New Zealand is frequently mentioned as an emigration destination by American freedomistas* fearful of being trapped between our burgeoning federal police state, and the intertwining forces of social disintegration. Locations from the Bahamas to Patagonia are named, but I hear New Zealand in everybody’s top three. And in the present era, New Zealand does indeed have many desirable qualities. But what will keep New Zealand both safe and free when global conditions turn Macro Mad Max, or World War Three breaks out? Certainly not its own military forces, which independent of outside help, could not repel an invasion from Liechtenstein.
Certainly not alliances with Australia and the United States, both of which will have numerous more pressing emergencies to deal with before coming to the rescue of New Zealand. Imagine the United States and Australia at war with a loose axis of Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea. What forces would be left over to send on an expedition to New Zealand? None, at least not in the only time frame that would matter, the first month after the invasion.
Short of paying for a modern military, including fighter jets and a proper navy, one very inexpensive national defense option would be for New Zealand to import a lesson from Switzerland. Any potential invader of that small European nation would face the prospect of taking accurate, aimed fire from tens of thousands of military assault rifles kept at home in the hands of civilian lifetime reservists. Why at home, and not “safely stored” in armories? A clear lesson of history is that when reserve or militia arms are stored in central repositories, they may be seized by an invader or a tyrant before the arms can be distributed.
Unlike almost any other nation, the Swiss government encourages and promotes the sport of rifle marksmanship, in order to keep the tradition and practice of armed civilian national defense a credible deterrent to aggression. The same could be done in New Zealand, with thoroughly vetted and properly trained military reservists taking their assigned battle rifles and ammunition home with them after their periods of active duty. Are the Swiss any more intelligent, rational or healthy than the Kiwis? Of course not. While it might take a generation for the practice of military rifle marksmanship to become a part of the national culture of New Zealand, as it did long ago in Switzerland, in time the William Tell ethos would take root.
New Zealand has many attributes already in place to make the Swiss model successful in the antipodes. For example, it has a culture of enthusiastic participation in healthy outdoor activities, and world-class emergency rescue teams based around civilian volunteers. But in 2015 the suggestion that rifle marksmanship should be encouraged in order to deter a hypothetical future invasion will be cast aside with dripping scorn and derision. The response will be as if I had suggested putting tarantulas and scorpions into New Zealand nurseries and baby cribs to make Kiwi infants tougher.
But this is a case where the Kiwis will be done in by their notions of political correctness, and the innate optimism springing from their many cultural and geographical blessings. New Zealand, with the scrapping of its last significant military forces, has signaled to the world that it is relying solely on a spirit of brotherly love and Kumbaya Karma to protect itself from future outside aggression. Surely, many Kiwis believe, if we signify only good intentions, harmony, sweetness and light outward to the world, the world will always look back at us with love and respect, and certainly will never harm us.
In time, this naive belief may be the undoing of New Zealand society and mark the beginning of the Chinese era on Aotearoa, “the Land of the Long White Cloud” in Maori. From the first hour that unscheduled roll-on/roll-off ships sail into a dozen ports and each unload hundreds of wheeled armored assault vehicles, the invasion will be successful, because there will be no significant means of repelling it at any level. Light infantry in fast wheeled armor will have control of every major city on both islands by D-day plus one.
In the United States we tend to think of amphibious invasions in the Normandy or Iwo Jima mold, with landing craft hitting beaches, but there is another model for a military invasion by sea. When the Nazis invaded Norway near the beginning of the Second World War, destroyers raced directly into key ports, opening fire against coastal defenses at point-blank range, forcibly docking and disgorging troops. Nazi soldiers immediately seized critical police, military, communication and infrastructure nodes under the protection of their naval guns—including Norwegian home-guard armories. This successful naval blitz invasion took place in 1940 between European nations located only a short distance from one another.
In the 21st century, the protection of vast oceanic distance has been rendered meaningless when any dozen Ro/Ro ships, protected by warships and naval air cover, could be used to swiftly disembark troops and fighting vehicles. The cost of invading New Zealand will be so negligibly low that the Kiwi must be considered the juiciest, sweetest, and lowest-hanging fruit of all time. Consider that the coastal provinces of China have over ten times the population density of New Zealand to understand how desirable it will be as a Chinese military outpost and colony. Ad-hoc Kiwi teams of kayakers, zip-liners, sailors, surfers, sky and scuba divers will not slow down battalions of light infantry in wheeled fighting vehicles. A Kalashnikov-armed squad of conscripted peasants will wipe out a similar number of university graduates wielding only cricket bats and canoe paddles every time.
