LP Blog: Why We Left The Left

From an article posted on the LP Blog by Staff on May 26, 2011

The following is from Utah Libertarian activist Tom Garrison.

My name is Tom Garrison. I am putting together a book tentatively titled Why We Left the Left. I am looking to enlist folks who publicly identified with the left/liberalism at one point in their lives and have since evolved into libertarians. In an era wherein political divisions have hardened, it is instructive (and interesting) to read the stories of those who abandoned the left/liberalism and turned to the “free minds and free markets” of libertarianism.

For 15 years I had a “career” (along with a full time job editing a political science journal) as a democratic socialist in Santa Barbara, CA. I began political life as a typical McGovern liberal, moved left to become a democratic socialist, and in the late 1990s embraced libertarianism.

I believe my transition from leftist activist to libertarian, while not common, is instructive. Why would someone abandon a strong belief system, lose many comrades/“friends”, and suffer the loss of much of his social network? Why, because I grew to see that the left (and its handmaiden liberalism) lacked respect and understanding of the concept of personal responsibility; lying was an all too common occurrence that undermined the democratic process; leftists/liberals slavishly adhered to affirmative action preferences, quotas, and identity politics; and leftists/liberals—while embracing “diversity”—all too often display an intolerance for a real diversity of ideas.

I am approaching both public figures (e.g., John Stossel, Dennis Miller) and “average” folks who have abandoned the left/liberal path. What I request is the story of why they left the left/liberalism (in 500 to 5,000 words). Was there a seminal event that crystallized their thinking in a non-left direction? A slow realization that left/liberalism is not best for this country? Basically, why are they no longer a leftist/liberal?

While I have found 15 people (mostly through Internet searches) who seem to fit the left/liberal to libertarian transition, there must be thousands more. I need help identifying and contacting these folks. Are you a libertarian who fits this model? If yes, could you send me your name and contact address/number? If you know of others, let them know of my project and how to contact me. Any help is appreciated.

Links to my recently published articles with a Libertarian perspective:

“The politics of cats and dogs,” April 17, 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/51614815-82/cats-dogs-cat-carbon.ht…

“Capitalism 101: Remember the Beanie Babies!” January 2, 2011. The Salt Lake Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/50953942-82/beanie-babies-warner-ca…

“Limited government: privatize liquor sales,” December 19, 2010. The Salt Lake Tribune
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/50873492-82/liquor-state-government…

Contact me at:

Tom Garrison
126 North 2940 East, St George, UT 84790
Home phone: 435-627-1312
Email: tomgarrison98@yahoo.com

112 thoughts on “LP Blog: Why We Left The Left

  1. rloy

    These guys were obviously never part of the left for environmental reasons, since nobody with the slightest knowledge of ecology could ever embrace libertarianism.

  2. Starchild

    “rloy” @1 – On the contrary, developing a libertarian understanding of economics can deepen one’s understanding of and appreciation for ecology, or vice-versa, because the two disciplines have a fair amount in common.

    Like the natural world of species and ecosystems, the human-created world of markets and finance is essentially a huge and incredibly complex ecosystem of interconnected relationships.

    Just as it is dangerous to eliminate a species from the food chain, or introduce a non-native species into a region due to the unpredictable and often negative consequences, it is likewise dangerous for governments to interfere in the market ecosystem by trying to manage and control it via central planning, for similar reasons.

    To gain an appreciation for how markets are like ecosystems, I recommend the classic essay “I Pencil” by Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education:

    http://www.commonsenseeconomics.com/Readings/I.Pencil2006.FEE.pdf?nid=316

    If you’re politically left-leaning, don’t get hung up on the Ronald Reagan quote praising the author in the introduction — Reagan talked a good game when it came to libertarian ideas, and as a former U.S. president he is eminently quotable. But the sad truth is that the proponent of the “War on Drugs” and other statist debacles largely failed to live up to his own rhetoric, and is no role model to those who truly believe in freedom.

  3. Marc Montoni

    These guys were obviously never part of the left for environmental reasons, since nobody with the slightest knowledge of ecology could ever embrace libertarianism.

    If you believe that, then you know as much about libertarianism as a spoon knows about the taste of food.

    I happen to be one of those “from the left” libertarians.

    In the early seventies, I used to “hang out” with the local hippies who were crushing glass in huge steel barrels with heavy steel hand-held crusher hammers. They did it as volunteers. From there I was active for the environment for about six or eight more years.

    However, once introduced to libertarianism, I realized that the free market could better protect the environment.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    rloy @ 1. Numerous Libertarians have worked and are working today on issues that will significantly help with environmental problems.

    The LP has promoted reducing our overseas military commitments which would reduce fossil fuel use by the military and the resulting pollution.

    We have also promoted the idea of opening up the urban marketplace to transportation alternatives. That alone is thought to reduce urban air pollution by up to 30% and some think possibly more as well as slowing development of of land. And there are more that we could discuss.

  5. George Phillies

    Ecology is a branch of science, not something that tells you in any sense what to do.

    “This step will totally change the weather over the entire planet, and reduce the significant species without exception to the verge of extinction, within a few decades” is the scientific analysis of a particular action.* (Never mind whether we can actually do analysis this well.) Ecology does not tell you anything about whether or not to perform the step, or even if it was a good idea or a bad idea.

    *Readers will recognize that I have just described the plan of the Imperial Ecologist in the Dune series, a novel series about using ecology to substantially obliterate the ecosphere.

    Of course, the original writer could be referring to the idea that we could solve automobile air pollution by all suing each other, which for the Los Angeles basis would have required something like a trillion lawyers to litigate.

  6. Tom Blanton

    I would argue that government regulations don’t end or significantly limit pollution, but merely set limits on it.

    Regulatory capture takes place where those regulated control the regulating through political means. That means those with the largest political donations and the best lobbyists help formulate the regulations. The polluters are then allowed to externalize the costs of production by keeping efforts to be environmentally friendly to minimum levels which they have set.

    It is also common to grandfather existing polluters to lower standards than new entrants into the market, thereby reducing new competition by imposing cost burdens on start-ups not required of existing producers. This results in more pollution because modern facilities aren’t built, as competitors are driven from the market.

    Guess who makes these statements:

    “You show me a polluter and I’ll show you a subsidy. I’ll show you a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market and load his production costs onto the backs of the public.”

    “The fact is, free-market capitalism is the best thing that could happen to our environment, our economy, our country. Simply put, true free-market capitalism, in which businesses pay all the costs of bringing their products to market, is the most efficient and democratic way of distributing the goods of the land and the surest way to eliminate pollution.”

    “The truth is, I don’t even think of myself as an environmentalist anymore. I consider myself a free-marketeer. Corporate capitalists don’t want free markets, they want dependable profits, and their surest route is to crush the competition by controlling the government.”

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., attorney and environmentalist made those statements.

  7. Ross

    I’d be really interested to read all of these.

    As for environmentalism…a big idea in environmentalism is “externalities.” That is, when making a product, companies don’t pay the full price for it because they don’t pay for the social and environmental costs of it. Sweatshop don’t pay for workers that get sick, coal plants don’t pay for fish that get poisoned by mercury, etc – so others pay for these costs, rather than the people causing them. How does free market environmentalism deal with/solve that?

  8. Ross

    And I’m curious about RFK, Jr. now, too. How do you explain a statement like this, which he also made, “George Bush gutted Clean Water Act protections. Obama must restore them.”

  9. paulie

    I didn’t leave the left, the left left me…

    Back in the Reagan and Bush Sr. years, I believed that when the baby boomer progressives got to the top of the power pyramid, they would bring US troops home from around the world, end the drug war and the militarized police-surveillance-prison industrial complex at home, and stop the interlocking partnership of politicians, bureaucrats and big corporations.

    Although the cold war ended, and the Democrats won control of the White House and (for a couple of years) both houses of Congress, the drug war only intensified. More people were arrested and imprisoned for drugs under Clinton than under Reagan or Bush Sr. Corporate-government collusion just kept growing. Iraq kept being bombed and embargoed to the point that hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps a million, (about half of them children) died from the effects. Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it.” A pharmaceutical factory in Sudan was bombed by Americans. The military-industrial complex was certainly not curtailed.

    Given these facts I could no longer in good conscience support the Democratic Party. I needed an alternative that supported ending the drug war, bringing home the troops, winding down the military-industrial complex, demilitarizing the domestic police forces, and at that time the only such choice on my ballot was the Libertarians.

    While I was ready to vote for them, I was not one yet and wanted to know more about them. At the time, as a new party inquiry I received “Libertarianism In One Lesson” by David Bergland and afterwards read through the books in the “for futher reading…” section at the end.

    To my relief, Libertarians also turned out to be genuinely against government-corporate collusion as well as against the whole poisonous big government agenda of the “moral majority”/”Christian Coalition” social conservatives on sexual issues, freedom of expression, separation of religion and government, etc.

    I discovered that there were libertarian perspectives on a variety of progressive goals – Julian Simon’s books and articles about environmental issues were a big help.

    I read that, far from educating poor children better, government schools were actually consciously promoted as means of socializing children into cannon fodder for the war machine and obedient workers for big corporations. This certainly made sense when compared with my actual experiences in schools.

    I read about ways in which, far from helping poor people, government poverty programs actually trapped poor people in poverty, while a slew of taxes and regulations prevented poor and blue collar “working class” people from starting small businesses…while empowering big corporations that are actually advantaged against small business competition due to their ability to mobilize teams of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants.

    I learned that government is itself the biggest polluter – the exact extent not being fully known due to military secrecy. I learned that in many cases government subsidizes pollution and/or insures/exempts polluters from legal consequences.

    I learned that libertarians did in fact offer answers to the problems that progressives want to use big government to solve, and through a process of reading and debate over a couple of years in the early 1990s those solutions began to make more and more sense to me.

    I realized that many of the same arguments that I was making as a drug peace activist – that something being bad did not mean it should be illegal, and that making it illegal often caused more problems than the original problem and/or made it worse – applied across the board, including to economic issues, educational issues, environmental issues, etc. The corollary that just because something was good did not mean it should be made mandatory also eventually made sense.

