Libertarianism and the environment

by Judith Curry

On several previous threads, there has been considerable discussion of libertarian perspectives, some of which were rather heated.  This comment by Gary M convinced me that we need a thread on this topic:

I don’t find most libertarians terribly interesting. Take conservative economic policies, stir in liberal social policies, flip a coin on foreign policy, add a heaping helping of Randian rationalization for complete self-absorbtion and let stew. By and large, scratch a libertarian and you’ll find a conservative who doesn’t want to feel guilty about his pot, porn or polyamory.

Libertarians defy such stereotyping.  And the role that libertarian political philosophy has played in the climate debate is an interesting one.

 

If you are unfamiliar with Libertarian political philosophy, check out the Wikipedia article.   Alignment of Libertarianism along the left-right spectrum doesn’t work:  there both conservative and left libertarians, anarcho capitalist libertarians, and libertarian socialists (and of course evangelical libertarians and atheist libertarians).  I know a little bit about libertarianism, having read some of the classics 35+ years ago (e.g. Hayek, Rothbard, Nozick).

Specifically with regards to environmental issues, green libertarianism “places a high importance on achieving environmental goals via the free market, property rights, and tort law as opposed to state intervention.”  (Wikipedia).   Libertarians view themselves as rational and supportive of science.  Seems like Libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural.

So why do Libertarians seem generally to be opposed to the idea of AGW and policies like carbon cap and trade?  Libertarian think tank/advocacy groups that are vocally opposed to AGW and cap and trade include Cato Institute (e.g. Pat Michaels), Competitive Enterprise Institute (e.g. Chris Horner and Myron Ebell)  and the Heartland Institute (e.g. Joe Bast).   Prominent libertarian blogs that address climate/energy  issues include the Air Vent and MasterResource.

Some thoughtful analyses that I’ve come across discussing this issue include:

There seems to be a large number of libertarian among the Climate Etc. denizens, I look forward to your thoughts and insights.

733 responses to “Libertarianism and the environment

  1. In short, it may be that the libertarian position (note the small “L”) on environmentalism resides in two words: property rights.

    The only way to forestall the “tragedy of the commons” (in the sense that the environmentalists use the expression) is to vest property rights in specific persons (emphatically not the government, which is an agency with one and only one legitimate purpose in civil society, and that involves breaking things and killing people in retaliation against malefactors who aggressively violate other people’s individual rights).

    When someone owns something, he can exercise responsibility for it. Taking material objects “out of the state of nature” is the only way to preserve those things from unfettered and irresponsible exploitation.

    I’ll double back and cite specific links in addition to those offered by Dr. Curry, but this should get things rolling.

    • Tricky road.
      What responsibility we ourselves put into honor or moral decission to share or have being paid for unique information or technology.
      Morally I see a terrible system with many people who I would not like to share this planet with. Also too there are people I enjoy the company of.
      I’m deemed a “crackpot” by climate scientists yet, the regular person can understand the science I have found and researched.

    • Rich Matarese

      How do you propose to divide up ownership of air?

      Back when we could regard air as a practically infinite resource, it didn’t matter, so libertarianism had a free ride on the question.

      Now, the evidence is strong that the resource of GHG budget in air isn’t practially infinite, and the prudent course of a property owner with regard to protecting their personal interest in something they can’t fence in, put in a vault or guard with a shotgun and a pack of salivating pitbulls would have to look to some other means to vouchsafe what is probably a limited resource the owner can’t prosper without.

      I’m all for practical libertarian solutions to the inextricably shared common property problem. When there are any.

      Show us the responsible owner’s course of action in this regard, by all means.

      Air doesn’t come with an owners’ manual.

      • How do you propose to divide up ownership of air?

        And thats where the rub against libertarianism comes isn’t it.

        Once air becomes the property of the state then there is absolutely nothing left that won’t be subject to state regulation.

        Want to eat meat ,drink milk or enjoy some cheese- cows pass gas – no meat or milk for you.

        Want to have a barbecue and enjoy that real smoked flavor – too bad – the only barbecues that are legal are solar barbeques

        Want to enjoy a nice evening in front of the fireplace with the Mrs – too bad. (On the west coast of the US this is already a reality – fireplace use is frequently banned based on Air Quality)

        Want to have a child – oh well that places a heck of a burden on shared resources – get in line for a permit. You or your partner are less then genetically perfect – too bad.

        The AGW crowd has been very forthcoming on what they believe needs to be regulated – everything. There is a word for a form of government that regulates everything.

        Libertarians are opposed to that form of government.

      • Libertarians do not believe in harming other people…all you have to do is convince us we’re causing a problem and let us loose…we’ll clean up after ourselves and leave everything we touch in better condition than we found it. Its the principle of the freedom of my fist ending with the tip of your nose–a lefty activist has to work hard not to grasp the implications of this ethical maxim.
        CO2 is my friend…please create as much of it for me as you can. Thank you.

      • To extend your point to the village well, what do we make of the fellow who posts by the village watering hole the sign:

        “Pee is my friend…please create as much of it for me as you can. Thank you?”

      • Bart R writes:

        How do you propose to divide up ownership of air?

        I’m all for practical libertarian solutions to the inextricably shared common property problem. When there are any.

        Show us the responsible owner’s course of action in this regard, by all means.

        Air doesn’t come with an owners’ manual.

        Bart, there’s a helluva lot of focus in economics on what have been characterized as “negative externalities,” and workable address of the problems posed thereby has been going on since before somebody got the idea of keeping records by making chicken scratches on smoothed lumps of clay and leaving them out in the sun to dry.

        For the sake of parsimony if nothing else, let’s move forward in human history to England in the centuries prior to the effect of the first industrial revolution. America and the rest of the anglophone polities derive their legal systems ineluctably from English common law, and the answer you seek to your question about “ownership of air” comes in with the concept of “public nuisance.”

        Before the first industrial revolution set in and took hold, subsistence agriculture was the default state of H. sapiens except in those even more primitive societies where people “in the state of nature” got by as hunter-gatherers. Even in the most technologically advanced and prosperous countries – the American colonies prior to and immediately after the American Revolution, for example – some ninety to ninety-five percent of all labor was directly or indirectly involved in agriculture.

        One of the services required by any agricultural economy is tanning. Animal husbandry results in animal carcasses, and the skins of most harvested agricultural animals can be tanned. The leather resulting therefrom is an important resource, not to be wasted.

        Ever been around a tannery in capacity operation, Bart?

        They reek. And they require not only water input but also the disposition of waste water output. Especially in pre-industrial times, tanneries were not only major sources of “public nuisance” negative externalities, but because pre-industrial methods of production and transportation, there had to be a lot of tanneries spread across the countryside to handle the hides harvested.

        So means had to be devised to abate the “public nuisance” imposed by the presence of a tannery in each farming town. It was impossible to do without these tanneries, and it was impossible – for reasons of health; polluted drinking water will kill you – to ignore their “nuisance” effects.

        In English common law (upon which we Americans depend for our own common and statute law) we see the beginnings of key codifications formalizing agreed methods whereby the operation of tanneries – and other sources of “public nuisance” – can be structured to mitigate their negative externalities to the satisfaction of the people outside the tanneries afflicted by those enterprises’ air and water befoulment.

        Jack the Tanner gets to dumping his filthy waste water in a place where it gets into Mulch the Miller’s well. Mulch tastes what he damn well knows is tannery run-off in his drinking water, and tells Jack to quit his incontinent practice. Jack tells Mulch to bugger off. Mulch takes the matter to the town magistrate (or whoever else functions locally as the responsible officer of civil government). A determination is made on the basis of custom or formally codified common law prevailing. The magistrate issues Jack an order to cease and desist the offensive dumping. Absent compliance (or in addition thereto), Jack may have to provide Mulch and other well-owners in the area compensation for material damages done. Punitive damages may be imposed also.

        If Jack does not accede to these determinations, the people of the community in which he’s operating his tannery may decide that they can no longer bear the cost of Jack’s negative externalities, and put an end – formally or informally – to Jack’s enterprise.

        And to Jack, too.

        Y’see how this works, Bart? Now let’s go forward to England in the early years of the first industrial revolution.

        Sir Porpy-Torkington builds a coal-fired manufactory to churn out lace doilies. He has borrowed money from his fellow members of the House of Lords to do this, and is cranking out expensive and highly-sought-after lace doilies at a galloping rate. The soot from his factory stacks, however, is befouling the clothe on the washlines of good laundresses for miles around. The ash from his furnaces, dumped hither and thither, are making both surface streams and local aquifers impossible to draw upon for safe drinking water. Sir Porpy-Torkington is perpetrating several undeniable “public nuisances” upon his neighbors.

        But Sir Porpy-Torkington is politically connected. He convinces his friends (and investors) to r’ar back and “Pass a Law!” indemnifying him against complaints made by those “little people” whose lives and properties are being violated. The excuse is that Sir Porpy-Torkington’s lace doily factory is a “public good” that more than compensates the “public” for the public nuisances that the politically connected Sir Porpy-Torkington is inflicting upon the less influential common folk.

        Y’see how that works, Bart? And how it’s still working?

        Government is supposed to function in deterring violation of the individual human being’s rights to life, to liberty, and to property. Government officers derelict in their duties to fulfill that function – and/or deliberately violating those individual rights – is your problem.

        It’s not that anybody has to “divide up ownership of air,” but rather that mechanisms devised literally over thousands of years for abating public nuisances – the economists’ “negative externalities” – have been screwed up by government thugs.

        The modern American libertarian address of such negative externalities is a well-established area of study and debate. Dr. Curry has above recommended recourse to online resources such as the Cato Institute, and I endorse her suggestion that interested readers begin there.

      • Rich

        Nicely put, though a bit long.

        I’ll go you one better, and suppose that no libertarian can abide a situation where another’s nuisance, however innocent or harmless it seems to the emitter, is imposed on all without consent or limit.

      • Bart, the realm of political economics is so afflicted by seductive error, deliberate duplicity, and plain stupidity that what ought to be the common sense of matters under discussion requires lengthy expatiation in order to make inescapably lucid the realities that idiots and liars sweat to evade.

        Like most medical doctors, I came to the consideration of economics bereft of academic indoctrination. I got past my undergraduate “fuzzy science” requirement by taking courses in psychology (which I knew would prove useful in clinical practice). This allowed me to “free-range” in economics later in life, running first through my father’s library (Samuelson, Keynes, the neo-classicists, even Milton Friedman) to find that none of the theory propounded correlated satisfactorily with what was going on in the real world.

        Then I got hold of Henry Hazlitt by way of his The Conquest of Poverty (1973) – not really the best of all his books, but it was what I’d come across first – and I followed Hazlitt as my lead into the works of the other Austrian school thinkers.

        When I ran into Dr. Ron Paul at a convention more than twenty years ago, he told me that he’d been converted to free market economics by picking up and reading through Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action (1949), a massive English language translation and expansion of Dr. von Mises’ Nationalökonomie: Theorie Des Handelns und Wirtschaftens (1940).

        If you’ve ever tried to read your way through a German academician’s work, you’ve probably got some idea of how Dr. von Mises’ magnum opus comes across.

        I remember responding to Dr. Paul with: “Damn! You’ve got more patience and persistence than I’ll ever have. I had to come at Human Action after reading just about everything else of Mises’ I could get my hands on.”

        There are characteristics of work produced the Austrian School people and the other free-market economists which would tend almost invariably to appeal to those of us trained in medicine. The concept of homeostasis is critical to any appreciation of physiology and pathology, and the disregard of normative economists – like Keynes and Samuelson and their ilk – for negative feedback would tend reliably to explain to us physicians why those bastiches invariably screw up whenever they make policy recommendations to politicians and bureaucrats.

        The Austrian School people lack the arrogance and vicious willful stupidity of their “classical” and neoclassical colleagues, and are much more open to the above-mentioned common sense of factual reality.

      • ‘The internal milieu’.
        ============

      • Focus, Rich. Tighten it up, you’re losing track of your point, which is a shame as otherwise you’re admirably lucid, for you.

  2. I’m not one, but go along with many of their observations. This classic quote that reminds us that governments are tools wielded by people is a good summary of my attitude:

    “If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” “Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.” Ludwig von Mises – Austrian Economist 1881 – 1973

    The US Founders were deeply distrustful of people once in power, and endeavoured to limit the amount of it accessible to them. Naturally, those under such restraint have worked to erode such limits ever since.

    • “Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.”

      An example of one of the many gross generalizations in libertarian thought that just don’t match reality. I have respect for a lot of what libertarians say about what governments shouldn’t do, in particular their criticism of the debt mountains, the crony capitalism, and the bailouts rewarding failure, but their utopian dream of markets unfettered by government involvement can never happen because the criminals, whether corporate or mafioso, just don’t respect the freedoms of others.

      Lack of proper oversight is what led to these huge debt problems. To imagine that everything will work out by itself with even less oversight, is counter to both common sense and reality on the ground. As far as I can see the closest to the free market espoused by the Von Mises followers was under Boris Yeltsins idiocracy. The US, Europe, Germany, Japan recovered from WW2 with a raft of new social protective legislation and heaps of government interventions that didn’t hold back the post war boom at all – quite the opposite.

      • “… but their utopian dream of markets unfettered by government involvement can never happen because the criminals, whether corporate or mafioso, just don’t respect the freedoms of others.”

        This is a non sequitur. Libertarians believe in the Rule of Law; just not through regulation. Laws against fraud and extortion and the enforcement of voluntary contracts are the legal framework within which free markets can thrive.

        The goals of libertarians and non-libertarians who value markets are the same. The difference though is that the former assumes market participants are innocent until proven guilty and the latter, via regulation, effectively assumes all participants are just plain guilty up front; the Precautionary Principal at work.

        I have a basic belief that if you treat people like criminals; they’ll tend to behave like criminals. Too many market participants see regulation as a game with rules to be exploited. The more complex the regulations get, the more they promote bad behavior and the more disarmed regulators become. A salaried government bureaucrat is simply no match for the high-powered intellect of individuals motivated to exploit regulations to make mountains of money.

        The more fundamentally negative effect though I feel is to blur the lines between good behavior and bad. Regulations legitimize bad behavior (like environmental regs legitimize pollution). Both Enron and Madoff were possible only so long as regulators were kept in the dark (and by extension gave them even greater influence over their marks, the investors, who believed the regulators were protecting them). With regulated markets, there is much less investor diligence because investors assume that regulators will protect them. Not so as history has taught us.

        And as a side note, market complexity is an effect of government intrusion. Complex financial instruments are developed to get around regulations and avoid taxes. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse.

  3. I appose AGW and Cap and Trade because it is already too late.
    We’ve passed the “tipping point” in the 1970’s when salinity changes started on the ocean surface. Since then there have been many physical events occuring on this planet that is phsycially changing the weather pattern to a cooler trend.
    With the slowing of pressure systems, the precipitation patterns are starting to follow the same precipitation patterns in past Ice Ages.
    I have been following wet Ice Ages and the start of precipitation through a great deal of research.

  4. Please help me understand this issue as I do not understand the fixation. Judith Curry (a highly intelligent individual) seems to spend a considerable amount of time promoting communication on issues that she reasonable knows are not only of no importance, but are actually counterproductive when one is actually trying to improve the human condition.

    The attempt to “understand” the relative positions of libertarians or evangelists, or any other generalization of human behavior only diverts attention from the productive discussion of actual issues and their potential solutions (or at least improvements from the current condition). As with any other prejudicial generalization, some of the preconceptions will be accurate while other are not. In any case, the discussion will yield zero beneficial results.

    IMO a much more positive/productive discussion regarding potential climate change would be to identify what are the goals that should be sought after and then a discussion of the pros and cons of specific policies to achieve the consensus goals. Establishing these consensus goals (for the topic of climate change) would be a very controversial discussion and seems to be highly dependent upon the specific nation state trying to determine these goals. Obviously the individual plans to reach the goals would also be nation state oriented.

    • Rob – perhaps Judith’s blog is actually a research project providing data for her forthcoming paper: “Understanding the nature of Climate Skeptics”. Sorry, Judith, I couldn’t stop myself! :)

      • Thanks for the response, but I really am serious. It makes me wonder if compensation is somehow derived based upon the number if hits at this site and having topics like this (which generate a great deal of comments) is economically motivated.

      • …and I am only half joking. Somebody else on the thread complained of feeling as though he was being studied and I wonder if there is an element of truth to it?

    • randomengineer

      As with any other prejudicial generalization, some of the preconceptions will be accurate while other are not. In any case, the discussion will yield zero beneficial results.

      Not necessarily. Insight gained herein may be beneficial in identification of politically acceptable solution vectors (assuming a solution stage is reached.) Of course this presumes that the readership of this blog is influential, and my guess would be that the number of readers outweighs the number of posters by a significant multiplier. And if this blog has any influence on those with influence, then what’s said here is useful.

    • She appears determined to keep looking in the wrong place(s) to find scientific answers. It looks like she is searching, and defining herself rather than her science. I suggest she continue this series of posts with “Atheists and the Environment”, “Doctors and the Environment”, “Lawyers and the Environment”, “Evolutionists and the Environment”, and finally “Women and the Environment.” She might make a transcendent discovery along the line, and finally choose which side of the climate debate she should be on — or neither side — to be effective, and helpful. This blog is evidently her personal journey, for now. Well, I could say the same for all of us who write on the internet, these are trying times. Meanwhile, climate scientists have ceded much of their authority (and future credibility) to ideologically biased politicians, and are wallowing in the over-stimulation of an incoherent public attention. They cannot focus on the science, because so much of it is incompetent. I wonder if there might be an epic book in all this, with the working title, “Gone With The Wind.” Or maybe “Scarlet O’Hara and the Environment.” I prefer the real world, myself.

      • Nope, what is going on is that I am trying to illuminate the different political and cultural and economic issues that contribute to skepticism on the climate issue (above and beyond the nuances of the science, which aren’t all that well understood by the vast majority of the public). This attempt will hopefully illuminate the complexity of opinions and ideas behind skepticism, with the hoped for end result that anyone who disagrees with the IPCC/UNFCC consensus (in terms of science, impacts, and policy) that they authomatically aren’t labeled as “deniers”, and that people appreciate the diversity of factors (scientific, political, cultural) that go into this disagreement.

        I am not on any side of the climate debate, I don’t see any need to be. I’m exploring the science, the science-policy interface, and trying to understand the complexity of the two “sides” in muddling this whole thing.

      • I agree with the concept (assuming a solution stage is reached). My point is that in order to reach this “solution stage”, it will be necessary to define what the goal(s) are that the intended solution(s) are designed to achieve. After there are consensus goals, a second difficult task begins to determine/debate the potential various means to be successful in achieving these goals. In a world governed by a multitude of independent nation states, often with highly conflicting goals, this would seem to be virtually impossible on the topic of climate change at a global level.

        The summary I outlined in the previous paragraph is why I happen to agree with the notion the key issue on climate change is long term adaption and preparation of infrastructure to minimize any potential negative consequences. These infrastructure preparations can ONLY be accomplished at a “nation state” level (or even more local) and will be based primarily on political and economic considerations and not merely science. Much of the discussion on this site has been very interesting and informative, but not particularly meaningful when one considers the “end game” of the discussions.

      • actually, what you describe is included in the content of my tardy post on Decision Making Under Climate Uncertainty Part II.

      • My apologies, but I can not seem to find that post.

      • the post is still in draft form (i.e. the tardy). Part I in the series is here. https://judithcurry.com/2010/10/31/decision-making-under-climate-uncertainty-part-i/

        My idea for the series is for Part II to focus on robust decision making strategies and no regrets polices, with Part III focusing in on regional adaptation. I have alot written for both parts, but each will take about 4 hrs to pull together, hoping to get back to that soon.

      • So it’s for our own good! I’m touched. But seriously Judith, why the preoccupation with analysing the sceptical intellectual and spiritual hinterland, when you seem to have no interest at all in doing the same for alarmists? I’ve got quite used to being called a denier, it doesn’t bother me. What I want is to know how so many believed so much pseudo-science peddled by so few!

      • i would like to do some threads on environmentalists/alarmists, but i have thinking about the skeptics for a longer time and can more easily post on these topics. I am most open to guest posts (reasonable ones) on environmentalism and climate change, and the varying perspectives of environmentalists. maybe i can pull together a thread on this sometime soon

  5. In my small-l libertarian opinion, Cap and Trade is not at all a natural fit for libertarians.

    In general, libertarians believe in the principle of non-aggression. Violence is alright in defense of life, liberty or property, but aggressive violence is not. Contrarily, mandatory government requirements, are inherently aggressive and violent. (Don’t believe me? Try disobeying a regulation and refusing to pay the fine and see how long it takes for the fellows with guns to show up.)

    As cap and trade depends upon the coercive taking of rights, it is an imposition of aggressive violence and has no place in a peaceful society.

    See here for a short video on the philosophy of liberty – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I

    • scp

      Agreed.

      Cap and Trade is a terrible fit for what libertarian philosophy I can grasp, if treated as the only market solution to the problem through however valid or correct a government mechanism.

      Where practical (for approximatedly 70% of emissions in the case of the US), a strong Carbon Tax method of extracting payment from those who benefit by eating up the limited Carbon Budget of our shared air resource, however, does fit with libertarian philosophy (see M&M’s older writings), if you’re a green libertarian. When combined with Cap and Trade for the other 30% of (fugitive) emissions, a competent government can by Carbon Tax remove the externalities from individual market decisions of producers and consumers that currently drive the natural market to squander carbon resources so decandently and wastefully.

      Note that natural markets, where they diverge from free market conditions, are a bane of libertarian thought. Five hypothetical conditions are necessary in modern economic theory for a free market to produce its benefits, none of which we see well represented in the current marketplace. Which brings us to that OTHER legitimate purpose of government in civil society, btw, for Rich — to foster and maintain conditions where a property owner can make rational decisions in defense of his own rights.

      No libertarian is glad to see accidents of bad government lead to waste of personal property, against both the interest of the owner and of those impacted by the owner’s irrational actions caused by inept governance.

      If it’s part of libertarian philosophy to oppose the worst excesses of government, then it is a rational libertarian who seeks first to have the biggest of these ineptitudes addressed, and then later to negotiate the details of the small stuff.

      Failure to govern that leads to bad results ought then, for a libertarian, be as bad as too much government in the wrong direction.

      What we’ve seen in treatment of our scarce shared resources in most cases is negligent government, and we can easily calculate how these outcomes affect each of us individually.

      • All of which takes as given that CO2 emission is a public harm. I won’t comment on your preferences for remedies, but the planetary scope of the emission sources mitigates global enforcement of any such solutions. Tax is the classic control mechanism.

        But a) the harmfulness of CO2, notwithstanding the IPCC’s efforts to truncate the debate, is far from settled; and
        b) the intended and unintended costs of enforcement, including any “tax” adequate to achieve the ends proposed, are draconian and mass-murderous. Vide the consequences of the 2007-8 food price spike, now being revisited.

        The real Precautionary Principle says DO NOTHING until the above two facts and factors are fully acknowledged, comprehended, and accounted for. We (the globe) are not anywhere in sight of that yet.

      • Brian H

        All of which takes as given that CO2 emission is a public harm.

        Well, no.

        What it takes as given is that each of us has equal and undiluted right to and responsibility for our shared resources of air and water.

        We don’t need proof of harm, just failure to obtain consent to alter the resource (which given the rise in atmospheric CO2 and its close match to the rise in man made CO2 emission is too compelling to dismiss as fact absent extraordinary evidence, or possibly a lobotomy); we don’t need to fantasize about imagined harms of some draconian worldwide conspiracy and toss around propaganda about mass murder (how stupid do you think people reading this are?), when this direct challenge to our basic liberty to have a say in our air and water is at stake, and you propose to hand our air and water over to the accidents of profiteers and opportunists worldwide; we don’t need the Precautionary Principle (which you give the most screwball and inverted definition of I have ever heard, btw, congratulations) to address this question.

        So, thanks for the unusual interpretation you offer, but no thanks, not in the market for paranoia and surrender of my rights.

      • You have (or had) support from one who became the regulatory czar:
        Sunstein, Cass R. 2008. Throwing precaution to the wind: Why the ‘safe’ choice can be dangerous. Opinion. boston.com – The Boston Globe. July 13. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/13/throwing_precaution_to_the_wind

        Main point:

        “Yet the precautionary principle, for all its rhetorical appeal, is deeply incoherent. It is of course true that we should take precautions against some speculative dangers. But there are always risks on both sides of a decision; inaction can bring danger, but so can action. Precautions, in other words, themselves create risks – and hence the principle bans what it simultaneously requires.

        “In the context of climate change, precautions are certainly a good idea. But what kinds of precautions? A high tax on carbon emissions would impose real risks – including increased hardship for people who can least afford it and very possibly increases in unemployment and hence poverty. A sensible climate change policy balances the costs and benefits of emissions reductions. If the policy includes costly (and hence risk-creating) precautions, it is because those precautions are justified by their benefits.

        “The nations of the world should take precautions, certainly. But they should not adopt the precautionary principle.”

      • I keep seeing this baseline assumption, ..increased hardship for people who can least afford.. without support.

        A Pigouvian carbon tax would have no hardship on the 70% of people who can least afford it, as the idea of a carbon tax under the Pigouvian model is that all of its revenues are redistributed per capita, and that redistribution is par or better for the lowest 70% of people.

        The 30% who use the most carbon would then be the ones exposed to any hardship, and they would have the choice to avoid that hardship by changing their behaviors.

        See, people pay for what they use.

        As opposed to the current system, where people get something that doesn’t belong to them for nothing.

        How much fairer is the former than the latter?

      • Since everyone is an energy and therefore a carbon user to a great extent, everyone will bear the cost of a carbon tax.

        And pigs will fly before taxes are redistributed. In reality they will be used to expand the state control.

        Re : people will then “pay for what they use, as opposed to the current system, where people get something that doesn’t belong to them for nothing”.
        This presumes that ownership of the air, carbon, etc, is both clear and settled; we all all equal amounts by virtue of being born, or something.
        Nothing could be further from the truth – it’s just something you wish was the case. (Not that it’s necessarily a bad idea).

  6. As a Libertarian myself I believe that the Environmental wing (your Greenpeaces and Green Parties) who are all elolving into what is called Light or Dark Green Ecologism will have their cake. And this makes perfect sense to a Libertarian such as myself because Ecologism says that we (including a person) are all equal but, unlike the Bill of Rights, that also includes a person being equal with a single cell that lives at the bottom of the ocean; or a slug or a monkey or whatever….it is an equal field.

    As a Libertarian I say, “let the free market decide.” If ecologists were true to themselves they’d say the same thing. But then I’m not sorry we (humans) won because we evolved; back luck to the slug, monkey or whatever micro-organism that didn’t evolve as quickly or efficiently as we did. Environmentalism will probably be around for another 10 years and after its honeymoon will drift into Ecologism (as it refuses to be “mainstream” and “middle class.” {What i refer to as successful}). And I also forecast that Ecologism’s beliefs will begin the slow undoing of years of positive environmental lobbying (some of it is good but other stuff is just propaganda).
    And this will be to the detriment of us all. Environmentalism, in the right measure, is like a great cup of tea but 6 tablespoons of sugar (which is what we’re getting right now) .

    • It seems ec0-liberals don’t like the most successful humans or the most successful species either :)

      • Cockroaches?

      • If you take simple persistence of existence as your measure. But as Kafka so pleasantly illustrated for us, actual life as an “Ungeheuer Ungeziefer” wouldn’t be much fun. You’re welcome to it if that’s your preference though.

      • Brian H

        Simple persistence of existence appears to be Jim’s standard.

        So your realization of my Kafka reference is right on the mark.

        Your aim is a bit off if you think it’s my preference, though.

    • Mike B, I just can’t resist a slightly snarky remark. The bacteria, bugs, and slugs out weigh us by orders of magnitude. Regardless of what happens to the climate they will adapt and be there after the next catastrophe occurs. And one will, whether it is AGW, the next ice age, the next inversion of the magnetic poles, an asteroid, or the next inversion of the sun’s magnetic field.

  7. I haven’t posted here for a quite a while, but feel inclined to do so now. Although I believe I understand that the threads on communication/social/political positions are trying to get a ‘feel’ of how these positions might affect their views on the climate, I personally don’t believe it does that much for people who are truly looking at both sides of the issue in order to learn, and not just taking someone else’s word for it (such as the media, or high-profile, well known people).

    I agree with Rob, that trying to understand that detracts from the issue – the actual science, research, and observations behind the whole movement. I stated once before that those who are absolutely set in their beliefs one way or the other aren’t likely to change their opinions, regardless of what papers are published or evidence is touted.

    Getting to the implementation of ways to better our environment and way of life needs to get to the forefront. Not the politics of CO2 or cap/trade, or global tax, or whatever. Although I am not convinced that increasing CO2 will be catastrophic, efforts to mitigate it that don’t involved ideas like cap and trade, or don’t put an undo burden on the people (such as having to pay subsidies for wind power/solar that aren’t cost effective) makes great sense. Bring on more nuclear power. And let the free market develop ways through its own investments and venture capital.

    For what it is worth, I don’t agree that libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural. That is a tax. I would expect them to let the free market take care of it.

    • Martin,
      The current problem is funding for buying a one sided AGW theory also generated a like minded peer -review system.
      AGW climate science is strictly temperature studies.
      No history beyond 150 years. No physical change studies. No following precipitation study. No following pressure studies.
      Just strictly following temperatures.

    • It will always be worthwhile to discuss “communication/social/political positions” separate from purely scientific consideration of subjects like environmentalism generally and the “man-made climate disruption” fraud specifically because the politicization of issues in this area imposes upon everybody – especially when we’re considering the unspeakably bogus premise that anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide can have an adverse effect upon the global climate – higher monetary costs and other grievous material impairments degrading quality of life, and it’s being done by government fiat.

      The proponents of the AGW fraud – whether they’re sincere but stupid hysterics or willfully and knowingly malfeasant snake-oil peddlers – are demanding of everyone in their polities (and concatenatively people all over the world) high real costs for not even the most dubious potential benefit.

      And the “environmentalists” don’t expect push-back? I am absolutely not kidding when I make mention of people sufficiently injured by the great “global warming” scam to seek redress and abatement of their damages upon the physical property of the warmists, up to and including such indignities as had been visited on the persons of the English King’s excisemen in the run-up to Lexington and Concord.

      The maintenance of social comity and good civil order – do I sound repetitious? – is of great value, but that value is secondary to the preservation of the individual human being himself in assurance that his person, his liberties, and his property will be protected against willful aggression. If the agency responsible for providing these necessary protections of individual rights comes to be engaged by the “environmentalists” in the worthless and destructive violation of these rights, history makes clear that we can expect instances in which the officers of civil government may not simply be voted out of office but removed by less formal means, up to and including not only civil disobedience but popular uprisings. We’re damned near there with the TEA Party movement, which both the rank and file and the leadership of America’s “Liberal” predator class do sincerely dread, no matter how much they pretend to scoff and ridicule.

      I do not wish to see these matters resolved by bloodshed. As always, I’m in favor of “Anything That’s Peaceful.”

      But by invoking political power, the so-called “environmentalists” are engaging aggressive violent force against their fellow citizens without having in any way made a convincing case to their neighbors that there is any genuine need to take (or value in taking) the costly “reduced carbon footprint” measures being imposed upon Americans today by our criminal Fraudulence-in-Chief under the fiction of “regulating” the emission of pollutants.

      We might as well talk about these matters. They are as real as “man-made global warming” is not.

      • Rich,
        You are correct.
        What is making climate science fail is following temperatures to the exclusion of all other factors.
        If they would have followed evaporation and precipitation, they would know what is currently happening and have a good projection of the future.
        I did something utterly stupid by following evidence. I followed an Ice Age from beginning to it’s end by top soil depths. Found when evaporation started to occur by looking at the oldest salt mine dated 1.25 billion years ago and this also corrillated with the current string of wet Ice Ages 1 billion years ago.
        I studied everything to find answers. And I did.

      • Rich,
        I am currently following climate tracts of stalling pressure systems on the oceans and the weather tracts they are creating through the mountains.
        So far coastal areas are in for some super nasty weather and tracking through mountains the flooding on the other side does not look good either.
        This is how an Ice Age would cover the land mass.

      • Joe…I don’t really think this is the right moment or thread for this :)

      • But Rob…
        Please, please…Judith did include environment.
        I just took it a global environment. :-)

      • Without addressing any particular point Rich Matarese is making, some of them very interesting, I’d like to say better a Rich Matarese than a Mumtaz Qadri, and the blog (and the world) would be better by far with ten more like Rich for insight and opinion, however spectacularly wrong he often is.

      • Bart,
        I have not found Rich wrong.
        A different perspective, yes.

    • No, they don’t make “great sense”. They choke off development of most of the world, and to date no realistic substitute for compact, portable, efficient energy storage and exploitation has been developed, or even suggested.
      And given the multi-century glut of natural gas which is turning up all over the planet, there is no underlying energy crisis to force draconian changes.

      Even with those supplies, though, burning off ALL of the fossil fuels known to exist would at most increase atmospheric CO2 by about 50% (and then the plants and phytoplankton would have a field day eating it until it came back down again!). It truly is a bogus issue.

  8. AnyColourYouLike

    Not long after the near catstrophic collapse of the world economic system, mainly due to deregulated financial markets, it still amazes me that the simple slogan “let the markets decide” is taken seriously by anyone as a means of ensuring economic well-being, and indeed “liberty” for the masses.

    • The world food system is getting up there now as well.
      Just a few more major climatic events and the price will be unreal.

    • You speak of what you don;t know.

    • Greg Goodknight

      Just a few weeks before the collapse, Barney Frank was still touting Fannie Mae as a good investment going forward, and Chris Dodd (D-Countrywide) also had his hands in the cookie jar. Anyone who thinks the collapse was about free markets is unclear on the concept of just what a ‘free market’ is.

      Markets are a mess, but politicians messing with markets often leads to disaster. And, as P.J.O’Rourke has pointed out, when legislation decides what gets bought and sold, the first things to get bought and sold are legislators.

      • Exactly. And the tougher the regulations, the more effort and money is redirected towards getting around them instead of doing what’s most productive. That works the other way, too; note the major involvement of Big Oil in sucking up to the Green Initiatives, because there’s such a huge subsidy stream behind them.

      • Mr. Goodknight writes:

        Markets are a mess, but politicians messing with markets often leads to disaster.

        It’s never that “Markets are a mess,” but rather that markets free of outside (often characterized as “third party”) interference are self-correcting by way of negative feedback.

        This in fact is what the expression “free market” actually means. A market where the participants are free of “third party” coercive interference.

        It is under the rubric of “regulation” that the officers of civil government impose such interferences, alleging that their purpose is to make the market “more efficient” (or even “more fair”) when in fact their actions invariably – and I mean “invariably” – are undertaken for no purpose other than to enable some politically influential persons in the marketplace to rob, enslave, or otherwise violate the rights of other folks involved therein.

        Markets are nevera mess.” Noisy, complex, sometimes confusing – sure – but all those perceived characteristics are simply incidental to the purpose of the market in the implementation of a division-of-labor economy.

        It’s only when armed thugs enter the marketplace to violate some or all of the market participants’ rights to their liberties and property that things get into “a mess.”

      • Speaking as a shareholder, the reason my corporation has lobbyists is to write the regulations for my politicians so the messes my politicians make of my market are the messes I want made.

      • when in fact their actions invariably – and I mean “invariably” – are undertaken for no purpose other than to enable some politically influential persons in the marketplace to rob, enslave, or otherwise violate the rights of other folks involved therein.

        Rich,

        You have to distinguish between different kinds of regulation. I agree that those intended to promote some social “good” tend to be poster children for the law of unintended consequences. However, those that promote transparency and confidence (financial reporting laws, bans on insider trading) are different animals.

      • Gene writes:

        However, those [regulationsthat promote transparency and confidence (financial reporting laws, bans on insider trading) are different animals.

        I’d wish that were so, but it simply isn’t the case. The phenomenon of “regulatory capture” has to be examined and considered in such discussions. In all my own reading on this subject (and I expect that others with similar experience and no political or pecuniary interest in the matter will freely confirm), no regulatory enactments uttered by civil government in these United States have ever been brought into existence except at the behest – and to the purposes of – the established actors in the market sector being “regulated.”

        You got that? Regulations are not – except ostensibly and mendaciously – for the protection of customers, employees, or even up-and-coming competitors in any area of the U.S. economy, but rather to confer some kind of advantage on the politically connected “establishment” types already dominating the economic activities subject to those regulations.

