Just as conventional thinkers jerk their knees to object that government is needed to administer justice, they may do likewise with respect to the defense of a free, anarchist society. And we can agree that there is little point in setting one up if, next morning, some foreign government or armed, domestic association of displaced former government employees marches in and takes control. How are they to be stopped?

Conventional thinking, again, says the answer is collectivization. The US Constitution provides that the new Federal Government shall "provide for the common defense" of the State Governments that set it up. One for all, and all for one; the mindless basis of socialism everywhere.

They are all wrong: the correct answer is that "society" as such, will not be defended at all. The individuals who make it up will, having experienced its rich benefits, use their own weapons to defend their own property. When they become aware that any group is out to take away their 100% control over their own lives, they will use the justice industry to stop it. Failing that (in the early days, the aggressor might bring massive force) then the shooting will start. Individuals will kill the agents of the aggressor, whenever encountered. Several aspects of this deserve note.

1. Knowing in advance that his uniformed agents will face a fully-armed population every member of which will kill them on sight, and with no defending "government" to surrender on their behalf, in all high probability he will simply not invade. He will go after a softer target instead; one that does have someone capable of surrendering, like the French in 1940.

2. Aggressor governments are not always that smart, so one may invade regardless. If so, his agents will be mercilessly harassed until he takes the survivors away. This is close to the technique that drove the US Government out of Vietnam, and tied down Hitler's armies in France and elsewhere, and which as I write is undermining the US occupation of Iraq (that's not to say that the Baathist Iraqi saboteurs are worthy in any other way - simply that they are using smart tactics of resistance.)

3. While a foreign invasion to crush a newly free society is a real danger, that danger will be temporary. Reason: the great acceleration in technology that freedom will stimulate will render impotent the "massive force" assumed above.

Always, a war of intended conquest is waged after a careful cost-benefit analysis by the aggressor. The net benefits of invading a society of people entirely committed to peace and individual freedom, and without any government to pose any threat to any other government, will be strongly negative. The motivation will be simply missing.

One possible exception exists: a motive to invade and suppress an anarchist society may exist soon after its formation. That's because all governments will (rightly!) feel very threatened by the possibility that their own populations will observe the new society and start throwing off their own oppressors in emulation. This is in fact precisely the meaning of the Statue of Liberty: "Liberty, Enlightening the World". If only America were a land of liberty, its peacefulness and prosperity would have so attracted people over the whole world that by now, virtually the whole world would be free. Let's hope we get it right the second time around.

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