    I always had a natural strong dislike for authoritarianism, bureaucracy, government offices with their waiting lines and forms…yet for some years believed that they were necessary to protect the environment, educate children, insure fairness for employees and consumers, help the poor, sick and disabled, etc. However, due to the reading I did I came to believe that in fact big government is actually actively detrimental to all these progressive goals.

    I no longer believe that the same entity which locks people who have not victimized anyone up in prisons and sends people to fight in imperialist wars overseas, bails out banks and big corporations, and so on, is the entity we should turn to achieve any such worthy goals. Nowadays it seems to me that it amounts to putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

    Nor do I believe any longer that it is the only way to keep big business from abusing people; I now tend to see big government and big business as intertwined entities that work in tandem against the common people, rather than balancing each other out as I once believed they did.

    I believe now that the “right people” will never fix the problems of our existing government, unless they are strong enough to voluntarily give up power, which rarely happens. I’ve learned that the incentive system that exists under any form of coercive monopoly always leads to the abuse of power.

    Today we can see another Democratic president once again continuing and worsening the abuses of his Republican predecessors against peace and civil liberties, and continuing the increasing intervention of government on behalf of big corporations.

    Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, and Republican and Democratic congresses, in every combination, over the last 20 years we have seen trillions of dollars taken from Americans and spent to kill millions of foreigners and thousands of Americans…massive bailouts of corporate criminals …millions of Americans locked up, and thousands killed every year in the drug war… an ever growing problem of domestic surveillance and militarized police… seizures of homes and small businesses for the benefit of corporate developers… and much more.

    Nor do I see a solution to these problems coming
    from the more extreme left either. Europe certainly has its slew of problems under democratic socialism, and the authoritarian “scientific” socialist nations, even far more so.

    I believe now that the stated goals of the left can best – indeed, only – be achieved by libertarian means.

    More when I have time ……

  10. Steven R Linnabary

    These guys were obviously never part of the left for environmental reasons, since nobody with the slightest knowledge of ecology could ever embrace libertarianism.

    I find it rather suspicious that the professional environmentalists are silent when it comes to the US biggest polluter, the US government.

    PEACE

  11. Brian

    “I find it rather suspicious that the professional environmentalists are silent when it comes to the US biggest polluter, the US government.”

    The U.S. government is a massive entity. I don’t understand your point. Are you comparing the U.S. government to individual citizens and corporations? I really don’t think (to most people at least) that your argument is as effective/powerful as you think it is.

  12. rloy

    For the record, I agree that US imperialism is extremely ecologically destructive and applaud the libertarians who condemn it. But even if we ignore the fact that an economic system based on infinite growth is inherently unsustainable, libertarianism would eliminate all restrictions on fossil fuel consumption along with all environmental protections.

    Sounds like fun up until the planet’s permafrost and phytoplankton are wiped out. The Libertarian Party’s “business as usual” approach is extremely reckless and irresponsible.

    Even if I agreed with libertarians on deregulating financial crooks and all the rest, I still could never be one because of their stance on the issue. I don’t doubt there are some libertarians who came from the left, but doubt many came from the environmental left. The facts on the environment haven’t changed and never will.

  13. .

    But even if we ignore the fact that an economic system based on infinite growth is inherently unsustainable,

    Libertarianism is actually neutral as to economic systems. Voluntary cooperative economics is just as libertarian as voluntary competitive economic systems.

    Also, competitive systems don’t necessarily have to have infinite growth. At some point they can obtain equilibrium and exist on exchange that does not amount to overall growth.

    Given that we are not necessarily constrained to one planet, or the presently existing human form, or even to forms of energy and matter which our present knowledge of the universe makes us aware of, it’s impossible to say that any ultimate check on growth is in any way imminent or not.

    libertarianism would eliminate all restrictions on fossil fuel consumption along with all environmental protections.

    Not true at all. Fossil fuel consumption is heavily subsidized by government in many ways:

    –military/wars
    –hemp bans (look up research on fuel from hemp)
    –corporate welfare, subsidies and bailouts
    –red tape makes startups and innovation more difficult, puts existing technologies and industries at greater advantage
    –corporate personhood and nonconsentual limited liability laws shield polluters from responsibility; they privatize profits but externalize risks and costs
    –many governments directly produce, distribute, own and/or buy massive quantities of fossil fuels, engines that run on fossil fuels, etc

    Force businesses to pay the true costs and deal with the real risks of fossil fuel production, distribution, pollution, etc., and they may be far more incentivized to find alternatives.

    You also presume that environmental regulation can only come from government. Many forms of environmental regulation can come from:

    …courts, through liability
    …court of public opinion – particularly strong when people become more prosperous and thus more likely to value environmental quality over material goods
    …various voluntary means, both competitive and cooperative
    …purchase of land and natural resources for the purpose of preserving them

    etc.

    The same sort of analysis can apply to other problems you might present (e.g. financial crooks, and others).

    It would be a mistake to presume that a monopolist, war-making, murdering megalith is the only, or best, institution for regulating anything….or indeed that it can effectively do so at all.

  14. rloy

    When I do a quick search on “environmentalism” at Lew Rockwell’s site (one of the most popular libertarian sites out there), here’s a small helping of what pops up on the first page of results:

    Environmentalism as religion
    The fascism of environmentalism
    Environmentalism is racism
    Environmentalism is recycled communism and nazism

    Sounds very pro-environment to me!

  15. rloy

    “Also, competitive systems don’t necessarily have to have infinite growth. At some point they can obtain equilibrium and exist on exchange that does not amount to overall growth.”

    In reality (which is all that matters), there’s no such thing, regardless of any theoretical arguments one could make for its feasibility. The system operates on the premise of limitless growth, and requires more and more resources to sustain itself. I would recommend The Bridge at the Edge of the World (by James Gustave Speth) for a more thorough discussion of the topic.

    Ecology is the ultimate nail in the coffin of libertarianism.

    “Not true at all. Fossil fuel consumption is heavily subsidized by government in many ways”

    It certainly is, and I consider the overturning of conservation measures to be another “subsidy” (same with the FBI fuckwits cracking down on environmental activists, etc).

    As I’ve written before, libertarians and conservatives try to paint the issue as “big gov’t vs small gov’t” which is flawed. For instance, they any efforts to curtail global warming as “big government.” Yet one could just as easily argue that by opposing environmentalist measures, conservatives are advocating (de facto) state protection of polluters against everyone else who will suffer the consequences of their actions.

  16. ..

    The Libertarian Party’s “business as usual” approach is extremely reckless and irresponsible.

    The libertarian approach is not business as usual.

  17. ...

    In reality (which is all that matters), there’s no such thing, regardless of any theoretical arguments one could make for its feasibility.

    In reality, the present system is not libertarian, so arguing against libertarianism based on what happens in the present system is a non-sequitur.

    The system operates on the premise of limitless growth, and requires more and more resources to sustain itself.

    Nothing inherent to libertarianism requires any such thing. Libertarianism only requires elimination, or at least minimization, of initiation of coercive force. What economic system will evolve out of that is an open question. It certainly is unlikely to resemble a statist corporatist system or anything close to it, because that system rests on the protection of coercive monopoly government in many ways.

  18. rloy

    “Libertarianism only requires elimination, or at least minimization, of initiation of coercive force.”

    The problem is that libertarians don’t consider environmental degradation to be “coercive force.” Never have, never will.

    And Mary Ruwart? Seriously? Privatizing environmentally sensitive areas (IOW, allowing corporate crooks to contaminate them for generations) is the *opposite* of conservation.

  19. ....

    same with the FBI fuckwits cracking down on environmental activists, etc

    Are you arguing against libertarianism by condemning a government agency? I agree with you; in fact I would get rid of the FBI completely.

    libertarians and conservatives

    Libertarians are not conservatives. The two should not be conflated.

    try to paint the issue as “big gov’t vs small gov’t”

    Conservatives support big government on many social issues. Many conservatives support big government when it comes to the military and the police, and quite a few also support big government subsidies for big business.

    For instance, they any efforts to curtail global warming as “big government.

    That depends on which efforts.

    Many such efforts are non-governmental, and at times big government acts against them.

    by opposing environmentalist measures, conservatives are advocating (de facto) state protection of polluters against everyone else who will suffer the consequences of their actions.

    It is true that some conservatives support government protection of polluters.

    As for your statement in full, again, it depends on what you mean by environmentalist measures, or which ones precisely.

  20. ....

    The problem is that libertarians don’t consider environmental degradation to be “coercive force.” Never have, never will.

    Which libertarians are you speaking for? Not for me, at least.

    And Mary Ruwart? Seriously?

    Yes. You would do very well to actually read those two chapters, or better yet the whole book.
    I doubt you have done so yet.

    Privatizing environmentally sensitive areas (IOW, allowing corporate crooks to contaminate them for generations) is the *opposite* of conservation.

    The tragedy of the commons suggests otherwise, and neither Ruwart nor I would allow corporate crooks to contaminate anything – again, try reading what she actually wrote. Furthermore, you are discounting the fact that some people will buy land, or other resources, specifically to protect them. You are also discounting all the evidence about the ways in which “unowned” resources – land, air, sea etc – become degraded, and the various solutions to environmental degradation discussed in those reading sections.

  21. Tom Blanton

    But even if we ignore the fact that an economic system based on infinite growth is inherently unsustainable, libertarianism would eliminate all restrictions on fossil fuel consumption along with all environmental protections.

    Even if I agreed with libertarians on deregulating financial crooks and all the rest, I still could never be one because of their stance on the issue. I don’t doubt there are some libertarians who came from the left, but doubt many came from the environmental left. The facts on the environment haven’t changed and never will.

    First, rloy has a huge misconception about what American capitalism is and what a free market (or freed market) is.