        Even were it possible to support an argument contrary to that conclusion, the phenomenon of “regulatory capture” has to be addressed. As any structure of statutory or regulatory government structuring of any market segment comes into play, the actors in that segment begin to “game the system,” first by finding ways – in the regulations, all neat and legal – to evade the intentions putatively driving the enactments, then by corrupting the elected and appointed government officers detailed the duty of regulatory interpretation and enforcement.

        For a wonderful example, permit me to offer the FDA in this country and the pharmaceuticals industry.

        If “regulatory capture” were not the abso-goddam-lute operating principle of the FDA, the boss of that agency would today be epidemiologist Dr. David Graham, the ODS whistleblower in the great 2004 Vioxx VIGOR study scandal.

        The fact that Dr. Graham damn’ near got himself fired in 2004 ought to tell you all you’ll ever need to know about the need for government “regulation” in any aspect of the economy.

        Those much-praised “financial reporting laws,” by the way, are not going to do anything other than create yet another smokescreen behind which clever actors in the financial markets will “gull, cully, and diddle” their victims just as they’ve been doing since the intellectual forefathers of The Flim-Flam Man began their careers in the back streets of Babylon.

      • Rich,

        You’re still going over the top. Can you actually show where regulation of insider trading is an example of regulatory capture? Perhaps the laws around reporting of financial results are not bullet proof, but to suggest that the market would be better served without them beggars belief.

      • Gene, again I wish I really weregoing over the top” when it comes to matters like “regulation of insider trading.”

        First, the foreclosure of “insider trading” is simply impossible. It’s another kind of “knowledge problem,” in that it is impossible for government thugs to constrain the flow of abstract knowledge, or criminalize action taken on the basis of any “insider” knowledge. Indeed, the punishment of “insider trading” requires an almost telepathic insight into the alleged perpetrators’ thoughts in order to demonstrate any sort of criminal mens rea.

        Accordingly, the pretense of the politicians that their statutory bungles could possibly protect investors against the depredations of “insider trading” serves only to disarm these non-insider investors’ reasonable suspicions of swindling and deceit.

        “Oh, I’ll be okay,” says the gullible sucker, warm in his illusion of government omniscience and omnipotence. “If any insider tries to cheat me, Officer Friendly will protect me.”

        Har-de-friggin’-har.

        Second, it’s not only that “the laws around reporting of financial results are not bullet proof” but that the implementation of these laws is commonly (hell, almost invariably) not practicable.

        In order for the regulatory agencies of civil government – whose managing officers are never going to be the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree, remember, and who labor under no genuine incentives other than those discussed in Dr. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy – to provide real policing of “financial results” reporting, they would have to be provided assets (human and material) several orders of magnitude greater in both quality and cost than our Congresscritters or the criminal masquerading as lawful President of these United States could or would ever allow.

        Bear in mind the “Pass a Law!” phenomenon so common to legislatures since the city fathers of Ur first sat in solemn conference.

        Just because a statute is enacted, or a regulation is announced, does not mean a goddam thing when it comes to getting in reality the results ostensibly intended.

    • ACYL, I agree that blind adherence to ‘letting the markets decide’ would be folly. OTOH, I’m not sure that governments’ encouraging energy sources through subsidies (like windmills for example) is going to result in the optimum solution. There must be a balance somewhere.

      PS As an aside, in my view it is the prescriptive medicine that is forced down our throats by the enviros that is objectionable to the libertarian.

      • Sorry, not sure how that happened – the apostrophe police will be coming for me at any moment.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Rob

        I’m all for balance. Too much big government tends toward stifling bureaucracy, and, in extremis, totalitarianism. Too much big capitalism tends toward profits before people, and, in extremis, rapacious devourment of resources with disregard to human consequences. As for regulation in banking markets, Greenspan’s mea culpa says it all.

        As for windmills, they’re an ugly folly.

    • I will expand as to why (IMO) your comment is an excessively broad and thereby an inaccurate generalization. The economic collapse was caused by institutions investing and trading in unsecured sub-prime mortgages. It was by no means caused by a failure of the basic free market principles. Free market principles does not mean unregulated markets.

      • What do you mean by secured? Was not a subprime 1st mortgage secured by a 1st lien on the property and a subprime 2nd secured by a 2nd lien on the property?

      • Yes, but the nasty little property-value inflation feedback cycle that the glut of buyers and fiat-money created meant that the underlying assets/security were vapor. Which evaporated when the first major exposure to real valuation and “realization of assets” was attempted/imposed.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Rob S

        “your comment is an excessively broad and thereby an inaccurate generalization.” Probably true, I’m not an economics major. However, I was responding to the equally broad and generalised slogan “let the markets decide”, which is not at all nuanced and can mean anything, including rapacious, no-holds barred behaviours like the ones you describe, when government oversight fails.

    • “…the near catstrophic collapse of the world economic system, mainly due to deregulated financial markets…”

      Actually it was due mainly to regulation, eg laws requiring that risky loans be made to poor people.

      • Right, because those laws contained the passage, “then you have to bundle the securities intricately with misleading information and flog the bad paper to unknowing intermediaries while reducing your own capital reserves below levels you know are necessary.”

        Are those the laws you mean?

      • The bad loans enforced by the govenment would have gone bad whether or not they were bundled and sold on.

      • JCH has it right.

        The laws and loans you speak of had zero to do with the crash. What’s happened is you’ve listened to loudmouths who either did not understand the topic, or who had a political or personal reason to lie about it, and you didn’t do a proper skeptical analysis for yourself.

        Go back and look at what actually happened, do the math, and decide if the lie you’re repeating is worth the time you waste re-telling it.

      • The government-enforced bad loans had plenty to do with it. That and lender-of-the-last resort role governments assume in order to impose its control, that that tips the balance into taking on higher risk more justified.
        What we should have is both a regulated banking sector, with its bail-out guarantees that encourage recklessess, and an unregulated one where bad banks go bust, and let customers choose.

      • In effect, we do and did have what you suggest, with the added spicy extra of the unregulated parties lying about their products and contaminating the entire supply chain.

        The bad paper that collapsed the world economy was not from, in, of, about, through or induced by the (non-comforming sub-prime) loans of which you speak.

        The failure of instruments secured to cover the risk of the sub-prime loans may have been revealed when the inevitable and expected need to use the instruments came due, on schedule, after the housing bubble burst, but those instruments were not themselves built on sub-prime mortgages. It’s like saying roosters cause the sun to rise.

        The government’s encouragement of mortgagers to make money more available to bad risks might have been disastrously bad, but it wasn’t the cause of _this_ disaster. Deregulation was.

        Compare Canada, which was slow to deregulate, with most of the rest of the world. Without the direct exposure to these faulty deregulated instruments, Canada was largely unaffected by the crash, except through foreign parents of Canadian companies, and the isolationist reactions of its trading partners.

        The banking done surrounding the sub-prime loans is one of the most closely audited set of transactions in the US; the topic of what relationship these transactions had to that disaster is well-studied and the conclusions of those studies are widely available.

        You’re making a claim contrary to this large body of work. Can you provide a (non-Wiki-C-Class) link or citation that you base your claim on?

        I have less trouble pointing out that everyone who has ever invaded Afghanistan has suffered an economic collapse, and believing that has something to do with anything, than this incorrect recitation of yours.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Well put Bart.

        I did think about pitching in earlier and responding to the criticism of my initial comment, but you’ve done it much more articulately than I could. Besides, with the denial mindset displayed here – whenever anybody dares suggest that unfettered free-market capitalism isn’t necessarily the righteous, cure-all panacea for the world’s economic and social woes – it would have probably been as fruitless as trying to tell Rich that the Nazis weren’t socialists.

      • I hate this thread, but that is not right. The vast majority of subprime was run through mortgage originators who had nothing to do with CRA lending.

        They loaned money to minorities because they made money doing it. The government agency twisting their arms to do it was the Billions of Benjamin Franklins Agency. Great agency by which to be regulated.

        When President Bush gave his speech where he called for 5.5 million homes to be built for and financed to minority families, no federal law was forcing him to do that. It was what he wanted done, and he was a get’r done sort of guy.

  9. Greg Goodknight

    OK, you asked.

    I’ve been a libertarian and Libertarian after, as a Democrat, voting for McGovern (my first election at age 18, a freshman and physics major) and then really holding my nose and voting for Carter in ’76. Sometime before the Carter/Reagan contest I’d realized the Democratic Party was very much no more a party of classic liberalism, couldn’t stand the idea of voting for a second Carter term and even more, couldn’t vote for Reagan. During a *very* friendly argument with a co-worker who was a died-in-the-wool leftist Peace and Freedom Party member, said fellow told me I sounded like a Libertarian, and went on to describe the Libertarians as an offshoot of the P&F Party, which it is.

    Unfortunately, most confirmed Leftists and Rightists can no more understand where libertarians are at than a resident of Flatland can look UP. Libertarians are at right angles to that reality, and no amount of fiddling with the one dimensional model can replicate the Nolan Chart two dimensional model. I met Ron Paul at Timothy Leary’s house when Dr. and Mrs. Leary hosted a reception for Paul during his ’88 Presidential Campaign. Those of you who seem to think libertarians are further to the right than Republicans need to consider why not only Leary but very *unconservative* folks like Penn and Teller wear their Libertarianism on their sleeves.

    Personally, I’d be perfectly happy with Cap and Trade as a market based coercive necessity if I bought into the CAGW alarmism, but I do not. I went from being a lukewarmer to skeptic to scoffer in the space of about a month in 2007 when I started reading the geophysical literature for myself. As a Democratic congressman once said, Cap and Trade is a tax, and it’s a BIG one. In general, libertarians probably choke on Cap and Tax because it’s being promoted by the same coersive utopians that wanted to kill off fossil fuels even before there was a climate rationalization to do so.

    When Svensmark published in 1996, the chair of the IPCC denounced him as being ‘naive and irresponsible’. Naive, perhaps yes, but it’s the IPCC that has been irresponsible almost from the beginning. It’s a shame that Jasper Kirkby’s CLOUD experiment had its funding yanked thanks to political machinations in the late ’90’s, and only got the go-ahead when Svensmark’s low budget version (SKY) got results. Going forward, the burden of proof is on the alarmist camp, and its looking more and more to me like that proof is going the other way.

    • I went from being a lukewarmer to a skeptic after reading the Wegman report in 2005/6… whenever it was. It took me quite a bit longer than a you to gradually become a scoffer. Years of watching climate scientists hide methods and data that should be transparent, then Climategate was the last straw. Now, the IPCC has no credibility left.

      I agree with that point of yours. Even if I were not philosophically opposed to the aggressive use of violence to achieve political ends, there would still be no way I would support Cap & Trade. It’s a modern sacrificial ritual… Superstition, not science.

      • Greg Goodknight

        There’s a 500+ million year record of Carbon-14 correlating *very* well with ocean temperatures. Unless you can envision a physics where ocean temperatures can effect supernovae distant in both space and time, you have to admit there’s a there, there. (Shaviv & Veizer, ’03)

      • If this process was good.
        Why are climate scientists confused with the oceans cooling?

    • Seems to me that in relative terms, the Democrats are left-wing (economic totalitarians and social libertarians), and the Republicans are the right-wing opposite ( economic libertarian, social totalitarians).

      Neither is any real home for a rounded liberal/libertarian.

  10. I’m not a libertarian. But I think I share some intellectual aspects of libertarianism as time goes on. Meaning: valuing rigorous analysis. A corollary: holding my nose when, time after time, we get data withholding, lying, denigration of people who disagree or do things like asking that data be archived so that others can check if the statistics have been done correctly.

    If, as Judith says, libertarians value science, then I’m more and more of one every day.

    Today at Steve McIntyre’s blog we see that Phil Jones and company are up to their old tricks, publishing paleoclimate papers and not letting anyone look at their data. They can use it, but permission must be sought from the original keepers of the data if someone else wants to see it. This within the same week that we learn that the whole vaccines cause autism scare was in fact science fraud. Fraud which couldn’t have been uncovered if the data had not been available. Here’s the link:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/06/more-data-refusal-nothing-changes/

    If you go to climateaudit.org and just read the entries for the last month, you will see several examples of articles which the “hockey team” and others of their ilk tried mightily to suppress via “peer review,” but in the end didn’t succeed (although they did keep the articles out of the more widely read journals).

    You will see that Andrew Weaver, who previously denigrated McIntyre, praised his new paper (O’Donnell et al, 2010) as being scientifically quite good. I guess that is what the hockey team is afraid of, that if McIntyre and McKittrick and Michaels’ papers get published where knowledgeable people can finally read them, the scales will fall from their eyes.

    You will see Tom Crowley apologize to McIntyre, five years too late, for making false statements about him and about what he said. You will see the EOS, after a lengthy peer review of a McIntyre defense against this denigration, agreed that McIntyre had a good point in his defense, but unfortunately, because the peer review took so long, the defense was no longer “timely” and never got published.

    There are papers which call into question the IPCC treatment of the Urban Heat Island effect — papers which IPCC types tried to suppress. See:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/12/15/new-light-on-uhi/

    and

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/12/15/mckitrick-and-nierenberg-2010-rebuts-another-team-article/

    So if you love science, as I do, this behavior is more and more maddening with time.

    So it follows that I have less trust in government than I used to, partly because the IPCC and hockey team members get their funding from the US and other governments, and these governments have resisted even-handed requests for data archiving (despite official policies requiring such data availability), and because these governments in the face of the excellent analyses done by McIntyre and McKittrick and Patrick Michaels — all very serious and extremely competent — have refused to acknowledge the flaws in the IPCC process and the underlying papers.

    That increasing lack of trust, which (call me naive) I didn’t use to have is giving me a lot more understanding of where libertarians are coming from.

  11. Judith, I am curious about your statement ” Seems like Libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural”. Surely you must know that C&T is a coercive tax, but more importantly there should be no reason at all to trade carbon. Carbon is treated by libertarians as no different than water or methane, and rightly so. I personally know of no libertarian that supports cAGW, and very few who support AGW (for the numerous reasons previously discussed), but are at the same time fully in tune with the science behind greenhouse chemistry/physics. By your statement you presuppose that carbon is supply limited. Its limitations, at least for the next few hundred years, are due to political limitations(bans on drilling, etc)

    • I am not a supporter of cap and trade for a whole host of reasons. But in principle cap and trade could be formulated as a free market solution along the lines of green libertarianism. Once you introduce a lot baggage, this gets lost (such as in the U.S. legislation). But this general concept is consistent with the green libertarian ideas.

      • On the contrary, C&T is basically government rationing (cap), where the ration cards can be bought and sold (trade). The market helps a bit at the margin, but it is still a government rationing program. Rationing is about as far from libertarianism as you can get. Calling this a market based solution is a rhetorical hoax.

      • Prezakly. Focus on “who creates and sells the credits”.

      • Judith, my point was not whether you support C&T but why you thought it would a natural fit for libertarians. Carbon is the son or daughter of oil and gas which are already traded on exchanges. It makes no sense whatsoever to even consider an exchange for this offspring. Maybe we are just talking past each other, perhaps because some believe that cAGW is complete and utter nonsense and that AGW is probably a net benefit to the world.

      • Good grief, Judy. Give me a break…

        “Seems like Libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural.”

        We libertarians pride ourselves on trying, as much as is humanly possible, to be logical and rational. Why would we dream of supporting nonsense dreamed up out of thin air by self-loathing progressive activists, including the idea that 390PPM of CO2 does anything measurable to our atmosphere? It seems to me that the real libertarian reaction should be to fight against the climate activist religion, for which there is no (none, zero) evidence, relentlessly and where ever it shows up…at the polls, in the arena of public opinion, and with our pocketbooks–until the last breath wheezes out of our worn-out, used-up bodies.

      • C&T is pseudo-free market. Participants are not free to choose to use C&T or not. That is by definition not free market. If a company offered C&T certificates and trading platform, then other companies chose to trade them, that would be a free market solution. That has not happened.

      • Jim

        Interesting definition of a free market. I’m familiar with the condition of idealized free entry and exit from the marketplace, perfect competition, perfect information, practically infinite numbers of buyers and sellers, absence of price-making sellers, and non-distinguishable goods.. which doesn’t include ability to opt out of whichever free market conditions inconvenient you while still being able to trade in the market goods.

        Maybe you’re thinking of the definition of a laissez-faire market, the traditional home of free riders, privateers and opportunists?

      • A government imposed program isn’t a free market. If you can’t opt out of a market, it isn’t free. You are making this more complicated than it really is. I suspect the concept of a free market flies in the face of the government imposed solutions you prefer, so you obfuscate.

      • A free market is a market in which there is no economic intervention and regulation by the state, except to enforce private contracts and the ownership of property. It is the opposite of a controlled market, in which the state directly regulates how goods, services and labor may be used, priced, or distributed, rather than relying on the mechanism of private ownership. Advocates of a free market traditionally consider the term to imply that the means of production is under private, not state control as well. This is the contemporary use of the term “free market” by economists and in popular culture; the term has had other uses historically.

        A free-market economy is an economy where all markets within it are unregulated by any parties other than those players in the market. In its purest form the government plays a neutral role in its administration and legislation of economic activity, neither limiting it (by regulating industries or protecting them from internal/external market pressures) nor actively promoting it (by owning economic interests or offering subsidies to businesses or R&D). Although an economy in this most radical form has never existed, efforts to liberalise an economy or make it “more free” attempt to limit such government intervention.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market

      • Uh, yeah.

        See, the illusion of freedom being defined by absense of governance is easy to demonstrate.

        If you hide the governance by tax and subsidy, give bullying powers to market actors that you then do not take into account, or otherwise skew your population or measures, you can perpetrate the fraud of seeming freedom.

        No real libertarian cherishes his liberties so cheaply as to bestow belief in a system of deceptions and lies aimed at robbing the individual of the power to enjoy their own decisions and rights.

        So economists have painstakingly identified what it takes for individuals to practice decision-making with real liberty, and it turns out it takes some open and painful but necessary government to achieve.

        Wikiality appears to have rendered mine a historical interpretation by the slights of hand of those philosophers of opportunism, free-ridership and subversion of liberty.

        That’d be typical of Wiki’s C-class articles.

        “The article is substantial, but is still missing important content or contains a lot of irrelevant material. The article should have some references to reliable sources, but may still have significant issues or require substantial cleanup. [show]
        More detailed criteria
        The article is better developed in style, structure and quality than Start-Class, but fails one or more of the criteria for B-Class. It may have some gaps or missing elements; need editing for clarity, balance or flow; or contain policy violations such as bias or original research. Articles on fictional topics are likely to be marked as C-Class if they are written from an in-universe perspective.
        Useful to a casual reader, but would not provide a complete picture for even a moderately detailed study. Considerable editing is needed to close gaps in content and address cleanup issues. “

      • Bart. I don’t have a problem with the government regulating what’s put into air and water as long as it is a real pollutant. I don’t want stuff like arsenic, mercury, industrial organic chemicals, and the like in the air or water. None of that, however, makes Cap and Tax a free market solution. You can twist things around any way you like and you might actually believe what you are saying. But I doubt many others are buying what you are dishing out.

      • Jim

        That’s the point, and the difference between what we advocate.

        I advocate an opinion, the reader can consent or reject it.

        You advocate an emission against the liberty of all citizens to reject or consent. You, and those in your camp, wish to act against all, without regard to the liberty of all to reject that nuissance.

        It isn’t for the emitter to decide what’s a pollutant, nor is it for the trespassed-against to prove they have suffered a harm, it’s enough to be deprived of the right of dissent to be deprived of liberty.

        No one is both a libertarian and an upholder of unlimited CO2 emission for profit.

        Most Cap and Trade isn’t a solution, market or free or otherwise.

        In particular, the mutant beast that is before US lawmakers today is a stinging indictment of porkbarrel special interest corporate charity government subsidized outrages against what is best in America.

        If there must be Cap and Trade (and for the sake of approaching freedom of choice in the marketplace the math suggests there should be, but not nearly so compellingly as to justify the pile of loopholes and back-end deals that’s being touted as a carbon tax) then it ought be kept as small as practical from a libertarian or a utilitarian point of view.

        Hence, Carbon Tax and rebate for whatever emissions can be pragmatically administered (about 70% by mass) is the tool of choice to push the marketplace toward free choice for all participants.

        Of course, I’d be happy to put an end to current subsidies to carbon emitters first, as that would have most of the effect of Cap and Trade, faster and cheaper.

      • Bart R writes: No one is both a libertarian and an upholder of unlimited CO2 emission for profit.

        Categorically untrue. I am botha libertarian and an upholder of unlimited CO2 emission for profit.

        To the extent that profit can be made from putting plant food into the atmosphere without charging any cost to those who do not elect to pay for the benefit thereof, how could I not uphold such enterprise?

      • No, Rich.

        You’d be a Libertarian, then, who upholds a government that treats some differently from others, and advocates expropriation without due process of the ability of some to dissent in favor of others to benefit disproportionately.

        Dues paid up. Just like the family-values Republican who cheats on his wife with men in airport toilets, or the .. well, I’m sure there’s an example of naked hypocrisy and lip-service among Democrats if one looks long enough, but point made.

        It’d be nice if Libertarianism attracted only libertarians, if once could lead a truly libertarian life without compromise in a decidedly non-libertarian world, if indeed libertarian philosophy were so robust as to allow a libertarian world to function. But let’s face it, we’re in a world where abstract ideas like communism and anarchy, and libertarianism, eugenics and Creationism, and skepticism and climate change both, get a bumpy ride from reality and sometimes are revealed as unworkable, even while their committed adherents try to prop them up by pious frauds or by turning to violence or blackmail to coerce.

      • To the extent that profit can be made from putting plant food into the atmosphere without charging any cost to those who do not elect to pay for the benefit thereof

        Sounds like you’d be equally fine with second-hand smoke too, regardless of what the medical profession has to say on the subject.

      • Nah, Bart. I’d be – I am – a libertarian who is more than sufficiently convinced that the purposeful combustion of fossil petrochemicals could not possibly put into the atmosphere at large enough carbon dioxide that it could do any human being on the planet any harm whatsoever.

        It’d be nice if statist stupidity only afflicted other statists. As it is, Bart, it’d be nice, too, if your lines of “reasoning” (and your apparent delight in the government institutionalization of “violence” and “blackmail” to the service of no real purpose whatsoever anent this whole “man-made climate disruption” fraud) were merely hypocrisy on your part.

        But, hell, I’m getting convinced that you really believe that bullpuckey.

      • Dr. Curry, have you noticed how this Pratt fellow has, with regard to his “second-hand smoke” line, impugned my professional competence and adherence to the practices of evidence-based medicine? Was there anything of arguable pertinence in that post of his to which I could reply other than as I had?

      • I missed VP’s post, let me check it. I checked it, VP’s comment was not up to his usual standards, but nothing particularly insulting there to the outside beholder in terms of overtly inflammatory or insulting words.

      • Rich

        Substitute “water” for “air” and in place of “CO2” say “fluoride”.

        Or here, go to a libertarian site like http://militantlibertarian.org/2010/11/09/fighting-fluoride/ and do the opposite exchange.

        Is your libertarianism, that of a different party than the fluoride libertarians, or is your reasoning so malleable as to be transparent hypocrisy for some other reason?

      • Bart R wants to “Substitute ‘water’ for ‘air’ and in place of “CO2″ say ‘fluoride’.

        Yet again with the Loud Rude Buzzer Noise. My reasoning is that bioavailable fluoride salts provide an extremely straightforward category of dietary supplement that doesn’t really have to be added to the drinking water delivered to the whole population, and fluorosis is a very real risk to susceptible individuals.

        Pediatric vitamins are commonly prescribed as a matter of adherence to standards of care. Physicians practicing in areas where drinking water is commonly drawn from artesian wells without fluoridation (like yours truly) prescribe those pediatric vitamin formulations incorporating measured amounts of fluoride. Dentists almost invariably recommend the use of fluoride in rinses and toothpastes, even where water fluoridation is universal.

        The wonderful socialist (“progressive”) idea that because fluoridation of drinking water (also bathing and laundry water – and how’s that work again?) is beneficial in some ways for most people, they’ve got to add fluoride compounds to everybody’s tap water.

        Jeez, no wonder the bottled water industry is raking in the cash, hand over fist.

        Hm. Think about it. Isn’t civil government the only agency in society which could possibly screw up something as simple as H2O?

      • Rich

        Wasn’t aware that civil government had passed draconian mass-murderous regulations requiring people to buy bottled water.

        Thanks for that update.

        All of the arguments you make about fluoride have their obvious analogues when applied to CO2 in the context as appropriate.

        It’s amazing how far the metaphor stretches.

        Except on the one side, you not only believe there’s no harm in artificially adulterating one shared common resource but advocate more of the same without limit, and on the other hand you oppose even limited introduction on principle.

        Similarities and differences of the chemicals aside, the point is the appeal to principle.

        Libertariansim isn’t chemistry. It’s principle.

        Or, in your case, it seems to be not principle but an endlessly malleable playground for propagandists and ranty paranoiac sophistry.

        You assert that it seems I really believe this nonsense.

        My point is, you don’t. And it’s your belief system, your credo, I’m reading this nonsense from.

      • Damn, I had some really great comebacks to the exchange between Matarese and Curry, and then Bart R went and read my mind on every one of them before I could get online.

        Curse you, mindreading Bart R, you’ve left me with nothing to add.

        Oh wait, there’s this from RM:

        I am – a libertarian who is more than sufficiently convinced that the purposeful combustion of fossil petrochemicals could not possibly put into the atmosphere at large enough carbon dioxide that it could do any human being on the planet any harm whatsoever.

        Even though the US Supreme Court has recently veered further away from its liberal posture than in many decades, it has still declared CO2 a pollutant. Bart R has neglected to point out that this puts RM at odds with the SCOTUS.

        Oh, but then there’s Roe v Wade. If RM is among those who would like to see RvW overturned then no surprise that he doesn’t like the Supremes’ assessment of CO2.

        But if he’s against only one of those two decisions, why then our RM is clearly a rugged individualist.

        And isn’t that how America came to be such a great country?

      • So… now we’re saying SCOTUS is the final word on “science”? My, how the science world has degenerated since I left it.

        BTW – do you know exactly how Roe v Wade slithered through SCOTUS? I do – and I know that the architect of that mess repudiated his own testimony/lies some years later. Well, you picked a fitting companion piece to the SCOTUS CO2 decision. Congratulations.

      • So economists have painstakingly identified what it takes for individuals to practice decision-making with real liberty, and it turns out it takes some open and painful but necessary government to achieve.

        Economists? Economists?

      • Jim Owen

        Amazing, but true.

        They had some spare time on their hands, as they have nothing else useful to do, and websurfing hadn’t yet been invented to eat into their leisure moments, one supposes.

      • And you trust enconomists to determine what it takes for individuals to practice decision-making with real liberty, and it turns out it takes some open and painful but necessary government to achieve.???

        I think your logic circuits need some tuning. To say nothing of theirs.

      • I think your logic circuits need some tuning. To say nothing of theirs.

        Ok, my logic circuits are all tuned now, Jim Owen. I trust only you and await your further clarification as to my life’s objectives.

        If someone asks me how I chose you as my master, what should I tell them?

      • I trust only you and await your further clarification as to my life’s objectives.

        Well, you “could” tell them you lost your mind – which is precisely what I’d think.

      • Not surprising at all. Economics is precisely the study of the the choices we make with scarce resources.

      • the illusion of freedom being defined by absense of governance is easy to demonstrate…
        economists have painstakingl identified what it takes for individuals to practice decision-making with real liberty, and it turns out it takes some open and painful but necessary government to achieve.

        Yes, maximum liberty requires some govenment. But only a minimal amount, something perhaps 5% of the size of the totalitarian monsters we see in the West today.

        Its essential purpose should be to prevent citizens violating their fellows’ property rights. For this you need government police, courts and defence. And a few more issues like control of infectious diseases.

        And given the impossibility of ownership rights of the air, if CAGW does turn out to be true, government interference would be justified there too.

      • Why does CAGW need to turn out to be true?

        The right is infringed if the consent is not obtained.

        The test is consent, not harm.

        The only justification needed to oppose burning carbon so fast it changes the air is that the change is not consented.

      • Bart R had written: “The test is consent, not harm,” going on to assert that “The only justification needed to oppose burning carbon so fast it changes the air is that the change is not consented.

        Pace Dr. Curry, this is astonishingly stupid. Not even the most fanatic “unanimous consent” libertarian of my acquaintance has ever tried to get away with this kind of assertion, and I don’t think anyone can let Bart R walk away from his words unsinged.

        It is demonstrably impossible that each human being must “test” the morality of his every action on the basis of “consent, not harm.” By that token, Bart R would be obliged to whip ’round his neighborhood and ask permission of everybody within potential sniffing distance before Bart R could go into his own bathroom to move his bowels.

        The only way for human beings to live in company with other human beings is to set as their standard the prospect, probability, and/or certainty of harm to those others. If no such promise of harm is evident, no consent is (or ever has been) required.

        Much of civil law, common and statute, is concerned with whether or not the prospect of one person’s action proving harmful to another is sufficient as to require consent, compensated or not. And the standard is always harm, actual or prospective.

        I wonder if Bart R has ever heard the homely old saying about how “Your right to swing your fist ends where somebody else’s nose begins”?

      • Why does CAGW need to be true for political action on CAGW to be justified?

        Because otherwise it is an unjustified imposition by some on others.

        Government action and consent are mutually exclusive. The whole point of govenment is to undermine consent. One may like or dislike it, but that is what it is.

      • Punksta

        The justification is that I’m nost satisfied with the expropriation of my share of the limited GHG budget without compensation.

        Cynicism about government nothwithstanding, it’s not government that’s at issue. It’s the market for GHG budget.

      • Bart R writes that he is “most satisfied with the expropriation of my share of the limited GHG budget without compensation.

        Ooh, goodie. Because Bart R is “satisfied,” everybody who is notsatisfied” is supposed to shut up and suffer “the expropriation” of their quality of life?

        Gotta admire the arrogance of that position, don’tcha? Bart R hates the hell out of libertarians because…. Well, Bart R explicitly refuses to offer supported reasons why he hates libertarians, but he’s made no bones about his hatred here, has he?

        Bart R kinda reminds me of my wife. Whenever she feels a chill, she nags the grandchildren to put on their sweaters.

        Oh, yeah. And if it weren’t for the AGW fraud excusing this worthless, thieving government action, there wouldn’t be any “GHG budget” allocation at all. Calling the “strangle-and-tax” scheme a “market” is altogether too damned much like calling forcible gang rape “community lovemaking.”

      • So Bart H does not feel there needs to be harm to anyone flowing from CO2 being added to the atmosphere, for political action to stop it being justified. That our economis might be regulated and taxed to a standstill in the process is not a concern of his.

        What he is concerned with, that “his” share of rights to the the atmosphere are being violated. A commendable attempt by someone with totalitarian sympathies to frame an issue in libertarian terms.

        He thereby implicitly raises the following questions:
        – what is/should_be his share?
        – what are/should_be his rights asssociated with it?

  12. randomengineer

    One factor is the isolationist bent of libertarianism. The UN is the same organisation that was claiming US sanctions against Iraq following Desert Storm were killing 500,000 Iraqi children every year. This doesn’t exactly engender any trust in either the UN’s objectivity or ability to do math. And who’s screeching the loudest re climate? A UN body. Yeah, that’s trustworthy.

    Meanwhile the UN represents a number of political systems that aren’t what the US has, so everything they recommend is geared for a top down approach where the governments are expected to dictate terms down to their subjects and the subjects comply. Democrats and others oriented leftward don’t see a problem; after all, isn’t government supposed to solve problems?

    Everyone else (i.e. the majority of Americans) is aghast. Libertarians and most of the conservatives share the notion that WE are the government and WE are not subjects. The government doesn’t dictate to us. Rather, we dictate to the government. In classical terms, the government is held as the problem. Not the solution.

    Gee, I wonder why libertarians aren’t all over climate change. Maybe it has something to do with the notion of the role of government. Climate change “solutions” do little more than hand government another way to steal everyone’s money and increase their stranglehold. Although it’s easy to belittle the nascent Tea Party movement, the role of government is at the core of it. There’s a libertarian streak in many Americans, not just the libertarians.

    • Greg Goodknight

      “One factor is the isolationist bent of libertarianism. ”
      There is no isolationist bent in libertarianism. I don’t know of *any* libertarians who want isolation from the world. Perhaps you’re misinterpreting a fairly common desire of libertarians to reign in our politicians, to stop messing in the internal affairs of foreign sovereign states.

      “Libertarians and most of the conservatives share the notion that WE are the government and WE are not subjects.”
      No, we are *not* the government *and* we are not subjects, we are citizens. We cede some authority (think consent of the governed) and the vehicle for that is the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights and many of the later amendments being limits placed on the government.

      • randomengineer

        No, we are *not* the government [snip]

        Of course we are. We hold elections. Citizens run for office. We do not have a ruling caste, royalty, emporer, junta, dictator, or even a House of Lords. We can even amend our constitution. As per the Declaration — “A government By the people, For the people.” Last time I checked, the people is us, and that whole “by the people” thing spells it out.

        If we aren’t the government then I’m a bit hard pressed to understand who you think is supposed to be minding the store.

      • Greg Goodknight

        Of course we are not, but I suspect we’ll have to agree to disagree. In a concert of representative democracy, the people affirmed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I am not a part of any local, state or federal institution. I am not the government. I have some limited power at the ballot box, and can petition the government for redress, and … But that doesn’t make me the government. I can choose to run for office, or be employed by the government, or participate in a number of appointed offices, some of which are paid.

        Jefferson’s restatement of Locke’s 2nd Treatise on Government is a treasured masterpiece, but the Declaration is not a document that has the force of law nor was it even clear that, in the wake of the Declaration, we would not end up with something like a constitutional monarchy. It also may have been some amount of time since you’ve read it, since you’ve confused the Declaration with Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which is where the “by the people” phrase can be found.

        “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
        “A Republic, if you can keep it.” – Benjamin Franklin leaving the Constitutional Convention, circa 1787.

    • RE you write “WE are the government and WE are not subjects. The government doesn’t dictate to us. Rather, we dictate to the government.” I know where you’re coming from, I think, and agree, but I don’t think you can sustain the argument that the electorate IS the government, except in an anarchy. Electorate and government are two separate components of a representative democracy.

      Those on the left vest all power, in principle, in government, and believe the citizen should have only those freedoms government sees fit to allow him. Conservatives (and those I identify with the term “libertarian”, although as with so many things it seems to have acquired a special meaning in US politics) believe the government they elect is in principle a “tabula rasa”, and should have only those powers they delegate, provisionally, to it. That’s not the same as believing they ARE the government.

  13. Alls that I want to know, is why in the USA the Dems, and here in Canada, the NDP can claim to be the party of “progressives”?

    • It has a specific history. Check out the Fenians and post-modernists. The basic claim is that they have “progressed” past the blinkered and culture-blinded systems and opinions of history. All institutions and philosophies and “sciences” were now to be deconstructed in the pure light of “progressive” insight. As only they had and could see this light, they naturally should be in control of all human thought and affairs until every trace of past illusion and error has been expunged, and every contaminated brain cleansed or crushed. This means you, unfortunately.

    • There’s always that line from George Orwell to help explain how these power-tripping putzes fly “progressive” as one of their false flags of choice:

      Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

      For my part, I simply bear in mind that in medical oncology “progressive” is how we characterize a cancerous malignancy which becomes more extensive after efforts undertaken to halt the deadly damage it’s doing.

      So too with these “progressives” afflicting the body politic.

      • Rich Scores! Well said.

      • There’s always that line from George Orwell

        Speaking as a reader of the scientific literature, I can’t say I’ve ever read a scientific paper arguing that way.

        Rich Scores! Well said.

        Speaking as a journal editor, I can’t say I’ve ever read a referee report basing its conclusion on that line of reasoning.

        What science and the public have here is a failure to communicate.

    • For the same reason that sceptics are called “denialists” while those who use the term blatantly “deny” the validity of the sceptic objections as well as the scientific validity of scepticism itself.

      • Jim Owen, allow me to blatantly deny your blatant denial of those who blatantly deny the sceptics who blatantly deny the truth. I fully expect someone to come back and blatantly deny what I just said. I will then return and blatantly deny their denial.

        Blatancy is interminable without some mutually agreeable way of terminating it, agreed?

      • So — do you want to blatantly agree that scepticism is a valid part of science and the scientific method? Or do you want to blatantly deny it? :-)

      • randomengineer

        “Blatantly” is a bit like the Demi Moore line in the “Few Good Men” movie — “your honour, we *strenuously* object!”

