Jtuxyan on March 25, 2010, 09:51:55 pm
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It is absurd to require that an AnCap society be capable of preventing invasion. Switzerland has no such goal. Their goal is to make invasion, should it happen, so costly that it is extremely unlikely.

Switzerland is surrounded on all sides by allies who do have preventing invasion as their goal, and so cannot be held as a successful example. Furthermore, I find this claim of your questionable, and demand you cite it.

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Gold and silver have been used as money for thousands of years. The Bank of Amsterdam was a 100% reserve bank, where every bank note was guaranteed by precious metals, for over 150 years. Faith-based paper is a recent experiment which as failed every time it has been tried.

So...if the paper money is worthless, lets make a deal. I'll give you this gold ring I have in my dresser drawer, and you'll give me *all* of your little green pieces of paper. Because hey -- real gold for a bunch of little bits of worthless paper is a great deal.

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if you weren't so busy playing war games, you'd have noticed the economic crisis going on in the Real World, which threatens to bring down several governments, including possibly the United Socialist States of America

This is the point where I stop reading your post and start laughing my ass off. Yeah, the union will dissolve any day now.

Seriously though, get in touch with me about those worthless green bits of paper. We can make deal.


Rocketman on March 25, 2010, 10:48:39 pm
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It is absurd to require that an AnCap society be capable of preventing invasion. Switzerland has no such goal. Their goal is to make invasion, should it happen, so costly that it is extremely unlikely.

Switzerland is surrounded on all sides by allies who do have preventing invasion as their goal, and so cannot be held as a successful example. Furthermore, I find this claim of your questionable, and demand you cite it.
    You demand huh?  That's kind of arrogant of you isn't it?  Okay, during the Second World War after German had conquered France, Poland, Norway and a number of other eastern european countries, the nazis looked at Switzerland with all of it's gold reserves.  But there was a problem that nearly all of it's adult male Swiss citizens were armed with rifles and knew how to use them.  There is a famous story about a Nazi General talking to a Swiss General.  The Nazi said something like "What would you do if we invaded your country with twice the number of men than you have?"  The Swiss general replied "My men would then shoot twice and then go home."  The Nazi's never invaded them.
     If you want an education on just how well a nation can resist a aggressor nation with a determined citizenry then look at the history of the Finnish people when the USSR invaded them.  While they were over run eventually by sheer numbers.  The USSR was shocked by the number of losses that they suffered.

sams on March 26, 2010, 01:53:47 am
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This sounds like a very plausible scenario indeed, its is better Jtuxyan unconditionally madman which is part of his goal to push the talk to the extreme and ignore plausible scenarios, like the case that the AnCap society is a commercial centre and that destroying it in whole is not a plausible option.

But this scenario of AnCap lurking on government lands is actually happening in Somalia  where the pirates from are ''visiting'' ships in international waters. The endless repetition of these offensive may get an government to think about retaliation, but just like in Somalia, there is not clear people responsible (like in Gaza the IDF destroy Hamas structures each time a rocket is fired).

...are you citing Somalia as a success story?


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3- Some one asked the question of what guaranties that an AnCap citizen will take up arms ... surely it won't be always on philosophy grounds, but if the AnCap state is a major economical hub, the fact that having an an opened force threatening to sack the town may an enough incentive.

"Sacking" the town? What, do you think the town's wealth is in a giant vault hidden under the city, full of gold and jewels and guarded by a dragon?

Modern wealth is in computers, industry, and a trained workforce. There is no economic incentive to conquest anymore. The only motive for such things is political, and in the specified scenario of a dictator determined to make his enemies bow or die, destruction is an acceptable political outcome.

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5- The terrorist argument : Terrorist are not some kind of overpowered men with embebed night vision in their eyes and 300 IQ ... they are just criminals

Criminals who can be funded by foreign governments that can equipment them with Chemical/Bio/Nuclear weapons.

1- I'm saying that THAT : there is no central autorithy in Somalia to suffer retaliation each time a merchant ship is taken by pirates, will in the Gaza strip, each time a Kassam is fired, the IDF blow up a Hamas facility.