    What he calls capitalism is actually more akin to corporatism or fascism that is controlled by the wealthy elite. They produce nothing, rather they own the means of production and try to wrench as much profit from it as possible. They do want infinite growth which normally requires government intervention or systems.

    Google up Sheldon Richman or Kevin Carson for some good material on capitalism vs free markets.

    Freed from government intervention, manipulation, forced systems, regulations and such, markets tend to be somewhat self-regulating. Absent environmental regulations that allow corporations to pollute, the destruction of property or preventing the use or enjoyment of property is in fact a violation of property rights, a tort under common law with the remedy of money damages and/or order to cease the activity.

    In the past, if an upstream polluter fouled the water for those downstream, they were forced to stop. Now, with government environmental regulations, they are merely required to pollute slightly less or pay minimal fines to the government, but not to the downstream property owners who suffered the damages.

    The deregulation of financial crooks meme is absurd. It is precisely the regulation of these crooks that allows them to continue the practice. First, the only “regulation” needed on financial “crooks” is the prohibition of fraud or theft the enforcement of contracts.

    In the recent mortgage meltdown, there was rampant fraud, misrepresentation (which is a form of breach of contract), and breach of fiduciary responsibility. The market collapsed not because the government shut it down. It collapsed because the mortgage backed securities were junk and investors could not determine their worth.

    In a free market system, those pedaling the garbage would not have been bailed out and sent on their merry way. They would have gone out of business with assets liquidated and divided amongst creditors.

    Instead, we have the government being complicit in setting up regulations and the system that allowed the fraud, prevented easy entry of others into the market to compete, failed to prosecute those who perpetrated the frauds and misrepresentations, and to add insult to injury, bailed the very businesses that were guilty of fraud.

    Paulie spoke of trusting war mongering politicians to fulfill the role those on the left wish to assign it. I spoke above about free markets and environmentalism. Now, I have talked some about financial regulation.

    I’d like to hear what rloy’s response is to some of that. Why does rloy trust the government to do anything?

    Governments have always been run by the wealthy elite for the wealthy elite. Governments have always oppressed their citizens to some degree at minimum. Governments always are violent and corrupt.

    What’s the plan to fix all that? Give the government more money and power?

  22. Robert Capozzi

    16 rloy: …libertarianism would eliminate all restrictions on fossil fuel consumption along with all environmental protections.

    me: Depends on which branch of L-ism. Some want to reduce all environmental/pollution problems to “torts.” Green Ls like myself find that unworkable.

    Instead, some Ls like myself would shift the tax base from savings, investing, and working to taxing pollution.

  23. Tom Blanton

    Whether a totalitarian government imposes “regulations” on polluters or whether the market itself regulates polluters, the fact is that individuals either vote for politicians or vote with their dollars.

    Bad actors in government will always subvert the will of voters to benefit their cronies and bad actors in business will always seek to externalize their costs by polluting. The ultimate responsibility falls to the individuals in society who pollute themselves or consume the products made by polluters.

    Those who expect government to take care of them, or expect businesses to act responsibly will always be disappointed. They should understand that the consequences of their own behaviors ultimately are the deciding factor.

    Simply put, if you don’t like it that XYZ Corporation pollutes, don’t buy their products. It may be inconvenient and one may have to substitute one product for a less desirable one, but that is the only real option one has.

    With government, as a major source of pollution, one has no choices. Shut up and pay your taxes is the behavior demanded by government. Voting no longer appears to have any effect on the behavior of politicians, so whether you are a full blown socialist or an anarchist libertarian, you are just shit out of luck on election day.

    My only suggestion is that people regulate themselves, vote with their dollars, be informed consumers, and inform others. Encourage others not to buy the products of XYZ Corporation if you want to stop XYZ Corporation from polluting.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    Tb, please elaborate on “either/or,” “always,” and “only.” No exceptions?

  25. Upstartgreen

    I don’t consider McGovern Liberals or Democratic Socialists of America to be left in terms of where the Democratic Party is today. The Dems moved to the Right of Richard Nixon a long time ago.

  26. JT

    Rloy, if you’re honestly interested in learning the facts about free-market environmentalism, you should check out the non-partisan Property & Environment Research Center at http://www.perc.org.
    It does great work in this area.

  27. Corky

    “When I do a quick search on “environmentalism” at Lew Rockwell’s site (one of the most popular libertarian sites out there), here’s a small helping of what pops up on the first page of results:”

    To properly evaluate those articles, you should be careful to understand how they are defining the word “environmentalism”. I suspect that you’re conflating your own definition with theirs, and that this accounts for your negative reaction.

  28. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement

    AND ON THE FINANCIAL SIDE:

    “The Risks Are Enormous”: Why Morgenson and Rosner Are So Worried

    By Aaron Task | Daily Ticker – Fri, May 27, 2011 11:27 AM EDT

    In “Reckless Endangerment,” co-authors Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner examine the origins of the crisis, starting in the early 1990s.

    The co-authors pull no punches and aren’t shy about placing blame. (See: Reckless Endangerment: Morgenson, Rosner Name Names — Point Finger at Fannie Mae. )

    Having taken a long, hard look back, I asked Morgenson and Rosner about what worries them today and looking forward.

    Too Big to Fail: Now, Even Bigger!

    “We have even more ‘too big to fail’ institutions; more politically interconnected, very deep and wide institutions that could create another systemic event,” says Morgenson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at The New York Times.

    “It’s almost as if the situation that brought us to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac having to be bailed out has now been squared or quadrupled. It’s worse, not better.”

    Rosner, an analyst at Graham Fisher, wholeheartedly agrees.

    Aaron Task is the host of The Daily Ticker. You can follow him on Twitter at @atask or email him at altask@yahoo.com

  29. rloy

    I’m guessing Ruwart makes all of the same arguments that are refuted here:

    http://www.spunk.org/texts/otherpol/critique/sp001279.txt

    “Free market environmentalism” is an oxymoron and all of the websites devoted to it do nothing but rant and puff against (real) environmentalists.

    The idea that capitalism will save the environment is laughable. When a resource becomes more scarce, the higher price just makes it even more profitable to plunder, as we can see with the Bluefin Tuna: http://tinyurl.com/3drq4ve

    Turning environmentally sensitive areas into private property and letting massive corporations bid on them (as if any small conservation group stands a chance in that fight) is a ludicrous way to save the environment. Almost as ludicrous as the idea that deregulating the financial sector will lead to “prosperity.”

    “Why does rloy trust the government to do anything? ”

    Why do you trust them to protect polluters? If you’re against restrictions on the fossil fuels industry, state protection of polluters is what you’re advocating. Libertarians support government intervention as much as anyone else, the question is which direction it should go in.

  30. rloy

    “The Dems moved to the Right of Richard Nixon a long time ago.”

    Hell, the Dems have already moved to the right of Dubya in less than 3 years. At least Bush made a feeble attempt to get congress’ approval before he started his killing spree. Obummer doesn’t even TRY to rationalize his imperialism.

  31. Tom Blanton

    Libertarians support government intervention as much as anyone else, the question is which direction it should go in.

    Well, maybe so, but don’t progressives advocate extrajudicial assassinations of people only suspected of having ties to terrorists?

    Progressives also support the suspension of habeas corpus and secret prisons.

    Progressives also support forcing people to purchase expensive health insurance policies from evil insurance companies.

    We have now seen how progressives rule since Obama has been elected – obviously he must represent all progressives just as the Koch brothers and Lew Rockwell represent all libertarians.

    Obama is worse than Bush. Nobody in their right mind should ever vote for another progressive after seeing what Obama has done.

    Progressives don’t keep any of their promises once elected and issues like wars of choice are embraced by progressives as evidenced by ending their protests against war after they elected the progressive Obama.

  32. Tom Blanton

    Why do you trust them to protect polluters? If you’re against restrictions on the fossil fuels industry, state protection of polluters is what you’re advocating.

    I lean more towards abolishing the state, so I personally do not favor the state “protecting” anyone. I’ve seen how the government protects people. For example, note how the progressive Obama is “protecting” the civilians in Libya by showering them with depleted uranium bombs. I don’t want to be “protected”, especially by progressives like Obama.

  33. Tom Blanton

    I’m still wondering why environmentalists trust the politicians that run government to protect them against polluters.

    I also wonder why environmentalists financially support polluters by buying their products.

  34. rloy

    Pretty silly to imply I’m an Obama supporter considering we’re on a blog for third parties. Gimme a break! I’m a Green, obviously.

    “We have now seen how progressives rule since Obama has been elected – obviously he must represent all progressives just as the Koch brothers and Lew Rockwell represent all libertarians.”

    Point me to a libertarian who supports conservation measures and putting restrictions on the fossil fuels industry. Point me to one who opposes offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing or mountain top removal. Hell, point me to a prominent libertarian who even thinks global warming is *real*. The handful that exist are the exception to the rule, and they still advocate doing nothing.

    “I lean more towards abolishing the state, so I personally do not favor the state “protecting” anyone.”

    It’s not uncommon to see a group of environmental activists obstructing corporate activity through sit-ins, property destruction or civil disobedience. What’s an “anti-state” libertarian to do in such a situation? The only answer is to condone state force (riot gear, tear gas, prison cells, etc) against the dissidents. This is called state protection of corporate power. There’s nothing “anti-state” about it.

    “I also wonder why environmentalists financially support polluters by buying their products.”

    One could just as easily ask “why do libertarians support government by using public roads,” though I’m sure you would dismiss that as asinine.

    How, exactly, will we know who is polluting after libertarians have eliminated all oversight in the name of “anti-statism” (which is actually just state protection of corporate secrecy)? So-called green capitalism is another joke. See here: http://tinyurl.com/3xrdggq

  35. Robert Capozzi

    40 rloy: Point me to a libertarian who supports conservation measures and putting restrictions on the fossil fuels industry. Point me to one who opposes offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing or mountain top removal. Hell, point me to a prominent libertarian who even thinks global warming is *real*. The handful that exist are the exception to the rule, and they still advocate doing nothing.

    me: I support taxing pollution, which has the effect of dissuading fossil fuel usage. Personally, I have no position on whether global climate change is man made. George Phillies, Carl Milsted, and (I believe) Ron Bailey of Reason believe it’s a real phenomenon.