        Of course, Pratt doesn’t engage in vulgar things like pop culture and won’t be able to find Demi Moore in the scientific literature. We’ll deal with that when he brings it up. :-)

      • Pratt…won’t be able to find Demi Moore in the scientific literature

        Since we both know to look not to the scientific literature but to the much-copied August 1991 Vanity Fair cover to find her, what’s your point here exactly?

        The mere fact that I’m here on Judith’s blog contradicts your “Pratt doesn’t engage in vulgar things.”

        Heard of the Vulgate? I am deeply into that sort of thing.

    • Alls that I want to know, is why in the USA the Dems, and here in Canada, the NDP can claim to be the party of “progressives”?

      Apologies, I had to replace a fuse in my brain before I could respond to this.

      From reading George Will etc. I had formed the opinion that Republicans generally position themselves as conservatives.

      Are you saying that the conservatives are the progressives?

      Is white the new black?

      Is Judith’s blog experiencing the meltdown promised by Bertrand Russell when he responded as follows to a Member of Parliament who asked him “how would you prove from 0 = 1 that you are the Pope?”

      Russell suggested adding 1 to both sides to give 1 = 2. He then made the unexceptionable point that he and the Pope were two. From this he concluded that he and the Pope were one.

      Participating on this blog is like imagining yourself as one of the inmates in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the movie version of which starred Jack Nicholson. It feels like a competition as to who can out-insane whom.

  14. Judith, a climate scientist friend kindly gave me gave me a head’s up to your post.

    I have been blogging and commenting for quite some time on environmental and climate issues from a libertarian perspective, and have also spent considerable time on trying both to help libertarians engage productively on environmental issues and to help leftist-environmentalists understand where libertarians are coming from.

    Sadly, it’s largely a messy tale, reflecting how fights over government policy tend toward zero-sum games that blunt cooperation, the success that fossil fuel and other corporate interests have had in gaming the system, and how our tribal human nature leads many to abandon critical thinking in favor of choosing and reflexively defending sides and positions.

    I have been highly critical of many libertarians in perpetuating unproductive discord, and have been the resident environmentalist pain-in-the-neck at the Ludwig von Mises Institute (for libertarian economics), which kindly hosts my blog. In particular, even while try to build bridges I have been critical of the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and MasterResource, which I view as being skewed by donations toward corporate agendas. There are of course some highly productive libertarians working on environmental and conservation matters; Terry Anderson and others at PERC (Properrty and Environment Research Center) have led the way on fisheries, water and other issues. (And then there are quasi-libertarians like Elinor Ostrom.)

    Since you’ve expressed interest, allow me to load you up with a few links, to my exchanges with others such as John Quiggin, to my cajoling and castigating of libertarians, and to some of my views on climate/environment issues :

    “Towards a productive libertarian approach on climate, energy and environmental issues ” http://bit.ly/ab3xJB

    “John Quiggin plays Pin-the-tail-on-the-Donkey with “Libertarians and delusionism” ” http://bit.ly/8Zv5Y6

    “A few more comments to John Quiggin on climate, libertarian principles and the enclosure of the commons ” http://bit.ly/eXaTKI

    “A few more “delusional” thoughts to John Quiggin on partisan perceptions & libertarian opposition to collective action” http://bit.ly/f0FQ6K

    “To John Quiggin: Reassuring climate “delusions” help us all to avoid engaging with “enemies” in exploring common ground ” http://bit.ly/eIFr4e

    “The Cliff Notes version of my stilted enviro-fascist view of corporations and government ” http://bit.ly/9oBkC7

    The Road Not Taken II: Austrians strive for a self-comforting irrelevancy on climate change, the greatest commons problem / rent-seeking game of our age http://bit.ly/14n6G0

    For climate fever, take two open-air atom bombs & call me in the morning; “serious” libertarian suggestions from Kinsella & Reisman!? http://bit.ly/f2bRUr

    Thanks, Dr. Reisman; or, How I Learned to Hate Enviros and Love Tantrums http://bit.ly/h4BI0B

    “Escape from Reason: are Austrians conservatives, or neocons, on the environment? ” http://bit.ly/cJhov2

    “The Road Not Taken V: Libertarian hatred of misanthropic “watermelons” and the productive love of aloof ad-homs” http://bit.ly/cqFlzh

    OMG – those ecofascists hate statist corps, too, and even want to – GASP – end that oh-so-libertarian state grant of limited liability! http://bit.ly/gjJFnv

    “Who are the misanthropes – “Malthusians” or those who hate them? Rob Bradley and others resist good faith engagement despite obvious institutional failures/absence of property rights ” http://bit.ly/hbONhd

    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=ostrom

    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=bradley
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=manzi
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=michaels
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=lewis
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=horner
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=penn
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=bailey

    On non-climate issues:

    “Too Many or Too Few People? Does the market provide an answer? ” http://bit.ly/8zlecI
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=BP+oil
    http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=Avatar

    Sincerely,

    Tom

    • Tokyo Tom, thanks much for your input. your post originally went to moderation owing to the large number of links.

      • Dr. Curry, thanks for your indulgence on this; given the time differences (bedtime now!) and my schedule tomorrow, I thought throwing out a few links might be useful (though I may be mistaken!!).

        Tom

      • If I can add one further thought before I head off to bed, it would be that a key prerequisite (as Ostrom points out) for tackling commons issues like climate change that involves many players and countries is the need for TRUST, an element that is sadly lacking (a resource that libertarian analysis indicates is destroyed by squabbles over government) .

        Bill Gates, Roger Pielke, Avatar & the Climate (of distrust); or, Can we move from a tribal questioning of motives to win-win policies? http://bit.ly/912Xkj

        On climate, myopic progressives console themselves by pointing out fossil $ behind science “skeptics”; but miss the same from left and ignore middle ground http://bit.ly/arSX5G

        ‘Night.

        Tom

      • The win-win policy link has a lot of words, but none appear to propose a solution to all the problems highlighted. Could you in bullet points outline what your proposed ‘win-win’ solutions are?

      • TokyoTom, take care that your fellow libertarians don’t label you a LINO: “Libertarian In Name Only.”

        Libertarians have a reputation for objecting to anyone messing with their access to fossil fuel . If you’re messing with it, the label “libertarian” may be working against you.

        Anyone undertaking to change the spots of the libertarian leopard may be biting off more than they can chew.

      • Libertarians have a reputation for objecting to anyone messing with their access to fossil fuel .

        A comment from the same stable as sceptic = denier came from.

      • Tom, thanks for the links to your blog. It’s interesting to see Libertarians that are publicized outside of the corporate funded Beltway groups that have hijacked the movement. I’d love to point to you and think that there is still something useful with Libertarian thought, but you seem to have been relegated to a minority within a minority. Good luck and here’s hoping your message gets through to your fellows.

      • Grypo and Vaughan:

        Let me note that though I don’t include myself among them, there are ‘left-libertarians’ and ‘anarcho-libertarians’ who are consistently quite critical of corporate statism and pro-environment (though they haven’t been too outspoken on climate.

        See, for example:

        http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2010/06/16/a-bp-reader-statist-corporations-quot-the-environment-quot-and-the-tragedy-of-the-government-owned-managed-commons.aspx

        http://aaeblog.com/2010/06/08/roundup-on-bp/comment-page-1/#comment-356997

        http://c4ss.org/content/2446

        On climate, I have linked to various sympathetic libertarian comments at “”Towards a productive libertarian approach on climate, energy and environmental issues ” http://bit.ly/ab3xJB

        Ron Bailey, science writer at Reason Online, is also worthy of mention: http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/search.aspx?q=bailey

        TT

    • One wee error in your intro:
      “Sadly, it’s largely a messy tale, reflecting how fights over government policy tend toward zeronegative-sum games that blunt cooperation”
      There. All fixed!
      ;)

      • Very good fix, Brian.

        I would just note that Ostrom’s research shows that it’s a tendency, not a rule.

        TT

      • Tom is someone who has managed to separate the difference between science and policy.

      • I am honored that you visit me, as you must be very busy in the Year of the Wabbit.

        Thanks, Eli, but it means that Tom is someone for whom the thrills of tribal comabt do not offset the woes of being the odd man out, if not “the enemy”.

        Tom

  15. Dr. Curry –

    I’ve been a libertarian for over 20 years and was at one time in the Libertarian Party. I’ll just echo much of the sentiment above that I find this thread to be a distraction. Are you taking a break? If so, that’s great but let us know so that we don’t think this thread has anything to do with climate.

    I frequent this site in the hope I’ll find progress made with respect to the C/AGW debate and climate research. Now I feel like *I’m* being studied… If you do want to study libertarians in their natural habitat, visit the Advocates for Self Government site at http://www.libertarianism.com/. Take the quiz and see if maybe you’re a libertarian and just don’t know it yet. ;)

    But regarding the C/AGW debate, is this thread really moving the ball closer to the goal line? As it stands right now, AGW is entirely unproven. C/AGW is rank speculation; a total SWAG.

    IMHO, the single biggest weakness in the AGW argument is lack of supporting empirical evidence (science by simulation doesn’t cut it).

    I’d really like to see a thread on CERES. It seems to me that a pretty solid analysis for demonstrating AGW is to compare TOA energy budget with theoretical AGHG energy absorption over time. Has that been done? If AGW theory is correct, then there should be a significant correlation, right? If not, maybe something is wrong with the current AGW theory.

    • As it stands right now, AGW is entirely unproven.

      Like you, Greg, TokyoTom claims to be a libertarian. However what you’re saying seems to me much closer to what I’d taken to be the general libertarian position on global warming than TT’s.

      IMHO, the single biggest weakness in the AGW argument is lack of supporting empirical evidence (science by simulation doesn’t cut it).

      One way to evaluate this without appealing to “science by simulation” is simply to plot the actual temperatures predicted by elementary physics that no one doubts, and not by complicated GCM models whose thousands of lines of code could be hiding hundreds of bugs and dubious assumptions. When I ended up with this graph I realized that one could toss all those horrendously complex simulators out the window and just look directly at the temperature itself for indisputable evidence that CO2 was heating up the planet.

      Even more impressive is that if you delete the last 30 years of data, back when the global temperature had been flat for quarter of a century, the same really simple-minded theory predicts that the temperature is just about to shoot through the roof!

      Thirty years later we see the prediction was spot on. Had this prediction been made in 1980 it would not have even been publishable, it would have been laughed out the door.

      Had one tried to defend it back then on the ground that it used only simple physics, the rebuttal would have been that the climate is far too complex to be modeled by elementary physics, and can only be reliably predicted with tremendously complicated climate models.

      The problem with complex models is that you can easily get them to predict anything you want, because they have so many details under control of the programmer. A model that predicted the rise from 1980 to 2000 would have been deemed in need of further tuning, and would have been tuned until it made a more scientifically acceptable prediction.

  16. Judith,

    Thank you for your accurate description of the Air Vent. It’s quite rare to see really.

    Climate change is a separate issue from politics. Politically, I see liberals state that liberalism is about personal freedom followed by conservatives want to control your choices, as a form of cognitive dissonance. Perhaps it was that way a hundred years ago, but definitely not today. Liberal social policies/freedoms only reach as far as sex and drugs, everything else is about cracking down on personal choice. Which schools, foods, fuels, lightbulbs, money, exercise, insurance and even thoughts you should accept are dictated in modern democratic dogma. On that line, I’ve always found religious conservatism to be another form of the same thing, freedom for everything except sex and drugs-which should be dictated by government. — It’s oversimple but basically my thinking.

    Then you have those of us who just want the government to stop making these decisions for us. Everyone has their pet peeves in the world if they are allowed to make choices for others in democracy, freedoms gradually vanish. I would just like to be given the opportunity to live life as I see fit, without all the rest of the world telling me what is the best food to eat, where to spend my money or which fuel I should burn. Nobody is qualified to make those choices for me, I do just fine on my own, and I’m not even considering making them for you.

    With respect to climate change science, all this means precisely nothing. Physics will determine how bad CO2 really is so I work hard to make sure political views do not influence math results. Solutions to AGW are a 100% political issue though, and currently the environmental movement is controlled by some very socialist leaning people. All you have to do is read the UN’s agenda 21 to understand that the current AGW movement is coopted by global scale political groups who want to press their enlightened socialist views on the subjected public.

    http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

    You do actually have to read it of course, and not just the pretty pictures.

    Nothing would be worse than surrendering personal decision making to the likes of Rajendra Pachauri. The people at the top of the AGW scandal are very corrupt, typically (not atypically) have multiple conflicts of interest and a great deal of money to gain from promoting the scam of extremist AGW – not to be confused with actual physics. Al Gore is abused enough but a perfect example. Unfortunately, there seems to be quite a few scientists caught up in the game themselves.

    So when people see Libertarian resistance to the solutions of AGW, they shouldn’t be surprised. The UN stands for everything I despise about human politics, were it my choice, the UN would be the first funding cut the US government made – and I do know it is used as a coercion tool to force smaller governments to stay in line. It is a highly corrupt and IMO evil organization bent on ever expanding global governance and personal influence. It needs to be dismantled before it grows any more.

    Now most people in the world have a very limited understanding of Libertarian or conservative thought. This is a result of the constant, never ending propaganda pushed by global news organizations. Try to find a conservative statement on UK television – it’s not easy. Europe, China, Russia, Mid East, all have been completely buried in government control for so long, the people don’t see anything wrong with the government dictating your lightbulbs.

    There is another way folks, and it’s a lot cheaper and a lot cleaner way to live.

    I randomly leave my lightbulbs on at night 8 months out of the year, without concern. Why? Because they are heaters. If the light is on, I’m running the furnace less. Buying an LED light for my house, is a complete waste of money and I know a bit about LED lights. I don’t need regulations and enforcements to make that choice and many who read this comment will be surprised that I could be so wasteful. If you hold that opinion, it is proof that you are not smart enough to have an opinion on this matter for me.

    But this is also about oil. People are buying into wind, wave, biofuel, solar etc. Some day solar will probably work, but today, not one of these technologies is anything more than a complete disastrous waste of money. Yet that’s the decision governments are making based on pretty thoughts and wonderful marketing of a green world. It is no irony that the campaigns were designed by the same governments.

    We have very limited options for energy today that can make a real dent in our needs. Nuclear and various forms of fossil fuel. What people have forgotten is that the government isn’t required to implement energy beyond creating a structure which allows corporations the freedom to do it themselves.

    As a conservative who doesn’t care what you do in the bedroom, every time I see a wind farm, I want to curse at the waste and stupidity of humans. When I get emails about new regulations for trucking fuel economy, I wonder just how stupid people have to be not to realize that fuel is one of the biggest considerations in shipping and you can’t dictate physics of internal combustion. You are just adding cost to get the basic distribution of goods done. When you stop and start drilling, all you do is add cost to energy and everything else, in a world just lifting itself from poverty. If you don’t think that higher cost energy is Obama’s intent, you haven’t paid attention – and it is dangerously stupid in my opinion.

    None of this is helpful. If the UN is right, and global warming is so dangerous, the current policies of the world’s governments will have impoverished industry so badly that any attempt at a ‘real’ solution will be impossible. My solution to CO2 output is to have the courage to do nothing. Not one thing, build nukes if it makes you feel better but with countries building coal plants every week, no amount of self inflicted energy cost will make the slightest dent in output. By doing nothing, we can provide the cheapest energy and maximize technological output until the day when we have the ability to do something. My solution also has the benefit of continuing to prove to our overgovernmented global population that we don’t need 2 people in government for every civilian in order to get by.

    Of course to those indoctrinated by belief in puling the right government lever to solve every problem, I’m just a dumb anti-science conservative dreaming.

  17. Take a few minutes to go through the quiz at http://www.politicalcompass.org/ . Not because it’s perfectly done but because it’s personally informative, even if imperfect. Even if you pretend to be the opposite of yourself, you’ll gain some insight.

    In regards to Cap & Trade. Spend 10 minutes thinking like a criminal. How many ways can you create carbon credits that can’t be verified? If you can’t think of 5+, you’re not trying. If they are UN carbon credits, you should be able to get 9+ fraudulent schemes.

    Ever wonder why the CEO of Duke Energy was supportive of C&T? They got free carbon credits for their coal plants. They also have nuke plants and nuclear expansions plans. C&T would kneecap their competitors, potentially remove some nuke regulation barriers and all that for a few million dollars of lobbyists on the green team. C&T is not a free market. It’s government and ‘some’ industry players controlling the market. Crony capitalism at it’s worst.

    A Carbon tax and rebate has less opportunity for political meddling, but just slightly less. Add in the UN machinations and there is no free market solution in either.

    Assuming something has to be done about CO2. I’m not convinced something does have to be done but if it does I don’t want the UN to be a part of it. It should be badge of shame if Climate Scientists participate in AR5.

    Ending the rant: The internet was founded on free speech principles and open source and data exchange between .edu and .mil institutions. Free and open attracts Libertarians. People who wouldn’t break bread with each other on the left/right axis found a place in cyberspace to to affirm the common beliefs that Science claims. Debate, evidence, and a desire to learn more, in an more efficient way w/o the Journal defined hierarchy of “here’s this month’s chosen wisdom”.

    Take the quiz. Not to make me happy, do it to understand yourself and the variance in the people around you.

    • Very excellent points, and good resource.

      Cap and Trade done by handwavers and porkbarrelers is a least optimal outcome; for a libertarian, good government over bad government, and if good government can’t be had, better no government at all.

      Carbon Tax and rebate is much more than slightly better than Cap and Trade. Unlike Cap and Trade, there are increasing working examples of Carbon Tax established and steadily improving year over year.

      Without at least a Carbon Tax, there is no Free Market solution, too. A bad market is a bad market, but in this case it isn’t even close to a wash: a market with an imperfect Carbon Tax is far closer to one capable of producing the benefits of a free market than a natural market where participants squander what is clearly a limited scarce shared resource, to their own advantage and with the approval and subsidy of government. For a libertarian, by the same token, good markets over bad markets, and where no good market is possible, better no market (ie no burning of carbon for profit) at all.

  18. It is commonplace, and can be good, proper, right and welcome for a Democrat or Republican to demonstrate irrationality. Cheering, crying, gnashing of teeth, frothing at the mouth do no harm to the philosophies of the passionate and whose beliefs do not depend on logic, and can help spur their side on to great achievement.

    In a libertarian, irrationality is an absurd trait.

    Rabid emotionalism demonstrates that the shoddy libertarian veneer worn by the miscreant is just a thin coat of intellectual fraud covering a privateering trollop, a pseudo-religious whackjob, an earnest adherent who has become overinvested and lost focus, or a paranoiac ranter.

    If the math doesn’t add up in anything claiming to be a materialist philosophy, which libertarianism is, then the claim is falsified.

    This is one of the appeals of libertarianism. You can check it on a spreadsheet, and determine if it adds up.

  19. I would qualify myself as libertarian (there is no such thing in Europe, but it is clearly the philosophy/political system I am the most sympathetic to), but I agree that the “tragedy of the commons” is clearly the achille heel of this philosophy. Still, libertarianism is a powerfull idea, the appeal that “everybody should be able to do as he/she wants, provided nobody is hurt or unjustly affected in the process” is very strong to me (and I would have difficulties to get friendly with anybody who does not share this idea).

    The common can be reconcilied with it, but it is natural than any libertarian will be very suspicious there: there is a lot wiggle room around indirect prejudice, that makes a bulk of regulations nowadays. If you consider all indirect effects, the liberty of everybody is gone, any deviation from the average and some unknown schmuck can sue you because you increased his health insurance by 0.1$ by bbqing your steak above the accepted cancer limit. No indirect effect and you’l live in a toxic dump neighborhood….or in the desert. CAGW falls along those -very- indirect prejudice, which makes any libertarian instinctively cringe. To be acceptable, the objective evidence for the indirect prejudice should be overwhelming, the more solid the more indirect it is. Imho CAGW is much much too fragile at the moment to convince libertarian that the supposed indirect effects are worth liberticide regulations…

    • kai – re “tragedy of the commons”, I commented above that the key issue for a libertarian is not whether government ought or ought not to have powers which avert such tragedies. It is a matter of the terms on which those powers are held. I believe that government power is something delegated to it through elections, and therefore essentially provisional, and constrained by electoral mandate. That is no obstacle to my support for measures which, though they may inconvenience me, I see as necessary for the common good. It probably makes me a lot harder to convince, though, than someone who believes it is the natural purpose of a government to be “active”.

      • Yes, I feel exactly the same. Libertarianism is not opposed to the idea of a central government. Indeed, most libertarians are willing to “pay” some kind of law enforcement that ensure physical security of its member and enforce contract, without having to continuously enforce their own security themselves and risking being outgunned. To date, the only system that has proven relatively up to the task in modern large societies is a democratically elected government. However, libertarian view is that the government is thus that: a necessary evil to avoid having to continuously defend yourself against physical threats and contract breaches. A glorified insurance/security company, with he elections preventing it (hopefully) to turn mafia-style…However, the role of state as educator, moral guide and life organizer is not part of libertarianism, and CAGW is often quite active along those lines. Prove that human CO2 production is an indirect nuisance to some, and then a system where people able to objectively show they suffer from elevated CO2 may get paid by those they objectively show benefit from elevated CO2 or CO2 production could be defended.

      • Prove that human CO2 production is an indirect nuisance to some, and then a system where people able to objectively show they suffer from elevated CO2 may get paid by those they objectively show benefit from elevated CO2 or CO2 production could be defended.

        But kai, insurance companies worldwide have been complaining for decades about the steadily increasing storm damage payouts they’re obligated for, which they attribute to global warming. So far I’ve only seen one single counterargument from the denier community: the insurance companies are merely looking for an excuse to jack up premiums.

        In a society that allowed an entire sector to conspire in price fixing, this argument might make sense. Are you arguing that the insurance companies around the world have joined together in a global price-fixing cartel?

        I’m not saying they aren’t, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page here.

      • insurance companies worldwide have been complaining for decades about the steadily increasing storm damage payouts they’re obligated for, which they attribute to global warming.

        Don’t spend much time on the Florida beaches, do you? The increase in storm damage payments has nothing to do with GW/CC, only with the overdevelopment of the beaches, the increase in land and housing prices and government interference in the insurance market.

        Having been on those beaches 30 years ago and again 2 years ago, the overdevelopment is “blatantly” obvious.

        Refer to the Pielke, Jr site. I believe he’s covered this more than adequately. Your argument has no validity, regardless of the whining of the insurance companies.

      • Sorry Vaughan, the fact that insurance companies complain that storm damage payments are increasing does not come close to being evidence that weather related catastrophes are getting worse – they simply are not, as Ryan Maue has shown.

        What has happened is that the insurance companies have underestimated the effects of affluence and building close to the sea front on total storm damage costs, with assistance from their outsourced modellers, RMS (70%+ market penetration). So every time there is a hurricane the losses are bigger than they were expecting, and rather than accept that they screwed up they blame it on climate change. They also have some noisy CAGW advocates in their PR offices because they misguidedly think this will buy them green credentials.

        Always look for a cock-up theory first…and PLEASE don’t use the term “denier” – it is gratuitously offensive because of the deliberate Holocaust reference in its early use in the climate debate, and it adds nothing at all to the discussion.

    • “… “tragedy of the commons” is clearly the achille heel of this philosophy”

      No, not really. It is much more a weakness of our current form of government. It is more likely to occur when resources are publicly owned (like surface transportation and timber lands) or not owned at all (such as with over fishing) than when privately owned.

      AGW is an exceptional case and admittedly challenging to libertarians. Perhaps another reason why libertarians are so insistent that AGW be proven observationally. It is indeed a wicked problem as Dr Curry describes it.

      Just stopping or substantially eliminating fossil fuel emissions is a pretty unsavory solution to me. This path is ripe for abuse and corruption (an inevitable outcome of Cap and Trade). I believe the AGW alarmists (including a number of climate scientists) are greatly underestimating the potential harm to humanity and the environment by stopping fossil fuel burning.

      If AGW promoters are going to indulge in hyperbole by showing New York City under 100’s ft of ocean, then I can offer up some scary scenarios too based on an extreme shortage of energy. Casting the world into an economic dark age (literally) is one, but how about a couple regional or even a global nuclear war? We’re already fighting regional wars over *abundant* energy resources. What if a nuclear power such as N. Korea decides not to play ball and continues to burn fossil fuels? What actions will the other nations resort to to get them in line? People can escape rising seas of 3mm per year but not invading armies or nuclear warheads.

      AGW promoters only consider one side of the equation. As chaotic as the climate system is, the human response to draconian energy quotas will be pretty unpredictable too especially when driven by fear, desperation, nationalism, and greed.

      If we intend to eliminate fossil fuel burning, we need to find a realistic alternative to transition to (thorium reactors maybe?). Eliminating fossil fuels in advance is a recipe for calamity.

  20. Seems like Libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural.
    Huh? Quite the opposite. Cap and trade involves major government intervention to set up an artificial market, exactly what libertarians are opposed to.
    I see am not the first to question this!

    It’s your blog, but please can we have more posts on science, your main area of expertise, and fewer on politics and philosophy.

    • This post took me 15 minutes to put together. The technical posts take > 10 hours (do the math). Right now, I am very busy with deadlines for projects and proposals, so I am pulling text from things i am currently working on (which includes Pakistan and scenarios and security issues). Further, one of the premises of this blog is that climate science and scientists need a better understanding of the broader context of politics, philosophy, culture, etc. Which is the Etc. in Climate Etc. So when I make a post on a topic like this, it is for discussion (which is one of the main objectives of a blog). How to juggle my time in terms of keeping this blog going is a nontrivial issue.

      • This is a common problem that readers often don’t realize. I can spend days on a technical post which gets a few dozen comments or write something simple which doesn’t eat all of my free time. My response, if the reader is capable, is to request for the reader to write a post. It rarely is accepted, demonstrating the commitment of the reader.

      • and even if i do take the time to do technical posts, there is a disconnect between things I am otherwise working on, and what the audience wants to read/talk about.

      • I’m certainly not here to beat you up for not making more technical posts. If that’s the way it comes across, I’ll apologize on behalf of me and anybody else that came across that way.

        I think my reaction to the political threads is that until the problem is established, political communication doesn’t seem particularly relevant.

        If harmful AGW can be established to the extent that even most skeptics can say, “Yep, this is really happening.” Then the debate can shift to solutions. Policy solutions will for sure be affected by political ideology.

        I strongly believe though that H/AGW has *not* been established yet. Crafting better messages won’t improve the accuracy of satellite measurements, improve quality of surface temperature data, reduce the uncertainties, etc.

        Regarding technical postings, I very much appreciate the time you take to prepare them. I lurk and I read. I can’t contribute much to those conversations, but I can take away a lot.

        Perhaps you can better leverage your time by posting a technical topic with a few links and let the climate geek denizens argue it out. I find those threads very illuminating and you can interject here and there. I find you responses more engaging than the header post a lot of the time.

        Anyway, I believe you’re in a position of having a really positive influence on the debate. There are few scientists who have stepped forward that both sides will listen to. You’re the best mediator I’ve seen yet.

      • Greg, thanks for your post. good suggestion:

        “Perhaps you can better leverage your time by posting a technical topic with a few links and let the climate geek denizens argue it out.”

        I will try this strategy more often

      • will try to get a missing heat post together tonite

  21. At times (like now) I have despised both major political parties and often feel that, in the voting booth, I must vote for the lesser of two evils. I believe that the individual is generally the best person to make personal decisions and practice their own morality as long as no other persons are harmed. The effects of large, demanding, overbearing, and intrusive government can be seen in country after country throughout the world whether in a military dictatorship or in “progressive” democratic countries like our neighbors across the pond in Great Britain, and those effects are never good for the People. At one time I thought there might be something to AGW, but once I started researching the subject, I became convinced that not only was the science deeply flawed, but that it could serve as a medium by which individual and national rights could be taken in the name of “saving the planet” by a supranational organization like the UN. I am not sure if that makes me a Libertarian but from what I know of Libertarianism, my beliefs certainly are more aligned in that direction that either party although some Libertarian principles seem to me making their way into the Republican party.

    • No matter which politician is elected into office, there is ALWAYS two concerning over riding policies.
      “For the good of the people” or “for the good of the country”.
      For the good of the country will ALWAYS trump the other down to the last person.
      So, will a politician lie to you? Yes.
      Plus what is in THEIR best interest.
      So, do we have an honest and “free” system? No.

    • At one time I thought there might be something to AGW, but once I started researching the subject, I became convinced that not only was the science deeply flawed, but that it could serve as a medium by which individual and national rights could be taken in the name of “saving the planet” by a supranational organization like the UN.

      I have no idea whether you’re a scientist or not, but such a judgment from the former would get my full attention. From the latter, for me it’s like the noise when your house is 200 yards from a freeway.

      For a scientist, participating in or lurking on a climate blog is like living 100 yards from a freeway. I can’t speak for nonscientists, not being one. I can only imagine that when nonscientists listen to scientists it’s like dogs listening to cats or vice versa.

      I have noticed however that non-scientists seem to get along ok with each other in general. Unlike scientists, who are forever picking holes in each others’ theories.

      Until a non-scientist enters the room. Sudden hush, punctuated by whispers: “whoa, there’s an elephant in the room.”

      Elephants change everything.

      • Vaughn, I am curious about you. On a previous thread you claim you not very practiced in physics or chemistry, and you continually cut and paste material from Wikipedia. You should seriously consider whether you wasting your time, as well as others.

      • If Vaughan Pratt can parsimoniously destroy the position of his opponents using Wikipedia pages, so much the worse for the claims that his opponents pay attention to details and ask inconvenient questions.

        That Vaughan Pratt makes uses of Occam’s law should make some reader happy.

      • Wow, an appeal to authority from Vaughan. I never would have thought.

        Maybe you’ve had a couple of too many drinks before posting that like I have now.
        Lets hope so, else my respect for your posts will be diminished.

      • Which appeal to authority?

        Let the reader determine which fallacy lies behind this sentence:

        > Lets hope so, else my respect for your posts will be diminished.

      • Gee I hadn’t realised VPs cheer squad had arrived.

        Which authority? The traffic cops 200 yards from his house.

        Which fallacy? You mean the one about VP couldn’t care less about my respect? You may not have taken your sense of humour pills this morning, but I’m sure Vaughan will deal with me with his.

      • > Which fallacy? You mean the one about VP couldn’t care less about my respect?

        Again, how is that a fallacy?

        I thought it was an answer to one: the famous appeal to the Public:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

        You’re not the Voice of the Public, Baa, however often you imply it.

      • You may not have taken your sense of humour pills this morning, but I’m sure Vaughan will deal with me with his.

        You take pills for that, BH? And there I was thinking it came naturally for you. ;)

      • The problem is that the plodding elephants stumbled on incontovertable evidence that the main scientists are cooking the books. Until some real cleanout of the Climategate crooks occurs, or even some serious criticism from the body of the profession, the elephants will sensibly treat the ‘consensus’ as what are referred to in lawcourts as “unreliable witnesses”, expert or not.

      • I find it wonderfully revealing that Mr. Pratt should write his impression to the effect that:

        …when nonscientists listen to scientists it’s like dogs listening to cats or vice versa.

        That’s Mr. Pratt‘s subjective perception, mind. But doesn’t it give marvelous insight into his interpretation of Snow’s Two Cultures approach?

        Of course, given that the majority of scientists in America today depend for their research funding on government grants – meaning that they are the beneficiaries of taxes mulcted from those “nonscientists” – their attitude toward the intrusion of one such Ausländer upon their conversations is not at all “like dogs listening to cats or vice versa but rather that of buzzards flapping about uncomfortably in the presence of a live animal not yet reduced to the carrion upon which they hope to feed.

      • Of course, given that the majority of scientists in America today depend for their research funding on government grants

        Oops, Richard just broke one of Judith’s rules for her blog, which is not to attribute motives. Back off, Richard, or her pet Dragon of Attributed Motives will singe your eyebrows for you.

  22. … the ability of the controlling agency to alter the caps will translate into an ability to pick “winners and losers” and thus presents an opportunity for corruption.
    (Wikipedia)

    • When opportunity knocks, Speed, …

      If you found a reason to resist, would you be willing to share it with us?

      (I’m just one of the global warming conspirators here, there’s enough of us on the planet that you don’t need to take it out on me personally.)

    • There’s no need to waste time and effort conspiring.
      Barring a miracle, a system overwhelmingly dominated by state-funded climate science, can surely be relied to produce findings that favour the state – which can only mean CAGW.

  23. Rob-Your comments are well stated. I find the issues of communication and generalizations of evangelists and libertarians a diversion from the real issues of bad data (surface station temperatures), subversion of the peer review process, lack of openness and sharing of data and methods & dubious methodology (Hansen’s smoothing of temperatures 1200km into unknown areas). Sad to say, it is not advancement of science that is important, but the number hits on this website. When someone commented on the relevance of evangelists to science, Dr. Curry’s comment was that the site had over 800 comments. Why is that relevant to science?

    • I find the issues of communication and generalizations of evangelists and libertarians a diversion from the real issues of bad data (surface station temperatures), subversion of the peer review process, lack of openness and sharing of data and methods & dubious methodology

      It’s not a diversion, it relates to WHY there is bad data, subversion of peer review etc.

      Libertarians are suspicious of government, and see govenments working mainly to promote their own self interest. This would explain why climate science – almost all of which is govenment-funded – is so riddled with any dubious methology as long as it promotes the case for CAGW (which of course justifies expansion of the state).

      Until the system of science funding changes, complaints about corrupt science will achieve nothing.

      • “Libertarians are suspicious of government”

        Really, you don’t need to be libertarian to be suspicious of government. Libertarians don’t get an exclusive right to all the fun in an endemic part of the democratic process.

  24. Next,
    “The Trotskyist take on the dialectics of the environment.”
    Followed by,
    “The Wiccan take on the environmental black magic of global warming”
    And then,
    “UFO Abductees and their suppressed memories- the key to mankind’s fight against CO2.”
    The possibilities in this are huge. Maybe I can help write a grant proposal for this and get some stimulus money?
    On a serious note, I think the libertarian view on this is not important in the public square.
    There are tenets of libertarian thinking on both sides of the political divide. The AGW social movement is better understood in the light of previous social obsessions, not a particular religious or political view. The interesting questions not yet discussed very much is how did a group of smart educated people paint themselves into a corner surrounded by apocalyptic doom, and how did they get so many otherwise smart people to join them in that corner?
    As long as the community in the corner keeps looking to those not in the corner with them to understand why they painted themselves where they are, they will not really learn anything.

    • Well, h, they tried to corner the market, and what happened to them is what usually happens to those who try to corner the market.
      ==============

    • Hunter,
      The system is set up to waste time. AGW will crash and burn and in it’s place the “mini-Ice Age” will appear blamed on sun inactivity.
      Meanwhile weather systems will generate more precipitation and massive storms systems that will be slowing.
      Our governments will NEVER admit to a full blown Ice Age due to the global consequences and massive scare will generate wars.
      Starving and trapped and frozen citizens are easier to face than the alternative.

    • Hunter,
      If the government does not get hold of the internet using the excuse “terrorist activities”, a super virus will suddenly appear worldwide and crash the internet and cell phones.

      Stop communication and you stop information of global weather activities.

  25. Cap and trade is a mechanism far too easy to scam. It’s actually money which politicians can grant to industries or companies in exchange almost completely without oversight. Imagine the ability to print/eliminate more carbon simply by giving a speech and then imagine the ability to know the policy/speech was coming ahead of time.

    It was a monetary system with forced participants designed to be scammed, not very libertarian.

  26. Another point that people often make is that Libertarians are materialists who won’t help the totality of society. There are extremes in all politics but this in particular, represents a large part of the brainwashing which has pervaded much of the world. The commons is very capable of taking care of itself and will become far more effective at it if they know they aren’t going to be saved by some government program. Oh my god, America doesn’t provide health care!!! Now there is plenty of propaganda on the news market about American health care, but it is still technically the finest in the world. People aren’t turned away here and in fact, we have huge problems with people rushing over the borders to access it. My family has many who spent their lives in the industry and you can always get treatment. What happens is you then get charged and can lose your stuff if you don’t have insurance. So your option to keep your stuff is to have a job and pay for insurance- or be an illegal immigrant.

    Of course I want and agree to help the helpless but the clueless and lazy are on their own and should get their hands out of my pocket. You’ll find they locate a clue and find energy when the zero work unemployment money isn’t extended indefinitely.

    • AnyColourYouLike

      “Of course I want and agree to help the helpless but the clueless and lazy are on their own and should get their hands out of my pocket.”