So if there are criminals coming from an AnCap society, they would have some advantage because they couldn't suffer retaliation easily ... but the solution here, has with Somali pirates victims, is to arm the ships with at least the minimun of security personal or pay some one in the AnCap territory to make some policing

"Sacking" the town? What, do you think the town's wealth is in a giant vault hidden under the city, full of gold and jewels and guarded by a dragon? So in your mind Hong Kong has the same value than Detroit or more like Mogadishiu or Kandahar I mean seriously :D you want to tell that cities have no economical values ? Cleveland and Houston should. .... wait they are not equal :D Houston is the center of major industry, corporation and commercial acquisity and Cleveland is ... well ... produce communist like Denis Kucinich and is full of rust ... yes cities have no ::)

Terrorist ... like always surrounded by myths and legends

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5- The terrorist argument : Terrorist are not some kind of overpowered men with embebed night vision in their eyes and 300 IQ ... they are just criminals

Criminals who can be funded by foreign governments that can equipment them with Chemical/Bio/Nuclear weapons.
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Firstly this has not yet happened, this is an hypothetical case, since people who acquire such dangerous weapons tend to guard them very well See Pakistani or russian nukes aren't going to be seen in the black market any soon, so talk about the real threat of the moment, with leader giving money to terrorist to buy conventional explosives

Lockerbie : Muhamar Kadafi send a secret agent to blow up a plane over Scotland ... the Kingdom of Great Britain launch a punitive expedition, land in the shore of libya and sent half of Kadhafis army to heave .... sorry this was my fantasy, the reality is that they nothing special and then realise the terrorist  :o

Beirouth : 400 US soldiers deads killed by the Hezbolla read Iran, who happened to be responsable for taking the US embassy earlier ... response : bring the troop home

9/11 : 3000 US deaths, Ben Laden is the guy. US invade Afghanistan, blow up the talibans, fail to capture the guy and .... drown it self in insurgency  ???

Iraq : No link to terrorist, no weapons ... but get invaded ... I have a theory that Bush mistaken it for Iran ... just saying

Sure terrorist are so well dealt with these days ... I remember there were a time when the Royal Navy had balls not only to provide buoyancy but to punish thugs ... which mean, paraphrasing Ann Coulter in one of her few worth half phrase : Invade there countries, killed their countries and leave (last word is mine)

Punitive expeditions where you enter, blow the crap out, capture the bastard who is in charge and shoot him in front of his subordinate whould have worked better to deal with the problem, but his is just me ;D ;D

quadibloc on March 26, 2010, 10:39:22 pm
Assume that you live in a stateless society and you believe the society should have a military. What would you do to achieve that result without violating the non-aggression principle?
Well, I could buy a gun.

I understand that you don't want to spend a lot of time defending Libertarianism, but the problem with asking people with questions to think of the solutions themselves is that not being used to an unfamiliar idea, their ideas might not be as good as the ones Libertarians have spent some time working out. I don't think it's fair to attack Libertarianism based on a strawman.

Of course, one person buying one gun wouldn't defend such a society against a modern army.

But what I could imagine happening in real life - because I'm pessimistic about human nature, believing that people will act in their own self interests rather than obeying their ideals - might be this:

You've got a society of people who simply don't want to be bothered with a government that tells them to don a uniform and go to war. They don't even want the government to come around and collect taxes.

And so they see that the government of some other place plans to invade them, so that they will be enslaved, killed, or in hiding as guerilla fighters? They would rather not be bothered.

Somebody will remember a piece of construction equipment lying around. (Note that this assumes a society remarkably free of nutcases and potential terrorists, though: another argument against certain forms of anarchical thought.)

One extinction-level event coming right up. If there had been something more selective that wouldn't also kill the innocent - that didn't require a lot more work, and a lot more bloodshed on our side to endure - you might have gotten off easy. But there wasn't. So long Earth, been good to know you.

Actually, this isn't even entirely the bad thing it sounds like. Because in most cases, the governments of such other places would have the very good sense not to mess with them, and so nobody gets hurt.

But if you want finesse instead of mass annihilation, you would have to have a lot of people willing to march into combat. Not because it was the only way to defend their freedom, but it was the only way to defend their freedom without unnecessarily killing civilians belonging to the other tribe... for whose safety the government that initiated the aggression was responsible. How much self-sacrifice can one expect people to engage in for the sake of mercy?

Surprisingly, of course, the answer is quite a bit. But there are limits too.

terry_freeman on March 26, 2010, 10:40:58 pm
Is our resident statist the only person in the world who is still unaware of the recent episode of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe? Perhaps he cheered when Gordon Brown sold 400 tonnes of gold when it was at $300/ounce, and is unaware that it now sells for about $1100 per ounce? It's likely that, since he can't handle the truth, and hasn't bothered to read Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, he remains ignorant of the extent to which inflation was negligible when real gold and silver were used - the only way to increase the nominal supply of money was to physically debase the currency, whereas with faith-based paper, you just print more of it. What was it Voltaire said, after the episode inspired by John Law's heroic paper-printing efforts? The value of paper currency eventual returns to the intrinsic value of paper, which is zero.

