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[P]
Do Green Weenies Have A Point?

By beergut in Op-Ed
Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:19:27 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Recently, while looking for a piece of property away from the city, I had the opportunity to visit some land that was timbered. I saw varying degrees of forest management in practice, and some of it shocked me. Here's a bit of a tale about my journeys, and a few questions that might spur some good discussion.


I think the environmentalists may have a point.

In the course of my travels in the last few weeks, to South Central and Southeast Missouri, looking for acreage to purchase, I was exposed to some of the most gorgeous scenery I'd ever taken the time to notice. I slowed down, smelled the flowers, walked around in the woods, saw some deer, and returned to my roots a bit. I'm not a city boy, I guess.

During my visits to the great outdoors, I was rather moved just standing on a hillside in the middle of a forest, listening to ... nothing. The silence was almost painful, and left my ears ringing. It's amazing just how used to noise one can become. Being able to listen to one's heart beat, hear every tree frog and every cricket in the area, be surprised by a squirrel running up a tree, and smell the rich scent of decaying leaves and moss is an experience to treasure. I think I've grown a little deeper recently, and have my roots a little more firmly planted in reality.

Nature is a wonder to behold, and being out in it is inspirational, both spiritually and mentally, as it gives a man some time to sit and think undisturbed. But, where is it all going?

Subdividing The Land, or The Double-Time March of "Progress".

I spent the early part of my youth in what was essentially farmland. My cousins and I swam in a creek there, ran around in the fields, popped tar bubbles on the road between my grandmother's house and the creek with our toes, and generally had a good time as children. I wouldn't change that part of my childhood.

I said that that area was farmland. Driving through there a few weeks ago, in search of a place outside the confines of the city, I happened to see a sign advertising acreage for sale by owner. So, I stopped and talked to the man. I was utterly aghast at the price of acreage in the area, and asked him what made the land so expensive.

"Subdivisions comin' in. I can't stand 'em, so I'm sellin' off and gettin' out while the gettin's good. I'd be surrounded in a couple years, so it ain't worth it to try to fight it. The punk kids in the one down the road already ruined my fish-pond. They beat a trail back to it and fished out all my catfish. I had catfish in that pond weighed ten pounds, and now they're all gone. I moved out here in '85 to get away from all that."

Acreage in that valley now goes for $14,000 per acre, and the price is only going up. Why, I wondered, do people have the urge to move out of the city, only to build new neighborhoods where once there were trees? They bring their problems with them, and just end up miserable, but in a new and fantastically expensive house. They escape the city, and build entirely new cities. They don't escape to a simpler way of life, with trees and nature around them. They still live in a world of cars and noise and traffic and crime. There are no creeks, no fields, no quiet places, no places where there isn't too much light at night to simply look up and see the stars.

Granted, the crime and such isn't nearly as bad as the city, but that may well be a topic for another discussion.

The march seems to take increasingly large steps, too. Where twenty years ago an hour commute was unthinkable, it is commonplace now, and nobody seems to gripe. I know the population hasn't increased that drastically. So, what gives?

If a tree fell in the woods...

Looking to escape to a place where I don't have to lock my doors at night, and can safely leave my keys in my truck overnight as it sits in my driveway, I began looking at substantial acreage half a state away from the city where I live. Driving around on curvy country roads gave me a smile, as this is just what I remembered as a kid. Also, my friend trhurler is always rambling on and on incessantly about wanting a car that handles like a Ferrari, but for the price of a Yugo, so I thought about him as I whipped my four-wheel-drive 3/4 ton pickup truck around a tight turn at 70 miles per hour.

On Saturday, I looked at a 200 acre tract, which had a bunch more acreage surrounding which belongs to the same person, which will be for sale when she is finished timbering. This land looks to have been clearcut in the last sixty years or so, as hardly any trees are more than about eighteen inches in diameter. This land owner is timbering very responsibly. Nothing under about fourteen inches is being cut, and even that only very sparingly. She is leaving the best trees to continue to grow. Truly a first class harvesting operation. Very commendable. This is the first class of land management I want to point out. A private land owner who is responsible, taking only what she thinks is right to take, leaving the best (and, indeed, the vast majority,) to grow. I think I will contact her today if for no other reason than to thank her for doing things the way she is doing them. This land is going for $500 per acre, and is well worth every red cent. It is gorgeous.

In another instance, a couple weeks ago, I had called a number in a local ad paper about a huge tract of land for sale. I got directions, and obtained permission to have a look around. All lights were green, so I set out for the hills.

Upon finding the acreage I had agreed to look at, I dropped the truck into low range, and began exploring. The land had been recently timbered, so there were log roads that led to most of it. Up and down, over hills and through valleys, bumping around over ruts, gunning the engine through mud puddles a hundred feet long and spraying muddy water from Hell to breakfast, I proceeded. Old country music blaring, a high school buddy by my side, and a twelve pack - a truly caucasian experience.

That 858-acre tract was timbered fairly extensively, but not so as to lose the character of the land. In twenty years when I retire, the timber would have grown up to be sufficiently forest-like again. There were scenic vistas, where you could see the countryside for miles around. There were quiet little nooks and crannies where you could swear even the deer wouldn't have found them yet. Pastures that would have been good for the little menagerie I want to keep, and good enough soil to raise a good garden. There was enough leavings in piles from the timbering that you'd never have to worry about firewood for heating your home - ever. There were trees that, should I be so inclined, I could cut for myself when I retire and turn them into cabinets and whatnot for my home.

That land had everything I wanted in a piece of land, save live water (the aforementioned pasture was actually the bottom land for a wet weather creek that looked like it could get pretty sizeable.) I could be a good, responsible steward, and look after it well, writing up a trust such that, when I die and pass it along to my descendents, the place would be responsibly managed and kept forested. I learned this weekend that the owner has just gotten a deposit on the land from another buyer. 858 acres at $295 per acre - a marginal price for land as extensively timbered as that land was, but not wholly unreasonable.

This land owner manages his land in what I would consider the second class of land management. Extensively forested, but not so as to be ruinous. Twenty years of growth would see this land healed, with the proper stewardship.

On the same weekend that I looked at the 200 acres I mentioned earlier, I looked at a 616 acre plot. I wanted to puke. The land had been raped. There were only a few twigs left standing. Pine, hardwoods of various species, all gone. Anything above about three inches in diameter was mowed down like so much grass. It nearly tore me in two to see gullies in the hillsides where runoff from the rain carved out the soil because there was nothing left to keep it in place nor to buffer the effects of the rainfall.

I was so angry when I left that land I wanted to literally strangle the life from the owner with my bare hands, and would gladly and gleefully have done so if he were there before me. The realtor wants $400 per acre for this land - a ludicrous price for a piece of land so devastated. I may call her and offer $150 per acre, and work my tail off planting trees there for the next few years to try to return that ground to its natural state. This land owner falls into the third category I have devised. He is guilty of rape and murder.

In all these cases, the land owners bought the land for the express purpose of timbering, and then selling the land when they were done.

What to do?

I'm not an "environmentalist". I think that the vast majority of these people are uninformed dolts who parrot whatever crap they're spoonfed, just because they think it makes them sound more "compassionate." The things they advocate are rarely compassionate or humane, and always seem to be of the "steal money from some people to point a big gun at others to make them do what we say" sort. They are interested in their next government grant, and routinely mischaracterize facts and opinions by ostensibly reputable scientists to support their quasi-socialist, Luddite political agendas. I've not yet heard much sense from self-proclaimed environmentalists. I would love to hear some.

I'm more in the camp of "conservationist". People can be taught to be responsible with the land they steward - even improving upon what's there by clearing out undergrowth and making for a healthier forest in the long run. The vast majority of people in this camp are, unsurprisingly, hunters with a libertarian bent. At least, those random land owners who practice responsible stewardship with whom I've spoken. They may not identify themselves as such, but when one hears their opinions, they bear the unmistakable mark of native libertarianism. They don't believe in government intervention, instead taking to heart the notion that they are better off doing The Right Thing.

I am a libertarian (note the small 'L'.) I cannot rationalize infringing a land owner's rights to do what he will with his property, so long as he does not interfere with his neighbors doing what they will with theirs. Of course, my base, emotional impulse is to gut and quarter the last land owner I detailed, and take a big bite out of his still-beating heart. The land belongs to them, and they may steward it as they will. I just wish more were sensible enough to be responsible, first-class land owners.

I don't believe there to be a governmental solution to the problem, nor would I approve of one were one proposed. In fact, I would fight tooth and nail against such a proposal. The fight must be fought in the hearts and minds of land owners. But how? What can be done to convince these people that there is more than just raw profit at stake? How can they be taught to be more responsible?

On a personal level, I believe I will be working toward the time where I can buy a large stand of timber, and would like to set up a land trust that would protect it, providing a comfortable living for my progeny who would live there and steward the land responsibly. Is there any opinion or legal precedent to the knowledge of the K5 audience that might be able to be of some assistance later in my life?

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Do Green Weenies Have A Point? | 166 comments (154 topical, 12 editorial, 1 hidden)
A similar experience and conclusion... (4.12 / 8) (#2)
by Anatta on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 05:56:21 PM EST

I was driving through Mississippi and Alabama a couple of months ago, and spent hours listening to the only non-country station I could find, an NPR station playing classical music. It was a very moving experience. I was amazed at the incredible vastness of the land out there, the innumerable trees that seemed to blend into green sea as I zoomed past at 80+mph. It truly is beautiful out there, the tall pines stretching towards the heavens... slowly turning into misty mountains as I approached Tennessee. I recall thinking that if anyone in NY thinks the US is overpopulated, they should come out there. Hell they should come out anyway because the scenery is so stunning!

I was amazed at the miles between exists in Tennessee as I drove through the breathtaking Blue Ridge mountains. Certainly it was a very different place than Boston, where I grew up.

I, too, am a libertarian (small l and somewhat big L too) though I'm a vegetarian, not a hunter!

Anyway, if you want to see some of the environmentalism you're referring to, checkout the New Environmentalism movement. It's an interesting site, though I'm sure the Greens will say it's a corporate lapdog. You could also check out AltGreen, an Australian alternative green movement.

I very much consider myself green, but not Green. Good to see that there are other K5ers who have similar leanings.

That said, you could strengthen your position by removing some of the disparaging remarks to the Greens... +1 FP anyway, though I'd prefer it to be more polite.
My Music

Mmm... Tennessee... (3.33 / 3) (#9)
by beergut on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 06:58:52 PM EST

On a trip to Tennessee to pick up a Sun 4/670 server with a friend, I found out about Tennessee.

On the way to Knoxville, I noticed how nice the highways were - not a bump to be felt. The scenery was fantastic through the middle of the state, just as it had been before.

We crossed the Oak Ridge at night on the way to Knoxville, and stayed in a motel that night. On the way back from Knoxville, I saw some of the Smoky Mountains (or is that Blue Ridge? I can never keep them straight...) and was able to behold the Oak Ridge in its splendor.

My God, but it was nice.

I'd love to move to that area, but there aren't any jobs down there that pay what St. Louis pays, doing what I do here.

A side note: I am enamored of Tennessee right now for another reason. They just had a tax protest, and the people scared the legislature into voting down an income tax measure. Tennesse has not had, and still does not have, a state income tax. I just think that's beautiful.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Maybe it was the Smoky Mountains (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by Anatta on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 07:49:39 PM EST

I think you're right. I stayed in Knoxville one night... seemed like a surprisingly cool place (I was coming from New Orleans, the coolest place in the US, but Knoxville was still pretty cool)...

I have to say that Bristol was pretty frightening, but Memphis is cool, I've heard great things about Nashville, and Knoxville seemed alright. Though there were too many billboards for RVs for my personal comfort, Tennesse seemed ok. As for Alabama, I loved finally stumbling upon the huge (and cool) Mercedes plant there after driving through hick towns for hours. I can only imagine the Germans eating BBQ with the Tuscaloosans... (and gawd, that teeny tiny northwestern tip of Georgia on the highway between Tennesse and Alabama is the most frightening place I've ever been to in the US!)
My Music
[ Parent ]

tennessee's lack of an income tax - not cool! (4.00 / 3) (#23)
by Maniac_Dervish on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:42:23 PM EST

actually... tennessee needs MONEY. badly. education here has been taking a cut of around 10% funding per department per year for several years. it has just about gone as far as it can.

the only people in tennessee (i'm currently out-of-state and in graduate school, but i can assure you that my parents and most of my friends pay TN taxes...) who complain about the income tax are the rednecks who don't realize that they DO benefit from state social services - that good roads and good healthcare and decent fire and police services are pretty much necessary.

these same individuals don't realize, or care, that education in the state of TN has already been squeezed dry. there IS NOT ANY MORE MONEY to cut out of the budget.

just as an example - a friend of mine runs her state university's honors program, serving about 400 students, on around $5000 per year. that's not a whole lot of money, when you consider that ALL expenses - postage, computer paper, toner, etc - come out of that funding. having to beg a dean for money to buy incidental items is NOT cool.

the state is essentially castrated by the attitude of "not having an income tax is really cool, let's just subsist with things the way that they are now. Obviously, it'd be neat if that could work, but the odds are that it won't.

i wouldn't recommend that you run on about the coolness of tennessee's tax situation without talking to somebody from the state for a LONG time about the way things are. basically, they suck. the state is underfunded and not very well developed.

dervish.

[ Parent ]

Partially right (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:37:23 AM EST

You are right. If anywhere taxes should be collected on the local level.
We are suffering not because of overblown state social services but because of overblown federal government ( which then uses our tax money with various strings attached to force states into submission)



[ Parent ]
Correct, but... (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:28:02 PM EST

While I agree that taxation, if it should happen, should happen at a local level, with excess (if any) trickling up, I can think of a bunch better things to do with tax money than further funding a broken-down education system.

Tennessee's roads were spectacular when I was through there. I meant to mention it in my original reply, but somehow that got omitted. They were clean, well-paved, and fairly well designed. This without a state income tax.

I'm for home-schooling, personally, and would rather see money generated locally for local schools if people do not or cannot educate their own children. State funding leads to state control, which is demonstrably bad. Just look around.

Your point about the federal government's abuse of the money it steals from us is cogent.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Poor baby! (3.00 / 2) (#113)
by heatherj on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:59:48 PM EST

What other problems are caused by TN's lack of income tax? This one is a non-issue as far asI'm concerned. Government involvment in education is the root of at least some of the evils in modern society. Speaking as a former education major (a reformed one!), starving the government out of the education industry strikes me as a wonderful idea. *Note-I don't want to hear about "all the poor children who wouldn't get an education if it weren't for the government". If they're actually getting an education, rather than just free baby-sitting, it's a rare occurrence. Yes, I have worked in the schools, from several directions.

[ Parent ]
Taxes Aren't Always Fair for Rural People (4.00 / 1) (#126)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:46:42 AM EST

Some of these 'rednecks' are probably right about them not getting the full value back from their taxes. There simply isn't the infrastrucure needed in the country, as their is in the city (that's part of reason why rural taxes are typically lower, and even lower for farmers). Rural residents, don't need public water and sewer (which is only in part paid for by water bills -- a lot comes from property taxes), along with many other services.

But it's not always fair. Even today, rural residents get more power in goverment then urban residents (especially in the US Senate, and State Senates). One vote, one person, supreme court decission reduced some rural power, but it's still pretty big force in goverment.

In a State like TN, a more progressive tax rate may help out the people. The poorest people will then have more money over the bare neccessities, and yet the state gets the needed money. 1952 & 1956 Democratic Presidential Candiate Adalhi Stevenson is probably the best seller of progressive tax rates I've heard. Check out some of his writings to see why progressive tax rates make sense to everyone.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Count me in! How do we do it? (3.75 / 4) (#5)
by elenchos on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 06:10:39 PM EST

Getting everyone to do the Right Thing using education and persuasion is a great idea. Using laws and police and bureaucracies is expensive and inefficient, and doesn't really make people happy. It just uses force to push them into doing things, and nobody likes being treated like that. If they were just given the right information, they would freely choose to conserve and be respectful of the rights of others.

I wonder why no one has thought of this before.

So. How do we do it? Using taxation to fund a government program of educating everyone is probably not going to sit well, is it? That means the government deciding what it the Right Thing, and how it will be taught, and pretty soon it will just snowball into some Giant Government Program. Private, individual action is the way to go. I'm a little unclear how that would work though. Can you make money teaching people to be farsighted and respectful? Will they pay you to tell them to forgo their short-term desires and needs in favor of the long term benefit for everyone? If there is no profit to be had in this, then what makes it happen? Altruism? Perhaps you can line up enough philanthropists to pay for a public education campaign to get everyone to do what's right. After you did that, society would turn around, and there would be nothing for those environmentalists to complain about. Everyone would just be doing it themselves with no law or government agency at all. That would prove once an for all the utility and effectiveness of the libertarian approach.

I say go for it. Nothing would repudiate the whole bossy, authoritarian, statist schemes of these enviro-weenies and their socialist fellow travelers than a visible demonstration of what free, uncoerced, educated people can do on their own. The truth about human nature is that everyone can be made to behave correctly without force at all; the problem with socialists is that they think that individuals will choose to cut corners and take advantage without some power to stop them. Libertarians know that, as Socrates taught, that no one ever does wrong except through ignorance.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

"Who's making personal remarks now?" the Hatter asked triumphantly.
--Alice in Wonderland

I think it can be done (4.33 / 3) (#8)
by Anatta on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 06:42:50 PM EST

Can you make money teaching people to be farsighted and respectful? Will they pay you to tell them to forgo their short-term desires and needs in favor of the long term benefit for everyone?

I think you can... and to a degree, we already do. The writer originally spoke of a landowner who was a "good" timbercutter. To me, if knowledgeable people in such fields sell their knowledge to those who wish to learn, everyone will benefit. My guess is that much of the clearcutting is on either government land or is done by uneducated timberers. I would imagine that if they were shown a direct result of a positive bottom line, they would be pretty quick to jump on board.

A few years ago I had a professor for an Environmental Management/Sustainable Development course who made his living cleaning up oil spills... often at 1/10 the cost of the EPA's cleanups, and actually cleaned up the sites rather than just trucking contaiminated soil away, as the EPA had proposed. He was as green as you could get, but he was out there actually fixing things rather than complaining... he was very inspirational.

It seems to me that there is a great deal of potential private enterprise in a variety of pro-environment industries: I have been working on starting an energy efficiency consulting company that would go in and evaluate businesses' current situation and propose new fixes (insulation, new windows, etc.) that would make the firm more profitable in the long term, as well as more energy efficient. I hope more people keep thinking this way.

Perhaps you can line up enough philanthropists to pay for a public education campaign to get everyone to do what's right. After you did that, society would turn around, and there would be nothing for those environmentalists to complain about.

I'm not sure this is really necessary. It seems to me that the trick is to align the profit motive with the movement for a better environment. A few studies by philanthropists on the premium people are willing to pay for recycled goods, environmentally-friendly goods, etc. might really make entrepreneurs see the possibilities of environmentally friendly products. Eventually economies of scale should be reached, and the old industries should be forced to change with the time, or die off. Careful and sparing use of taxes and subsidies to offset economic externalities would also help (however such taxes/subsidies must be very carefully implemented in order to actually benefit, rather than simply cause government to get bigger.)

