The Case for Anarchist Nukes
One of the main reasons I want to live in Ancapland is because I donít want to be anywhere near a war. Thus I'd want to end it as fast as possible, before I had to do any fighting myself. If I lived in Ancap(1) Texas invaded by Statist Mexico(2), I'd steer a remote control truck bomb into Mexico City's govt center. And an important point, I would not hesitate to put a nuke in the truck if it was the most convenient way to save myself.
To take a different scenario, say my house is being attacked by a dozen gang members. I discretely watch them approaching from my second story window. They are bunched together walking up my driveway, however there are numerous pedestrians on the sidewalk right next to them, oblivious to the imminent firefight. If I start shooting with a machine gun, I obviously canít hit all the thugs simultaneously, so some will have time to dive for cover and return fire. Bullets flying in my direction are unacceptable. Instead I'd throw a big grenade at them, so as to wipe them all out before they can react. Many bystanders will get hit too, while presumably I could avoid them w the machine gun. However Iím willing to sacrifice them because that option results in less risk to myself.
Likewise if the Mexican army was steamrolling southern Texas, and a nuke in their capital would end the invasion, while a fertilizer bomb might only slow them down, I would opt for the nuke, regardless of the mass civilian casualties, because all that matters is my own survival. Also important is the time it takes. If there was some third option that was equally successful at ending the war, without many thousands of dead Mexicans, but it took a lot longer (i.e. sending in snipers against their leaders) I'd still probably opt for the nuke, because the longer the war rages on, the greater the chances I'm going to have to face combat. Furthermore, beyond just my personal risk is the economic factor. Wars are terribly disruptive to an economy, especially on the defensive side. If the trade we get from Mexico City is worth less than the total cost of the war time domestic disruption, then thereís a strong reason to erase Mexico City rather than deal with a long siege that avoids enemy civilian deaths.
This might look like Iím justifying Truman vs. Hiroshima(3). In a way I am, if it was absolutely necessary to conquer Japan, then crushing them into surrender w a nuke is preferable to throwing away wave after wave of conscripted marines. However that situation was fundamentally different from Ancap v Mexico, because America was the Attacker. At that point Japan's fleet was at the bottom of the pacific and they were only capable of fighting a purely defensive war. Truman could have just gone home. If the enemy is already at your doorstep though, you donít have that option. Ancapland will never be in the same situation as Truman.
Nukes are a deterrent that will work much better for a decentralized 'nation' then a state. If Mexico has nukes of its own, god forbid, and they threaten their use against us, this not nearly so frightening as vice versa. Reason is that while we can wipe out their entire command structure in one blow, they have no similar recourse against us. If Dallas goes up in a big white flash, the Ancaps living in Waco will say, 'sucks for them' and proceed to flatten the hub of the enemy's decision process.
If I were in charge of Ancap defenses, I'd have standing orders to immediately incinerate the respective capital city of any army that commences hostilities. The bottom line demands it. Nuclear warfare is by far the cheapest mode of combat ever invented. Its very expensive to hire soldiers, forge swords, build helicopters, train, feed and maintain everything. Comparatively, a handful of warheads are an absolute bargain. Why should I waste my money paying dues to some machismo club(4), knowing that any defending they do will be quite prolonged and inconvenient, when instead I could just contribute a few bucks to my neighborhood missile silo, and be insured of instant decisive victory at cut rate prices?
To make an analogy to geeky pop culture, think about the latest Star Wars. When Anakin's mama gets brutalized by the Tuskens he goes on a rampage eradicating their entire village, killing every man, woman and child, to the horror of libertarians who insist he should at most have punished those few who actually killed her. In other words he dropped a Jedi Nuke on them. Good for him I say. Look at it objectively. The sand people were at best a subsistence society, and apparently had to routinely pad their income by conducting raids on more productive settlements. They had less than zero net contribution to the Tatooine market. You never saw a sand person peacefully milling about in town, like Jawas and other natives, so they were apparently incapable of cultural assimilation. They routinely attacked the non-threatening farmers and are generally a menace with no redeeming features at all. Moral or not, Anakin's extermination of that village undeniably had a positive effect on the Tatooine economy as a whole.
If I was a moisture farmer I'd be toasting to Anakin in the Cantina every night. Why should they have to suffer casualties fighting the Tuskens hand to hand, when they could just drop the Jedi Nuke and end it immediately? Why should I have to value Mexican civilians above my own life? Even if they are totally opposed to their govtís war against me, I donítí see why that should limit me from choosing the most effective response to a clear and present danger. To say otherwise is invoking a moral principle that advocates self sacrifice. Bullshit on that.
1. Ancap stands for anarcho-capitalism
2. This essay is in response to a question posed how a newly created anarchist region, (Texas in the example) would respond to a statist military attack (Mexico here).
3. Harry S. Truman: War Criminal
4. Many anarchists advocate a militia system as a defensive strategy