicopters, tanks and artillery, etc.

Uh, like the Soviet Union? But this paragraph, like the ones the follow, is fraught with unsupported or even acknowledged assumptions. This is called "special pleading."

See, just because the USSR was more than big enough to support itself, it couldn't. The stick just does not work as well as the carrot. And if you have no real money, taxing your people to buy the "best stuff," won't get you the best stuff.

Show me some real world examples instead of special pleading and inherently unrealistic scenarios. While the theoretical benefits of a stateless society are sneered at as pie-in-the-sky, they nowhere match the the dystopian fantasies of those who always want to bend a knee to the "all powerful" state. This amazes me, because nowhere do you see a state that works. They appear to work only long enough to melt down and collapse of their own weight.

What happens if these people decide to invade?

Afghanistan.

You can fight them as an individual. You get one shot before they tear your house to bits, or call in artillery to pound you to bits. How does one person stop a mortar crew? Red Dawn is not what really happens when untrained guerrillas go up against a trained army. Red Puddles is more like it.

This is the hidden assumption that I hate the most. Critiques of a stateless society always state the alternatives as the organized state vs. disorganized individuals. WTF? As we know, the states are inherently dynamically unstable. Keeping a state going requires constant fiddling.

A society of individuals, on the other hand, is not disorganized. Market forces provide, ubiquitous, near-instantaneous self-correction. Defense against aggression is a marketable service. (I leave the details of how to do it as an exercise for the student. Hint: white there are multiple ways this can be done, a lot of them are just a more sophisticated solution, similar to free market fire departments.)

What if you need more people to do the job? An AC or Libertarian state won't be able to draft people, will it?

If your use of language is muddled and self-contradictory, you cannot expect to be successful at abstract thinking. Please, for Chaos' sake, stop using intellectually vapid expressions such as "libertarian state." If it uses aggression, it is not libertarian; if it does not use aggression, it is not a state.

Finally, what if the Autarky is willing to use nukes or CBW to attack the unhealthy ideas from outside their borders? The only way to prevent somebody from dropping fusion bombs and anthrax on your home is to have these weapons yourself, and a credible means of retaliating after they are used against you. These are not, by any means, defensive weapons. Would individuals be allowed to possess them, regardless, in this hypothetical world?

What if your mother is actually an alien? Nothing personal, but this is the sort of silly special pleading fantasy I described above. This has never happened in the history of the real world. No state has ever been successful at keeping "unhealthy ideas from outside their borders" from coming in, no matter what amount of force was used. Show me it ever happening in real life. While you are at it, explain the benefit to the parasitic aggressor in the wholesale killing of productive "hosts" and the destruction of the things those people create.

Government is almost always bad, but the protection of citizens from initiation of force by outsiders is a legitimate function of government.

Which they do not provide. Essentially every US war since the Revolutionary War, was an unnecessary pretext war that resulted in the deaths of Americans in the hundreds of thousands and the slaying of millions of non-combatants caught in the middle. That is pretty shitty "protection" in my book. Please show me a US war that wasn't a pretext to justify killing and destruction to benefit special interests, and which actually made Americans safer.

 

Zilabus on March 20, 2010, 04:56:51 pm

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A society of individuals, on the other hand, is not disorganized. Market forces provide, ubiquitous, near-instantaneous self-correction. Defense against aggression is a marketable service. (I leave the details of how to do it as an exercise for the student. Hint: white there are multiple ways this can be done, a lot of them are just a more sophisticated solution, similar to free market fire departments.)

However, defense aggainst agression is only a easily or well marketable service when the public is 'aware and afraid' of being brought under attack. In general, this will mean self defense forces would likely only be funded by a minimum of the population, those that are under constant fear of foreign invasion. Intelligence services (If they would even have a place in libertarian society, seeing as they very rarely give reapable benifit to the funders unless the funders are a government,) would be non-existant or underfunded. There would be no reliable information to the effect that a bordering state is preparing to attack, and no reason for a larger portion of the population to give to self defense forces.