Look at that, elenchos! We actually seem to somewhat agree on something. Terrifying.
My Music
[ Parent ]

As an 'enviro-weenie'... (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by Lugh on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:37:39 PM EST

I've got to ask- did you even read this before you posted it? Let's see...

That means the government deciding what it the Right Thing, and how it will be taught, and pretty soon it will just snowball into some Giant Government Program. Private, individual action is the way to go. ... *snip* ... Altruism? Perhaps you can line up enough philanthropists to pay for a public education campaign to get everyone to do what's right.
So, a bunch of people in government deciding what's right and teaching it to people is bad, but a bunch of wealthy CEO's telling people what's right is good? This is one thing I've never understood about Libertarians- why is it that the concentration of power in the hands of government is bad, but the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy and corporations is good (or at least, not bad).

The truth about human nature is that everyone can be made to behave correctly without force at all;
Wow, made to behave correctly without any force at all... That's a neat trick. Two questions: Who gets to decide what's right? And what do you do when someone disagrees? Personally, I think I take a fairly libertarian view of things- people should be able to do whatever they want, up until it intersects with someone else. At that point, informed consent and law enter the picture. The difference is, I take a broader view of 'intersecting with someone else' than most Libertarians.

Libertarians know that, as Socrates taught, that no one ever does wrong except through ignorance.
Back to the first point- who decides what's right and what's wrong? According to what I've seen and heard from most Libertarians/Libertarian lit I've seen, right == profitable. Personally, that's not a system of ethics I subscribe to.

The problem with Libertarianism (and Socialism, Democracy, Federalism, Capitalism, etc.) is people. In an ideal world filled with rational people, any of these systems should work. Unfortunately, People. Aren't. Rational. At least, not all of the time. And those times are the cracks that send the best laid plans of mice and men crashing to the ground. I won't lie- My philosophy of life suffers from the same problem, just don't delude yourself by thinking that yours dosen't.
Remove the obvious falsehood to e-mail me.
[ Parent ]

You've put it very succinctly (3.33 / 3) (#47)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:34:18 AM EST

Why, I ask, is putting the power in a bunch of government weenies good and in a bunch of corporations bad?
Well, having left most of the statis argument empty by equating the evil corporation with the state, we can move on to the fact that, at least, getting up in a corporation requires a heck of a lot more understanding than getting elected, which is mostly convincing the masses you know what you're doing when you're really doing exactly what it is that your constituents want, which sounds remarkably like 'doing what the shareholders want'. The morally bankrupt confusion that is the modern socialist state has no star to stear by; at least corporations must make money, and not anger their consumers.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Just two quick things (5.00 / 2) (#74)
by Lugh on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:31:45 AM EST

Why, I ask, is putting the power in a bunch of government weenies good and in a bunch of corporations bad?
I never said that putting power in the hands of government weenies was good. Personally, I like the Jeffersonian Ideal - "That government is best which governs least." Unfortunately, I don't think we as a culture are ready for minimalist government. The best we can hope for at the moment is some sort of dynamic equilibrium between individuals, commercial interests and the government. Quite frankly, I don't really trust any concentration of power, be it corporate or government. The best I can do is try and play them off of one another for best effect.

at least corporations must make money, and not anger their consumers.
Not anger their consumers... Like Ford and Firestone (which one of them is actually responsible)? Like McDonald's with their 'vegetarian' fries (fried in beef tallow)? How about Verizon and their crappy DSL service I've heard everyone and their brother complaining about? The MPAA and RIAA (consortiums of companies) with DVD's and mp3's, respectively? I'll give you the first part, but the second part needs some work. And as I mentioned in my previous post, I think there's more to life than making money.
Remove the obvious falsehood to e-mail me.
[ Parent ]

But, that's human nature (none / 0) (#89)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:01:41 PM EST

The MPAA and the RIAA derive their power from the government, hence are not really anything more than groups to enforce laws that government weenies made.
Ford and Firestone are being essentially persecuted by the media. Sooner or later, in a country filled with giant lumbering behemoths, someone is bound to find a statistical anomaly related to a truck being driven as a car. In many attempts to duplicate tire shredding and rollover, Car and Driver (iirc) failed entirely to do so. Even with the tire going completely flat at 70 under heavy braking, the Explorer remained manageable. Many experts are flummoxed by the data correlation, which is there and is strong, but cannot attribute what, exactly, the problem is. To me, it is SUVs being driven well out of their design parameters. Everyday, I follow SUVs that are doing 90 or so and know that each one is a potential disaster. Anyway, Jaques Nasser of Ford went on TV and apologised and said Ford would do everything in its power to fix things, including a voluntary recall, which shows that Ford wants to keep its customers happy.
McDonald's is an actual demonstration that people are fallible. However, MTBE, the gasoline additive that turned out to be amazingly toxic, is an example of a government doing something not in the interest of its citizens, as well. For every incident of egregious behavior by corporations, I can point out an incident of egregious behavior by government. The fact is that governments are often worse because they have guns and are authorised to use them.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
That's not my point (4.66 / 3) (#115)
by Lugh on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:12:35 PM EST

The fact is that governments are often worse because they have guns and are authorised to use them.
Yep. Can't argue with that. However, as corporations get bigger and bigger, what's to stop them from getting and using weapons? Nothing. Historically, during the colonial period, the East India company had one of the largest militaries in the world. Schlumberger has a very large, very well equipped security force which is rumored to have an artillery unit. I've read government strategic planning forecasts which list growing corporate paramilitary units as one of the up-and-coming threats for this century.

But that's human nature
My point precisely. If human nature is to flummox things when they've got power through government, then why wouldn't they flummox things if they derived their power from a corporation?

I keep asking (not just of you, but of other people I know), how it is that power concentrated in a sufficiently large corporation is any better or safer than power concentrated in a government?
I haven't gotten a good answer yet.
Get rid of government, and you'll just have corporate police and military forces, who don't even have nominal accountability to people outside of the corporation. I know that's not the theory that you're working with, but I'm afraid that that would be the reality of the situation. To my mind, the trappings and structures of power don't matter. It's the power that's the problem. Power corrupts, and that's the sad truth.
Remove the obvious falsehood to e-mail me.
[ Parent ]

Well, I think we agree (none / 0) (#127)
by weirdling on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:51:34 AM EST

Actually, power does corrupt, hence the idea that power must be put in the hands of as many as possible, through the limiting of corporate power (I believe in anti-trust law), and through significant limitations of government power.

Simply saying that these are eleceted does not cover the fact that a democracy is certain to elect those least deserving of power, whereas it is arguable that those who climb the corporate ladder are responsible to stock holders and those who purchase the things they make, with a kind of direct responsibility seldom seen in governance. There is a postulate that allows that coporations can be more moral, or at least, more closely tied to their constituent's wishes than governance.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Whoah whoah whoah- (none / 0) (#154)
by snowlion on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:32:53 PM EST

Simply saying that these are eleceted does not cover the fact that a democracy is certain to elect those least deserving of power...

Let me get this straight: You think that the system of elections is bad?

I am assuming that you would consider that having people least deserving of power in positions of power is bad.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

I would question that election brings out those least deserving out power, since we haven't had a ruthless dictator (least deserving of power by my book) like so many other countries have had.

Enough paranoid people believed Clinton was going to declare martial law (type "Clinton martial law" in Google and enjoy) that the Onion did an article on it that's a must read).


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Elections are bad (none / 0) (#158)
by weirdling on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 01:23:20 PM EST

Elections in a Democratic country require the power-hungry to run; in other words, those who don't want it won't run. They also require that the elected cater to those who elected him, requiring a lack of backbone of all kinds, including moral. Almost all of us live in Republics, meaning that we elect these clowns and then they do what they think will get them re-elected, even if that means breaking established law, as in McCain-Feingold, or signing a clearly illegal treaty, as in the case of Clinton-Gore.
Elections are bad, but they're better than the known alternatives, so we use them.
Elections at least do not allow dictatorships and tend to discourage dynasties. With the history of US presidents as a guide, though, it seems anyone with a dream and public appeal can become president, no matter how bad the person might actually be at being president. Essentially, there's no real way to predict one's capability when in office, which is bad.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Wrong -> Ignorance? (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by spring on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:12:28 AM EST

Libertarians know that, as Socrates taught, that no one ever does wrong except through ignorance.

I disagree. Rational, fully-informed people may indeed "do wrong" in one-anothers' eyes, and do so constantly. Why? Because two or more people can pursue legitimate, rational interests that cause them to come into conflict, even when they have full information about the negative consequences of their actions.

To address the matter at hand, suppose you found the bad forest manager mentioned before, and you informed him or her about proper land-management practices. What do you think his or her response would be?

Here's some possible responses, as I imagine them. I do not claim these responses are typical, but they do illustrate my point:

  • "By my calculations, the second coming of Jesus will be happening sometime within the next three years, so conservation is irrelevant, and indeed, foolish. Remember the parable of the talents? God wants us to exercise our dominion over the Earth, and He wants us to make the most of every resource He has given us before Jesus arrives."
  • "I managed the land wisely for twenty years. Then my husband got cancer. He's been battling the cancer for five years now, and we're completely broke. It killed me to do it, but I had to sell the rest of the timber in that stand to pay for his chemotherapy treatments."
  • "Yeah, my ex-wife loved that patch of woods too. Heh, heh. Guess I showed her. I wish I could have seen the look on her face when she saw that clearcut for the first time. That would have been sweet."

These arguments are hard to oppose by providing their proponents with more information, because their proponents are acting within different contexts and priority systems than you.

You can't change people's minds by lecturing then on the consequences of different forest-management philosophies. You must first understand their motivations and their backgrounds and their ways of viewing the world. Only then, as the Quakers put it, can you "speak to their condition." You must change before they do.

[ Parent ]

Mixed thoughts (3.37 / 16) (#6)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 06:10:50 PM EST

I am a Libertarian who is also a member of the Sierra Club. While I don't necessarily support big government, the idea of holding large reserves of natural forest land appeals. I would rather I owned some of it, but in the current system, that is not possible.
I think, however, that you have largely ignored the involvement of Social Engineering(tm) in *causing* suburban sprawl, something they didn't expect. Chain goes as follows:
1) everyone has a God-given right to own a home, so subsidise home purchases in the form of tax breaks. For maximum screwage, allow certain types of loans to be added to the mortgage, making it very hard for non-homeowners to get decent rates.
2) everyone has a God-given right to pay exactly as little for housing as they like, wherever they like. So, subsidise the housing market in the cities with rent controls such that landowners can't afford to fix their buildings and make it practically impossible for them to evict ruinous tenants. Now, nobody wants to live in the city.
3) take over the inner-city schools and do your best to ruin them completely. Now, watch anyone who can afford it run to the burbs to get decent education for their children.
4) assume *everyone* in the city is a criminal and ban the ownership of any form of weapon, especially weapons gangs are known to use. Don't make any exception in the war against gangs; if gangs wear black bandanas, it is perfectly ok to ban black bandanas, as this is known to have absolutely no effect whatsoever on gang activity, but makes the city dwellers happy. Wash, rinse, repeat, until nobody wants to be anywhere near the city for fear of running afoul of one of your silly laws.
5) increase taxes ad nauseum to pay for the giant social structure you have built *that is driving business out*. Welcome to the 'Socialist Slide'(tm), wherein the taxes necessary to pay for something combined with the restrictions imposed by it drive away corporations, necessitating higher taxes to pay for it. Blame it all on those evil corporations.
6) enact zoning laws and myriads of regulation on building such that the cost-to-entry is so high only corporate centers can afford it. This should ensure that nobody will ever live in the city except those stuck in it already, who will never leave, lest they risk losing their cozy welfare berth. Now, make sure the roads suck so that the majority of your traffic has to come in by interstate, making no difference between 10 miles and 50 miles, effectively. This should eliminate the near suburbs from competition.
7) build some silly 'tech' section of town, but build it out of town, away from public transit, etc., so it is absolutely impossible for anyone to live in the 'tech sector'. Be mindful of 6, as that is the only way to ensure that nobody would be able to live in that area.
Anyway, as with the Kalifornia energy crisis, I find it hard to be sympathetic to people who cry about suburban sprawl when it is patently obvious who caused it in the first place.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Huh? (3.77 / 9) (#18)
by K5er 16877 on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:10:58 PM EST

1) everyone has a God-given right to own a home, so subsidise home purchases in the form of tax breaks. For maximum screwage, allow certain types of loans to be added to the mortgage, making it very hard for non-homeowners to get decent rates.
Yeah, because "certian types of loans" are the reason I can't get a good rate. God forbid it's the 20% down I don't have. Make your argument stronger. "Certian types of loans" makes it appear as if you don't have any evidence. It looks like you're just throwing it out there because you can't construct a cohesive thought.
2) everyone has a God-given right to pay exactly as little for housing as they like, wherever they like. So, subsidise the housing market in the cities with rent controls such that landowners can't afford to fix their buildings and make it practically impossible for them to evict ruinous tenants. Now, nobody wants to live in the city.
Actually, I'd love to live in the city. I just can't afford the rent. That means I have to live in the suburbs.
3) take over the inner-city schools and do your best to ruin them completely. Now, watch anyone who can afford it run to the burbs to get decent education for their children.
Huh? Take over the inner-city schools? Who, the government? You mean the government that paid for the building? The government that pays the teachers' salaries? The government that sponsers public education? Most inner-city schools were, are, and always will be government run. That's like saying the investment bankers are taking over Wall Street or the politicians are taking over Washington. This has to be the most bizarre point in your argument. It is nonsensical.
4) assume *everyone* in the city is a criminal and ban the ownership of any form of weapon, especially weapons gangs are known to use. Don't make any exception in the war against gangs; if gangs wear black bandanas, it is perfectly ok to ban black bandanas, as this is known to have absolutely no effect whatsoever on gang activity, but makes the city dwellers happy. Wash, rinse, repeat, until nobody wants to be anywhere near the city for fear of running afoul of one of your silly laws.
Yeah, because laws about carrying guns is the reason people fear the cities. Hmmm... maybe you're conviently forgetting racism and poverty. I personally am more concerned with being mugged than the police stopping me because I have a red T shirt on. I am the most paranoid person I know when it comes to the police and I don't fear such laws. I don't know a single person who does. Without any proof, this point falls flat.
5) increase taxes ad nauseum to pay for the giant social structure you have built *that is driving business out*. Welcome to the 'Socialist Slide'(tm), wherein the taxes necessary to pay for something combined with the restrictions imposed by it drive away corporations, necessitating higher taxes to pay for it. Blame it all on those evil corporations.
Yeah, I too was pissed when all of the multinational corporations pulled out of socialist or semi-socialist countries. Oh wait, never mind; all of the multinational corporations exist in socialist or semi-socialist countries. I don't know of a single major multinational corporation that isn't based in Japan, the US, or Europe. There may be a few, but the fact that you need proof to make this point shows the inherent weakness of it. I have never heard of a major corporation pulling out of socialist or semi-socialist country. Never.
6) enact zoning laws and myriads of regulation on building such that the cost-to-entry is so high only corporate centers can afford it. This should ensure that nobody will ever live in the city except those stuck in it already, who will never leave, lest they risk losing their cozy welfare berth. Now, make sure the roads suck so that the majority of your traffic has to come in by interstate, making no difference between 10 miles and 50 miles, effectively. This should eliminate the near suburbs from competition.
Aiya, I don't have the strength to attack the numerous logical fallicies in 6. Well, maybe just one. The difference between 10 miles and 50 miles is 40 miles, regardless of how long it takes to travel them. If the argument is that the roads are so bad that both distances take too long for a commute, then the argument weakens itself with the distinction between roads and interstates.
7) build some silly 'tech' section of town, but build it out of town, away from public transit, etc., so it is absolutely impossible for anyone to live in the 'tech sector'. Be mindful of 6, as that is the only way to ensure that nobody would be able to live in that area.
This last statement seemed out of line with the rest of the argument. It's a side track from a poorly formed, but at least linear train of thought. The train has been derailed. What does this have to do with the rest of the argument?

A little bit of logic can be a very bad thing.

Dave

[ Parent ]

A little bit of understanding (4.50 / 4) (#45)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:28:04 AM EST

From your comment, I take it you do not live in the US. Hence, I shall take a case study: Chicago.
The great city of Chicago enacted rent control to help the little guy who couldn't afford to live elsewhere. Costs kept it pretty much impossible to improve these properties and certainly not enough to provide incentive to construct new ones. Hence, inner-city slums took over other properties with a frightening rate. Now, crime follows slums, as do drugs and all manner of other evils. With crime rates skyrocketing, what do cities do? Enact draconian gun-control legislation, further increasing the rate of violent crime. Subsequently, as ever more liberal governments take control, higher taxes are enacted and school piddling begins to take place, driving conservatives out of the city to the suburbs where they can find more amenable living situations. As this revenue base moves out, the city had to increase taxes to cover costs. At a point, the entire tax burden is carried by the corporate centers, as those in the slums are essentially taxless, being the target of most of the taxes themselves. Anyway, as much as 30% of downtown Chicago was vacated. The same goes for New York and most other large American cities.
See, Americans have tons of land that isn't doing anything, so there is no real incentive to remain in a city once the convenience is eclipsed by the cost. The baby boom generation wanted the best for their children, suburbia realised this, and began to make schools that offered what it was that these people wanted. As the cost of taxes in general is lower in the burbs, these people were getting better value for their dollar, not to mention superior schools that more closely related to the values espoused by the boomers.
The internet has somewhat changed that, combined with cost readjustments suffered by inner cities in the eighties. However, the biggest improvement in a lot of cities has simply been better governance. After years of Republican mayorship, New York City is once again a bustling metropolis, and even the poorest neighborhoods are better. Granted, some of this has come at the expense of civil liberties, but a lot is the result of significantly increased policing combined with lower taxation costs that allow even business such as Disney to consider moving there.
Now, in the US, 20% down is only required if you have absolutely horrid credit. If you have good credit, you can buy a house for 103%, in other words, 0 down and closing costs covered. However, that is not the 'other types' I was referring to. As a home mortgage is a tax-deductible item, it is very common, and all manner of credit is linked to this 'hard credit'. Credit cards have lower rates for home owners, as do car loans and even auto insurance.
Anyway, any comparison between countries is often less than worthless for thepurposes of making policy decisions. This is why I try, whenever possible, to use time-series data that I am familiar with. That is why I refer to comparisons between cities here in the states.
Now, roads: in the US, there are a lot of interstates and many smaller roads, such as boulevards. As these boulevards are often four-lane affairs that have speed limits in the 35-45 MPH range, they are not really useful for commuting, and back up nicely during rush hour. Interstates, on the other hand, are much faster (65-75 MPH), have limited access, so aren't so bothered by traffic vagaries, and are generally so much faster that houses grow up along highways rather than near cities. In other words, people would rather live 50 miles from work on an interstate than 10 on regular roads. Hope that clears that up.
Now, in the US, cities are fond of making 'tech centers', which further exacerbate the problem, as they create a traffic snarl out of the city proper due to bad road planning, are not local to anything at all, requiring those who travel to travel there, and generally have strict zoning policies that prohibit any form of residential property from being built.
A word on zoning policies: since you didn't actually point out the logical fallacies, I have no way of explaining myself. I'd appreciate an actual discourse on the subject.
In the US, schools are not run by the central government, despite its every effort to do so. That the current republicrat government will see its way clear to do so in the near future is not in doubt, though, but it is not universally believed to be a good idea. While European faith in government is quaint, it also presumes a government that knows what its doing, and this is almost never the case. If these people could achieve money and power anywhere else but in politics, they would, so we are left with a combination of incompetence and the need for power that we would not trust anywhere else. Anyway, these cities create schools in which all manner of social engineering takes place, including the current 'zero tolerance' fad. I, for one, won't allow a child of mine to be exposed to the inane mutterings of unfounded research that currently infects the public school system. Much rather expose them to religion than that, so they may end up in a Catholic or Jewish school. That's why the current government wishes to give out vouchers; the school system is so bad that it was the primary debate on the previous election...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Straw man (2.00 / 5) (#25)
by daSnoop on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 09:21:43 PM EST

Why is this comment getting modded up? Whatever your opinion is on the issue itself, if you can get past the logical fallacies in weirdling's post, it's clear that it falls empty of anything beyond FUD. Really, this verges on being a Troll. Found this on google to help: Logical Fallacies

[ Parent ]
Or you could try to respond (3.77 / 9) (#40)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:59:44 PM EST

Uh, just for once, could one of you people back up an ad hominem attack? It'd be so rewarding to have something to consider as an argument against my stance. Even a list of logical fallacies would be appreciated, but even that is left up to the reader. Nah, you must be right, after all, it appears you know how to spell and use Google.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
music hath charms to soothe the savage libertarian (4.12 / 16) (#55)
by LibbyBot on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:00:58 AM EST

The morally bankrupt confusion that is the modern socialist state has no star to stear by; at least corporations must make money, and not anger their consumers.

