Many an anarcho-capitalist has asked and been asked the question of collective self defense in a stateless society.
This is, of course, for good reason. National Defense is considered by most to be a public good in the valid economic meaning of the term. For those libertarians who are not anarchists, it is generally considered one of the three valid functions of the state apparatus, behind making and enforcing laws.
The point of this post isn’t to answer that question. Anybody who responds to me asking that I do isn’t asking in good faith anyway, since I’ve devoted quite a bit of time to the question and, like many things about our philosophy, one can use their own intuition.
This post is, however to clarify something about an underlying assumption that some people may have in the question. Particularly those people who are asking in poor faith.
As we describe our system of mercenary subscriptions, insurance contracts, and Dead Man switches, there will be those who insist, simply, that our solution “isn’t enough.” You know how it goes.
“What if they carpet bomb you before you can react?”
“What if they can churn out more conscripts than you have bullets?”
“What if the Russians have a psychic who brainwashes all of the mercenaries and causes Ancapistan’s missiles to explode in their silos so that they can send in aircraft from all directions while ground troops push up through Mexico?”
And on and on it goes. Because ultimately the question they’re really asking is beyond their vocabulary. What they are asking is really this:
“Can an anarcho-capitalist society mobilize into a state of total war?”
So let me answer that question. Consider this an official Fatwa from your Grand Mullah of the NAP.
No. No it cannot.
This is a feature, not a bug. Total warfare is a moral abomination and the 20th century would have demonstrated it to be the single most destructive idea in the history of the human experience if it weren’t for Marxism making such a strong late showing halfway through the first World War.
In our stateless society, civilians will be treated with all of the dignity they deserve as innocent non-aggressors, resources will be devoted to the war effort at socially optimal amounts as determined by market forces, and the only people fighting for us will be the people who agreed of their own free will to fight for us.
So, my fellow ancaps, when you are asked how a free society would react to an attack by Gort if nobody knows the code phrase and Klaatu won’t tell us, remember to think about what you are really being asked, and further that the person asking is not worth attempting to convince.
Nineteenth-century wars were kept within bounds by the tradition, well recognized in international law, that civilian property and business were outside the sphere of combat. Civilian assets were not exposed to arbitrary distraint or permanent seizure, and apart from such territorial and financial stipulations as one state might impose on another, the economic and cultural life of the belligerents was generally allowed to continue pretty much as it had been. Twentieth century practice has changed all that. During both World Wars limitless lists of contraband coupled with unilateral declarations of maritime law put every sort of commerce in jeopardy, and made waste paper of all precedents. The close of the first war was marked by a determined and successful effort to impair the economic recovery of the principal losers, and to retain certain civilian properties. The second war has seen the extension of that policy to a point at which international law in war has ceased to exist. For years the Government o'f Germany, so far as its arm could reach, had based a policy of confiscation on a racial theory that had no standing in civil law, international law, nor Christian ethics; and when the war began, that violation of the comity of nations proved contagious. Anglo-American leadership, in both speech and action, launched a crusade that admitted of neither legal nor territorial limits to the exercise of coercion. The concept of neutrality was denounced in both theory and practice. Not only enemy assets and interests, but the assets and interests of any parties whatsoever, even in neutral countries, were exposed to every constraint the belligerent powers could make effective; and the assets and interests of neutral states and their civilians, lodged in belligerent territories or under belligerent control, were subjected to practically the same sort of coercion as those of enemy nationals. Thus “total war” became a sort of war that no civilian community could hope to escape; and “peace loving nations” will draw the obvious inference.
William A. Orton, The Liberal Tradition: A Study of the Social and Spiritual Conditions of Freedom
“Should I Play Total War: Warhammer as a Warhammer fan?”
The simple answer is yes, you should. You should even play Total War Warhammer if you aren’t a Warhammer fan, and I’ll explain why.
Last week Creative Assembly offered me a review key for their upcoming title, Total War: Warhammer that is being released this coming Tuesday on May 24th. Since then I’ve logged a sickening amount of hours into it fighting battles that as a long time table top player, I always wished to see animated. Whether it’s Karl Franz on Deathclaw fighting Louen
on Beaquis or a retelling of Storm of Chaos where Grimgor headbutts Archaon this game is filled with moments that appeal to both long time fans of the series and traditional real time strategy players. This review aims to explain why this game is important for Warhammer tabletop players and why it’s being made at an interesting time for both companies involved.