You're correct, smaller powers often engage in long, brutal gurilla efforts against larger powers. However, the knowledge of this isn't quite stopping larger powers from attack smaller, guerilla nations. So unless you enjoy living your life running through tunnels and planting roadside bombs, all the while living in caves and watching friends and family members die, for years at a time, you likely aren't going to consider this an ideal wartime solution.



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Which they do not provide. Essentially every US war since the Revolutionary War, was an unnecessary pretext war that resulted in the deaths of Americans in the hundreds of thousands and the slaying of millions of non-combatants caught in the middle. That is pretty shitty "protection" in my book. Please show me a US war that wasn't a pretext to justify killing and destruction to benefit special interests, and which actually made Americans safer.

Whether the war is an "American" war or not is irrelevant. If your claim is that there has never been a war fought for self defensive purposes, and that therefore the idea that a military is useful in defending oneself is unwarrented, then which nations it involves has no impact on the argument. There have been many wars fought where one side is interested purely in defending itself from an agressor. WWII has a few examples, and so does the age of Imperialism.
Bring back the funk.

SandySandfort on March 20, 2010, 05:22:58 pm

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A society of individuals, on the other hand, is not disorganized. Market forces provide, ubiquitous, near-instantaneous self-correction. Defense against aggression is a marketable service. (I leave the details of how to do it as an exercise for the student. Hint: white there are multiple ways this can be done, a lot of them are just a more sophisticated solution, similar to free market fire departments.)

However, defense aggainst agression is only a easily or well marketable service when the public is 'aware and afraid' of being brought under attack. In general, this will mean self defense forces would likely only be funded by a minimum of the population, those that are under constant fear of foreign invasion. Intelligence services (If they would even have a place in libertarian society, seeing as they very rarely give reapable benifit to the funders unless the funders are a government,) would be non-existant or underfunded. There would be no reliable information to the effect that a bordering state is preparing to attack, and no reason for a larger portion of the population to give to self defense forces.

Insurance is used to protect against unlikely losses.

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Which they do not provide. Essentially every US war since the Revolutionary War, was an unnecessary pretext war that resulted in the deaths of Americans in the hundreds of thousands and the slaying of millions of non-combatants caught in the middle. That is pretty shitty "protection" in my book. Please show me a US war that wasn't a pretext to justify killing and destruction to benefit special interests, and which actually made Americans safer.

Whether the war is an "American" war or not is irrelevant.

I never said it was. You said that governments protect their citizen against foreign aggression. And then I said, no they do not, they increase the danger for citizens. I only used the US wars as examples of this. And at that,  I was being kind in not reminding you that you have the burden of proof. The evidence you have offered that governments always, generally or even occasionally provide the protection you tout. If you think governments help or protect them more than they harm and endanger them, please give some of your own examples.

If your claim is that there has never been a war fought for self defensive purposes...

No, that is not my claim. I put the American Revolutionary War in that category.

Zilabus on March 20, 2010, 05:58:43 pm
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Insurance is used to protect against unlikely losses.

Getting water damage in my home from flooding is far more foreseeable then being invaded by neighbors to the north. Besides, many people go unisnsured, and many others are only insured when required to do so by the government. If a portion of the population doesn't think it's worth it to be insured in case they break their arm or wreck their car, then a much larger one will think it isn't worth it to protect from some force that has never directly effected their lives.

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You said that governments protect their citizen against foreign aggression. And then I said, no they do not, they increase the danger for citizens.

You're confusing me with another member.

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If you think governments help or protect them more than they harm and endanger them, please give some of your own examples.

I did, mentioning WWII and the Age of Imperialism. Obviously, you want a more specific example, so I will give one. The first one that comes to my head right now is Ethiopia, which was one of the only countries to remain independent during Europes Scramble for Africa. They have a strong, decisive leader, and a relatively well organized government to thank for this. They succsesfully managed to avoid coming under foriegn rule by avoiding and refusing opressive trade agreements, and then when they where presented with force (From Italy, if I remember correctly) the government managed to raise a modernised army capable of stopping Italy and allowing them to remain undominated by foriegners.

