Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I Conjectured. Estonia did it.

One of the new chapters for the third edition of The Machinery of Freedom discusses the question of how a stateless society might defend against a state, which I regard as the hardest problem for such a society.  One of the possibilities I raise is having people voluntarily train and equip themselves for warfare for the fun (and patriotism) of it, as people now engage in paintball, medieval combat in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and various other military hobbies.

A correspondent sends me a real world example of the approach--the Estonian Defense League, civilians trained in the skills of insurgency. They refer to it as "military sport." Competitions almost every week. Membership of 25,400.

Estonia's army of 6000 wouldn't have much chance against a Russian invasion but the Estonians believe, with the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan in mind, that a large number of trained and armed insurgents could make it expensive. 

Estonia has a population of 1.3 million. Scale up to the size of the U.S. and you get a militia of almost six million. Of course, that assumes an anarchist U.S. with a population as committed to its defense as the current population of Estonia.


At 11:25 AM, November 02, 2016, Blogger David MacRae said...

Any society which is strong enough to overthrow the its ruling class and replace it with nothing is obviously strong enough to defend itself from outside wannabees. The former is a far harder task because the ruling class is already entrenched in its position.

At 3:11 PM, November 02, 2016, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the first comment:

That is only if the outside force want to rule the population. These military games are a good idea but they won't help if outside force is determined to exterminate them.

At 4:09 AM, November 03, 2016, Blogger bellator said...

Estonia is not a stateless society.

At 7:36 AM, November 10, 2016, Anonymous Bill Walker said...

Definitely a good deterrent, and if they include some civil defense training, also some insurance against fallout, biowar, etc. side effects from wars in other places.

I believe it was Jerry Pournelle that wrote a story about this idea, taking it beyond "insurgents" to "assassins targeted on attacking dictator". (Story was in one of his collections, someone correct me if it's not his).

At 6:26 AM, November 14, 2016, Blogger TheVidra said...

This reminds me of the Swiss approach to national defense, as well.

At 7:13 PM, November 23, 2016, Blogger dWj said...

I was recently watching a nature show with my 5 year old son in which a small animal defended a resource (I don't remember what) from a larger animal. "That animal can't win," suggested my son, and I responded, "it doesn't have to win; it just has to make fighting for it not worth the trouble." This is pretty much always the guerrillas' biggest advantage -- their participation constraint is less tightly binding.

At 11:42 AM, March 14, 2017, Anonymous Tony M. said...

Good post.


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