Hello,

Your post has automatically triggered LibbyBot, Kuro5hin's self appointed agent of peace and thread etiquette. Since no good will come from discussing the merits of a libertarian rant in an intelligent manner, and since nothing short of a tactical nuclear device going off in the immediate vicinity of a libertarian's ear can possibly hope to rearrange the contents of his or her brain into something approaching reason, LibbyBot will incite joyous song instead.

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Libertarian

[With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, and also to one Lollius. Note: In order to avoid the infringement of individual rights by imposing totalitarian ideals of harmony, the soloist and choristers may sing each in his or her own tempo, tune, and key.]

I am the very model of a modern Libertarian:
I teem with glowing notions for proposals millenarian,
I've nothing but contempt for ideologies collectivist
(My own ideas of social good tend more toward the Objectivist).
You see, I've just discovered, by my intellectual bravery,
That civic obligations are all tantamount to slavery;
And thus that ancient pastime, viz., complaining of taxation,
Assumes the glorious aspect of a war for liberation!

[Chorus]
You really must admit it's a delightful revelation:
To bitch about your taxes is to fight for liberation!

I bolster up my claims with lucubrations rather risible
About the Founding Fathers and the market's hand invisible;
In fact, my slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes me the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus]
His very slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes him the very model of a modern Libertarian!

All "public wealth" is robbery, we never will accede to it;
You have no rights in anything if you can't show your deed to it.
(But don't fear repossession by our Amerind minority:
Those treaties aren't valid---Uncle Sam had no authority!)
We realize whales and wolves and moose find wilderness quite vital,
And we'll give back their habitats---if they can prove their title.
But people like unspoiled lands (we too will say "hooray" for them),
So we have faith that someone else will freely choose to pay for them.

[Chorus]
Yes, when the parks are auctioned it will be a lucky day for them---
We're confident that someone else will freely choose to pay for them!

We'll guard the health of nature by self-interest most astute:
Since pollution is destructive, no one ever will pollute.
Thus factories will safeguard our communities riparian---
I am the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus]
Yes, factories will safeguard our communities riparian,
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!

In short, when I can tell why individual consumers
Know best who should approve their drugs and who should treat their tumors;
Why civilized existence in its intricate confusion
Will be simple and straightforward, absent government intrusion;
Why markets cannot err within the system I've described,
Why poor folk won't be bullied and why rich folk won't be bribed,
And why all vast inequities of power and position
Will vanish when I wave my wand and utter "COMPETITION!"---

[Chorus]
He's so much more exciting than a common politician,
Inequities will vanish when he hollers "Competition!"

---And why my lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, "Ridiculous!",
And why my social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
I'll be the very model of a modern Libertarian!

[Chorus]
His novel social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!

 

The Fine Print

Replies to anything posted by LibbyBot, an unattended, automated service, are prohibited and will be answered with silence. It is strictly prohibited to censor LibbyBot with zero ratings. Failure to comply will trip the unholy triumverate of STATIST_bot, JACK_BOOTED_THUGS_bot and MEN_BEARING_GUNS_bot.

---
It is far, far worse to have a firm anchor in dubious axioms than it is to set out on the troubled seas of thought.
[ Parent ]

funny AND obnoxious (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by Arkady on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 03:14:57 AM EST

How nice. ;-)

I completely laughed my ass off reading that, and was all set to rate that 5, until I got to the whining in "The Fine Print". Drop the "It is strictly prohibited to censor LibbyBot with zero ratings. Failure to comply will trip the unholy triumverate of STATIST_bot, JACK_BOOTED_THUGS_bot and MEN_BEARING_GUNS_bot." gunk, though, and I think you've definitely got a winner.

-robin

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


[ Parent ]
Y'all are out in force (4.66 / 3) (#101)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:00:21 PM EST

I've been attacked by every known logical fallacy to date, yet not a single one of you whiners can provide a single, actual reason that I'm wrong. See, the reason you cannot engage in logical debate is that you are seriously logically challenged. To simply state that logical debate with a libertarian is impossible is to succinctly admit that there are arguments *YOU CANNOT REFUTE*. If you could, you would.
Anyway, this has been enlightening. Liberals are fine so long as you agree with them, but once not in agreement, they proceed to ridicule, provide straw men, and spout incorrect numbers ad nauseum. No wonder Libertarianism is growing in numbers in this country, given the level of intelligence endemic to duopolist debate...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Was it Gandhi... (3.60 / 5) (#114)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:04:01 PM EST

... who said:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Well, they're laughing at us now, so we're on the way to victory.

:-)

Of course, all this bashing back and forth doesn't answer any of the questions I posed, fun though it may be.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

And again (4.00 / 2) (#133)
by spiralx on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:23:00 AM EST

See, the reason you cannot engage in logical debate is that you are seriously logically challenged.

Ad hominem.

To simply state that logical debate with a libertarian is impossible is to succinctly admit that there are arguments *YOU CANNOT REFUTE*. If you could, you would.

No, to engage in arguments with a libertarian is silly because you and I believe in fundamentally different assumptions and arguments always end up as both sides stating their points over and over.

Anyway, this has been enlightening. Liberals are fine so long as you agree with them, but once not in agreement, they proceed to ridicule, provide straw men, and spout incorrect numbers ad nauseum.

And when have I done this? Once again you're making a sweeping generalisation based on experiances with a small group of people, and you're additionally confusing a lack of agreement with your arguments as a lack of intelligence. Way to go.

Anyway, here's waiting for the libertarians to mod this down to 1 again - I see Robert Uhl has decided that rather than present any arguments it's easier to mod things he doesn't like down.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Refutation. (2.00 / 1) (#165)
by delmoi on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:04:08 AM EST

See, the reason you cannot engage in logical debate is that you are seriously logically challenged. To simply state that logical debate with a libertarian is impossible is to succinctly admit that there are arguments *YOU CANNOT REFUTE*. If you could, you would.

I do not share your axioms, therefor, they cannot be axiomatic.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Teeheehee... (3.00 / 1) (#112)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:57:13 PM EST

I have to say, that's one of the most brilliant postings I've seen to date, for its raw hilarity and rank obnoxiousness.

My hat, sir, is off to you.

Libbybot certainly adds more to the discussion than an envirobot[1].

[1] I just thought up this word all by my lonesome. It just seems so... appropriate. I don't know if it's been coined before, but I think I'll claim it for myself, anyway.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Let me get this straight (3.90 / 10) (#10)
by Salamander on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 07:11:05 PM EST

So you're driving long distances in your almost-empty 3/4-ton truck, looking for a place to make your very own contribution to sprawl, and you're bothered by how other people are treating the land? Is that the gist of it?



Hmm... yes. (4.50 / 4) (#14)
by beergut on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 07:37:42 PM EST

So you're driving long distances in your almost-empty 3/4-ton truck, looking for a place to make your very own contribution to sprawl, and you're bothered by how other people are treating the land? Is that the gist of it?

Yes, that's about the size of it. I didn't clearcut a stand of timber. I specifically said I wanted to purchase and preserve a large stand of timber. That would not be adding to sprawl, since I would not have neighbors to speak of. It would be me and my guns and my truck and my dog out there having a great big redneck lovefest in the middle of the woods.

Blah.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Lovefest? (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by Logan on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:31:15 AM EST

It's a bit disturbing that you mention your dog in connection with a "big redneck lovefest." :P

But seriously, I agree with you. Private ownership combined with a duty or desire to keep one's property in pristine condition is all we need to solve most of the world's environmental problems, and I think the latter already exists in sufficient quantities.

Logan

[ Parent ]

sounds like a commie to me (1.00 / 1) (#76)
by alprazolam on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:20:14 AM EST

duty or desire to keep one's property in pristine condition

what kind of statement is this? you have no duty but to maximize your own profity by whichever means necessary. a bunch of trees in the middle of buttfuck nowhere contribute in no way whatsoever to the economy. in the end a team of banks and local corporations will force him off his land and turn it into something useful, it's simple market economics.

[ Parent ]

sounds like an idiot (5.00 / 2) (#82)
by Logan on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:08:22 PM EST

No, no one has any duty but to oneself (if even that). The only duties one has to bear are those that one chooses to bear.

You seem to subscribe to the sort of flawed, oversimplified economic model that some economists criticize as being the sort of model those completely disconnected from reality tend to construct. You have not even defined what a profit is. To one person, a maximal profit might indeed be "a bunch of trees in the middle of buttfuck nowhere." It certainly seems true for the author of this story; he is spending time and resources looking for a suitable patch of land, for which he intends to spend money purchasing (and, in fact, he has expressed a willingness to pay more for the land than its apparent value would justify). You seem to be suffering from an extreme disconnect with reality (and perhaps other afflictions), in that you obviously miss the fact that people rarely act to maximize profit. Instead, people generally make decisions based on what they want (at least, that's what economists typically assume). For rare people it might indeed be maximal monetary worth (but what good is money by itself?). For others it might be having a large plot of underdeveloped land to live in and maintain, a private place to call one's one that will never be besmirched by others.

Perhaps you need to reexamine why it is that most people try to gain money. Sure, some are deranged assholes that are more obsessed with the money itself than what it can provide them, but most healthy individuals realize that money is simply a means to an end, and that end is their choice.

Logan

[ Parent ]

You Got It. [NT] (none / 0) (#108)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:07:11 PM EST


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Private Ownership (none / 0) (#129)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:23:47 AM EST

I think your looking at this issue too narrowly.

The property owner, most certainly has a need to keep the land in good shape -- it's there money they are wasting otherwise. If you distroy your own land, that makes about as much sense as driving your car into the car rail for the hell of it.

I think most likely this land, that has been clear cut and is so "ugly" looking probably falls under one of the following catagories.

1) It's owned by the goverment, and they haven't policed it nearly well enough. (Timber theft typically has very minor penalities -- in NYS the penality is $10 a tree -- literally you can steal people's trees, sell them, get caught, pay the fine, and make a profit).

2) The area had very heavy brush (which is actually fairly common in TN from what I've heard). Selective logging just wasn't pratical. If this was the case, clear cutting probably was benificial to the enviroment. Plants and animals will flurish in a few years in this case -- and it will greatly reduce the forest fire risk -- which is by far more distructive to the enviroment.

3) Land owner wants to use this land for other purposes. Such as farming or building houses, and needs it clear. This isn't a bad as you might have though, much of the east coast of the USA in the 19th century was cleared for farming.

4) The landowner got ripped off by a bad logging company. Unforently, due to the laws in many states, this can happen easily -- and timber theft is a petty crime -- to say the least.

5) The land isn't valuable. There is few trees of value, it's useless for farming, and selective cutting isn't possible because the forest is too dense. In theory, now that it's clear cut, if they use better forest managment in the future, they will be able to get good harvests from this forest, and not the crap they get from clear cutting.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

point by point (none / 0) (#152)
by heatherj on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:32:13 PM EST

Point 1) It's privately owned land being offered through a private realtor Point 2) We're talking about Missouri, but this is still quite possible. Point 3) Land was bought to be logged off and resold. The population of the area isn't big enough to make it a feasible residential development site, and the species of scrub, etc. that were still there cause me to question the soil quality as far as farming is concerned. Soil in the Ozarks has a tendency to be either very rocky (read BIG boulders) or clay you could use to make pottery out of. Point 4) Quite possible. Point 5) True enough.

[ Parent ]
Grow a clue, then grow trees (1.00 / 1) (#84)
by Salamander on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:58:29 PM EST

That would not be adding to sprawl, since I would not have neighbors to speak of

Where do you think sprawl comes from, Jim-Bob? It comes from people just like you who want to have N acres away from the crowd, benefiting only themselves. You like trees, do you? You like seeing wild animals in your backyard? Well, so does everyone who buys a house in the ever-expanding exurban fringe. That's why they move there. The only difference is that you seem to want even more acres and you're willing to drive even further to have them. You're doing more than they are to speed the process of sprawl.



[ Parent ]
Large vehicles aren't the problem... (none / 0) (#137)
by gordonjcp on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 07:10:55 AM EST

... inappropriate use of them is.
I recently had a fairly heated discussion with a "Greenie-Weenie" (great term) friend of mine on this. Bear in mind that here in the UK, vehicles with an engine smaller than 1200cc get very cheap tax, and the average engine capacity is 1400cc.
Her argument: "No-one needs a car with an engine bigger than 1.6, and even that's a bit excessive."
"Yep, OK in towns and on motorways, but if you live and work in the country, fuel is more expensive, you use more of it because you have to travel greater distances, and generally you *need* a large vehicle with a correspondingly large engine."
"A small car gets you around just as well as a big one."
"I used to have a small car (Nissan Micra). I couldn't get a week's worth of shopping in it. I had to get a bigger one to get all the stuff I haul about to fit."
"My week's shopping fits in my (similarly sized) Polo"
"Yours doesn't involve 250kg of animal feed"
And so it goes...
People from cities just don't seem to get it.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Is it true... (none / 0) (#160)
by beergut on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 02:01:08 PM EST

... that the government in the UK won't allow the people to privately own pickup trucks (or, perhaps in your parlance, lorries?)

Lord, I couldn't live like that... :-)

My current vehicle has 5.4L, and it is a bit underpowered for my tastes. But, it's adequate, and pulls pretty hard in low range.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Nope... (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by gordonjcp on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 03:50:35 AM EST

No, that's completely untrue. You can own any kind of vehicle you like, and use it on any public road, just so long as your licence covers it.
I'm not sure if the US driving licence is different, but in the UK it works like this:
A full car licence lets you drive up to 7.5 ton vehicles, unless you passed your test after about 1998, when it was changed to 3.5 tons. It also lets you drive up to 12-seat buses, but this is restricted to 9 seats if it's for "hire or reward".
You can then sit additional tests to let you add larger vehicles (lorries up to 38 tons, and larger buses).
On a provision licence (before you pass your test), you can drive the same classes of vehicle as a full car licence, but you need someone with a full licence with you.
A full UK licence doesn't expire until you're 70 years old, then you need to be retested.
Wierdly enough, if you have a provisional licence, you can drive a farm tractor unaccompanied, but not if it's pulling a trailer... Strange eh?
Oh, and if you drive anything really wierd, like a military-surplus tank, you probably will need to do some kind of course and get a certificate for it. The DVLA (equivalent to the US DMV) are pretty leery about you driving 50-ton tracked machines about, and it won't make you any friends in the Roads Department...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Green (3.35 / 14) (#19)
by mrBlond on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:18:23 PM EST

> Green Weenies

"Every civilizing step in history has been ridiculed as 'sentimental', 'impractical', or 'womanish', etc., by those whose fun, profit or convenience was at stake." - Joan Gilbert

> ... uninformed dolts ... crap ... spoonfed
> ... mischaracterize facts ... Luddite

We love you too.

"Science and technological development needs more funding. We support a progressive rise in government funding of research, science and technology... A public consultation process, such as Foresight, will help inform the allocation of funds. We also believe that local industry must raise its own commitment to research in parallel with this... We believe that as a society we need to commit resources to both pure research and the arts... At the heart of sustainable technology is the idea of 'appropriate technology', technology that helps us work together more effectively and tread lightly on the earth. One clever idea can be worth more than all the resources money can buy. We strongly support a commitment to technology that enables us to do more with less for longer." - Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, one of whose MPs, Nandor Tanczos, spoke at one of our Green Party meetings in Cape Town, South Africa.

> "steal money from some people to point a big
> gun at others to make them do what we say"

Grassroots democracy aka direct democracy is vital to Greens (see 10 key values (GPUSA)), guns ar not.
--
Inoshiro for cabal leader.

Right (3.50 / 4) (#39)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:57:11 PM EST

First, most egregiously, guns are part of the government, so any law that one wishes to enact by governmental force is essentially enacted by government guns.
Second, if such environmentalism were merely grass-roots and never attempted to modify law as happily as it has in the US, there'd be no problem.
Third, 'appropriate technologies' is almost always enviro-speak for 'ill-researched and half-baked ideas that obviously will never work in real life'.
Fourth, and last, I doubt sincerely the rather clownish quote that sentimentality is at the heart of every major movement. Conviction and sentimentality are not the same thing. One can be convicted of the truth of something and thoroughly hate it. Anyway, I'd expect at least a minor statistical study to back up this egregious claim.
Anyway, the ongoing 'we are great, yay yay' attitude in most 'causes' is precisely why many of us cynics hate causes. Much is made of 'alternative energy sources' and 'global warming' despite that the former is impractical and the latter is unproven. Such is the nature of the majority of environmentalism today.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
See here is where I lose respect (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by spiralx on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:34:09 AM EST

See now I don't have any problem with people having different viewpoints from me, but I honestly can't intellectually respect someone who then comes out with the kind of irrational stereotyping that the following quote contains:

Third, 'appropriate technologies' is almost always enviro-speak for 'ill-researched and half-baked ideas that obviously will never work in real life'.

Such as insulation, low power light bulbs or any of the other 'appropriate technologies' that save power and money?

For someone constantly complaining of egregious claims, you sure are quick to dish them out.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

considering the entire tone of the article (none / 0) (#77)
by alprazolam on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:34:41 AM EST

the author and most posters seem to assume that 'environmentalists' are college freshman chicks driving around SUV's and wearing hemp necklaces or something. in truth most environmentalists are farmers, fishermen, local activists, etc. any article which resorts to setting up the environmentalist strawman is barely readable to me but seems to be pretty popular around here.

[ Parent ]
Environmentalists, etc. (3.66 / 3) (#105)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:58:50 PM EST

I would consider farmers, hunters, and fishermen to be more in the camp of "conservationist." My characterization is borne out, too, by those with whom I have spoken.

You see, "environmentalists", as I use the term, and taking as examples of that particular subspecies those to whom I have been exposed and with whom I have had conversations, are not "conservationists." They are, by and large, against farmers "destroying the land" and "endangering living things" (like the Monarch butterfly) by doing such pernicious and evil things as planting Bt corn in order to be able to avoid dousing their fields with herbicides, which they know to have an adverse effect upon wildlife. They are, by and large, against the "animal cruelty" so obviously practiced as a rite by hunters and fishermen.