(Edited to fix format errors)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 06:03:29 pm by Zilabus »
Bring back the funk.

terry_freeman on March 20, 2010, 08:51:24 pm
Why do these scenarios always assume that the wannabe rulers have the best guns, and the defenders have popguns?

What if wealthy defenders have the serious artillery, the no-compromise fighter jets, the pocket nukes, and so forth? What if they have a fifth column amongst the wannabe rulers?

I once listened to a Russian professor discuss the collapse of the former USSR. He was asked why it happened so quickly. He replied "We were all radishes; we were just waiting for the right moment."

An AnCap society will happen when enough people wake up and say "We are all AnCap now. We do not give our consent to the government. It is finished."

Government succeeds because people are afraid of it. When that fear goes away, government will disappear.

Let's extrapolate some existing trends. Home schooling, which is growing at about 10% or better annually, swells to the point where 30-50% of the population is home schooled. Already, with just a few percent, home schoolers dominate national contests and exams out of proportion to their numbers. Imagine when students and employers wake up and realize that it is nearly impossible to win a spelling bee, a math competition, or anything else, unless one is home schooled. Government schools would collapse.

Self-defense is also growing. About 40 states have switched to shall-issue CCW laws - anybody who meets some simple objective criteria may legally carry a concealed weapon. Crime rates have fallen. Extrapolate; gun ownership is widespread. Competitions in every town. A very high percentage of snipers who can kill an invader - or a government agent - from half a mile away with one shot.

Polls show a rising distrust of government. Extrapolate to where a significant percentage are of the "Just leave me alone. Don't tax me. Don't coerce me. Let us live in peace" variety.

Under those conditions, government will collapse without a shot being fired. People will simply stop supporting it.

I would not fear an invasion under those conditions. We'd be like porcupines - nice and peaceful when left alone, but a nasty mouthful to anyone who thinks we'd make a tasty morsel.

wdg3rd on March 20, 2010, 09:08:34 pm
Silly-bus, you seem to have all of your historical and philosophical knowledge from PBS and other government orifices and your political learning from broadcast television and (even worse) CNN.  Learn to read something other than subtitles, statist.  (Yes, that last term is a personal insult -- the guy is welcome to sue me if he thinks my judgment is not accurate).
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

wdg3rd on March 20, 2010, 09:11:45 pm
Terry, the Porcupine wasn't chosen as the mascot of the Free State Project by accident.
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

Zilabus on March 20, 2010, 10:01:20 pm
Silly-bus, you seem to have all of your historical and philosophical knowledge from PBS and other government orifices and your political learning from broadcast television and (even worse) CNN.  Learn to read something other than subtitles, statist.  (Yes, that last term is a personal insult -- the guy is welcome to sue me if he thinks my judgment is not accurate).


Glad to know your personal best response is something along the lines of "You don't know because... well... you've been brainwashed, and you're just taking it from the man, maaan."

If you want to have a genuine discussion or argument with me about politics, philosophy, or anything else, then great. If you have good points and legitimately support yourself, even better. If you're just going to throw mud, that's fine too, just don't drag me into the pig pen.
Bring back the funk.

Jtuxyan on March 21, 2010, 01:43:41 am
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Why do these scenarios always assume that the wannabe rulers have the best guns, and the defenders have popguns?

What if wealthy defenders have the serious artillery, the no-compromise fighter jets, the pocket nukes, and so forth? What if they have a fifth column amongst the wannabe rulers?

And what if the rulers have bioweapons to wipe them out? And what if the defenders have a secret robot army? But that robot army is actually controlled by secret space aliens who-

It's a general scenario. And in general, armies raised by nation-states tend to be better equipped and organized then millita. When a private army wants to increase production and get new weapons, there's a hiring drive, they need to renegotiate rates, all the independent security companies need to work together, their customers may not want to pay the new rates, etc. A state can just say "Your taxes are up 10% this year, and we're instituting a draft!" and that's the end of it.

Plus, in his scenario, since the state is explicitly the aggressor, it's reasonable that they would not attack unless they thought they would win.

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I once listened to a Russian professor discuss the collapse of the former USSR. He was asked why it happened so quickly. He replied "We were all radishes; we were just waiting for the right moment."

