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Strong
20-01-2012, 10:31 AM
Why libertarians must deny climate change, in one short take (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/jan/06/why-libertarians-must-deny-climage-change)


Matt Bruenig's summing up of the inherent conflict between libertarianism and environmental issues


Bruenig explains what is now the core argument used by conservatives and libertarians: the procedural justice account of property rights. In brief, this means that if the process by which property was acquired was just, those who have acquired it should be free to use it as they wish, without social restraints or obligations to other people.

Their property rights are absolute and cannot be intruded upon by the state or by anyone else. Any interference with, or damage to, the value of their property without their consent even by taxation is an unwarranted infringement. This, with local variations, is the basic philosophy of the Republican candidates, the Tea Party movement, the lobby groups that call themselves "free market thinktanks" and much of the new right in the UK.

It's an interesting argument to make, well worth being familiar with as we run up to the Presidential race in the US.

ewomack
20-01-2012, 01:19 PM
Many of the people who lived in North America before us Europeans believed the exact opposite - you cannot own the land, you cannot own the sky, you cannot own the creatures of the earth... they had their own problems, too, but not the enormous ones we have. We European derivatives love to deny our biological and social dependencies... somewhere we got the idea that it's all about "me," not "us." A strange perversion of Enlightenment ideals turned into neo-conservative values of individualism and selfishness. And it goes even further back to the Protestant ethic that each one of us has a singular and unique relationship to God, which arguably led to the ideas of classical liberalism with regard to the state. There's no evidence that I know of that Western Medievals had any sense of individualism, apart from the monarch or a few powerful uppers (like the Barons who drafted the Magna Carta). Suddenly here's this loud obnoxious guy telling you that YOU matter to God as well. That EVERYONE matters. What a hit that must have been to people chaffing wheat stalks. Arguably, this idea spread amongst the people for a few hundred years and led to ideas of individual liberation and ultimately to 19th and 20th century ideas of democracy as well as socialism (socialism is a sort of collective individualism, or at least it's supposed to be).

Some parts of the world in the early 20th century seemed to strike a decent balance between individualism and collectivism, but the latter half of the 20th century was all about the self, the refining of the self and the empowering of the self. The self became everything and, as with all movements, some people took the idea to an extreme and began espousing that only the individual matters and that individual rights trump collective rights in all cases. Such people are in essence little monarchs defending their divinely appointed realms. So we're moving towards a strange sort of monarchical collectivism, where everyone strives for absolute control over their dominion. But this ignores so many things that the people who lived in the US before and some Asian cultures have known for centuries: we're not a "dominion within a dominion" (as Spinoza claimed); we're a residue of creation and the environment that created us. We're trapped on this earth for the most part. We can't walk to Mars or stroll to Venus; we need massive amounts of energy to even get into our own orbit. This may change in the future, but we're far from it. And if we don't succeed in getting off this planet, or if we make the planet uninhabitable for ourselves, in some 4 billion years (assuming our current theories are correct) then humanity will simply end. Everything we know today will get wiped out, our history, our landmarks, etc. Some radio waves will remain, the ones we started transmitting in the 1950s, but they'll be way out there and mega-diffuse in a few billion years. Someone will have to know what they are to understand them. We're very highly dependent creatures who seem to have capabilities to exist in only certain contexts - and these contexts only seem to exist in extremely small and scattered corners of the unimaginable universe.But perhaps our insistence on being able to pollute and destroy the land that we "own" only shows how small we really are?

Atom
20-01-2012, 02:29 PM
"(...) if we don't succeed in getting off this planet, or if we make the planet uninhabitable for ourselves, in some 4 billion years (assuming our current theories are correct) then humanity will simply end. (...)"

I'm having trouble understanding this ^ part.

Nice post, Ed.

Atom
20-01-2012, 02:52 PM
...

Muddy
20-01-2012, 03:15 PM
I say librarians should just stay in their libraries!

Atom
20-01-2012, 03:18 PM
Well I guess it makes sense then, Strongy.

Funny how when things are boiled down to two sides, the one you don't choose automatically becomes the wrong side.

Atom
20-01-2012, 03:20 PM
I say librarians should just stay in their libraries!I've always had a problem with liberals and libertarians in the same sentence, I think the current voting system may condition people that way.

