Serious Question to Libertarians and An-Caps: What about the Environment?

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I don’t have any easy answers here so I am posing this as a serious question to the Libertarian and Anarcho-Capitalist community:

How do you repair and preserve the ecology under those respective systems?

Today on my drive into the office I was listening to Alternative Radio on CIUT. I think it may have been an interview with David Suzuki who was talking about climate change and especially Canada’s vulnerability to it.

When it comes to climate change you are in hot button territory. Is anything really happening? (Yes, something is. I live in and grew up here in Canada and the winters are warmer and the summers are blistering, that’s just an observed fact).

Is it man made? When it comes to competing climate change studies, everybody is somebody’s weirdo: I’ve heard references to studies that suggest all planets within he solar system are simultaneously heating up. Martin Armstrong claims that global warming is a solar cycle phenomenon that peaked in 2012. My mother has shown me accounts in German of similar “warming” periods from the 1700’s.

That said, there are 8 billion, breathing, driving, energy consuming, waste producing people on this planet and it’s almost silly to think that given our propensity for disregard to the environment, that something is not going to give somewhere as a result.

So, if the dream were to come true for us Libertarians and An-Caps and we woke up one morning and the monolithic, overbloated, government behemoth magically “went away”, would it be better or worse for the environment? How? Why?

When it comes to matters economic we have little trouble dispensing with the prevailing “wisdom” that “governments can manage the economy”, because history shows clearly, to anybody who cares to look, that they cannot. In most cases government intervention only succeeds in making all managed economies worse off. That’s a no-brainer (unless you have, no brains).

When we turn to matters environmental and ecological, I frequently experience cognitive dissonance as I wonder who will look out for public commons if there is not some ostensible public authority to do it? Do we privatize the air?  How will those unrestricted market forces not overshoot, over-harvest, over-everything?

The only thing that soothes said cognitive dissonance is the realization that whatever ecological and environmental repair and conservation needs to take place, it is only being impeded by governments today.

But the big question is: if you get that big impediment of Big Government out of the way, we know the economy will be just fine, but then what?

As Chris Martenson observes and makes his life’s work in the synthesis of this: it is now all about the 3-E’s: Energy, Economy and Ecology – they need to be taken as an integrated whole.

Can do we do it? And can we do it better with less government? If so, how?

2 responses to “Serious Question to Libertarians and An-Caps: What about the Environment?”

  1. Publius says:

    Briefly, nothing less than religon will work.
    Men are not known for long term thinking and often it does happen that we are mistaken in our hubris that we have the answers. Therefore to teach men to walk softly on the Earth an not pretend to have dominion over it requires a paradigm shift towards religous faith that respects the web of life.
    Not that this overcomes poverty by the way, but it is a step.

  2. Paul Hakel says:

    If you’re asking how under a more libertarian government that the environment will be taken care of, I think the only extent to which it will be protected is that anyone who destroys your property’s natural environmental health can be sued for damages since private property rights are always held in esteem by libertarians. The threat of this penalty prevents damage. What protects us from damage currently? Even the laws we create aren’t protecting against countless environmentally destructive practices which are going on.

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