An AnCap society will happen when enough people wake up and say "We are all AnCap now. We do not give our consent to the government. It is finished."

Any system of ruling people that only works if a large majority of them consent to it, doesn't work. Even in democracies, leaders struggle to keep an approval rating over 50%, you're suggesting that an AnCap society only works if people are not only approving of it, but willing to make deep personal sacrifices to keep it up.

In other words, your saying an AnCap society will only happen when a large percentage of the population fanatically support it, something that has never happened ever in human history with any form of leadership. The majority are not fanatics, they're lead by small minorities.

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Let's extrapolate some existing trends. Home schooling, which is growing at about 10% or better annually, swells to the point where 30-50% of the population is home schooled. Already, with just a few percent, home schoolers dominate national contests and exams out of proportion to their numbers. Imagine when students and employers wake up and realize that it is nearly impossible to win a spelling bee, a math competition, or anything else, unless one is home schooled. Government schools would collapse.

Self-defense is also growing. About 40 states have switched to shall-issue CCW laws - anybody who meets some simple objective criteria may legally carry a concealed weapon. Crime rates have fallen. Extrapolate; gun ownership is widespread. Competitions in every town. A very high percentage of snipers who can kill an invader - or a government agent - from half a mile away with one shot.

Polls show a rising distrust of government. Extrapolate to where a significant percentage are of the "Just leave me alone. Don't tax me. Don't coerce me. Let us live in peace" variety.

Under those conditions, government will collapse without a shot being fired. People will simply stop supporting it.

Just like, by extrapolating the growth rate of this puppy, I can accurately tell that that in 30 years, it's titanic wagging tail will destroy a major urban population center.

Or maybe there's limiting factors to this sort of thing and linear extrapolation is grossly oversimplifying a complicated issue.

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I would not fear an invasion under those conditions. We'd be like porcupines - nice and peaceful when left alone, but a nasty mouthful to anyone who thinks we'd make a tasty morsel.

Or, here's a funny thought.

They could gas us.

An insurgent rebellion only works when the invader is not willing to just kill everyone. It's not the mode de'jour of warfare right now, but for much of human history, it was perfectly acceptable to respond to any rebellion by mass executions until the local population either suppressed the rebels themselves or there was no local population. The Roman empire made a national policy of the "Punitive Response" strategy, where ever the slightest raid or rebellion was met with overwhelming brutality towards those responsible, so that they could police themselves. Today, with modern weapons, it is very easily possible to kill every single living creature inside a nations borders, and never have to occupy them at all.

"We'll just let ourselves be invaded and then drive them off with an insurgency." Relies on the invader playing nice. The post-Stalin USSR in Afghanistan was a brutal occupier, but they were a schoolyard bully compared to the atrocities of history. Hitler, Stalin, the Great Leap Forward.

Put simply, if "We'll just let ourselves be invaded and then drive them off with an insurgency." is your strategy, then your strategy is really "Hope and pray that no one who's genuinely psychotic ever invades us."

Heinlein Libertarian on March 21, 2010, 05:22:55 am

[/quote]
Why do these scenarios always assume that the wannabe rulers have the best guns, and the defenders have popguns?

What if wealthy defenders have the serious artillery, the no-compromise fighter jets, the pocket nukes, and so forth? What if they have a fifth column amongst the wannabe rulers?

How many private individuals do you know who could fund a private fighter jet? Remember, they require fuel, spare parts, regular maintenance, serious high-tech repair facilities, munitions storage, the munitions themselves, etc. Artillery, tanks, IFV's, etc. all require the same. These are MAJOR expenditures of cash. A private mercenary army might be able to afford them, but individuals? I'm not going to get started on the expenses incurred to keep a credible nuclear deterrent force operational and ready.

As to nukes themselves, do we really want private ownership of weapons that can level a city? If we permit it, how do we stop some nutbar like Ted Turner from nuking Texas because he hates oil? How do we stop a Rainbow Six type scenario? Do you really want Greenpeace to have access to weaponized Ebola?