    I believe Al Gore has called for a carbon tax to replace SS taxes. I almost support that, and I effectively do.

  36. Michael H. Wilson

    re # 40 back up at post # 7 I suggested a couple of ways to curb pollution and there are many more that are rather simple to apply.

    I have to question your thinking when you write; ” Point me to one who opposes offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing or mountain top removal.”

    There are serious problems in some places with the way resources are recovered, and changes need to be implemented. However, stopping removal would have serious implications. Such restriction would have a serious impact on the economy and create social and economic problems. Poverty and hunger are not goals that we should be going for in my opinion. Low income people have to live with the government’s boot on their necks today. We need to remove that boot, not press down even harder.

  37. Tom Blanton

    What’s an “anti-state” libertarian to do in such a situation? The only answer is to condone state force (riot gear, tear gas, prison cells, etc) against the dissidents.

    It would be rather hard to condone state force in a stateless society. That’s the whole point. I don’t condone state force against dissidents – I want to eliminate state force.

    One could just as easily ask “why do libertarians support government by using public roads,” though I’m sure you would dismiss that as asinine.

    It is asinine. Libertarians don’t support government by using public roads. Libertarians are forced to support government by paying taxes under coercion. Libertarians use public roads because they have paid for them with the taxes they have been forced to pay and because there really isn’t any choice, is there?

    On the other hand, no one is forced to buy a wide variety of products whose producers pollute. Nobody is threatening to put you in prison if you don’t buy a product and then ultimately kill you if you will not comply with the government enforcers.

    Point me to a libertarian who supports conservation measures and putting restrictions on the fossil fuels industry. Point me to one who opposes offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing or mountain top removal. Hell, point me to a prominent libertarian who even thinks global warming is *real*.

    Point me to a society that refuses to support the fossil fuels industry or even is willing to reduce the consumption of energy. Point me to a society that is willing to organize on a human scale in smaller more decentralized units that require much less transportation. Point me to a society willing to cease stocking their homes with bizarre chemical products.

    I’m still not seeing where government has been particularly effective in ending pollution as the polluters have more control over government than ordinary people. I’m also not seeing where environmentalism is a high priority issue for most ordinary people. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be – only stating what polls show about the political priorities of people.

    The best way to support conservation measures is to engage in conservation and urge others to do so. Ultimately we only have control over ourselves individually.

    I can guarantee you that off-shore drilling will stop immediately after people stop buying petroleum based products (gas, plastic, chemicals). Smokestacks will stop belching poison into the air when people stop buying the products made in those factories.

    To me, much of the discourse coming from environmentalists is like what I hear from tea party people who rail against socialized medicine and in the next breath demand that their Medicare be left alone.

    Perhaps society in general would take environmentalists more seriously when they give up their cars instead of putting bumper stickers on them. I’m not seeing thugs with guns working for auto-makers threatening to put people in Ford or GM prisons if they don’t own a car.

    rloy, do you really believe that libertarians support crypto-fascist corporate control of society? Do you really think that libertarians want to live in a poisonous environment?

    To equate any possible solution besides government action to be the same as doing nothing indicates a severely limited imagination and a closed mind.

    Many issues are far too complex for government to solve as we have witnessed over and over for many many years. Many of the problems we currently face are a result of people demanding that government “do something” as the people themselves do nothing. Pollution being among those problems.

  38. Michael H. Wilson

    btw rloy you may want to put toss out your computer. Much of it is made from fossil fuels which were probably recovered from an offshore drilling rig.

  39. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement

    AND ON PERSONAL LEVEL IN THE MEDICAL ARENA:

    I truly love the U.S.A., but I can’t risk my life savings to stay or return,” Bill said.

    On his citizenship, Bill said he is 100 percent American and 100 percent Canadian. “I was born and raised in K.C. with my parents, grandfather and uncle.

    My father was the only American in the house,” Bill said.

    And now Bill’s a medical exile.

    Something’s very wrong when two people build their life in America and still have to leave family and friends because the United States is incapable, unwilling or disinterested in taking care of American citizens.

    Kevin Gray of Paola, Kansas, is a retired Paola High School English/journalism teacher who now works as a substitute teacher in several Kansas districts and volunteers as a part-time journalist for the Osawatomie Journal.

    Posted on Sat, May. 28, 2011 10:15 PM

    Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/28/2910794/when-your-friends-move-to-canada.html#ixzz1NmGoHJEB

  40. Don Wills

    There are two intractable problems with pure libertarianism, voluntarism, anarchism, or whatever you want to call the absence of coercive government:

    1. The free rider problem
    2. The tragedy of the commons

    The free rider problem is intractable while boundaries exist between legal jurisdictions. (How do you pay for defense of your territory?) Thus a prerequisite (although not sufficient) to finding a solution to the free rider problem is the demise of the nation state.

    The tragedy of the commons, which is most significantly manifested in air and water pollution, doesn’t have a solution without a one-world government to be the final arbiter between polluters and those affected by pollution. (How can tree huggers possibly have anything in common with libertarians?) Again, the demise or subordination of the nation-state is a prerequisite to finding a solution.

    But the demise of the nation-state ain’t happenin’ any time soon. The conclusion that follows from these realities is that libertarianism is the longing for a utopia that can’t exist, and that non-libertarians shun libertarians because of their belief system, not unlike a religious shunning that has existed for all of recorded history.

  41. Tom Blanton

    When talking to people about anarcho-libertarianism, the free rider problem is often brought up as well as the tragedy of the commons issue. Usually it is libertarians of the minarchist variety that bring these issues up.

    Before going into those topics, I’d like to say that I personally don’t know any anarchists that promise you a rose garden. Who is claiming the that the road to utopia is anarchy? What I do find odd is that those who cling to the idea of government don’t insist that it be perfect, while insisting that a stateless society must be free of all problems.

    There is a tremendous free rider problem in the welfare state. You have everyone from the wealthiest banksters to the chronically unemployed that seek to be free riders. Rent seeking special interests from artists to zoo keepers (A to Z) seek to have society pay for their favorite programs or particular needs/desires. As long as humans exist, you will have a free rider problem.

    If the statist has no problem with the free riders that exist in spite of and because of government, why should they expect perfection under a stateless society where the free rider problem would not be institutionalized as part of the democratic process.

    Hopefully, one might expect serious adults, not infantilized by the state, would develop different solutions to both the free rider issues and the tragedy of the commons issues that arise within their local communities. In a truly voluntary society, I imagine different people would spearhead creative initiatives to deal with issues that are important to them. Different people have different priorities, but presumably important issues involving security, transportation, etc. would interest a fair number of participants.

    There is a great deal of material available by serious people regarding the free rider issue for anyone who is really interested in studying it. Much has been written about common defense and security in a stateless society.

    The tragedy of the commons issue sort of overlaps with the free rider issue in some respects. Here we also have the issue with government itself allowing certain parties to pollute (including itself), but not others. We also have political abuse of state owned property where valuable natural resources are allowed to be exploited for below market royalties – sometimes leaving ecological and environmental damage that must be paid for by taxpayers. A double whammy tragedy of the commons free riding.

    If the property were privately owned or owned collectively be a small group of people, this would not happen. Boycotting and ostracizing polluters is another tool that can be used.

    Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel prize in Economics has done work refuting the tragedy of the commons. Study her work for a serious look at why the so-called tragedy of the commons need not be so tragic.

    Keep in mid though, these problems exist where there is massive government and even encouraged by the politicians. A democracy is a free rider heaven for those able to elect politicians that promise to pass out the goodies. Remember the super fund sites? Guess who picks up the tab for the environmental messes left behind by a corporation that goes defunct?

    Perhaps anarchists should insist that government be abolished to solve the free rider and tragedy of the commons issues. Those crazy statists longing for a utopia that can’t exist as long as humans inhabit the earth – and yet they insist on having expensive, inflexible, corrupt, violent, counterproductive, and inefficient government control every facet of their lives. It’s high time they set aside their utopian fantasy of the nation state.

  42. Don Wills

    If the problem is winner take all, why haven’t parliamentary democracies with proportional representation elected libertarians in large enough numbers to have any impact on laws and policies?

    Quite frankly, democracy isn’t going to lead to libertopia, regardless of the voting system.

  43. Don Wills

    Talk about spin – the nation state is not “utopian fantasy”. Quite the opposite – it is the cold ugly reality of human existence. I don’t like government, any more than I like death. But it is reality, and I am trying to make the best of a less than optimum state of affairs.

    I’m just happy to exist at a time in human history where we’ve generally shackled government enough to stomp out human slavery and allow for some freedoms, at least in the nation-state where I was lucky enough to be born.

  44. Tom Blanton

    Talk about spin – the nation state is not “utopian fantasy”.

    Hey Don, maybe not for you but for those you insist the government is the only possible solution for every problem, it is certainly utopian fantasy.

    I’ve met people that believe that if it were not for government run schools, nobody would be able to read.

  45. Deran

    It seems like the real problem with “free markets”, “capitalism”, libnertarian capitalism, call it what you will, and the environment is the central point of rloy’s posts here: “growth is unsustainable”. Period. Free markets require that some people do with out so that others may have “prosperity”. You can parse it like a room full of Troskyites spinning elaborate excuses for Trotsky’s “errors”, but it still comes down to growth is unsustainable.

  46. rloy

    Funny how there are no rebuttals whatsoever to my points–only accusations of hypocrisy. Environmentalists are expected to bike to work in a society designed for cars, go without computers in a society where every realistic job requires them, buy toxin-free products in a society where it’s usually unprofitable to produce them, and (in general) live in a manner that is simply impossible under current conditions. Failing to live perfectly under the very conditions we oppose makes us “hypocrites.”