Feel free to remain ignorant if you can't handle the truth. It's no skin off my nose.

Open a paper, you can read about the troubles in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. You can read about the troubles in Japan, the so-called "lost decade" which is nearly two decades now.

A self-annointed "expert" in military matters who is ignorant of the role of a healthy economy in sustaining military efforts? Have you not read the Art of War? Explain the collapse of the former USSR to us.

sams on March 27, 2010, 01:26:42 am
I think that all this frustration is because Heilein and Ktuxuan think the following : A bunch of people go anarchist tomorrow .... how can survive a North Korea invasion 2 days after (if we assume the North Korean don't eat each other along the way lol)

Think of this in the following way : A libertarian society is established for at least 5 years, and must comply the following conditions :
- Have striving economy
- A sizeable population
- A certain critical mass of gun nuts

These tree conditions is to compensate for the tree factor war planer take in account before invading a country :
- What is the economical value of the target and how a war will affect one self economy, for example : a war between the US and China would be catastrophe for the world economy
- The population size influence the size of the force needed to conquer, control and put down a possible insurgency
- How much guns the enemy have and of which quality ... and better if he is disarmed

To those who have problem imagining the defence of a libertarian society, please stop thinking of a overnight scenario ... or you will just produce strawmans

terry_freeman on March 27, 2010, 07:59:08 pm
jtuxian prateth: "Switzerland is surrounded on all sides by allies who do have preventing invasion as their goal, and so cannot be held as a successful example. "

That is arrant nonsense. Switzerland is surrounded by Germany, Austria, Italy, and France - all of which were under Axis control during WW II. They were not interested in "preventing invasion" of Switzerland, they were interested in invading - but the prospect of facing hundreds of thousands of highly-trained riflemen stopped them.

In a previous post, you spoke of snipers as if they were rare exceptions. This is true in most of today's armies. It is not true in Switzerland. It would not be true in any credible AnCap society. Granted that not everyone will be able to kill with a single shot at a distance of two miles, but the Swiss are trained to kill efficiently - not to spray and pray - at distances of 300 yards. As the classic story goes, when surrounded by twice as many soldiers, "shoot twice and go home." This may be a bit
of hyperbole, but not by much; the Swiss army would not shoot hundreds or thousands of rounds for a single kill, as the American army does. The ratio would be much, much closer to "one shot, one kill."

You may imagine that an AnCap society will spring full-grown from the brow of some future Murray Rothbard. It is far more likely that an AnCap society will evolve inside of one or several existing states. People will develop the capabilities and the philosophy. Home schooling is one such vector. When I began home schooling my children nearly 30 years ago, we were in a tiny minority - but the numbers have been growing by about 10% annually. There are now very significant numbers, and there's still a lot of room to grow. Meanwhile, the government schools are becoming less and less competent.

Another vector is that of self-defense -- more and more people are arming themselves, taking courses, practicing, learning to shoot - not merely with handguns, but with shotguns and rifles. Several states have already passed resolutions which declare that locally-produced and -used weapons are not subject to federal regulations. Extrapolate, and you can see large numbers
of heavily armed people, and a resurgence of private research into really formidable weaponry - including weapons which can destroy battleships.

At some point, perhaps a generation from now, people will look around and realize that an AnCap society grew up around them, without any great commotion. As long as governments do not try to snuff it, there is no reason for a lot of turmoil.

China - a much more restrictive government than ours - has tried to censor the internet. About 2% now know how to "climb the wall", as they call it - to penetrate the firewalls - and share their information with an estimated 20%. People in many other countries are doing the same, climbing the wall, peering at the landscape, and sharing information.

You may be stuck in the matrix, oblivious to the change; that doesn't mean that nothing is happening.


Zilabus on March 28, 2010, 01:39:06 am
    You demand huh?  That's kind of arrogant of you isn't it?  Okay, during the Second World War after German had conquered France, Poland, Norway and a number of other eastern european countries, the nazis looked at Switzerland with all of it's gold reserves.  But there was a problem that nearly all of it's adult male Swiss citizens were armed with rifles and knew how to use them.  There is a famous story about a Nazi General talking to a Swiss General.  The Nazi said something like "What would you do if we invaded your country with twice the number of men than you have?"  The Swiss general replied "My men would then shoot twice and then go home."  The Nazi's never invaded them.