Heinlein Libertarian on March 21, 2010, 05:25:06 am

If your use of language is muddled and self-contradictory, you cannot expect to be successful at abstract thinking. Please, for Chaos' sake, stop using intellectually vapid expressions such as "libertarian state." If it uses aggression, it is not libertarian; if it does not use aggression, it is not a state.


While wildly impolite, your point is correct. Referring to an AC/Libertarian society as an AC/Libertarian "state" was a bad and unintentionally ironic choice of words. "State" here was a reference to the form of political organization the people of a given region adopt, rather than a reference to a government that would not exist under AC. The AC/Libertarian society chooses no government, while the hypothetical Autarky chooses to have a militaristic dictatorship. Since we are comparing defensive capabilities that derive from the form of government (or lack therof,) the difference is important.

Heinlein Libertarian on March 21, 2010, 05:26:19 am

Uh, like the Soviet Union? But this paragraph, like the ones the follow, is fraught with unsupported or even acknowledged assumptions. This is called "special pleading."

See, just because the USSR was more than big enough to support itself, it couldn't. The stick just does not work as well as the carrot. And if you have no real money, taxing your people to buy the "best stuff," won't get you the best stuff.


Another wildly impolite passage! Keep up the sneering, it's making your point so clearly.

"Special Pleading" is a tactic that requires claiming an exemption from rules without justifying it. Where, precisely, did I do this? History is on my side. The United States taxes its people to get the "best stuff," and we get it. Nazi Germany was a ruthless dictatorship that built some of the best weapons the world had seen up to that point. North Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc. are all nations that are/were theoretically cut-off from global trade. They all managed to build WMD's, and in one case actual nukes. They all manage(d) to support large armies.

Now, I hear your retort even now: "But NOBODY will be trading with them! They will not have ANY access to outside materials!"

Keep believing that. Humans are greedy. They will break informal "shunning" rules to sell to each other if they can make a reasonably good profit from it. The prices the shunned have to pay will be sky-high, and it will attract quite a lot of entrepreneurs who are morally flexible. As to being shunned themselves, criminals never think that they are going to get caught. If they did, they wouldn't commit crimes that carried huge penalties, like selling crack to 12 year-old's. The fact that there are people selling crack to 12 year-old's tells me that even massive penalties will not enforce this rule.

With enough "shunned" people, they can form informal organizations that will supply each other with what they need. For a practical example, take a look at the Jews during the Nazi reign. A large, (immorally/unjustifiably,) shunned population. The Jews managed to build informal organizations of smugglers and distributors that could get them much of what they needed, despite very nasty penalties for doing business with them.

Finally, why care about the rest of the rules if you are already shunned? Yes, people will be armed. However, if you and three or four shunned buddies can unite to rob people, what is the harm? It's not like you can be shunned twice, If that hot dog vendor won't sell you a hot dog, shoot him and take it. If that family won't give your gang all their possessions, shoot your way in and take them. What makes you think this won't work for a country, as well?

Heinlein Libertarian on March 21, 2010, 05:30:05 am
Show me some real world examples instead of special pleading and inherently unrealistic scenarios. While the theoretical benefits of a stateless society are sneered at as pie-in-the-sky, they nowhere match the the dystopian fantasies of those who always want to bend a knee to the "all powerful" state. This amazes me, because nowhere do you see a state that works. They appear to work only long enough to melt down and collapse of their own weight.

You're right. Governments are immoral, ineffective and inefficient. They are almost inevitably a nightmare. However, there are not a lot of states collapsing and fading away. Afganistan pre-9/11, Somalia... Nations tend to replace their old governments with a new ones. Point out one nation that has collapsed where the citizens replaced it with nothing, and it lasted, and your historical inevitability argument might work.

But are there any practical examples of AC governments? No. Almost all of the instances I've seen discussed in previous topics have been temporary, or protected by an army that was not actively present in the area (like the Wild West.) We have never seen an AC state forced to defend itself against outside invasion. In fact, there has never been an actual AC state. Every discussion is totally hypothetical. We have to argue from what we know about human nature, and history.