      That sounds like a real robust and compassionate safety net alright Jeff. Of course you have rock solid and entirely fair criteria for seperating the helpless from the lazy? Well, that’s all right then.

      • Again, it’s that ‘balance’ thing we were agreeing on earlier! :)

      • A safety net would be that the government offers help based on net worth. That way the government doesn’t end up supporting people who don’t really need it. Yes, that means some will lose their stuff, but they do get health care in return.

      • “That sounds like a real robust and compassionate safety net alright ”

        Leaving people starving is far from the direction that modern governments fail. How many people do you know who starve vs how many do you know that do the minimum to collect that government check.

        I just witnessed a guy sit intentionally on unemployment for two years and then break a bone, get it fixed and because he didn’t follow advice to let it heal correctly got declared disabled. He’ll never work again, and he’s thrilled. While he isn’t rich in money, he is rich in time to pursue his interests. Before that he adopted a kid and used the kid as an income source for government money.

        He needs to be taken off disability and unemployment, then I would be thrilled.

        This is a very common story in the US. There are to many slow witted voters out there imagining starving people on the streets. We’ve got to help the poor.

        Bull! They are poor because of the help.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Jeff

        I’m a big admirer of your blog. I’ll agree to disagree on the social policy.

      • Consider this angle on Jeff’s post: you get what you pay for. If you pay for disability and poverty, that’s what you get.

      • That’s fair enough, but I stand by the thought – Help the helpless, not the clueless.

      • There will always be free riders to any system of economic distribution. Focusing on them instead of the bulk of people that policies are intended to help won’t get you (or us) where we need to be. For every ‘welfare queen in a Cadillac’ there is a dishonest politician, an unethical businessman and a member of organised crime making money from all of the above. We just gotta keep on doing what we know is right and chase down malefactors as and when we can.

  27. Libertarianism, here in the US, does not hold to it’s initial principles of maximizing individual liberty. It’s new interests are a certain selection of propertism, and 10th amendment constitutionalism, but, for the most part, a business-centric political model.

    First, a little history on Libertarianism. It usually hurts to find out that the first libertarian was actually an anti-capitalist Marxist, Proudhon, usually associated with the anarchy or Mutual-ism. It was his notion that the only way to maximize individual liberty was to destroy the state (his beef with Marx and eventual split), which in turn destroys capitalism, his reasoning was that the state’s job was to protect the rights to accumulate capital at the individual’s detriment. From there, Warren and Tucker continued the ideas of individualism, in the US, advocating limiting the state’s influence and promoting mutual contracts between worker establishments that focused on breaking down hierarchic bodies in accordance with the initial ideology of anarchism in Europe. This, now, is usually referred to as left-libertarianism, and pretty much ignored as a political force anywhere in the US.

    The economics of the free market, according to libertarian principle, should focus on maximizing individual liberty. There are two ways this has come into play, as far as environmentalism. Murray Rothbard, an Austrian School economist, thought this was best handled by the courts. In a sense, any liberty infringed upon by air pollution from another property owner must be “fixed” through legal penalty. Arthur Pigou, famous for his anti-Keyes, free market ideas, thought that externalities (cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit) should be handled through taxing.

    So the idea that Libertarians in the US presently are trying to handle the CO2 problem through “free market” ideas is a farce that’s being sold to us. Libertarians (the one’s whose last name is not Paul and don’t work for CATO/Koch) are for maximizing individual’s rights, not industrial rights.

  28. I would now describe myself as essentially libertarian, by which I mean the state should be as small as practical, and policy should favour free markets.

    I oppose cap and trade in principal because the concept is flawed; it assumes there are ready solutions that merely need to become economically viable. This is patently false. As a prime example, there is no practical or economic carbon free or even low carbon replacement for personal or air transportation. Electrical vehicles, for example, are neither practical or economic as replacements for existing technology. Hybrids are currently not particularly low carbon, and are substantially more expensive.

    I believe libertarianism is in opposition to mainstream AGW politics, because these are often a cover to push idealogical agenda’s e.g. vegetarianism, environmentalism, population politics, third world charities, health organisations, etc., and also because they often mandate solutions that infringe on civil liberties or interfere with the workings of markets. A good example of the last (IMO) is the imposition of renewable quotas in energy markets; not only would these appear to me to be at the expense of national economies (deriving up prices, reducing growth), but also counter productive to decarbonisation policies – which surely require effective and economic solutions.

    While markets are not always perfect, they have a far greater track record of success than state imposed solutions.

  29. Isn’t it all about taxation and regulation? The haves control the money and the resources to ensure they still have.

    Wouldn’t a more realistic and democratic system give away green energy alternatives to every tax paying citizen? Free solar panel system, free solar water tubes, free wind turbines. Then because the government gave the citizens the system, the gov can keep the carbon offset credits from that system. In the meantime, we can see if these green alternatives actually make a difference without taxing the hell out of everyone.

    We could see how much governments believe in cap and trade. Tax me in carbon credits instead of dollars.

    • Kevin,
      You eliminate the higharchy of rich and poor.
      Where’s the profit in that?

    • So, let’s have a look. Employees of solar panel maker (and suppliers) need real money to buy food, clothing, shelter, piano lessons and time at the gym. This money comes from government, who collect taxes (at same level as before, as you imply) and carbon credits. At what point do the carbon credits convert to cash? Who provides that? What wealth is created to provide this? Looks a lot like a self-eating watermelon to me.

  30. I would also invite people to read Agrarian Justice, by Thomas Paine, in particular his thoughts on natural inheritance and justified due to each man/woman born on national soil. He was a true individualist and early champion of human rights.

  31. Some background on my comment regarding cap and trade seems to be in order. About 8 years ago, I coordinated a big NSF proposal (didn’t get funded) that included Nobel laureate economist and libertarian Vernon Smith. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_L._Smith

    The subject of the proposal was how probabilistic weather forecasts could be used to support market based mechanisms for managing weather and climate risks and for addressing environmental regulations. E.g. electric power markets, pollution emission markets, market securities. The cap and trade idea is widely used in pollution and emission markets. So I looked at a lot of this literature, and assumed these ideas like cap and trade were consistent with a libertarian market based approach to dealing with these issues.

    • If you suggest the use of free-market principles to reduce pollution (particulates and other pollution) where the health impact is significant and verifiable, that’s one thing. CO2 is not a pollutant.

      • And this is why a billionaire, energy-mogel,”Libertarian”, who inherited daddy’s energy and chemical company, who ran for US Vice President in 1980 and started CATO, now pays Beltway lobbyists, like American’s for Prosperity, to run around the country with hot-air balloons. Awesome. Libertarian thought, in the US, presently, has gone from an intelligent political philosophy of individualism to a corporate media-hyped creation of anti-science. The reason? When you look at some the external costs of CO2 and other pollution, it’s best to poison people’s minds as well as there bodies and hope there are enough suckers who believe it.

      • randomengineer

        When you look at some the external costs of CO2

        Huh? There are no external costs of CO2.

      • Nonsense. It traps energy that would have escaped into space. It changes the acidity level of the ocean. There is a high confidence level that climate and oceans will change to the detriment, if not to this generation, the next and on and on. But I guess it’s up to you what you want to believe in.

      • The last thing the plankton said was: ‘Thanks for all the acid’.
        =================

      • The next to last thing was: ‘We’re off to find the missing heat’.
        ========

      • Some smaller singled-celled Coccolithophores, like Emiliania huxleyi, MAY increase under certain conditions, depending on what hemisphere and how sensitive the surface waters are to the extra warming. We hope that the natural processes will keep these changes at bay, but this is merely wishful thinking. Within one to two decades, it very likely the ecology in the waters below the Arctic circle will be greatly affected. Also keep in mind that some organisms increasing v some decreasing is not something that cancels out problems for the ecology as a whole. It equals two changes, with wildly unpredictable consequences, not a balance of any kind. But again, it’s up to you what you what to believe.

      • I believe that had biological niches not constantly evolved, neither would have life.
        ===============

      • Hey Grypo, replace your period with a colon and I will agree with you completely. You think a rarefied gas has significant capability to trap (store, retain) heat energy? You think an ocean (with a lot of CO2 content) is adversely affected by rarefied CO2 in our atmosphere. Good for you. Brilliant thinking. Outstanding.

      • I don’t know what you mean about the punctuation, but yes, it is true that

        a rarefied gas has significant capability to trap (store, retain) heat energy? You think an ocean (with a lot of CO2 content) is adversely affected by rarefied CO2 in our atmosphere.

      • I was suggesting you change your comment as follows:

        Nonsense: It traps energy that would have escaped into space. It changes the acidity level of the ocean. There is a high confidence level that climate and oceans will change to the detriment, if not to this generation, the next and on and on. But I guess it’s up to you what you want to believe in.

      • There is unfounded, counterfactual assertions that pH is changing and that it is changing dangerously.
        There are not any observations showing this.
        The entire of attempt at pH hysteria is based on speculation.

      • Actually you’re a bit out of date. They’ve done some verification obs lately. Here’s one of them:
        http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009GL040999.shtml

        You wanted empirical data and you got it. Now do you accept it?

      • JamesG,
        Hmmmm……..the abstract is interesting but not really convincing. How does .06 change in pH support the change of catastrophe at all?
        Especially when you take the time to see how pH fluctuates, with no harm to the biosphere, naturally?
        http://www.pages-igbp.org/science/paloa/talks/Catalina_Carles_SN.pdf
        Each and every claim of the AGW community turns to junk when examined historically or contextually.

      • How does .06 change in pH support the change of catastrophe at all?

        How will an increase in CO2 by a fraction 0.0006 of the atmosphere’s volume (what it will take to drive the current CO2 level of 0.0004 to 0.001 or 1000 parts per million) support anything at all? If 0.06 is harmless then 0.0006 couldn’t hurt a flea.

        You’re just playing with the numbers themselves without asking what they mean. What 0.06 means, when translated into its impact on dissociated hydrogen ions, is that the H⁺ concentration increased by 20%. A few more of these 0.06’s, in combination with the continuing exponential growth in both population and per capita fossil fuel consumption, is currently expected to drive pH down by about 0.23 below its preindustrial level of 8.179. This corresponds to an increase of 70% in H⁺ concentration.

        What’s the harm in that? Well, it impacts major sources in the marine food chain such as Antarctic krill, whose current mass though now declining remains roughly comparable to the mass of the 6.7 billion people on the planet, i.e. serious quantities of food. Copepods are in a similar situation.

        These marine creatures form their shells from the abundant calcium carbonate present in suspension in the upper ocean. Reduce calcium carbonate and you reduce their population.

        The reason the pH changes by such tiny amounts is that the calcium carbonate is buffering the acidifying action of dissolved CO2. This would be a good thing were it not for the fact that this buffering action consumes calcium carbonate, via the reaction on this page, namely

        CaCO₃ + CO₂ + H₂O ⇌ Ca²⁺(aq) + 2 HCO₃⁻(aq)

        That is, each molecule of CO2 reacts with a molecule of calcium carbonate in the presence of water to form two negative bicarbonate ions while precipitating out one calcium atom as a positive ion.

        Ideally one would use the depletion of carbonate as the quantity of concern. Taking away half the carbonate conveys the seriousness of the situation far better than a tiny decrease in pH.

        So why not give that number instead of pH? This is an excellent question, and one that oceanographers might give consideration to when communicating with the public.

        The reason they use pH instead of carbonate reduction is that it’s easy to measure precisely, and they know what a 0.06 decrease in pH means, given that it’s the carbonate that is buffering the acidifying action of CO2. The buffering does not stop until most of the carbonate has been converted to bicarbonate. At that point the pH can then move more freely: in fresh water atmospheric CO2 can push the pH to 5.6.

        But at that point various marine species, with some species each weighing on the order of a gigatonne (these are not snail darters!), have gone extinct.

        Removing all marine species dependent on carbonate counts as a mass extinction.

        Are you ok with mass extinction? It’s really easy, just do nothing and it will happen. You’ll be able to rent the video on it afterwards.

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan pratt

        ‘is currently expected to drive pH down by about 0.23 below its preindustrial level of 8.179. This corresponds to an increase of 70% in H⁺ concentration’

        Given that pH around the world currently varies by about 0.5 units, how was it possible to compute the amount to four significant figures over 300 years ago, especially since the very idea of a measurable pH is not much more than a century old?

        To see today’s variance, here’s a map

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan pratt

        ‘That is, each molecule of CO2 reacts with a molecule of calcium carbonate in the presence of water to form two negative bicarbonate ions while precipitating out one calcium atom as a positive ion’

        No precipitation involved. And I think your grasp of chemistry would benefit from a basic understanding of the differences between molecules and ions. You seem to be confused.

        On the point of calcium carbonate being consumed, there is a plentiful supply around most of the world’s oceans. In geology we call then limestone or chalk. A reduction in the quantity in the sea will cause more of these to be dissolved to maintain the equilibrium. Since the White Cliffs of Dover (chalk) were still there last time I looked, I shan’t be losing too much sleep about it.

        Your theory would only be correct when all of the limestone or chalk that forms part of the seabed anywhere in the world has been consumed. There is a long long long way to go before that happens. Do not worry too much.

      • Given that pH around the world currently varies by about 0.5 units, how was it possible to compute the amount to four significant figures over 300 years ago, especially since the very idea of a measurable pH is not much more than a century old?

        The number 8.179 is what the Wikipedia article gives for the preindustrial value. Back on June 6, 2007, Wikipedia editor “Plumbago” replaced Mark Jacobson’s figure of “near 8.25” in the text (no table in the article back then) with “approximately 8.179”, citing the GLODAP Atlas. Since then the value migrated into a table, losing the “approximately.”

        I agree with you that the accuracy is meaningless, given that pH varies so much particularly by latitude. For this reason I feel that only anomalies should be given, as done with temperature, rather than absolute pH values. The literature often talks of reductions of 0.1, 0.2, etc. from the prevailing level wherever, which is sensible. I’ve suggested reflecting this at the Wikipedia talk page on ocean acidification just now, thanks for bringing this up!

        Incidentally, back in the day, CO2 was 6000 ppmv or more, and the oceans would have been much more acidic than the range we’re talking about here. This paper by Caldeira and Wickett in 2003 estimated an upper bound of 0.6 on the amount by which ocean pH could have decreased relative to today at any time in the past 300 million years. They then estimated that by 2200 the pH could go as low as 0.7 below today, on account of the fact that ocean pH is more sensitive to CO2 changes when they happen quickly, which is the current situation. (We have no records of CO2 increasing remotely as fast as 2 ppmv per year even in deep time let alone the Quaternary.) Whether Earth has enough fossil fuel to achieve that however is not clear to me.

        No precipitation involved.

        Quite right, I was indeed confused. (Physics was my strong suit in school, I wasn’t much good at chemistry so you have the edge on me there.) Again I copied this equation out of Wikipedia, and in retrospect it might have been clearer to just write the right side of the equation as Ca(HCO₃)₂ , calcium bicarbonate, and mention that it’s in solution (unlike the calcium carbonate on the left which is a precipitate) without confusing chemistry dropouts like me with the gory details of how it dissociates when in solution (how is dissociation relevant in this context?).

        Your theory would only be correct when all of the limestone or chalk that forms part of the seabed anywhere in the world has been consumed.

        This may well have been the mechanism that saved the carbonate back when CO2 fluctuated at a rate of a few ppmv per millennium. The dramatic plunge in CO2 49 million years ago, associated with the Azolla event and the (re)formation of Earth’s icecaps, went from 3500 ppmv to 650 ppmv in 800,000 years, a decrease of 3.6 ppmv per millennium. The rises and falls of CO2 during the Quaternary glaciations are comparably paced.

        In contrast the current rate of increase of CO2 is a breathtaking 2100 ppmv per millennium, and will be double that by 2035. Your theory would only be correct if your White Cliffs of Dover and their cliff mates sped up their act to match. It seems highly unlikely that their erosion could pick up the pace to that extent.

        Since the White Cliffs of Dover (chalk) were still there last time I looked, I shan’t be losing too much sleep about it.

        What you need to worry about is not whether they’re there before but whether they’re still there after the ocean has called for more carbonate from them. If they are then they’ll have been slacking on their job of replenishing the carbonate the CO2 is depleting.

        At present they are eroding at around 1 cm a year. You’re the chemist, so you could calculate better than me the rate at which increasing CO2 is depleting carbonate today, and make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of whether 1 cm a year for all the world’s such cliffs is enough.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Vaughan

        Perhaps it might be a good idea to understand what you are posting before just copying things out of Wikipedia and asserting them to be accurate gospel truth until challenged? Especially on topics where you admit you have no special expertise.

        On the point of the White Cliffs..it is not erosion (the physical process) that determines the rate…all that has to happen is that the seawater be in contact with some limestone or chalk…which will dissolve appropriately – or not.

      • On the point of the White Cliffs..it is not erosion (the physical process) that determines the rate…all that has to happen is that the seawater be in contact with some limestone or chalk…which will dissolve appropriately – or not.

        So what exactly are you saying here? That if the carbonate level suddenly starts decreasing a thousand times faster than before, the White Cliffs of Dover will retreat at 10 m per annum instead of 1 cm?

        You’re a fine one to complain about my not understanding the chemistry. Chalk does not become calcium carbonate in the ocean by dissolving, it just goes into suspension/precipitation. There is no obvious (to me anyway) mechanism by which less carbonate in the ocean will accelerate the rate at which the cliffs erode. If it were chemical, maybe, but the erosion is mechanical and you’re not going to get your desired speedup that way.

      • Perhaps it might be a good idea to understand what you are posting before just copying things out of Wikipedia and asserting them to be accurate gospel truth until challenged? Especially on topics where you admit you have no special expertise.

        Anyone who thinks chalk dissolves in ocean water should follow their own advice on understanding before posting.

        At least I admit to be a chemistry ignoramus. Some deniers try to sound more expert than they are, which they can get so good at that only an expert can tell it’s rubbish.

      • Latimer Alder

        Go do the experiment. A stick of blackboard chalk and fizzy soft drink will do fine.

        Stick the one in the other and watch the chalk dissolve.

      • Latimer Alder

        Further reply to Vaughan Pratt re solubility.

        Vaughan

        You state

        ‘Anyone who thinks chalk dissolves in ocean water should follow their own advice on understanding before posting’

        Thanks for the help. Let us look in more detail at the equilibrium equation that you have copied from Wikipedia. Here it is

        CaCO₃ + CO₂ + H₂O ⇌ Ca²⁺(aq) + 2 HCo3-(aq)

        What is this equation telling us. That there is an equilbrium between a mixture of Calcium carbonate, carbon dioxide and water on the lhs and a solution of calcium ions and bicarbonate ions on the rhs. Effectively a solution of calcium bicarbonate (assuming no other reagents present).

        Without the CO2, then this equilibrium will fail, and CaCO3 dissolves to a minimal degree in pure water. But with some CO2 present the equilibrium is driven a teeny way to the rhs and the chalk dissolves.

        Since the whole point of your posts is to say that CO2 is present in seawater to a ‘dangerous’ extent, it seems bizarre for you to first post the equation without understanding it, and then deny its existence or implications …along the way suggesting (by implication) that I am an ignoramus and/or a ‘denier’

        Please go and read the denizens thread where my qualifications in Chemistry are listed. And I do not ‘deny’ anything..I am just very very sceptical of the warmist’s case. And the more I read of them in contributions like yours, the less I am convinced.

      • Limestone caves anyone?

      • Go do the experiment. A stick of blackboard chalk and fizzy soft drink will do fine. Stick the one in the other and watch the chalk dissolve.

        It’s a good thing you followed up this implicit non sequitur (that because calcite dissolves in dilute acid it therefore dissolves in water with pH 7 or above) with a post explaining that this wasn’t what you meant.

        I was beginning on the basis of the above to doubt your claimed credentials in chemistry, but you made an excellent recovery with your follow-up.

        Now there is nothing beyond high school chemistry in all of this, and both of us have taken college chemistry (admittedly you to a higher level). Hence there is no reason either of us needs to get either defensive or offensive over such an elementary matter, or to impugn each other’s credentials or ability, at least for that chemical reaction. I may be at fault here but you are hardly blameless yourself.

        You put it exactly right when you wrote “But with some CO2 present the equilibrium is driven a teeny way to the rhs and the chalk dissolves.” We have Le Chatelier’s principle at work with its equilibrium constant at STP for this reaction dictating how the balance between carbonate and bicarbonate is regulated by the quantity of CO2 present, and this is essentially all an oceanographer needs before moving on to other questions such as impact of CO2 on carbonate compensation depth and on viability of krill and copepod populations.

        What was not right was blowing up my inappropriate use of the word precipitate out of all proportion to its significance, when you could have simply politely pointed out that the bicarbonate was in solution, which I would then equally politely have agreed to at once. This led to some wasted effort in establishing in the end that both of us understood precisely what was happening in this very elementary bit of high school chemistry.

      • Latimer Alder

        Whatever.

        Go and read your posts again. You are first claiming that the reaction you cite will cause mass extinction of something or other.

        And then end up saying that it will not occur in an alkaline solution.

        Since there is absolutely no possibility of seawater ever becoming anything other than alkaline…there isn’t enough carbon available to make enough carbon dioxide to do so… then you have arrived at a contradiction in your argument.

        But really – I just can’t be arsed with this any more. The White Cliffs are still there, the change in pH is negligible and the world hasn’t come to an end because of it.

        Nor is it going to, no matter how many scaremongers attempt to pretend that it’s going to.
        Like me (and many others I suspect), my man Joe Sixpack has got climate scare fatigue and pays little attention any more to the latest doom laden soothsaying.

      • Go and read your posts again. You are first claiming that the reaction you cite will cause mass extinction of something or other. Go and read your posts again. You are first claiming that the reaction you cite will cause mass extinction of something or other. And then end up saying that it will not occur in an alkaline solution. Since there is absolutely no possibility of seawater ever becoming anything other than alkaline…there isn’t enough carbon available to make enough carbon dioxide to do so… then you have arrived at a contradiction in your argument.

        Latimer, it looks like 30 years in IT has been just long enough to rot your science brain cells. You are putting words in my mouth when you say I said mass extinction will not occur in an alkaline solution. The reason I didn’t say that is the one you gave: the oceans will never go below pH 7.

        THIS IS SOMETHING WE AGREE ON, LATIMER? DO YOU EVEN HAVE THE CONCEPT THAT PEOPLE CAN AGREE ON THINGS? “Whatever” doesn’t cut it for me. (Sorry for shouting, I realize you’re not deaf. I think.)

        Mass extinction will occur, and it will occur in an alkaline solution. I never said anything to the contrary.

        If the ocean pH ever hit 7.0 marine life on planet Earth as we know it would be history.

        Since we’re all supposed to score our points by hURLing URLs at each other, here’s my contribution. It doesn’t blame CO2, instead it says “There has also been a long term decline in the total population of krill since the 1970s, for reasons that have not been conclusively determined.” You of course will heave a great sigh of relief that CO2 isn’t being indicted in this article.

        The White Cliffs are still there, the change in pH is negligible and the world hasn’t come to an end because of it. Nor is it going to, no matter how many scaremongers attempt to pretend that it’s going to.

        That’s what you say. You might even consider inscribing it on your tombstone so that future generations can appreciate just how right you were back then. Not that it will matter to you by then.

        Statements like “the global temperature is declining” and “the change in pH is negligible” are such staples of denierhood that people should print them up on giant placards so you can just point to them instead of having to actually type them in over and over agina.

      • randomengineer

        If the oceans contain a minimum of 50x the CO2 found in the atmosphere, it seems somewhat presumptious to presume a change in atmospheric concentration could cause significant PH changes.

      • Thank you, randomengineer. Some ideas are so dumb only a progressive climate activist will believe them. CO2 is 390PPM in our atmosphere. 0.038%. It’s rarefied. It’s natural. It’s a friend to your trees and crops. It tickles my nose when I drink a soda.
        It’s getting a bum rap!

      • Michael Tobis

        It’s presumptious to presume, in general!

        But the chemistry of this has been worked out in detail,
        http://dge.stanford.edu/labs/caldeiralab/Caldeira%20downloads/RoyalSociety_OceanAcidification.pdf

        and the changes have been observed: http://dx.crossref.org/10.1073%2Fpnas.0810079105

        No presumption is involved on the part of those who feel the issue should be on the table.

        As for a small amount of CO2 changing the radiative properties of a large amount of air, I suggest putting a drop of ink in a large glass bowl full of clean water. You can discover that a trace of a new compound can go a long way toward changing radiative properties of a fluid.

      • Mike, this article is about one site!</b? One site does not a global problem make.

      • You have to start somewhere. As I understand it they did attribute the pH changes to atmospheric CO2. Thus the phenomenon is observed in nature.

      • I’ve always loved that argument…there are things very sensitive to really tiny proportions, therefore the earth’s surface temperature is very sensitive to tiny changes in CO2 concentration. I prefer to know exactly what it is you think 390PPM of CO2 does to 1,000,000PPM of N2, O2 and Argon. I know about resonance…doesn’t that word imply something about friction to you?
        CO2 scatters IR radiation…it does not store heat energy…retain heat energy…or provide any kind of insulation with regard to heat energy. You’ll have to forgive me for being less than impressed when you explore all of the possible drivers and forcings and the only explanation you can think of for unprecedented 0.7C of heating of our earth’s surface…is human-emitted CO2. Beautiful work, ladies and gentlemen. How exciting for you.

      • You are not reading carefully. Some things are sensitive to very small proportions does not PROVE that the atmosphere cares about small quantities of CO2. it REFUTES the case that the smallness of the proportions is decisive.

        What it does is capture infrared light in the same way ink in water captures visible light.

        Again, there is nothing unprecedented about an 0.7 C rise; nobody claims there is. You are arguing straw men.

        What is unprecedented is the rate of C rise. The question is whether there is an associated risk. The vast majority of evidence shows that there is. The 0.7 C rise so far is part of that evidence.

      • You’ll have to forgive me for being less than impressed when you explore all of the possible drivers and forcings and the only explanation you can think of for unprecedented 0.7C of heating of our earth’s surface…is human-emitted CO2. Beautiful work, ladies and gentlemen. How exciting for you.

        Ordinarily one would take this to mean that, unlike these unimaginative dullards you’re excoriating here, you are able to think of more than one explanation.

        Yet you coyly withhold them. WUWT?

      • My reply to Ken’s link about the 10 year old girl is to note how embarrassing it is (or should be!) for adults to be fooled by the understandably flawed reasoning of a 10 year old.

        These same adults who are befuddled by a 10 yr old, claim to know better than the scientific experts.

      • And which should be on the nested thread below this…..!

      • Let’s see now…Hank Roberts says the signal representing modulation of outgoing radiation by greenhouse gases is less than 0.33% of insolation. Can I think of errors which completely swamp out a signal like that…and make it impossible to quantify? Well, that’s easy, how about if our understanding of the transfer function of insolation to surface temperature is in error by, oh, let’s be reasonable…10%. In other words, for the full spectrum of insolation we don’t understand all the effects of all the wavelengths and all the atmospheric and albedo interactions and the error (insolation–>surface temp) is plus or minus 10%. How confident does that make you that you know the effects of a signal that is less than 0.33% of the insolation carrier?
        With regard to the little girl from Beeville, I think she has a perfectly valid point. You believe only some temperature records should be used, or you believe that it takes a whole bunch of them to collect the warming signal. If a signal is truly global, then it’s in all sample sets. If there are large errors in the data, then it doesn’t matter how many samples you add together…you’re measuring noise. I know you like that because you can interpret noise any way you like, but that’s bad science and it’s bad engineering and you should be ashamed of yourself. No engineering job for you. Keep your resume, I don’t even want to see it.

      • > If a signal is truly global, then it’s in all sample sets.

        Flawed reasoning. Americans are fatter now than they ever have been – doesn’t mean that all Americans have gained weight since some arbitrary past time.

      • D64, do you dispute the idea (not mine) that CO2 is well-mixed? You’re suggesting CO2 “insulation” only works in some places and not in others? Or, there’s more CO2 here than there? Oh, I know, there are other factors which sometimes mask the CO2 signal so we can’t always see it. But, we know it’s there, don’t we?

        I love the idea that your global signal is only observable in some sample sets and not others.

      • And the impact of that ink in a bowl of water correlates to a vastly smaller amount of CO2 in the incomprabaly larger atmosphere how?
        As to the pH scam, the rule is consider the source: hypesters selling hype.

      • checked the abstract, and it is bogus, Tobis.

      • > hypesters selling hype.

        It’s hype because it’s made by hypesters.
        They’re hypesters because they sell hype.
        An interesting loop.

      • I don’t know. 300 ppmv, the input due to a doubling of preindustrial CO2 is three parts in ten thousand.

        A liter of water with 3/10 cubic cm of ink will noticeably change color.

        And this isn’t a crude analogy. We are specifically talking about the transparency of a fluid at certain frequencies. CO2 is infrared-colored ink.

      • As to the pH scam, the rule is consider the source: hypesters selling hype.

        Interesting argument. In order to evaluate it I had to take into account the source: AGW deniers selling AGW denialism.

        Fight illogic with illogic.

      • VP –
        In what way does what’s being sold publicly as GW/CC consequences fail to qualify as hype? Have you read the recent news stories? Do you understand that it doesn’t take a scientist to shred them – without even working up a sweat ? Why should I believe you if you persist in supporting the Chicken-little crap that passes for “science” in the media? I’ve watched 10-year old children punch holes in some of the contentions that appear in the media – without adult help or input.

        You’ve painted yourself into a corner – if you support the “popular” media (MSM) storyline, then you’re not believable, but if you don’t supprt them, they’ll stop giving you “air time”.

        Oh – yeah, that’s already happening, isn’t it.

      • it doesn’t take a scientist to shred them

        This is the denier argument to beat all denier arguments. Anyone can shred science. With any luck the Nobel Prize Committee will see the light and their next vote will be for you.

        My own thinking on this is as follows. Yes, anyone can shred science. That does not mean that anyone should.

        Let me run your shredding process past you in case I misunderstood it.

        1. Scientists support the Chicken-little crap that passes for science in the media.

        2. 10-year old children are punching holes in some of the contentions that appear in the media.

        3. Scientists have painted themselves into a corner.

        4. The “popular” media (MSM) is giving science air time.

        I can understand how 1-3 completely demolish the science of global warming. I’m just stuck on 4. Can you kindly explain how the mainstream media (MSM) is able to demolish science by giving it air time?

        Or has even the MSM signed on to the conspiracy? Can we sign you on? What would it take?

      • Jim Owen,

        “Shredding” sells news by only appearing to do science.

        Whoever can do real science is a scientist.
        Only a scientific argument will replace another one.
        If you want to be a scientist, start to talk like one.

      • And you can see how real scientists talk, by reading the Climategate emails.

      • This is the denier argument to beat all denier arguments.

        Not a denier argument at all – just plain common sense. Which is something you’re not exhibiting much of. Not uncommon in the scientific/academic world.

        My own thinking on this is as follows. Yes, anyone can shred science. That does not mean that anyone should.

        If “anyone” can and you won’t, then “someone” needs to do so in order to keep it honest.

        For the rest, your semantic changeling argument is simply laughable nonsense for anyone who’s paying attention. I talk about the science as presented in the media and supported by people like you – and you “pretend” to not understand what’s being said. So you twist the words to mean what you’d “like ” them to mean and then answer questions that weren’t asked while not answering the questions that were asked.

        Typical Church of AGW rhetoric.

        Uh – do you REALLY have any questions about the amount of “air time” you’ve gotten over the years? If so, you’re REALLY NOT paying attention. Google is NOT my friend, but it’s handy sometimes – try googling:
        AGW – 1,430,000 hits
        climate change – 42,600,000 hits
        global warming – 19,500,000 hits

        climategate – 869,000 hits
        (although I’ve watched the “adjustments” on that last over the last one over the last year)

        All numbers from the last few minutes.

      • I’m curious – what 10-year-old punched “holes in some of the contentions”?

      • Jim might be talking about the little girl from Beeville, TX…

        http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978290148

      • @Wiillard
        “Shredding” sells news by only appearing to do science.

        No – catastrophe sells news.

        Whoever can do real science is a scientist.

        Good thought, but who gets to determine what’s science and what’s not. Whoever’s the present arbiter isn’t doing well.

        Only a scientific argument will replace another one.

        You’d think. But that’s not what actually happens if the gatekeepers don’t allow the “other one”.

        If you want to be a scientist, start to talk like one.

        If I’d wanted to be a scientist, I’d have accepted the invitation to work for NASA’s Atmosperic Science Branch 50 years ago. I’m NOT a scientist. But based on what I’ve seen and heard over the last 10 years I apparently know more about what science is supposed to be, about the philosphy and history of science – and about ethical misconduct in science than some of todays purported scientists.

        Have a good day – I’m outta here for a while. Gotta get some rest after I nearly bled out yesterday.

      • David L. Hagen

        Mike
        Have you considered the enormous capacities of other buffers? See:

        The Earth has a set of other buffering mineral reactions. The geochemical equilibrium system anorthite CaAl2Si2O8 – kaolinite Al2Si2O5(OH)4 has by the pH of ocean water a buffer capacity which is thousand times larger than a 0.001 M carbonate solution (Stumm & Morgan, 1970). In addition we have clay mineral buffers, and a calcium silicate + CO2 ø calcium carbonate + SiO2 buffer (MacIntyre, 1970; Krauskopf, 1979). These buffers all act as a “security net” under the most important buffer: CO2 (g) ø HCO3 (aq) ø CaCO3 (s). All together -these buffers give in principle an infinite buffer capacity (Stumm & Morgan, 1970).

        The distribution of CO2 between atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; minimal influence from anthropogenic CO2 on the global “Greenhouse Effect”.
        Tom V. Segalstad
        http://www.co2web.info/ESEFVO1.pdf

      • All together -these buffers give in principle an infinite buffer capacity (Stumm & Morgan, 1970).

        In that case increasing CO2 would have no effect on pH. How do you explain the decreasing pH?

      • How do you explain the decreasing pH?

        Errr I dunno V, maybe a pod of whales came along and pi$$ed in the water an hour before the science type took his measurement.

        Do you really believe we have the means to accurately measure ocean PH variations?
        Ocean PH changes (in localities) hour by hour an order of magnitude larger than the purported decrease over the decades.

      • Errr I dunno V, maybe a pod of whales came along and pi$$ed in the water an hour before the science type took his measurement.

        If so then the pH would have gone back up a week later, wouldn’t you say?

        According to you, if the pH is fluctuating according to the urinating habits of large ocean mammals then we should see the long term average being pretty stationary, unless Super Whale out there is throwing off these measurements somehow.

        Is that what you’re claiming?

      • randomengineer

        Unlike vostok plant stomata studies show that there’s been a great deal of at least regional historical variation in CO2. Interestingly, much of this appears to track the MWP and LIA. My concern here is that ocean acidification claim is predicated on the assumption that CO2 has been a constant, including all of the fun models in the pdf.

        Essentially since the relationship of CO2 and temp has not been significantly demonstrated prior to the current era, this casts doubt on the understanding of oceanic reaction vis a vis biosphere impact. If there was in fact variation then the present assumptions re impact are incorrect.

        Certainly if the atmospheric CO2 varied more in the past 2 millenia and yet we still have a hardy biosphere, the impacts asserted here are far more of a guess than how you are painting it. I think we need a great deal more data in this area, primarily a better understanding of the past 2 millenia.

        Let’s be clear here: I’m not *for* more human emissions so that we can run an open ended experiment in the hopes that it ends well. On the other hand the ocean acidification claims seem to be poorly supported compared to the understanding of RTE… and then again there’s Dr Trenberth’s missing heat to deal with.

      • randomengineer

        There is a high confidence level that climate and oceans will change to the detriment, if not to this generation, the next and on and on.

        Somehow I’m failing to ascertain the difference between this and the learned prognostications of Queen Elizabeth I’s personal astrologer. It’s fortune telling with a sciencey aura, a.k.a. SWAG.

        Now if you want to say that changes in climate *may* cause negative consequences, fine. That’s accurate. If you want to say that changes in climate *may* cause positive consequences, that’s fine too. And if you want to say that all changes in climate result in winners and losers, well sure, that’s reasonable. But pronouncement of assured negative consequence is simply (SWAG) fortune telling.

      • Externalities are about both “winner and losers”. The trick is not in fortune telling, it is in the analysis of probabilities. This is widely discussed by Arthur Pigou in as the “knowledge problem”, in regards to levying any Pigvogian tax in order to prevent the overconsumption of products that have varying effects on the market and third parties. But even with this knowledge problem, not attempting to shift the cost to the polluter is not a viable free- market solution. Even ‘business-as-usual’ inaction is still an action.

