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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Re: pollution language from 1972 temporary platform

Linda Ellis wrote about this proposed plank:
2.2. Environment and Resources
Individuals have the right to homestead unowned resources.  Pollution of other people's property is a violation of individual rights, and so we support effective and judicious anti-pollution laws. Such laws must set forth objective standards for determining what are reasonable and unreasonable emissions.  In recognition that much of our pollution problem has arisen because air and water are treated as "free", we shall work for the establishment of pricing mechanisms based on property rights in the air and water -- thus providing economic sanctions against pollution.  We oppose all attempts to transform anti-pollution efforts into a general movement against technology, or the use of anti-pollution efforts to destroy personal freedom.
LE)  A huge improvement over the PC's existing one sentence.  (LE
Indeed, that language from the 1972 Temporary Platform is better than the environment/resource language in any of the other 12 LP platforms that are available.  It's immensely encouraging to discover that our original platform author(s) got this thorny issue so right.
LE) I think the meaning of "pricing mechanisms" is unclear in that sentence.  (LE
That seems like a virtue.  Anarcho-Libertarians can read it as saying just that prices will naturally reflect the insurance costs that polluters will incur to protect themselves from judgments.   Econ-/Cosmo-libertarians can read it as allowing flexible market-based state policing of pollution.  Geo/Eco/Green-Libertarians can read it as allowing protection of a baseline ownership share of the environmental commons.  I don't see any of these views as either dictated or ruled out by the Statement of Principles.  (For a decoder ring describing these schools of libertarianism, see Wikipedia or this handy summary.)