Tuesday, October 16, 2007

libertarianism and the environment

i found this interview with republican presidential candidate ron paul to be extremely interesting - before this i wouldn't have thought a libertarian government would be good for the environment. but if the law is enforced, and the protection of people from injury to themselves or to their property is really what government strives for - it seems like it might work, and work well, to th ebenefit of everyone and the environment. what do you think?


crazygrampastuey said...

I may not be reading this interview right, but from what I'm hearing, the guy basically wants to make the environment "privately owned" by individuals, making the government like the police who come in and break up domestic disturbances between two people.

Now despite the fact that I don't know anything about how they would handle legal matters of this kind, I still don't think this guy's idea is a good one because:

a) I don't think it's possible for the government to enforce laws like this;

b) not all people care for the well-being of their property;

c) doesn't this campaign only work on "after the fact" crimes against the environment? If he's talking about not needing the EPA, then he's talking about not having anyone look out for potential environmental crimes, right?

d) There's a LOT of room for potential abuse of this new privatization of land/sea/air.

Again, there's a lot I don't know about environmental politics, but this is a pretty radical idea that leaves me with a lot of unanswered questions and overall concerns.

SnrIncognito said...

its taken me a while of reading this interview and thinking about it to feel like i could write a response. mostly because i can't immediately say i dont agree with him.

im fundamentally opposed to the idea of having things like air and water privately owned. i think it's a horrible way of thinking about our realtionships with others. i much prefer the democratization of everything to the "anything i can get away with" attitudes of free market economics.

however, i can't say it doesn't make sense.

this isn't the privatizing of the environment in any fundamentally new way. its privatizing air and water the same way we privatize land and ideas. and yes, i agree you can't really do that, but hey, we do it all the time!

this plan relies on the government to focus more on specific than on grand organization. which is a good idea i think. i agree that the more our gvt. tries to organize and police and regulate, the more difficult it becomes to interact with anything. we use our gvt. for the wong things. we want it to give us things rather than be a safeguard against our being abused by others.

this plan relies on greed and avarice. it assumes that you'll take revenge against those who harm you by means of monetary attacks. it assumes that you have the right to be left alone and don't-you-touch-my-things! it relies on the things that are wrong with capitolism and consumerism. but...those forces are powerful, and they already exist. if everyone is greedy and selfish, and everyone has the power to sue and the support of the gvt when they do, then maybe it might actually WORK! maybe you COULDN'T pollute, cause someone would complain and immediately sue you for as much as they could.

ive always said i think environmentalism will only exist when it becomes profitable.

i much prefer socialism, where we think about one another, are required to be more connected to our immediate communities and the communities are aware of one another. i want our economy to be democratic. but that relies on a sense of enlightened self interest that i don't see much.

but i don't know... trying to put blinders on selfish greed and trick people into being responsible seems tremendously dangerous. what about hostile takeovers? what about monopolies? what happens when someone OWNS the Atlantic and doesn't want certain people in their water? when McDonalds owns the air, will they worry about it's purity?