      • gry – Look up free market. In fact, I have supplied a definition elsewhere in the post. This is a bastardization of the term “free market” by the same sorts of people that brought us the 10-10 video. Cap and Tax is NOT a free market solution. It is a government imposed solution. Why do you even believe for a moment that the government even can right imbalances in the economy, much less that it is desirable in the first place. To do that would require we know all the effects, good and bad, of burning fossil fuels. I’m sure there are benefits to people who don’t pay for those benefits, just as there are costs not borne by the producers. IMO, the government shouldn’t worry about it in the first place. They will screw it up in ways we can’t even imagine.

      • As A. Smith so trenchantly observed (“invisible hand”), what markets are all about is setting accurate prices. Neither gubmint ‘crats nor pols have any skill at doing so, as proven by their multitudinous failed efforts to do so.

      • How can markets set “accurate prices” when not all benefits and costs are taken into account?

      • And how do governments (the favored “progressive” alternative to a market unfettered by “picking-the-winners” coercion) “set ‘accurate prices’” any more efficiently, effectively, or knowledgeably than do the people who truck and barter their goods and services in the marketplace?

      • Governments can assign values, and then markets will react.

        What’s the value of a tropical rain forest as a carbon sink versus its value (after clearing) as farmland? Do you know, Rich?

      • As A. Smith so trenchantly observed (“invisible hand”), what markets are all about is setting accurate prices.

        Hear, hear. It’s about time the ocean pH started demanding an accurate price for the encroaching CO2.

      • Governments can assign values, and then markets will react.
        What’s the value of a tropical rain forest as a carbon sink versus its value (after clearing) as farmland? Do you know, Rich?

        Probably doesn’t. And nor do governments. So whatever they assign will just be a random number, just as likely to harm as help.

      • randomengineer

        But even with this knowledge problem, not attempting to shift the cost to the polluter is not a viable free- market solution.

        And your claim that CO2 is a pollutant is *also* a SWAG. It’s one thing to have a SWAG at some point, but one cannot rationally base policy on cascading SWAGS where each succeeding level is essentially a SWAG dependent on the veracity (usefulness) of the SWAG it’s using as a crutch.

        The skeptics see your words as simply taking 4 levels of SWAG where each succeeding level depends on the veracity of the guesswork underlying it, at which point you say “it’s now proven, so let’s talk about solutions.”

        As for me I know that all things being equal increased CO2 ought to result in some warming effect via RTE. The rest is ambiguous. I see no proof that warming is necessarily bad, just different.

      • The skeptics see your words as simply taking 4 levels of SWAG where each succeeding level depends on the veracity of the guesswork underlying it, at which point you say “it’s now proven, so let’s talk about solutions.”

        Oh, I know how they view it. The rhetoric doesn’t make it a serious discussion. But interestingly enough, you’ve added your own SWAG:

        As for me I know that all things being equal increased CO2 ought to result in some warming effect via RTE. The rest is ambiguous. I see no proof that warming is necessarily bad, just different.

        And remember, not acting is also an action action on the market. Just because we are doing it, doesn’t make it the defacto correct economic decision. So we are back to economic and scientific probability analysis and the knowledge problem.

      • randomengineer

        But interestingly enough, you’ve added your own SWAG

        I was thinking more in terms of null hypothesis, which isn’t a SWAG, but sure. I’ll accept that.

        For the record: I think the assessments you’re referring to are in fact the correct vector, but as Dr Curry points out the uncertainty puts this more into SWAG territory rather than actual knowledge. As such isn’t the correct approach here to work towards energy solutions (e.g. nuclear) that replace coal plants and perhaps tax incentives to individual citizens? Since the vector magnitude is an unknown, it seems presumptious to soil ourselves. I reckon it’s better to find ways to encourage the market to achieve the desired outcome (X prizes seem to be useful here) without going off the deep end re acidification and other pure SWAG stuff that does little more than galvanize oppostion.

        I get where you’re at re the science end. Re practical approaches to achieve the goals you’d like to see, what are you thinking?

      • I get where you’re at re the science end. Re practical approaches to achieve the goals you’d like to see, what are you thinking?

        Yes. That’s a short answer, but any solution I agree to would need rigorous probability assessment, risk analysis, precautionary principle, scientific foundation, economic balance etc, etc.

        For now, an example of focus could be on starting a small carbon tax that grows in correlation with the local infrastructure’s ability to handle energy that is less carbon intensive. For instance, natural gas replacing coal or shale. As the infrastructure grows, the tax can be returned to the consumers at levels that promote individual responsibility in choosing what products to buy. But the tax would also be needed to subsidize nuclear at it’s most efficient level. This also means focusing R&D on 4th generation nuclear, which will take care of most of the waste and danger problems associated with 1st – 3rd generation nuclear. These are just some loose ideas, but they give us more hope than being trapped into whatever the multi-national corporate interests feel like burning.

      • For now, an example of focus could be on starting a small carbon tax that grows in correlation with the local infrastructure’s ability to handle energy that is less carbon intensive. For instance, natural gas replacing coal or shale. As the infrastructure grows, the tax can be returned to the consumers at levels that promote individual responsibility in choosing what products to buy. But the tax would also be needed to subsidize nuclear at it’s most efficient level.

        Here’s a problem with that…I don’t trust politicians (of any stripe) to return that revenue to consumers other than in ways that would tend to garner votes. In short, regardless of initial intentions, that sort of tax can (and almost definitely will) be diverted to other uses.

        There are alternatives, however. Since utilities in the US tend to be regulated monopolies, how about approval of a modest increase in electric rates with the proceeds required to be dedicated to commissioning new nuclear capacity? This has the advantage of putting the burden on those using the most power as well as eliminating the cost of the government middleman. There’s no danger of a revenue grab nor is there new pork to be distributed to friendly interests.

        Thoughts?

      • I found it interesting the way you stacked probabilities and then assumed that they were additive. Interesting but not impressive.

        And remember, not acting is also an action action on the market.

        Yes, BUT – “not acting” is generally a benign solution while “acting” is generally a crap shoot with a high probability (historically) for a “really” bad end point.

        Just because we are doing it, doesn’t make it the defacto correct economic decision.

        Yup.

        So we are back to economic and scientific probability analysis and the knowledge problem.

        There have been several times when my next meal depended on a correct probability analysis of the situation. I’ve never missed a meal yet. But that same analysis capability that brought my next meal tells me that I’ll miss a lot of meals if your stacked SWAGs are taken seriously.

      • That same analysis capability that brought my next meal tells me that I’ll miss a lot of meals if your stacked SWAGs are taken seriously.

        Damn, you just bent the needle on my BS meter when it pegged itself hard to the right.

        I get that this thread is about libertarianism and not about science. But all you’re persuading me of here is that anything about the former with no serious tip of the hat to the latter is pure BS.

      • But even with this knowledge problem, not attempting to shift the cost to the polluter is not a viable free- market solution.

        Doesn’t this beg the question of whether those emissions pose enough of a threat to be considered a pollutant?

      • Gene, the question it begs is rather, “should anyone be able to freely impose their waste products on all of us without our consent?”

        What would our forebear’s say to the man who enjoys peeing in the village well?

      • Nice imagery, Bart, but it doesn’t change the issue.

        You’re taking it as a given that the liquid added to the well is urine and not water.

        If we are sharing the same space and I light up a cigarette, you have more reason to complain that I’m “imposing” on you than if I’m merely exhaling.

      • Bart, the coal burning power companies should charge farmers for the extra CO2 to help grow their crops. And, well, we all eat don’t we. Shouldn’t we all be paying the electric company for the extra food? And, oh yeah, same for all the third world nations that didn’t contribute to the A-CO2 level. Their jungles and farms also benefit. In fact, all the plants benefit. Let’s see them pony up.

      • What part of “without consent” are you unwilling to debate?

      • Do I require your consent to exhale in your presence?

      • Gene

        We all breath.

        We don’t all collect subsidies from government extracted from the pockets of the citizenry to spend burning carbon for a market benefit to ourselves.

        Those of us who aren’t Sir Torky-Porpington, to use Rich Matarese’s example, may find the specious redirections from mouth breathing, fertilizer-spreading purveyors to be a simple dodge to duck when directly asked, where do you get the consent to piss in our well?

      • Bart. We all use electricity made from coal. Therefore, we all are guilty. So if you really feel bad, stop using electricity.

      • Jim

        Again with the sophistry?

        If I feel guilty, shouldn’t I work to mitigate that offense against the liberty of my fellows, if I believe in my own liberties?

        How could I advocate increased and untrammeled trespasses, and still claim liberty for myself?

      • Ah yes. The poor raped and pillaged masses suffering at the hand of the electric utilities. What a travesty. Where is Superman when we need him most. Oh!, the humanity.

      • Bart,

        Persistant does not equal persuasive. You have yet to make your point that there is a trespass. You have moved beyond begging the question to holding a full fledged telethon with an all star cast for the question.

      • Gene

        It’s not begging the question to ask it outright.

        It’s ducking the question to refuse to address it head on.

        Jim and yourself clearly believe it’s ok to deprive others of say in the exploitation of a shared resource.

        You don’t see the liberty of others to dispute the use of their share, or to find nuisance in the action of others that extinguishes their own rights, to be of any importance.

        You’re simple self-serving opportunists reeking of state-enforced action, and every bit as libertarian as Marx or Lenin, but no more than them, by that measure.

      • Back to the well analogy.

        Gene suggests that if I see some culprit pouring nameless liquids from his bladder into the village well, I’m for some reason obliged to hear out his bleating excuses, test the liquid to confirm what it is, or possibly go out and prove the liquid harmful.

        I say if some fellow were found pouring things into the village well and used the cover of such excuses as it’s his well too, or there’s no proof what he poured in was bad, first he’d be beaten near to death for insulting the intelligence of his discoverers, and then he’d be drawn and quartered, as was the penalty for tampering with the well, to discourage any nitwit from thinking there was an excuse for such behavior in the commons.

        Fortunately for Jim and Gene’s well-debaser and their ilk, civil government has evolved to protect them from the instinct of the mob to defend its rights from adulterers of wells.

      • fortunately…civil government has evolved to protect them from the instinct of the mob to defend its rights from adulterers of wells.

        Two questions Bart: Do you consider it a bad thing that civilization has evolved to the point that society needs to be satisfied that harm exists or is likely prior to punishment? What evidence can you point to that society has been satisfied on that account?

      • Gene

        That rather begs the question “is protecting personal liberty punishment?”

        Air is a common shared resource.

        I like my air just fine the way it was for the entire span of human, primate and even mammal evolution, which was with a CO2 concentration about a third lower than it is now.

        You and yours want to change this without my having any say at all, and for personal gain or personal excesses that have nothing to do with me.

        How am I to react when added to this injury, I’m insulted by being told I have to prove harm before I can exercise my rights?

        You want to make this extraordinary change to the fundamental resource, you go through the due process of obtaining consent, if you’re speaking of what civil society has evolved to, I think.

      • You’re taking it as a given that the liquid added to the well is urine and not water.

        To the pisser in the well: you are one sick dude, dude.

        The only way it could be something other than urine is if it’s alcohol.

      • RE what is a SWAG? Science Without A …?

      • randomengineer

        SWAG

        Scientific Wild Ass Guess

      • SWAG: Science-based Warming Arguments are Garbage.

        How could anyone refute so compelling an argument?

      • I’d be interested to learn the sources from which gryposaurus keeps pulling his flagrant misconceptions of modern American libertarian theory and advocacy. I’m willing to bet that he can’t cite a single primary source – online or off – to support his whining (and, Dr. Curry, “whining” is precisely what it is) about – f’rinstance – Charles G. Koch, whom he characterizes as:

        …a billionaire, energy-mogel,”Libertarian”, who inherited daddy’s energy and chemical company, who ran for US Vice President in 1980 and started CATO, now pays Beltway lobbyists, like American’s for Prosperity, to run around the country with hot-air balloons.

        Gawd, what a classic shovelful of argumentum ad hominem. It’s nice to get continuing confirmation that those hostile to libertarianism can’t engage in public discourse without completely screwing the pooch.

        Heck, if we want to go that route, I might observe that Algore and the other government-empowered partisans of the “man-made climate disruption” fraud have done very, very well for themselves – in both the political and the pecuniary senses – by pushing the CO2-forcing AGW preposterousness.

        But I take it as a given that “politicians are like rats; what they take for themselves is nothing compared with the damage they do in getting it.

        Of Charles G. Koch, it should be borne in mind that his incentive(s) to support organizations like the Cato Institute are irrelevant (which is the most egregious “logical fallacy” part of gyposaurus‘ lapse into argumentum ad hominem).

        If libertarian scholars’ and thinkers’ methods of information collection and aggregation are transparent and reliable, if they have not doctored their data (as the AGW “climatology” cabal has done for the past thirty years and more), if their conclusions prove impossible reasonably to refute, and if their predictions, ceteris paribus, prove correct, then who gives a greasy great goddam about why Charles G. Koch funds those libertarian scholars’ and thinkers’ efforts?

        Unlike anything in Algore’s public life, it’s Charles G. Koch’s own money – and nobody else’s – that goes into the operations of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. And unlike Algore, Charles G. Koch isn’t proposing that anybody gets robbed by way of taxes, penalties, and fees imposed directly or indirectly by the goons of government.

        I’ve no idea where gyposaurus is getting his hallucinations about American libertarians’ supposed “corporate media-hyped creation of anti-science” (’cause he’s not citing sources), but he’s either been royally suckered or he’s made himself an Emperor’s parade costume out of pure fantasy.

      • I’ve no idea where gyposaurus is getting his hallucinations about American libertarians’ supposed “corporate media-hyped creation of anti-science” (’cause he’s not citing sources), but he’s either been royally suckered or he’s made himself an Emperor’s parade costume out of pure fantasy.

        About 15 seconds into the video, Koch says he founded AfP.

        Here is AfP’s contribution to the science

        This is actually a poorly kept secret, ranting and raving about Al Gore doesn’t change anything about how Koch is a politico and businessman, not a scientist. Google is your friend.

      • So what ?

        It’s his money to spend or not spend in any way he wants. YOUR objections to his activities are your problem, not his.

        If you don’t understand the difference between Koch and Gore, I’d suggest you give some serious thought to just where their money came from. And why you object to one and not the other.

        I’d find your argument funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

      • Tsk. The “poorly-kept secret” about which gryposourus pointlessly snarks – Charles G. Koch’s financial support of Americans for Prosperity – has never been a “secret” at all, has it? It’s not like the disbursements of the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation are undiscoverable.

        Again and again and again, the motivations of Charles G. Koch (and what has Mr. Koch ever done to you, gryposaurus, that you should hate him so?) are irrelevant. If Charles G. Koch feels that civil government escaping the limitations of the U.S. Constitution – which define “rule of law” in these United States – gores his personal ox, he’s entitled to take whatever peaceable action he pleases in hopes of abating this evil. Heck, it could be argued that he’s doing things like funding AFP for no reason other than fulfillment of what he considers his duty as a good citizen of this nation.

        But ya gotta love how gryposaurus has to go to a secondary source – the notoriously left-loonie warmist Guardian in the U.K. – to give us a wonderful insight into precisely how our good gryposaurus got suckered into (and stays suckered in) his fantasies about how political opposition to the great global warming swindle is (in part) operating in these United States.

        Oh, yeah. The point I was trying to make (and I also delight in gryposaur‘s opacity in this particular) is that “ranting and raving” about Algore’s hideous exploitation of the great “carbon trading” confidence game to get himself all kindsa prosperous and wealthy and filthy rich at the expense of the millions of Americans he’s suckered and screwed is also irrelevant to the positions Algore and the rest of the climate fraudsters have taken in public discourse.

        That matters chiefly in the punitive damages phases of the myriads of tort law actions that will be raining down upon Algore and his confederates for the rest of their filthy little lives.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Hey! I read the Guardian!…it’s only the environment section that’s “left-loonie”. Am I the only left-leaning cagw sceptic in the world? :(

        There’s some decent investigative reporters on there, and the football (British) coverage is rather good.

      • So? I still read the left-loonie warmist Philadelphia Inquirer on a regular basis (when one grows up int the Delaware Valley, one will tend – like it or not- to follow the Philly sports franchises for the rest of one’s life).

        I have noted that the bastiches on North Broad Street have lately been driving their newspapers – the Inky and the tabloid Daily News are both published by the same company – into bankruptcy.

        Feh. When I lived near Philly, I always preferred The Evening Bulletin.

      • ACYL – as that rarity, a CAGW-sceptical Grauniad reader, you’re the perfect guy to write a post telling the rest of us us why so many of your fellow-readers have swallowed the CAGW pseudo-science. Is there a connection between left-leaning progressivism and warmism, and what do you think it is?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Not sure I’d have any insights Tom. I can only tell you that a few years ago I bleieved the hype about CAGW, and was pretty bloody smug about it – uninformed but smug! That’s why, even though I’m sceptical, I try not to get too vociferous about it. There’s loads about the science I don’t understand. It was pretty hard to admit that to myself a while back – ie that I knew about as much, or less, than some of the “denier” folks on CIF. Kinda hard to back down when you’ve been such a liberal, science-trusting smart-arse for so long.

        My denizens post has a few more details about what changed my mind, but I don’t like to think about it too often – it makes me cringe! ;)

      • “a liberal, science-trusting smart-arse for so long” – I have to say you certainly seem to have got over that! But having done so, aren’t you in a better position than most to reveal how you came by your earlier mindset, now that you have come to deplore it?

      • Progressives claim to have “progressed” past the illusions of mere culture and science, and are prepared to deconstruct them so that they can fix the rest of us.

        Warmists claim to have seen through the world’s love of energy generation by combustion and are prepared to stop it so that they can construct a nice (albeit population-limited in the extreme) Utopia for the rest of us.

        The similarities are striking and definitive.

      • Again and again and again, the motivations of Charles G. Koch (and what has Mr. Koch ever done to you, gryposaurus, that you should hate him so?) are irrelevant.

        This post is pretty much a straw man and a total misrepresentation of what is being discussed. Whether I hate Koch or not is irrelevant. My post is about the current media driven Libertarianism that Koch funds. He’s founded groups that promote anti-science, ie AfP and CATO. So his motivation is not irrelevant, but it’s secondary to the results, which is very relevant to what’s happened to intellectual pursuit of maximizing individual liberty.

        he’s entitled to take whatever peaceable action he pleases in hopes of abating this evil.

        I know he’s entitled. As others are allowed to show how his actions are disengaging Libertarianism from the intellectual principles it used to hold.

        Oh, yeah. The point I was trying to make (and I also delight in gryposaur‘s opacity in this particular) is that “ranting and raving” about Algore’s hideous exploitation of the great “carbon trading” confidence game

        More irrelevant hand-waving by Rich. What Gore does, or his comparison to Koch, has nothing to do with what happened to Libertarianism. As I said before, it is now a corporate-funded media blitz, and its main result has been to promote deregulation through ignoring science, and destroying the foundation of knowledge that society uses to make informed decisions. And by reading Rich’s, and other Libertarians here, thoughts on the science, the media-blitz has been wildly successful.

        So whether or not Rich continues this conversation, especially in the tone in which he uses, it would be beneficial to stick to the points being brought up, without the straw-men and handwaving.

      • Alternatively, let’s say that Al Gore’s $300,000,000 media blitz was unsuccessful
        =============

      • Whether successful or not, the answer to someone calling to regulate a problem is to show how to deal with issue rationally, with precaution, with as little regulation as possible. The answer is not to pretend the issue is non-existent or not a big deal by misrepresenting human knowledge.

      • Yep, human knowledge was badly misrepresented as in ‘The science is settled’.
        ===============

      • I find gryposaurus‘ continuing fixation on Charles G. Koch friggin’ hilarious, especially since many of the most conscientiously purist libertarians I’ve known over the past several decades have been griping about “the Kochtopus” and bitterly criticizing the Koch family’s evil schemes to “take over” the libertarian movement in this country.

        I’ve always received the Koch efforts – both within and without the big-“L” Libertarian Party – with a shrug. As I’ve pointed out, unlike Algore, Charles G. Koch has really done nothing more than fling his own money around. If there’s anything even hinting about Charles G. Koch misrepresenting facts with willful intent to get his hands on other people’s money or otherwise valuable considerations under false pretenses (as Algore has done), I’ve yet to hear about it. gryposaurus, you got anything on that?

        Nah. I didn’t think so.

        Unlike Blitzkrieg (which is accomplished with armored fighting vehicles, artillery, attack aircraft, and motorized logistical support), “a corporate-funded media blitz” violates nobody‘s rights.

        I wonder what more we’re going to get in the way of “hand-waving” from gryposaurus about Charles G. Koch? Not that gryposaurus seems to be keeping his hand where anyone might see it, er, waving.

      • Ah, yes, the inherent self-contradictoriousness of exhibitionistic onanism …

        :D

      • AnyColourYouLike

        This thread is no place for advertising your hobbies Brian. ;)

      • If there’s anything even hinting about Charles G. Koch misrepresenting facts with willful intent to get his hands on other people’s money or otherwise valuable considerations under false pretenses (as Algore has done), I’ve yet to hear about it. gryposaurus, you got anything on that?
        Nah. I didn’t think so.
        Unlike Blitzkrieg (which is accomplished with armored fighting vehicles, artillery, attack aircraft, and motorized logistical support), “a corporate-funded media blitz” violates nobody‘s rights.

        Rich is continuing this method of argumentation, possibly to take notice off the real issue which he apparently agrees we me on. Trying to decipher sarcasm from straight discussion is impossible because of the uncomfortable tone he uses, but he says:

        most conscientiously purist libertarians I’ve known over the past several decades have been griping about “the Kochtopus” and bitterly criticizing the Koch family’s evil schemes to “take over” the libertarian movement in this country.

        But instead of discussing it, he would like me to discuss whether or not Koch’s actions violate rights. Hand-waving. I am discussing the Libertarian erosion into a political movement that can no longer deal with issues. It’s become one media driven talking point after another about “theft” and “coercion”. So instead of looking at problems, such as AGW, rationally, there is outright denial that any problem exists and a rather unhealthy dose of conspiracy in regards to scientists and academia. These problems are caused by people like Koch hijacking the movement from intellectuals to fit their own political or business interests. That is my argument and Rich has fulfilled the narrative with his responses.

      • The final refuge of the true believer is to declare that skepticism is a satanic cynical effort funded by the Koch family.
        Gypo, the sound you hear is people laughing AT you, not with you.

      • Just a few years ago, Al Gore bragged about the $300,000,000 he had for an ad campaign for global warming. When asked about the source of the funding he said that it came from ‘internet and anonymous donors’. Even Andy Revkin blanched at that one.
        ========

      • I might observe that Algore and the other government-empowered partisans of the “man-made climate disruption” fraud have done very, very well for themselves – in both the political and the pecuniary senses – by pushing the CO2-forcing AGW preposterousness.

        Rich Matarese raises a very interesting point here, to which I don’t know the answer. Which of the Koch brothers and former Senator Gore have profited more from their respective frauds?

        Which raises a second question. Should we believe the one who has profited more, or the one who has profited less?

        I am looking forward to any resolution of this fascinating question from all quarters, even from other planets that may be tuning in here.

        I hope no one thinks that my question is loaded in any way, as it is asked in all sincerity.

      • …gryposaurus … can’t cite a single primary source … to support his whining (and, Dr. Curry, “whining” is precisely what it is)
        Shouldn’t that read gripeosaurus ?

      • So why does the AGW community lie and cliam CO2 is a pollutant?

      • randomengineer

        Aunt Minnie doesn’t know squat about Radiative Transfer and spectral absorbtions. But pollution, that’s something she gets. As Rich M puts it in his quote from Carlin… it’s a lie.

      • Hunter,

        “So why does the AGW community lie and claim CO2 is a pollutant?” As one who watched it happening, I’d say that as usual this has a tiny bit to do with the science, and a lot to do with the social history of environmentalism. The founding narrative of environmentalism is the essential turpitude of mankind. It holds that mankind’s prosperity is axiomatically bad, having been wrought at the expense of the environment. Since the DDT scam in the 60s, environmentalists have conducted a box search for what they see as the cardinal sins of mankind. Having less to do with science than with ill-considered ideology and existential angst, this search was conducted on social, not scientific lines. It therefore took aim at activities it saw as emblematic of human prosperity. There can be few devices more emblematic of human abundance than the internal combustion engine. So it became chief target, initially on the (indisputable, but probably overstated) grounds of its CO, lead, particulate and other emissions, not CO2. Since they were engaged primarily in feel-good dragon-slaying, they didn’t really understand the science. So the environmentalists underestimated two things about i/c techonology:

        a) Its capacity for improvement, wrt the emissions they complained about – to the point where, to the dismay of the appalled greenies, it was becoming clear it could answer its sternest critics and survive.

        b) Its enduring superiority, as a vehicular power source, to anything remotely under consideration.

        Faced with defeat in their efforts to slay the i-c engine and thereby deliver Mankind the rebuke they believe it deserves, they turned to the “last man standing”, the only emission the i-c engine cannot avoid – CO2 – for salvation. Generalising the indictment to embrace all combustion of carbon came swiftly on its heels, and was going strong until Nov 09. The scientists and policy-makers who so uncritically climbed on the environmentalists’ bandwagon are now not so much painted into a corner, as stranded on the far side of a tree-limb which Nature’s saw is steadily severing from the trunk.

      • So why does the AGW community lie and cliam CO2 i s a pollutant?

        Only because the US Supreme Court includes five “liars,” which is all it takes.

        One imagines their legal training must have included several courses on how to lie convincingly.

        I’m sure you must be truly fed up with the idea that appointment to the Supreme Court is for life. Have you ever considered finding some end run around that problem?

  32. Here are references from my old proposal:

    Kleindorfer, P.R. and H.C. Kunreuther, 1998: Innovative market-based approaches to environmental policy: Implementing the major-accident provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments Conference organized by the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center and the Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office of the US EPA – Special introduction. Risk Analysis, 18 (2): 131-131.

    Montero, J.P., J.M. Sanchez, R. Katz, (2002): A market-based environmental policy experiment in Chile. J. Law & Econ., 45 (1): 267-287.

    Popp, D., 2003: Pollution control innovations and the Clean Air Act of 1990. J. Policy Analysis and Management, 22 (4): 641-660.

    Sandor, R.L., E.C. Bettelheim and I.R. Swingland, 2002: An overview of a free-market approach to climate change and conservation. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. London, Ser.A – Mathemat. Physicl Engin. Sci., 360 (1797): 1607-1620.

    Rassenti, S.J., V.L. Smith, B.J. Wilson, 2003: Controlling market power and price spikes in electricity networks: Demand-side bidding. P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 100 (5): 2998-3003.

    Smith, S.C. and A.J. Yates, 2003: Optimal pollution permit endowments in markets with endogenous emissions. J. Envirl Econ. Mgmt., 46 (3): 425-445.

    Porter, D., M. Olson, and T. Ishikida, 2001: “The Design of a Pollution Trading System for Southern California’s RECLAIM Emission Trading Program,” Research in Experimental Economics.

  33. Libertarians are often:

    (1) skeptical of man’s ability to model complex phenomena accurately (see libertarian/austrian-economic views on the state of macro-economics)
    (2) against large governments -> AGW theoretically requires global governance/coordination to solve
    (3) against corporate welfare (waxman bill was full of this)
    (4) against the Precautionary Principle
    (5) more concerned with economic growth than protecting the environment (this might not be accurate)
    (6) against increasing revenue’s for governments (carbon tax)

    I think the combination of all of those helps explain much of libertarian disbelief of AGW or the lack of support for anything that will significantly reduce GHG

    • From a libertarian…

      1) False! If there is empirical support, I’m all for models. It’s just that there isn’t any wrt to AGW.
      2) False! I’d love to see a single world government committed to protecting individual freedom… a dream of most libertarians I think. No more wars fought over lines on a map, religion or resources… Really, the size of government is not the main issue, it’s the quality of its actions that counts.
      3) True! Don’t know what that has to do with AGW though…
      4) True! I’d be open to it if I had a working crystal ball…
      5) False! More concerned with personal liberty… economic growth follows. Just enforcing the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution would do WAY more good for the environment than the mountains of regulations we have today and it’d be cheaper too. Libertarians greatly value the environment, but our path to a clean and healthy one are very different than yours.
      6) True! The government can only get revenue through the threat/use of force. Aside from a few exceptions (like national defense), the government will never be able to come close to the private sector wrt to effective capital allocation. Just ask any former Soviet.

      • GregP

        My comments were aimed at libertarians generally, which I suspect many libertarians would agree with most of them.

        #1 is certainly true for many free-market/libertarian leaning economists
        #2 i have never heard of a libertarian desiring large world governments
        #5 meh whatever

      • Don’t follow what ‘generally’ means. I like dealing in specifics.

        1) Can you cite examples of libertarian economists that have denied the usefulness of computer models? I’d doubt no more than anyone else. The issue has nothing to do with AGW other than basing conclusions on unvalidated simulations. Are libertarians the only one’s disturbed by that?

        2) I guess then there’s always a first time. If it’s committed to personal freedom, how big does it really need to be?

      • 1) False! If there is empirical support, I’m all for models. It’s just that there isn’t any wrt to AGW.

        Saying something over and over doesn’t make it true.

        2) False! I’d love to see a single world government committed to protecting individual freedom… a dream of most libertarians I think. No more wars fought over lines on a map, religion or resources… Really, the size of government is not the main issue, it’s the quality of its actions that counts.

        How about wars fought over the line between the smoking and nonsmoking areas of a restaurant? Or the CO2 and non-CO2 areas of an atmosphere?

        5) False! … Libertarians greatly value the environment, but our path to a clean and healthy one are very different than yours.

        Unfortunately for non-libertarians, that path is based on rejection of the science. (Or acceptance of libertarian science, which amounts to the same thing.)

  34. Libertarians really aren’t much of a mystery. Unlike liberals and conservatives, libertarians believe in personal accountability, tolerance and using force only in self-defense and as a last resort.

    By default, libertarians will always be wary of government initiatives. There is a long history of government abuse from policies smuggled into law under the pretense of a noble cause. Not to mention the usually horrendous unintended consequences and opportunity costs that follow. The Volstead and Social Security Acts come to mind and every war… er, I mean ‘police action’ the US has fought since WWII (Afghanistan being a possible exception – but Congress never declared war).

    If you want to gauge a libertarian’s position on pretty much any public policy (including climate change), put it on a scale with “Increases personal freedom” on one end and “Reduces personal freedom” at the other. If the answer is more toward the former, then “Great!” and if the latter, then “Forget it!” Unfortunately, they’re always more the latter because that’s what government does.

    The challenge for libertarians wrt H/AGW is that CO2 is a natural by-product of life and therefore not a pollutant. If H/AGW can be proven, then libertarians need to reconcile with the reality. Either an exception to limited government action must be made to curb fossil fuel emissions or a true market-based solution must emerge (Cap and Trade is not a libertarian-friendly solution and is a mockery of free markets).

    Libertarians place great faith in free markets because where money can be made, human beings working together cooperatively accomplish amazing things. And if a demand exists, markets will form. I don’t think CO2 fears are any different. Voluntary human action will trump coercion in the long run. And keep in mind that market failures are always a failure of government; not the market. Think Great Depression… think today’s wonderful economic situation… and given the current level of US national debt, tomorrow’s not looking great either.

    The reason businesses don’t crash economies is that the market imposes checks-and-balances through competition and supply-and-demand. No single business failure is likely to crash the economy but when government fails, the impact will have far reaching consequences. There is no force more destabilizing to the markets and economy than intrusive ill-conceived government policies. And while on the subject of massive failure, no corporation (as distasteful as they can be) has ever started a war; that’s what governments do (and are exceptionally good at).

    • For gubmints, noble cause corruption isn’t a risk, it’s a core strategy.

    • Libertarians really aren’t much of a mystery. Unlike liberals and conservatives, libertarians believe in personal accountability, tolerance and using force only in self-defense and as a last resort.

      And in ignoring complaints from their neighbours. (Although I get on well with eleven of my neighbours , I have a twelfth who turns a deaf ear to my complaints. Unfortunately it’s my next door neighbour. Apparently a libertarian.)

      In case there was the slightest doubt about this:

      If you want to gauge a libertarian’s position on pretty much any public policy (including climate change), put it on a scale with “Increases personal freedom” on one end and “Reduces personal freedom” at the other. If the answer is more toward the former, then “Great!” and if the latter, then “Forget it!

      Right. As I said, ignoring complaints from their neighbors. I really hate that.

      The challenge for libertarians wrt H/AGW is that CO2 is a natural by-product of life and therefore not a pollutant.

      By this reasoning feces are not a pollutant. You may find organic gardeners on your side on that one, but even they have their limits.

      Libertarians place great faith in free markets because where money can be made, human beings working together cooperatively accomplish amazing things.

      I was amazed at the dot com implosion. Also more than just ticked off. Would you say the system has now recovered?

      market failures are always a failure of government; not the market

      Now you’re just expressing a personal bias. Markets screw themselves, the only people who blame it on the government are those who hate the government. If you hated snail darters you’d be blaming it on them.

      The reason businesses don’t crash economies is that the market imposes checks-and-balances through competition and supply-and-demand. No single business failure is likely to crash the economy but when government fails, the impact will have far reaching consequences. There is no force more destabilizing to the markets and economy than intrusive ill-conceived government policies. And while on the subject of massive failure, no corporation (as distasteful as they can be) has ever started a war; that’s what governments do (and are exceptionally good at).

      I’m sure Alan Greenspan is thrilled at still having these little pockets of support, however insane the rest of the world views them.

      Feel free to call me an idiot, btw.

      • You’re not an idiot, just misinformed. Like the general public is today over AGW…

        “[Libertarians ignore] complaints from their neighbors. I really hate that.” So if you have inconsiderate neighbors, they must be libertarians? Libertarians are people; some considerate and some not. Libertarianism doesn’t rely on people being considerate (though wouldn’t it be great if people were?), but rather a legal framework that maximizes personal freedom. From your statement then, you must believe that the police should be able to gun down people for being inconsiderate. Pretty harsh don’t you think?

        “By this reasoning feces are not a pollutant…” I’ll be more precise then. CO2 is part of the cycle of life; we need it for our survival. And again, libertarians believe that each person should be secure in their person and property (also found in the 4th Amendment to US Constitution unfortunately gutted by activists Supreme Courts). Feces are a health hazard; CO2 isn’t.

        “I was amazed at the dot com implosion. Also more than just ticked off. Would you say the system has now recovered?” I don’t follow. I’m better off for it. I’m confident that the best technologies and business models have survived. We will always benefit more from economic Darwinism (even though for some the process will be financially painful). Do you think government bureaucrats could have brought us the dot com revolution in the first place?

        “Markets screw themselves, the only people who blame it on the government are those who hate the government.” The Great Depression was a product of government interference. What would have been a sharp and likely short-lived market correction the government turned into a decade long disaster only corrected by the onset of WWII. And the 1929 stock market would not have crashed in the first place had the Federal Reserve Banks not been competing with the stock market by raising their rates. The government destabilized the market by making it possible for capital to flow out and into competing government securities. I’m not even sure we have any idea how effective truly free markets are since we don’t have any; the government regulates the hell out of every one.

        Markets need to be able to crash and financial pain felt by all involved. If the market is fatally flawed somehow, it needs to die an inglorious death (like Cap and Trade!). But *government* isn’t allowed to die off, so bad government policies can lead to national catastrophe. Something we should all be very concerned about wrt to AGW.

  35. LibertarianX

    Any libertarian approaching the climate debate sees:
    1. All proposed ‘solutions’ require governmental intervention.
    2. All proposed ‘solutions’ require (a/some) degree of coercion.
    Hey, what’s not to like?
    Fry, baby, fry!

    • LibertarianX

      I risk a generalization:
      No libertarian (or Libertarian) will accept argumentum ad verecundiam.
      cAGW relies heavily thereon.
      Hence cAGW is a crock of s*** (as seen by said l/L )
      Hence ‘fry’ is purely hypothetical.
      (Logic – partial; sentiment – perfect)

      • Just to save others the trouble of looking it up, that’s reliance on authorities speaking outside their areas of special knowledge.

      • No libertarian (or Libertarian) will accept argumentum ad verecundiam

        I conclude from this that no libertarian understands Latin. You appear to be using it with some other meaning. It refers to the fallacy of appealing to the testimony of an authority outside his special field, which is clearly not the meaning you have ascribed to it.

      • (Meanwhile I see Brian H made the same point 12 hours earlier.)