What I know is that human beings tend to be greedy, power-hungry, and aggressive. A certain percentage will become criminals or pirates. A certain percentage will try to preach their ideology of statism and attract that certain percentage who happen to be sheep. Even in a world entirely ruled by the principles of AC, some jerk will periodically rise up and create problems for everybody else with their totalitarian ideas, and they will attract followers. These people will need to be stopped, or at the very least, deterred.

For deterrence, there is nothing like a standing army.

Heinlein Libertarian on March 21, 2010, 05:31:24 am

A society of individuals, on the other hand, is not disorganized. Market forces provide, ubiquitous, near-instantaneous self-correction. Defense against aggression is a marketable service. (I leave the details of how to do it as an exercise for the student. Hint: white there are multiple ways this can be done, a lot of them are just a more sophisticated solution, similar to free market fire departments.)


Free market armies have been tried. They can work, but on some occasions you are going to need a state-run force, particularly for defense of the homeland. Specifically, you are going to need 3 powers:

1) Eminent Domain - Limited here to those purposes that are specifically related to defense.
 
Here's another wildly unrealistic example for you:
Imagine that the year is 1980. West Germany decides to go AC. A theoretical communist atrocity denier (CAD) owns a farm on a slight, but strategically vital, hill in the Fulda Gap. Mercenaries are being paid to defend the area against the massive Soviet armies of tanks that will inevitably sweep across the Frankfurt plain, right past the CAD's farm. As war approaches, the mercs ask the CAD to sell their property, so they can set up a Forward Observer post (a.k.a. Artillery Spotter.) The CAD, believing that the commies have gotten a bad rap, and that they will let her go on living as she likes, refuses, The lack of this vital spotting position could throw the entire defense of the Gap in to chaos because one idiot won't sell their land.

A military with the power of eminent domain could simply confiscate the property, pay the CAD, and build their post. A mercenary army, paid by patriotic German citizens, would not have this option.Their best option would be to shoot the CAD and build the post, anyway. When some person holds out for property rights in the face of an overwhelming and oncoming enemy, this is exactly the sort of thing that will end up happening. Don't believe it? How many cases of "shoot, shovel and shut up" are there every year because of the Endangered Species Act?

Unrealistic? Maybe. But if you really want to test this proposition that AC will work in a war, we need to test the outliers, the extreme examples that come up, to find out just how well it will work.

2) The power to draft - Because you are periodically going to need to demand that the free-riders pay the toll.

We could not have won WWII without the draft. WWII required us to build up our armies to colossal sizes to free Europe and the entire Pacific Rim from tyranny, and prevent the Nazis/Imperial Japanese from attacking us again. If we had to pay all of these soldiers market wages, we would have had to outbid every other unit hiring, as well as outbid every other business in America. The cost would have been wildly prohibitive.

Even if we could have funded an armed force with civilian money, could we have raised a sufficient number of troops? A lot of people would have simply said "No," and refused to fight if they had not received draft notices. Consider the Amish and Mormons. Despite their conscientious objector status, they were trained as medics, because we NEEDED them.

3) The power to tax.

Nuclear deterrence is expensive. REALLY expensive. You need the weapons. These weapons are expensive to build, maintain, hide, and deliver. You need to know when you are being attacked, which requires massive networks of satellite, aerial and ground-based detectors. You need people with the proper mentality, training and expertise to man and repair them. I could go on and on, but the simple fact is that our nuclear deterrent force costs a COLOSSAL amount of money. More, in all likelihood, than most people would be happy to pay. Without it, however, we would all be crater glass.

I could say the same thing for our SOSUS nets and ballistic missile submarines. I could say the same for aircraft carriers, minelayers/sweepers, tanks, planes and aircraft. Even infantry forces have to pay for food, water, medical care, weapons, ammunition, transport, IFV's, training, clothes, housing, etc. By the time a private is trained and ready to go, the US Army has already spent a million dollars on them. Keeping them going takes even more cash.

Knights used to be able to raise regiments because they expected to pay their men with spoils from the farms and villages they captured, and to feed them by foraging off the land. Modern armies cannot survive the same way. They require logistical tails, support facilities, intelligence networks, etc. It simply costs too-much to expect people to contribute this money voluntarily, and to keep doing so until the war is well and truly won.