That is arrant nonsense. Switzerland is surrounded by Germany, Austria, Italy, and France - all of which were under Axis control during WW II. They were not interested in "preventing invasion" of Switzerland, they were interested in invading - but the prospect of facing hundreds of thousands of highly-trained riflemen stopped them.

There's also a famous story about George Washington cutting down a cherry tree. That doesn't make it true or valid in any way. There is little valid evidence that the Nazi's feared invaded Switzerland. There are some old war stories to support this fact, mainly passed on by old, proud Swiss generals. However, valid evidence points to other reasons. The Nazi's didn't avoid invading the Swiss because they where afraid of being cut down. Even if their military leaders thought it was a bad idea, it's not as if that would have stopped them. Backstabbing Russia was a horrible idea, but Hitler wouldn't be denied. The main reason they didn't invade the Swiss is because they wanted a reliable place to hold their currency, second and third most likely reasons would probably be the Swiss production of raw materials (That the nazi's needed) and the swiss production of arms and munitions. If you don't believe me, you can actually trace swiss bank accounts (It's difficult, because they are, of course, swiss) opened and held by Nazi interests.

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Is our resident statist the only person in the world who is still unaware of the recent episode of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe? Perhaps he cheered when Gordon Brown sold 400 tonnes of gold when it was at $300/ounce, and is unaware that it now sells for about $1100 per ounce? It's likely that, since he can't handle the truth, and hasn't bothered to read Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, he remains ignorant of the extent to which inflation was negligible when real gold and silver were used - the only way to increase the nominal supply of money was to physically debase the currency, whereas with faith-based paper, you just print more of it. What was it Voltaire said, after the episode inspired by John Law's heroic paper-printing efforts? The value of paper currency eventual returns to the intrinsic value of paper, which is zero.



This is caused by mismanagment of inflation, and it in no way points to a lack of value in paper money. The problem with Zimbabwae was they tried to solve inflation by PRINTING MORE MONEY. There are ways to prevent inflation. They just spurred it on. The only time you have people resort to the "Print more!" approach is when you have people who don't have a fundemental understanding of greenbacks. We have an understanding now.  You're the one who keeps talking about how paper money (Which is actually more cotton then paper in the US, and plastic almost everywhere else) has no real value. That's just plain inaccurate. By your argument, gold and silver and precious metals also have no real value. And why is that, you ask? Because precious metals only have value because we place value in them. Just like government backed bills. In antiquity, aluminum was worth more then gold, silver, and bronze. Gold used to be nearly worthless. The argument that precious metals are finite only works when bills aren't finite. Most intelligent governments try to keep bills as finite as possible. Besides. Even governments based on a gold standard had problems with inflation. You see many examples in history.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2010, 01:42:06 am by Zilabus »
Bring back the funk.

sams on March 28, 2010, 05:32:53 am
There is little valid evidence that the Nazi's feared invaded Switzerland. There are some old war stories to support this fact, mainly passed on by old, proud Swiss generals. However, valid evidence points to other reasons. The Nazi's didn't avoid invading the Swiss because they where afraid of being cut down. Even if their military leaders thought it was a bad idea, it's not as if that would have stopped them. Backstabbing Russia was a horrible idea, but Hitler wouldn't be denied. The main reason they didn't invade the Swiss is because they wanted a reliable place to hold their currency, second and third most likely reasons would probably be the Swiss production of raw materials (That the nazi's needed) and the swiss production of arms and munitions. If you don't believe me, you can actually trace swiss bank accounts (It's difficult, because they are, of course, swiss) opened and held by Nazi interests.

You forgot that Nazy Germany also needed the Swiss train network to exchange material with Italy and that some of the swiss industry sold part used for german war material, such has torpedoes parts (essential for U-boat operations), but the whole contribution amounts to just 0.5% of Nazi war efforts.

Sources : http://history-switzerland.geschichte-schweiz.ch/switzerland-second-world-war-ii.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Tannenbaum

You are right that the Swiss rifle couldn't be much of an annoyance to the German, but this also mean that the Germans had nothing to fear from the Swiss. See Hitler attacked and tried to conquer every single country that could probably be a credible menace or wouldn't refrain to annex the ones that were handy to pursue it goals, such has poor Norway. But since the Swiss weren't a menace and were unable to declare war to Hitler (the Swiss President is essentially powerless), it wasn't worth the shoot ... and has bonus the Swiss still sold stuff to the Germans and hold Germans bank accounts !

