Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Nuclear Weapons in Libertarianism

This post has 18 Replies | 2 Followers

Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous Posted: Sun, Dec 23 2012 11:18 PM

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/nuclear-weapons-in-libertarianism/

Imagine another weapon – a sphere made of guns pointing in all directions radially outwards. Are you allowed to walk around with this weapon in a mall? The answer is no, because that weapon cannot be pointed – it is always being pointed at everyonearound you, and is a threat of aggression against them. As such, it’s equivalent to you pointing an individual gun at every person who happens to be passing you. Since this is illegal, so is the gun of spheres, which is essentially a threat against everyone around you within a specific distance.

Wow, this guy's a great hit! (No pun intended)

</shameless plug>

Didn't forget my tag this time!

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,687
Points 22,990
Bogart replied on Wed, Dec 26 2012 2:32 PM

No. 

First, getting the materials to build such a device would require real things like waste disposal and the builder would have to carefully do this in a neighborhood where you would risk damaage to other people and their property.

On to the mall: The reason no one in a mall can possess this weapon is because they are on private property.  The owner of the mall would not want someone to posess this device as it would threaten customers.  Similarly a person could build this device on their own property, assuming they were not under contract prohibiting them from doing so.  Their neighbors would have nothing to say if the buildler did not violate their rights to private property.  These rights would include homesteading views of other properties.  So if they built it out in the open then the neighbors who homesteaded that view first would have some say in the display.  If the device builder owned the mall then he would be wasting his money as  people would choose not to shop there.

If the builder did this in secret and bragged about it to the others around them then the weapon the others have is good old ostracism.  This would be particularly effective if they got the whole town involved to stop this person from getting deliveries, having trash picked up, receiving water, power, etc.  Now doing things in secret would also be somewhat problematic for the parts delivery and what not as the people delivering may have to cross private property to get to the property for delivery.  They would also be subject to ostracism and shame as well.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 257
Points 5,000

I love the pictures on the side -- especially the Australian flag one. XD

It's important to note that fission and fusion bombs themselves are relatively simple to make. They assigned the task to a physics student and Princeton and he was able to design one. The really hard part is getting the nuclear material, which has to be enriched to (iirc) 90%. But I think your article neglects the reality of technology that enrichment of nuclear material will become easier and cheaper in the future.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Thu, Dec 27 2012 4:48 PM

Bogart, I am not sure I agree with you completely.

In your first paragraph, you merely point out the dangers of other parts of the process - not nuclear weapons themselves as a final product. As such, it doesn't really relate to the article in the strictest sense.

In the second paragraph, you note that the person in the mall is on private property. This is correct, and as I was writing the article I was worried that someone would get hung up on that part. Change the scenario to one of the following, if you want :

1) The owner of the mall has no policy about guns. In this situation, it's still not legal for you to threaten to kill other people on his property.

2) The gun sphere is being handled on the owner's own property at the border with that of his neighbor. He is holding out the gun sphere, and his neighbor happens to be lounging 30 yards from him on his own property.

As to homesteaving of a view - I have no idea why this would be relevant. Furthermore, I am a little doubtful you can homestead rights to a view...

I agree with your third paragraph.

So it seems that you're mainly pointing out some other utilitarian arguments for why nuclear weapons are unlikely to be build and kept by individuals, not really breaking down my case for their usual illegality.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,745
Wheylous replied on Thu, Dec 27 2012 4:50 PM

As to you, QC, I don't think it'll be as cheap as buying a car... And if it happens to become that cheap, then nuclear weapons will likely be peanuts by that point.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 257
Points 5,000

Well what would prevent nukes from becoming that cheap? There has to be a reason.

And why would nukes someday be peanuts? Peanuts, as in the nukes won't be able to hurt anybody? How is that possible? I would think that as technology develops, nukes will be even deadlier. Maybe someone will come up with a Doomsday Device for a million dollars or something. I really think these issues need to be taken on.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,687
Points 22,990
Bogart replied on Fri, Dec 28 2012 8:32 AM

1. The mall owner needs no policy about guns or threats.  If people respect rights to private property then the owner would have every right to remove a person carrying a gun or some other device or threatening customers in some manner regardless of the stated policy.  The difference is that without a stated policy the owner must first ask the individual to leave or not bring the device before taking any stronger action.

2. It would depend on homesteading.  If the neighbor had the device prior to building a mall in plane view of the mall then the mall owner would have to respect the right of that individual to possess and show such a device.  But had the neighbor suddenly pulled out the device on a random Black Friday and intimidated people then the mall owner would have a claim for damages against the neighbor for lost business.  Or if the neighbor abandoned the view by removing the device for maintenance even for a small amount of time and the mall owner could start construction and homestead that view from the neighbor.

The answer is sure, you can homestead views and you can abandon vews as well.  Keep in mind that homesteading is an active process while abandonment is not .  And both of these are very much arbitrary and up to social conventions.  If you have a mountain or water view and actively keep it then you have private property rights to that view.  Now others can build inbetween provided they do not obstruct the view.  If builders say advertise publicly that they are building an office tower in the your view then you have to upkeep that view by actively opposing the project or risk having people consider your view as abandoned thus allowing the office project to continue.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 9:03 AM

I'd like to bring up the apparent fact that the US government and its cronies allies are opposed not only to the Iranian government possessing nuclear weapons per se, but also to the Iranian government possessing the mere ability to construct nuclear weapons. So apparently merely possessing the ability to construct nuclear weapons is itself an effective deterrent. And guess what? If a group possesses the ability to construct nuclear power generators, it effectively possesses the ability to construct nuclear weapons.