    Blaming the consumer is a weak argument in any case. The majority of the problem comes from government and industry, as Derrick Jensen points out here: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801/

  47. George Phillies

    @51 There are suggestions that the Costa Ricans have in fact elected enough libertarians to matter.

    On the other hand, before Libertarian Parties are successful in countries with proportional representation, there would need to be Libertarian Parties in them at all.

    Historically the national party has hardly been interested in organizing Puerto Rico.

  48. Tom Blanton

    Free markets require that some people do with out so that others may have “prosperity”.

    This is simply not true. Free markets require only the absence of government coercion. There is a huge difference between what you call capitalism and free markets. What you are describing as capitalism is more accurately described as state capitalism, crony capitalism, corporatism, or fascism.

    There is no need for perpetual growth or government permission to operate. It is as simple as one person involved in a trade or a family running a farm. It could be two guys acting as partners running a shop. It could be 50 people working in a factory they own themselves or owned by an employer they contract with to work. It could be a guy fixing your car for a case of beer. These are human scaled enterprises that only require people to earn a living – not some ever increasing amount of perpetually growing capital.

    It is when you introduce government and central bankers to the mix that the market becomes regulated and cartelized, entrants are kept out, monopolies spring up, capital can be raised only as designated by systems created by government. Hell, there couldn’t even be corporations as they now exist in the absence of government – any corporation would merely be an agreement between those involved with no “rights” or privileges.

    Governments have always been run by the elite for the elite, forever. It is the biggest monopoly that can exist as it controls everything and everybody. The huge corporations that exist now would not exist without government.

    Funny how there are no rebuttals whatsoever to my points–only accusations of hypocrisy.

    rloy, you have made no points. You rail against libertarians for wanting to scale back or eliminate government as this would leave polluters unregulated, claiming consumers have no role to play in the products they buy.

    But in the end you write:

    The majority of the problem comes from government and industry

    Well, no fucking shit, Sherlock. That’s tho whole damn point. You want the fucking fox to guard you damn hen house and then pretend it is libertarians that are the foxes.

    But even if we ignore the fact that an economic system based on infinite growth is inherently unsustainable…

    To equate that with free markets shows a remarkable degree of confusion. What you are describing is not even capitalism ala Adam Smith – it is simply corporatism, which requires government to thrive, yet you reject an ideology that minimizes or eliminates the role of government.

    So, it would seem that prisons, thugs with guns, corrupt politicians, endless wars, the redistribution of wealth upwards, massive debt, inflation, constant surveillance is worth the mere political promise to regulate the very same bastards that have bought and paid for their regulators. Even as you know:

    The majority of the problem comes from government and industry

    rloy, I’d suggest professional help. You aren’t thinking clearly. I’m beginning to understand why the folks at Lew Rockwell think environmentalists are fruitcakes.

  49. rloy

    “There is no need for perpetual growth or government permission to operate.”

    Lol! Typical libertarian wishful thinking. Is your thesis that corporations survive by offering lower and lower returns to investors?

    “These are human scaled enterprises that only require people to earn a living – not some ever increasing amount of perpetually growing capital.”

    And they get to compete with companies like Wal-Mart. I wonder who will win. Lolz

    Speaking of human scale, you might consider extending your reading list to Kirkpatrick Sale.

    “Well, no fucking shit, Sherlock. That’s tho whole damn point. You want the fucking fox to guard you damn hen house and then pretend it is libertarians that are the foxes.”

    Not libertarians per se, but the state they support. The libertarian state would certainly play the role of the fox, just as it did in Pinochet’s Chile and Suharto’s Indonesia (and god knows how many other capitalist dictatorships).

    “rloy, I’d suggest professional help. You aren’t thinking clearly.”

    I’d suggest you look at the facts and stop being a baby about having your ideology challenged.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    55 rloy: Failing to live perfectly under the very conditions we oppose makes us “hypocrites.”

    me: Not in my case. If one environmentally conscious person lived a completely green life, it would make zero difference on the environment. One person’s behavior is trivial. The ubiquitous environment requires aggregated thinking. Unlike real estate, air and water are shared resources, especially air.

  51. Robert Capozzi

    50 tb: Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel prize in Economics has done work refuting the tragedy of the commons.

    me: Interesting. My quick research indicates she was talking about “common resource pools” (CRP). Not quite the same. The summary sez the CRP needs: “Clearly defined boundaries”.

    The air doesn’t qualify in that def., IMO.

    Point us to your source, please.

  52. Tom Blanton

    I’d suggest you look at the facts and stop being a baby about having your ideology challenged.

    You are not challenging my ideology at all, you are challenging some other ideology. You conflate free markets with corporatism. You equate self-governance with powerful central government. You substitute the definition of fascism with the definition of libertarianism. You even seem to think proponents of anarchy are calling for government collusion with corporations.

    I also find it rather amusing that you seem to think libertarians are controlling the levers of power in America.

    By the way, I’d suggest you deal with Wal-Mart as I do. Don’t give them your money. It is a myth that Wal-Mart police will come and force you at gun-point to buy petroleum based chemicals and plastic products there against your will.

  53. Why I left the left

    I left the left because of twerps like rloy who can’t tell the difference between a porpoise and a Pop-Tart.

    It’s really simple:

    1.The statist left wants the state to promote their ideals by force, while tearing down the state-promoted ideals of the right.
    2. The statist right wants the state to promote their ideals by force, while tearing down the state-promoted ideals of the left.
    3. Libertarians want to simply tear down the state and leave the ideals to be promoted by the individual.

    The rest of rloy’s rants fall out of the daily bad episodes of the Thomm Hartman show.

    In simple terms so mentally-challenged people on the tree-hugging left (and the Bible-thumpers on the right) can understand it:

    If you believe that you should live a certain way, then by all means, go ahead and live that way, but don’t you fucking dare try to use state force to impose your beliefs on me, because you sure as hell don’t like others’ beliefs imposed on you. We believe in living peaceably without harming others, and that is all we ask of others as well, including government.

  54. rloy

    “You conflate free markets with corporatism.”

    “Free markets” = more growth and more fossil fuel consumption, both of which are ecologically unsustainable (and you haven’t proven otherwise).

    Who gives a shit about “free markets” when the entire ocean is being acidified? When coral reefs are going extinct? When permafrost is thawing away? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? Any clue?

    Trusting corporate dickheads to restrain themselves is the height of gullibility.

    “Libertarians want to simply tear down the state and leave the ideals to be promoted by the individual.”

    Not true. Libertarians just want the state to enforce *their own* system and make the arbitrary claim that it’s “not coercive.” I’ve given plenty of examples of how it is.

    Interesting you would rip on Bible-thumpers, considering they agree with your views: http://tinyurl.com/27e88fh

  55. Tom Blanton

    The summary sez the CRP needs: “Clearly defined boundaries”.

    The air doesn’t qualify in that def., IMO.

    The boundaries of the air are quite clearly defined. Look around and wherever you see the absence of any object in the area above the ground, you will be looking at air.

    Actually, her work is in fact about the commons and voluntary agreements regarding the same.

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/the-victory-of-the-commons

    However, I suspect that those who fret over the possibility of their neighbors making nukes in their basements would be entirely too paranoid to take any chances on people voluntarily making agreements.

    By the way, can you provide any sources of information on how many people the government has prevented from making nuclear weapons at home, Capozzi?

    I know you are quite involved in this subject and I wonder if you have any stats on the effectiveness of government at preventing atomic hobbyists from turning their subdivisions into glass parking lots.

    I know that one of your main objections to a stateless society is the loose nukes problem. I’m wondering if private neighborhood atomic weapons inspectors could do the job cheaper and more efficiently. Do you know how much government is spending on the home nuke investigation unit?

  56. NewFederalist

    rloy is proof positive that progressives (especially ecofreaks) and libertarians will never be able to fully cooperate. Far too many differences about how government should be involved in solving problems. I don’t mean ecofreak as negatively as it sounded but I couldn’t find another term that quite expressed my thought. I apologise in advance.

  57. rloy

    @NewFederalist

    I’m not as “anti-libertarian” as I sound. I have voted Libertarian when the only other options on the ballot are pro-war Democrat and pro-war Republican. Kirkpatrick Sale (an author most radical libertarians endorse) is one of my greatest influences, as are the classical left-wing anarchists. I am annoyed by most libertarians’ framing of environmental issues, but that doesn’t mean I disagree with *all* their views.

  58. NewFederalist

    And I certainly agree that Greens and Libertarians can cooperate fully on war related issues. It is when we get down to the proper role for government with regard to other issues such as the environment and ecological issues and in many cases economic issues that I just don’t see much common ground. I have told on this forum before by libertarians that I am mistaken about this perception but I remain unconvinced. I would be interested to hear what you as a self identified Green have to add. By the way, I consider nyself a constitutional libertarian or perhaps a libertarian constitutionalist. Thanks for your input.

  59. Robert Capozzi

    65 tb: The boundaries of the air are quite clearly defined. Look around and wherever you see the absence of any object in the area above the ground, you will be looking at air.

    me: the article you cite doesn’t say “air”. It says: “Ostrom has documented how various communities manage common resources—grazing lands, forests, irrigation waters, fisheries—equitably and sustainably over the long term. The Nobel Committee’s recognition of her work effectively debunks popular theories about the Tragedy of the Commons, which hold that private property is the only effective method to prevent finite resources from being ruined or depleted.”

    It appears you are citing a person whose work is praised by Joseph Stiglitz! And who believes that private property is NOT the optimal allocator of resources. Interesting view.

    tb: I know you are quite involved in this subject and I wonder if you have any stats on the effectiveness of government at preventing atomic hobbyists from turning their subdivisions into glass parking lots.

    me: You “know” incorrectly. I know almost nothing about the mechanics of private nukes and machine guns in subways. I only “believe” that an extreme, literal application of the NAP leads to a conclusion I find daft. I don’t find studying these sorts of matters worth my time. Many things are like this: various conspiracy theories and other grandiose notions are like this.

    tb: I know that one of your main objections to a stateless society is the loose nukes problem.

    me: Sorry, but again, no. It’s my provocative way of challenging reducio ad absurdum with reducio ad absurdum. You really don’t get that yet?