Farmers, hunters, and fishermen, in my experience, are conservationists. They are not environmentalists. They want to preserve (i.e., "conserve") the wild places, and protect wildlife, because they see it as precious to them, and part of the natural order of things. But, this is a very personal viewpoint, and not one they want to see legislated. Environmentalists, on the other hand, do like to propose legislation that would strip farmers, hunters, and fishermen of the rights to enjoy nature in their own way.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Insulation, low-power bulbs (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:13:34 PM EST

Well, actually, normal market forces have taken care of insulation and low-power bulbs, wherever practical, as they actually do save money. That really isn't an environmentalist question, and certainly one not worthy of legislation.

I'm referring to CAFE, the tendency to declare species endangered without doing any serious homework, idiotic ideas on conservation, such as hunting bans that have demonstrably worsened the welfare of the animals they are designed to protect, ideas such as MTBE, which turned out to be a hideous toxin, 'sustainable energy sources', which are impossible in the here and now, and not likely to ever be possible, and, of course, the monster of bad thought: global anthropogenic climate change.

You'll have to forgive me for making generalities. Like everyone else, the majority of what I say is based on my experiences, and environmentalists, in my experience, spend less time thinking and more time feeling. It is precisely this line that causes most rationalists to be subjected to vitriolic attacks that lack entirely in substance while simultaneously showing egregious misunderstanding of the system. The fact is that this is true of almost all environmentalist groups out there. It's not like environmentalists are clean; they engage in terrorism and smear campaigns and constantly cover up facts that are contrary to their agenda. Case in point: drilling in the wildlife preserves in Alaska. Actual risk to wildlife? Zero. There's almost a whole acre needed to do the drilling. It's not like they're going to clear-cut and then strip-mine for oil, yet environazis happily natter on about the 'potential damage'<zero> that 'could happen'<no chance>, just like global climate change and launching nuclear thermal batteries in spacecraft. The majority of people believe them, as they aren't used to being misled, but each time environazis are proven wrong publicly, the whole group loses ground. I would think that environmentalists would take better care to be right.

Anyway, this is particularly egregious, because the potential damage due to oil spills caused by supertankers is considerably higher than that caused by drilling in Alaska, yet you will never here environmentalists mention that.

I could go on for hours, but I won't. I, myself, believe in 'conservationism', saving the environment where practical, and limiting my impact in areas where it matters. This is a common position for libertarians, and, indeed, is beergut's position, as well.

The dichotomy in this debate is obvious; environmentalists tend to refer to libertarians and anarchists as those that would destroy the earth. This constitutes a prior use of the very ad hominem attack I stand here accused of, yet there is no interest in correcting that assumption, merely interest in complaining in a hurt tone, 'we aren't like that'. Well, if you truly aren't like that, then you are rare, indeed.

It has always been an interesting thing to me that your average liberal can decry Nazis in the worst tone, and apply all sorts of invective to white wealthy men, while at the same time insisting that others do not do the same to them. Get a tougher skin. If liberals wish to paint libertarians as nutcases who will ruin the world, do not be surprised when liberals get painted as people incapable of rational thought, and, more importantly, please don't be surprised when evidence is shown, even though I know that's not how the ad hominem game is supposed to be played.
In other words, the substance of what has been said of these generalities is right; it is the tone you object to. Anyway, I will quote the original thing that set off this rant: "Every civilizing step in history has been ridiculed as 'sentimental', 'impractical', or 'womanish', etc., by those whose fun, profit or convenience was at stake." What this implies, of course, in this context, is that libertarians are merely putting our selfish existence ahead of the fate of the entire friggin world and that environmentalists, as the repository of the hidden knowledge of truth are the same as those hallowed people who stood by *convictions* of *truth*, often reached through *actual thought*. Now do you see why you will receive ad hominem attacks? As ye mete, so shall it be meted unto you.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Gotta agree here... (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:01:46 PM EST

I insulated my house, bought thermally efficient windows, and use compact fluorescent bulbs in order to save money. That reduced energy consumption has other positive side effects is simply happy coincidence.

That is free-market environmentalism.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Whereas I live in an apartment (none / 0) (#111)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:53:18 PM EST

Top floor. Air conditioning is killing me...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Dueling quotes (5.00 / 2) (#79)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:39:21 AM EST

"Every civilizing step in history has been ridiculed as 'sentimental', 'impractical', or 'womanish', etc., by those whose fun, profit or convenience was at stake." - Joan Gilbert

"They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." - Carl Sagan

Every good step has been ridiculed. So has every bad step. Just because someone laughs at it doesn't give it any value.

[ Parent ]

You have a serious case of cognitive dissonance (4.16 / 18) (#20)
by localroger on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:39:13 PM EST

Despite (or perhaps because of) your valiant attempt to keep your emotional reaction separate from the higher cause you believe in, you have only had half of the epiphany.

You mischaracterize the environmental movement -- I get the feeling you have learned more about them from Rush Limbaugh than from their own actions and literature. For example, have you heard of the Wildlife Conservancy, which actually goes out and buys the land it wants to protect in the finest Capitalistic sense?

And you completely miss the very thing you are trying to illustrate by your tale. You write:

I cannot rationalize infringing a land owner's rights to do what he will with his property, so long as he does not interfere with his neighbors doing what they will with theirs.

Only a few paragraphs after writing:

Pine, hardwoods of various species, all gone. Anything above about three inches in diameter was mowed down like so much grass. It nearly tore me in two to see gullies in the hillsides where runoff from the rain carved out the soil because there was nothing left to keep it in place nor to buffer the effects of the rainfall.

So for the sake of your libertarian cause you will turn away as this person mows down every living thing for miles, and allows even the topsoil to be washed away (presumably onto other peoples' land). I'm sorry, but I'm too busy shaking my head in disbelief to find your touching sacrifice noble.

The Native Americans had the right idea on this; you can own a television set or a car or a diamond or a ship. You cannot really own land. Your actions on the land affect every one of us. The man who raped that tract of land didn't just make a few more bucks at the expense of the next poor sob who has to try to fix what he did; he hurt you. He hurt me. He visited a holocaust upon the wildlife. No matter what piece of paper the government gave him saying he "owns" that tract, he should not have a right to treat it in so cavalier a manner.

I "own" my house but I don't have the right to burn it down, to turn it into a fast-food franchise, or even to let my backyard get too overgrown. The reason is that all those things would affect my neighbors, and I accept those limitations because I don't want my neighbors doing stuff like that either.

Those large tracts of land in Mississippi are mostly clearcut in the very way which so horrifies you. The world really is overpopulated; that land looks empty but it is in use. When those trees get big enough (and that ain't too big nowadays) they will come in with backhoes and giant chains and drag every scrap of cellulose out of there.

The fine libertarian principle that you should be able to do whatever the hell you want loses much of its lustre when you consider all those other people doing whatever the hell they want too. The fact is there aren't enough people like you to make up for the people who think clearcutting is just A-OK because it saves a few bucks. The law doesn't have to tell them not to touch their trees. But it can tell them not to turn a thriving forest into something that looks like it was sent back by Mars Pathfinder. That is a sensible and positive thing, and the most amazing part of your tale is your own resistance to understanding the obvious lesson you have been given.

+1 FP anyway. Well written, and there's hope for you yet.

I can haz blog!

You listen to Rush more than we do. (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by Sheepdot on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:11:52 AM EST

I get the feeling you have learned more about them from Rush Limbaugh than from their own actions and literature.

Why is it that nearly every time I see a response to a libertarian, the poster claims that too much of what they know has been learned from Rush Limbaugh?

Excuse me if I ask this question, but do you even realize that there are some people that disagree with you that might not listen to Rush?


[ Parent ]

Rush Limbaugh is about as Libertarian as... (4.33 / 3) (#43)
by John Miles on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:18:33 AM EST

... Jerry Falwell.

Please don't tar libertarians with the social-conservative Republican brush.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

Hehe (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by kurioszyn on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:31:24 AM EST

I am sure Republicans are much closer to what libertarians stand than the other alternative.
Even considering their social policies.


[ Parent ]
Yes and no. (5.00 / 2) (#104)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:43:56 PM EST

Republicans are right about a lot of the economic issues, but dead-assed wrong about a lot of the social and civil issues. Even though they say the right things, they are demonstrably lying about their beliefs, anyway.

For instance, while Republicans proclaim their allegiance to lower taxes and smaller government, no credible progress has been made toward either. Bush's tax cut was a baby-step in the right direction, but it doesn't go far enough, fast enough, for enough people, and for the right reasons. Bush, and the rest of the Republicans (save Ron Paul, who is nearly deifiable,) are clearly not for the reduction of the size and scope of government. They want their own agendas to be enforced by Leviathan. The fact is, though, that they are less harmful than the Democrats, because they want to infringe rights the Democrats (and the leftist media here in the U.S.) hold sacrosanct. Things like the rights to free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and other trivial stuff like that are the bane of Republican social theory.

Democrats are as bad as Republicans on many issues, but especially the issues whereby a successful Demagogue^H^H^H^H^H^Hocrat gets to point a gun at my head and extract more money from my pocket. They are unabashedly for the redistribution of wealth and the unrestricted growth of government. At least they are honest about it. Democrats are troubled by the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and don't seem to know the meaning of the words, "Congress shall make no law..." Democrats, too, want to restrict my speech, but they get away with it by categorizing it as "hate speech."

The point people miss when discussing the ideology of libertarians, Libertarians, Democrats, and Republicans, is not even very subtle.

Democrats and Republicans are demonstrably both firmly ensconced in the "statist" camp. They both want to use the titanic power of the federal government (and its guns) to further their own agendas. In practice, both parties are simply different wings of the "Business Party." Not that I have any problem with businesses, per se (you see, I happen to want to own one,) but they are demonstrably both in the pockets of big corporations and interest groups who want them to use their government guns to take my money from me and give it to them.

Libertarians are more akin to anarchists. Note carefully, though, that I do not equate libertarianism with anarchy. There is a difference. Libertarianism, in the U.S., as I define it, is for a return to a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution. They abhor the use of the powers of the State for anything but those powers granted it by the Constitution. This means that there is no power for the government to control people's lives like it does today. Libertarians are statists only to the degree that they see government as a tool to protect the rights of the people, not to restrict their freedoms and rob them blind, like Democrats and Republicans.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Your Being Unfair to Major Parties (none / 0) (#124)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:36:35 AM EST

I think your being a bit unfair to both the Republican and Democratic parties. True, pragamaticism has taken over much of politics (ie. falling which ever way the wind blows), but it has always been that way with politics. Other wise, you'd be hard to explain why LBJ voted for Civil Rights Act of '64, but not for any previous Civil Rights legislation, or why McGovern voted to step up Vietnam, then was one of the strongest supporters against the war. Or why Barry Goldwater repeated voted against and for (depending on the bill) aborotion restrictions.

You need to also realize there is no-consenses in teh Republicans and Democratic parties. Democrats have cut taxes. Democrats have increased military spending. Democrats have been tough on crime. Democrats have supported term limits (yes, really). Democrats have supported commerical interests of enviromental interests. Democrats have attacked hollywood. Democrats have supported gun rights. And the list goes on. You could come up with the same kind of list for Republicans. There is no consenses in the parties today (or in the past). Generally parties, they are on some basic principals, and some ideas, but often have different ideas for implementation.

The important thing, is not to be a strong party voter (although find the one that in general looks best for voting in primaries), but instead vote for the best candiates.

Personally, I am a Democratic party supporter. Why? They in general have worked to reduce us blowing/burning up millions of dollars on unneeded defense technology -- money best spent on domestic programs. They typically work towards protecting and helping the poorest citizens, and helping agriculture. Liberals (well, Nelson Rockfeller who was a Republican) are responsible for turning parts of downtown Albany, into a pretty impressive, nice place. They've push hard for drug reform.

Do I like the democrats, hard core? No. Especially downstate democrats, tend to have a bent on regulating everything left and right, and have a poor handle on rural issues (and are typically too corrupt to deal with urban issues). Sometimes they make rules that infringe on my personal freedom -- like making me wair a seatbelt (of course I would anyways), lowering speed limits, limiting cellphone use, and many other things. Democrats also have a bent on campaign finace reform, which is probably more likely to distroy politics then improve it. And list goes on and on.

Libertarianism is a nice pipe dream, but it does a poor job protecting those in need of protection, and allows crooks to run society (if the goverment stops abusing it's power, somebody else will).

I'm a registered Democrat, but I'll probably vote for several Republicans in the general election, including Pataki in 2002.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

a main difference between a city person and a coun (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by heatherj on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:28:29 PM EST

There have been several comments to this posting assuming that everyone does not have the right to do certain things to his property. Most of the examples cited are petty things that are ONLY against the law in cities/towns. On a parcel of land such as beergut discussed nobody cares what you do on your land as long as it does not cause property damage to your neighbor. Many of these places do not even have building codes for houses in place, let alone rules about what color your house is or how many statues of phalli you put in your yard. There are general laws you do have to obey-because (with the exception of laws against the growing of certain crops, which is another discussion) violating these laws-such as murder-hurts someone else. People who live in cities expect and accept and even vote fo restrictions to their property rights. People who live in the country tend to look at such things as the restrictions common in subdivisions and wonder if the people who pay unbelievable amounts of money for a house on a quarter acre with a bunch of restrictions on what you are allowed to do on your own land don't need their heads examined.

[ Parent ]
property isn';t absolute and it's not liberty (2.37 / 8) (#21)
by strlen on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:39:44 PM EST

i see that you say that property isn't a right. and it's absolutely and surely is is his property. thing is that it's not that way. property rights have never been absolute. tried painting your house pink? tried making a statue of a phallus in your front yard? won't work. so if we are going to have property regulations, why not actually use them for society's benefit? property rights, to my knowledge, in no society have existed as absolute? and it's clearly shown that absolute property rights WILL harm the environment and thus the society, there's no advantage to establishing them.

as for a phisophical idea, your land is still not yours. really. the government is the one who ensures you are in temprorary control of it. if someone decides to occupy your land (and someone who's better armed than you), you have no choice but use the government. yet if a publishing company rejects your article, you have a choice to send it to another publisher, or publish it yourself. see the difference? liberty (such as free speech) is really different from property. so you need a government to protect your property, so it's only logical that the goverment require you not use your property in a way that damages the envrionment. and if you want to see what happens when government doesn't protect property, i suggest you make a visit to zimbabwe.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
s/isn't a right/is a right/ (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by strlen on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 08:40:50 PM EST

i made a mistkae here, apologies. it meant to say "property is a right" in the first sentence.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Depends (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:50:24 PM EST

If you remove the government from the issue entirely, it becomes relatively obvious that I can defend my property myself. It is precisely the government that created the problem in the first place, another case of statism solving a problem that it created. Essentially, it is government restrictions that reduce the capability of people to excercise the rights that they feel they have, whether the government believes so or not, so the government must step in and save the people from the problem it created, rather than acting as an arbiter.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
*sigh* (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by strlen on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:54:35 PM EST

ok. let's give you a gun, and a ticket to zimbabwe. go and defend your property. go ahead. please. you're welcome.

don't think that once government is the one who creates and negotiates the entire concept of property? so perhaps it should negotiate conditions of ownership?



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Or, rather (2.00 / 1) (#48)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:42:32 AM EST

Why, exactly, it is that certain types immediately change to straw man debates yet others simply engage in ad hominem is a study for other times.
You fail entirely to address the real question. Fact is that most of Africa is quite socialist, and it is their ruinous policies that make for unregulatable states. Not that they don't try.
For the record, I've been to Rwanda and Zaiire, but not Zimbabwe, so I am not familiar with that country.
Anyway, I await any explanation as to why I was *wrong*, not another deflection attempt. Show me why I'm wrong in a modern government. Don't merely assert that you're right and that it's obvious.
Since every government has grown evolutionarily, glomming ever more of the rights of the people over time, your claim that it is a natural thing that government negotiate rights since it has always done so is egregious. The fact is that the statist socialism seen recently has happened since the turn of the century and is the newcomer. In the US, at least, government merely records the management of property and arbitrates disagreements. So, in our country, at least, legal theory doesn't match your version of the world, either. The originator of the disbursement of the property is a person, and individual or corporation, not the government.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
The point (none / 0) (#64)
by davidmb on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:46:17 AM EST

Your government-less model relies on people "playing nice" and not just wading in and taking your property. How would you defend your property against a well-armed gang?

Perhaps you'd band together with other friendly land owners. You could employ people to guard your land. Perhaps this small army could patrol the area, guarding everyone's property. Congratulations, you're on your way to creating a new state and government, on the model of feudal Europe. In a few hundred years, you may be back where you started.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
Must...Patiently...Explain (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:27:38 PM EST

I'm a *libertarian*, not an *anarchist*. Please, people, learn the difference. Libertarians believe in small governments, anarchists believe in no governments. I know that once wandered far from rationality, they both look the same to you, as both are rationalist/pragmatist positions, but the anarchist position sincerely believes there should be no government at all, and would espouse your position that people should band together, or, more likely, that they would hire security corporations, but Libertarians believe that government does have a purpose and police forces are an acceptable purpose.

However, even your language shows the inevitable property right: I would have the police force defend my property as my agent, not merely allow the government to do what is its own interest. See the difference? The property is mine; the police defend it only if I ask them to, not if I don't.

To tell the truth, there is probably a happy medium, one in which personal security is available to those who want it while police forces are available as a choice of the locality; in other words, in town a, the town has a sheriff and a judge but security is up to corporations, while in town b, there is a full-blown police force, but one can still us corporations if one likes.

Actually, in much of the US, gated communities and the like already employ their own police forces. In the state of Texas, these police forces, once bonded, are authorised to carry a gun and are protected by the same laws that protect any other officer of the peace. The system works rather well.

Anyway, you asked, so I shall give you a breakdown of my defensive strategy. First of all, I have both a landline and a cell phone in my bedroom to summon the agents of my defense, the police, should I need them. I also have a loaded .40 S&W pistol on my headboard within easy access at all times. I have a .303 British infantry rifle with 10 rounds of ammunition ready as a backup, although it is not loaded. This is termed a 'range gun'. It is to be used at ranges that are larger than my apartment, but used sparingly, as it has high penetration and likely will cause collateral damage.

Now, should such a gang attack, they will either have to scale the building (I'm on the second floor), or enter through the front door. Well, there's plenty of cover available, and I would most likely take cover in my walk-in closet, from where I could return effective fire against any intruder coming in through the front door.
Gangs generally aren't all that good with weapons. The reason for this is simple: criminals wish to escape any form of work or responsibility, or they'd be law-abiding citizens. Hence, they are notoriously bad shots and tend to carry inferior weapons. In almost all engagements, no shots are even fired, as criminals are not often interested in a gunfight. Those that are die at a surprising rate when confronted with a law-abiding citizen or policeman who knows what he's doing. The mortality rate is something like 80% for those shot by citizens while committing a crime here in the US. The mortality rate is just 17% for those defending, if shot by a criminal. A lot has to do with a criminal's choice of weapons, which is often a 9MM or .38 SPL pistol, which isn't particularly lethal. My .40 S&W firing MagSafe ammo that has 750 Ft.Lbs. of muzzle energy and is a massive-fragmentation round, is around 97% effective, compared to 9MM, which is merely 45% effective in hardball, the most common ammo used by criminals. Essentially, my weapon is twice as lethal, so I get a bonus there. Now, forced entry into a house is a good way to get killed, no matter who you are, which explains the bullet-proof vest and carefully practiced entry tactics of SWAT teams. To get into a house effectively, you have to enter as many as you can as fast as you can so that you can lay suppressive fire on those in the house. Most criminals simply break in and come in single file. This is not a good idea, as I can, from cover, pick them off one at a time as they come in, effectively nulling their numerical advantage. So, in the final analysis, unless they are a professional entry team, I will likely win any gunfight we engage in.

