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My 2 Cents about Global Warming...

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  • Other Party
    California
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    Hi y'all.

    I'm new to this forum and I'd like to say a few things about the subject of global warming (or climate change).

    By political persuasion I am an anarchist libertarian. I say this simply because the subject of climate change nearly always gets reduced to the limited dichotomy of Left vs Right. I am neither and I'm hoping to avoid knee-jerk reactions from either side making assumptions about my motivations.

    My view is that we should address environmental concerns by prioritizing human welfare overall by defending the personal and property rights of each individual. It is not enough for environmentalists to correctly observe that the Earth's temperature has been warming over the past century. Since the Left is advocating for political solutions which will result in State-imposed restrictions on my personal liberties and which will possibly entail a reduction in my standard of living, the burden is on them to demonstrate that the speculated future negative externalities from unrestricted CO2 emissions will justify the proposed measures and outweigh the human cost of the corresponding reduction in liberty and retardation of economic growth and development, particularly in third world nations.

    Let me give an example. Do you suppose that the invention of fire was beneficial to human welfare? Obviously it was. But the inhalation of smoke is not, as seen in a vacuum, "healthy" for people. Surely the hunter-gatherers of the distant past suddenly exposed themselves to a lot more smoke pollution when they discovered fire than they had before. Yet, this invention improved human welfare immeasurably. Now humans were able to avoid starvation and death from extreme cold. They were able to scare away predators and live longer and healthier than they previously could. Some level of pollution is not harmful to human health in a significant way. The air in the mountains is always cleaner than it is in the city, but people voluntarily move to the city because the improvements to their standard of living and their health from the division of labor in an industrial society far outweigh difference in air quality.

    Human beings are uniquely capable of adapting to changes in climate. Fossil fuels, like the discovery of fire in a previous age, are very polluting when you judge them in a vacuum. Yet we owe nearly everything in our lives to the continued supply of cheap, abundant, and scalable energy sources. Nearly everything that improves human welfare, that keeps us alive, keeps us fed and able to lead a relatively comfortable life can be attributed in large part to cheap energy, which has overwhelmingly been made up of CO2 emitting fossil fuels.

    Yes, the earth's climate has been warming (more moderately than catastrophists have been claiming) yet human living standards have risen dramatically in this same period.

    There is a ledger that must be weighed. On the one hand is the potential negative externalities that could be caused or exacerbated by excessive CO2 emissions such as extreme weather events. On the other hand, you have the millions of people who are literally barely able to survive because of their access to cheap energy sources which fuel their economies and allow them to become more and more productive. What these people need is more production, more capital equipment and more cheap and abundant energy.

    These lives ARE affected in a profound way by State actions that forbid new oil drilling or artificially make scarce energy sources which drives up cost and retards economic growth. Remember I'm not just talking about us in the relatively prosperous West, but rather throughout the world and especially in developing countries like India.

    With that said, I DO think that industrial pollution is a big problem. I think companies should have to pay for all provable property damage they do to others. They should be legally forced to be fully culpable for emitting toxic chemicals that harm others. There should be no barrier to class action lawsuits and companies must be forced to pay damages for their polluting activity provided proof is offered in a court.

    This is a very necessary reform but it is categorically different from the assumed problems that come from global temperature increases at the macro level.

    I've got plenty more to say on the topic, but I'll just add one more thing for the moment. If global warming is a serious problem that requires humans to change their behavior to mitigate it's effects on human well being, it does NOT logically follow that politics and State action are the proper remedies.

    Private, cooperative action between individuals on the market offer the only way towards real solutions to serious human problems. In particular, the political Left has smuggled it's regressive and largely discredited economic agenda under the guise of "protecting the environment". If anyone is familiar with Public Choice Theory or has even a passing familiarity with how politics and government bureaucracies work, you'd never entrust a political body with the grave task of averting global catastrophe.

    If a State is to exist, it must be limited to the defense of individual rights and the protection of private property. And the protection of private property means that companies are NOT free to pollute the air or water with impunity. Such actions would constitute a trespass and would be legally actionable. It is activist States that have for more than a hundred years protected large corporations from legal liability for their pollution. Activist States overturned centuries of Common Law precedent that said pollution constituted a legally actionable trespass.

    In short, most of the arguments for government action to combat Climate Change are fatally flawed, albeit for different reasons that those coming from the Right.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    The forces that want to regulate the climate come from the same place that wants to regulate the economy. You pick the medicine for protecting your standard of living and personal rights. The wrong decision is terminal. Merry Christmas !!!
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Welcome. Climate change is both real and sad. Persons and corporate interests have been happy and willing to destroy the planet if it pads their pockets. Those who deny the obvious should explain the Melt down.

    Libertarian huh ? When are you going to convince the other 96% percent that you are right and they're wrong ?

