click on thumbnail to zoom

Myth of National Defense

Average Rating:
Need the state to provide national defense? Think again, and get ready for a wild intellectual ride. With eleven chapters by top libertarian scholars on all aspects of defense, this book edited by Hans-Hermann Hoppe represents an ambitious attempt to extend the idea of free enterprise to the provision of security services.
Price: $20.00


The libertarian idea of society without a state appeals to many people, but, however enticing the idea, it is often dismissed as utopian. How could an anarchist society defend itself against large, centralized states? Defense, it has been alleged, cannot be adequately supplied by the free market. It is what economists term a “public good.”

The contributors to The Myth of National Defense dissent from this verdict. In a characteristically stimulating essay, Hans-Hermann Hoppe shows in detail how an anarchist society would deal with protection. He suggests that protective agencies would be linked to insurance companies. Carrying the battle to his statist adversaries, Hoppe contends that Hobbes and his many successors have failed to show that the state that they support is preferable to the state of nature.

Walter Block confronts the public goods problem head-on. It is not true, he says, that defense must be supplied to everybody, the principal claim of those who raise the public goods objection. To the contrary, the market has ways to exclude those who do not buy defense services from receiving protection.

Jeffrey Hummel brings a historical perspective to the argument. Given modern technological conditions, a small but technological defense force, of the sort that an anarchist society could provide, would be able to repel invasions from the mass armies raised by states. Joseph Stromberg looks to the history of guerilla war to illustrate successful defense without a large army, and Larry Sechrest shows how private forces have carried out naval warfare.

The book contains much else; as an example, the distinguished philosopher of science Gerard Radnitzky challenges the view that democracies are more peaceful than other forms of government. Readers in search of a thoughtful alternative to the stale bromides that dominate current thought about national defense will find exactly what they are looking for in this outstanding book.


Average Rating:
(based on 5 reviews)

Showing 5 Reviews:

by Ray
on 6/21/2011
from Ogden
So what is a central government good for?
Really, nothing good.

We of the libertarian persuasion have often returned to the notion of a central government that is necessary to enforce the Bill of Rights and to secure a national defense.

Read this and come away with a totally different perspective based on reason, history and of course, human nature and free markets.

I was persuaded and am now convinced, a civilized society can peacefully exist without a standing army and conscription.  In fact, it is more likely to be at peace without these things.

Read and learn.
by Justin Thomas Patrick Quinn
on 4/2/2010
from Southern New Jersey
The Myth of National Defense
It is an excellent read. Hoppe's intellect is truly a marvel. Much of the book is a quick overview of military history that goes back at least 1000 years, from the private mercenary armies of kings, to the total world wars. His revisionist view of WWI and the types of government as well is also refreshing.

Due to this being a collection of multiple works, there are some issues, such as the "free rider" problem, left unresolved by some authors, that are addressed later in the book. Also, the section on Game Theory and Nuclear Weapons has some advanced math. Not being up on my Calculus, I skipped it.

If only I had read this book two years ago. Having only just begun to get into Ron Paul's writings, I was unfamiliar with Libertarianism and its vast body of work. I was attending American University's Washington Semester Program, and I was doing a research paper on the Army's Future Combat Systems. If I ever expand it into a book, my thesis will get a massive overhaul, thanks to Hoppe.
by Brennan
on 3/24/2010
from Baltimore
Excellent Purchase
I don't have a real review to write up at the moment, I just couldn't stand seeing such a great collection reduced to a one star rating. This collection is worth it if not simply for the "Monarchy and War" essay by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn; I learned more from that one reading than I did in my entire government school sentence.
by sparkleplenty27
on 3/5/2010
from Oregon
Myth of National Defense
unadulterated clap-trap; nonsense; naive; and totally out of touch with today's reality as well as our history.    Don't waste your money
by Lynn B. DeSpain
on 3/5/2010
from Keizer, Oregon
Retired Law Enforcement
I would remind the learned above Authors of the Fpundation of our Republic, the Constitution with all of its Amendments.
Article 1, Section 8, Congress has the Power: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations. Congress has the power: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.
These two parts are often referred to as the forgotten parts of Section *.
Nuclear Weapons were created and maintained under a n agreed program between the USSR and the USA, called MAD, Mutually assured Destruction.
Now in these More Modern times, we must ask ourselves, Is the destruction of Terrorist, Wherever they may be, worth the price of the collateral damage to the hundreds of thousands of Innocents affectd by the radiation?
My answer is no. That if we were to do so, where would the differnce lie between the Terrorist and us?
It is best to hunt them down with Drones.
Review and Rate this Item

  • Introduction by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  • The Problem of Security; Historicity of the State and "European Realism" by Luigi Marco Bassani and Carlo Lottieri
  • War, Peace, and the State by Murray N. Rothbard
  • Monarchy and War, by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
  • Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation or Monopoly? by Bertrand Lemennicier
  • Is Democracy More Peaceful than Other Forms of Government? by Gerard Radnitzky
  • Mercenaries, Guerrillas, Militias, and the Defense of Minimal States and Free Societies by Joseph R. Stromberg
  • Privateering and National Defense: Naval Warfare for Private Profit by Larry J. Sechrest
  • The Will to be Free: The Role of Ideology in National Defense by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
  • National Defense and the Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Clubs by Walter Block
  • Government and the Private Production of Defense by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  • Secession and the Production of Defense by Jrg Guido Hlsmann
ISBN 9780945466376
eISBN 9781610163828
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2003
Binding HC
Page Length 464
Dimensions 6" x 9"

Anarchy and the Law
What's all this fuss about free-market anarchism?
Price: $35.00
Theory of Socialism and Capitalism
The first treatise that put this thinker on the map.
Price: $14.95
Myth of National Defense - Digital Book
Need the state to provide national defense? Think again, and get ready for a wild intellectual ride. With eleven chapters by top libertarian scholar...
Price: $4.95
Myth of National Defense - Audiobook
Click on the Audible or iTunes links to the right to purchase the fully functional audiobook, with true audiobook capabilities s...
Price: $3.75