    • 3. All identified ’causes’ are individuals acting for their own profit or out of their own laziness to harm other individuals with neither consent nor benefit?

  36. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say AGW is real. Libertarians still have huge problems with most of the proposed solutions. We are firm believers in the ability of humans to solve problems when they occur. We also think it is self evedent that prosperous societies have more resouces to solve problems. Therefore we should be encouraging world developement. And burning fossil fuels is essential to that developement.

    The only constant of climate is that it chages over time. Stop playing Canute. Let people solve any problems as they occur. The more prosperous we are, the better we can adapt. Optimism is not idiocy and Malthusian pessimists are constantly proven wrong. Whatever comes, I see a bright future for my children.

    By the way, any time I google my real name pages and pages about some guy at the Cato Instute come up. At least we’re both libertarians.

    • Praise Canute, don’t diss him! He staged the tides demo to show his syncophantic courtiers that Nature overrules all human authority.

      • Quite right, Brian, Cnut’s “failure” to stay the tide was an early lesson to his courtiers that “data trumps theory”, as well as that kings are human. I like to think the man had a wicked sense of humour, as well as an anagrammatic name.

  37. Libertarians view themselves as rational and supportive of science.  Seems like Libertarian support for cap and trade would be a natural.”

    Does this mean you think conservatives (generally) don’t believe in science? If so, aren’t you “stereotyping?”

    • Never “stereotyping.” Abstracting.

      My experience of political conservatives in these United States – and I’ve had much of such experience; the majority of physicians in private practice tend robustly to be political conservatives if for no reason other than that almost every one of us has had to write out the paychecks of the people we employ, and we see every pay period precisely how the government thugs are screwing our employees – is that if they can be said to “believe” in anything it is the comforting consistency of tradition.

      The conservative mindset – political and otherwise – is the natural default state of mankind. The great majority of people are “hot for certainties,” and the great comfort of conservatism is its conscious pretense that history – as William F. Buckley, Jr., once so famously put it – can be stopped.

      Ain’t never gonna happen, of course. Which explains libertarianism in modern America. Heck, even Buckley – toward the close of his life – understood what a dead-end conservatism is, and tried to pass himself off as a libertarian (cf. Happy Days Were Here Again: Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist, 1993).

      The “Liberal” (socialist, “progressive,” fascist, statist, authoritarian, collectivist, whatever) is either evil or insane in his vision of the human race as a species of hive-dwelling insects. The conservative, poor bastich, is just stupid.

      • Kind of harsh. The reasonable conservative simply isn’t prepared to throw out the hard-won knowledge and workably stable social arrangements of the past without adequate justification. Liberals are prepared to experiment and fiddle at the drop of a hat; progressives assume up front that all past attitudes and understanding are false and need to be swept away forthwith.

      • Among the objectionable characteristics of conservatives in these United States – especially the “social” conservatives – is that they are not simply disinclined “to throw out the hard-won knowledge and workably stable social arrangements of the past without adequate justification but that they treat with actively enmity (to the point of violent suppression) other parties’ ideas and activities which run contrary to that “knowledge” and those “social arrangements.”

        Jeez, what the hell ever happened to the concept of “live and let live” among American conservatives, anyway?

        I submit that these “social arrangements” so beloved of the conservatives can’t really be characterized as “stable” if those who value them are so afraid of their disruption and displacement that said conservatives have to take actively violent hostile steps to crush out any speech or objectively inoffensive “arrangement for living” which might – in these conservatives’ subjective opinion – deviate therefrom.

        As for the fascisti on the left, however they dissemble, it is never as simple as “Liberals are prepared to experiment and fiddle at the drop of a hat” and “progressives assume up front that all past attitudes and understanding are false and need to be swept away forthwith.”

        Try to impeach absolutely pernicious institutions like government “public education” schooling in any way, and watch how wonderfully reluctant are the “Liberals” to “experiment” to any extent at all, and how “progressives” reject the notion that real progress can be made by ridding our body politic of this manifestly degrading and vicious set of “past attitudes and understanding” toward the non-existent “value” of turning our children over to government thugs and thieves to grind these kids into said thugs’ and thieves’ idea of what a “good citizen” ought to be.

      • watch how wonderfully reluctant are the “Liberals” to “experiment” to any extent at all

        That’s complete rubbish. Do you even understand the concept of an experiment? Can you name anyone who has ever conducted an experiment at any time in the last ten thousand years at any place in the world? If so, in what sense would you say they are not “liberal?”

        You may not be the Dr. Richard Matarese from Watertown, NY, but just in case you are, please give an example of any individual from anywhere near there who has ever conducted an experiment of the slightest interest to anyone.

        You obviously haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

      • The conservative mindset – political and otherwise – is the natural default state of mankind.

        If that were true the White House would always be occupied by a conservative.

      • This assumes the White House is always occupied by the mindful.

      • This assumes the White House is always occupied by the mindful.

        Who occupies the White House has nothing to do with their mindset.

        The White House is occupied by whoever was elected to it. If the natural state of mankind were a conservative mindset, then the voters would always elect a conservative. The fact that they go back and forth refutes your argument that mankind is naturally conservative.

        If the voters elect someone with Alzheimers then we should infer that the natural default state of mankind is a preference for Alzheimers patients. If they elect Bill O’Reilly then the natural state default state of mankind is a preference for (something else, will have to think about it).

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You’re apparently confusing me with Rich Matarese, which I can see the similarity, sure.

        I can’t concede your argument, as it makes unwarranted assumptions about the reasons people vote.

        If Americans voted for people just like them, then we’d certainly see more women in the Presidency, and far fewer millionaires.

        In this post-Cult-of-Personality era, the presidency appears to have very little to do with the mind of America.

        Perhaps you’re thinking of America’s Next Top Model?

      • No confusion, Bart, I’ve been following with interest your debate with one of this blog’s more outspoken representatives of what I’ve been taking to be libertarian conservatism. Obviously I’m on your side in those debates, but your “This assumes the White House is always occupied by the mindful” misses the reasoning behind my “If that were true the White House would always be occupied by a conservative.”

        What Rich said was that “The conservative mindset – political and otherwise – is the natural default state of mankind.” The two main US parties are liberal and conservative, so if Rich’s claim were right then I for one would expect the conservative party would always win.

        If instead he’d said “The feminist mindset is the natural default state of mankind” (humankind, whatever) then I would not have drawn the conclusion that we’d have seen more women presidents. This is because the US parties don’t divide along male-female lines to anywhere near the extent they do along liberal-conservative lines. If they did I would expect a similar balance of gender representation in the White House to the one that currently obtains for the liberal-conservative spectrum.

        In the 70s there was something of a caustic climate concerning gender. However I don’t recall any feminist placing crosshairs over a map centered on Hugh Hefner’s home. This may only have been because it never occurred to them to use it as a recruiting tool for the unhinged. Had jihad and the imams’ exhortations to kill the infidels raised an army of the unhinged in the 60s, the most outspoken feminists might have learned from it, but Al Qaeda’s recruiting methods did not come to the US public’s attention until after 9/11.

        In the meantime the battleground has shifted from gender to the more intensely waged war between liberals and conservatives, with the most outspoken taking a page out of the more outspoken imams’ playbook. I decry the tactics of those imams. To those who say those tactics can’t work in practice, 9/11 sent a clear message that they can.

        Personally I thought the gender wars were healthier, as there was (and still is) greater inequity between the sexes than there ever has been between the liberal and conservative ends of the political spectrum, neither of which has ever managed to subjugate the other, notwithstanding RM’s belief that “the conservative mindset is the natural state.” We should return to those wars, which might actually serve a useful purpose, so that the conservatives and the liberals can stop pointlessly fighting with each other and try to make themselves useful to their electorate instead of simply setting occupancy of the White House as the party’s main goal.

      • Tsk. Mr. Pratt falls again. My statement that “The conservative mindset – political and otherwise – is the natural default state of mankind.” is interpreted by Mr. Pratt as meaning that here in America (or in the anglophone West), this “conservative mindset” requires – or ought to require – the majority of the population to support that one of the two wings of America’s great permanently incumbent Boot-On-Your-Neck Party which falsely styles itself as “conservative.”

        Tsk. As if the “Rotarian socialist” Republicans were ever in any way predominantly conservative in any sense whatsoever. I recommend Dr. Clyde Wilson’s essay “The Republican Charade” as a start. From that essay:

        Apparently millions continue to harbor the strange delusion that the Republican party is the party of free enterprise, and, at least since the New Deal, the party of conservatism. In fact, the party is and always has been the party of state capitalism. That, along with the powers and perks it provides its leaders, is the whole reason for its creation and continued existence. By state capitalism I mean a regime of highly concentrated private ownership, subsidized and protected by government. The Republican party has never, ever opposed any government interference in the free market or any government expenditure except those that might favour labour unions or threaten Big Business.

        To the extent that socialism is established in people’s minds as the status quot, they are rabidly conservative about keeping (for example) the “social safety net” which was only two or three generations before the most incontinently unworkable fascistic insanity.

        We speak of the “ratcheting effect” by which socialists have – in classic Fabian fashion – imposed their malignancy upon American society at large, counting upon each succeeding generation’s “conservative mindset” to keep the fascists’ hateful and vicious schemes from being rolled back and abolished.

        Perhaps the more homely “How to Boil a Live Frog” parable is more apprehensible?

        Gotta love how this Pratt putz keeps trying to sell my positions here on the basis of my “belief” when I’ve shown repeatedly that my contentions arise from the reasoned examination of historical fact, and there’s not one friggin’ little thing of “belief” involved.

        Maybe it’s because Mr. Pratt has sweet eff-all to his own positions except religious faith in “government-as-god.”

      • So, Rich – why not go whole-hog and become an anarchist?

      • Ah, yes. “Anarchy – It’s not the law. It’s just a good idea.”

        Not that Derecho64 impresses me as capable of recognizing a good idea were it physically embodied brought repeated into impact between his eyes, briskly and repeatedly.

        Let’s pretend that Derecho64 ever responds honestly and directly to any question put to him, and ask: “Just what the hell is it that gives you, Derecho64, to fear anarchy so much that you make common cause with people like Oliver Cromwell and Francisco Franco and the Islamic Courts Union of Somalia?”

        Those who worship “government-as-god” (imputing to it those characteristics of omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence I’ve mentioned before, and which these True Believers constantly seem to be blanking out) keep giving the impression that the idea of life lived without Officer Friendly telling them what to do every second of the day just scares them into bladder incontinence.

        Kinda sick and pitiful, ain’t they?

      • Rand wasn’t an anarchist; what makes her views wrong and stupid, compared to yours, Rich?

        Would you dump your used motor oil down the storm drain? Why or why not?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        So what exactly IS your vision Rich? You keep telling us, in phantasmagoric detail, your gothic nightmares, but what do you propose instead? I mean, do we each get a bunker and a plot of land to farm, or what? Sort of like the wild west but with automatic weapons?

      • Rich thinks he’d be just fine without government – until the next mob with more power than he and his ilk come along. He’ll be lucky if there’s a marker.

      • To all, I am I the only one who understands what DR64 is doing. How, what, explain yourself, are about the only substance to his posts. He is a little snark appointed by the Rapid Response Team to disrupt intelligent discourse at this site. I beg of you not to indulge him.

      • Sorry, Bob, but I haven’t been appointed by anyone. It’s just that gratuitous nonsense (of which there is plenty ’round these parts) deserves to be countered. An uncontested lie too easily becomes the “truth”.

        Besides, I’m skeptical of “skeptics”. Can’t they withstand some auditing? So far, it appears not.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Bob

        If you’re talking to me, I disagree with D64 vehemently about the truth of cAGW, and have had a few decent spats with him, as I’m sure he’ll tell you.

        I do, however, think many of his comments on this thread make sense. I’m not interested ganging up on anyone, I call the issues as I see them.

      • randomengineer

        Far right republicans tell you that they are the party of fiscal conservatism, and every time I hear this, I cringe. Ain’t so. Ike was the republican who gave use the interstate system, and that’s just the easy low hanging fruit example that everyone is familiar with.

        To me the difference is that republicans tend (slightly) to be better at infrastructure e.g. interstates and truckloads of military cash for fundamental R&D that eventually wind up as consumer markets of their own accord (e.g. computers and GPS.)

        You and I won’t agree on this but as I see it the republican spending at least comes back in terms of business creation largely from the effect of technological investment. Democrats tend to be luddites such as Kerry who vowed to slash NASA funding claiming there were “problems right here on earth” that needed the money more.

        Of course, saying this is going to cheese off the democrats.

      • How does technology exist without science? And given the current Republican/Tea Party desire to see science funding slashed, how do you reconcile this contradiction?

      • What a sad world D64 lives in…where the only science that gets gets done is funded by the government.

      • Whereas corporate interests don’t, and won’t, fund any science if they can’t see a return on investment. So much for basic science… Perhaps that’s what the hard-right wants – the only good science is that which results in better ways to kill people. At a profit.

      • Rich, you said the conservative mindset. If you intended a particular one then you should have said so.

        But the narrower you make your definition, the fewer people fit it, and therefore the less plausible your claim that it is the “natural” mindset.

        It would be like an oboe teacher saying that the oboe mindset is the natural one. It’s only natural for oboe players.

        I’ve shown repeatedly that my contentions arise from the reasoned examination of historical fact, and there’s not one friggin’ little thing of “belief” involved.

        Reasoned examination of the historical facts set out plainly in the bible convinces a great many people of the reality of God. They do not consider God a mere belief but a fact.

        Had Germany won WW II, in all likelihood Sir Arthur Harris and probably Sir Winston Churchhill would have been tried and executed as war criminals for the inhumane firestorms they inflicted on the citizens of Pforzheim, Hamburg, and Dresden, and the history books would have reflected this.

        Instead the history books focus on the Nuremberg trials, which did not oddly enough put either Harris or Churchhill in the dock as defendants. And the history books reflect this by according Churchhill the status of saviour, if not of the whole world then at least of its English and French speaking portions.

        What is in the history books is what we refer to as “facts” except when we take strong exception to the history. Then we feel motivated to rewrite history accordingly.

        The concept of “historical fact” takes on a certain reality in our minds that can only withstand so much examination before one starts to question its reality.

      • There is some true to the your authors-of-history/winner-of-wars theory, but I will point out the North won the war and in my history classes it was called the War of Northern Aggression.

      • Only one of quite a few names.

        While we may know where John Brown’s body lies, his soul has something of the status of Schroedinger’s cat: in heaven and hell at the same time.

        I’m not claiming no Germans teach that Harris was a bad man, though I would be surprised to find it part of any mainstream German history curriculum. Anyone have any first hand info on this?

  38. Much of these facile definitions of libertarians and free markets are no more than self-serving preferances for theory over facts and mythology over reality. Something that appears on both sides of the left-right divide with equal regularity.

    Let’s be clear about one thing, socialists, lefties, progressives and any real liberals are far more determined about the protection of civil liberties than so-called libertarians. The big difference however is that they care for the freedom of others just as much as for themselves (hence the social in socialism). So how does this end up with more restrictive laws rather than less?

    Well it should be obvious that it’s not necessarily government decrees that reduce your freedoms, it can be criminals, multinationals, culture, social groups and castes, superstition, religions, infirmities and even your own family. Those government-imposed laws are mostly your official protection against all those other unreasonable pressures. Similarly your own preferred personal freedoms quite often impinge on the equally valid personal freedoms of others. Alas, bitter experience tells us that self-regulation just doesn’t work so other people also need protected from you! Simple isn’t it?

    It’s so simple that to those lefties and liberals, the only real problem with any carbon tax appears to be quite simply that libertarians and conservatives abhor paying all taxes. Wrap this up in utopian mythologies such as “free-markets” as much as you like it still looks and smells like selfishness. And thet’s the main reason for the hostility and name-calling. Stick to the science please and try to at least recognise the reality distortion zone you inhabit before pointing out those of your opponents.

    • Much of these facile definitions of libertarians and free markets are no more than self-serving preferances for theory over facts and mythology over reality. Something that appears on both sides of the left-right divide with equal regularity.

      Which labels you pretty firmly for what your are.

      Let’s be clear about one thing, socialists, lefties, progressives and any real liberals are far more determined about the protection of civil liberties than so-called libertarians.

      Not sue what world you live in, but it’s not the same one I’ve spent 70+ years living in. Only liberals, lefties, progressives, etc want gun control – meaning specifically a ban on all guns, per the UN. Mostly liberals, lefties, progressives, etc want world governance and are willing to cede US soveriegnty to the UN – can you think of 20 ways that would be restrictive of personal freedom? Mosly liberals, lefties, progressives, etc want universal health care – which is a disaster, as proven in a LOT of places.

      When yo’ve got

      The big difference however is that they care for the freedom of others just as much as for themselves (hence the social in socialism). So how does this end up with more restrictive laws rather than less?

      Haven’t noticed any of that goin’ around. Mostly y’all want to either limit those things that you disagree with (which is pretty mich anything and everything that I believe/want) or you want to force me into your mould.

      Don’t think so –

      Well it should be obvious that it’s not necessarily government decrees that reduce your freedoms,

      Really????

      it can be criminals, multinationals, culture, social groups and castes, superstition, religions, infirmities and even your own family. Those government-imposed laws are mostly your official protection against all those other unreasonable pressures.

      Bull. “All those other unreasonable pressures” are minor annoyances compared to what the government can/will do to your life – and mine. Most of them are voluntary – which government restrictions aren’t.

      • Hm. From L. Neil Smith’s essay: “Why Did it Have to be … Guns?:”

        …if a politician won’t trust you, why should you trust him? If he’s a man — and you’re not — what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If “he” happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she’s eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn’t want you to have?

        Mr. Smith concludes his essay thus:

        You don’t have to study every issue — health care, international trade — all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.

        And that’s why I’m accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.

        But it isn’t true, is it?

    • James G writes bitterly:

      …it should be obvious that it’s not necessarily government decrees that reduce your freedoms, it can be criminals, multinationals, culture, social groups and castes, superstition, religions, infirmities and even your own family.

      It might pungently be observed that when it is not the officers of government themselves violating the rights of the private citizen, they’re functioning as accessories before in after the fact as free-lance malefactors work their evil intents upon their prey.

      Yes, we certainly treat the rapist as criminal. But how about the guy who holds the victim down while she’s being violated?

      There’s that old but wonderful line about the “Liberal” government thug and his perpetual quest to achieve “gun control,” which speaks to the velvet-gloved fascist’s preference that a woman be forcibly gang-banged and left strangled with her own pantyhose rather than allow her – horrors! – to own and carry a firearm with which to protect herself.

      Gotta love the noises that socialists make about supposed “mythologies” among those of us who treat our fellow human beings as competent moral agents.

      Of course, like James G here, the collectivists and other haters of “selfishness” (a behavioral trait that is absent only from the catatonic and the dead) invariably blank out on any consideration that if “self-regulation just doesn’t work,” neither could regulation imposed by “other people.”

      Isn’t it wonderful how such folks automatically repose absolutely religious faith in the omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence of popularity contest winners, uniformed goons, and similar government flunkies, and yet won’t trust you – personally – with your own life?

      • Well I’m not a socialist actually. They do impose too many restrictions on the formations of businesses for me and there are far too many bureaucrats. However universal health care works great where I live. My experience of US health care is that it is a lot more expensive and you get a lot less. The very idea of calling up an insurer to find out if you can see a doctor is utterly ridiculous. Going bankrupt over a 3 day stay in hospital is shameful in a civilised society.

        There is a myth going around that socialised medicine, or more accurately put, national insurance, is always enforced. Well true, in France, with the best medical care in the world (acknowledged by every independent study) it is enforced but is also partly privately insured. In the UK you can always pay extra for private insurance: In reality the original tax plus the extra for private care is still less than the huge sums you have to pay in the US. That much I know. So where’s the benefit?

        Health care is not a choice issue – you buy it or you die in agony on the street because they took your home away. What kind of choice is that? Company health care is taken off your income in exactly the same way as an income tax. So is a virtual tax ok then?

        The idea of gun control is presumably so that criminals don’t get them. At least you can have a stun gun there I believe to satisfy your need for personal protection – just as effective but less deadly. Alas the criminals can use them too, thanks to their personal freedoms.

        We all struggle with the correct way to control criminal intent, keep ourselves healthy and well educated. It’s not apparent to me which is the best solution but I like to see what actually works rather than spout dogma that bears no relation to reality, as you seem to prefer. Me religious, not at all! I observe and try to learn. There are some people here we can learn from. First you have to accept that the nice neat theory you learned from books just might not be correct in real life.

      • Speaking as a physician who has direct experience of medical practice in a bunch of areas – government medicine as a medical officer in the USPHS, solo private “pay me directly” general practice, group practice as a mangled care “gatekeeper,” hospital emergency department staff guy – my best perception about the way to get health care costs in these United States down is to get government to hellangone out of the industry completely.

        That includes Milton Friedman‘s suggestion, which is to get rid of medical licensing, and by extension all occupational licensing altogether.

        I mentioned this in Dr. Curry’s earlier thread on the evangelicals and the environmentalists.

        Government “regulation” in the health care sector of the U.S. economy is the single most vicious factor in the upward push of pricing. It’s not only that so goddam much is wasted in complying with those regulations (and I mean “wasted,” in no way accruing to any mensurable maintenance or increase in quality of care) but that occupational licensing in general serves as a way for doctors, nurses, and other union-card-carrying types in the industry to screw their customers by way of foreclosing competition and the cost-efficiencies provided thereby.

        Another wonderful way to cut costs is to do away with Sen. Kefauver’s idiocy of efficacy testing for prescription pharmaceuticals. The FDA fulfills its fuddy-duddy purpose (to the extent that it has one, or that it does anything worth a damn even when it’s supposedly working properly) when the people in the Office of Drug Safety ascertain that a new chemical entity (NCE) undergoing the new drug application (NDA) process is safe in the population(s) for whom its use is intended.

        That’s not a helluva lot more than toxicology. It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and it can be accomplished relatively quickly – and when corporations are using borrowed funds for working capital, time sure as hell is money.

        Efficacy testing, however…. Particularly with continuing noise about testing NCEs not against placebo but against the “standard of care” medicines in the therapeutic category those new drugs are expected to replace…well, that’s a bastich. Very time-consuming, especially with medications which are discovered for the purpose of treating chronic conditions over a long time to accrue genuine outcomes improvements.

        Such extended efficacy testing stretches out the approvals process to such a degree that Milton Friedman was able famously to calculate the numbers of Americans who died of medical conditions which were later found to be treatable with beta-blocker therapy while the FDA bureaucrats dithered about the efficacy profiles of drugs like timolol and propranolol despite the fact that beta-blocker therapy had been established in Europe as safe (with increasing evidence of clinical efficacy) for about ten years.

        Sure, “Health care is not a choice issue” – but neither are groceries, right? How about safe potable water? Shoes? Clothing?

        Look, you can’t depend on armed thugs to whom have been delegated the responsibility to manage – under delegation – the exercise of the individual human being’s unalienable right to defend himself with lethal force against violent aggressors.

        What the hell qualifies these people to provide health care?

        Keep your eye on what civil government actually is than what you’d really, really like it to be.

      • That includes Milton Friedman‘s suggestion, which is to get rid of medical licensing, and by extension all occupational licensing altogether.

        Neat! You mean I could drag people out of automobile accidents and the Good Samaritan law would protect me because I was just as qualified as anyone to do so? If someone collapsed with a heart attack in front of me I could save their life by cutting open their chest and massaging their heart to maintain blood pressure? If I was sued for malpractice in case that didn’t work out, could I just disappear into the next state or across the border without a trace?

        Wow. When can we get started with this? That sounds really cool.

      • Vaughan Pratt embarks on what he thinks is a rebuttal to my recapitulation of Milton Friedman’s advice to do away with medical licensing (and we’ve got yet another Pratt fall here, ’cause Mr. Pratt obviously didn’t follow the link provided to Dr. Friedman’s give-and-take with an audience full of medical doctors at the Mayo Clinic in 1978), starting out on his voyage with:

        Neat! You mean I could drag people out of automobile accidents and the Good Samaritan law would protect me because I was just as qualified as anyone to do so?

        …and then disappearing beneath the waves, spurlos versenkt.

        I commend readers here – including Mr. Pratt – yet again to Dr. Friedman’s presentation. While I’ve never agreed with Dr. Friedman on everything he’s advocated (including his support for the “negative income tax” concept), I acknowledge his understanding that of all the pieces of paper your medical doctor frames and hangs upon his “I Love Me” wall, the single one of them least reflective of his competence is the little certificate of licensure issued by a state government.

        Absent the presumption of the botched and the gullible (you listening, Mr. Pratt?) that a board of politically-appointed stuffed shirts can or do provide any guarantees of any kind to the patients seeking care from any physician or other professional licensed in their jurisdiction, I would direct attention to the multitude of statutes in the several states which invoke a “hold harmless” in this regard, relieving both these state boards – as corporate entities – and the individual members of these licensing boards from any responsibility in the civil or criminal courts for damages done anyone as the result of either professional incompetence on the part of a licensed health care provider or such boards’ failure to adequately pursue and verify the proofs of qualification submitted by each such licensed health care provider to secure licensure.

        I’ve written this before, but it bears repetition.

        Government is goons with guns. It is unique in civil society because it is the agency to which the private citizen delegates the exercise of his right to respond with lethal force in retaliation against the criminal violation of that citizen’s rights to life, to liberty, and to property.

        This being the case, why the hell should anyone expect these government goons with guns to do anything else with even the illusion of competence?

    • Yes, liberals care so much about other people that they’ve created a permanent underclass through welfare and minimum wage laws. They care so much about other people that they want to disarm good citizens to be victimized by armed criminals. They care so much for other people that they have nearly bankrupted our country with Social Security presumably in the belief that money comes from magic pixie dust. They care so much about other people that they see no problem with agents of the government forcibly taking money from one person under threat of imprisonment and death to support another person’s welfare addiction. Liberals care so much for other people that they ensured DDT would be banned in developing countries killing millions from malaria. Liberals care so much about people that they turned an economic recession in 1929 into a decade long Great Depression. If not for WWII, we’d still be standing in soup lines…

      I’m not sure we can survive much more liberal caring.

  39. (L|l)ibertarians dismiss AGW because it violates their dogmatic attachment to “free markets”. They cannot comprehend how markets can allow an activity that’s detrimental, that is global and lasts for generations, so, rather than change their ideology, they refuse to believe in AGW. Simple, really.

    • Burning coal and petroleum has, on balance, been extremely BENEFICIAL. Net net, it isn’t detrimental, so there is no problem to address.

      • Your time horizon is too short – like I pointed out, libertarians don’t easily regard the future as valuable.

        The western US felt the same way (“BENEFICIAL”) about the mining industry until the 1950s or so, until it was realized that the environmental degradation left behind is not cheap or easy to clean up, but which needs to be done. Is it fair, in a libertarian sense, that those who have to pay to correct past problems are not the same people that originally profited? Would you be happy to have your child fall into an open mine shaft that someone else dug and didn’t bother to seal, because the market doesn’t require repairing damage done?

      • Anybody who has grandchildren at least “thinks” they value the future. “My” view is that those of a liberal/progressive persuasion may value the future, but undervalue their grandchildren because they want to leave the grandchildren a future that’s less productive, prosperous and free than what they have. Not something I’d want for a birthday present. YMMV

        Would it be fair, in ANY sense, for that “environmental degradation” to NOT be there? Think about that – what if it weren’t? What would life be like – for you, and for everyone else in this country – and on this planet? Let’s see if you have any sense of what that “environmental degradation” represents, both historically and in terms of present-day conditions and life. And if you can get past your knee-jerk prejudices.

        Take your time. If your answer is short, then it’s nonsense.

      • Nonsense.

      • Apparently you don’t – and can’t.
        Let’s see if Do64 does any better.

      • > “My” view is that those of a liberal/progressive persuasion may value the future, but undervalue their grandchildren because they want to leave the grandchildren a future that’s less productive, prosperous and free than what they have.

        You’re making the very unwarranted assumption that a future without fossil fuels *must* be “less productive, prosperous and free”. That’s hardly an incontrovertible fact.

        Given that the rest of your argument follows from your false premise, let’s get it corrected first.

      • I made no assumption whatever about fossil fuels. You’re alreadyWAY off base. Read the question again. It’s not about the future – it’s about the past. But it impacts the future.

      • I consider things that toxic metals leaching from mine shafts and tailings piles to be environmental degradation. What would call them?

        I recommend a visit to the Rocky Mountains sometime.

      • Rotflmao!!

        I’ve “WALKED” through the Rockies – from the Mexican border to Jasper, Alberta – twice. Spent at leaat part of nearly every year since 1996 hiking the Rockies. Teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

        DIdn’t ask you for a definition – I know it better than you. I asked for the historical and present day effects IF THOSE THINGS WEREN’T THERE.

      • You dismiss the trashing of the environment because at one time, at some point, someone benefitted. In other words, if you open a factory that pollutes the air, lays waste to the land on which it’s situated, but provides jobs for some folks for a while, and you get rich, it’s all good.

        I look at your gains as ill-gotten, because the costs you have dumped (literally) onto others were not paid for from the revenue you earned. In the net, the total may actually be negative. You need a better economic system and better economic metrics to take into account *all* the results of your activities. I’m all for capitalism – just properly understood capitalism, not the fly-by-night short-term profit-grabbing that some call “capitalism”.

      • Well, Derecho64 seems inadvertently to have stumbled on one of those “stopped clock” moments you hear about. He speaks in this instance of how “In the net, the total [outcome of an enterprise] may actually be negative.

        Of course, that’s true of all human enterprises, in both the private and the public sectors. In fact, government activities have – all over the world – an even more egregiously horrible track record when it comes to having “dumped (literally) onto others ” all sorts of negative externalities. That includes having callously despoiled Derecho64‘s precious “environment,” too.

        Let me paraphrase D64‘s final line, okay?

        I’m all for government – just properly understood government, not the fly-by-night short-term pillaging and power-grabbing that some call “government”.

    • Oh, the libertarian “attachment” to a market free of violent coercion isn’t “dogmatic.” Even were the abstractly reasoned case for the market process not well-tested and robust, the practical effects of exchange in human action unconstrained by dirisisme and similar thuggeries would provide support sufficient to make clear that the libertarians’ acknowledgment of its value is the only sane and moral option.

      What’s the alternative to the “‘free market” you so virulently despise, Derecho64? You got maybe some objection to a division of labor economy? Some pretense of personal omniscience? You think you can run other people’s lives for them?

      Hm. Derecho64 appears to be a genuine believer in the AGW bogosity, complete to the “hold-your-breath!” CO2 limitation preposterousness. Wouldn’t be suprised, of course, to receive an admission thereof.

      • As expected, Rich’s reaction to a questioning of his dogma provokes the usual hysterical response.

        That’s another all-too-common libertarian failing – one has to buy into their ideology 100%, or one is evil. The world doesn’t work that way, but libertarians all-too-rarely admit that the world is a lot more complicated than their beliefs allow.

        PS – I like the “violent coercion” phrase – as if an action has to be “violent” to *really* count as “coercion”. Not true.

      • Jeez, Derecho, I didn’t think you could hear my “hysterical” laughter at your pompous silliness over the Internet. Is that a new feature with Firefox 3.6.13?

        Let’s see…. I’m working on the basis of respect for other human beings as competent moral agents with rights – to their own lives, liberties, and property – precisely equal to my own. There’s my standard of morality, to which I try at all times to adhere.

        And now we’ve got Derecho64 claiming that failure “to buy into [that] ideology 100%” is somehow notevil.”

        Er, yeah. Way too hellangone strange is this Direcho64 critter’s concept of the difference between good and evil, who claims that “The world doesn’t work that way.

        The world? As in “laws of nature” and physical reality stuff? Yep, that’s so. The ocean doesn’t morally or immorally drown you. Morality – the concepts of good and evil included – pertain only to relationships among human beings. It has no bearing upon physics or chemistry or even biology, but it’s of critical importance in the development and implementation of ways in which us naked killer apes of species Homo sapiens manage not only to work productively in a division of labor economy but also keep from going juramentado with adrenal gland squeezings and wiping each other out.

        Hm. Now I wonder how Derecho64 would characterize phrases like “Do it or I’ll kill you!” and “Your money or your life!” and “Shut up and spread your legs!” except as couched within the context of that “violent coercion” expression to which he takes such puzzling exception?

        I would think that only somebody with schemes upon the persons or property of other people would be so prone to cavil at the characterization of extortionate language and knife-at-the-throat action as “violent coercion.”

      • > I’m working on the basis of respect for other human beings as competent moral agents with rights – to their own lives, liberties, and property – precisely equal to my own. There’s my standard of morality, to which I try at all times to adhere.

        Define “respect”, “competent”, “moral”, “agent”, “rights”, “liberties”, “property” and “equal” first, so we have common ground.

      • Dear Derecho64:

        If you want to find definitions, please open another browser tab to Dogpile and enter your terms.

        There are other search engines, of course, and you’re free to look online for them.

        I’ve learned by helping my kids and my grandchildren with their homework over the years that – tempted though I am to shove an Ewald tube down your throat and gavage-feed you – those tiny little mental muscles of yours will atrophy even more thoroughly than they already have.

        Have yourself the rest of that life you’re proving you so richly deserve.

      • If only philosophy and politics were reducible to simple web searches. Perhaps libertarians are comfortable with that level of discourse, but adults often are not.

        Since libertarians often are little more than propertarians at heart, perhaps you can define “property” succinctly, clearly, and with no ambiguity for us.

        Your turn.

      • Nah, schmucklet. I’ve been through this kind of bullpuckey from critters of your ilk so frequently and so thoroughly that I’ve gotten not only the coffee mug and the sweatshirt but a nice engraved certificate to hang on the wall of my office. You’re not asking any questions in anything remotely resembling good faith (of which I suspect you’re incapable), and you have pointedly declined to answer my questions, posed to you upstream in this thread, so were it not for Dr. Curry’s sensitivities anent the usages of a politeness you have not yet in this forum once demonstrated, I regret that I cannot suggest to you the anatomically improbable actions you might be induced to take with certain portions of your anatomy.

      • If you can’t defend your ideas, then what hope have you of convincing others of them?

        You’re all hat, and no cattle. Too typical of libertarians – if others don’t accept their special definitions of various concepts, then the ol’ “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you” is always a real debate winner!

        PS – I’ve forgotten more libertarian dogma than you know. Just a forewarning.

      • Little Derecho, have you in any real way addressed (much less attacked) my ideas? Were we engaged in formal debate, upon your barrage of bootless demands for multiple definitions, I would simply turn to the referee with the expectation that you’d be marked off immediately as having thrown the contest.

        I had – for example – asked: “What’s the alternative to the ‘free market’ you so virulently despise, Derecho64?” and your response was…nothing. Bupkis. The proverbial sound of chirping crickets.

        Right then and there, Direcho, you flashed your tochus for all to see, and set everyone’s proper appreciation of your intentions, your manner, and the terrible poverty of your position in these exchanges.

        You expect to be taken seriously, with respect for even the simulacrum of polite usage? Haw!

      • randomengineer

        Rich,

        We welcome you as the newest member of the owner’s club of d64. Please remember to keep him fed and papered. Oh, and don’t let him get wet after midnight. He’s *your* problem now.

      • If you can’t even define “property” such that all agree that your definition is reasonable, then there’s really no point in reading your arguments. Covering your shallowness with lots of bluster doesn’t make it deeper – at least not in a good sense of “laying it on thick”. You’re definitely doing that.

      • Dr 64,
        If you have passed through as much of your life as you seem to have passed through and are unable to discuss those terms, then you a sad, sad case.

      • Define a “moral agent” without grey areas for me, then.

        Here’s some interesting edge cases – a child, an adult with Down’s syndrome, a person with Alzheimer’s, an unconscious person, a person under the influence of medication, a person with a mental illness…

        Does “moral agent” cover those individuals, too? Maybe you can make a better go than Rich, who relies far too heavily on libertarian sloganeering than real thought.

      • If it’s “coercion”, then, by definition, it’s “violent”.

        Regardless of the level of physical force used.

      • Yeah, I know that “If it’s ‘coercion’, then, by definition, it’s ‘violent’.” I employ the regrettable redundancy because socialists (and similar ratbag collectivists) have for generations distended and distorted the term “coercion” to include actions amounting to the threat to withhold of resources or action.

        When some householder says to a begging tramp: “Okay, if you mow my lawn, I’ll give you a meal and a place to sleep tonight,” the socialist complains that the resident of the house is perpetrating “coercion” by taking advantage of the tramp’s hunger and desire for a night’s shelter to get his lawn mowed.