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    jrodefeld -- Title of your new thread says it all...it's worth about two cents. As an avid supporter of climate scientists and their remarkable work the world over, I really struggle to see the shallow and selfish Republican view or the Libertarian view. The fact is that Climate Change is a critical issue that is recognized by governments and their people internationally...from China to Russia to Demark. Only in the USA where profit trumps critical thinking do the anti-global warming cons carry any weight. Only with the cooperation of governments with regulations affecting the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases can we begin to shift the global trends.

    The trouble with corporate America is that they are very short sighted looking at their bottom lines quarter to quarter and how it affects their bonuses and stock options. Selfish. They sell misinformation to a portion of the gullible American public. Individuals and private organizations do not have the muscle of corporations when it come to regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

    The effects that we are seeing in Climate Change events that we are experiencing today are not a result of present day polluters. Scientists describe a 40 year lag between the perpetrators' acts and seeing the effects. So look to the 1970s to find the biggest perps then including nation states as well as the fossil fuel industry for todays climatic events. The effects of today's greenhouse gas polluters will be felt by my grandchildren somewhere between 2050 and 2060. I will be long dead, but I do feel for the world we leave behind for future generations of all of earth's good citizens.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: The effects that we are seeing in Climate Change events that we are experiencing today are not a result of present day polluters. Scientists describe a 40 year lag between the perpetrators' acts and seeing the effects. So look to the 1970s to find the biggest perps then including nation states as well as the fossil fuel industry for todays climatic events. The effects of today's greenhouse gas polluters will be felt by my grandchildren somewhere between 2050 and 2060. I will be long dead, but I do feel for the world we leave behind for future generations of all of earth's good citizens.

    This is the debate I've been having with my conservative family members for quite some time. They only seem to be concerned about the here and now and not about the future. I've even tried to pull at their heartstrings by talking about the world they want their grandchildren to inherit, but it's hard to get through to them because they genuinely don't believe that anything is wrong.

    I've tried showing them real time pictures and videos of low lying countries being slowly swallowed by the sea, satellite images of disappearing ice caps, and of out of control wildfires that are now burning year round, but the brain works in mysterious ways and somehow allows them to deny what they are seeing.

    Years of denial will do this to someones brain. I'm loathe to compare my family members to addicts, but the first step towards recovery is admitting that there's a problem and unfortunately there are millions of people in this country who just aren't ready to do that yet.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Libertarian - just about the most selfish, backwards, simplistic, outdated political philosophy ever dreamed up!

    2¢ worth is more like worthless. Grow up and study your history and stop believing in anti-social theory you will be a better person for it.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    I remember when I was a kid in the Ohio Valley south of Pittsburgh. There were towns in the valley where people actually died from the smoke and gasses. Nothing wrong with changing the standard of living in a positive way. But the reality of subjective thinking always satisfies that mind .
  • Other Party
    California
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    TJ Wrote:

    Welcome. Climate change is both real and sad. Persons and corporate interests have been happy and willing to destroy the planet if it pads their pockets. Those who deny the obvious should explain the Melt down.

    Libertarian huh ? When are you going to convince the other 96% percent that you are right and they're wrong ?

    I never said climate change wasn't "real" and I agree that many corporations eagerly outsource the costs of their industrial activity to innocent third parties in exchange for more profits. This is why I stressed the need for strict private property rights enforcement whereby business is required to pay for the damages to others that is caused by their activity.

    However governments have very high time preferences as well, arguably even higher than do businessmen. Most politicians can't see past the next election so how can they be trusted to manage a long term project like mitigating the harm caused by CO2 emissions over decades?

    Now that Donald Trump is president, liberals should think long and hard about whether they entrust an institution like the State to implement solutions to the perceived dangers of climate change. If you were acting in the market with like minded individuals to find environmental solutions, you wouldn't have to worry about elections sabotaging your progress.

    You have to be more clear in your phrasing. "Climate change is real" is literally a nonsensical statement, since "climate" is by definition constantly changing. There is no serious person who denies this. And there are no serious people who deny that the phenomenon of The Greenhouse Effect, or who question the effect that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have on it. That is not what this debate is about.

    The debate is about whether or what politicians can or should do about it. And, secondly, whether or not the effects of a warming climate will be catastrophic for human welfare or are something that humans can adapt to. Like I said, industrial progress brought about by cheap energy improves the ability of humans to adapt and protect themselves from the environment.

    Yes, I'm a libertarian. I don't know when I'm going to convince the other 96% but I'll just focus on you at the moment. By the way, there are a lot of libertarian views that people hold even if they don't self-identify as libertarians. It's a more popular school of thought than you realize.

