RE: POL: Extropianism and Politics
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 08:24:26 -0800 (PST)

Billy Brown [] wrote:
>The high cost of military hardware is due to two factors: intrinsic
>complexity and small manufacturing runs. An anti-tank missile is a more
>complicated machine than a rifle, so it will naturally be more expensive.

That's weird: I've seen LAW rockets for sale for $250, which won't buy you a particularly good modern rifle. Admittedly they won't do much against a $20million main battle tank, but they'll be perfectly good against an APC costing a thousand times as much as the missile.

And this is the point: it doesn't matter if an anti-tank missile costs $10,000 in bulk, if it has a 50% chance of knocking out a $20million tank. No nation can afford to lose a billion dollars of tanks to a million dollars of missiles; or an entire army to a single million-dollar nuke.

>The important measure of size is money, not people. In the modern world you
>will run out of money long before you run out of people.

So you see our point? When one side is spending a thousand times as much as the other, they lose.

>Warlike groups practice divide-and-conquer strategies. You don't attack
>the whole world at once. You pick some unpopular little group, and conquer

And you know what? That's not possible for much longer, BECAUSE THE UNPOPULAR LITTLE GROUP CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE THE ATTACKING NATION! It only works when that little group can only kill the invading force, once the little group has nuclear, biological or chemical weapons they can kill the leaders and millions of civilians of the nation which chooses to attack them. At that point it is no longer a feasible strategy.

>If my military is twice as good
>as yours, and I invade your country, I can defeat 100% of your troops
>without loosing anywhere near 50% of mine (10% would be a more likely

Your military has a hundred thousand well-trained soldiers, a thousand tanks, hundreds of planes and helicopters. My military has me... and a half-dozen nukes. You die, I win. Game over.

Don't you get it yet? Mass destruction weapons change *everything*. When one person can kill millions, traditional warfare is no longer possible; you cannot coerce nuclear-armed individuals.

[In another message]
>With the invention of gunpowder, this began to change. Now a group of
>well-trained soldiers could easily defeat a much larger mob of civilians.

This is silly. Gunpowder brought the end of feudalism because now a single individual with a gun could kill the best mounted knight, and a small army with a cannon could bring down the best defensive walls. Just as widespread ownership of nukes and other mass destruction weapons will bring down modern authoritarian government.