In continuing the anarchist discussion from the other day, our resident anarchist, Keith, said:
Defense of person and property is a right held by individuals. Individuals have the right to act in such defense. Individuals can delegate their rights to others either through minimalist government (which we anarchists fear can never be held in check, reference the discussion about the Constitution which started this) or through hired help through private security.
Individuals don’t have the right to dictate to others what they put into their own bodies or any number of things that our government has claimed the power to do. Therefore, they cannot delegate such to the government to do on their behalf. If government derive their just powers from the rights of the governed, as was claimed in the Declaration of Independence, then the government can’t derive the power to control what people put into their own bodies.
Armies are a legitimate function of government, when used solely for defensive purposes. The concern of the founders of this country, the reason they only allowed for the army to be funded for two years at a time, is that standing armies are commonly used for offensive purposes and military adventurism.
Which leads me to a question: How can a minimalist government build the kind of defense that is necessary in today’s advanced technology, dangerous world?
Or, as John asks in the same discussion:
If you are responsible for your own safety, how do you protect yourself from those nations with large standing armies or nuclear weapons?… or even the terrorist with a suicide bomb? What about those in your nation who may find your ideals repugnant and dangerous?
There is nothing wrong with peace, love and understanding… except for those to whom such words have little or no meaning–except as they apply to anyone who believes, looks, or thinks as they do.
Anarchists (at least the one I know), paleocons, libertarians and Paulites all agree that the military should be for defensive purposes only. They are against both preemption and intervention. But they have no answer to known threats, like Iran, or potential threats, like nuclear-capable non-state actors.
How do you defend yourself against hugely dangerous weapons in the hands of people who hate you and everything you stand for? Do you wait for the bomb to go off in one of your cities and then act?
There is cold comfort in the idea that the Bush administration claimed there were WMD in Iraq and they were wrong (my belief) or lied (others’ belief). The fact that there was no active nuclear program in Iraq doesn’t negate the possibility of another bad actor having one and threatening other countries with them.
How do you defend against that with a purely defensive military?
Even in World War II, even pleasing Pat Buchanan by leaving out the European Theatre, what any reasonable person would label a purely defensive military would not have been sufficient to win the day. When you’re in a war, you have to go on offense. And where do you want all the death and destruction to take place? San Diego? or as far away as you can make it happen? our turf? or their turf? Purely defensive military units are not going to be able to carry the fight to where the other guy lives. Period.
Anarchists, I think you got some ‘splainin’ to do…