  • Other Party
    California
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    jrodefeld -- Title of your new thread says it all...it's worth about two cents. As an avid supporter of climate scientists and their remarkable work the world over, I really struggle to see the shallow and selfish Republican view or the Libertarian view. The fact is that Climate Change is a critical issue that is recognized by governments and their people internationally...from China to Russia to Demark. Only in the USA where profit trumps critical thinking do the anti-global warming cons carry any weight. Only with the cooperation of governments with regulations affecting the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases can we begin to shift the global trends.

    The trouble with corporate America is that they are very short sighted looking at their bottom lines quarter to quarter and how it affects their bonuses and stock options. Selfish. They sell misinformation to a portion of the gullible American public. Individuals and private organizations do not have the muscle of corporations when it come to regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

    The effects that we are seeing in Climate Change events that we are experiencing today are not a result of present day polluters. Scientists describe a 40 year lag between the perpetrators' acts and seeing the effects. So look to the 1970s to find the biggest perps then including nation states as well as the fossil fuel industry for todays climatic events. The effects of today's greenhouse gas polluters will be felt by my grandchildren somewhere between 2050 and 2060. I will be long dead, but I do feel for the world we leave behind for future generations of all of earth's good citizens.

    You didn't really address most of the points I raised and I take objection to you calling yourself an "avid supporter of climate scientists" since the implication is that I am not. I also take issue with your description of my view as "shallow" and "selfish". I started out my argument by saying that my priority is overall human welfare, not just in the prosperous West but throughout the world. I hardly think that this qualifies as a "shallow" or a "selfish" view.

    I'm not a climate scientist so I defer to those who are but I make an effort to read what I can from actual scientists who work in the field. What most people understand about the science of climate change is unfortunately filtered through political agendas and the media, which distorts the reality of the academic, nuanced and cautious discussion and predictions that most scientists in the field engage in.

    Political activists who are looking to pass some piece of legislation or are rallying behind a politician in the upcoming election have every incentive to sensationalize and selectively push the most catastrophic of predictions in order to achieve a short term political victory. Every political activist does this. The same thing with the Republicans who bring up a new "terror" scare before every election. It's not surprising that the nuance of academic science gets lost in the shuffle.

    If you'll re-read my opening piece, you'll notice that I never denied that human-caused global warming is not, or could not conceivably develop into a serious problem that endangers human welfare on this planet.

    But here is the real truth of the matter:

    The actual consensus among climate scientist regarding future negative externalities due to greenhouse gas emissions are somewhat less than what the political activists and hysterics have been claiming.

    And the actual palliative effect of proposed legislation and government action is almost negligible according to most un-biased projections. The Kyoto Protocol, the various Cap and Trade proposals that have been offered and other suggested government actions that have a prayer of being passed and enacted will do little to curb the trend of CO2 emissions or lower the Earth's temperature.

    This article by Robert P. Murphy, an accomplished Ph.D economist and libertarian theorist, gives a little insight into the chasm between political rhetoric and the actual science:

    fee.org/articles/the-costs-of-hysteria/

    As an anarchist I firmly believe that politics poisons everything, including science. When political agendas and State-funded science mesh, a misinformed public follows.

    You make the observation that corporate America is very short-sighted, but what are politicians if not short-sighted?

    I don't support any form of government subsidy, special privilege or favoritism towards any business. But in an actual free market, businessmen are very far-sighted. Far more than politicians.

    To give an example, suppose a logging company owned it's own forest and periodically cut down trees to sell as lumber. If they own the forest, then they have an incentive to preserve the capital value in the land. If they cut down all the trees at once, they can make a ton of profits in the short run. But they will be screwed in the long run. They won't have any lumber to sell next year.

    So they very scientifically cut down certain trees as they are planting other trees so their stock of lumber is always constant and they can make more money in the long run.

    By contrast, what if the government gives logging companies short-term rights to cut down trees on government land? The incentive in this case is to cut down as many trees as possible in the short run and make as much profit as quickly as possible. This is the "tragedy of the commons" phenomenon that plagues all State-owned land.

    Property owners are more far-seeing than those who get temporary un-restricted use of other peoples property. A business owner wants to keep his money so he can pass it down to his children.

    A politician, by contrast, only looks at his or her current term in government. They want to gain as much advantage for themselves or their friends as possible in the short time they serve. Politicians don't think about the next generation. They don't even think about the next term in office if they are supplanted. And even if they win re-election, their only goal is to win re-election in another four years.

    Politicians have a goal of terrorizing the public with stories of imminent doom, even some that have a basis in fact, in order to immediately pass a piece of legislation, win re-election or give some subsidies to their crony corporatist buddies.

  • Other Party
    California
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote: The effects that we are seeing in Climate Change events that we are experiencing today are not a result of present day polluters. Scientists describe a 40 year lag between the perpetrators' acts and seeing the effects. So look to the 1970s to find the biggest perps then including nation states as well as the fossil fuel industry for todays climatic events. The effects of today's greenhouse gas polluters will be felt by my grandchildren somewhere between 2050 and 2060. I will be long dead, but I do feel for the world we leave behind for future generations of all of earth's good citizens.