        As long as the enemies of individual rights persist in warping and twisting words into tools of predation, I suspect I’ll have to continue with this tautology.

      • You have to define it for them, Rich, cause they don’t understand anything related to violence. They just think they do. At least until it happens to them – and sometimes not even then.

      • > If it’s “coercion”, then, by definition, it’s “violent”.

        A stop sign is coercion. How is it violent?

      • A stop sign is not coercion – it’s safety. The only reason to stop is if you want to live (and not kill others).

        Taxes are coercion because they’re backed up by force. If you think not, then try not paying them.

      • Taxes are for safety – they’re what we pay to have civilization.

        Stop signs are coercion – they’re backed up by force. Try blowing through one with a cop at the intersection. Then try eluding.

        Next?

      • How many stop signs come with built in cops?

        The only real consideration is – how many people do you want to kill.

        Civilization is not defined by taxes. Nor are all places that have taxes civilized.

        If you want coercion – try some of the situations that RM suggested. Then you might begin to understand what the word means. What? You’ ve never looked down the bore of a .45? That’s coercion, dear. So is the threat of confiscation of your house, car, dog, etc if you don’t pay those taxes.

      • Enough stop signs come with cops that sensible people stop for them. I stop – even when the area looks clear. Do you?

        One funny thing about libertarians – they often make the Founding Fathers (great font of quotes, they) out to be anarchists. They designed a State, for goodness’ sake – they weren’t anarchists!

        I can’t say I’ve looked down the barrel of a .45 – or a .38, or a .22 – I’ve got more sense than that.

        Believe it or not, but taxes aren’t the root of all evil. They are often used for very good things that make our lives, liberties, and property much better than otherwise. Do you disagree?

        Another thing about libertarians – they like to pretend their politics is different in kind, but it’s really just different in degree. In that sense, they’re not that different from socialists, Republicans, Democrats, “liberals”, conservatives, Tea Partiers, et.al.

      • Sigh – here we go again.

        Yes I stop – not because of the cops but because i KNOW that people die when other DON’T stop.

        I have never given you reason to think that I believe the Founding Fathers were anarchists. Anarchists would not have given us the documents that the liberal/progressives hold in contempt.

        I have looked down that .45 barrel while the man said “die, honky” and pulled the trigger because I didn’t give him the money fast enough. And THAT, dear, is coercion. Nuff said.

        Taxes are a necessary evil. The problem comes when those taxes are used for things that are not legitimate functions of government. The legitimate functions of “our” government are precisely delineated in the Constitution. “Our” present government exceeds those legitimate functions by a wide margin.

        I’ve never been a Tea Partier or a liberal. I’ve been “called” and arch-conservative. I’ve been a Democrat – and a Republican. I’m neither now. And you obviously haven’t a clue as to what I am.

      • You’re right, Jim – one of the “legitimate functions” of government is to forbid rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges…

        About taxes – if they’re necessary, then how are they “evil”? You’re always free to move elsewhere where taxes are very low, or nonexistent. How come you haven’t?

      • You’re right, Jim – one of the “legitimate functions” of government is to forbid rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges…

        Actually, that’s NOT a legitimate function of governent. It’s not the government’s business where anyone sleeps. Besides – I’ve slept under bridges – and been happy for the shelter. What’s your problem with bridges? :-)

        About taxes – if they’re necessary, then how are they “evil”? You’re always free to move elsewhere where taxes are very low, or nonexistent. How come you haven’t?

        I’ve never said they were “evil” – just misused and coercive. “Evil” is your/b> invention.

      • 64,

        We pay taxes to live in a more easily functioning society. They do not, in and of themselves, provide *civilization*. And they are NOT used properly or efficiently, and that is where the problem lies.

        Your “next” shows your usual arrogance. You and I have tangled before, locally, though you will not remember, but I am familiar with your schtick, evil/anti Spock. I also think I know your overall motives for being here, and honest debate is not one of them. I visit the usual suspect sites where I see your input, so I know your thoughts regarding this blog.

        I am fairly split politically, so with that said –i.e. I really don’t fall one way or the other on this issue though I might lean toward the libertarian view a hair–I fail to see where you think you are winning your arguments. You so far have relied on semantic quirks–define property??–vague references and sweeping generalizations. Your questions are, more often than not, off-putting and condescending. In other words, you don’t help your cause. Remember Dano on the Post site as well as others? An expert at defeating his own argument by sheer destructive self-importance and arrogance. You would do well, IMHO, to try to engage with respect, or don’t bother. More harm than good to the average lurker it the current form.

      • It’s a sad day when a brief comment, that clearly and succinctly illustrates the flaws in an argument, is called “condescending”. Some folks just can’t handle have their sacred balloons popped, and deride the pin. Pity.

  40. JamesG, you say “Let’s be clear about one thing, socialists, lefties, progressives and any real liberals are far more determined about the protection of civil liberties than so-called libertarians”. What planet are you living on? No one in the political discourse of human history has violated or abused civil liberties more than progressives. It would takes books to give you appropriate examples. Gawd, talk about reality distortion zones!

    • Let’s look at the civil liberties practiced by the National Socialist Party in Germany.

      • Let’s not.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “Let’s look at the civil liberties practiced by the National Socialist Party in Germany.”

        Yeah, those notorious lefty Nazis really give us a bad name! I’ll say one thing though, Hitler voz a better painter than Churchill. A whole room in one day – two coats!

      • Actually, the early years of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) were marked by considerable outreach to socialists generally, even to the recruitment of Communist Party members, many of whom came over enthusiastically to join the brownshirted ranks of the Sturmabteilung (SA).

        It was a standard joke to refer to such members of the National Socialist movement as “beefsteaks” – “brown on the outside, but red within.”

        Hm. Isn’t that how we today refer to our brethren in the warmist “environmental” movement as “watermelons”?

        “Green on the outside, but red to the core.”

      • AnyColourYouLike

        And what conclusions about the left do you draw from that minor footnote in German history rich?

        *reaches for popcorn*

      • Read Hayek.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Nah, I enjoyed her performance in From Dusk Till Dawn, but I find her political history writings less…er…stimulating.

      • Specifically Friedrich von Hayek’s essay: “Nazism is Socialism (1933), in which he had written:

        The collectivist and anti-individualistic character of German National Socialism is not much modified by the fact that it is not a proletarian but middle class socialism, and that it is, in consequence, inclined to favour the small artisan and shop keeper and to set the limit up to which it recognizes private property somewhat higher than does communism. In the first instance, it will probably nominally recognise private property in general. But private initiative will probably be hedged about with restrictions on competition so that little freedom will remain.

        This last prediction proved quite accurate, particularly through the later years of the 1930s as the Reich armed for aggressive war, and from the moment the attack on Poland excused progress to a “War is the health of the state” condition.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        It’s official, the loonies have taken the thread.

      • It’s not a surprise that “libertarian” is often transliterated to “loonytarian”…

        That explains why, in open elections, about the highest office an honest-to-Zeus libertarian has gotten is dog catcher.

      • Shhh ACYL, he and Rich M have just found each other! If we leave them alone they’ll disappear in a vortex of their own hyperbole, and the rest of us can get on with more important matters.

      • Dr. von Hayek’s essay was a comment intended for publication about contemporaneous events in Europe. He wasn’t writing in hindsight. He was speaking to developments on a “right now” basis, and speculating on how things were probably going to go in the near future.

        It’s “loony” to examine such primary source material to gain insight into what people were thinking and reading in 1933 about the NSDAP takeover of Germany?

      • The red background of the Nat Soc flag was chosen deliberately to appeal to Communists.

      • I had thought that the NSDAP banner – which became the national flag of the Third Reich – was designed (according to the Nazis’ accepted legend, by Hitler himself) because he wanted not only a striking and therefore easily recognized intimidating symbol but also because – of the components of the German imperial tricolor – red had been the color most closely associated with socialism since the pathology first began to manifest in Europe during the 1830s.

      • Alas real socialists, along with trade union leaders and communists were the first to be sent to the concentrations camps or just plain killed. Real historians actually know this. As well as knowing that there were actually two real socialist parties plus a communist party in opposition to Hitler. And , as an aside, Trotsky in exile in Turkey, urged all lefties to unite to defeat the Nazi menace. That was even reported in the International Herald Tribune so crap journalism in the US cannot even be blamed for the crap education you get in the US about Nazis. As another aside, virtually every resistance to the Nazis in France/Spain/Italy/Yugoslavia was almost totally communist/socialist. You must have been taught that one at least!

      • Ah, well. Two of a trade never agree. Socialist leaders tend to view other commissars and gauleiters as deadly competitors, in much the same way one pack of hyenas will attack fiercely to drive off another.

        I’m surprised you don’t mention the most effective “real socialist” party opposed to Hitler – after starting out the war allied to the Third Reich – the Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

        As for the “totally communist/socialist” resistance forces in “France/Spain/Italy/Yugoslavia,” a look behind the contemporary socialist fantasies reveals that these intrepid “anti-fascist” partisans spent much of their time and effort under Nazi occupation collaborating with the Krauts to the extent of providing information enabling the Reich security officers to find , capture, and/or kill the members of the non-socialist resistance groups whom the communists (especially in France) had marked as “reactionary” elements which would need to be overcome in the wake of Germany’s defeat.

        A spectacular example of how the good socialists treated their non-socialist co-belligerents was the performance of the Red Army at the time of the Polish Home Army’s uprising in Warsaw, making it absolutely clear to the surprised and enraged Nazis that – though the Soviet Communists were in easy striking and support range of the Home Army forces – they were not going to interfere with the Germans’ eradication of them uppity Poles.

        You wanna talk about the “noble” resistance of certain bunches of European socialists against Nazi occupation in the years between 1939 and 1945? Hey, I’m for it.

      • You too easily pigeonhole an entire class of people to be of similar intent as the worst representatives of them. How do you like it when conservatives are called fascists? How do you like it when some trigger happy soldiers who like to fire on civilians are likened to the entire army? If I told you French girls were not raped by the Germans but only by the American Liberators would that make all Americans rapists? If i note that more civilians died from Allied bombs than German bombs does that make the Allies more barbaric? War is immoral and started by fanatics. Everyone should try to understand under what circumstances might we be as barbaric as our opponents. In the case of the US and Europeans it isn’t that difficult to find examples. Best not to oversimplify things by false labels. And stop reading Jonah Goldberg if you want truth. If you want a properly balanced view there are better texts – virtually any!

        Try to get back to the issue of the thread!

      • Trouble is, James that the “entire class” of socialists – even the most thickly velvet-gloved fascists among ’em – always get down to putting pistol muzzles in people’s faces and forcing them to comply. Always.

        Keep on asking any socialist – regarding any issue near and dear to the collectivist excuse for a heart – what happens to a guy who refuses to go along with whatever wonderful “spread the wealth around” scheme is presently catching his fancy, and if you keep niggling long enough, you’re going to get the gentle, friendly, caring socialist going all purple in the face, glaring at you, and growling:

        Then we’ll kill him, that’s what!

        Always.

        As for “collateral damages” inflicted by the American military during World War II, whatever in hell gives you to fantasize that I accept any personal responsibility for stuff that happened before I was born? Or that I have anything in common – ethically, politically, or otherwise philosophically – with the men who ordered those things done? You want a libertarian to endorse the actions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S Truman?

        Now, my above-mentioned characterizations of the “good” socialists who are supposed (in your fantasies) to have been pure and noble in the great struggle against fascism seeks nothing other than to illustrate a common thread in the machinations of socialists ever since this cancer first appeared back in the 1830s. As I’ve observed, there’s really never been a significant deviation from the “Then we’ll kill him!” line of approach to those human beings who won’t go along with the socialists’ ideas of “the perfect society.”

        I mean, we can talk about the NSDAP all day long, but for sheer concentrated slaughter you just can’t beat the Soviet Communists. Something between 11,000,000 and 13,000,000 Ukrainians killed in just two years (the Nazis didn’t pull off that kind of score in total, and they were in power from 1933 through 1945) in a forced famine that socialists all over the world politely called “the Kulak Murders.”

        Sounds kinda like the title of a mystery novel, don’t it? But the only mystery is an accurate death toll. it was at least 11,000,000, but the Soviets have kept numbers classified. Back before their empire fell, they used to classify as state secrets all census data going back to the time of the Czars.

        And that was only in the Ukraine at that time. Any speculation on what massacre the Soviet socialists were working on recalcitrant and reactionary folk in the other republics of their “I have been over to the future” Union?

      • Yes I know how deranged delusionists of either the left and right can get. And if someone had killed Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot or any of the other mass murderers of either right wing or left wing descent the numbers massacred might have been a lot less and greater good would have been achieved. So your base argument is utterly meaningless.

        The trouble is that you are sounding no less delusional. You just bolster your case by ignoring everything that negates it and along with other revisionists here you just make stuff up and call it a truth, thereby ignoring decades of real research. It doesn’t convince me that you have anything to contribute to any debate apart from bile and hatred.

        It’s a funny thing, the number of times that George Orwell is quoted by right wingers, when talking about the world dominationists. Thing is he was a radical lefty. Like most radical lefties he was utterly against totalitarianism of any hue. Of course in your eyes he’d be one of those on the slippery slope to brutal dictator just because he was a lefty.

        I’m under no illusions about how violent radical left wingers can get. I’m also under no illusions about how violent right wingers can get. Or anti-abortionists, animal rights activists, etc, etc. A wise man once called them “single issue fanatics”. To describe people who want social justice you may have described as misguided or utopian or do-gooders but to call them all latent murderers makes you qualify as a complete fanatic.

        Judith this man is ruining your blog.

  41. James G

    Having spent 13 years under the UK’s New Labour government I can assure you that socialist legislation does unreasonably curtail personal freedoms, including laws preventing parents from baby sitting each others kids on a regular basis unless they have a criminal records bureau check. I also resent your assertion that progressives are more concerned about civil liberties.

    Concerns with over zealous legislation includes unintended consequences, state picking winners, pork barrel politics and the rise of legislation based on science that is itself policy driven.

    • AnyColourYouLike

      Anybody who thinks New Labour were “socialists” has no idea what socialism is.

    • You need to look at the Liberal Party to find the real champions of civil liberties in the UK, not New Labour, who are no longer even officially socialist (after the removal of clause 4). Even the Conservative party is apparently now more socialist than New Labour: They had to be because New Labour had stolen their clothes.

      But you seem confused between civil liberties, ie the freedom from possible child offenders (who do indeed tend to look for baby sitting opportunities) and personal freedoms, ie the freedom to, for example, abuse children. This is actually the simple distinction I was trying to elucidate above.

      I absolutely agree tough that the UK is hugely over the top with the nanny state regarding children but in France, where possibly the last real socialist party resides, they are not remotely as absurd in that respect. I believe the difference is not political influence but the feckless UK tabloids that Blair liked to appease.

  42. I think Judith set up this thread to allow Rich to indulge his penchant for rhetorical hyperbole to it fullest. And he’s obliged.

    • As long as there are no personal insults, this should be an interesting exchange.

      • “Interesting” not necessarily meaning “useful”, “worthwhile”, “educational”, etc.

      • well i’m not sure how to judge all this. well over 200 comments in less than 24 hours. by contrast, the Pakistan thread (which i view as very worthwhile) has gotten much fewer hits and comments. interesting, useful, worthwhile, educational are in the eyes of the beholder, and I can’t judge in advance how the “community” here will react.

      • That’s why I hope we can get back to the science. There’s a reason why I don’t discuss politics or religion with anyone I don’t know *really* well. I stopped trying to change the world a long time ago.

        I just ranted above and now I’m kicking myself. I can easily get sucked into this kind of discussion. We need to set aside political differences to get at H/AGW truth. If it’s happening, then we’ll have to cross the politics bridge at least so far as to solve that problem.

      • Its happening, but there is a great deal of uncertainty about much warming we will see and to what extent it “matters”. science isn’t going to resolve this anytime soon. so we are faced with decision making under deep uncertainty; ignoring the whole issue carries as much risk as implementing a bad policy. So it is a big tangled mess, and I’m hoping that understanding political/economic/cultural issues along with the science will help us understand how to address this issue in a sensible way.

      • But I and many others do not think it is happening. So there we are. Because the science is ambiguous, this is fundamentally a political issue, that is a basic difference of opinion on a matter of policy, and it is being worked as such.

      • All science is ambiguous, to a greater or lesser degree. That hasn’t stopped we humans from making good decisions. The difficulty is when some believe the ambiguity is greater than it really is.

      • cat $comment | sed -s ‘s/ we / us /g’

      • It also hasn’t stopped us from making some horrendous decisions.

      • By the way, who do you think is ignoring the issue? It is getting a huge amount of attention. Wanting to do nothing, because we do not believe the issue is real, is by no means ignoring the issue. Quite the opposite, we are fighting hard to do nothing, in the face of zealous demands that something must be done, no matter how foolish.

      • Dr. Curry,
        What is happening?
        Is the climate changing?
        When did it stop changing?
        Is the climate changing dangerously?
        Please show us any examples of this dangerous change.
        Have any predictions made in the past 30 years about dangerous changes in the climate proven to be accurate?

      • What’s happening is the oncoming Eddy Minimum and global cooling beyond the ability of anthropogenic CO2 to keep us warm.
        =================

      • In 1998, SF writers Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn collaborated on a novel titled Fallen Angels, the whole of which is accessible free online from the publisher here for download in a variety of formats.

        The plenum of the novel is a future earth in which the maniac “environmentalists” – who are not only Luddite haters of technology but also “anti-pollution” fanatics – have taken over political control and in the face of the solar minimum astronomers were predicting in the 1980s, had so abated atmospheric emissions of carbon dioxide that the planet had, indeed, entered that ice age Dr Martin had been boasting of.

        The contention of Mr. Niven, Dr. Pournelle, and Mr. Flynn in their novel was that it had only been anthropogenic CO2 emissions – trapping heat by way of the greenhouse effect – that the ice age hadn’t hit even earlier.

        But once the ‘viros got their way – down came the glaciers.

        Neat turnabout on the “catastrophic global climate disruption” theme, no?

      • I know that I always use *fiction* to make a point about a science argument. Works every time – with certain individuals…

        Movies work well, too.

      • Aw, little Derecho64 has never stumbled over the concept of Gedankenexperiment. How mundane.

      • Heh, Grand Solar Minimums are hardly science fiction. The question is whether or not Grand Solar Minimums cool the earth and if so, how.
        =============

      • Yeah, the three authors of Fallen Angels (published in 1988, not 1998) were stretching the “rubber science” damned thin when linking solar minima and ice age conditions. Bear in mind, however, the “global freeze” hysteria which had been current among the chittering root-weevils of the MSM in the ’70s.

        Mr. Niven et al were also very much overestimating the greenhouse gas effects of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide.

        Hm. Now where were we hearing about that back in 1988? Anybody else familiar with the Climategate Timeline?

      • Yes; we’re going to wish fervently very soon that the CO2 Magic Thermostat actually worked …

      • Judith – “Its happening”. Way back when, I responded to your first post-Climategate piece, including some suggestions for how you might best go about repairing the damage you saw in climate science. These included:

        1. Identifying what you now believe was improperly withheld, getting hold of it if you can, drawing appropriate inferences in the event that you can’t, and appraising what you see with a duly sceptical eye. Then publish. You may lose affection, but not respect.

        2. Look for and reappraise work you now know to have been perversely reviewed, or kept from publication. Publish your findings.

        Have you done this? I see a lot of “onwards-and-upwards” in your science posts, but I don’t see the systematic review of improperly marginalised science that I was hoping this blog would provide, and which would make a remark like “it’s happening” draw less hostile fire. I realise that some of the neglected science gets an airing here, but it isn’t a systematic critique of “what the climate science establishment has marginalised, and how much of it should not have been?”. Until this is done, posts about “decision-making in the face of uncertainty”, and “wicked problems”, all of which seem to beg the question, will continue to have a surreal air about them to those who do not share their premises.

      • As all internet newbies soon discover – a flame war on the intertubes is the easist thing to achieve.

        If you want even more comments in a shorter time, make this your next post – Climate Change and how it relates to US foreign policy, oil and the Middle East.

      • D64 says..

        “Interesting” not necessarily meaning “useful”, “worthwhile”, “educational”, etc.

        Each person is free to take part in any thread or not.
        Anyone who feels strongly about the general content of this blog is free to start their own blog.

        Most people learn ‘something’ from a subject they find interesting. A subject that’s useful, worthwhile and educational but uninteresting would be, by logic followed, unuseful, unworthwhile and uneducational.
        One just needs to hark back to their school days to confirm this.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “Interesting” not necessarily meaning “useful”, “worthwhile”, “educational”, etc.

        For once, the fabled D64 and I are on the same team. You can be the Boy Wonder Derecho, I gete the Adam West costume! :)

  43. I don’t think libertarians are inherently opposed to government action for a true negative externality, as long as a) you can honestly and accurately determine the harm, and b) you can’t mitigate the externality through other private means (like putting the commons into private hands, etc.) I think the reason that CO2 based climate change as an externality is greeted with such skepticism is because it fits the model of “just another way for the left to push its policies that it can’t do through the ballot box”. In other words, the evidence is very suspect, and the solutions are only in one direction.

    For example, there are two available mechanisms to reduce CO2 that don’t increase government power: allowing more nuclear power (through reducing regulations/permit costs), and a revenue neutral carbon tax (where ALL of the revenues are funneled back in the reduction of income or payroll taxes and reducing govt. spending accordingly). I see virtually no effort of the cAGW Democratic left pushing for these (with the notable exception of James Hansen). As a long time Libertarian and skeptic/lukewarmer, I’d support either of those approaches (if they were inviolate commitments and not just scams).

    If passionate believers in cAGW want to get the libertarians and conservatives on board, propose a revenue negative carbon tax (where, say, govt. spending and taxes are reduced by 1.5 x the revenue of the carbon tax). Any guesses why no one on the left has reached across the aisle to propose this?

    • there are two available mechanisms to reduce CO2 that don’t increase government power: allowing more nuclear power (through reducing regulations/permit costs), and a revenue neutral carbon tax (where ALL of the revenues are funneled back in the reduction of income or payroll taxes and reducing govt. spending accordingly).

      Not gonna mess with the tax thing except to ask – do you really trust government with a new tax? Do you know the history of the “sales tax” ? Social Security? The telephone excise tax? Nuff said.

      OTOH – nuclear – that I know about. Fresh out of college, doing reactor design for the Navy with Nunzio Palladino. Eventually passed up a reactor design job with Westinghouse to play Spaceman Spiff with NASA. Have friends who were at Three Mile Island – and other places. Lemme tell you about Nukes – France gets most of it’s power from them, so does Japan. China is building hundreds of them, as is India. They’re the cleanest, safest power source available – Three Mile Island and Chernobyl notwithstanding. And that includes wind and solar.

      And getting one built in this country is an absolute bloody nightmare because of the enviros and the court system and the government regulations. Nearly all the experienced design people in the business are long gone – who needs to put up with years and years and years of red tape, obstruction, lawsuits, personal threats, etc. It’s a whole lot easier to find another job. And they did.

      So… now even some of the enviros want nukes. And I wonder who the hell they think is gonna design them? Build them? Operate them? And how many years it’s gonna take to replace the institutional knowledge needed to make SAFE nukes?

      What? Maybe we can get the French or the Japanese to do the job for us? Even they don’t have the sheer NUMBERS of qualified people it would take to launch an effective nuclear power program for this country within the next 20-30 years. The personnel, the infrastructure needed to do that were long ago destroyed by the enviros and their Chicken-Little catastrophe peddling friends in the media, the government and the court system.

      Nukes may be the answer – but it’s a long term answer. It’s not a “TV” solution.

    • rnitz writes that:

      …there are two available mechanisms to reduce CO2 that don’t increase government power: allowing more nuclear power (through reducing regulations/permit costs), and a revenue neutral carbon tax (where ALL of the revenues are funneled back in the reduction of income or payroll taxes and reducing govt. spending accordingly).

      Only two? Heck, no. For one – from the viewpoint of a guy with his undergraduate degree in Biology involving a buncha credits in the study of marine ecosystems and microbiology generally – there was John Martin’s proposal of the Geritol solution to make use of phytoplanktonic species’ ability to fix atmospheric carbon dioxide while simultaneously increasing fisheries yields.

      The guy boasted: “Give me a half a tanker of iron [oxide, finely divided for sprinkling on areas of the ocean surface] and I will give you another ice age”

      Forget about needing a government to do that. Any big charitable foundation (or consortium of lesser such eleemosynary institutions) could pull that off.

      The moment the idea was floated decades ago as a potential mitigation of evil-horrible-nasty “man-made global warming,” the greenies screamed bloody murder, and those of their co-religionists in the biological disciplines scrambled to come up with all sorts of dubious reasons why Martin’s idea either wouldn’t work (which they failed to do) or would cause really bad unintended consequences (which they failed to prove).

      I think that was when I came irrevocably to the conclusion that the “climate catastrophe” clowns weren’t simply well-meaning idiots. I had to face the fact that they were running a full-scale fraud, criminal in their intentions and their methods from start to finish.

  44. How do I explain this…the comment I left was, shall we say, a bit of satire? (Of course, like all satire it has an element of truth….) For days the threads on this blog have been chock filled with stereotypes of christians, evangelicals, conservatives, you know, all those troglodytes out there. I just thought I’d lob out a little taste in return.

    If I may quote our fair moderator:

    “Libertarians defy such stereotyping. ”

    and

    “This attempt will hopefully illuminate the complexity of opinions and ideas behind skepticism, with the hoped for end result that anyone who disagrees with the IPCC/UNFCC consensus (in terms of science, impacts, and policy) that they automatically aren’t labeled as “deniers”, and that people appreciate the diversity of factors (scientific, political, cultural) that go into this disagreement.”

    One commenter in particular has been engaging in thick purple prose that is, in its entirety, the recitation of one idiotic stereotype after another. (With nary a condemnation of such stereotyping by our blog host – such as I received for my mild comment.) Now if some of the oh so educated folk around here could come to terms with the fact that they themselves are just as tribal and blinded by stereotypes…

    Here’s a thought experiment. Substitute one of the words ‘christians,’ ‘evangelicals’ or ‘conservatives’ for the word ‘libertarians’ in the first sentence I quoted above, and see if you can get the point. Then, try the same with the second quote, substituting ‘christianity,’ ‘evangelicalism’ or ‘conservatism,’ for ‘skepticism.’ There is the same diversity of opinion on a multitude of issue in each one of those groups, just as there is among libertarians (or liberals for that matter).

    The “no labels” concept is idiotic. You can’t have a coherent discussion about politics with using, you know, nouns: like liberal, conservative, libertarian, moderate, independent. But for the last several days, some of those terms have been to avoid debate rather than further it. Somebody somewhere said something about taking care of the beam in your eye before you worry about the mote in your neighbor’s.

    I don’t expect the real narcissists out there to even understand what I have written. I am curious, however, whether those who claim to want more open dialogue, to fight tribalism and stereotypes in one realm of political discussion, are capable of seeing their own tribalism and stereotypical views for what they are in another.

    • AnyColourYouLike

      Gary M

      Don’t know what your position on CO2 is. Personally I’m a “dangerous” AGW sceptic – because the science doesn’t seem robust to me in many of the disciplines, nor near settled, as was formerly claimed.

      But I agree with much of what you say. I’m afraid I’ve found this thread a disillusioning experience in many of the ways you have, and I think it was probably a mistake to start it.

      • I don’t think starting this thread was a mistake, any more than the earlier two threads that were trying to peer into the abyss of christian thought. Any time you have a discussion on issues that involve religion on an open thread, you are going to get a majority of heat, and only a little light.

        But does that mean you should avoid the subject? No. That amounts to allowing the malcontents to have a veto on the whole topic.

        I believe Dr. Curry shares all too many of the sterotypical views of conservatives in general, and chrisitans and evangelicals in particular, that are voiced more vociferously by some of the commenters here. But at least she is opening a forum on the issue, and includes those who might object in the discussion.

        As for my opinion on CO2 (not that it matters), I am a skeptic, and that belief is completely independent from my views on religion. In my faith, one does not control the other (no matter what the uninformed think). I was always a bit dubious about CAGW because of the political affiliations of those who were pushing for massive government regulation/taxation the hardest. But reading the likes of Dr. Curry, Steve McIntyre, and Anthony Watt’s cite pretty much sealed the deal for me (which in my opinion is the reason Curry and McIntyre, despite being liberals themselves, are so vilified by the climate left).

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “I believe Dr. Curry shares all too many of the sterotypical views of conservatives in general, and chrisitans and evangelicals in particular, that are voiced more vociferously by some of the commenters here. But at least she is opening a forum on the issue, and includes those who might object in the discussion.”

        To be honest with you, I probably share some of those too. But I don’t really see how airing these (quite possibly biased and underinformed) views about other posters’ religion/politics helps to sort out the issues around the science, or even the political advocacy, around AGW.

    • Gary, i pulled your comment because i thought it was clever :) by engaging in these discussion, maybe people find their stereotypes being challenged a wee bit?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “by engaging in these discussion, maybe people find their stereotypes being challenged a wee bit?”

        Not sure about that…I keep getting visions of Slim Pickens as Major “King” Kong.

  45. As to the element of truth in my comment used to commence this thread:

    “Take conservative economic policies, stir in liberal social policies, flip a coin on foreign policy, add a heaping helping of Randian rationalization for complete self-absorbtion and let stew. ”

    I don’t really know of any libertarians who are tax and spend proponents of big government, or who favor massive regulatory schemes to manage the economy. There is an enormous amount of common ground between conservatives and libertarians (in general) on economic policy.

    Similarly, I don’t know of many libertarians who are anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, in favor of continuing the criminalization of various drugs, etc. Libertarians share much common ground with liberals on social issues.

    Also, while not all libertarians are fans of Ayn Rand, bunches of them are, so I’ll stick with that basic truth of that comment as well.

    But to be honest, it is not really true that I don’t find ANY libertarians interesting, just not any of the ones posting here so far.

    I’ll make ya a deal. If there are no more inane, stereotypical comments about those stupid conservatives, christians or evangelicals, I won’t make fun of the pomposity of those using these moronic stereotypes. Yeah, like that’s likely to happen.

    • Rhetorical question ……….

      Who is Ayn Rand?

      Never claimed to be libertarian although other have claimed it for me. Been called an arch-conservative (synonomous with Arch-fiend). Been a Democrat, been a Republican – don’t fit either of those. Been called names that aren’t acceptable in polite society and some that’ll get you killed in non-polite (low) society.

      So… while I lack your sensitviy about inane, stereotypical comments about those stupid conservatives, christians or evangelicals I agree with your sentiment. They irritate people, don’t advance any argument, and generally expose the ignorance of the “speaker”.

      One of the “life lessons” for me is that those who haven’t been/experienced what they’re talking about/attacking/defending generally don’t know jack about whatever it is.

      • Ayn Rand

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29

        She is probably most famous for her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. In the context of my comment, she once misrepresented altruism thusly: “The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.” Needless to say, she rejected altruism as she defined it.

        Oh, and I am not sensitive to the rantings of others. It’s too bad the tone here has become so much like other blogs, but once you get used to the new environment, its no big deal. Ignorance doesn’t offend me, it just bores me. Reading some of these posts is like sorting through a bale of chaff to find a single grain of wheat. After a while you just give up, it ain’t worth the effort.

      • Like some variant on Godwin’s law (“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”), I suppose there’s a corollary that ought to read:

        As an online discussion on libertarianism proceeds, some mention of Mrs. O’Connor – particularly Atlas Shrugged, goddammit – is unavoidable.

        Just a few days ago I was engaged merrily in exchanges of e-mails among members of a small informal libertarian special interest group (remember those?) in which we were discussing the upcoming Atlas Shrugged movie, observing the true bletcherousness of Mrs. O’Connor’s cinderblock of a novel when judged by the standards of good speculative fiction even in 1957.

        As a youngster, some adult friend of my father had commended Atlas Shrugged to me because he thought it to be science fiction “…and you like that Buck Rogers stuff.” Oy, gevalt.

        While I tend for the most part to go with Jerome Tucille’s It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand (original edition 1972), in my case – after that well-meaning but cement-headed mundane’s characterization of her Big Honkin’ Book as speculative fiction – I did not climb Mrs. O’Connor’s Mount Niitaka until later in life, after having read all of her published essays (many of which cribbed a boatload from Galt’s radio speech).

        I find Mrs. O’Connor’s fiction painful to get through, for reasons I’d be happy to expound upon. Her expostulatory prose, however, is goddam hammers-of-hell masterful. No sweetness, no humor, no frivolity, but no imprecision, either. The lady comes at her targets with a Number-11 blade, and sinks the point precisely where the pustules are ripest for incision. She sure as hell got her money’s worth out of all that Benzedrine she started swallowing in the early 1940s.

  46. Read some of the “classics”? Ayn Rand is missing. Talk about classic. My first question would be: By what right are you presuming to dictate your AGW beliefs on me? Even Judith has to agree that climate changes. That is happening. Anything else is currently conjecture. Remember the DDT scare and subsequent scientific exoneration? By what right are you willing to dictate to me how much of my hard earned (CDN) dollars I have to fork over to you or your cohorts to satisfy YOUR desires, wants or needs? Beside, a typical response from a confirmed liberal is that a bad policy implemented is better than no policy. A libertarian would disagree. NO policy is better than a bad policy. Living in northern Canada, if I wish to triple glaze my windows in order to save myself energy costs, I can do so without any government help or interference. And unless Judith lives somewhere on the equator, she may be wise to do the same, if the next 30 years are going to be a lot cooler. Where a liberal and libertarian differ is that a liberal presumes that they have the right to tell me my business, while a libertarian would not. And just in case Judith,
    What if you are WRONG? What is your exit strategy? Or are you a scientist so wedded to the pursuit of your truth you cannot conceive of being wrong? I still like this from Prof. Richard Palmer: http://www.umdnj.edu/idsweb/shared/biases.htm

  47. Judith, you say “Its happening”. Now, a lot of us have read volumes related to AGW and cAGW and are not convinced. You declare you are. If you would indulge your readers for a moment, please list in three brief sentences why you are convinced.

  48. With DR 64 filling up the thread, can we say that we are now getting insights on what the UFO abductee position is on human produced CO2 caused cliamte catastrophes?

    • I rely almost entirely for information about UFO abductees on South Park, which has yet to lead me astray, but I’d always understood their “position” was, er, that of a Muslim at prayer?

      • But it apparently involves a lot of faith based explanations for nearly everything to do with life.
        And the blending of delusion with falsehood runs throughout the abductee movement.
        Consider the recent movie, ‘The Fourth Kind’, a fiction(really badly done) that claims to be based on ‘actual documentary footage’ of ‘real events’.

        I see that as a close cousin of the most extreme AGW fear mongering of ‘tipping points’, massive sea level rise, new levels of storm strength, etc.
        We were fortunate in the 1960’s that few academics bought into UFOology. The small number that did meant that particular bizarre-o belief system never got a sufficient patina of science to give it a critical mass in the public square.
        But then we have CO2 obsession of climate, and the critical mass was obviously reached.

  49. Curious Canuck

    Libertarians have in large part been ostracized by the religious right, and this feeds the left’s portrayel as anything remotely right of centre as extreme.

    Climate is one place where libertarians (the kind that general oppose invasive government polices, especially in the economy ) and the rest of the right still cooperate. Perhaps this an offshoot of being ‘lumped together’ as ‘Flat Earthers’ or ‘deniers.’

    I would say that there’s been a shift among libertarians (how large one could only speculate at) to look deeper into the issues themselves and libertarians have both a keen interest in science (we differ from the religious right on many such issues) and a keen eye for the trappings of the religious dogma, chants, robes, prophetic books and all.

    We wouldn’t trust economists, the people we relate with, to tamper with world’s economy like the UN wishes to and we trust their use computer modelling abilities much, much more than a lobby green-robed clerics and privateers.

    • In all fairness, the leadership of “the religious right” quite properly (by their lights) ought to make every effort to have “ostracized” libertarians. I well remember hearing about the run-of-the-mill Republican flunky announcing in amazement his discovery of where libertarians stand on the issues:

      My God, they’re pro-choice on everything!

      The coincidence of most American conservatives being of much the same mind on the fraudulence of the “man-made climate disruption” hooraw as are most Americans of considered libertarian outlook is precisely that: a coincidence. I can in no way accede to the idea that libertarians have found common ground with the traditionalist social or religious conservatives on this issue merely because of being “‘lumped together’ as ‘Flat Earthers’ or ‘deniers’” by the robustly socialistic ‘viro types pushing the AGW scam.

