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randyleepublic
According to Libertarian principle, my private property is supposed to be my private property where I can do whatever I like. If I want to fill my backyard with toxic waste, it's my backyard and therefore it's my right to do so. But, if some of my toxic waste gets into my neighbor's well, isn't that an assault, and therefore isn't it a legitimate function of the government to use force to halt that assault?
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Julian
Um, yes. But then, people and companies are not called polluters merely for producing, safely storing, or safely disposing of toxic chemicals. Indeed, the chemicals themselves are only called pollutants when they are found where they should not be.

They are only called polluters when the toxic substances end up in the wrong place.

I get the impression that this thread will be uncontroversial - most everyone will agree with you. That's no bad thing, but it doesn't make for very interesting debate. biggrin.gif
Jaime
Yes, the government has a right to act if you are infringing upon someone else's rights. I don't see much of a debate here.
randyleepublic
Ah yes, it sounds simple doesn't it? But, what about the guy who drives a car? His car puts carbon monoxide, (and maybe worse) into the air that I breathe. Should he be stopped? And what about the neighbor's yard full of toxic waste. I look over there and it seems like the stuff is not stored correctly. Do I have to wait until my well's water is undrinkable before I can expect the govt. to do something about it? What if I don't even know that he's storing stuff there? Does it seem just that I should have to wait untill 2 of my kids come down w/ cancer before I discover the problem and can then seek compensation and/or prosecution? Now do you see where I am trying to go with this?

My real point is that I think that one of our party's PR gaps has to do with the general public's perception that, since we believe in laissez faire capitalism that we would allow businesses to destroy the environment. I have to admit that my own perception of Libertarian principle makes me think that maybe there are some issues that have not really been addressed in an altogether coherent manner.

Perhaps, ultimately we could co-opt the Greens, and turn their misguided socialism into a faith that “The Party of Principle” does, in fact, provide their only hope of any real progress on the issues that the rank-and-file Greens claim as their priorities. So I guess the question is, does it? Where do we draw the line between individual freedom and protecting the individual from the inevitable products of our industrial society?

Look folks, it’s all very well to know that we are right. But, if we don’t do whatever it takes to sell the philosophy to Average Voter, then we’re bulltits, and ultimately no better than the crooks and scoundrels that we despise. Maybe worse, because we certainly know better. Maybe part of the problem is that the philosophy still needs work. I have been a registered Libertarian since the day I turned 18, in 1973. What do I have to show for it? Pretty much Zip! Whose fault is that? Mine! So, what do you think?

Thank you, randyleepublic.
Bikerdad
RP's wistful solicitation of the Greens is, ultimately, incredibly irrational. The Greens operate from a fundamentally different philosophical base, one that is diametrically opposed to that which underpins libertarianism. The Greens are for all practical purposes a party of nature worshippers. Their platforms are not based on any form of rationalism, but rather on faith, emotion and faux rationalism. Their conception of nature is semi-holistic, systemically deterministic, and has very little room in it for individuals.

Enough though of the Watermelons, back to the primary subject: how can libertarianism respond effectively to environmental concerns?

The only mechanism available to libertarians would be "environmental insurance." Anything else falls prey to one of the core weaknesses of objectivism, namely, that its focus on what is undercuts its ability to coherently deal with what will be. When you combine this with the libertarian's focus on individual choice and knowledge combined with their faith in collective accumulated knowledge (as demonstrated by the market), any coerced collective action based on expert's assessment of "what if" is anathema.

Which means that the less probable an outcome, or the less certain the knowledge, the more resistant individual libertarians will be to complying with prevention or ameliorative actions, especially when the libertarian is going to bear the cost. The sorry track record of environmental activists' "science" simply undercuts the confidence in their "knowledge" even further, compounded by the legions of assaults on private property and personal liberties in the name of "saving the environment."

Yes, libertarian philosophy doesn't have much difficulty dealing with environmental "assaults" that have already taken place, but it has far more trouble with the future, especially under the current paradigms of environmentalism.
quarkhead
Bikerdad. Hmm. I'm going to pull a page from your own book.

Your lack of understanding and knowledge in this area is Staggering!!!

QUOTE
RP's wistful solicitation of the Greens is, ultimately, incredibly irrational. The Greens operate from a fundamentally different philosophical base, one that is diametrically opposed to that which underpins libertarianism. The Greens are for all practical purposes a party of nature worshippers. Their platforms are not based on any form of rationalism, but rather on faith, emotion and faux rationalism. Their conception of nature is semi-holistic, systemically deterministic, and has very little room in it for individuals.


I'm so glad Daddy's told us the truth! To think, I've been so stupid and wrong all this time!

I consider myself a libertarian socialist. I find them to be compatible. Sorry if you don't, but oh well.

Your mean-spirited attack on the Greens is equally irrational.

QUOTE
The Greens are for all practical purposes a party of nature worshippers.

sources? Proof?

QUOTE
Their platforms are not based on any form of rationalism, but rather on faith, emotion and faux rationalism.

sources? Proof?

QUOTE
Their conception of nature is semi-holistic, systemically deterministic, and has very little room in it for individuals.

sources? Proof?

If private property is the ultimate trump in rights, what happens to the person who owns no property? Is liberty only predicated on the owning of property? When the framers of the Declaration of Independence were writing, they were indeed referring to the rights of only the land-owing elite. Thankfully, most of us have evolved some sense of human rights which transcends the elitism of such thought.