    This is the debate I've been having with my conservative family members for quite some time. They only seem to be concerned about the here and now and not about the future. I've even tried to pull at their heartstrings by talking about the world they want their grandchildren to inherit, but it's hard to get through to them because they genuinely don't believe that anything is wrong.

    I've tried showing them real time pictures and videos of low lying countries being slowly swallowed by the sea, satellite images of disappearing ice caps, and of out of control wildfires that are now burning year round, but the brain works in mysterious ways and somehow allows them to deny what they are seeing.

    Years of denial will do this to someones brain. I'm loathe to compare my family members to addicts, but the first step towards recovery is admitting that there's a problem and unfortunately there are millions of people in this country who just aren't ready to do that yet.

    I'm an open-minded person and I'm certainly no conservative. Look at the world you are living in. Donald Trump is now president. Are you really expecting a Trump administration to prioritize fighting climate change? Neither do I.

    If fossil fuel use causes negative externalities in the form of rising sea levels, wildfires and similar which harm human welfare, the obvious solution is to develop alternative energy sources such that humans can maintain their living standards and third world citizens can continue to raise theirs.

    The solution to this in my view is to move as quickly as possible to shrink and eventually abolish all monopolistic States. States are the biggest polluters in the world and the reduction in their size and scope will lead to a cleaner environment.

    Second, we ought to recognize that acts of pollution are acts of aggression and should be litigated in courts. If any corporation is found to have damaged the health or property of another, they are to be required to pay restitution for damages and cease the polluting behavior.

    Finally, the energy economy should be set free with no subsidy for oil or any particular form of energy. No artificial grants of privilege. With the stipulation that any and all companies that cause harm to private property owners are to be fully liable.

    Under these conditions it is up to individual entrepreneurs, inventors and the public at large to innovate and create ever cleaner and better sources of energy that can serve humans and allow us to progress and improve our standards of living ever farther, eradicating poverty and feeding the hungry the world over.

    Even if I stipulate that each and every of the most catastrophic predictions about global warming are absolutely true without a shadow of a doubt, it is STILL foolish to trust government to solve this problem. I've stated quite a few reasons why this is so. The program above has a far better shot of providing a solution to this and any other environmental problem that faces us.

    Are you familiar with Public Choice economics? It is a school of thought that subjects public officials to the same economic analyses that are applied to actors in the market economy. Each politician, each bureaucrat that comprise the State have their own incentives and their own personal agendas. They respond to incentives just like everybody else. When the incentives are perverse, as they are in the State, the consequences are predictable.

    If you understand how the State and politics actually work, you'd oppose it as much as I do.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Go back to school Mr. libertarian and get more education then come back and preach to us here.

    I have news for you, the regular posters here have forgotten more about politics, society and human nature than you have ever learned in your whole life. If you seriously believe you can convince any of us as to the validity of your self-serving, anti-humanist philosophy you are sadly mistaken.

  • Independent
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    One suggests "how will capitalism end?" by Wolfgang Streeck. Also Robert Gordon's "the rise and fall of American growth."

    First we have the nonsense of the so-called tragedy of the commons. As though a private owner would automatically be a better steward. This is wishful thinking. As a small example the Passenger pigeon and the Carolina parakeet were driven to complete extinction because humans chose to do so. Humans no more steward natural resources than they steward anything else. Oh, certainly individuals can and do but not in the aggregate. And never in the aggregate under a system that places monetary value on a resource and uses the criteria of development regarding said resource. Why were some groups able to live in balance until they were driven through exposure to capitalism and development?

    Btw, Streeck addresses the so-called public choice issue in his book. The movement from tax state to debt state was not driven by public choice issues but by capital. Further the consolidation and further destruction of the public by the private is again a conscious choice by capital in general and finance in particular.

    One also suggests "Adam's fallacy" by Duncan Foley.

    as for libertarianism it is the philosophy of the four year old. Under an idiot like Thatcher we get the comment that there is no such thing as society which she then proceeds to invalidate by saying there are individuals and families. And what from there? Relation by marriage, peer groups, religious groups. And what happens? Organization of government to insure and secure rights.

    Christ, I hate stupidity.

  • Other Party
    California
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    lonely bird Wrote:

    One suggests "how will capitalism end?" by Wolfgang Streeck. Also Robert Gordon's "the rise and fall of American growth."

    First we have the nonsense of the so-called tragedy of the commons. As though a private owner would automatically be a better steward. This is wishful thinking. As a small example the Passenger pigeon and the Carolina parakeet were driven to complete extinction because humans chose to do so. Humans no more steward natural resources than they steward anything else. Oh, certainly individuals can and do but not in the aggregate. And never in the aggregate under a system that places monetary value on a resource and uses the criteria of development regarding said resource. Why were some groups able to live in balance until they were driven through exposure to capitalism and development?