Now, for the professionals. There is no motivation for a professional to hit a home. Professionals are capable of making more money, so likely will hit someplace where there is more money, like a bank or a store. At those places, they are likely to encounter enhanced security in the form of private police forces and so on.

Anyway, I am reasonably certain that, given the threat assessment and the location, I can construct a defense that will at least make it extremely costly to attack my dwelling.

The funny thing is that depending on the police for protection actually makes you less safe, as most times where a murder or rape occurs in concert with robbery or burglary, the police won't arrive for at least half an hour, easily long enough for one to be killed or worse, while simply showing a gun deters over 99% of all home invasions, and you are five times more likely to kill your assailant than be killed when wounds are exchanged. Further, in around 97% of the cases where shots are fired, nobody is hit.

In the US alone, there are between 1.7 and 2.9 million uses of a gun for defensive purposes per year. It is quite possible, and indeed, advisable, to take your defense into your own hands.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Utter rubbish (5.00 / 2) (#67)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:08:25 AM EST

Fact is that most of Africa is quite socialist, and it is their ruinous policies that make for unregulatable states. Not that they don't try.
This kind of statement makes me doubt you have ever been to Africa.

There is nothing even remotely socialist about most African countries: the citizens of most African countries pay no taxes whatsoever, and recieve no handouts whatsoever from the "government" du jour.

You are confusing feudalism and cronyism with socialism. "Government" in most sub-saharan African countries, especially the worst off, consists of a group of armed thugs, controlling that country's most valuable resource (oil, bauxite, diamonds, whatever), defending it from other armed thugs, and distributing the loot among themselves, their cronies, and their family or kinsmen. The fact that these thugs call themselves "Democratic", "Revolutionary", "Socialist", "Progressive" or whatever, does not mean that they are revolutionary, democratic, progressive or socialist.

The only African country that can truly be called "socialist" is Libya. Coincidentally, Libyans have the highest living standards of all Africans.

The rest of sub-saharan Africa is a libertarian paradise. No taxes, no gun laws, and you get to defend your property all by your lonesome.

[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 0) (#75)
by eWulf on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:05:28 AM EST

The way he refers to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as Zaiire (sic) suggests that his knowledge of Africa is at best out of date.

[ Parent ]
For the record (none / 0) (#85)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:01:12 PM EST

I was born in Zaiire. I spent a year and a half in Rwanda, which is most definately a socialist state.
Your insistence that there are no taxes fails to understand the basic barter economy in place, in that Rwandaise are expected to provide one day of work every so often to the government in lieu of cash taxes if they are unable to pay cash taxes.
Rwanda has all the trappings of socialism: large government-mandate beurocracies that attempt to regulate the population, communal ownership of land (all farms are communes run by families), and relatively high taxes for those with money.
Anyway, generalities will kill you. I'm certain the folks in South Africa consider their country to be under rule of law, and relatively certain places such as Kenya and Tanzania would bridle, as well. My father is currently in the Cameroons, and can attest that they have rule of law as well as a thriving economy. Reunion is a French protectorate. Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia are all relatively stable governments.
And, yes, I know it's called the democratic republic of Congo, but since they change their name rather often, I have just chosen to call it Zaiire in the expectation they will change it back.
Now, one egregious example of total rule of law is, of course, Uganda, which is an authoritarian state of the 'back to Africa' bent, and clearly is not a libertarian paradise.
Anyway, your rhetoric is weak in one point: anyone capable of actually reading and understanding what those words means can rather quickly understand that libertarians are for *small* government, not *no* government.
Once again, however, thanks for the straw man, and glad you got the ad hominem attack out of your system. Now, can we please debate the issue?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Record noted (none / 0) (#142)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:05:15 AM EST

I was born in Zaiire. I spent a year and a half in Rwanda, which is most definately a socialist state. Your insistence that there are no taxes fails to understand the basic barter economy in place, in that Rwandaise are expected to provide one day of work every so often to the government in lieu of cash taxes if they are unable to pay cash taxes.

I have lived for almost two decades in Africa, and travelled extensively. Let me enlighten you on a couple of facts about "tax-paying" in Africa:

  • Most Africans don't pay tax. In any form. Period.
  • Few African governments have anything resembling a coherent record-keeping system, let alone a tax agency as we know it here in the West.
  • The logistics of most African countries make any form of coherent tax collection near impossible. For instance, in your "homeland" Congo, there are no roads whatsoever joining the west coastal towns with the inner regions. Any travel is by air, usually in military aircraft. Countless warring factions, guerilla activity, tribal mistrust, the poverty of the native Congolese themselves (wanna squeeze blood from a stone?) and sheer inhospitable territory, means that tax collection is utterly and completely pointless.
  • If you want, I can give you detailed first-hand account breakdowns of government, taxation, and associated difficulties in most West and Central African states. The idea that these countries are socialist in any normal sense of the word is laughable.
Anyway, generalities will kill you. I'm certain the folks in South Africa consider their country to be under rule of law, and relatively certain places such as Kenya and Tanzania would bridle, as well. My father is currently in the Cameroons, and can attest that they have rule of law as well as a thriving economy

First off, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroun are not under the rule of law, by any means. They are relatively peaceful and stable dictatorships (arap Moi and Biya have been rulers for two decades each), which is something else entirely. Dictatorships rule by decree, not by law.

Secondly, you called Africa socialist. I called you on that one. The worst off countries in Africa, which you specifically referred to, can scarecely be called States at all. Calling them "socialist" and blaming "socialism" for all their woes is dogmatic and ignorant in the extreme. I don't give a damn what your personal bogeyman is, but in a serious discussion, don't use the word "socialism" as an adjective to describe anything and everything you dislike. Socialism as a political system, has a fairly clear and well-defined meaning, and no single West or Central African country comes even close to being socialist.

Thirdly, don't give me any crap with the usual trick of using couple of scattered examples of African governments that drew up a couple of socialist items in their manifestos, as proof that these countries are "socialist". A few socialist items on a government's agenda, does not make a country any more socialist than a few libertarian items on that agenda would make that country libertarian.

And before you ask, my political leanings are emphatically centrist. Browse my diary, if you need more clarification.

[ Parent ]

Socialist Africa (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:06:36 PM EST

You are confusing feudalism and cronyism with socialism.

In form, yes. In substance, he is quite right. Have a look at the wondrous place that is South Africa for an example of Socialism at its best.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Pink Houses (none / 0) (#68)
by mold on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:17:06 AM EST

Actually, you can paint your house pink without too many issues (depending on where you live, of course). Mine was pink with green trim when I moved in. Nice house though.

I painted it blue and white, and most of the people in the area were sad that the "easter bunnies" house and been painted. (By the way, never have a programmer paint your house; I did mine, and now half the windows don't open).

And if you ever visit (or live in) Florida, you'll see LOTS of pink houses, as well as colors you've never imagined existed.

---
Beware of peanuts! There's a 0.00001% peanut fatality rate in the USA alone! You could be next!
[ Parent ]
More Apt (3.75 / 4) (#26)
by sventhatcher on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:11:16 PM EST

The best solution to the problem would be to increase the amount of Eastern philosophy present in the United States. It would help for people to realize that just because some form of life is lower on the food chain than they are doesn't make it worthless.

Cutting down trees for lumber isn't inherently bad, but we've got to make sure that we pace ourselves. We want there to be trees to cut down for lumber 20 or 50 years down the road as well as today.

Admittedly, most enviromentalists don't tend to focus on the smaller battles that are taking place in people's backyards every day. There are big issues to take on like global warming, animal rights, or rainforest preservation, but every bit of nature is worth protecting. If the biggies won't stand up for your piece because they're busy with the larger picture, don't get discouraged. Stand up by yourself if you have to. Others will fall in behind you.

Rarely is there a worthwhile cause that don't have secret supporters. They just need a leader to bring them out of hiding. They just aren't always willing to stand alone.

--Sven (Now with bonus vanity weblog! (MLP Sold Seperately))

Nothing New (none / 0) (#130)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:28:24 AM EST

Every major logging company understands this. Small trees have little or no value. If you cut them, they are wasted. But if the use selective cutting (which in NYS is more then 90% of all logging), you will be able to harvest wood from the forest every few years, do little damage to the forest, and maximizing profit. Maximzing profit is the name of the game -- don't you remember the torist and the hare. Who wins?

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Conservation Is The Word (4.33 / 6) (#27)
by SEWilco on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:20:48 PM EST

Yes, "Conservation" is the word for taking care of the land. The "Environmental" movement is trying to take care of the planet -- although too often it becomes anti-technology, aimed at an imaginary goal rather than the local historical biology, or based on myths.

Conservation means that you do own the land, but you are aware that it needs to be cared for. You might be farming with erosion control and proper crop rotation, you might have some timber land which you harvest and replace, or you might be maintaining some land in some sort of balance with the local plants and wildlife. Yes, this might require clear-cutting an area so the forest can properly regenerate. Or controlled burning. Or having a concrete dam at the exit of your pond to block erosion and the access for non-native fish.

The common guideline is to plan to leave your land in good condition for your children. People choose different ways to do that.

Everyone To Texas! (4.16 / 6) (#28)
by SEWilco on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:27:58 PM EST

To visualize how much land is actually used by human living space on the planet, do a little math. Divide the number of square feet in Texas by the total human population of the planet, and you find that there are several hundred square feet for everyone. Gather all of the space for each family member together, and that's more space than many homes or apartments.

Of course, for each family there's an assortment of utilities, work spaces, and farmland which supports everyone. And there would be difficulties in moving everyone to Texas...but at least the Internet would be more compact.

Good God (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:39:06 AM EST

Have you ever lived in Texas before? I've been trying to get away for years now.


This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.


[ Parent ]
In Texas (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:17:32 AM EST

Taken from Pop.org:
The whole world's population could fit in the state of Texas...Amazing as it may seem, the entire population of the world can be housed in the U.S. state of Texas -- and very comfortably indeed, with each person enjoying a living far in excess of that now available to all but the most wealthy.

Consider these facts: The land area of Texas is some 262,000 square miles* and current UN estimates of the world's population (for 12 October 1999) are about 6 billion.** By converting square miles to square feet -- remember to multiply by 5,280 feet per mile twice -- and dividing by the world's population, one readily finds that there are more than 1,217 square feet per capita.

A family of 5 would thus occupy more than 6,085 square feet of living space. Even in Texas, that's a mansion.

These numbers apply to just one-story, ranch house-type dwellings. With a housing mix of multi-story buildings, including town houses, apartment buildings and high rises, appreciably greater living space could be provided. Such an arrangement would allow ample land for yards and all the necessary streets and roads.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world would be completely empty, available for all of mankind's agricultural, manufacturing, educational, and recreational activities!

But what kind of meaningful economic activity could 6 billion people undertake in the State of Texas, thousands of miles away from their farmlands, mines, fishing grounds, and factories? And how is a 10,000 mile commute to school or to the nearest playground (or, heck, to the nearest airport) any more efficient than the current state of affairs?

[ Parent ]
The trees will grow back (1.66 / 9) (#30)
by delmoi on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 10:50:20 PM EST


--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
For some reason... (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by skim123 on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:00:47 PM EST

For some reason this sounds eerily like an explodingdog.com drawing title...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Unless... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by davidmb on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:37:27 AM EST

The soil has eroded away to such an extent that all you've got is bare rock and desert (unlikely in the situation described, I'm sure, but it happens).
־‮־
[ Parent ]
Eek (4.00 / 7) (#32)
by Sheepdot on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:17:44 PM EST

Well, enjoyable read. I'd like to make note that a lot of *us* (The evil libertarians) have been vilified as corrupt fat capitalist bastards (tm) bent on destroying the enviroment.

Not so. I hate what enviromentalism has come to mean, but I don't mind conservation by individuals or organizations that are willing to do so. I'd even consider donating to a cause if I knew they weren't lobbying the gov't to use imminent domain to ruin the lives of property owners.

I'd suggest you don't say the Greens have a point, as they'll most likely misinterpret that as "I agree wholeheartedly with you". Land conservation is a noble cause, but ultimately it *is* just that, noble in the respect that others will think better of you for it.

When politicians do it, it is either to get re-elected and to hit the voter base they need, or to pay off that special interest group that lobbied so ardently and gave them free stuff.

IMHO, that isn't noble. But an organization using its funds to buy back land from the government or just buy land from owners for the purposes of conservation *is* the example that I think has more of an impact. I tip my hat to those that take that course of action rather than forcibly conserving it.

If you do enjoy time to yourself, I'd highly suggest looking into one of the few organizations that already have been buying land for the purposes of conservation, and donating money so you can spend some time by yourself without all the noise that you say you aren't fond of.


Hm (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by PhillipW on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:25:17 PM EST

Too bad that is just not practical. I used to agree with that, then I realized that it couldn't happen. No matter how many people donate money to conservationist groups, that does not stop the profits of the companies that pollute.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Scare mongering (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:42:28 PM EST

Demonstrate that 1) it is true that the majority of companies have absolutely no interest whatsoever in environmentalism, and 2) that government intervention really helps.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Easy. (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:35:58 AM EST

Demonstrate that 1) it is true that the majority of companies have absolutely no interest whatsoever in environmentalism,
The sole duty of a company is to make profit and maximise shareholder returns. Anything that does not add to this goal is not only superfluous, but harmful. Hence companies do not spend their money on building pyramids, restoring monuments, saving whales or clearing up litter.

Individuals in a company may try to subvert this process and get the company to sponsor environmentalism, but by doing so they are acting against the core activities of the company and diminishing shareholder returns. Good shareholders will soon eliminate such individuals from the decision-making branch of the company. This is definitely going to be the case if the company is not making any profits.

and 2) that government intervention really helps.
Browse through this list of natural parks and reserves worldwide. Count the private owned ones. Compare to the public owned ones. Don't give me any crap about "private companies don't get the chance to buy land, bla bla bla". Look at this piece of private owned land (yes, you can actually tour it), and ask yourself why the owners chose to build a mine on it instead of a park.

[ Parent ]
Companies don't hire lawnskeepers? (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:39:15 AM EST

The sole duty of a company is to make profit and maximise shareholder returns. Anything that does not add to this goal is not only superfluous, but harmful. Hence companies do not spend their money on building pyramids, restoring monuments, saving whales or clearing up litter.

Yet companies spend a great deal of money on architecture, putting candies in the lobbies of buildings, etc. Companies constantly spend money to clean up litter on their property. That's what janitors and lawnskeepers are for. The idea is that enhancing the asthetics may encourage consumers to come back and spend more money... they may even get to charge a premium for their services. I'd be very curious to see how much of a premium Starkist(?) Tuna was able to charge for their Dolphin-Free tuna.

Good environmental policies most certianly can help the bottom line.

Count the private owned ones. Compare to the public owned ones.

However, at least in the US, most pollution occurs on public land, because there will be no resale value to uphold.

The trick to sound land management is to show companies that it is in their best interest to be good land stewards, that they can mesh sound environmental policy with the profit motive. It seems to me that government regulations should move much more in that direction than the federally mandated regulations we currently have in the US.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Public facades. (none / 0) (#93)
by inpHilltr8r on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 04:43:48 PM EST

> Companies constantly spend money to clean up litter on their property.

On their corporate offices maybe.


[ Parent ]
Take Exxon, for example (5.00 / 2) (#98)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:44:51 PM EST

After the Exxon Valdez incident, Exxon faced serious public-realtions problems. Their response? Fund wildlife preserves. Fund a society that aims to save tigers (Exxon's mascot). Apologise sincerely. Rigorously tighten controls on who gets to run supertankers. All without a *stitch* of government intervention. Serious counter-example, that.
Anyway, the truth is, as stated before, that there hasn't been a single advance in the field of environmentalism actually brought about by the government, at least in the USA, and in Europe, environmental conditions are often a lot worse than the USA, which has less environmental legislation.
Essentially, all significant advances in environmentalism in recent history in the USA are a result of tort law. A company pollutes, causing serious health problems, and subsequently gets dismantled in a local court, often paying fines of such ruinous sums that they go out of business completely, to be replaced by much less polluting companies. The paper industry in Tennessee, for instance, is one industry that got wind of investigations and cleaned up its act before facing an actual trial, even though their polluting was relatively small.
Recycling is happening now, as well, largely as a result of increased awareness. There is no law to require that my corporation recycle, yet they do, as has every other place I've ever worked at, despite there not being a single law requiring it.
Laws need to be justified on the basis of need. There is no basis of need for these kinds of laws. All they do is increase the legal code, with no appreciable benefits. Until such a time as appreciable benefits to the majority can be shown, such laws will remain what they are today: onerous and a nuisance.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Burn Exxon, for example... (none / 0) (#123)
by antares on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:26:38 AM EST

~40% of the surface freshwater in the US is unsuitable for fishing, drinking or swimming. The primary source of water pollution in the US is agricultural wastes, including fertilizer runoff and animal manure. Illegalizing the discharge of agricultural waste would greatly reduce this degradation. This appears to me to be a case where substantial benefit to the majority would accrue from goverment action. I'm gonna say something silly, and this is it: being able to swim in a river or lake, or drink from it, or fish in it, or look at it and realize that it is alive and healthy, are things that make the monetary cost of accounting for our wastes totally inconsequential by comparison. And as for Exxon, the bloody-handed profiteers, US 'public relations' problems have not stopped it's murderous complicity in genocide in Indonesia, or prevented the spilling of more oil in Africa than three Exxon-Valdezes...Could there be a worse poster-child for a corpirate 'reformation'? Greenwashers like EXXON are the real ECO-TERRORISTS! Aye, and we muck our hands in their black filth every time we wrap our eager gas tanks around their gas hoses at the gas station!

[ Parent ]
'National Parks' (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:54:24 PM EST

Well, hmm, a list of *NATIONAL PARKS* does not contain any private parks? I feel a resounding **DUH** coming deep from my diaphram. There are literally hundreds of philanthropists engaging in just this sort of thing right now. Here is one.

Now, if you intend to argue that building pyramids is an environmentally-friendly proposition, I am preparing to laugh. However, your analysis in a microcosm is typical of the systemic-challenged. You essentially assume that the majority of the people never listen to the news and don't care about anything but price/performance ratios, which is manifest bunk, as the current craze in such things as 'free range eggs' proves. People are paying more for eggs that are inferior in quality because they feel better about the way chickens are treated. So much for your simplistic analysis.

Essentially, all statism boils down to one onerous, ignorant proposition: that the average man can't take care of himself and some elite must tell him what to do. Such a proposition flies in the face of established history and inevitably results in authoritarian states with low freedom and high problems, including environmentalism. There have never been any data to indicate otherwise.