  60. Michael H. Wilson

    Back @ 7 I suggested a couple of ways to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but obviously rloy you have ignored them in favor of arguing, so why should anyone pay you any attention?

  61. rloy

    I have told on this forum before by libertarians that I am mistaken about this perception but I remain unconvinced. I would be interested to hear what you as a self identified Green have to add.

    On civil liberties and militarism, the Green Party is IMO more libertarian than the Libertarian Party. I’m talking about the party itself, not necessarily every individual in it.

    On economic policy, the two ideologies are indeed difficult to reconcile. Most greens believe leaving energy to “the market” is nonsensical, since the market will simply choose the cheapest and dirtiest energy every time (regardless of the enormous environmental costs not factored into the price).

    I’ve written more thoughts about libertarianism here: http://annoyingouroverlords.blogspot.com/search?q=gospel

    Having said that, there actually is a great deal of common ground between radical libertarians (NOT Wayne Allyn Root) and greens.

  62. Tom Blanton

    Most greens believe leaving energy to “the market” is nonsensical, since the market will simply choose the cheapest and dirtiest energy every time (regardless of the enormous environmental costs not factored into the price).

    Do Greens realize that “the market” is people? When “the market” chooses anything, it is direct democracy in action with many individuals acting spontaneously voting with their dollars.

    Why would these same individuals vote for politicians promising to prohibit the very purchasing choices they choose make? Would that be a cry from voters to save me from myself?

    Oh please Mr. Politician in the pocket of the evil polluters, keep me from buying those bad products I keep buying over and over again.

  63. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement

    Well, ‘Kill A Commie 4 Christ’ was a 1970s classic, and my 1990 Three Bladed Wind Mill ’21st Century Peace Sign’ has gone nowhere fast.

    Symbols are important, so may be a sign of a gun with PEACE! on the barrel ?????????

    If you are going to mass mail, ‘that guy’ in Texas is pretty good /reasonable ……….

  64. Tom Blanton

    tb: I know that one of your main objections to a stateless society is the loose nukes problem.

    me: Sorry, but again, no. It’s my provocative way of challenging reducio ad absurdum with reducio ad absurdum. You really don’t get that yet?

    Oh, I get it. I’m just mocking the Capozzi method of inane discourse.

    It appears you are citing a person whose work is praised by Joseph Stiglitz! And who believes that private property is NOT the optimal allocator of resources. Interesting view.

    I’m not so sure that she is saying that private property is not the optimal allocator of resources. It may be she is saying that it is not the only allocator of resources in regards to unowned commons.

    The idea of voluntary compliance can also be applied to air and water, Capozzi. However, as one (you) who believes bad actors will always prevail in the absence of government (like your nuke building neighbors) even though government is not 100% effective in stopping bad actors, I can understand why you and other risk averse folks would be reluctant to rely on voluntary compliance.

    Now, Joseph Stiglitz is highly critical of Obama’s economic policies regarding bank bailouts. Does that mean that these policies are actually good since the evil Stiglitz opposes them?

    Stiglitz has also been fairly vocal about the wage and wealth inequalities in America. I don’t agree with his statist solutions, but I believe his research is good. I believe this disparity would not exist in a freed market.

    The reason libertarians should be concerned about this ever widening disparity is because in the context of politics it is likely to result in policies that are redistributive in nature.

    In fine Capozzi fashion, the guilt by association argument has been made by noting that the evil Stiglitz praises Ostrom. We are to take away from this that Ostrom must be wrong.

    Well, let’s look at Garrett Hardin, the originator of the tragedy of the commons meme. From Wikipedia:

    In 1974, he published the article “Living on a Lifeboat” in BioScience magazine, arguing that contributing food to help the Ethiopian famine would add to overpopulation, which he considered the root of Ethiopia’s problems. Despite his lifelong insistence that population must be curbed to avoid disaster, Hardin himself had four children.

    So, it must follow that those who accept the tragedy of the common theory must also want starving Africans to die of hunger, right?

    Why are you a hateful racist wishing death upon innocents, Capozzi? Or do you reject the entire notion of the tragedy of the commons now that you know the truth about Hardin?

    How’s that, Capozzi? I think I just Capozzied the Capozzi.

  65. rloy

    “Do Greens realize that “the market” is people? When “the market” chooses anything, it is direct democracy in action with many individuals acting spontaneously voting with their dollars.”

    It’s a strange form of “democracy” that allocates massive resources to conspicuous consumption and boob jobs over far more pressing social problems that impact far more people. That’s because the (few) ultra-rich get infinitely more “votes” than the substantial portion of the world’s population that lives in poverty, many of whom get little or no “vote” at all.

    “Oh please Mr. Politician in the pocket of the evil polluters, keep me from buying those bad products I keep buying over and over again.”

    Oh please Mr. Politician, please protect the doe-eyed corporate polluters from the mean environmentalists that refuse to live in the 50’s. Please allow companies to keep their ingredients and pollution levels secret so that I can continue to accuse environmentalists of hypocrisy. Since I can’t refute any of their ecological points with science or facts, ad hominems are all I’ve got left.

  66. Kleptocracy and You

    It IS time to get serious about telling the TRUTH! This hatched plan is scary stuff if you pay close attention to what they say. Yes, to what THEY say! To paraphrase Reagan: Some of these (elitist environmental) KOOKS would have you and YOUR family die shivering in the dark !

    “Hundreds of billion dollars have been wasted with the attempt of imposing a Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that is not supported by physical world evidences…AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks.” — Brazilian Geologist Geraldo Luís Lino, who authored the 2009 book “The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon Was Converted into a False World Emergency.”

    “… when the struggle seems to be drifting definitely towards a world social democracy, there may still be very great delays and disappointments before it becomes an efficient and beneficent world system. Countless people … will hate the New World Order and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful-looking people.” – H. G. Wells

    (The malcontents must DIE !!! Who are they? Why you of course…)

    “The threat of environmental crisis is the ‘international disaster key’ to unlock the New World Order.” – Mikhail Gorbachev

    (“The threat of” IS the “international disaster KEY”, sounds like a PLAN to me !!!)

    “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” — David Rockefeller

    “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” – Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports

    “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” – Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC

    “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.” – Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

    “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

    “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” – Christine Stewart, fmr Canadian Minister of the Environment

    “The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.” – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin

    “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

    “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.” – Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

    “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” – David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club

    “The greater the lie, the greater the chance that it will be believed.” – Adolf Hitler

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.)” – Carl Sagan

    “A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.” – Ayn Rand

    “Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear. It has kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor, with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it.” — General Douglas MacArthur, 1957

    “Separation of Earth and state!” — Bill St. Clair

  67. Robert Capozzi

    75 tb: However, as one (you) who believes bad actors will always prevail in the absence of government (like your nuke building neighbors) even though government is not 100% effective in stopping bad actors, I can understand why you and other risk averse folks would be reluctant to rely on voluntary compliance.

    me: “Always”? No. The only thing I always believe in is love. Bad actors, in the government and out, prevail sometimes. That may well be sub-optimal, but then them’s the choices…a range of sub-optimal outcomes.

    As for the tragedy of the commons, I generally don’t use the term. I do use the term commons, and I consider the air to be common and ubiquitous. People spew poisons into it every day, including me. I consider that hurtful. I don’t see a purely voluntary means to minimize spewing. If Ostrom or you have a plan to do so, I am — as always — open minded to alternatives.

    Seeing none, I find the idea of taxing pollution to be the optimal way to protect the air and ourselves.

  68. JT

    Rloy: “”Free market environmentalism” is an oxymoron and all of the websites devoted to it do nothing but rant and puff against (real) environmentalists.”

    I guess that’s the easy way to dismiss all the tremendous work done by a group like http://www.perc.org. Avoid any empirical data and just wave it off.

  69. Tom Blanton

    People spew poisons into it every day, including me. I consider that hurtful. I don’t see a purely voluntary means to minimize spewing.

    Am I to believe that if murder wasn’t illegal or in the absence of government, you would be murdering people, Capozzi. Or are you refraining from murder voluntarily?

    Aside from that, it would appear that laws against murder and government mechanisms in place to enforce and deter lawbreakers, the government has failed to prevent murders from happening.

    In fact, government may be most murderous entity there is.

    All the wonkery in the world will not solve the human condition. Guns, prisons and taxes have yet to solve the problems human beings create for themselves.

  70. Tom Blanton

    It’s a strange form of “democracy” that allocates massive resources to conspicuous consumption and boob jobs over far more pressing social problems that impact far more people.

    That may be, but you can’t deny that consumers allocate their own resources when they make purchases voluntarily. When people vote with their dollars, that is direct democracy in the marketplace.

    Rich people aren’t buying 500 gallons of gas a week for their own use. The aren’t buying 55 gallon drums of weird cleaning solvents. What they are buying is government, or more accurately, politicians. So, we get people like Bush and Obama.

    I take it little elroy believes that Obama or Bush could better allocate his allowance than he could. These wise and benevolent men should allocate the resources of millions of people?

    Politicians have only exacerbated wars, poverty, and corporate malfeasance. At this point, people who call for more government involvement in any area of life must be delusional. Once an issue becomes politicized, you can be sure the oligarchs will get their way.

    Little Elroy makes the same mistake that Wayne Root and some other libertarians make and that is thinking that libertarianism is the same as conservatism, or what passes for conservatism these days. Too many people don’t seem to understand that liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism are three distinct and different things.

    What a strange world Elroy lives in where there are big government anarchists and libertarians are the puppet masters of the oligarchs. Ordinary people have absolutely no control over their own actions and can’t be trusted to spend their own money wisely, but they can be trusted to vote.

    But, Elroy certainly proves his point about libertarians by throwing out a link to:

    Various conservative Christian leaders have united with the Cornwall Alliance for the release of a shocking new 12-part DVD series, “Resisting The Green Dragon,” that attempts to debase and discredit the environmental movement

    Wow, those evil libertarians. Wait, it refers to conservative Christian leaders. Oh well, conservatives and libertarians are the same thing to those in the know who read HuffPo.

