Estonian Civilians Voluntarily Trained in Insurgency

Editor’s Pick. Written by David Friedman.

One of the new chapters for the third edition of The Machinery of Freedom discusses the question of how a stateless society might defend against a state, which I regard as the hardest problem for such a society. One of the possibilities I raise is having people voluntarily train and equip themselves for warfare for the fun (and patriotism) of it, as people now engage in paintball, medieval combat in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and various other military hobbies.

A correspondent sends me a real world example of the approach–the Estonian Defense League, civilians trained in the skills of insurgency. They refer to it as “military sport.” Competitions almost every week. Membership of 25,400.

Estonia’s army of 6000 wouldn’t have much chance against a Russian invasion but the Estonians believe, with the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan in mind, that a large number of trained and armed insurgents could make it expensive.

Estonia has a population of 1.3 million. Scale up to the size of the U.S. and you get a militia of almost six million. Of course, that assumes an anarchist U.S. with a population as committed to its defense as the current population of Estonia.

Originally published at his personal blog.

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

Selected content picked by the editor of