Firstly, if you don’t know what Warhammer Fantasy is, I can say with utmost assurance that it exists as one of the best traditional fantasy settings in modernity. But….Warhammer fantasy has changed. Those who are long time fans of the tabletop game or just those obsessed with its rich lore probably know about Warhammer fantasy’s departure into its next, current edition; Age of Sigmar. The Warhammer fantasy most have come to familiarize themselves with (8th edition) has been departed from by Games-Workshop and the reception has been very mixed. Almost all of the major characters and faction leaders have been killed canonically in “The End Times” and whole factions playable on the tabletop have been rendered null. On the flipside, Age of Sigmar has brought with it new factions as well as a completely new rule set for tabletop play that upset those who are more used to a high skill ceiling game, cutting over 200 pages from the rule book to a pamphlet only 4 pages long. It is speculated that Games-Workshop created Age of Sigmar as a last effort to revitalize a stagnant Warhammer Fantasy sales figure, forging new armies and rule books to keep interest. While many saw this new “Ragnarok” and “rebirth” narrative as a canning of a deep, 30+ year old lore, plenty of other players sighed in relief as the game was made to be more accessible to play and much more transparent. As Age of Sigmar is still relatively new, it remains to be seen how it develops, though it is safe to say that the fanbase is and will continue to be divided.
On the other hand we have the Total War series. This series, created in 2000 by Creative assembly has consistently pioneered the real time strategy landscape. The series emerged to great critical acclaim, and carved a niche for itself within computer gaming that scratched a “Risk” itch, being both interesting as a war campaign game and a real time strategy combat game. Creative Assembly has continued this title all the way into 2016 and in that time, Total War has seen Feudal Japan, the height of the Roman Empire, Medieval Europe, Napoleonic Europe, the Americas, and most recently an invasion by Attila the Hun. Never has Total War seen a fantasy setting before Total War: Warhammer and just like Games-Workshop received backlash for Age of Sigmar, so too was Creative Assembly met with flak from its own fanbase for creating a non-historical title. In many ways, both companies are similar in their departures from their comfort zones and whether these departures were driven by necessity or tact, the truth is that these two series are perfect for each other.
Now, that the background has been explained, on to the actual game. Total War: Warhammer takes place in Warhammer Fantasy, 8th edition before Age of Sigmar. Subsequently, 5 of the most iconic factions of Warhammer are playable in the series’ first iteration; The Empire, Chaos Warriors, Dwarves, Greenskins, and Vampire Counts make up 5 of the promised 13 playable factions by the series’ end. Each have been impressively realized and CA will continue after launch to flesh out the factions with both FLC and DLC in a 3 part series that take place on a single campaign map (think expansion pack per game). This game is filled with juicy lore and in game events that make each faction feel the way you imagined them feeling from their backgrounds and books. Both mechanically and spiritually this game is very much Warhammer Fantasy, 8th edition but in a real time strategy setting. Mechanics like vanguard deployment, winds of magic, armor saves, ward saves, wheeling, and misfiring/miscasting are all present in Total War: Warhammer to make the game feel both familiar and fresh. Real time makes it much punishing in a way that will keep rule book worms on the edge of their seats, yet similarly demand a level of attentiveness and forethought from more fast and loose game players that is very rewarding.
Both on and off the battlefield, Creative Assembly made each specific faction feel unique and true to their lore. For example, playing as the Dwarves you are incentivized to build economically in your Karaks and provinces, waiting for your enemies to strike you. Dealing with your enemies in this manner keeps your “Book of Grudges” clear of grudges, which build up when attacked or slighted and can affect your public order and political tension with other Dwarf clans. Once the threat has been dealt with defensively, you can push offensively to retake your holds from the greenskins or clear the surrounding areas of vampiric influence. This is not only an interesting campaign mechanic, but one that forces the player to adopt a lore friendly Dwarfish playstyle in order to best min max his or her campaign. Another example is the sheer destructive allure of the Chaos Warriors. In their power (maybe intentionally imbalanced) and hyper aggressive, frontline playstyle they, on the outset seem more enticing than the forever underdog the Empire which mechanically and stylistically emulates the corruption of Chaos. Making a one for one translation of table top wouldn’t have been that difficult, but it also wouldn’t have been interesting. Making a fully fleshed out campaign map and story arc, on top of a real time strategy battle game that feels true to both Total War and true to Warhammer is difficult, and this game hit a home run.
To Warhammer 8th edition fans, this is your last sanctuary. It isn’t a one for one recreation of battles but it’s damn close and it offers much more off of the field. The combat is not turned based but it has every underlying mechanic inherent to the table top and it feels great, see for yourself. If you are not pleased with Age of Sigmar and you’d like some refuge, I could not recommend this game enough.
You would like this game if:
-You enjoy lengthy pay offs
-You’re a lore junkie
-You’re a combat junkie
-You’re a strategist
-You love character customization
-You’re a loot grabber
-You’re a completionist
-You enjoy world building
You may not like this game if:
-You’re a multiplayer
addict, as the game’s multiplayer feels archaic and lacks in depth
customization, which the game supports despite being amiss. Will almost definitely be updated at a later time.
-You dislike High Skill Ceilings, as this game is difficult to know to its full depth
-You dislike games that require a lengthy learning period
Creative Assembly took a risk and created a great game, easily one of the best in the Total War franchise. The game scratches itches for many different gamer types and lives up to almost all of what it promises to deliver, a title that I know I will still be playing months down the line. This game is not only interesting as a window into a game studio making moves to differentiate itself, but also stands alone as a fun and addicting title. Creative Assembly set out to create a fantasy game but actually made a historical title, historical for a fan base of Warhammer players who felt spurned by the series they loved, now archived in full by a company who loves it as much as they do.