    Btw, Streeck addresses the so-called public choice issue in his book. The movement from tax state to debt state was not driven by public choice issues but by capital. Further the consolidation and further destruction of the public by the private is again a conscious choice by capital in general and finance in particular.

    One also suggests "Adam's fallacy" by Duncan Foley.

    as for libertarianism it is the philosophy of the four year old. Under an idiot like Thatcher we get the comment that there is no such thing as society which she then proceeds to invalidate by saying there are individuals and families. And what from there? Relation by marriage, peer groups, religious groups. And what happens? Organization of government to insure and secure rights.

    Christ, I hate stupidity.

    I didn't intend to make this a thread about libertarianism per se, but let me clarify a few things.

    People like Thatcher and Reagan are not libertarians, not even close. When you have leftist commentators such as Streeck and Gordon who denounce modern "capitalism" and the American economy, you won't find many libertarians who defend the current status quo.

    Many libertarians have said that the term "capitalism" is incorrect in describing the sort of economic order that they promote. A "freed market" is preferable. "Laissez-faire" is another, more accurate phrase. There is almost nothing about modern-era capitalism that libertarians support. You will find us in frequent agreement when those on the Left criticize the abuses of Big Business and Wall Street.

    What we believe is this: Each person owns their own physical bodies. From the concept of self-ownership, we can understand that people have rights. Nobody has the right to use my body without my permission. Unwanted acts of aggression against another person's physical body constitute a rights violation and should be illegal. Therefore assault, murder and rape are illegitimate violations of rights.

    I'm assuming we all agree with this so far?

    We believe in the principle of non-aggression. Acts of trespass against the physical bodies of others are always illegitimate and should be seen as rights-violations.

    We also believe in private property outside of our physical bodies. We believe in this because we value peace and prosperity. This requires conflict-avoidance. For a peaceful and productive society to emerge, we have to have clear rules about who has the right to control which scarce resource. In the event of a conflict, the job of a court is to determine who has the better claim to the scarce resource that is disputed.

    If a person owns oneself, that person may justly acquire property outside of their bodies one of three ways. In the first place, they can appropriate a resource out of the natural environment. This is called homesteading. If there is no previous owner of the given resource, you can lay claim to it if you mix your labor with it and transform it in some way. For example, you cut down a tree and build a house. You plant a garden. You put up a fence around your yard. That which you transformed through your labor now belongs to you because you were the first user and nobody else has a better claim to it than you.

    The second way that a person can justly acquire property is through contractual exchange. You can buy property from a previous owner. This is how most property is acquired today.

    The last way is through gift or inheritance.

    The libertarian maintains that it is illegitimate for any person or group of persons to initiate violence against any person or his property.

    Furthermore, we argue that there can be no exceptions to these basic rules of civilized life. Politicians, policemen and the military don't get a free pass to initiate violence when private citizens can't.

    Since the State relies upon the initiation of violence to fund itself and carry out it's rights abuses, it must be considered illegitimate.

    Now, if all legitimate governmental functions can be carried out without violating the non-aggression principle, then libertarians have no objections whatsoever. In fact, most libertarians have argued for private collectivist "governmental" organizations such as police and courts.

    We are simply opposed to the imposition of a violent monopoly over the provision of these services.

    I haven't read Streeck but I'm always interested in the Left's denouncement of "capital". Capital, at least as it is defined by libertarians, simply means savings. From the accumulation of capital, loans can be made, businesses can be started and the economy can grow. The accumulation of capital is essential for rising living standards.

    Now if Streeck's argument is that government and public life has been overrun by capital in the sense that businessmen and the very wealthy have taken over the apparatus of the State to the detriment of democracy, then I'd wholeheartedly agree.

    But this is the very reason why you should oppose the State. The State is essentially a protection racket where the very wealthy and powerful can exploit the masses of the people. You will never see a situation where the poor will have as powerful a lobby as Goldman Saches.

    Subjecting businesses to the demands and rigor of the market and free competition is the best way to hold business people accountable. Thinking that a democratic government will successfully regulate the excesses of corporate "greed" is foolish and it obviously hasn't worked.

    Now that I've said this, maybe you could respond to a few of the points I've raised?

    It's important for people to be able to discuss things with people they disagree with. Too many liberals fall into an echo chamber that they never get out of.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    jrodefeld Wrote:
    You didn't really address most of the points I raised and I take objection to you calling yourself an "avid supporter of climate scientists" since the implication is that I am not. I also take issue with your description of my view as "shallow" and "selfish". I started out my argument by saying that my priority is overall human welfare, not just in the prosperous West but throughout the world. I hardly think that this qualifies as a "shallow" or a "selfish" view.