  71. Michael H. Wilson

    re rloy @ 76 It’s a strange form of “democracy” that allocates massive resources to conspicuous consumption and boob jobs over far more pressing social problems that impact far more people.

    That conspicuous consumption you complain about is someone’s job and puts food on the table and a roof over someone’s head. And that takes us back to the original question on this thread.

    I left the left, if I can call it that, because the left gave up on ending poverty and environmental issues became more important. Somewhere along the line they realized that much of the problem with poverty was because of the government, but they couldn’t bring themselves to saying that government was in the way and the cause of much of the poverty in this nation.

    Open markets are markets of opportunity. They help reduce poverty and the social problems that go with it and that includes the damage to the environment.

    btw rloy there was a deer in my yard a few minutes ago and a raccoon yesterday. I get to look at some of the most beautiful mountains in America. I can spot eagles most days and go whale watching just about any time I wish. And you have to be nuts if you think I don’t care about those creatures.

  72. Robert Capozzi

    81 tb: Am I to believe that if murder wasn’t illegal or in the absence of government, you would be murdering people, Capozzi. Or are you refraining from murder voluntarily?

    me: If I drive my car, I’m not “murdering.” I am polluting, however. Your analogy doesn’t work for me. It’s absolutist, IMO. I don’t advocate zero pollution, but I do advocate zero murder. There is too much pollution IMO, and no way to curtail it without some way to internalize externalities through property rights. There IS a way to internalize the externality of murder. They are very different activities.

    IMO.

  73. rloy

    “Rich people aren’t buying 500 gallons of gas a week for their own use.”

    How else to power all their private jets and sport cars?

    “I take it little elroy believes that Obama or Bush could better allocate his allowance than he could. These wise and benevolent men should allocate the resources of millions of people?”

    My views on how an economy could better allocate resources are not available in sound-bite form, and are frankly a different debate from the topic at hand. But if you insist, I support an system that retains markets but democratizes other aspects of modern capitalism.

    “Little Elroy makes the same mistake that Wayne Root and some other libertarians make and that is thinking that libertarianism is the same as conservatism, or what passes for conservatism these days.”

    Was there a difference, aside from nominal opposition to war? Could have fooled me.

    “Oh well, conservatives and libertarians are the same thing to those in the know who read HuffPo.”

    On the environment, this is correct. Conservatives (especially Christian conservatives) and libertarians agree on the issue and most would admit it.

  74. rloy

    “These wise and benevolent men should allocate the resources of millions of people?”

    If by “wise and benevolent men” you mean the rich, then that’s how the world currently operates 😉

    “I left the left, if I can call it that, because the left gave up on ending poverty and environmental issues became more important.”

    ROFL. It’s poor people and minorities who bear the brunt of environmental damage and disease. CEOs (and most libertarians) don’t live next to power plants or dumping sites.

    http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2011/communities-of-color-poverty-bear-burden-of-air-pollution

    It’s the Third World (the one with no dollars to “vote” with) that will suffer much of the disaster that the West is causing through greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the “free market” (eg, the IMF’s “structural adjustment” programs) that has destroyed people living in poverty and any chance of social mobility.

  75. JT

    Lroy: “Was there a difference, aside from nominal opposition to war? Could have fooled me.”

    A difference between libertarians and conservatives other than war? Either you’re kidding or you don’t understand libertarianism much.

  76. Michael H. Wilson

    rloy @ 82 writes; “It’s the “free market” (eg, the IMF’s “structural adjustment” programs) that has destroyed people living in poverty and any chance of social mobility.”

    Just for the record, there is not now and never has been a free market in the good ol U.S. of A.

  77. Ayn R. Key

    rloy,

    Regarding environmentalism, perhaps we should seek to define the term. Seriously. I mean it.

    Because if we define it as someone who wants a clean environment, it is too broad a definition. That includes everyone, excluding a few rare psychotics. It includes the person who says “I would prefer a clean environment, but pollution is the price we pay for progress.” It also includes those who desire it but not enough to actually do anything about it.

    Obviously those two people are not what any would call environmentalists. Therefore we need to tighten the definition. So shall we add “and wants it badly enough to do something about it”? I think that is much better, it excludes both the unmotivated person and the person who destroys the environment in the name of progress.

    But here we run into another problem. What, exactly, do we do about it? You are trying to say we’re not environmentalists, so I assume you are saying that our proposed solutions are not the right proposed solutions to environmental problems. Is that the case?

    I know that, as much as I want a clean environment AND am willing to do something about it, the more Green type of environmentalist would not be willing to count me in their number. So the definition must be narrowed to a certain set of proposed solutions, not just any proposed solution.

    Free market environmental solutions are therefore out, and if you want a clean environment AND want it enough to do something about it AND favor free market solutions you are not an environmentalist. If you want a clean environment AND want it enough to do something about it AND you favor state solutions you are an environmentalist.

    Therefore Lew Rockwell wrote about the environmentalist cult, just as he writes about the cult of the state.

  78. Tom Blanton

    me: If I drive my car, I’m not “murdering.” I am polluting, however. Your analogy doesn’t work for me. It’s absolutist, IMO. I don’t advocate zero pollution, but I do advocate zero murder.

    I’ll explain it to you, Capoozi, since you pretend not to get it. There is no analogy regarding polluting and murder. The analogy is between voluntarily not murdering people and voluntarily not polluting.

    I assume it is not laws that prevent you from murdering, but maybe I’m wrong. I’m guessing you don’t murder because you think it is wrong. You apparently believe it is also wrong and am also guessing you make some attempt to keep it at a minimum. You probably don’t dump your garbage in the nearest lake.

    The point you missed, Capoozi, is that people engage in positive voluntary behavior all the time. Hardin’s contention that people will always spoil the commons has been refuted by the studies of Ostrom. There is another point, also. That being that while voluntary agreements between people may not be perfect, the state is no better at controlling behavior. All things considered, the state may be worse in terms of costs, both financial and social.

    Get the point?

  79. Tom Blanton

    You apparently believe it is also wrong and am also guessing you make some attempt to keep it at a minimum.

    I am referring to polluting, not murder.

  80. Tom Blanton

    rloy @ 82 writes; “It’s the “free market” (eg, the IMF’s “structural adjustment” programs) that has destroyed people living in poverty and any chance of social mobility.”

    Michael correctly responds:

    Just for the record, there is not now and never has been a free market in the good ol U.S. of A.

    I would add that anyone who thinks the IMF has anything to do with a free market is an idiot. It is funded and controlled by a coalition of nation states and could not possibly exist without these states.

    It is essentially a government program designed to promote the interests of the global central bankers and their cronies. The U.S. basically runs the show and sets requirements for third world nations that generally benefit private business interests.

    WTF has that got to do with free markets, Elroy?

    @ 59

    I left the left because of twerps like rloy who can’t tell the difference between a porpoise and a Pop-Tart.

    Just like the inability to know the difference between Christian conservatives and libertarians. Although to be fair, things get confusing with people like Glenn Beck and Wayne Root claiming to be libertarians. Elroy isn’t alone when it comes to confusion.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    87 tb: The point you missed, Capoozi, is that people engage in positive voluntary behavior all the time.

    me: Hmm, they do, do they? People hop in their cars every day. I do, don’t you. I’m polluting when I do, but I do it any way. Pretty much everyone does this sort of NEGATIVE voluntary behavior in some form. So, sorry, I disagree with your premise.

    It gets complicated because, atomistically, the amount of NEGATIVE voluntary behavior by any one person is trivial. In aggregate, however, it’s non-trivial.

    My name is spelled Capozzi. Consider losing the junior high misspelling.

  82. Robert Capozzi

    86 tb: …the state is no better at controlling behavior.

    me: As a Lennonist, I too would love to see the plan.

  83. Tom Blanton

    My name is spelled Capozzi. Consider losing the junior high misspelling.

    First, there are no junior highs anymore. Junior high school is now called “middle school”.

    I would suggest that “Capoozi” is not a middle school misspelling but rather a 4th or 5th grade misspelling.

    If you would prefer, I could refer to you as “Bubby” from now on.

    For what it’s worth, if you would like bureaucrats to control your driving habits, I would support that as long as I am personally exempt. A fee based system where people are assessed an annual fee to pay for someone to monitor and regulate their behavior would be the best way to go, in my opinion.

    Driving a fuel efficient vehicle as infrequently as possible is also another possibility to consider.

  84. rloy

    “Just for the record, there is not now and never has been a free market in the good ol U.S. of A.”

    Even if it’s true, it’s irrelevant. I’m not talking about the USA when I mention the IMF causing poverty.

    “I would add that anyone who thinks the IMF has anything to do with a free market is an idiot.”

    All economists are idiots then.

    “It is funded and controlled by a coalition of nation states and could not possibly exist without these states.”

    Yup, and the same is true for corporate capitalism in general (a point I can’t seem to get libertarians to digest).

    “The U.S. basically runs the show and sets requirements for third world nations that generally benefit private business interests.”

    Absolutely. And why do they benefit private business interests? Because they are free market, neoliberal policies: cutting social programs, embracing globalization, etc.

    Such policies are extremely unpopular in those countries, hence the need for them to be imposed by dictatorships (or at best, regimes that are less than democratic).

    “Just like the inability to know the difference between Christian conservatives and libertarians.”

    I didn’t say they were the same, just that their views on the environment are indistinguishable.

  85. rloy

    Ayn R. Key,

    What, if anything, is free market environmentalism’s solution to the fossil fuels industry and growth economy? To the oceans being choked to death with plastic? If it has any mechanism for dealing with these problems, I’m willing to listen.

  86. Tom Knapp

    rloy,

    There as many variants of “free market environmentalism” as there are supporters of it.

