Libertarian Environmentalism

It seems like much of the libertarian movement is vehemently anti-environmentalist. In some cases, they seem to even cross the line into being anti-environment, and in some cases, anti-science. In Lew Rockwell’s book, Against The State, he completely rejects any value in preserving old-growth forests, mitigating global warming, limiting environmentally damaging resource extraction, or (this one sorta blew my mind) limiting ozone emissions in urban environments. I’ll post a review once I finish the book.

This seems bizarre to me, as I see a free market system as the solution to these problems. With government currently in charge of preserving old growth, we are subject to the whims of bureaucrats and politicians – who are notoriously fickle, easily manipulated, and short-sighted. I feel our wild areas would be much more secure under the ownership of private organizations dedicated to their preservation.

It is true that under this system we would likely have less dedicated wilderness, but this wilderness would be better protected, have a variety of access levels based on what people desire, and do a better job of providing what people truly desire. If a group wants to allow mountain biking down remote mountain trails, they can raise funds and buy areas for this purpose. If others want to preserve an area as completely free of human influence, they can also raise funds and invest to that end. If less of our money were being sucked off to taxes, organizations could flat-out buy the areas they seek to preserve, and ensure their preservation over the long term, instead of until the next election cycle.

As far as pollution goes, under a libertarian anarchist system, pollution would be even more limited than it currently is. Take, for example, ozone – which has clear ties to both cancer rates, heart disease, and respiratory disease – both chronic and acute. A person who is producing excess ozone emissions would be rapidly sued into oblivion by those who are being impacted. If your factory is putting out smog, everyone downwind is going to have grounds to sue. Better upgrade the smokestack filters pretty damn quick! No more exemptions for large businesses with political connections.


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