    I am an avid supporter of Climate Change advocates because I have done considerable research on the subject myself. My observations of Republicans, Libertarians and other science deniers is just that...there is no depth to their thinking. They tow the tribal line without critical thinking, sometimes citing a single weather event to make their case.

    But if you were really concerned about "overall human welfare" you might take a look, for example, of what happens when the glaciers feeding the Indus and Ganges rivers run dry?

    I'm not a climate scientist so I defer to those who are but I make an effort to read what I can from actual scientists who work in the field. What most people understand about the science of climate change is unfortunately filtered through political agendas and the media, which distorts the reality of the academic, nuanced and cautious discussion and predictions that most scientists in the field engage in.

    I am not a Climate scientist either, but I have taken the time to read and understand. Yes I agree with you that much of what you read by the media and is filtered and cherry picked. As such, I look to recognized professional websites for my information, such as NASA's. I love the scientists at NASA...they do excellent work

    One of the worst offenders is James Inhofe who brought a snowball into the Senate chamber to make his point that climate change is a hoax. What a schmuck. On the other hand, Al Gore, for example, took a few liberties in citing Hurricane Katrina as a result of Climate Change. No reputable climate change scientist would use a single weather event to make a case. They study long term trends over years and decades.

    Political activists who are looking to pass some piece of legislation or are rallying behind a politician in the upcoming election have every incentive to sensationalize and selectively push the most catastrophic of predictions in order to achieve a short term political victory. Every political activist does this. The same thing with the Republicans who bring up a new "terror" scare before every election. It's not surprising that the nuance of academic science gets lost in the shuffle.

    I agree with you on the fact that sensationalizing and embellishing are a fact of life by both liberals and conservatives in everything political. However, it is not 50:50....more like 80:20. More crazy stuff comes from the right...these are the ones who often invoke God to make their point. such as "only God can control the weather".

    If you'll re-read my opening piece, you'll notice that I never denied that human-caused global warming is not, or could not conceivably develop into a serious problem that endangers human welfare on this planet.

    But here is the real truth of the matter:

    The actual consensus among climate scientist regarding future negative externalities due to greenhouse gas emissions are somewhat less than what the political activists and hysterics have been claiming.

    Some 97 percent of climate related scientists agree that global warming is man made. There may be some differences in extrapolating trends in to the future, but whether we are past the point of no return now or sometime in the less distant future doesn't lessen the importance of addressing and regulating the causes now. There is the odd rogue scientist probably looking for a contribution from Exxon or the Koch brothers that will compromise his or her professional ethics for a buck.

    And the actual palliative effect of proposed legislation and government action is almost negligible according to most un-biased projections. The Kyoto Protocol, the various Cap and Trade proposals that have been offered and other suggested government actions that have a prayer of being passed and enacted will do little to curb the trend of CO2 emissions or lower the Earth's temperature.

    This article by Robert P. Murphy, an accomplished Ph.D economist and libertarian theorist, gives a little insight into the chasm between political rhetoric and the actual science:

    fee.org/articles/the-costs-of-hysteria/

    Murphy's article basically is the classic cost-benefit analysis that looks at the problem monetarily. It's the mindset void of empathy. Every scenario is evaluated against how much money it will cost. But how do you put a value on a life...or millions of lives. Look at Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, countries whose populations will be vastly affected as the Himalayan glaciers feeding the Ganges and Indus rivers melt, and the only flow comes from seasonal monsoons, assuming those will not be affected either.

    The US military is thankfully thinking about the long term affects and world conflicts resulting from rivers running dry in some areas, sea levels rising, and other effects (drought for instance). Look at what long term drought has done to the Syrian war. I won't say that the drought is entirely caused by climate change, but it is an example of the civil unrest that happens when populations migrate or flee from an area because the land can no longer deliver essential food.

    As an anarchist I firmly believe that politics poisons everything, including science. When political agendas and State-funded science mesh, a misinformed public follows.

    You make the observation that corporate America is very short-sighted, but what are politicians if not short-sighted?

    I don't support any form of government subsidy, special privilege or favoritism towards any business. But in an actual free market, businessmen are very far-sighted. Far more than politicians.

    To give an example, suppose a logging company owned it's own forest and periodically cut down trees to sell as lumber. If they own the forest, then they have an incentive to preserve the capital value in the land. If they cut down all the trees at once, they can make a ton of profits in the short run. But they will be screwed in the long run. They won't have any lumber to sell next year.

    So they very scientifically cut down certain trees as they are planting other trees so their stock of lumber is always constant and they can make more money in the long run.

    Most of the poisoning of politics now is being done by Republicans. They are absolutely ruthless in that regard. Trump should not come as a surprise as Republicans have been living off of fear, anger and hate as their primary agenda for some time...actually the entire eight years of the Obama administration.

