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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

RE: [LPplatform-discuss] Environmental Kuznets Curves and Pigovian Taxes

Kevin Bjornson wrote:

KB) So enforcing rules against pollution do not violate the NAP. (KB

BH) For example, a tax on gasoline corresponding to the average pollution it causes is arguable aggression against those who burn gasoline in the cleanest way possible. (BH

KB) particularly polluting engines could be assessed fines at the point of manufacture or point of sale, whichever is more efficient. (KB

Some vehicles are driven 10x as many miles as others, but you're fining them all the same.

You're simply not engaging my fundamental point: as soon as you stray from the ZAPsolutist principle of restitution for particular aggressions proven in tort-like proceedings, you're off the ZAPsolutist reservation and into the grownup world of prior restraint and probabilistic judgments -- things that ZAPsolutists complain are just as bad as any kind of tax.  To the extent that your schedule of pollution fines doesn't match to the penny what courts would award in the analogous tort cases if they were prosecuted, you're condoning aggression, even if only of penny/nickel/dime magnitude.  Once you do that, your only hope is to somehow explain why a five-cent over-fine is not aggression,  but a five-dollar tax nevertheless is.  Where and how do you draw the line?  If the anti-aggression intention of the over-finer excuses the exaction of the tribute, why can't the anti-aggression intention of the tax collector excuse the exaction of a tax intended to finance police / courts / national defense / etc.?

The NAP/ZAP is the Nancy Reagan just-say-no approach to libertarianism.  Real libertarianism is about opposing aggression, rather than merely abstaining from it and looking the other way when it happens.