I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

What was the facts that changed your mind? (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by Sheepdot on Mon Jul 23, 2001 at 11:45:43 PM EST

I actually used to believe that some government invasion and abuse of imminient domain was needed, then I learned that people *still* haven't refuted the arguments that folks like Ludwig von Mises made over a century ago.


[ Parent ]
yes they have (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by streetlawyer on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:01:36 AM EST

it's just that the Austrianists decided to reject mathematical models on a priori grounds around the time of von Neumann and Morgenstern, and consequently, the main stream of the economics profession hasn't been interested in talking to them ever since. It's the same reason why the Journal Of Philosophy and Mind don't carry many articles about Ayn Rand.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
and further to this (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by streetlawyer on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:39:13 AM EST

Brian Caplan explains what's wrong with Austrian economics, in his essay "Why I Am Not An Austrian Economist" (despite the fact that, IMO, he is one)

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Obviously Wrong (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by Logan on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:43:04 AM EST

This is patently false. You say that the quantity of people donating money is irrelevant, but that is untrue. Let's suppose, for instance, that practically everyone is donating money to conservationist groups. Why are they doing so? It is because they either care about conservation, or wish to appear like they care -- it amounts to the same. So, where are anti-conservationist companies going to get profits from, if everybody is a conservationist?

Besides, I do not see pollution as an absolute evil. I see it as a necessity, and the whole concept of pollution is subjective. There is nothing objectively bad about pollution. What is pollution today might be useful tomorrow. You see, our problem is simply that some people do not know how to properly manage pollution. One polluted river is not a tragedy, as long as we have another unpolluted river nearby. One grossly mismanaged forest is not a tragedy, as long as there is one person out there that is properly managing their forest. At least, this is the lesson I learned from this article.

Logan

[ Parent ]

Okay... (2.33 / 3) (#72)
by spiralx on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:37:17 AM EST

One polluted river is not a tragedy, as long as we have another unpolluted river nearby. One grossly mismanaged forest is not a tragedy, as long as there is one person out there that is properly managing their forest.

So it's perfectly fine by this logic for us to pollute half of the world's rivers and destroy half of the world's forests? That's fine by you? I assume by extension it's also okay to render half of the world's arable land barren, to kill off half the life in the world's oceans and so on.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by Logan on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:26:41 PM EST

I have no problem with that. However, that yes is qualified by presuming that the levels of arable land, drinkable water, and so on, are high enough such that we can maintain a high standard of living.

You shouldn't take my previous comment too literally. I see no value in elements of the environment other than that which we place in it. I also see no reason to pollute just for the hell of it. It is reasonable to be sure that our actions are not going to make our standard of living impossible in the future (although I'm unsure if there's any reason to look beyond the standard human lifespan, but this is more of an ethical question). But I do not see a little pollution as the end of the world. I believe the environment can bear a whole lot more pollution before our standard of living starts to noticeably suffer as a result, and in the meantime we can develop better ways to control our pollution while our standard of living steadily increases. Call me an optimist. But I am an optimist that proudly places his own wants and desires over the imaginary rights that most environments think their anthropomorphized world should have.

Logan

[ Parent ]

L, l (3.33 / 3) (#44)
by rgrow on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 12:22:50 AM EST

What's the difference between a Libertarian and a libertarian?

Who knows? (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Logan on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:45:52 AM EST

I have no clue, and I consider myself either one or the other or both. Perhaps the proper noun refers to those subscribing to the official platform of the Libertarian Party, while the other term refers to just those that agree with the general philosophy (though such a distinction seems silly to me... following a party seems religious and dogmatic, but that would explain why some people are careful about the distinction).

Logan

[ Parent ]

What can be done? (4.87 / 8) (#59)
by streetlawyer on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 03:28:30 AM EST

What can be done to convince these people that there is more than just raw profit at stake?

Almost certainly, nothing. Here's the way that the economy works:

The owners of the land bought it, largely, with borrowed money. Therefore, they need to earn a return on their investment to pay the interest bill.

There are lots of things they could do to earn that return, but none of them are quite as profitable as clear-cutting.

Their interest bill is calculated according to the prevailing rate of return on capital in the economy as a whole, multiplied by the value of the land. (roughly, more or less; lots of very important detail ommitted here for clarity)

The whole economy rate of return on capital assumes that all factors are put to their most profitable use, because this is a capitalist economy.

But this means that, the value of the land is the capitalised value of the potential cash-flows that can be generated from it in its most profitable use

In other words, land bought with borrowed money typically comes with an interest bill that ensures that if you do anything other than the most profitable thing possible with it, you will go bankrupt. This is usually identified as a *good* thing about a capitalist economy (ironically, it was first noted by Karl Marx, and is a quite different mechanism from Smith's Invisible Hand). But, the relentless logic of capitalism doesn't work in situations like this.

The reason it doesn't work is that it is not possible to create a full market between all the users of the land. This is because land is a very unusual economic factor, because its depreciation life is infinite. Unlike a consumption good or a machine tool, a significant majority of the people who have an economic interest in a piece of land are people who have not yet been born. If there was such a thing as a time machine, future generations could come back now and pay us (out of their unimaginable future wealth) to look after the land they want to use in the future. But we can't contract with future generations, so we create a situation in which the possibility of robbing the future by clear-cutting today means that it becomes an imperative.

This, by the way, is the answer to the poster lower down who claims that "nobody has refuted von Mises". Mises' model of the economy has no way of coping either with incomplete markets (other than by denying their existence or importance) or future generations (other than windy "gummint is bad mmkay" rhetoric).

This is why environmental regulations make sense; they are correcting a very obvious flaw in the capitalist economy, and effectively represent the property rights of future generations. Of course, most actually existing regulations have problems, but to argue against them in principle is silly.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

No (2.00 / 2) (#88)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:34:38 PM EST

Actually, the correct solution to this problem is almost trivial. Logging, to put it bluntly, is not the most profitable use for a forest. Education of people on this fact can lead to more responsible, less invasive logging, where logging is seen as an adjunct to other uses for the land(which would be ruined by overlogging,) rather than as the only use for the land.

Compare the income per acre of parks, campgrounds, and similar recreational establishments to logging. Wood isn't that expensive, and it is labor intensive to harvest, so keeping prices down means that the sale price of logs is very, very low. On the other hand, you can easily charge $10-25 per day per person just for a place to put a tent, and provided you take care of your land and fine people for destructive activities, this is sustainable income and sustainable land quality rather than a one way street to empty nothingness - and you can still log in the off season, so long as you do it sparingly(ie, responsibly.)

Destruction is almost never the most economical choice. It certainly isn't here. Therefore, education is a solution. A much better one, I might add, than fucking people in the ass wiht the Mighty G-man Dildo and no lube whatsoever.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
camp grounds more profitable than clearcutting? (1.00 / 1) (#95)
by maynard on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:18:43 PM EST

Do you honestly believe that turning all of the forests slated for clearcutting, many of which are so remote they lack roads and other infrastructure, will be more profitable as campgrounds than clearcutting? Do you think campers will be willing to trek 50 miles into nowhere in order to make profitable an acre which hasn't seen enough use? And what about clearcutting on federal land commons? I happen to oppose our government allowing private corporations to destroy public property. Given we already allow massive clearcutting on public lands, should we also allow private corporations to sell camping access on public land?

--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Heh (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:45:04 PM EST

In case you have trouble reading, beergut was talking about an entirely different class of land, which is privately owned and is not so remote as to be useless for non-logging purposes.

Publicly owned lands end up being clearcut because that's about the only profit generating role the government will let them be used in. That's another reason government shouldn't own land. By the way, go look at land owned by a professional logging company. I almost guarantee you that it will be in good shape, with lots of trees. They only clearcut other peoples land, most notably government land, because they know it is unsustainable.

And as for land so remote nobody wants to go there, perhaps you haven't noticed, but Americans regularly travel to the ends of the earth looking for a decent vacation spot, so it seems unlikely they'd feel too put out by having to travel to someplace inside the United States - and further, I only gave one example of alternative uses to which land can be put.

By the way, just keep dishing out 1 ratings because you disagree with people. That'll show 'em what a mature, rational individual you are, generating trust in and sympathy with your viewpoints :)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
campgrounds (none / 0) (#103)
by heatherj on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 06:40:00 PM EST

I know beergut and I know where the parcels of land discussed in his posting are located. In all cases, the land was located very near to either national or state parks that draw lots of campers, canoers, etc. Some of them were reasonably near our metro area, others were over a hundred miles away in parts of the state where the non-tourist population is very low. The entire population of the county in which the 858 acres is located is probably well under 20,000 people. Nevertheless, people do travel to these areas for recreational purposes and trhurler's point is very valid. Proper timber management combined with, perhaps, some acreage used as a campground, some sales of the timber scrap as firewood, and some farming-particularly of specialty livestock and vegetable crops could well allow an enterprising person to make a sustainable living off of such a piece of property, with a relatively low investment in anything more than the land itself, a low-impact, sustainably built dwelling, and a medium-sized farm tractor with implements necessary to the various tasks at hand.

[ Parent ]
Re: Campgrounds (none / 0) (#107)
by maynard on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:05:47 PM EST

I know beergut and I know where the parcels of land discussed in his posting are located. In all cases, the land was located very near to either national or state parks that draw lots of campers, canoers, etc. Some of them were reasonably near our metro area, others were over a hundred miles away in parts of the state where the non-tourist population is very low.
I don't doubt that what you write is true. However, trhurler appeared to argue for the general case that camp grounds are more profitable than clearcutting across the nation. This argument is clearly false given how large some of the contiguous regions of forest are within the U.S. Streetlawyer made a rational point with his general argument as to why forest, and other "commons" resources, appear worthless to any single business or individual citizen yet are critical not only to the citizenry, but biodiversity in general.

Cheers,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Oh really? (none / 0) (#150)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 05:19:04 PM EST

Actually, streetlawyer's comment contained nothing relevant to any claims about biodiversity, and only the most indirect and unstated hint of anything related to "the citizenry;" he instead tried to justify the belief that logging is rationally more desirable than providing campgrounds from a capitalist perspective.

In fact, forests are not worthless to businesses, and in fact the large logging companies own huge forests, and maintain them far more responsibly than the US Forest Service can be bothered to attempt with its own land. Private campground owners also clearly understand the value of trees. More to the point, over the last decade, the amount of forested land in the US has increased, so clearly logging does not have to be the blight that it is claimed to be by ecofreaks. Clearcutting is reprehensible except under very specialized circumstances, but it is also a lot rarer than people realize, because a properly logged forest is an ongoing source of revenue, whereas a clearcut tract is profit for one year followed by nothing for at least 25 years. Generally, when and if it happens in the US, it is because the US government specifically requested it to be done to government owned land(yes, they actually do that,) because the owner wants to do something with the land(put houses on it, sell it to someone who won't want the trees, etc,) or because of a very ignorant private owner. Not greedy - ignorant.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Sustainable Agriculture/Sustainable Logging (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:13:10 AM EST

Clear cutting a forest, will only produce a relatively small amount of wood every 30 years or so. It rarely makes sense for any industry -- there just isn't the money. Actually, many logging companies replant what they log, or selectively log -- getting the trees that are ready for logging (in the prime for cutting), and not everything. The state of New York does extensive selective logging around here -- as does most companies (it's the prefered way now -- more profit, less damage to forest, the goverment and people are happier). With selective logging a forestry professional surveys the forest ahead of time, finds the best trees to be logged (mature, high quality), paints a blue x on them, the logging crew comes in and logs only those trees (although they may create access roads), and the forest can be logged again in a few years (because younger trees will be ready for logging in a few years) -- unlike clear cutting, where your talking 20-30 more years before it will be ready (so in that time the land is idling and not being used for anything).

Clear cut logging is usually used when there is heavy brush between the trees, and they are not easy accessable otherwise. Also, it's used by some fly-by-night operations, who wan't to get rich quick, but never get another goverment contract or landowner contract. ;)

Logging can be good for the enviroment, when done by professionals. Clearing out mature, older trees, allows the for the younger trees to grow faster, which means less CO2 in the atmosphere, protection of animals. Plus some profit. Clear cutting is also good for the enviroment, when done where it makes sense -- because these areas have so much underbrush, that the risk of forest fire is high -- and many animals can't survive in such heavy areas.

Logging's improvement to the enviroment, is not always apparent right away. During logging, many animals may be killed, although most will be scared away by the noise of the machines.

A good logging site, after about 4 years after the last tree was logged, will have returned to a completely natural site -- often with many healthy, new trees, and much more, healthier life.

Still, farming in general is more profitable then logging -- and it's more constant. Even with the best logging managment techniques, money is far less then what you would get if you ran a farm on that land. Farms make money a good part of the year, unlike logging which is only profitable rarely, or limited. Cows and goats can graze almost anywhere they can grow grass -- even on clifts so steep you wouldn't be able to drive a 4x4 pickup truck up them (especially goats). Many areas have good enough soil they can grow other crops. Farming certainly isn't enviroment distructive (but enviroment changing) if it done well.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

not all profits are equal (none / 0) (#131)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:39:30 AM EST

Even if we assume that the market for campsites is very much larger than it either is or can be, you're still not thinking deeply enough about the problems of a capitalist economy.

The revenues from logging are relatively certain (the value of timber fluctuates a lot from year to year, but is relatively fixed in the short term) and are available right now. Revenues from capming depend on fluctuations in the economy and holiday fashions, and can only be realised over time, with substantial investment in facilities such as plumbing, over and above the cost of the land, which have to be sunk before any profit is realised.

Therefore, a dollar of logging income supports more debt than a dollar of camping income.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Ok (none / 0) (#147)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:28:26 PM EST

"Can support more debt." That's nice. Unfortunately, it can't support anywhere near enough to justify existing in only a small fraction of the number of those "inferior" dollars. As for the size of the market, camping, fishing, backpacking, and other similar activities have an interesting quality, from an economic perspective - the more high quality land you devote, the more people are interested. "Remote" vacation spots work the same way. Basically, as the density of users increases, the number of users drops, and vice versa. Many people won't even go out unless they can afford to head to the middle of Alaska or something like that, because they don't want to be crammed in twenty feet away from some other fool's tent.

And, as I said to someone else, I gave only one example of alternative uses, and pointed out that you can still log while doing it - as long as you do so responsibly. It is extra money, not replacement money.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
logging versus camping (5.00 / 1) (#141)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:26:17 AM EST

Actually, the correct solution to this problem is almost trivial. Logging, to put it bluntly, is not the most profitable use for a forest. Education of people on this fact can lead to more responsible, less invasive logging, where logging is seen as an adjunct to other uses for the land(which would be ruined by overlogging,) rather than as the only use for the land.
Brilliant.

So, for instance, West and Central African rain forest, currently used for logging (and now down to about 40% of its original volume) would be better put to use as camp grounds.

Camp grounds for whom, exactly? The indigenous population? How are they going to pay for the camping trips, seeing that they've just lost their income source? Or from Americans, who are going to have to fly 8000 to 10000 km to get there, in such volumes as to completely swamp the revenue that would otherwise be gained from logging? Because tourists prefer to camp in tropical rain forests rather than hang out on beaches?

Camping, my ass. That is indeed a trivial solution: it used a trivial amount of thought.

[ Parent ]

Oh, yeah. (none / 0) (#146)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:22:18 PM EST

beergut posts a story about ordinary deciduous forests near cities in the US, I reply in kind, and now you're talking about some African rain forest. Are you a frontal lobotomy case, or do you just play one on k5?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Obligatory comix link (2.50 / 2) (#60)
by MrEd on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 04:18:08 AM EST

Check out my favorite take on urban sprawl:

Derf on Sprawl

And while you're at it you might as well just read some of the rest of his stuff too:


Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


Stereotype ? (4.00 / 3) (#61)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:11:45 AM EST

In general, nice writeup. I would like to argue one point however:

I'm not an "environmentalist". I think that the vast majority of these people are uninformed dolts who parrot whatever crap they're spoonfed, just because they think it makes them sound more "compassionate." The things they advocate are rarely compassionate or humane, and always seem to be of the "steal money from some people to point a big gun at others to make them do what we say" sort.

I think you're stereotyping here a little and I can't really let the "steal money" reasoning stand.

I'm also not an environmentalist in the strict sense. I try to do my part as an inhabitant of that planet, without being fanatic about it. For example, I rather use public transportation, or my bicycle to get somewhere. I wouldn't do that however, if it takes an excessive amount of time. I do think we should wake up and maybe rethink the god-given right to wear a t-shirt in winter and a sweater in summer.

Now, for "stealing the money". Up to today, industries which pollute the environment, can do that at the expense of the public. Why should a polluter invest into expensive filtering measures, when he can just blow his shit into the atmosphere at no charge? Why should a manufacturere care what happens with polluted water from the manufacturing process, when it's so much cheaper to let it run down into the sewer system (as long that's not illegal or as long as he doesn't get caught)?

Within the EU there is a big (in my book) problem, that some hog is grown in Holland, the life hogs ar then transported to Portugal, because slaughtering, processing and packaging is cheaper there, before it is then shipped to Austria. The transport cost is offset by the savings and the price for the damage done to the environment is socialized. Sure, you can argue that the Austrians get cheaper ham, but I'm too much of a cynic to believe that those savings are not used to line corporate pockets. This schema can of course be (and is) applied on a global scale

So yeah, there definitely are hidden costs in polluting the environment, which are just conveniently socialized. Those costs might surface only decades later and they might be massive (remember the nuclear power is cheap reasoning from 30 years ago?) If environmental groups demand that those costs are either payed for, or that industries have to invest (partially massively) to reduce pollution, they are not far out of line in my book. Sure, this will ultimately be reflected on the product price. But what's wrong with that?

The problem of course is, that industries might move away, where regulations are not quite as stringent; however, this doesn't work limitless and the real cost will eventually be payed...

...by all of us!

Nuclear power... (none / 0) (#97)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:43:58 PM EST

... isn't necessarily cheap. At least, not up front.

There is a definite, concrete reason we should be using nuclear power, and emulating the French (probably the only time I'll ever advocate that.) That is that we would, by using nuclear breeder reactors, lessen our dependence upon foreign sources for our energy needs.

Other reasons are because it is cleaner, safer, more efficient, and (to the extent that breeder reactors can create and then decompose their own fuel) renewable. Load them once, and use them for a long time.

We're researching ways to deal with the waste. Lots of good ideas already on the table.

Another thing we should do is to legalize the production of hemp. That would take away lots of the need for logging, as hemp makes great paper. If you don't think so, then you haven't read the Constitution.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I'm Just A Person (none / 0) (#128)
by AArthur on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:05:13 AM EST

I'm just a person. I do reasonable conservation things, as it's just the right thing to do. I don't litter (and it makes me REALLY FUCKING MAD WHEN PEOPLE DO -- uh, I'll stop before I shoot somebody). I reguluarly tune up my car, replace it's air filter. While I like driving, and I don't have a choice not to (okay, I like going for pleasure drives out in the woods), I don't leave my car running for excess periods of time. I love hiking. I recycle. I don't do the fast food stuff (as I'm usually broke, it tastes like crap, and I dislike the 'careless' attitude towards it -- that attitude breeds disrespect to the enviroment, towards people, and society).

Most people are like me, at least to some point in this regard. Of course, there are those few morally corrupt people, who we need tough regulations to protect ourselfs from.

Corporations and other large groups need the most regulation on them. Too often, as a corporation isn't personal, people don't give a damn what happens at work. I know I too often have that attitude at work -- whatever the fuck it takes to get that pay check at the end of the week.