    Yes kudos to those companies that manage their forests and replant. I saw lots of that in Oregon and Washington, but not so much in Montana and other areas where clear cutting of public lands has not resulted in replanting.

    By contrast, what if the government gives logging companies short-term rights to cut down trees on government land? The incentive in this case is to cut down as many trees as possible in the short run and make as much profit as quickly as possible. This is the "tragedy of the commons" phenomenon that plagues all State-owned land.

    Property owners are more far-seeing than those who get temporary un-restricted use of other peoples property. A business owner wants to keep his money so he can pass it down to his children.

    I won't argue your point My observation is that when private logging companies (maybe not in Oregon and Washington) are given access to cut on public lands they rape and run. Not only that, the taxpayers subsidize them by building the roads into the forests.

    A politician, by contrast, only looks at his or her current term in government. They want to gain as much advantage for themselves or their friends as possible in the short time they serve. Politicians don't think about the next generation. They don't even think about the next term in office if they are supplanted. And even if they win re-election, their only goal is to win re-election in another four years.

    Politicians have a goal of terrorizing the public with stories of imminent doom, even some that have a basis in fact, in order to immediately pass a piece of legislation, win re-election or give some subsidies to their crony corporatist buddies.

    No arguments there. But how is this relevant to Climate Change? When 97 percent of scientists are on board with man made global warming, it doesn't matter to me what politicians say. The facts speak for themselves. I certainly understand, however, that tribalism and cognitive dissonance will make otherwise good people believe otherwise. James Inhofe may be able to fool them but not me or the majority of Americans who genuinely are concerned about the planet we are leaving our grandchildren. That worry, of course, is not a concern to many of the Bible thumpers like Inhofe who believe that they will be transported up into heaven long before that happens.

    "Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." -- Senator James Inhofe

    Senator Inhofe is one of those "terrorists" that you speak of.

    I will cast my lot with the scientists...both in the science to date and the steps needed to be taken to mitigate the effects. I don't trust corporations like Exxon or the Koch brothers but will certainly acknowledge through your example that some companies are longer term thinkers. Government regulations are the only way to rein in these multinational global polluters. And international agreements like the Paris Accord do have some positive impact on the commitment of politicians in nation states to reduce their green house gas emissions. Maybe they could be tougher, but it's better than nothing.

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    jrodefeld Wrote:
    lonely bird Wrote:

    One suggests "how will capitalism end?" by Wolfgang Streeck. Also Robert Gordon's "the rise and fall of American growth."

    First we have the nonsense of the so-called tragedy of the commons. As though a private owner would automatically be a better steward. This is wishful thinking. As a small example the Passenger pigeon and the Carolina parakeet were driven to complete extinction because humans chose to do so. Humans no more steward natural resources than they steward anything else. Oh, certainly individuals can and do but not in the aggregate. And never in the aggregate under a system that places monetary value on a resource and uses the criteria of development regarding said resource. Why were some groups able to live in balance until they were driven through exposure to capitalism and development?

    Btw, Streeck addresses the so-called public choice issue in his book. The movement from tax state to debt state was not driven by public choice issues but by capital. Further the consolidation and further destruction of the public by the private is again a conscious choice by capital in general and finance in particular.

    One also suggests "Adam's fallacy" by Duncan Foley.

    as for libertarianism it is the philosophy of the four year old. Under an idiot like Thatcher we get the comment that there is no such thing as society which she then proceeds to invalidate by saying there are individuals and families. And what from there? Relation by marriage, peer groups, religious groups. And what happens? Organization of government to insure and secure rights.

    Christ, I hate stupidity.

    I didn't intend to make this a thread about libertarianism per se, but let me clarify a few things.

    People like Thatcher and Reagan are not libertarians, not even close. When you have leftist commentators such as Streeck and Gordon who denounce modern "capitalism" and the American economy, you won't find many libertarians who defend the current status quo.

    Many libertarians have said that the term "capitalism" is incorrect in describing the sort of economic order that they promote. A "freed market" is preferable. "Laissez-faire" is another, more accurate phrase. There is almost nothing about modern-era capitalism that libertarians support. You will find us in frequent agreement when those on the Left criticize the abuses of Big Business and Wall Street.

    What we believe is this: Each person owns their own physical bodies. From the concept of self-ownership, we can understand that people have rights. Nobody has the right to use my body without my permission. Unwanted acts of aggression against another person's physical body constitute a rights violation and should be illegal. Therefore assault, murder and rape are illegitimate violations of rights.

    I'm assuming we all agree with this so far?

    We believe in the principle of non-aggression. Acts of trespass against the physical bodies of others are always illegitimate and should be seen as rights-violations.

    We also believe in private property outside of our physical bodies. We believe in this because we value peace and prosperity. This requires conflict-avoidance. For a peaceful and productive society to emerge, we have to have clear rules about who has the right to control which scarce resource. In the event of a conflict, the job of a court is to determine who has the better claim to the scarce resource that is disputed.

