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Nuclear weapons in Anarchy

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Libertyandlife Posted: Mon, Aug 23 2010 3:34 AM

So after some random conversation about global politics, the cold war came up, and I was thinking about nuclear weapons. Will nuclear weapons cease to exist as a problem if anarchy took over? Think about what nukes are used by and may be used by: A) Countries B)Lunatic groups. So far only one country has actually used a nuclear weapon to attack another country. The rest of the nukes are bargaining chips, or used as defense (through mutually assured destruction). But who are you going to argue with when there are no countries? Only other use is in war, not personal conflict, again with countries. It's pointless.  Is there more to this or do I have down pretty well? The only other thing would be the rights involving ownership of nukes, but I feel like nuclear weapons would be useless in anarchy. Besides guns would be much more useful.

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contyler replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 4:17 AM

If we want anarchy, we need people to be anarchist. What's the use for a nuclear bomb? It would kill all the people. No people, no anarchy.

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C replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 4:18 AM

Walter Block has written an excellent paper on nuclear weapons I suggest searching for it.

  At least he wasn't a Keynesian!

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MaikU replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 5:24 AM

I think we should fear more chemical and bacteriologal weapons... :) These types of weapons tend to be more deadly in a long run, hehe.

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Bert replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 8:30 AM

There's at least 3 (extensive) threads on this topic already, I'm sure they'll be of use.

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Bogart replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 3:45 PM

Nuclear weapons are those things that are so hard to construct and maintain that only governments are stupid enough to build an arsenal of them.  In an anarchy very few people would want to use their means to build such devices much less use them.  That does not mean that they could not do both construct and use them.  But these weapons are really only defensive in nature.  It is hard to maintain ground nuked.  Now keep in mind that people have rights to defend themselves.  They can also pay third parties to do this as well.  I suspect that very few groups of people would be willing to go to the expense of building an aggressive force when it is significantly cheaper to build a defensive one.

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Eric080 replied on Mon, Aug 23 2010 6:11 PM

I think Libertyandlife brings up a good point.  In an an-cap society, there would be no capture-the-flag type of element so using a nuclear weapon is pretty much pointless.  The main driving idea behind anarcho-capitalism is that the buck stops with the self, not any arbitrary people group.

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I think you are bringing about a very good point. It takes scores of scientists to elaborate a single bomb, because it simply to hard to build one. There are very toxic ingredients that can kill if touched without protection and are really, really hard to find in nature. Plutonium can only be kept in laboratories and in a free market, I doubt there would be a plutioniom industry as it would only bring about very little profit.

 

But even a stronger point. In an anarcho-capitalist society, science would be so strongly influent that technology could soon invent anti-nuclear portative devices or such. Everything is imaginable.

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Wheylous replied on Mon, Sep 26 2011 6:15 PM

I suggest this thread (and my comment in it):

http://mises.org/Community/forums/p/26111/436702.aspx#436702

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The idea that whackjob lunatics would acquire and/or create nuclear weapons without inherent limitations on their ownership strikes me a bit like saying that eccentric billionaires would build skyscrapers in the middle of nowhere without zoning laws. They might be able to do so, but it'd be such a waste of time and resources, to say nothing of getting the others necessary to help them with such, that the odds of anyone actually doing it are miniscule at best.

This is also overlooking the potential for non-weaponized applications of nuclear reaction-based explosives, since on a mechanical level what makes a nuke a nuke is really just another type of explosive reaction, not all that far removed from TNT. We of course can't know ahead of time, but should the matter of fallout be mitigated or controlled somehow, there may yet be a nonmilitary niche for such devices in extreme blasting and demolitions applications that would otherwise require prohibitive amounts of conventional explosives.

But even if this never pans out, I'd probably fail to see the inherent rights violation in simply owning any object. You might not feel comfortable being around someone who owns something of that sort or perhaps it has little practical use, but that can be said of all sorts of things, weaponry in particular. Perhaps we'll start accepting that there's no legitimate use for so-called "assault weapons" and somehow come up with non-aggressive means of confiscating these from people?

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Wheylous replied on Mon, Sep 26 2011 10:56 PM

As I explain in my post I linked, a nuclear weapon is like walking through a mall with a sphere made of guns pointing in all directions. It's like constantly pointing a gun at someone's head. Now, if you can find a way to contain the explosion in nuclear facilities, power to you, you can have one. If you want to have one 500 miles away from all other living beings, have it. If you homestead a piece of land with no one in the blast radius and then people settle, their problem. If the people within the blast radius authorize you to have the bomb, glory to you. But you can't simply waltz into any city with a bomb.

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Wheylous:

As I explain in my post I linked, a nuclear weapon is like walking through a mall with a sphere made of guns pointing in all directions. It's like constantly pointing a gun at someone's head. Now, if you can find a way to contain the explosion in nuclear facilities, power to you, you can have one. If you want to have one 500 miles away from all other living beings, have it. If you homestead a piece of land with no one in the blast radius and then people settle, their problem. If the people within the blast radius authorize you to have the bomb, glory to you. But you can't simply waltz into any city with a bomb.

 

 

Thank you Wheylous. Of all that I've read on the subject, this idea makes the most sense. The last question I have is about ICBM's. These aren't directly inside of the mall threatening people, but they are a constant indirect threat in that they can be launched at the mall in a moments notice. These would have to all be destroyed. Agree?

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Sep 28 2011 10:04 PM

Careful. By your logic, a gun in general is a constant indirect threat, even if it is not pointed at you. ICBMs are perfectly fine. They are no different from cars. Cars carry guns, which could kill people. If pointed. So we ban cars? ICBMs pose no threat unless the weapon they carry is within blast range of involuntary settlers. Even then, the problem is the weapon, not the ICBM.

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