ENVIRONMENT and CONSERVATION
There are private conservation alternatives.
Forest and wilderness preserves are being set up by private organizations, as political attempts flounder and fail. Trust for Public Land, Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, Sierra Club, private trusts and many other creative options are available. This process could accelerate if we abolish the income tax and keep resources in our communities.
Conservation on a sustained yield basis doesn't have to mean preserved in an
inaccessible safe deposit box. Tree huggers and stump lovers can work together and thrive
in a principled system of private property rights.
Let the 1000 flowers bloom.
Endangered species: When no-one owned the buffalo, they were slaughtered. Now
that there are private herds, they thrive and the species is strengthened. The same can be
done for all rare animals, including whales, birds, turtles, whatever. Whales? They can be
bred for their herd instinct, electronically marked and protected.
Laws create black markets and prices skyrocket.
Once politicians and lawyers get out of the way, ecologists and livestock owners have common interests.
Social encouragement: If a private owner does step out of line, it won't be
necessary to continually demonstrate against each situation. Other companies, insurance,
stock and bond holders, groups and individuals will get the hint and not want to risk
arbitration, loss of good will, etc. It's a better process because it's direct and not
it's what we naturally turn to when the political process breaks down.
Once public indignation is aroused, the human mind is very creative: boycotts, news
articles and broadcasts, letters, word of mouth, concerts, bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc.
A classic example was napalm and Dow Chemical during the Vietnam War. Their company
recruiters got no response on college campuses (if they were allowed in at all),
wives wouldn't sleep with Dow executives and their children avoided them. Dow got the message loud and clear.
Water use can operate on private property principles. Users should pay the full cost of water, instead of subsidized political pork boondoggles. We must develop water innovations such as recycling, sea water conversion, icebergs, etc that are ecologically safe. This will encourage productive use of less water, relocation to areas with more water, or cancellation of wasteful projects. Deregulation and privatization of water will reduce conflicts and alienation now caused by politics. Bureaucracies will be replaced with efficient use, and pricing based on supply and demand.
Water pollution: The libertarian solution is--you guessed it--private property rights. Corporation X can't put dirty water into a river or lake because all the neighboring users and owners would file litigation to stop them and recover damages. It's the politician's laws and court decisions that have allowed privileged corporations and government agencies to get away with it. The polluter would either clean the water before returning it, recycle, develop a cleaner method, or not exist. Insurance companies and investors wouldn't touch a company that was dealing in dirty or hazardous materials unless they were convinced problems wouldn't arise later.
Air pollution requires much broader action. This could be in the form of individual and group lawsuits, and creative social encouragement. (see above) With manufacturers protected by politicians and courts, we have developed a large legacy of obsolete, inefficient, dirty internal combustion engines. If car owners and makers had full liability, pollution free transportation would have been developed. There are cleaner, more efficient ways to produce energy, propel automobiles and transport people and freight: natural gas, hydrogen from water and solar energy, for example. We would be further along on clean solutions if the politicians and bureaucrats stayed out of the way. When will they and we ever learn?
Mining: Ecologists and libertarians agree politically privileged laws have created many problems on government land, and through pollution permits. Businesses must be fully responsible for ownership, damages and liabilities. Then economics will force a safer process, conservation and multiple uses to get the best overall return on investment.
Nuclear power and clean-up: In 1957, the Price-Anderson Act put the government
in the position of insuring the new industry; private insurers wisely wouldn't touch it
and we ended up with unsafe, subsidized nuclear plants.
Now the federal government tells us it can solve the problem it caused. The libertarian solution is to get the government out of the energy business: no plants would be built until they can safely be privately insured, and profitable. There are practical, safe, new technology alternatives continually emerging.
So in environment, ecology and conservation we see once again: government is the
problem, not the solution.
Contents | Next