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Sunday, September 21, 2008

RE: [DFC] Green Libertarianism

Mike O'Mara wrote:

MO) It is not politically feasible to call for suddenly, immediately having completely open trade, without some kind of transition. (MO

I'll agree it's not politically feasible within the Democratic party, but that's just because the rent-seekers in question are a big constituency of the Dems.  :-)  You could make the same transition argument about any kind of rent-seeking.  Should Republicans make the same argument about ending corporate welfare?

Note that there is a sane middle ground between the false alternatives of "suddenly, immediately having completely open trade" and "tariffs and free trade should be based on general standards of how free a country or foreign industry is".  The EcoLibertarian Manifesto says: "Commerce across borders should be without constraints, except for green pricing of the environmental externalities imposed across those borders by the traded products."

MO) Concern about concentrated control over natural resources *is* one of the two basic reasons why natural resources are to be treated differently (MO

Once you appropriately share the geo-rent, and appropriately tax the consumption, pollution, and congestion of the commons, then there should be no concern about concentration of ownership.  Rhetoric about "concentration" sounds like an attempt to impose an a priori preference on the shape of the wealth distribution curve.  Surely Gaffney is not claiming that one cannot add to the amount of land one exclusively possesses without committing aggression against others.  In geolibertopia, one should still be allowed to sell one's land -- i.e. the land to which one has exclusive possession while appropriately sharing its geo-rent.

MO) if the right-of-center freedom-oriented groups such as the LP, RLC, Cato Institute, etc., were really sincere about economic freedom, then they would finally address the basic question of property based on basic principles of freedom, such as the distinction that John Locke made between property produced by human effort in contrast to property consisting of claims over natural resources. If they were finally willing to address that, it
would really open up the possibilities of realistic coalitions (MO

MO) All of the [dozens of] examples you listed [of nanny statism supported by the Democratic platform] are addressed in the DFC Principles (MO

Yes, and your one concern about the LP Platform (regarding property rights) is addressed in the EcoLibertarian Manifesto and by prominent leaders of the Reform Caucus.  It almost sounds like you're saying that the LP is unfit for coalition-building while its platform is even slightly imperfect, while the horribly nanny-statist Democrat platform can be completely ignored, and all the flaws Libertarians see in the DFC platform can be waved away as "transition" policies.  I don't question your "sincerity" about economic freedom because of your defense of using tariffs to compound the lack of economic freedom of people in other nations.  It seems unfair of you to question the sincerity of other liberty-loving organizations just because they haven't yet formally adopted your and my shared geoist principles about natural resources.

P.S. I've never seen the URL fail to load, but I'll take your error reports as an excuse to post it in full here separately.

P.S. Jeff, I'm in Silicon Valley.  I work at Yahoo in the same city (Santa Clara) where Fred Foldvary teaches.