If you pollute or litter, you should pay. Like it or not. You should love, not hate.

Of course, you need to keep things in perspective. One of my favorite examples of this is the statement that one burning barrel = a modern 200 ton a day incinerator. If you count raw pollutants that's probably true. But you need to put in perspective -- a burn barrel on a farm, in the middle of nowhere, with acres of land around it, and clean air above it, is going to have a far lesser effect on the enviroment, then the 200-ton incinerator in the city, that's already polluted, and has many people around.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Land management: you definitively laws... (4.75 / 4) (#73)
by deggial on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 07:29:12 AM EST

You're in a different situation in America as a whole, but let's consider this exemple from the old Europe (Southern France actually):
At the beginning of the century, many part of the Southern French alps were barren (it's Giono's land, for those who know him). There was simply too many presure on the land. Forest was cut down for lumber, firewood, and to make room for pastures. And that clear-cut land was overgrazed, leading to a barren land. This land turned to badlands, allowing land slides and flash floods to occur, threatening villages and cities in the area, and even below in the plains.
Some guy had a wise idea: why not growing trees on these badlands? This was around 1860. Thus the state bought land, and planted trees, with various degrees of succes. But now, with some help by people moving out of here, most of the dangerous land has been re-forested. In some places, you can circle century-old trees with your hand... but whatever: it holds the soil back. Now some of this land has become woody pastures, some of it is timbered. And it has been scientifically proven the forests limit erosion and flash floods...
This land cannot be clear-cut again, due to the kind of forest management we have in France. A public office is responsible for most of the forests there. Each year, the right to forest some piece of land is sold. That is, to cut only marked trees. Those are the old trees, which may be valued as timber, or "bad ones", which will never turn into beautiful ones or unwanted species, thus making room for the next generation. It's what you would caracterize as "extensively forested"... but part of a long-term policy (long term meaning 100 years, here).
That is, due to government action, french (public) forests are grown as any other crop whenever it is economically possible, or used in other useful ways for the environement. Governement actions didn't do any harm. No individual would ever have done it, because you will see the results of your actions in about 100 years, maybe...
Next, about environementalists (I mean extremists there, not the environement consious guy). They are shouting this kinf of managenement introduced foreign species, is destroying bio-diversity, and all. For the foreign species, true: one has been introduced, and is colinizing the lower parts of the southern alps. It's the only specie of pine which could grow on such poor soil (sometimes no soil at all...). For biodiversity, one shall ask, what do we want to preserve? The land in its current state, turn it back to wildlife or any intermediate state? Watever we do, it's going to hurt some species...
Thus land management shall go for "best usage": using it in a way that can go on for the centuries to come. This requires state intervention, because you cannot ask anyone to know what is the acceptable limit for the number of sheep par acre, or the maximum sustainable rendement for any particular piece of land. This "best usage" should of course take into account the social value created by the usage: I mean, sometimes it can be building a railway, motorway or a dam on it...

how arrogant (2.87 / 8) (#80)
by zzzeek on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:04:16 AM EST

you witness the environment and respect its importance, then you complain and whine about environmental political positions which you know nothing about, generalize them into a vague category of "uninformed dolts who parrot whatever crap they're spoonfed", and then you offer no solution whatsoever of your own except some totally naive and uninformed message of "the fight must be fought in the hearts and minds of land owners."

Then you end with "what oh what can be done??" Perhaps you need to muster up the strength to realize that the solutions will not be simple, and will require challenging your black and white libertarian views that prohibit so many unpleasant ideas from entering your mind. The "environmentalists" you are so dismissive of could be quite informative to you on larger issues, not just some plots of land that are ruined by developers, but massively larger, institutionalized damage being perpetrated by large industry around the world. It is naive enough to speak of the "hearts and minds" of landowners, who are by and large only affected by monetary gain and will never share your conservationalist views, but it is utterly insane to even suggest dealing with large industry in this way. Maybe it is time for you to begin to truly understand and consider what the overwhelming majority of "conservationists" like yourself see to be the obvious solutions.



You're wrong (3.33 / 3) (#86)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 01:04:36 PM EST

I know this guy. He indubitably DOES get it. His lack of agreement with the positions of ecofreaks is founded on a firm belief in principles which you do not understand.

Why does he just insult and mock environmentalists? Ask him, but I have a couple of guesses.

FIrst, most "environmentalists" ARE know-nothing moron parrots who just repeat what they're told. For example, conservation as a movement is not the same as environmentalism, and you, who claim that he's arrogant for not knowing his opposition(he does know them,) didn't even know that. You're a typical example of ecofreak ignorance.

Second, explaining the faults of environmentalism does nothing to deter environmentalists, because environmentalism is a religion, rather than a rational belief system. It is based on pseudoscience and lies, and in general, the one thing you will not find supporting ANY environmentalist position is actual conclusive, repeatable scientific results. Ecofreaks just get preliminary "this could be true if this model is correct(hide details showing model is full of shit,) and blah blah but it isn't(chop off the "but it isn't") kinds of results and then go around saying the sky is falling. It isn't.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
youre right (1.00 / 1) (#90)
by zzzeek on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 02:03:57 PM EST

  • If i drive at 120 miles an hour drunk in front of a grade school, there is no repeatable scientific evidence that a child will be killed.
  • If i kick a man in the head 50 times, there is no repeatable scientific evidence that he will suffer brain damage.
  • If I expose thousands of kids in the southern hemisphere to ultraviolet light coming through the hole in the ozone, there is no scientific evidence that any of them will be affected (or that Americans will give a shit).

So, I guess these things are all well and good, since there is no scientific evidence for many things so therefore, despite the obvious nature of them appearing very harmful, they do not need to be worried about. Even beergut's own rage over healthy land being razed is pretty much unimportant, since there is no scientific evidence that it matters in any way. (so are you really agreeing with him?)



[ Parent ]
Heheheh... (3.66 / 3) (#92)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 04:31:17 PM EST

  • If i drive at 120 miles an hour drunk in front of a grade school, there is no repeatable scientific evidence that a child will be killed.
  • If i kick a man in the head 50 times, there is no repeatable scientific evidence that he will suffer brain damage.
  • If I expose thousands of kids in the southern hemisphere to ultraviolet light coming through the hole in the ozone, there is no scientific evidence that any of them will be affected (or that Americans will give a shit).
Woohoo.

In the first two cases, your premise was "If I do such and such (a demonstrably personal act, because you, yourself, by your own volition, are doing these things willingly), then there is no scientific evidence that such and so will occur."

Duh. There is random chance involved. The chances of the man you personally kicked in the head having brain damage are higher than the chances of properly monitored school children being run over when you personally act like a complete idiot.

Your last item, though, is not demonstrable. Can you prove, beyond doubt, that the expanding (and contracting, cyclically) hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is anthropogenic? Hmm? Could it, like many scientists theorize about the alleged warming trend in our atmosphere, be a natural part of this planet's climate cycle? How do you explain ice ages? Was man present millions of years ago to doom the ecosystem to ice ages? How about the subsequent recession of those glaciers? Did man cause that?

Or could it be that the same group of people who were hooting and hollering about CO2-based global cooling in the late sixties and early seventies, and who scream at the top of their lungs about CO2-based global warming today, and who were wringing their hands at the dangers of Alar, are the soothsame people who are bemoaning man's very existence using the ozone hole as a tool to bash in man's head?

As to Americans giving a shit... well... do any refrigeration devices produced after, say, 1988 use Ozone-unsafe refrigerants? Have any aerosol products in the U.S. been made with CFC propellants since about that time period? Don't you think that if the Greedy Corporate Capitalist Pig Americans Who Control The Government[tm] didn't give a shit (or, more likely, that they knew their target market, i.e, American citizens, didn't give a shit) that they would have changed their practices?

Or, are you simply one of these uninformed dolts who parrots whatever crap he's spoonfed in an effort to appear more "compassionate", without taking the time to think through the implications of your positions?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

you missed the point completely (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by zzzeek on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:17:58 PM EST

Here is the point:

there is a theory, of which there is just *some* evidence, that burning tons of fossil fuels increases the carbon in the air, and the carbon builds up in the air and traps heat that was produced by the sun. This trapped heat raises the temperature of the atmosphere, and affects the weather, causes ice caps to melt and raises the ocean levels, thereby affecting more weather, etc.

Each point within this theory has a basis in reality by itself, on at least a small scale, and have things like lab results to back it up. Burning things produces carbon. Carbon builds up in an atmosphere and can trap heat (there are chamber experiments like this). Heat melts ice. Melting ice raises water levels. Weather patterns are affected by heat and the ocean levels.

The big controversy is over, are all these things really happening on the earth to such a large degree at which they would actually go from the original cause all the way to the end effect, and actually screw up the atmostphere? Or is it not really possible that all those things could really happen to such a degree?

To which my point was, isnt it obvious that there is a risk? Like kicking someone in the head 50 times may not cause any brain damage at all, it is obvious to anyone that it is a dangerous activity and certainly raises the risk.

We do not need a previously demonstrated case to see that kicking someone in the head can possibly cause brain damage, why do we need a previously demonstrated case of dumping carbon in the air and destroying a planet's atmosphere to prove that these activities may cause it? We dont exactly have a test planet to try this out on. Doesnt it seem like, if the only evidence that will ever indicate that global warming is a reality is the actual permanent destruction of the atmosphere, we will have to stop before we quite have the luxury of such evidence? Arent some activities so obviously risky that we probably don't want to find out how far the damage can go?



[ Parent ]
aaah, cheers to our good friend Mr. Malthus... (none / 0) (#117)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:33:09 PM EST

Doesnt it seem like, if the only evidence that will ever indicate that global warming is a reality is the actual permanent destruction of the atmosphere, we will have to stop before we quite have the luxury of such evidence? Arent some activities so obviously risky that we probably don't want to find out how far the damage can go?

See Malthus, Thomas

It doesn't make too much sense to me to doom the world economic forecast (which will make people poorer, resulting in deaths due to lack of funds) in order to stop a climate change that to even the most fearmongering scientists will take a century to prove. It's not like by acting now we're going to make much of a difference vs. acting in 10 years, when we have better models and more evidence.

I really felt this page had a lot of interesting info on global warming... take a look before you perscribe a whole lot of oxycontin to the world economy...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Of theories and partial evidence... (none / 0) (#118)
by beergut on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 08:35:48 PM EST

There's an old saying about lies... lessee... ah, yes.

"Figures don't lie, but lies can figure."

there is a theory, of which there is just *some* evidence, that burning tons of fossil fuels increases the carbon in the air, and the carbon builds up in the air and traps heat that was produced by the sun. This trapped heat raises the temperature of the atmosphere, and affects the weather, causes ice caps to melt and raises the ocean levels, thereby affecting more weather, etc.

Yes. There is also *some* evidence (of the same sort) for the existence of God. Would you want to live where the government was a theocracy?

There is evidence that CO2, in a controlled lab setting, under specific conditions, can trap heat. There is no hard evidence which says that this is what happens in the wildly diverse conditions in Earth's atmosphere. Things like "clouds" (I'm guessing you've heard of them) are never accounted for.

That also doesn't speak to the fact that Earth has been substantially colder, and substantially warmer, than it is now. All this before man is thought to have existed. How do you explain those phenomena? Even as late as about seven-hundred years ago, Greenland was deserving of its name. Much of the land was arable - but this was before man began dumping tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day. It seems to me that men are actually causing Earth's atmosphere to cool. But that theory has already been advanced (by the same people who now predict the imminent crashing of the very sky about our ears due to global warming,) and discredited.

Might there be a different agenda at work there, me wonders?

The rest of your argument can be summed up by saying, "But we have to do something!" We don't know what "something" is, though, nor do we know that, by doing "something", we will make any difference at all.

How about throwing in, "for the children!" to add meat to your argument?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

another tidbit of fact (none / 0) (#121)
by heatherj on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:41:28 PM EST

Human beings, in all their various activities, create something like 5% of all atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions. The rest are created by plants. How much of a difference is our 5% REALLY likely to make?

[ Parent ]
grade school is not what it used to be (none / 0) (#140)
by StrontiumDog on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:16:44 AM EST

Human beings, in all their various activities, create something like 5% of all atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions. The rest are created by plants.
Plants do not emit carbon dioxide. They use it. Plants emit oxygen. And, in the US at least, carbon dioxide emissions attributable to human activities is seven times more than the carbon dioxide emissions from all other sources put together.

[ Parent ]
Possibly Quite a Bit (none / 0) (#157)
by lightcap on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:42:52 PM EST

When you stop to consider that a 5% swing in O2 in the air would be catastrophic. 5% higher, atmosphere would combust, and the world as we know it would be engulfed in flames (not religious, but I just noticed the similarities there with Revelation). 5% less, and life as we know it would be suffocated.

What amazes me about this thread, all the way back to the parent, is the need for proof. There is no proof. Get over it. You weigh each side with you're biases and come to a conclusion of faith. It's impossible to prove something absolutely will happen. It's a helluva lot easier to prove that it might not.

Anyone want to run an experiment to prove the O2 theory I just put forth? I mean on a global basis...let's just pump it into the atmosphere and see it what I said actually happens...No? No takers? Didn't think so. And yet, that's what you want to risk with C02 and the myraid other greehouse gases. All because you say we can't prove it will happen, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Frankly, I don't care to find out with that kind of certainty. By then, it's too late. And let's not even begin to talk about how alternative energy forms have been surpressed in the interest of Big Oil (George Dubbya, anyone?). You are aware that supplies are being used faster than they are created right? In that light, it even makes sense economically to switch sources in the long-term. Yet, the debate continues...<sarcasm>long live capitalism....</sarcasm>
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

A bit about W... (none / 0) (#159)
by beergut on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 01:51:27 PM EST

To say that he's selling out to big oil, while maybe true, is not the whole story.

To wit, he has advocated (and, I believe, funded) the further research and deployment of nuclear power generation facilities. Note, those don't run on oil.

Yes, he wants to open ANWR. But, so do I, and I'm not being funded by big oil companies. It just makes sense to do it.

Please, though, expound upon your allegations that W is selling out. I'd like to see someone actually make the case for this, so that I can evaluate this position for myself.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

True, it's not the whole story... (none / 0) (#161)
by lightcap on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 10:44:03 AM EST

To say that he's selling out to big oil, while maybe true, is not the whole story.

He is a part of Big Oil, not selling out to it. Though he sold much of his interest in Big Oil (that which was obvious, anyhow) he is still very much a part of that regime.

Yes, he wants to open ANWR. But, so do I, and I'm not being funded by big oil companies. It just makes sense to do it.

Makes sense? In light of the current endorsed practices of Big Business and Big Oil (read The Administration), yeah, it makes sense. But, in most other cases, it does not. I'll promise you that I'll be doing research over the next week or so and post a story on this.

IMHO, what makes sense, is to leave the ANWR alone and reinvest time/$$$ in furthering the research already done on alternative energies. (Note: I'm not necessarily discussing the alternative fuels for powering the massive power grids across America, I'm talking about powering vehicles).


sigs suck.
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

Please... (none / 0) (#162)
by beergut on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 11:15:46 AM EST

... discuss with me (as a story, or in this thread) the alternative fuels you'd propose we further investigate.

An aside, ANWR is something like 1.5 million acres of tundra. The drilling rig they'd put there and the facility which supports it would take up about 2 acres. There is literally no impact on ANWR from the drill rig, and the pipelines would actually help the critters there by giving them a warmer place to shelter. Lots of caribou birth young under the already existing Alaska pipeline because it is heated.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

First... (none / 0) (#163)
by lightcap on Fri Jul 27, 2001 at 10:43:39 PM EST

As far as your comment on ANWR...
There is literally no impact on ANWR from the drill rig, and the pipelines would actually help the critters there by giving them a warmer place to shelter. Lots of caribou birth young under the already existing Alaska pipeline because it is heated.
I'd be interested in hearing exactly how that statement doesn't totally contradict itself. If you're helping critters by giving them a warmer place to shelter and possibly increasing the exisiting caribou population, is that not impacting the ANWR? The point of protecting a wilderness is to shield it from just the kind of impacts you speak of...one's we can't possible predict-- To conserve (as in the root of conservationist) ecosystems as they were.

Besides, I don't know about the impact of caribou on the ANWR, but I see a parallel in what Aldo Leopold wrote in "Sand County Almanac". When deer populations run wild as a result of human intervention it can very well kill a mountain. (See an excerpt from SCA, "Killing the Wolf", here.) And there's possibly more consequences stemming from that event.

Ultimately, I agree with many of your points on land use and responsible land stewardship. But, we seem to differ on some of the more specific issues at hand.

As far as the alternative energy sources, it's been a while since I've done research on the topic, and in the interest of not having to insert my foot squarely in my mouth in the near future-- I'd rather do my due diligence before giving specifics.


sigs suck.
lightcap
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (none / 0) (#135)
by spiralx on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:33:27 AM EST

Yes. There is also *some* evidence (of the same sort) for the existence of God. Would you want to live where the government was a theocracy?

So with that statement you feel confident that the body of scientific evidence for human effects on climate change is in the same category as religious faith in God?

Note I'm not talking about whether it's true or not (we don't know yet), just the amazing claim that you think that the work of people who know far more about the subject than you or I is total fiction. Why is it you're happy with one side's scientific evidence being proper science whilst simultaneously deriding the evidence on the other side as being junk? Sure sounds like faith to me...

You'll also notice that the phrase global warming has been discarded by atmospheric scientists - as you say, early naive theories have been discarded. Unfortunately, you're still attacking them to make your case, a fine example of a strawman at work.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

The difference... (none / 0) (#144)
by beergut on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:53:15 AM EST

Note I'm not talking about whether it's true or not (we don't know yet), just the amazing claim that you think that the work of people who know far more about the subject than you or I is total fiction.

There are a great many people who know more about the subject than you or I who claim that the whole thing is naught but fiction. I, personally, think the issue merits more study. If we are not the cause of the "problem", where "problem" is not well defined (other than to say that "the earth is warming", which sounds a lot like "the sky is falling" when howled at Greedy American Capitalist Pigs Who Want To Rule The World[tm] by envirobots,) then there is not a lot that we could do, anyway. If we are the cause of the "problem", and if we can determine precisely what the "problem" is, then we should act. But not before. Why? Well, suppose we all decided that Europeans were a "problem" that had to be dealt with for the betterment of the world. Or, maybe, Jews.

Why is it you're happy with one side's scientific evidence being proper science whilst simultaneously deriding the evidence on the other side as being junk? Sure sounds like faith to me...

I'm not happy with anyone's scientific evidence. But, I'm a lot more trusting of people who say that we don't know what the hell is going on, and that we should study the issue further before making a decision on what action to take. These people seem more rational to me than those who claim that we must do something ... for the children!

You'll also notice that the phrase global warming has been discarded by atmospheric scientists - as you say, early naive theories have been discarded.

What's the catch-phrase nowadays? If they're still advocating immediate action to stem a problem that we still do not know exists, and if it does, indeed, exist, we do not know that we caused it, or that we could change it - even if we shut down all industry and stopped emitting all CO2.

Unfortunately, you're still attacking them to make your case, a fine example of a strawman at work.