But you also help making my point that Economic deterrence is the biggest factor, that it has saved Swisszerland it can save an AnCap society, especially if it has the following capacities :

- It has absolute free and SECRET banking : Which means that all the dirty guys on earth will try hide their retirement in these banks, has long has many other millions of people fleeing high taxes jurisdictions. Which means that attacking these AnCap society will amount to shooting your self in the foot ... also some other bad guys feet :D Can you imagine the US attacking Swisszerland and threatening to blow up vaults with Russians stuff lol

-Striving Economy : Having a striving economy and a diverse trade means that the event of an attack will be an annoyance to all your trading partners and even maybe for the invaders. Unless one is whiling to pick a fight with a lot of people, attacking a major commercial and industrial centre is not a good idea. PS: I believe that we agree that a place with zero import tax and  zero Every-Imaginable-Dumb-Tax will be a vacuum for all the industry seeking lower cost of production and will be like a huge version of Hong Kong right ?

- No offensive Capabilities : Since the one with big gun and willingness to use them will be the first in the target list, which explain why Hitler atttacked Russia : Because they were a possible threat. Switzerland however was low in the list of priority because they had no means or willingness to join the Allies against Germany ... which the Stalin did ;)

But the since WWII, Switzerland and the world have changed, The Swiss have a striving economy and can afford not only to have each citizen armed and trained with rifle, but can afford anti-tank and anti-aircraft capabilities to each of them, along with bunkers and weapons cache all over place. The German technological edge of WWII is no more, a few hundred dollars RPG and 15$ in AK-47 bullets can finish the day of a tank crew.
You must not overestimate the strength of national army, you see even the US is just capable of bullying third world countries and can soon become incapable of engaging in warfare with China despite the trillions they spend in defense or finish off the Talibans or KO Iran. The technological advance is working against the attacker

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You're the one who keeps talking about how paper money (Which is actually more cotton then paper in the US, and plastic almost everywhere else) has no real value. That's just plain inaccurate.
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You are sort of right, since these currency are backed by the government power to tax, confiscate and its guns, which explain why the use is still holding some water.

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 Just like government backed bills. In antiquity, aluminum was worth more then gold, silver, and bronze. Gold used to be nearly worthless. The argument that precious metals are finite only works when bills aren't finite. Most intelligent governments try to keep bills as finite as possible. Besides. Even governments based on a gold standard had problems with inflation. You see many examples in history.
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Actually bills are infinite, since when government can't tax they borrow and this has consequencies. See the US has a 100 trillions unfunded liability and 15 trillions debts to foreign creditor and the US economy is just 14 trillions $ ... so tell me how they are going to tax their way out ? they have all interest of inflating the currency to pay the debt.

The US Treasury also owe the Federal Reserve (I still don't understand how the heck this is possible) circa 14 trillions dollars and the Social Security another 3 trillions in IOU ... they will start to print bills has soon has has they start redeeming this debt or whatever.

Yes the scarcity and unforgeable of gold is what make it valuable in our eyes. But if you have been keeping an open eye, you would have noted that almost every government is destroying its currency due to social program, even the or the Euro are going underwater, remember Greece ?

The number of paper money is infinite because government spending and borrowing is infinite, Barack Obama HC bill proved it, along with all the debt and spending of all government over the planet ... there is simply NOT LIMIT

But if there a place on earth were people only accept commodity money (gold or whatever have value) and it is a significant part of the world economy, this will undercut government ability to finance expensive war.

Banking and inflation is the motor of warfare, this is way all country have central banks. ... if you get a free economy somewhere, you will undermine this system by cutting the faith on paper currency

terry_freeman on March 28, 2010, 01:07:31 pm
Gee, I'm looking at the chart for the quantity of paper money created  in the last few years. If there is evidence of the government showing restraint, it's hard to detect. Perhaps I need some sort of statist.indoctrination to see the "reality."

You say Germany didn't want to invade Switzerland, since they needed banking services and transportation and productive capabilities of Switzerland. Gee, why didn't they just grab those things by force? Answer: they were already available on the free market, as they would be in any AnCap society. So tell me why your hypothetical statist madman would prefer to destroy a thriving AnCap society? I smell something very like a contradiction here; again, I lack the proper dose of statist.indoctrination to see the "reality", I guess.

