Basically my minarchist argument for defense is as follows. It needs some more refining but this is it in a nutshell.
For-profit mercenaries as the sole means of a nations defense does not work. This is because for one reason, I do not believe it reasonable to profitize and incentivise through monetary means the business of killing. Two, profits will not motivate a soldier, in a time of war, to defend his or her nation from attack. In a time of peace, one pays a mercenary/military army money to essentially sit around and do nothing. But in a time of war, a mercenary, who has no ideals or no principles outside of their allegiance to the dollar, will abandon one out of cowardice. As much as it sucks, nationalism is a necessary evil because it is only through nationalism that one can motivate a soldier to sacrifice their lives in a just war. And it is only through a politically-controlled governmental military that a sufficient culture of nationalism can be strewn in the soldiers such that they are willing to sacrifice their lives and put aside their personal identities to put all their efforts towards the war. Such nationalism never develops in a mercenary army because, as I stated earlier, mercenaries are only loyal to dollars, not to country.
One can potentially argue that a well-armed militia population is the answer, not a government controlled military. But where does the training of such a militia come from? Even if a militia is sufficient for the defense of a nation, a military still has to exist in order to instill the civilian militia with the necessary military skills, equipment and techniques to be effective. Take a look at the vast majority of NRA firearms instructors here in the US: the good majority of them either work with law enforcement or are active duty/retired military. In a stateless society, over time military culture willl erode, and with that military culture also erodes the effective training in firearms use and combat techniques because the source of such knowledge does not exist in a society devoid of political government.
A military is funded through taxation, and certainly taxation is nothing more than theft. But I think it’s a necessary theft that can be extorted in less-intrusive manners. Furthermore, all those cute liberties are kind of worthless if you’re just going to be subjugated by an aggressive and imperialistic neighboring territory.
Not so long ago, I would have agreed with you. Even now, I will concede that, in purely relative terms, defense and courts are the least illegitimate functions of a government.
But here is the fundamental question: If a person is unwilling to participate in the defense of the “country” in which he is residing - either by funding or fighting - how can you justify aggression against said person as a lesser evil (“necessary theft”)? In other words, if the lives and liberty of the citizenry are in peril from foreign aggression, how can violating the very same lives and liberty of the citizenry be the solution?
Suppose that if instead of a country being attacked, it was one man’s house. This man would likely defend his house, yes? He may even help defend a neighbor’s house if he feels that it would keep him from being attacked by eliminating the enemy before it gets to him (or merely if he felt charitable and neighborly). But what if he didn’t want to defend his house? What if he wanted, instead, to flee? To bargain with the attackers? Or even to die? Would you force this man to defend his house, or force him to pay someone to defend his house for him? And if not, then how can it be any less unjust to force him to fund or fight in defense of another’s house?
Practical concerns about viability of private defense are merely speculative, based on a Hobbesian assumption thoroughly addressed by Hoppe, Rothbard, Molinari, Block, amongst others. Further, these concerns, in my opinion, are immaterial to the larger concerns: Once you accept that the state can initiate force against its own populace for a greater good (particularly expressed as a consequence of market failure), there would soon be other “greater goods” that require violations of rights - as the current state of our country has shown*.
*Update: Case in point.
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- hyena-in-pantaloons said:I recommend you read Rand’s “The Nature of Government” and “Government Financing in a Free Society.” Taxation doesn’t necessarily have to be forced; nor are soldiers necessarily sacrificing themselves in a heat of nationalistic fervor.
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