“They live and wait. Knowingly or unknowingly, they are waiting for Kalki; Kalki the last Man Against Time; the one whom Adolf Hitler foresaw in 1928; the Avenger who will give them– or their children– the world.
“The last incarnation of him-who-comes-back– the last Man Against Time has many names. Every great faith, every great culture, every true (living or obsolete) form of tradition as old as the fall of man has given him one…. the Christians behold him in Christ, present for the second time: no longer a meek preacher of love and forgiveness but the irresistible leader of the celestial white horsemen destined to put an end to this sinful world and establish a new heaven and a new earth. The Mohammedan world is awaiting him under the features of Mahdi, whom Allah shall send "at the end times”, to crush all evil through the powers of his sword– “after the Jews will once more have become the masters of Jerusalem” and after “the Devil will have taught men to set even the air they breathe on fire.” And the millions of Hindustan have called him from time immemorial and still call him Kalki, the last incarnation of the world-sustaining power: Vishnu; the one who will, in the interest of life, put an end to this age of gloom and open a new succession of ages.
“That last, great individual– an absolute harmonious blending of the sharpest of all opposites; equally sun and lightning– is the one whom the faithful of all religions and the bearers of practically all cultures await; the one of whom Adolf Hitler (knowingly or unknowingly) said in 1928: "I am not he; but while nobody comes forward to prepare the way for him, I do so.”
“Contrarily to Adolf Hitler, he will spare not a single one of the enemies of the divine cause: not a single one of its outspoken opponents but also not a single one of the lukewarm, of the opportunists, of the ideological heretical, of the racially bastardized, of the unhealthy, of the hesitating, of the all-too-human; not a single one of those who, in body or character or mind, bear the stamp of the fallen ages.
"His companions at arms will be the last National Socialists; the men of iron who will have victoriously stood the test of persecution and, what is more, the test of complete isolation in the midst of a dreary, indifferent world in which they have no place; who are facing that world and defying it through every gesture, every hint– every silence of theirs and, more and more (in the case of the younger ones) without even the personal memory of Adolf Hitler’s great days to sustain them. They are the ones who will, one day, make good for all that Men Against Time have suffered in the course of history, like they themselves, for the sake of eternal truth: the avenging comrades whom the millions of 1945– the dying, the tortured, and the desperate survivors– called in vain; those whom all the vanquished fighters against time called in vain, in every phase of the great cosmic struggle without beginning, against the forces of disintegration, co-eternal with the forces of life.
"They are time bridge to supermanhood, of which Nietzsche has spoken; the last battalion, in which Hitler has put his confidence.
"Kalki will lead them, through the flames of the great end, into the sunshine of the new Golden Age.”
I like villainous couples and I cannot lie. I want Total War Warhammer to win the Make War Not Love thing so I can get my von Carstein free-LC:
So recently I got into Total War Warhammer, which then led me to reading up on the lore, and then finding out that Vlad von Carstein (and by extension Isabella) is one of the most interesting characters, which then led me to reading up on some other novels in the Warhammer lore.
Why interesting? Only actual love story in any Warhammer lore books, because the rest of their stories is just obsessed with Order vs Chaos and the Empire of Man yada yada yada. Also Vlad turned into one of the better good guys eventually, which is hilarious.
Anyway, reading a bit of the Warhammer vampire trilogy…
The author managed to trick a bunch of dudes, who are probably into the whole manly Warhammer theme, into reading some truly, incredibly, melodramatic vampire cheese.
Whoo boy, Vlad appears in a storm, asks Isabella’s hand in marriage, and she’s like HOT DAMN. Like, HOT DAMN. Though I will concede, showing how ruthless she was about receiving a gift of her ‘uncle’s heart’ was a pretty good character moment.
Or how Vlad stood in the rain, on the castle, gloomily brooding while Isabella is dying from illness as he..WRESTLES with conflicting emotions.
Which then culminate to him giving her the Blood Kiss to turn into a vampire, but noticeably the whole thing drained him so much that that’s one of the few times he is physically weak. And then later we learn the Blood Kiss ritual isn’t that strenuous and you start wondering what happened in the bed room immediately after Isabella becomes a vamp.
Oh, and then Isabella decides that the moment that Vlad is channeling a hellishly powerful necromancy spell on top of a castle, is the absolute best time to start coming onto him thirsty as hell, licking his cheek and ear and mock-biting his neck. I will admit, hawt, but time and place. TIME AND PLACE!
But then, her breakdowns. Oh, the breakdowns. When Vlad dies the first time, Isabella has one hell of a collapse. Huddling into the corner of his coffin clutching his shirt for his scent level of collapse.
An overreaction I might add, because Vlad literally is more immortal than any immortal vampire. Cos he can’t die. If he has his ring. A particular important trait he might have considered TELLING HIS WIFE OF 200 YEARS.
Then the second time Vlad dies, and its permanent, oy vey.
All I can say is, I think the later editions and sourcebooks make both a lot more…dignified.