Yes, I guess you're right. It doesn't do any good to look at the history of these people's claims (first, global cooling was going to kill us - now, global warming is going to kill us; and it's the same people making the claims.) It doesn't do any good to look at the possible motives these people have for screaming in our ears night and day about a problem that may well be a paper tiger, or something we could not change if we wanted to.

The issue needs more study. Objective study. Not politically-driven, socially-motivated study. Scientific study. Then, let the scientists report their findings, rather than some arm of the U.N. who will mischaracterize their findings in order to promote some global environmental treaty that will only hurt people without being able to prove that the results would actually help people.

It's not up to me to prove a negative - that's a logical impossibility. If you are positive that climate change is anthropogenic, then prove it. When you can, I will listen.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Reply (none / 0) (#149)
by spiralx on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:16:18 PM EST

There are a great many people who know more about the subject than you or I who claim that the whole thing is naught but fiction.

And a great many who say it isn't. Whoop di doo.

I, personally, think the issue merits more study. If we are not the cause of the "problem", where "problem" is not well defined (other than to say that "the earth is warming", which sounds a lot like "the sky is falling" when howled at Greedy American Capitalist Pigs Who Want To Rule The World[tm] by envirobots,) then there is not a lot that we could do, anyway.

Well we agree on the need for more study at least. And you seem to have a persecution problem on behalf of America.

I'm not happy with anyone's scientific evidence. But, I'm a lot more trusting of people who say that we don't know what the hell is going on, and that we should study the issue further before making a decision on what action to take.

I don't think anyone but the most radical elements of the environmentalists (who are hardly the people to talk to about this sort of thing) believes we don't need to know more. OTOH since the potential consequences are so bad, hedging our bets is a sensible thing to do. Irrespective of global issues, I still can't see anything wrong from a local perspective with reducing emissions.

It doesn't do any good to look at the possible motives these people have for screaming in our ears night and day about a problem that may well be a paper tiger, or something we could not change if we wanted to.

What motives? Am I missing some big Luddite conspiracy? I'm genuinely puzzled here...

Then, let the scientists report their findings, rather than some arm of the U.N. who will mischaracterize their findings in order to promote some global environmental treaty that will only hurt people without being able to prove that the results would actually help people.

You know, the UN study was still done by scientists and their conclusions were again vetted by scientists. Indeed, it is available for any other scientists to dispute as well!

It's not up to me to prove a negative - that's a logical impossibility. If you are positive that climate change is anthropogenic, then prove it. When you can, I will listen.

I never said I was positive - my opinion is that we don't know yet, and we need to learn a lot more first. Which sounds a lot like your position. But at the same time, your posts are constantly attacking a strawman - attributing the claims and methods of the most extreme environmentalist groups to everyone that even suggests climate change might be real - and also suggesting conspiracies at work. That was what I was talking about.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

explanations (none / 0) (#151)
by heatherj on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:11:25 PM EST

...some big Luddite conspiracy... No, not neccessarily Luddites, although that element is present. The problem is that the vast majority of the propsed "solutions" involve the expansion of the size and power of government, the raising of taxes, and, most importantly, the further erosion of the supposedly inalienable rights of the people. ...the UN study was done by scientist and vetted by other scientists... The UN study was groupthink done by a certain group of scientists. Those scientists included in the group who disagreed with the presupposed conclusion of the group were not allowed to have a voice in the final report. The committee who vetted the UN report did NO research of their own. They simply read the UN report and said, "Okay, this is politically correct, so it must be the established fact." Again no dissenting voices were allowed to speak. See the New York Post's archive for June 11, 2001, among other sources. I don't have the exact links.

[ Parent ]
So (none / 0) (#145)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:19:21 PM EST

By changing the phrase, they've somehow made their theory better? Come on... the fact is, all the political impetus is behind "global warming," and that's what the theory says is taking place, despite the utter lack of any reliable reason to believe so. (Even the climate measurements we've taken have been shown to be flawed - people taking readings six feet over a sheet of asphalt in direct sunlight, for instance! We have no good data. Not one bit. Anywhere. And yet they want to ruin the US economy over this, and are unwilling to do the same to China or other "developing nations," several of which will soon each be outemitting the US by a healthy margin. One almost thinks maybe there are ulterior motives at work among the various European states that keep pushing this thing...)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
My thoughts on ecology... (none / 0) (#120)
by sasseriansection on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 09:45:36 PM EST

Ok... ozone depletion... this equates with more CO2, correct? Then, if there is more CO2, and more ultraviolets getting through, wouldn't more greenery (trees, shurbs, etc) grow, due to the increase in light and CO2 available to sustain their life? And wouldn't the O2 produced by these new growths of plants then return the effects of O3 and CO2 back to equilibrium?

I have actually read a report based on models of climate and Ozone that a depleted ozone and increased CO2 actually causes forests to grow FASTER. Not that i have a link or anything (naturally)..but i've been trying to rediscover it like mad for posts just like these:).

If America actually made it a goal to destroy the Ozone, we couldn't do it. First of all, it would require the military, which the ecoweenies don't like. Second, it would prove there's no way that global warming is happening, which would remove the issue from political forums. I for one would ride the first OZONEX-Atlas rocket up to the stratosphere personally just so i could piss all over the treehuggers. Downwind of course:).
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]

You may want to check your science (none / 0) (#156)
by lightcap on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:23:46 PM EST

Ozone depletion has nothing to do with C02. You may be confusing carbon dioxide with chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's).

You are right about C02 causing forests to grow faster, though. Unfortunately, the forests cannot absorb the amount of C02 we are currently pumping into the atmosphere. And, worse, they could never grow fast enough to catch up.

And wouldn't the O2 produced by these new growths of plants then return the effects of O3 and CO2 back to equilibrium?
How exactly could the 02 returned to the atmosphere by plants have anything to do with ozone (O3). You do know that O3 takes a substantial amount of energy to create, and that plants do *not* create it (maybe in trace amounts). Also, you should be aware that ozone at ground level (or outside of the ozone layer) is a pollutant, unhealthy for humans/animals to inhale, and a byproduct of combustion engines like beerguts pickup truck (In other words, we don't need plants to produce it, there's plenty being produced every day by cars and it doesn't quite do us the favor of replacing the missing O3 in the ozone layer).

All in all, you're post displays extreme ignorance of the issues. I won't even bother to comment on the last paragraph.


sigs suck
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

Who's the religious nut? (1.00 / 1) (#91)
by maynard on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 04:10:26 PM EST

FIrst, most "environmentalists" ARE know-nothing moron parrots who just repeat what they're told.

Second, explaining the faults of environmentalism does nothing to deter environmentalists, because environmentalism is a religion, rather than a rational belief system.

...you will not find supporting ANY environmentalist position is actual conclusive, repeatable scientific results...

I find it fascinating that with almost the entire meteorology and climatology community in agreement, with the thousands of scientists from the Union of Concerned Scientists in agreement, and with obvious signs of environmental degradation and climate change worldwide (as the author of this submission points out), that you could write such things with a straight face. Your assertions appear to be little more than libertarian religious expression from my perspective; baseless pejorative mudslinging without merit or factual value. Certainly one of many valid viewpoints, but not one accepted by the scientific community you claim to base your rationale upon, nor publishable in a major academic peer reviewed journal. trhurler: pot-kettle-black. *cough!*

--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Heh (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by trhurler on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 05:37:03 PM EST

Sorry, pal, but now you're just misrepresenting facts. The "Union of Concerned Scientists" represents almost no seriously well regarded and published atmospheric and/or climate researchers. It is mostly people from other fields who have purely political sympathies with the ecofreak movement. Also, most of the "meteorology" field consists of people who know little more about climate or atmospheric issues than I was taught in sixth grade(ie, TV weathermen and their government counterparts, who simply read the output of devices designed by their intellectual betters and then generate forecasts using simple rules.)

Why don't you go looking for people who do actual atmospheric physics and chemistry and see what percentage of them think global warming is at all certain? Sure, they'll allow that it is possible, and even that it might be a good theory, in the scientific sense where "good" means "most eligible cannon fodder," but that's about it. Most of them are terrified at the idea that the governments of the world may ruin whole economies and destroy countless lives chasing a bogeyman they can't even demonstrate really exists. Incidentally, most of them are having a real rough time of it right now, too, because it is hard to get research money if you don't at least implicitly demonstrate that you're out to confirm global warming's prechosen conclusions. As a result, published papers are quite often of low quality, having been produced by political hacks who manipulated numbers and so on to generate "evidence" for global warming - and even then the results are, to an honest eye, incomplete and inconclusive.

By the way, if you even talk about some climate model generated with a computer without demonstrating a firm grasp of just what its limitations are and what it did and did not take into account and so on, I will simply ignore you, because current climate models are so bad as to be useless for anything but very short term weather forecasts, and even then they're often wrong. Move out past a week, and you might as well forget anything more accurate than "well, since it will be winter, I'd put a coat on if I was you!"

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Argh! (none / 0) (#132)
by deggial on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 04:38:54 AM EST

You attack lobal warming, saying it's not proven, so we do not have to react. You attack it by discrediting the meteoroligists... confusing scientits and TV weatherman, and basically denying the existence of research in the field. You also confuse short term, forecast models (which are mostly local) with the global, long term models used for climate research. They are NOT the same.
Well, I'm sorry, but there are statistic aberations: the 90's are the hottest years in the century (yes, all of the in a row). Over 100 years, temperature rose .6 F. There is also empirical evidence that something goes wrong: accelerated melting of glaciers, no more snow, more storms on Europe... Nothing conclusive, sure, but enough to ask the question: is the climate changing because of men's activity or just a warm period. Climatologists suggest warming goes a bit faster than normal cycles...
The UN conclusion is that over a century, warming will be between .6 and 5 F. I can believe the UN just asked TV weathermen their feeling...
So, sure, global warming is a theory, that we have no way to verify in the short term. Maybe we'll be sure in 100 years, but then it will be too late. Thus, we shall act now. The cost of a 5F rise of temperature might be much higher than the economic cost of global warming. No one knows. But this will surely turn arable land into barren rock, and force millions of people moving, as the conditions in their homeland degradated too much.
And those are now the poorest people. The polluters are the rich, and specifficaly the americans... You know, avoiding using the car, turning off the air conditioner, using small, non polluting cars won't cost so much, and will do much for the environement. Resorting to nuclear power can also help for some centuries to come. Those things just have a marginal cost.
And I can't see how imposing pollution restrictions could claim lives. Could you explain?


[ Parent ]
Well, no... (none / 0) (#143)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:45:58 AM EST

First of all, I do not confuse models. I know a guy who has worked on those models, and also on hardware used to run them. They're pathetic. They're so inaccurate that if you run them using inputs from the first half of the century, the outputs look nothing like conditions today. Not even close. Why don't you see that in the research reports? Simple - it would totally discredit them, and they don't want that, so they pretend the tech guys didn't run those simulations. They don't account for cloud cover, they don't account for any realistic view of global airflow, they only half-ass attempt to account for reflectivity of the oceans, and there are lots of other differences between them and reality, all of which add up to a set of error bars far larger than the graphs they're plotting.
the 90's are the hottest years in the century
Which means nothing, since the global warming theory doesn't work on such a small scale, as even its advocates among real scientists admit. (Unless you're either really ignorant of climate issues or really stupid, I bet you can think up at least three alternative explanations for that decade in less than five minutes, all of which will be more plausible than global warming. As a hint, the first one should be the already-well-known 50-60 year climate cycle.)
Over 100 years, temperature rose .6 F.
Yes, and thousands of years ago, there was an ice age. Did cavemen cause it? If not, then just maybe you have to admit that the earth changes temperature over time. (See aforementioned 50-60 year cycle as one example.)
Nothing conclusive, sure, but enough to ask the question:
Yes - to ask the question. NOT to enact oppressive laws and other such bullshit, which is what ecofreaks are pushing for.
The UN conclusion is that over a century, warming will be between .6 and 5 F.
If the UN said it, it MUST be true!
Maybe we'll be sure in 100 years, but then it will be too late.
Doubtful. The earth's temperature has changed more than that in the time that advanced life has lived on it, and so far, advanced life is still here.
You know, avoiding using the car, turning off the air conditioner, using small, non polluting cars won't cost so much, and will do much for the environement.
Actually, people who "avoid using the air conditioner" end up dead at surprising rates in US cities, and most people can't even keep a job without having a car to drive on a daily basis. But hey, ignore facts, because the ecofreak religion is at work! (Also ignore the fact that the proposed treaty would spike energy prices in the US by at least a factor of two, slowing the economy to a crawl and putting tens or hundreds of thousands out of work, turning entire regions that used to be farmland or factory towns into miniature versions of third world countries. After all, I'm sure they won't mind!)
Resorting to nuclear power can also help for some centuries to come.
It could, if your ecofreak buddies would LET it. However, they won't, because they're ECOFREAKS!
And I can't see how imposing pollution restrictions could claim lives. Could you explain?
If you don't think putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work will cost any lives, you obviously have no grasp of reality. If you don't think doubling or more of energy costs will put them out of work, you obviously have no grasp of reality. If you don't think Kyoto would do that, you obviously haven't looked at what it mandates and considered the inelasticity of energy demand.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
We can't agree... (none / 0) (#148)
by deggial on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:43:53 PM EST

Yes - to ask the question. NOT to enact oppressive laws and other such bullshit, which is what ecofreaks are pushing for.
And the rest is the same. Well, I can sum it up this way: there may be a problem with burning fossil fuel the way we do. But changing that will harm 250 million people (I mean, that will slow down the production of wealth for those) in the short term. Never mind if 1 billion poeple may be suffering of drought and starvation in 1 century...
But discussion is void, because we have so differnet principles that we cannot agree on anything. You are a liberal freak, I'm one of those bad ugly leftists. You accuse me of using manipulated figures created by an ecologist conspiracy. Well, you may as well the victim of another manipulation (by the energy lobby this time)... Better stop it now, because all this discussion is pointless.

[ Parent ]
Eh? WTF? (none / 0) (#134)
by spiralx on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:26:43 AM EST

Also, most of the "meteorology" field consists of people who know little more about climate or atmospheric issues than I was taught in sixth grade(ie, TV weathermen and their government counterparts, who simply read the output of devices designed by their intellectual betters and then generate forecasts using simple rules.)

You're confusing meterologists (you know, people who study weather and the atmosphere) with TV weathermen?! Come on now, that's a blatent mistake, and you know it.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Hearts and Minds (none / 0) (#155)
by lightcap on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:52:18 PM EST

The above post is a perfect example of why "winning the hearts and minds of land owners" is currently impossible. Conservationists and Environmentalists need to be working together toward a commond goal, providing a world for the future that isn't concrete and filthy. But, true to human nature, we quibble incessantly, completely losing focus on what actually needs to be done. I don't have a solution. You don't have a solution. But, I'd bet if we'd all put our heads together, instead of banging them together, we might get a hell of a lot more done.

Maybe, we should worry about getting our own hearts and minds in line before we worry about converting the masses, eh?

Makes me wonder what Edward Abbey and Aldo Leopold would think of the current circus.


sigs suck
Mommy, what were trees like?
[ Parent ]

bla (none / 0) (#166)
by delmoi on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:19:42 AM EST

Second, explaining the faults of environmentalism does nothing to deter environmentalists, because environmentalism is a religion, rather than a rational belief system. It is based on pseudoscience and lies

Just like Liberatariansim!
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The myth of wilderness (3.25 / 4) (#119)
by anansi on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 09:40:52 PM EST

There is no wilderness, there is only real estate that's been developed, and real estate that's been protected from development by distance, economics, law, or custom. Protecting an area by legal means requires as much effort as chewing it up for strip malls.

It's not a question of getting away from the toxic city. By moving out there, you're bringing the city that much farther out.

If you want to do the planet a favor, volunteer at a nearby park, and help turn your home town into a greener, more livable place.

Don't call it Fascism. Use Musollini's term: "Corporatism"

Absolutism (4.50 / 4) (#125)
by jolly st nick on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:39:27 AM EST

I am a libertarian (note the small 'L'.) I cannot rationalize infringing a land owner's rights to do what he will with his property,

The problem is that you're going to have to accept that the land will be raped sooner or later, or you have to be less than absolute in your small-l-libertarian persuasion.

The reason is this: opportunity cost. From a purely economic standpoint, the land-raper may have made the right decision. Perhaps he won't get as much for the residual value of the land, but he has turned much of the value of the land into ready cash which he may put to a "higher and better" use.

Bottom line: It's a bigger problem than just educating people to be good land managers. You cannot expect enlightened economic rationality to manage the land sustainably forever.

so long as he does not interfere with his neighbors doing what they will with theirs.

And this is the crux of the matter.

The tragedy of the commons is a double edged sword. On one hand, it argues very forcibly that private owners are the more responsible stewards of the land than unfettered public exploitation. On the other hand the commons are in the end inescapable. We live in a common planet, dependent common reservoirs of air, water and biota which we exploit collectively. As a technologically primitive, sparsely populated species, these reservoirs seemed inexhastible. As a densely populated, technologically advanced society, we can destroy these resources.

That's what environmentalism is about in the end; not sentimental or alarmist posturing, but the fear that the natural course of unfettered economic activity we'll turn the world into a pile of shit, one rational step at a time.



Dear Robert Uhl (1.00 / 1) (#136)
by spiralx on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 06:47:54 AM EST

Is there something biting at you? Do you feel you are intellectually incapable of arguing with people you obviously disagree with, or are you just too lazy to bother? Does it make you feel like The Man to give all those 1s out to people that don't agree with your views?

In conclusion, either grow some and post something, or fuck off. Thanks.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Part of the Solution (4.00 / 1) (#138)
by dagoski on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 08:03:17 AM EST

One way government can and should be involved in land conservation is in making our cities more liveable. One reason why people feld the cities in the late 60s and 70s is that they were becoming unhospitable. You had crime, pollution and by the mid 70s a decaying city infrastructure. It doesn't have to be that way. I've been to most of America's a big cities, and even though I love them, I can see their shortcomings. Meanwhile, I contrast our cities with the ones I've been to in Canada and I keep saying "Why can't we do that here?". Toronto is a city of two or three million, and the place looks like about the easiest place to live in. There's mass transit, parks, low crime by comparison with similar sized cities in the US, and a real sense of community in the neighborhoods. A lot of what makes that city attractive as a place to live comes from government spending and policy making. If we could rehabilitate our cities, we could do a lot preserve our open spaces in this country.



Woodland trust (3.00 / 1) (#139)
by Greyfish on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:05:23 AM EST

In the UK there's the woodland trust.

They buy up woods, clear out non-native species, and do replanting programs. They also buy land between woods to form 'green' corridors.




Fish *are* nice
Handling of a Ferrari, price of a Yugo (2.00 / 2) (#153)
by func on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 08:13:19 PM EST

Moto!

Really, a cheap motorcycle will beat the snot out of a very expensive car (performance wise), and riding a motorcycle is a whole world above driving a car, feel-good wise at least. Moto's use way less gas too, so the greenies can be happy.

The problem for most people is that they don't want to forgo the steel safety cage their car affords - any old Yugo will beat the snot out of an Aprilla or Ducati (head-on collision damage wise). And the fact that in the USA, any dude with some cash can ride a literbike that has 0-60 mph times below 4 seconds, and top speeds well beyond 170 mph means that splattered squids are common occurrences.

Still, I'd rather ride the moto.

Do Green Weenies Have A Point? | 166 comments (154 topical, 12 editorial, 1 hidden)
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