Watch the “The Last Valley,” an under-appreciated film masterpiece from 1971, to observe how the illusion of isolation invites laxness about realistic self defense requirements. Short version of the movie: in the 1630s, during the Thirty Years War, an isolated Bavarian valley lives in bucolic peace and plenty, until it is discovered by a detachment of horse-mounted mercenaries. A flock of unprotected lambs, once discovered, will always be of interest to a pack of hungry wolves. Hiding is only protection until you are discovered.
The sweet Kiwi fruit dangling centimeters from the ground will eventually tempt uninvited diners. Right now, today, New Zealand could take steps to make the low-hanging Kiwi a far less desirable item on the global menu, in fact, dangerously indigestible. How? A hint comes from nature, where many delectable fruits evolved thorns and even hidden poisons to deter their consumption.
Switzerland demonstrates that by growing sharp thorns, a small and peaceful nation can deter aggression at low cost. Down the centuries while wars and destruction have swirled around it, Switzerland has never been invaded and conquered, and not because of its mountains. There are Alps in a half-dozen European nations, but there is only one Switzerland, which has remained uninvaded and at peace for many centuries because of its culture of armed national defense down to the individual level.
The same culture of rifle marksmanship could be developed among the active and outdoorsy Kiwis, but they will never consider this option for reasons of contemporary political correctness and a misunderstanding of risk and reward. Instead, Kiwis will sing Kumbaya as their national defense policy until the day comes (and it will come) that the Ro/Ro ships pull in and unload ten or twenty thousand troops on each island, with more ships following every day, until the invaders become the absolute and undisputed masters of New Zealand in under one week, down to the last valley.
It will be contended that if the Swiss model is followed, there will mass shootings as happened in Tasmania or Sandy Hook, Connecticut. However, the Swiss model does not put military arms into the hands of known lunatics. There have been no mass shootings by Swiss inactive reservists that I am aware of. Regardless, it will be steadfastly maintained that the potential risk is too high to permit ordinary inactive military reservists to maintain military-grade arms at home. Innocent lives, it will be repeated, will almost certainly be lost in the near term, while a foreign invasion might never happen.
But what is the ultimate risk of being utterly unable to resist an invasion? If and when the Kiwis become slaves on their own islands, they will be at the complete mercy of their new masters, with no more means to resist than the European Jews during the Nazi era, or the Armenians of Ottoman Turkey, or the Christians of Iraq and Libya today. If the new overlords choose to eliminate the vanquished as superfluous to their colonial aims, then the Kiwis will be marched at gunpoint to their mass-graves singing Kumbaya and saying, “At least we stood firmly against a culture of gun violence.”
Watch “The Last Valley,” and reflect that in 2015 there is no such thing as a hidden Shangri-La—or paradise islands protected only by their Pacific remoteness.
America’s problems are manifest and many, but at least we are guaranteed the God-given natural human right of self defense, that is, the right to keep and bear arms. If any future government attempted to disarm the American people, the contractual terms of the Constitution would be breached and nullified, and a new American civil war would be ignited in a fashion we can only surmise.
Most people are already aware, as I have outlined above, that Switzerland has never been invaded by a foreign entity, primarily because of its national policy of armed civilian defense. Fewer people have considered that Switzerland has also never been conquered from within by a tyrant for the same reason: armed civilian defense.
Like the Swiss, Americans will never be quietly herded en masse onto prison buses and cattle trucks.** Not by a foreign invader, and not by a home-grown socialist tyranny bent on achieving a final solution to the bitter clinger problem. Millions of Americans will live free, or die with AR-15s, Remington 700s and other capable weapons in their hands. This is a subject that would-be American tyrants should study very carefully, even as I am sure that foreign tyrants are studying the low-hanging and juicy Kiwi fruit, made especially tempting due to its lack of protective thorns.
*Hat tip to freedomista Claire Wolfe.
**Japanese-Americans remembering the 1940s may be less certain about this.