The right to own land is not inalienable; it is only available to the wealthy. There can be no natural right of property ownership, when the earth existed before us, and will continue when we are gone. The "right" to live in a certain place was always created through coercive violence. Yet some Libertarians choose to ignore this, and decide that it is private property which will triumph over coercion. Land where Native Americans lived, who gave king George the right to own it? To cede it to the various landed gentry who came to "own" it? Violence, my friend, violence and coercion.

I'm not suggesting we do away with private property; that's a bit unrealistic. But I admit it gets my goat to hear people defend the "right" of private property, when they are arguing (supposedly) AGAINST the idea of coercion - without acknowledging the gentrified and elitist debt they owe to all the more ruthless landowners of past ages, who secured said property at the blade of a sword, or at the barrel of a gun.

You need to ask yourself some deeper questions. But gosh, your command of all the big vocabulary words sure makes you sound good! smile.gif

I'm not with the thrust of this thread, however; not entirely. I would see it from almost the opposite side - it is the libertarians who need to wake up and be brought into the Greens camp. In spite of bikerdad's hyperbole, as well-spoken as it is, in all the time I've been out in streets (sometimes figuratively smile.gif ) working for change, getting active about human rights, I've met a whole lot of Greens who were dedicated to the true proposition that all are created equally, and deserve an equal opportunity in this world; I've seen precious few Libertarians fighting for the ideals of liberty (at least for anyone other than themselves).
randyleepublic
Now, I guess that you start to see the problem here - notice the antagonistic viewpoints. And these two don't even represent the full range of libertarians. But how can we ever be efficient enough recruit enough new members to win some serious elections with this sort of diversity/divisiveness?

To reply to BD, first you miss the point about the Greens. The idea is to take advantage of their enthusiasm for curbing pollution and their willingness to place themselves outside the Republicrats and channel them into our woefully inadequate Libertarian constituency. Minus, hopefully the metaphysical baggage. On your other point, I have to admit that it took me a couple of readings before I noticed that you pretty much agree with me that there are "weaknesses of objectivism." That is the whole point of this thread, i.e., that there are weaknesses and what can we libertarians do about them.

To QH, what's the point in being so disdainful to a fellow Libertarian. I raise these issues to make the point that, perhaps there are areas of weakness that prevent our Party being more successful at the poles. I hope that, through debate of the issues that perhaps we can see a way to build our constituency. I think that you misplace private property as real estate for private property as whatever form the fruits of a particular individual's labor may take. Your examples from history are well taken, but seem to ignore context. Next to the Divine Right of Kings the Landed Gentry was an improvement.

To Jaime, I apologize for the two-in-a-row posts; I'm new and didn't know that that was frowned on. Won't happen again. On the other hand, and with all due respect to your position as moderator; as I explain above, the reason that I started this thread was to encourage debate amongst libertarians about one of what I perceive to be several weaknesses in the Party Platform, i.e., the Libertarian Party's incoherent position in re environmental pollution. It certainly seems to me that the part played by Nuclear Power as an agent of both pollution and non-greenhouse producing power is entirely relevant. After all, correct me if I'm wrong, but the thread that you mention is not even part of the Libertarian branch of the site. I am not trying to debate about nuclear power, but about nuclear power in the context of a debate about the Libertarian Party's position on environmental issues. OK?

These replies are the short versions - I had to re-compose when I neglected to save before previewing and my stuff got munched. - randyleepublic
randyleepublic
Now let me poke another hornet's nest. My understanding is that from the viewpoint of looking at the earth's history as a whole, the best estimate places us now in a short warm spell in the middle of a much longer ice age. If that is true, and considering how suddenly the geologic evidence seems to show that these warm spells can end and the regular ice age resume, I am concerned that we don't really know what the cumulative effects of burning so much fossil fuels will be. My readings, (admittedly spotty), seem to suggest that the best scientists can come up with so far is a reassuring, "Maybe, I don't know."

Now, I would be the last one to advocate a return to living in caves, but it does seem to me that we may be like children playing with matches - ignorant of the possible consequences. Now that sweet capitalism is taking hold in China we're about to add another 100 million gasoline engines to the fold. Might that be the last straw? On the other hand, I do know of one energy source that damn sure doesn't produce any greenhouse gasses - good old nuclear fission!

The problem is that under my understanding of Libertarian philosophy the only way that nuclear fission could continue to be developed would be if some private insurance companies were to insure against the liabilities. Which probably none of them would. But what is point of having liberty under a thousand feet of ice? Perhaps a more thorough analysis of the true costs of burning fossil fuels, (including such things as "regime change" and overall cancer rates from incremental trace toxin pollution), would reveal that indirectly we are coerced into subsidizing the fossil fuel industry far more than we ever have subsidized the nuclear power industry. It does seem like the nuclear power plant accidents were easily preventable dimbulb f'ups. What do you think fellow libertarians?
Jaime
Please avoid posting two posts in a row. If you were the last person to post and you want to add more, you merely need to go in & edit your post. If 12 hours have passed since your last post, go ahead & start a new one, since your edit window will have closed.

Also, if you want to discuss nuclear power plants, please join us in this thread Nuclear Power, power of the future? or start a thread if you have a specific question.

The debate topic for this thread will remain:
QUOTE
According to Libertarian principle, my private property is supposed to be my private property where I can do whatever I like. If I want to fill my backyard with toxic waste, it's my backyard and therefore it's my right to do so. But, if some of my toxic waste gets into my neighbor's well, isn't that an assault, and therefore isn't it a legitimate function of the government to use force to halt that assault?


Thanks.
Jaime
CLOSED.

This thread is a mess. Start your debate over in the Libertarian debate forum and make it clear you only want libertarians debating in there. Also be sure there is a clear question to debate from the start.
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