Halo
20-01-2012, 03:22 PM
"(...) if we don't succeed in getting off this planet, or if we make the planet uninhabitable for ourselves, in some 4 billion years (assuming our current theories are correct) then humanity will simply end. (...)"

I'm having trouble understanding this ^ part.


Sun. Boom. Go bye-bye. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#Earth.27s_fate)

(At least that's how I read it.)

Atom
20-01-2012, 03:53 PM
(...) Sun. (...)Oh, that's right, thanks Halo.

4 billion years is a long time.

Atom
20-01-2012, 04:13 PM
I wonder if the ability to imagine just how long 4 billion years really was would cause instant death.

Atom
20-01-2012, 04:17 PM
That's a hard one to grasp but once you do it's like a chocolate orgasm.

Strong
21-01-2012, 11:09 AM
Well I guess it makes sense then, Strongy.

Funny how when things are boiled down to two sides, the one you don't choose automatically becomes the wrong side.

Well that's my problem with idealists, everything has to fit within their ideology or else it is excluded, it has to be wrong. Better to have a pragmatic approach, look at the evidence, find what works for a given problem. An ideology should only ever be seen as a guide, it should not excluded other possibilities, else you have a closed mind.

I have said many times, extremes are not the answer, life is not black and white, it's all shades of grey.

Atom
21-01-2012, 11:38 AM
I think that the left has always been more flexible than the right, but that may be just part of my conditioning.

Strong
21-01-2012, 11:43 AM
Many of the people who lived in North America before us Europeans believed the exact opposite - you cannot own the land, you cannot own the sky, you cannot own the creatures of the earth... they had their own problems, too, but not the enormous ones we have. We European derivatives love to deny our biological and social dependencies... somewhere we got the idea that it's all about "me," not "us." A strange perversion of Enlightenment ideals turned into neo-conservative values of individualism and selfishness. ...

I suspect that any right thinking person, realises that their fate on this planet is intricately tied to that of everyone else's on the planet. Take China building a new fossil fuel power station every week at present, what is the effect of that on the health of Americans? The seas are dying, we are in the middle of the largest mass extinction event the planet has ever known, where does all that come from? It is only so long that libertarians can turn a blind eye and ear, before it catches up with them personally. My hope is it won't be too late, but some can be awfully deaf when they choose to be.


For those of you who haven't had a read of the article, please do, it really does lay bare the nonsense of the libertarian approach.


Almost all uses of land will entail some infringement on some other piece of land that is owned by someone else. So how can that ever be permitted? No story about freedom and property rights can ever justify the pollution of the air or the burning of fuels, because those things affect the freedom and property rights of others. Those actions ultimately cause damage to surrounding property and people without getting any consent from those affected. They are the ethical equivalent for honest libertarians of punching someone in the face or breaking someone else's window.

Strong
21-01-2012, 11:45 AM
I think that the left has always been more flexible than the right, but that may be just part of my conditioning.

Americans and Brits talking about the politics of the left and right always have a very difficult time because, the left in the US are more right-wing then the right are over here in the UK. That said the left over hear are sometimes just as inflexible as everybody else.

Atom
21-01-2012, 01:53 PM
Americans and Brits talking about the politics of the left and right always have a very difficult time because, the left in the US are more right-wing then the right are over here in the UK. That said the left over hear are sometimes just as inflexible as everybody else.I suppose someone that bounced back and forth from extreme to extreme would in the political realm be considered fickle, where in reality they'd be crazy.

Atom
21-01-2012, 02:09 PM
I think that neutral can be likened to bipolar extremes in that neither lean one way, so maybe we are conditioned to lean one way or the other.

Atom
21-01-2012, 02:17 PM
;;;

Atom
22-01-2012, 01:49 PM
I guess basically what the article means is that there may be many righties who actually believe that man does adversely affect the planet through their altering of the global climate but they aren't in a position to admit it, being adherents to the rightist ideology. I think it's sad that adherence to political ideology could trump such an important issue.

Strong
29-01-2012, 07:41 AM
Essentially yes.

Although I would say they refuse to admit it since that would effectively negate their belief in libertarianism. And their refusal in the face of evidence means they are irrational and intellectually dishonest. (No body in their right mind can say the evidence is not overwhelming now.)