Sean Roach on March 28, 2010, 01:57:38 pm
I'm reminded of a story told by Dr. Feynman about a trip he took to South America.  He found the students in one country there perfectly able to recite facts as they had been drilled, but poorely equipped to consider what those facts meant.  He'd get the textbook description of how reflections could polarize light, but all expressed suprise and awe when he had them look through polaroid film at the neighboring lake, and the sun shining off of it.

I suspect before he died, he probably felt the same way about the U.S.

wdg3rd on March 28, 2010, 02:42:35 pm
I seem to notice that spelling errors (or failure to proofread) seem to be directly proportional to support of a government, a military and/or public schools paid for with money stolen from the productive members of the population.  The enemies of anarchism are ignorancing (any noun can be verbed) themselves into hopeful extinction.

My BAC is probably about .16% at present, double the legal limit if I was behind a steering wheel on a public road (I love it when a news item mentions that somebody is arrested for some random non-traffic offense stating "he had a BAC of .12%, well above the legal limit, when the person wasn't driving, which is what that legal limit is defined for -- it gives a clue as to the idiot level of the news media, the governments they pimp for, and the idiots who take the word of either as anything approaching truth).  I go to work in 17 hours.  My liver is stronger than any statist's brain and probably would be smarter even if it wasn't attached to my brain.  (I know when to stop drinking -- a statist never seems to know when to stop being stupid).
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

quadibloc on March 28, 2010, 06:47:51 pm
I seem to notice that spelling errors (or failure to proofread) seem to be directly proportional to support of a government, a military and/or public schools paid for with money stolen from the productive members of the population.
An interesting topic, but for another reason.

In English, spelling errors are common largely because it happens that we have chosen to retain the spelling used by foreign languages used for words we have borrowed from them. So, first we must recognize a word as Latin or Greek or French in origin before we can know which set of rules to use to connect its pronounciation to its spelling. It does not take longer to learn to read English than it does to learn to read Finnish or Russian: but it does take longer to learn to spell it correctly.

Of course, if people do enough reading, they will learn to spell properly almost by osmosis. Perhaps this is why newspapers often sponsor spelling bees.

A more extreme case than English, of course, is Chinese. One does not have to memorize eight thousand characters cold to learn how to read and write Chinese: there are about five hundred basic elements, either single pictures, or meaning-based compounds, which then produce the bulk of the characters by a combination of one element giving the meaning category, and another the sound value. Since there are possible alternate choices for the character representing the sound value, it is possible to write a Chinese word using an incorrect character - the equivalent of a spelling error.

In the old Chinese Empire, only a fortunate few could spend the time learning to read and write, so that they could study the classics and take the civil service examinations. Thus, the Chinese writing system helped to ensure that anyone trying to counterfeit an Imperial order would betray himself through spelling errors.

And our spelling helps employers detect unqualified job applicants who claim false credentials. A legitimate defense of fraud, rather than a support to illegitimate government authority. But complicated writing systems that require a lot of education to use properly have a history as tools of State authority.

Heinlein Libertarian on March 29, 2010, 09:54:34 pm
The "Shoot Twice" story is actually a reference to a humorous postcard that was sold in Switzerland before and during World War I. It really does exist, and almost every Swiss gun shop seems to have modern versions available for purchase.

I admire the Swiss militia system. It has a lot to recommend it. The vast majority of Swiss citizens have at least a minimum familiarity with firearms. Most Swiss males (excluding the usual 4-F's) serve in the militia and are trained in basic small-unit tactics. If American experience in WWI proved anything, it is that a basic familiarity with firearms and shooting makes for substantially more effective troops, and I expect the Swiss model would result in very effective light infantry units.

The real protection for the Swiss up until the days of the Cold War was the mountains that surround their country. The Alps are substantial mountains, and attacking through narrow mountain passes is never easy. Attacking Switzerland under any circumstances would be a very costly proposition. Even with a few light units and a citizenry that is not trained in arms, Switzerland's terrain features make it virtually impenetrable from the ground, and the mountains offer a great redoubt for guerrillas. Without the willingness to expend huge numbers of men in the process, It has no oil, a little timber, and some nice scenery.Switzerland is just not worth conquering.

During and after the Cold War, the Swiss have been protected primarily by American armored forces in Germany and our nuclear umbrella.

terry_freeman on March 29, 2010, 10:20:27 pm
The American forces in Germany - and over 100 other countries - protect against what, exactly?

How, exactly, does this differ from any other world empire?