Since I anticipate that nuclear power generators would exist in a "mature" voluntaryist society, I anticipate the society to have the ability to construct nuclear weapons, thus providing the "ultimate deterrent". Merlin's thesis stands even more easily than he imagined.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 10:47 AM
Since I anticipate that nuclear power generators would exist in a "mature" voluntaryist society,
I disagree here. The only thing that makes nuclear power affordable today is the subsidies, particularly with respect to waste disposal.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 11:02 AM

Okay, why do you think that?

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 1:02 PM
Well I dont want to be near a nuclear waste disposal facility. Most americans agree with me which is why the federal government keeps all the waste at a facility in the middle of the desert. Theres an enormous amount of liability associated with poison that lasts almost forever. Furthermore the benefit over petroleum is negligible to nonexistent. I dont anticipate many investors choosing to risk the liability and invest exponentially nore money when they could just buy mineral rights and process those minerals into electricity at a location where this is permissible. This is an opinion based on my personal risk analysis, I'm not trying to speak ex cathedra or whatever.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 3:54 PM

Malachi:
Well I dont want to be near a nuclear waste disposal facility. Most americans agree with me which is why the federal government keeps all the waste at a facility in the middle of the desert. Theres an enormous amount of liability associated with poison that lasts almost forever. Furthermore the benefit over petroleum is negligible to nonexistent. I dont anticipate many investors choosing to risk the liability and invest exponentially nore money when they could just buy mineral rights and process those minerals into electricity at a location where this is permissible. This is an opinion based on my personal risk analysis, I'm not trying to speak ex cathedra or whatever.

There exist reactor types that produce clean waste, not dirty, not radioactive.

Also, a reactor can be made as small as a mini-fridge. Many satellites have small nuclear-powered generators on them, mostly using decay-heat for power. There exist a few people still with nuclear-powered pace-makers that work for over 50 years without needing recharge. We could probably make nuclear cellphone batteries now that would last decades without replacement. Certainly we could make ones able to last the usual lifespan of a phone.

I think in a free society that people might very well have home generators.

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 4:51 PM
Where do they get fuel? Is it enriched in a process that doesnt create waste? Do these types of reactors, or the knowledge and technology to construct them, enable engneers to develop nuclear weapons as discussed above?
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 7:12 PM
 
 

Malachi:
Where do they get fuel?

You can now mine uranium from seawater; dude invented an efficient way to pull it out.
(Potentially a good power source for seasteads, btw)

Malachi:
Is it enriched in a process that doesnt create waste?

I'm not aware of anything about the enriching process that particularly creates nuclear waste. You're merely separating the two isotopes via chemical and mechanical means. Not unless you mean trying to create plutonium, which the process I'm referring to does not do.

There's even a company offering small maintenance-free nuclear reactors for households and small communities.

Let the free market do its thing. Governments once thought private companies couldn't be trusted with large fuel oil storage, saying it would pose a major danger. That's worked out as best as could be expected.

Malachi:
Do these types of reactors, or the knowledge and technology to construct them, enable engneers to develop nuclear weapons as discussed above?

Not the RTG types, don't think. As for the latter link, couldn't find info about its used process, but I highly doubt it. Govs wouldn't license it if so.

At most you're talking dirty bombs. But dirty bombs are more fear than reality in estimates of actual impact. Sites are more cleanable than people think.

 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sat, Dec 29 2012 9:34 PM
At most I am talking fukushima. Otherwise your points are good.
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Dec 30 2012 4:23 AM

Malachi:
At most I am talking fukushima. Otherwise your points are good.

Fukushima-style reactors would never be built today. Especially not after Fukushima :P

It's kinda crazy to me that any reactor was ever built that used a systemically snowballing design, where if something breaks the design can go out of control. Any system this dangerous should be systemically designed such that it's only possible to generate heat when everything's right, and when any part breaks down the only result is cooling, thus meltdown becomes impossible.

There are designs like that nowadays.

 

Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sun, Dec 30 2012 10:11 AM
What if a catastrophic event breaks the thing open and seawater washes all the radioactive material away?
Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,258
Points 34,610
Anenome replied on Sun, Dec 30 2012 5:02 PM
 
 

Malachi:
What if a catastrophic event breaks the thing open and seawater washes all the radioactive material away?

The RTG style has no moving parts in its core, encase that thing in concrete and you're good to go. That's what they had planned too, was to put them underground. Nothing short of like a 9.0 earthquake could damage it. And even then it would just be rendered inoperable, not leaking.

Have you ever heard of... damn what are they called... ah, fusors! The guy who invented the cathode ray tube for televisions spent the last decade of his life trying to build fusion reactors in his house :P He invented this thing called a fusor, by which you can actually create fusion reactions on a tabletop.

Now, they've never been able to get them to produce net energy, but they have been useful as neutron sources, and they do indeed fuze nucleuses. One problem is that air absorbs neutrons. You'll see, read up on them.

They keep making the designs bigger and bigger and more complex... I have a theory that if you were able to micro-size a fusor it might become possible to produce net energy.

Here's a nuclear fusion reactor, a fusor, built by a highschool student:

Beautiful, ne?

There's ongoing work on this, including funding last couple years from the US Navy on something called a polywell, which is a variant fusor design. Apparently it's so far promising enough to keep funding.

Imagine if, one day, we could all have a nuclear reactor in the home, or in the car. That would be truly clean power.

 
 
Autarchy: rule of the self by the self; the act of self ruling.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,493
Points 39,355
Malachi replied on Sun, Dec 30 2012 5:12 PM
In that case I tend to agree with Autolykos and Anenome that the market could provide atomic solutions. Maybe even figure out how to clean up that waste site in nevada.

Wheylous, do you mean to suggest that high-yield explosives like hand grenades would be prohibited from public anarchic areas in certain neighborhoods? And how do you address the problem of firearms in general needing to be pointed somewhere?

Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (19 items) | RSS