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Subject:  Re: If you must argue with denialists.... Date:  1/24/2013  2:33 PM
Author:  albaby1 Number:  40421 of 91336

A reasonable libertarian and I knew a few of those before climate change turned most of them into demented anti-scientific lunatics, would accept the necessity of an exception and look for the least intrusive/safest ways for the state to act. That search I enthusiastically support. I mistrust the corporations more than I mistrust the state, but have no trust in the government of the USA any more. It is a failed democracy.

A valid criticism, but not one that involves inconsistency in protecting property rights.

That said, this just highlights the problems that you and I (and others) have discussed in the past. You can't just "look for the least intrusive/safest ways for the state to act," for two main reasons.

- There isn't a 'state' on the level at which action needs to be taken, at the global level. The UN (as an institution) isn't powerful enough to do it. You'd need to set up a new (and very powerful) international institution to fill this role.

- This state cannot just look for the "least intrusive" or "safest" ways to act, since it also has to balance fairness and justice. The fundamental question in reducing emissions is not how to do it, but who has to do it (and by how much).

You are correct that I use too broad a brush, but the last time I encountered an actual reasonable libertarian seems to me to be at least a decade ago. :-) I have come to the belief that libertarian principles are valuable but that as a philosophy it fails in much the same way as communism (which also has valuable insights) fails. It requires certain ideal qualities of individual people that no individual can be relied on to possess... and our society and its governments must be made up out of imperfect people.

Libertarianism may not have an answer to this debate, but neither do any other economic or social models based on nation-states. As I've said before, I think that the idea of an international treaty on climate change also requires certain ideal qualities of national governments that no national government can be relied on to possess - namely, a willingness to impose significant costs on its own citizenry for the benefit of people in other countries.

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