Pacifism in Jubilee

The guaranteed minimum income in Jubilee opens up an interesting possibility for self-defence: If Stolypin (for example) threatens to invade, Jubilee should put up signs along the routes the soldiers are likely to use to approach Jubilee. The signs should be in the languages most easily read by Stolypinites (or their mercenaries), and should say “Jubilee welcomes Stolypinites! We will pay you to live here peacefully.”. And then Jubilee should allocate the new immigrants the same guaranteed minimum income all the other Jubilants get.

Would it work?

Well, if the soldiers believed it, then they would immediately have an incentive to defect and live peacefully in Jubilee. In order to maintain their force, Stolypin would need to provide sufficient incentives for the soldiers to keep soldiering.

If they threatened deserters with execution, well, they’d need to come to Jubilee and forcibly collect the defectors. But what force are they going to send there that won’t also have the incentive to defect?

The only option for a Stolypinite invasion seems to be to pay the soldiers more than they’d earn living in Jubilee and doing work of similar difficulty and unpleasantness, which could be expensive, given the guaranteed minimum income, and the consequently likely higher wages there.

So invading Jubilee would be much more expensive than invading another place like Stolypin.

But one crucial thing about this is that the Stolypinite soldiers must believe that they really will be allowed to live peacefully in Jubilee and collect the guaranteed minimum income. Just as a threat of force needs to be plausible to be effective, this “threat” of non-violence and wealth-sharing must also be plausible to be effective.

Having no standing army in Jubilee would be a good start, but that’s not all we need to look at. I suspect it’s quite rare for the army to be called on to assist in deporting illegal immigrants. Jubilee must not have laws prohibiting peaceful people from living there and receiving the guaranteed minimum income, regardless of where they happened to have been born, or whose army they were conscripted into. (And even repentant volunteers for the Stolypinite army should have no reason to expect deportation from Jubilee if they neither threaten nor commit violence while living there.)

The lack of a standing army would also make it much more difficult for anyone to find a pretext to attack Jubilee. “They’re stealing our tenants” seems the most likely motive for opposing Jubilee, but if they say it like that, it sounds like they think they own their tenants. The pretext might need to be that Jubilee is harbouring a peaceful person who’s committed what Stolypinite law classifies as terrorism.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Jubilee would never be attacked. The Stolypinite landlords might just be wealthy enough to fund an invasion, but if they merely wanted to make Stolypin a more attractive place to live by comparison, they might achieve their purpose without an invasion, by launching a cowardly air or missile attack on Jubilee.

Still, Jubilee’s pacifist self-defence plan seems far cheaper than maintaining a standing army, which is itself no guarantee that no-one will attack. It certainly seems worth trying, even if you hold that pacifism isn’t a moral necessity.

And if the Jubilants really want to spend money on defence against possible attacks, they could build a completely pacifist missile defence system with all the money they’re saving by not maintaining an army. It could even attempt to intercept bombs dropped by planes, and blow up unmanned drones that are sent as part of an attack.

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