    One minarchist solution to fossil fuels pollution is the “green tax shift” — basically, orienting the tax system specifically to penalize polluters rather than other people (e.g. workers through the income tax and FICA, investors through capital gains, etc.) … to “tax bads, not goods.”

    The idea behind the “green tax shift” is:

    1) That polluters should be the ones who pay the costs of cleaning up their mess; and

    2) That the more something is taxed, the less you get of it — that taxing pollution would make non-polluting alternatives more competitive.

    Some minarchists and anarchists propose to subject all pollution to tort litigation. There are obvious problems with that (hard to determine the identities of multiple area source polluters, for example), but there are certainly areas in which it would at least be a good start.

    Most libertarians don’t see a “growth economy” as a “problem” per se, and the attitude of some state leftists — flying around like lords on their jets to lecture the serfs about how we shouldn’t be so consumerish before returning to their veritable castles — doesn’t help much with changing that sentiment.

  87. Tom Knapp

    rloy @93,

    You seem to be confusing “free market” with “capitalism.” They are not the same thing.

    “Capitalism” was coined by Thackeray to denote a mixed, state-regulated industrial economy, and popularized by Marx as the stage of state socialist development falling between mercantilism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Getting the two things mixed up isn’t your problem alone, of course — many libertarians fall victim to it as well, leading them to come up with nonsense oxymoron terms like “anarcho-capitalist” and to reflexively defend “big business” on the mistaken assumption that it in any way resembles “free enterprise.”

  88. rloy

    Tom Knapp,

    Most libertarians don’t see a “growth economy” as a “problem” per se

    They’re wrong. It’s an enormous problem.

    http://monthlyreview.org/2010/03/01/what-every-environmentalist-needs-to-know-about-capitalism

    To be fair, the entire political mainstream (both major parties included) is wrong on the subject as well.

    “flying around like lords on their jets to lecture the serfs about how we shouldn’t be so consumerish before returning to their veritable castles”

    Ad hominem tu quoque.

    “Getting the two things mixed up isn’t your problem alone, of course”

    I suppose I am a bit confused at how libertarians like TB can call this system “corporatism” one minute and “market democracy” the next. We don’t live under a “real free market,” they say, but if fossil fuel is the dominant energy, it’s simply “market democracy” / “the will of the people” at work. Which is it, exactly?

  89. Robert Capozzi

    91 mhw: Robert why do you need a plan? And what kind of plan are you looking for?

    Me: I’m riffing off the song Revolution. “Model” would be the more precise term than “plan.” In the aggregate, people pollute the air excessively IMO. They do it because there is no direct cost to doing so, and much benefit. A green tax shift model would internalize the externality of polluting. I prefer that model to the regulation model. I find the tort model inconceivable to apply. If you have another model, let’s hear it, by all means!

  90. Robert Capozzi

    97 rloy: [The article you link to says this]: “Capitalism’s basic driving force and its whole reason for existence is the amassing of profits and wealth through the accumulation (savings and investment) process. ”

    me: False. The human condition’s driving force is to maximize happiness and pleasure and to minimize sadness and pain. Free markets allow people to pursue happiness within a set of rules that should dissuade harming others. That shows up as “capitalism.” In maximizing happiness, people seek to find their comparative advantage in offering their services for compensation. In that process, some accumulate wealth which they re-invest for returns, enhancing their ability to pursue happiness.

    In so doing, scarce resources are deployed to their highest and best use, which leads to growth. Nothing about this is inherently good or bad, it’s just natural.

    I consider myself an environmentalist because I believe the rules regarding harmful behavior have been poorly conceived and executed. I advocate a green tax shift to remedy the situation, to penalize negative externalities. This would lead to economies of scale for alternative (non-hurtful) technologies to be economically viable.

  91. Robert Capozzi

    92 tb: For what it’s worth, if you would like bureaucrats to control your driving habits, I would support that as long as I am personally exempt.

    me: It’s not so much “driving habits,” it’s what an individual spews into the air, which I consider aggression. No, sorry, as far as I’m concerned, you cannot spew whatever you’d like to.

  92. Tom Knapp

    RC @ 99,

    “Free markets allow people to pursue happiness within a set of rules that should dissuade harming others. That shows up as ‘capitalism.'”

    Except in the real world, where “capitalism” actually means, and has always meant, the use of state privilege to concentrate power, crush competition, and direct wealth to the political class at the expense of the productive class.

    rloy @ 97,

    “We don’t live under a ‘real free market,’ they say, but if fossil fuel is the dominant energy, it’s simply ‘market democracy’ / ‘the will of the people’at work. Which is it, exactly?”

    The former. Fossil fuels are state-subsidized out the wazoo in every way imaginable, including a not-insignificant expenditure on military power to secure supplies for the oil companies (quite possibly the bulk of US military spending over the last 40 years).

    As far as “growth economy” is concerned, please read what I actually wrote. Saying that a growth economy is not a problem per se is not the same as saying that a particular kind of growth economy may not be a problem.

    Artificial, state-powered economic growth — limiting corporate liability so that capital can be spent on growth rather than on insuring risk, for example; or subsidizing sprawl with massive spending road networks that the market decided not to produce, in the name of “defense” — has obviously been a problem.

    Whether a freed market would suffer from such defects is an open question.

  93. Robert Capozzi

    101 tk, wiki puts it well: “There is no consensus on the precise definition of capitalism….”

  94. JT

    Knapp: “Except in the real world, where “capitalism” actually means, and has always meant, the use of state privilege to concentrate power, crush competition, and direct wealth to the political class at the expense of the productive class.”

    I wonder why such a long list of libertarian economists and historians use/have used that term referring to an economic system of privately held property and voluntary exchange under prices that reflect supply and demand (they often use corporatism or interventionism when talking about what you described). Maybe none of them have a clue what they’re talking about. Or maybe the term was coined to mean what you described, but the meaning has since changed just like the term “liberal” has.

  95. Kleptocracy and You

    photosynthesis (?f??t???s?n??s?s)

    — n
    1. (in plants) the synthesis of organic compounds from carbon dioxide and water (with the release of oxygen) using light energy absorbed by chlorophyll

    pho·to·syn·the·sis definition
    Pronunciation: /?f?t-?-?sin(t)-th?-s?s/
    Function: n
    pl -the·ses ; : synthesis of chemical compounds with the aid of light sometimes including the near infrared or near ultraviolet especially : the formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and a source of hydrogen (as water) in chlorophyll-containing cells (as of green plants) exposed to light involving a photochemical release of oxygen through the decomposition of water followed by various enzymatic synthetic reactions that usually do not require the presence of light

    OXYGEN , OXYGEN , OXYGEN is essential to live ! Carbon Dioxide is essential to OXYGEN !

    Something to actually WORRY about —>
    Europeans warned to avoid drinking milk or eating vegetables due to high radiation levels: http://www.naturalnews.com/032050_radioactive_food_nuclear_radiation.html

    Secret Billionaires Club – Planning the future of the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtMoS5hgd_c&feature=related

    New World Order Globalists Plan to Kill 90% of the Worlds Population: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdJ26mfzucQ

  96. Michael Cavlan RN

    Thanks Folks.

    This has been a fascinating series of discussions. I know I have learned a lot. Including how Libertarians and Greens (and former Greens) can agree and not realize it. With common misperceptions about each others positions.

    Oh and here is to the Open Market of Ideas.

    Thanks again

  97. Michael Cavlan RN

    Excuse me. Correction

    Free Market of Ideas.

    Seriously folks. Thank You. I have enjoyed the discussion and have learned a lot. Including some of my own misconceptions about Libertarians.

  98. Michael Cavlan RN

    Oh and for the record.

    Stop thinking that Democrats and their supporters/apologists are “progressive”.

    They are not. I got on Big Eddie Schultz’s show on Air America a few days ago. Where he calls himself “progressive” talk radio.

    He will often have some right winger on and argue for five minutes. I got on pretending to counter some point about the war on Iraq being based on fraud and lies. I talked briefly about how it was so. Using the Downing Street Memo as evidence.

    I then called him, Katrina Van Huevel and John Nichols of the Nation magazine and Air America the REAL frauds. That they were not progressives but instead were all shills and apologists for the pro-war, corporate Democrats.

    Whooo boy. National radio show. He got REALLY pissed, yelled at me and then hung up.

    No allowing to counter his yelling, unlike the right wingers who are ALWAYS allowed. I was given 5 seconds and cut off in mid sentence.

    Boy was it fun exposing him and all of those fake pseudo progressives.

    DEMOCRATS and THEIR APOLOGISTS are not progressive.

  99. Robert Capozzi

    92 tb: First, there are no junior highs anymore. Junior high school is now called “middle school”.

    me: Small point of clarification:

    Wiki: Middle school and junior high school are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not usually interchangeable.

  100. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement

    yes, no, yes, no:

    technically, with increased maturation, early puberty, and sixth graders harassing fifth graders:

    middle school is grades six, seven, eight

    elementary school was 1 thru 8, then after WW II it evolved into K thru six.

    traditional junior hs was seven and eight, first right after WW I and then more widely spread with the suburban boom after WW II

    *class dismissed*

  101. Tom Blanton

    Bubby, I just thought of a pretty good 9th grade misspelling of your name: Crapozzi!

    Pretty good, huh?

    But, I won’t use it because I like to stick with K-6 misspellings as they aren’t as mean spirited.

    By the way, I think a lot of places already have a pollution tax for vehicles except they don’t call it that. They are calling it a “gasoline tax”. I’m not so sure it has been particularly effective in reducing emissions. But, I do believe it has reduced consumption of fossil fuel to some small degree.

    Here’s something to think about. If you divide the entire federal budget by the number of gallons of gas used in the U.S., you get $27 per gallon. Just think, assuming everybody still drove around like crazy, all taxes could be eliminated AND the budget could be balanced if they put a $27 per gallon tax on gas.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    110 tb, the gas tax is just one of many pollution taxes. Of course, I’d like to see a green tax shift AND a spending shift…downward.

  103. Pingback: “Why We Left the Left” Update | Independent Political Report

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