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Greener than Green

Greener than Green

By: Barry Hess

There exists somewhere, ‘out there’ in the public realm, the notion that philosophical libertarianism allows for, even encourages, the wanton destruction of our common environment, just so a few of those evil capitalists can get rich in their damnable ‘free market’.  Seriously, all too many of our countrymen really do believe this media-propagated nonsense.  Oddly enough, in ‘reality’ pretty much the exact opposite is true.

Even more puzzling is the lack of notice that under our current modus operandi, our common land, water and air are more-than-being-molested under the watchful eye of government.  In spite of this glaring fact, it seems as though many people have been convinced that the ‘only’ way to stop it before we all die of pollution poisoning"is to do more of what we’re doing!  Isn’t that fascinating?

Why, do you suppose critical thinking and reasoning skills have been dropped from the approved curriculum for the government’s welfare schools?  …but I digress.

Most normal-thinking people agree that nobody has a right to pollute our common environment, yet under the unprincipled political leadership of the Republican/Democrat social club, who operate on the whims or men; we’ve witnessed the most horrific environmental events imaginable even while regular, run-of-the-mill polluting of the world continues unabated with no end in sight.  Whether their concern is ‘Global Warming’, or the illnesses and health problems that come from breathing, drinking or touching various toxins; they all seem to agree that the collective ‘we’ cannot actually clean the air, water or ground, so we have to let Mother Nature do her thing.  They will mouth the words that lead to only one logical conclusion; stopping ALL pollution is the only means to reverse any damage done but as we will see, that’s where the logic stops.

On the other hand, were we guided by libertarian principles, the high likelihood is that environmental pollution wouldn’t even be an issue.  Why?  Because the entire philosophy is based on individual property ownership rights.  The principle is simple when it comes to real estate (all pollutants come from a physical location):  you can use your property for whatever purposes you, as the owner, determine to be in your ‘best’ interests.  This basic principle of property ownership rights, is the root of all liberty"and the most necessary ingredient in the complex recipe that makes up a ‘free’ country.  Without absolute, indisputable and un-taxable property rights, there can be no freedom"not for anyone.

Sadly, the very idea that “those people down the street” can be ‘trusted’ to do good things with their property--and nobody can say ‘Boo!’ about it” seems to be where the fear sets in, for the masses.  Though they obviously haven’t thought it through and will try to convince you that you just can’t trust their neighbors to do the right things with their property.  From their perspective, we ‘need’ more law(s)…I guess to somehow keep the neighbors honest.

My Grandfather used to say in his deep, thickly-accented Germanic tone, “He who cannot trust, cannot be trusted because he does not trust himself.”  I think he was on to something.

The idea that an owner is ‘allowed’ do whatever they want on or with their property, as an inviolable ‘absolute’ right seems a little scary to folks who read no further than the headlines, but it really shouldn’t, because property rights do not, and can not extend beyond the boundaries of the property owned.  That property owner can ‘pollute away’"within the confines of the space they own; but not a drop, a whiff or particle of that pollution can be unleashed beyond their own property line without giving rise to a suit for damages by any who might suffer because of a violation.

At some point, people realize this means that no one can pollute beyond their own private property limits and therefore into the common environment.  Generally, their initial reaction is “Yeaaa!  There won’t be any more pollution"at all!”  Oddly enough, and almost without fail, their secondary reaction tends to be, “But that will shut down businesses and industries---people will lose their jobs, and I wouldn’t even be able to drive my car.  We ‘can’t’ have that!”

Their ‘solutions’ to pollutions all effectively boil down to what we commonly know as the “Cap and Trade” model.  In a nutshell, this model provides that politicians can determine an amount of pollution that can be loosed upon the community and into the common environment.  This model has nothing to do with logic or even registers on the common sense scale.  The “huh?” part of C and T models, is that they always have a provision allowing an “under polluter” to sell or ‘trade’ credits for the balance of their pollution allotment to any entity that goes over limit.  Selling these ‘credits’ is big business, and I’m talking thrillions of dollars changing hands every day as the free market determines their ‘value’ in the marketplace.  It’s cheaper for a business to buy credits"than to stop their polluting.