    If a person owns oneself, that person may justly acquire property outside of their bodies one of three ways. In the first place, they can appropriate a resource out of the natural environment. This is called homesteading. If there is no previous owner of the given resource, you can lay claim to it if you mix your labor with it and transform it in some way. For example, you cut down a tree and build a house. You plant a garden. You put up a fence around your yard. That which you transformed through your labor now belongs to you because you were the first user and nobody else has a better claim to it than you.

    The second way that a person can justly acquire property is through contractual exchange. You can buy property from a previous owner. This is how most property is acquired today.

    The last way is through gift or inheritance.

    The libertarian maintains that it is illegitimate for any person or group of persons to initiate violence against any person or his property.

    Furthermore, we argue that there can be no exceptions to these basic rules of civilized life. Politicians, policemen and the military don't get a free pass to initiate violence when private citizens can't.

    Since the State relies upon the initiation of violence to fund itself and carry out it's rights abuses, it must be considered illegitimate.

    Now, if all legitimate governmental functions can be carried out without violating the non-aggression principle, then libertarians have no objections whatsoever. In fact, most libertarians have argued for private collectivist "governmental" organizations such as police and courts.

    We are simply opposed to the imposition of a violent monopoly over the provision of these services.

    I haven't read Streeck but I'm always interested in the Left's denouncement of "capital". Capital, at least as it is defined by libertarians, simply means savings. From the accumulation of capital, loans can be made, businesses can be started and the economy can grow. The accumulation of capital is essential for rising living standards.

    Now if Streeck's argument is that government and public life has been overrun by capital in the sense that businessmen and the very wealthy have taken over the apparatus of the State to the detriment of democracy, then I'd wholeheartedly agree.

    But this is the very reason why you should oppose the State. The State is essentially a protection racket where the very wealthy and powerful can exploit the masses of the people. You will never see a situation where the poor will have as powerful a lobby as Goldman Saches.

    Subjecting businesses to the demands and rigor of the market and free competition is the best way to hold business people accountable. Thinking that a democratic government will successfully regulate the excesses of corporate "greed" is foolish and it obviously hasn't worked.

    Now that I've said this, maybe you could respond to a few of the points I've raised?

    It's important for people to be able to discuss things with people they disagree with. Too many liberals fall into an echo chamber that they never get out of.

    This is called tap-dancing. Your "ownership" of your body means nothing. If you damage others by introducing chemicals into your body then you pay. Thus society using the tool of government in established states has the right to limit chemical introduction because of potential damage to others and potential loss of property, time and money, three things utopian libertarian freemarketers love.

    Streeck does not denounce capital. Neither does the left as a whole. Put away your paint roller. The left in general and writers like Streeck in particular note the fallacies of Smith and the impact those fallacies have on transactions.

    Homesteading is theft. If I own property that I simply wish to leave as nature has made it you have no right through appropriation by any means to take it. Yet we see legal fictions that allow precisely that. Interesting in that you cling to the need for legal systems but decry the very state and government which is the presence of said legal system. As for rape or murder that is damage under the legal system. Outside of the body politic establishing laws against damage rape and murder mean nothing but survival of the fittest. Any attempt to consolidate and aggregate leads to government and the state. The state had a monopoly on violence because it must have a monopoly on violence. Violence by the private sector falls to a commercial transaction under its benefit analysis. If it costs "x" number of people to die to profit in an extractive industry and the resulting legal entanglements can be resolved with a minimum cost then the benefit of profit outweighs the cost and so it is done. If you think this doesn't happen, you are not merely utopian, you are hopelessly naive.

    further on Streeck and Gordon:

    the long 19th century with its labor struggle against the very system you bow to. People died for this in the coal mine country of WV and in the Haymarket area of Chicago to name a couple. They died because capital's concern is reproduction of capital with constantly expanding return. Yet what was interesting about this period was it created the inventions, innovations and improvements that made both the so-called golden age of capitalism (post-ww2) and the middle class possible. In particular we note water treatment, wastewater systems, electrification, railroads, communication as well as transportation and production of durable goods that met people's needs. And right there in the middle btw was government for example giving rights-of-way to railroads at rock bottom to giveaway prices. There was government building the treatment plants and laying the pipes which made urban life bearable. And government and capitalists worked hand in hand especially after FDR saved capitalism from itself. Oh, and don't let us forget medical research underwritten by government which allowed for those living in close proximity in the urban areas to be freed from many diseases.

    and you know what? That was it. The level of production and growth and mass employment created by the long 19th century will never, ever be duplicated nor exceeded. Shumpeter (hardly a leftist) wrote of creative destruction. Creative destruction now is labor destruction. Technology even more than cheap costs drives production. New technologies do not create the mass labor that was created in the first industrial wave.

    more later. One must go to bed.