What would you suppose might be the likelihood that a politician could be ‘persuaded’ to allow a business a higher allotment of pollutants than that business has ever used?  Why, that would give the business marketable credits to sell on the open market for absolutely nothing.  Naw, they wouldn’t do that, even if a few shekels from the sale were to fall into their campaign or personal accounts, because that would be a ‘bad’ thing.

The Green (political) Party presents itself as a group of environmentally conscientious and responsible people.  For the most part, this is what the young people in the party joined to be a part of.   The problem is the party organizers and apparatchik--they’re not really ‘green’.  A close examination of their political platform suggests that their real agenda has more to do with using the law to force fellow Citizens to submit to living the way the Green people think they should, or to subsidize favored ‘green’ companies or industries. 

The simple fact is that applying libertarian philosophy to this issue, wouldn’t just eliminate the lure to corrupt political behavior, or the award of windfall profits to campaign contributors"it would eliminate the problem.  At the same time, contrary to fears of job losses, I submit that by sticking to clear, simple and absolute principles brand new industries and businesses will spring up, creating more jobs, new innovations and new inventions; to meet the principle objective; to stop environmental pollution.

Of course, some businesses will fall by the way, but they will be replaced.  Such are the constant dynamics of the free market"that’s what keeps any economy healthy.  Bad, or worthless products and companies will naturally fall by the wayside, pushed out of the way by new businesses that actually bring value to the marketplace.  The idea of subsidizing any business because it is presented in the ‘media’ as ‘economically critical’, is absurd and dams up the marketplace until the dam bursts.  The free market responds only to actual values any industry or business brings with it, at any given time"only the good stuff survives.  There is no such thing as “too big to fail”, or “too old to die”.

The good news is that the young people “get it”.  All they are asking for is a clean environment, and when they come to understand ‘who’ is really environmentally protective, they readily desert their political club to defend their original intentions.  Libertarian philosophy turns out to be “greener than the Greens”, how ironic is that?

As a personal example, I really hadn’t realized how ‘green’ the libertarian philosophy actually is, until after a lengthy campaign forum held at Northern Arizona University where the application of philosophy to environmental concerns was fully explored by a panel of local celebrity inquisitors. 
   
I was approached by a good group of very inquisitive, and slightly combative young folks who had been part of the overflow audience.  They had some questions and I agreed to entertain them.  It was a pretty thorough vetting of how libertarian philosophy applies to contemporary issues, and how their application might play out in real life for us as a species to avoid societal suicide.  Not even one left the auditorium until the wee hours of the morning, aside from a few bathroom breaks and coffee runs. 

I did my best to explain how it all fits together, and the beneficial impact a libertarian society could have on their futures, and by the end of the night we had found some common ground.  That was the end of it, but I couldn’t help wondering if any of the group had been affected by our discussion, or had had the “aha!” moment most libertarians remember as the moment they “got it.”  I resolved to hope I had done some good.



Two days later, a “Google Alert” noticed me that the group I had spoken with represented a local Green Party affiliate, and they had enthusiastically endorsed me, for public office.  I got my answer and it gave me hope that the young people of today will have the political and philosophical integrity their elders lack, and put individual liberty well above any sort of political loyalty.

Libertarian philosophy applied to environmental issues will always net the benefit of achieving more positive effects because it is based on fundamental principles.  What’s important to know is that there are no ‘new’ fundamentals.  We all have to be skeptical of the guy who says he ‘manufactures antiques’.

Maybe Kermit the Frog was wrong.  I find it easy, being green. 

 

 
Additional related items you might find interesting:
News Link  •  Environment
Three Mile Island and the Exaggerated Risk of Nuclear Power
01-14-2020  •  https://fee.org by Paige Lambermont 
News Link  •  Environment
Ocean Plastic Removal is Working
01-13-2020  •  https://www.nextbigfuture.com by Brian Wang 
News Link  •  Environment
Sustainable Sand Gives Pollution One-Two Punch by Soaking Up Toxic Metals & Purifying Water Supplies
01-09-2020  •  Good News Network 
       
 
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