      Jeez, can you imagine libertarians taking those festering schmucks’ opinions seriously? On anything?

      Of course, there’s also the fact that the NT Myers-Briggs temperament type is high-incidence among libertarians. It’s not for nothing that psychologist David Keirsey characterizes that temperament type as “promethean.” The desperate empty noise of D64 notwithstanding, we don’t “do” dogma uncritically received, and take great delight in “stirring up the animals.”

      None of this is inclined to endear politically conscious American libertarians to True Believers of any kind. And it kindles incandescent hatred in the hearts of the confidence men who make their livings by duping and diddling the religiously susceptible.

      • Curious Canuck

        Oops, I main-lined my reply. Sorry Rich and thanks again for the comment

      • I’m probably more libertarian than right-wing. I’m not sure I accept right-wing as being 100% pro-economic freedom and 0% personal freedom. The thing that makes me less libertarian is it is difficult to see how legal street drugs will help out individuals or society. Drugs really are an acid that eats into rational behavior. If drugs were legalized, there would still have to be certain prohibitions, like no shooting up on the sidewalk. And I presume that if this were done in the libertarian manner, there would be no welfare available to allow those sorts of unproductive, steeped in crime people to exist on the backs of the productive.

      • Jim writes that for him “… it is difficult to see how legal street drugs will help out individuals or society.

        That begs a couple of questions. We know what an individual human being is – and we can speak of any number of concrete individual human beings, singly or in great numbers. When asked, however, to point to “society” in any kind of physical instantiation, however….

        It can’t be done, can it?

        “Society” as we’re using the word in this context is an abstract concept. By contrast, even “government” is much more concrete.

        So how is it that anyone can say that those psychoactive substances criminalized in our great “War on Drugs” are in any way “an acid that eats into rational behavior” to imperil this abstract concept called “society”?

        There are plenty of things in the human environment that knock the bejasus out of “rational behavior.” Ethyl alcohol, legal depressant substances (prescription and nonprescription), methylxanthine compounds like caffeine, the lust for power over other people, maternal affection, romantic love, patriotism, you name it. Has government action to criminalize any of these demonstrated impairments of “rational behavior” – at any time, anywhere – done anything that has been of benefit to “society”?

        Let’s turn around that wonderment about how decriminalizing “legal street drugs will help out individuals or society” and ask:

        (1) Has the criminalization of “street drugs” in any way benefited individuals in general or “society” as a whole?

        (2) Has the criminalization of “street drugsharmed both individuals in particular and society as the abstract process by which human beings live together in peace?

        (3) How would ceasing to criminalize “street drugs” work out in terms of risk/benefit calculation against the known abysmal risk/benefit ratio resulting from the current “War on Drugs”?

        As for “welfare,” do you refer to the officers of civil government taking money forcibly from some individuals to do “charitable” good works for others?

        Well, jeez. If “welfare” is judged to be worth doing, why have the government goons with guns (remember, that’s what they are) playing middleman? Helluva lot of waste just in spillage there.

        May I recommend considerations made of this gaudy “street drugs” issue by economists such asDavid Friedman and Walter Block?

      • I do consider alcohol to be a drug. And it is obvious to me that drunks and people who are otherwise impaired aren’t as rational as when they aren’t. Some things really don’t take a government grant and a PhD to understand.

  50. A cautious mind which is biased towards the acceptance of null hypotheses would likely be inclined to both Libertarianism and climate skepticism.

  51. Curious Canuck

    Hi Rich, thanks for comeback.

    I’d suggest there is there is common ground, lumped and otherwise. Sure they use different words to say ‘Don’t touch my junk’, but the sentiment is the same.

    The left in here Canada makes great use of government funded arms-length Tribunals to rule on issues such as free speech. They are made to give people who feel ‘offended’ an opportunity to seek financial redress and forced apologies on issues a court would not do so. All cost on the accused, win or lose. One federal and one for each province/territory. I hear these bodies and mechanisms have been used to silence journalists in the UK and Australia, by placing a liability on discussing certain subjects too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Human_Rights_Commission_free_speech_controversy

    This is under ‘Recent Cases’ heading on the Wikipedia entry.
    ” In an exchange during the Marc Lemire case, lead CHRC investigator Dean Steacy was asked “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?” Steacy responded: “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value. It’s not my job to give value to an American concept.” ”

    Libertarians here also threw in with the religious right on the issue of the importation of aspects of Sharia law.

    Our radicals aren’t just chaining themselves to things and running space agencies either. Although recently writer Christie Blatchford was prevented from speaking at one university, by two punks who bike-locked their necks together on stage, due to security concerns. This was following cancellations, due to violent protests (the latter a riot), of talks by Ann Coulter and Benjamin Netanyahu at other universities.

    And our top public television science mouth, David Suzuki of the taxpayer fattened CBC runs around comparing job-worried Canadians in our energy sector to slave owners fighting abolition.

    Many libertarians are seeing the political climate as the real climate problem danger and see similar tactics being employed or suggested by climate advocacy and certain key divas of science who clearly do take sides. The level of professionalism so many of us do and more of us did take for granted has been proven misplaced.

    • CC

      You do understand that Ross McKittrick, who is publicly funded up to his nose and has been for decades, isn’t considered a left-winger, right?

      That the vast majority of political control of purse-strings in Canada rests in right wing hands, and has for the majority of the past century?

      This delusion of a powerful government-funded left you have of your country is a fiction.

      Media in Canada is far more tightly held by far right administrators than is representative of the general Canadian population, and this includes the CBC if you’ve got the stomach to watch or listen to its depressive propagandized broadcasts.

      Higher education, too, in Canada is by any description to the right of the Canadian center, a reversal of the American situation.

      The most left-wing things you’ll find in Canada are generally American imports.

      • BartR writes about how:

        …the vast majority of political control of purse-strings in Canada rests in right wing hands, and has for the majority of the past century…

        …as if the control of research funding in North Minnesota being predominantly in the hands of the “right wing” of Canada’s own version of America’s great bipartisan permanently incumbent Boot-On-Your-Neck Party is somehow supposed to be a comfort to those of us of a “pox upon both your houses” libertarian inclination.

        Bart, just what the hell is it about the Nolan diagram that you don’t get yet?

        To paraphrase your closing line, the most “right wing” political thought you’ll find in Canada today is three sigma to the left of Hubert Humphrey.

      • Wow, Rich

        Once upon a time, the most right wing Canadian could have been considered to the left of the most left wing American, but those days are long gone.

        Try to keep up.

        Canada today is a state where the police use force openly and often enough to make it a hockey game, where most governments drop spending year over year, and most taxes (and all business taxes) are lower today than a decade ago, for the second decade in a row. Trade unionism in Canada is practically extinct, and the most left wing personality on Canadian television is Stephen Colbert.

        Even if you were right about Canadian political leanings (as you would have been a quarter century ago), the Canadian media is overwhelmingly controlled (19 of the top 20) by a single foreign right wing company which is not shy about using its bully pulpit to deliver its agenda.

        While the Nolan diagram is nice in principle despite its obvious flaws, we’ve already had ample demonstration in this thread that principle means nothing to most who call themselves libertarian, if it comes into conflict with their baser desires and lower urges, which would place them to the right of any Republican.

      • Is Canada really that much less totalitarian than the US and other Western countries as Bart says? What is government spend as a proportion of GDP, for example? Is government/coercion really noticeably lower?

      • Who said less totalitarian?

        If your theories worked in practice, then Canada would be less coercive, sure.

        Turns out to be the opposite.

        Might be why Republicans are always the ones to increase government spending when they’re in power.

      • Who said Canada is less totalitarian?
        You did, sort of – taxes and government spending going down you said. But of course that just means it’s moving in a libertarian direction, which says nothing about its overall position on the basic libertarian-totalitarian spectrum.
        Hence my questions about its levels of taxes and regulation relative to other countries.

      • It is always entertaining when lefties, who control media, impose socialized medicine, have speech commissions, etc. (all in Canada) pretend that they control nothing. They also do this in the US and elsewhere. I wonder why they are so bashful?

      • Name them, hunter.

        Out them, those bashful lefties.

        Is it Conservative Prime Minister and former Economist Stephen Harper, who ultimately controls the CBC and has done so for four years using his secret commie pinko subversion tactics?

        Is it that famous leftie, Rupert Murdoch?

        Perhaps you mean the left wing radical mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, who you’re referring to?

        Go ahead, furnish the list, with the names of your Red Menace and the things that give them so much control of America’s neighbor to the north.

    • Yeah. Sorry for the HTML error. There are limits to what the spellchecking function on any Web browser can help with.

      The political situation in North Minnesota sounds even worse than I’d thought. Very “velvet fascist.” I’m fond of a line from the movie 1776 (1972), in which the authors have Rhode Island delegate Stephen Hopkins – when the question is put to a vote as to whether or not to discuss independence from Britain – saying:

      So it’s up to me, is it? Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debatin’ anything. Rhode Island says yea!

      Along that line, the whole “man-made global warming” ruckus smelled of fascist power-grab from the moment Hansen sat before Algore’s U.S. Senate committee so that Fat Albert could kick-start the rape-and-pillage (or is that “cap-and-trade”?) machine.

      What this issue – particularly since the dead-mackerel-slap-in-the-face administered to the warmists by the Climategate revelations – is something we’ve known in the medical profession for decades, and which is being rubbed in with a power sander in the case of Dr. Wakefield’s professional malfeasances over in the U.K.

      Do not repose unquestioning faith in the assertions of the “professionals” in any profession, anywhere, at any time.

      If only because you’ve got to allow for honest error – to the possibility of which a real professional will freely admit – much less the kinds of outright cupidity and arrogant duplicity we’ve seen from Dr. Mann and Prof. Jones and the rest of that “Hockey Team” band of brigands.

      • Yeah. Sorry for the HTML error. There are limits to what the spellchecking function on any Web browser can help with.

        Judith – if I may call you that – how about a preview feature for Climate Etc?

    • Sigh, is part of the libertarian movement to co-opt anything that resists oppression and suppression?
      The more I read the libertarian views here, the more I am seeing value in reason and balance.

  52. Judith,
    There seems to be a large number of libertarian among the Climate Etc. denizens, I look forward to your thoughts and insights.

    I am a sceptic, and perhaps libertarian, who occiasionally visits your blog. I’m not sure what exactly a libertarian is, but my definition of myself in that regard is someone who distrusts government’s ability to be productive for a very long list of reasons that includes incompetence and corruption. Therefore I am a proponent of less government. I also believe a person is entitled to the fruits of their labor, and since government taxes away people’s hard earned money, I dislike government for that also.

    Since the Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption cabal is a quasi government organization my natural inclination is to distrust them as well. Plus, since I was around for the coming ice age warnings in the 70’s I take such scaremongering with a large dose of scepticism.

    My investigations into what was at the time Global Warming found that there was a great amount of hype and very little science around the issue. As time as progressed the hype has grown but the science has not, unless in the other direction.

    So if Global Warming is a scam, IMO, then why would I support Cap and Trade, which only gives the government more ability to confiscate the hard earned money of productive citizens for no apparent good reason?

    • My comment about cap and trade was made in a different context than how it is being interpreted. Market solutions to environmental problems (e.g. resource scarcity, pollution regulations) are being developed by libertarian economists (e.g Vernon Smith, mentioned in my previous email) and implemented in some places. These kind of solutions to environmental/resource problems, often referred to as green libertarianism, seem generally consistent with libertarian values. Cap and trade can be a good approach to such issues. The Waxman Markey cap and trade bill is a whole different ball of wax, and something i find completely insupportable, too many ways to scam it and too intrusive in its implementation (is there a libertarian version of a cap and trade type approach for CO2 emissions regulation?)

      Of course, if there is no CO2 climate problem and no dangerous consequences, then this is all moot. But there is a potential looming tragedy of the commons issue associated with global warming. Even if the chance of the IPCC being correct is only one in three, this remains a potential tragedy of the commons. So how to deal with this from the libertarian perspective? Assume for the sake of argument that the IPCC assessment is correct. Then how should this problem be addressed from a libertarian perspective? This is the question that I meant to ask. Note, I am politically independent with libertarian sympathies.

      • I was impressed and appreciative of the fact that you have read Hayek and other conservative, in the American sense, writers. There may not be a libertarian version of cap and trade. But if it is proven that CO2 will cause 3-9+ C warming, then a government solution might be necessary. Like you, I would like to see any such solution as non-intrusive as possible. But if we have to cut back on fossil fuels, it will have a huge impact on our economy, especially since we in the US are dawdling on the development of nuclear power. I also have doubts that the likes of China or India will ever go for cutbacks in fossil fuels. If they do, it will be only because they have alternatives in place. And by alternatives, I don’t mean wind and solar.

      • For the sake of argument let’s say the IPCC is correct and CO2 causes global warming: notwithstanding the dire predictions of the warmers would that be harmful or helpful? Life on earth has a tremendous ability to adapt. Plants would grow better and changes in earth topography may well be beneficial.

        My thought as a libertarian is to let it play out and see what happens. And above all keep the government and regulators out of it.

        As an economist I greatly admired once said;
        If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
        Milton Friedman

      • yes, then there is the whole issue of what constitutes dangerous climate change, and who would be climate winners versus losers, this has not been clearly articulated yet. Note I discussed these issues in my testimony. Until this piece is done convincingly, it will be hard to convince people that an international policy is needed or desirable.

      • Curious Canuck

        I like the tragedy of the commons comparison that you used. I would say that if indeed there was a true 1/3 chance of major catastrophies over the coming century or more, libertarians would support an ‘interventionist’ approach and the same could be said on threats military. Like military support there would be a desire to see clear goals and exit conditions and not simply dramatic entries and the sort of boosterism required to lead a democratic country into war.

        I’d say that when many center to right-leaning libertarianis, and as they do look deeper , see a climate of rhetoric and over-statements in addition academic self-censorship that you helped validate in our honest telling of the atmosphere in yours and surrounding fields. (Thank you for helping defang ‘The Big Cutoff” too, because your openess and candor does.)

        The one in three in this environment would seem to want a long time to verify, soberly, with zero consideration to those seeking to profit selling ‘green job’ creation. I would propose that the appearance of the climate situation, when looked deeper into, isn’t catastrophy beyond natural variability or simple adaptation (as cruel as nature has always been on these things) as a 1/3rd chance but more a long string of ‘ifs’. And at a time when real valuable reseach needs to be done we have the science world postulating on who is a heretic, a denier or a shill for not denying the existance of those of ‘ifs’.

        I certainly hope you’ve seen some changes, and get a lot of support (even if quiet) in academia for what you are doing. It’s heartening to know a real sense of professionalism still exists. For myself, that trust was done in when Phil Jones got away with the Christy reply and continued not to pony-up. Climategate, and the subsequent reactions (which lead to my discovery of your letter on CA as one of the few sensible voices) went on to even further the unavoidable doubt.

        We need independant and verfiable research to factor into our decision-making as per your proposals to the Congressional comittee. Science failed to heed your warnings post-Climategate and the crisis in confidence continued, perhaps the lawmakers will be more amenable to your ideas on solving it.

      • That “1/3” is out by 2, 3, or 4 orders of magnitude, methinks. Picking a huge probability like that is just another effort to beg the question (force the conclusion in the proposition).

      • Curious Canuck

        I don’t share the doubt in Dr. Curry’s motives. I’m more inclined to believe she was taking the temperature on a hypothetical scenario and appreciate that it gave so many of us a chance to answer her with our thoughts.

        I’m also willing to believe and am convinced that Dr. Curry appreciates learning the answers and reactions and the various points they touch on. She continues to face her own guantlet and scorn (some portion of the iceberg in publicly)for not being “just another” turn-of-the-century climate scientist.

        I implore you to consider these things. If she was really into -gavening strawmen she could have found a thousand more less-painful ways to do so and been rewarded for it.

      • Judith, a follow on to my question to you above. You state a hypothetical “lets assume the IPPC is correct”. Can you, in three succinct sentences, state why you think the IPPC is correct, and also why a small elevation in CO2 may or may not be beneficial to society?

      • C&T is mostly a non-libertarian response because of several factors, given the caveat that we’re accepting harm is likely, and the caveat that we even care about harm in the first place:

        1.) Administrative complexity. C&T builds a market (one that could even be very like a free market) that ideally captures all the sources of carbon emission within its scope. That scope is huge, complex and ill-defined in Waxman-Markey. Running the thing properly would take a huge bureaucracy; running it without a huge bureaucracy would lead to imbalance and unfair outcomes; both of these are bad to a libertarian.
        2.) Waxman-Markey is not a level playing field. Some are favored before the game even starts, and that favor will grow with every business cycle, making business progressively (pardon the pun, Dr.) more anticompetitive. You can see where libertarian discomfiture might arise, in particular among those libertarians not among the favored.
        3.) There are simpler solutions. Libertarians love simplicity.
        4.) Liberties are infringed. There’s no way around that. To enforce C&T, a new type and level of investigative policing is necessary. The police powers of the state are extended in a new way. That these investigations are of corporations, not individuals, seems to be forgotten by those who object to this in the case of C&T, as one can hardly imagine any libertarian arguing for giving corporations the vote, either.

        The libertarian C&T will, therefore, be the smallest C&T practical, with all other less bad solutions exhausted first. You’ll still need C&T for about 1/4 to 1/3 of carbon emissions, but that’s a much more manageable and specialized section of the corporate economy, and most libertarian objections (again, given the caveats above) evaporate with this approach.

        My own feelings are that simply enforcing current laws and current good sense goes a long way to resolving the problem, but that a Pigouvian Carbon Tax and Rebate system for the 70% of all emissions that can be administratively accommodated is the simplest and cleanest approach to make the necessary changes in public taste for the limited carbon budget of our air and water.

        If it’s a substance that in ordinary use emits a long-term GHG, it should be taxed based on its GHG impact, and all of that tax returned to the citizenry per capita.

        The wealthiest consumers with GHG emitting appetites will pay the less wealthy or less GHG-hungry to use less; technologies that emit less will gain more market share; research into effective solutions will get a boost from the promise of future market for their products.

        It isn’t even really a tax, in that the money goes not to general revenues of the government, but to those stakeholders in the air we breath and the water that the aquatic life we depend on swims in — us — in equal share.

        This is a scalable, fair, very low cost method that will not require a single new government bureaucrat nor will discomfit the average consumer very much at all — if you’re average, then your rebate will about equal what you are taxed for your GHGs.

      • Hmmmm my uneducated feeble brain just couldn’t absorb all that, so I’ll allow you to be the expert.

        Just tell me though, all that complicated stuff you just posted, what changes to global temperatures will it make? Over what time frame?

      • Baa Humbug

        What changes to temperature?

        Haven’t the slightest clue, nor do I care, nor do I see the need to.

        Temperature is an all but intractably complex technical question about impacts that amount to issues of harm.

        I’m only concerned about returning the air and water to a more-like pristine state, on the baseline of what was passed down to us from before the dawn of our species.

        Which a carbon tax widely adopted — and which most of the world says it is waiting on the USA to do first — will do, on a time frame determined by how aggressive the administrators choose to be.

        If that has impact on the temperatures, likewise, not my concern.

      • What? You want all that change to my lifestyle and my nations economy because you want the air and water to return to your perceived pristine state?

        All that hullubulloo has nothing to do with catastrophic warming?

        Hey man, I got a much more simple solution for you.
        Go live up a mountain somewhere, away from modern civilization where you’ll get all the pristine your heart desires, coz this world ain’t gunna change coz a BartR wants it to.

      • Baa Humbug

        What gives you the right to make changes to my lifestyle and my nation’s economy, and tell me to go away?

        You don’t see that you’re the one who’s initiating changes and I’m the one resisting them?

        You don’t get that you’re the offender, not me?

        While I’m reasonably certain that the changes you’re causing will be catastrophic in the long run, the arrogance you have in assuming you can trample over others’ interests just to enjoy your own narrow view of what lifestyle you’re entitled to and what economy you think you can get if you just ignore the consequences of your actions simply shows you for the opportunistic fraudster you name yourself.

        You want the lifestyle supported by my share of the carbon budget, pay me for it, and don’t ride for free on my dime.

      • Just because “you’re reasonably certain” doesn’t make it so.
        I’m not the one wanting to change the status quo, you are. You want to add costs to adjust the current lifestyles we lead to suit your preconceived notions.
        So I suggest YOU PAY whatever the ‘ell amount you think you need to.

        Considering all you’ve got is “belief” that something nasty might happen, you have no right to insist I change anything, not a single thing. I won’t even give you one less CH4 rich fart.

        BartR says “You don’t see that you’re the one who’s initiating changes and I’m the one resisting them?”
        Absolutely NOT. I’m happy to NOT change the way society uses energy by way of force. But if you’re talking about changes to the atmosphere and or environment, that’s your perception. You’re welcome to it so long as you don’t make demands on me, you don’t have that right.

        Fraudster ha? the only fraud that’s being committed right now is on the side you’re backing. Fraudster is as fraudster does.

        Again, you wish not to partake in the current civilization? great, your choice, leave civilization any way you wish.

      • Bart wouldn’t you and your interlocutors save a lot of time by just acknowledging that you think there is such a thing as a global “carbon budget”, and they don’t? You appear to think atmospheric “carbonlessness” is some kind of scarce resource, which you presumably think is already exhausted. They don’t. Until you have persuaded them otherwise, isn’t it a waste of time to debate the rights and wrongs of different ways of attempting to control it?

        Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to get used to the fact that increasing numbers of people around the world see nothing wrong with present levels of atmospheric “carbon” (I presume you mean CO2), nor with the additions expected to be made to it, and also that the ways that used to be so successful in dismissing their beliefs are now counterproductive.

      • TomFP

        You set too high a standard, I think, by libertarian measure.

        I don’t have to prove that there’s a budget, or that it’s depleted (which it probably isn’t yet). Why should I, if I use the same sort of libertarian principles as apply to fluoridation or to expropriation of land rights?

        All I need to do is demonstrate a thing I have an interest is being changed without my consent and without compensation to me for its expropriation.

        That much is easy, the evidence for CO2 rise and its link to human CO2 emission so convincing that it would take something extraordinary to begin to disprove it.

        My respondents appear non-responsive on that point, so their view of carbon budget doesn’t seem to be in question.

        The world is huge.

        There’s plenty of space in the factors that provide the carbon budget (mainly photosynthesis) to accommodate the demand of a vigorous market for carbon emission.

        There is, therefore, no reason to suppose market-based solutions to this dispute would cause harm to the economy, any more than television caused the destruction of the movie industry.

      • “All I need to do is demonstrate a thing I have an interest is being changed without my consent and without compensation to me for its expropriation.” This is a fathomlessly moronic statement. The atmosphere is a common resource, and our freedom to use it should not be impaired without good reason. If you can’t see that this is precisely what you CAGW Godbotherers are trying to do to the world, I’ll leave you to RM.

  53. Dr. Curry,
    The concept of tragedy of the commons is a good one for thinking through the issues. If the chances of the IPCC were right were as high as one in three, I would still oppose the policy changes proposed because they will trigger their own tragedy of the commons. Any attempt to limit CO2 emissions from a top down command structure would be catastrophic. Any attempt to geoengineer a limit to warming (by emitting aerosols to create for example) would expose people and the environment to widespread pollution.

    Some 1 billion people live on about $1 a day. Another 1 billion people live on about $2 a day. These people, living in developing countries, would be the most harmed by the proposed policy changes to limit CO2 because it would sentence them to a lifetime of poverty, inadequate nutrition and vulnerable to a host of preventable diseases. The most important thing is to keep government regulations off of these people so they can pursue what is best for them.

    I would also propose widespread use of nuclear energy through energy production agreements. In this agreement, US or other nuclear powers would control the production and movement of energy grade (not weapons grade) nuclear material and the nuclear plants. Why should we deny Kuwait the right to benefit from nuclear energy? On the other hand, I don’t really want a bunch of nuclear material under the control of a country where radical ideas are so common. Energy production agreements are the only answer, and then only as long as we can safely transport and operate the facilities.

  54. Ron
    It seems presumptuous to think that the US or anybody for that matter should control the production and movement of nuclear materal for peaceful energy production. Also, whilst I am no nuclear engineer, I wonder if you may be confusing nuclear fuel with weapons grade material as there is a big difference between the two and, as I understand it, there are very different technologies involved. Hence there is little concern at Iran building a nuclear power station per se but great concern that they are enriching Uranium in centrifuges for a particular typ of reactor (or more likely a bomb). RandomEngineer will be along shortly to put us right if I have it wrong. :)

  55. I wonder what Rich thinks of these musings by David Friedman.

    • Dr. David D. Friedman – academic economist and son of economist Milton Friedman, the man who came up with the “temporary” emergency idea of “income” tax withholding back during World War II – published in 2008 an online book titled Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World, and Derecho64 refers to Chapter XXII without specifying what he intends readers to find in that chapter, which was written – I remind those viewing here – before the Climategate revelations spectacularly pants the great “global warming” fraud on 17 November 2009.

      I ran a cursory search a few moments ago and I’ve not yet found Dr. Friedman’s comments on the AGW scam over the past year or so. What he had written in the chapter to which D64 links was this:

      Global warming is a problem that at some point we may want to deal with, but not a problem we ought to be dealing with now. We do not know enough. Working that far ahead risks wasting valuable resources solving problems that will solve themselves sometime between now and then or, worse, spending our resources pushing the world in what will turn out to be the wrong direction.

      And what do I think of those “musings“? For someone working from information openly available in 2008, it seems to be a well-reasoned position.

    • One thing Friedman doesn’t do is call global warming a “fraud”, as you just did.

      I wonder why Judith hasn’t flagged your post for a little moderator note.

      • As I’d observed above, the link to the single chapter of Dr. Friedman’s Future Imperfect provided by Derecho64 reflects Dr. Friedman’s opinions of the great “global warming” fraud as he’d recorded them in 2008, before we were all able to review the contents of that marvelous FOIA2009.zip archive released to the Internet on 17 November 2009, and gain undeniable support for the long-held suspicion that the “climatologists” participating in this concerted duplicity were, in fact, perpetrating theft of value through the knowing statement of falsehoods in their applications for grant funding from both private foundations and the various governments involved.

        That’s one of the extremely interesting things about Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli’s continuing (and increasingly successful) pursuit of Dr. Michael Mann, who came up with his wonderful “hockey stick” graph fraud while malpracticing on the Commonwealth’s dime as a faculty member at the University of Virginia.

        All Derecho64‘s frenetic “hand-wave” aside, the great Acme-branded anvil that landed on our rabid Wile E. Coyote warmst predators has Climategate written all over it.

      • Judith, may I call your attention to Mr. Matarese labeling Michael Mann a “fraud”? I understood there were to be no personal insults here.

        Just out of curiosity, Rich, what’s your take on the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords?

      • Hm. Is it merely that Derecho64 would prefer that we refer to Dr. Mann as “an alleged fraudster”? I’d be happy to observe such niceties, though for the purpose of parsimony (if nothing else), we need no more dance around a pretense of politeness regarding the “global warming” flim-flam crew than we would if we were to discuss Jared Laughner as the “accused” in the attack on Representative Giffords.

      • Judith has asked us to refrain from personal insults, and seeing as how you’re a guest on her blog (which is her property, remember), respecting the rules would be a point in your favor. Otherwise, you’re just rude and irresponsible. Like a lot of libertarians.

      • Jeez, wouldn’t it be nice if Derecho64 were capable of distinguishing between direct “personal insults” and indirect expressions of scorn for public persons who have willfully and with fantasies of aggrandizement thrust themselves into political prominence?

        By the way, is anybody with prior experience of D64 familiar with his apparent proclivity for playing policeman in other folks’ online fora?

      • Rich, did you read Judy’s rules?

        Now, will you obey them?

      • No I didn’t see anything. But I did hear him incessantly yell out “mummmm muuuummmm he won’t play fair”

        Rich, I always thought a cat playing with a caught mouse was quite unfair. Please refrain, all blogs need a D64 or two.

      • Look at it this way – if Rich can call Mann a “fraud” and get away with it, then the gates are opened and this place becomes another WUWT. One is too many as it is.

      • Derecho64, do you think Mann was unaware that his short centering PC analysis wasn’t responsible for cherrypicking hockey sticks form his dataset? He is too smart to have been that naive. If he was aware than that is fraud. What should Rich do- ignore an obvious truth?

      • Interesting how other analyses find “hockey sticks”, independently of Mann and independently of tree rings.

        Explain, Bob.

      • D64 defends Mann’s hockey stick? Even Gavin’s given it up before 1500, which was the insidious part. Didn’t get the memo, D?

        Here’s a hint, Bob. Upside down varves and magical larches.
        ============

      • David L. Hagen

        Rich
        I strongly endorse Derecho64’s call for following Judith’s blog rules for civility.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        I think we should get Rich vs Greg Craven together in a room and let them go at each other with the baroque verbal diarrhoea. I’d pay to see that (assuming adequate security, of course)!

      • Doing so would wipe out most of Rich’s comments.

        I wonder why he’s getting a free ride from Judith.

  56. Craig Loehle

    I think there is more going on. Consider that a person hears that the cure for some problem involves rationing energy, using funny and expensive light bulbs, enforced recycling, expensive gas, and all sorts of other restrictions. If the person is a libertarian, these policies will set off alarm bells, and he will look into WHY these things are being imposed. There better be a darned good reason. If, on the other hand, that person is left-leaning, they will have been in favor of these things for a long time, and will not be alarmed (even though their freedoms are also infringed) and will therefore NOT investigate the basis for the restrictions. They would want everyone to do all these things even if climate change were not happening. Once investigation is triggered, skeptics are born.

  57. Curious Canuck

    Found something of a different medium and era that speaks to the topic.
    Hope you enjoy.

    “So the maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights
    ‘The oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light’
    Now there’s no more oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe and saw”
    – Rush, The Trees

  58. Shamelessly lifted from mt’s blog.

    “I use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have what I call freedom of the bathroom, go to the bathroom any time you want, and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And this to my way is ideal. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up, you have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, aren’t you through yet, and so on. And in the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears.”
    – Isaac Asimov

    • Dr. Asimov seemed to have been much afflicted by the less than nine months he spent living in barracks as an enlisted man – and sharing a latrine with large numbers of other young men – a few years after World War II before he got his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army.

      In this as in many other hypothetical situations posed in his writing (non-fiction as well as fiction), Dr. Asimov foreclosed consideration of – or simply forgot about – the ways in which real people in the real world apply ingenuity and improvisation to find solutions in situations similar to that described in his “20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms” example.

      How much grander is the scale of Dr. Asimov’s failure of imagination when he considers in this passage the broader problems of overpopulation, especially when – even during his lifetime – people all over the world were finding ways to cope with greater population densities than I suspect Dr. Asimov was imagining, and still attain the best possible quality of life. Despite his rationalism, he never managed the breadth of vision required to discern the praxeological bankruptcy of “Liberalism,” and he went to his grave sadly suckered by the “global warming” fraud.

      • Given a choice between the views of Asimov and Matarese, I’ll take the former over the latter.

        Rich, you come off as a rhetoritician with little substance.

  59. I have not read all the comments but I have never subscribed to the idea that all skeptics are right wing libertarians.

    I am left wing.

    I am a probably the target audience that the UK Guardian newspaper would be after. I am a middle class professional, I have a family and – yes, I am concerned about the world I leave for my kids.

    But (gasp) I am a skeptic.

    • AnyColourYouLike

      Chris

      Amen brother! See my comments on this thread for confirmation that you are not alone.

      To paraphrase the late great Gerry Rafferty (with some help from Rich’s favourite bon mot!)

      Warmists to the left of me, whack-jobs to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you! :)

  60. upstairs and edging off the board, gryposaurus continues his perseverations about Charles G. Koch and we get more of gryposaurus‘ boring fantasies about “one media driven talking point after another about ‘theft’ and ‘coercion’.”

    Anybody else reading here found anything at all in the “media” – by which we have to take gryposaurus as meaning either the left-“Liberal” mainstream media (MSM) or the right-Republican minority popular media of Fox News and talk radio – that provides overwhelming support for libertarian ideas, with special emphasis on unconstitutional government overreach to employ its coercive powers to thieve away the lives of people in these United States?

    Hm. I don’t see anything about Rush Limbaugh speaking in favor of an immediate end to the War on Drugs, or recognition of the “gay marriage” issue as a simple matter of civil rights. Nor anybody at Fox News calling for either an immediate end to the unconstitutional American campaigns in the Sandbox or that Congress utter a lawful declaration of war. The closest I’ve found is that the Fox people occasionally give some voice to Dr. Ron Paul, whom almost all in the media – left-“Liberal” and right-conservative alike – hate and fear.

    gryposaurus spouts about “The Libertarian erosion into a political movement that can no longer deal with issues and I’ve yet to see from him any citations of current libertarian discussions on anyissues.” There are libertarian periodicals like Liberty and Reason magazines, and libertarian Web sites all over the Internet – including that of the Cato Institute – but all gryposaurus can do is cite one chapter from a book published by David Friedman and fixate on the fact that the Cato people get most of their funding from the evil-horrible-nasty Charles G. Koch.

    And still this putz won’t answer a direct question about “whether or not Koch’s actions violate rights.” What the hell goes on between the glabella and the nuchal ridge in gryposaurus‘ rostral knob, anyway?

    I’m being asked to accept as valid gryposaurus‘ yammering excuse for an opinion about the pernicious effects of Charles G. Koch on the libertarian “movement” and this amazing schmucklet won’t say how Charles G. Koch has done anything bad to anybody – much less to the “movement.” Sheesh.

    I know pretty much what some libertarians have kvetched about “the Kochtopus,” but that gives me no insight whatsoever into whatever it is that’s getting into this gryposaurus critter’s pelt and biting him in places he can’t reach to scratch.

    As for my stated position anent the fantastical AGW fraud amounting to “outright denial that any problem exists, that’s a pretty fair example of gryposaurus‘ wonderful “stopped clock” quality.

    Yeah, I deny the anthropogenic carbon dioxide global temperature forcing “hypothesis” (not that it deserves even the courtesy use of that term). It started out as an extraordinary – hell, preposterous – effort to account for a completely screwed interpretation of insufficient surface temperature data (gained initially, it appears, from Stevenson screen thermometers “sited next to a lamp” by way of all sorts of instrumental screw-ups related to urban heat island effect and similar artifact) thirty years ago, and has proceeded through those three decades not only without the development of convincing evidence supporting this brain-dead blunder but suffused with a continuing agglomeration of data-doctoring, book-cooking, code-jiggering, suppressio veri, suggestio falsi, peer-review-perverting, dissident-censoring, cork-screwing, back-stabbing, dirty-dealing, and bald-faced lying.

    This last, on a multitude of applications for financial grants and other material support, is what looks to be the way in which the “Hockey Team” – at least the membership in these United States – is going to be dickering over plea bargains in hopes of getting themselves billets in whatever “country club” state and federal prisons they can wheedle out of the adjudicating courts.

    Speaking logically, the burden of proof is always upon those who advance a proposition like this “man-made global climate disruption” hypothesis, and the warmists have failed to shoulder this burden. In fact, their deviations from professional standards of conduct – both methodologically and ethically – yield a very strong body of presumptive evidence that these filthy sons-of-indifferent-parentage never had any proof to support their hokum, that they knew they had nothing that could stand up to reasoned critical examination, and that they conspired to conceal their vulnerabilities to disproof.

    And, hey, conspiracy is – all by itself – a whole ‘nother set of felony crimes.

    With regard to gryposaurus‘ so-called “argument“…. Hm. He hasn’t voiced one, has he?

    • Rich, you’d give Monckton a run for his money for sheer ignorance and/or deception with a healthy dose of self-important pontification…

      • That’s the best you can do DR64. Debate Rich as a man, not some mamby-pamby demanding moderation from Judith.

      • I expect Rich to be responsible and respect (one of his standards) the desires of the blog’s owner. He has failed to do so – which isn’t very libertarian of him…

      • Aw, heck. I can’t even simulate respect for this Derecho64 item. What the hell has he posted on this thread that comes close to being “responsible” (or honestly responsive) and worth anything resembling “respect“?

        Look, putzie, why don’tcha cough up on something – anything – about your preference in the choice between dealing with other people in a marketplace free of coercion, and command economy dirigisme? There’s yet another iteration of the same direct question I’ve been posing to you since the moment I stepped in you, and which you’ve been evading so strenuously I’m figuring you for a hernia any minute.

      • Libertarians don’t coerce nobody, never, ever.

        There was a “reason” article (or was it elsewhere) that posited a few scenarios in which a thoroughgoing libertarian would have to die, over something rather silly, rather than live. Perhaps you’re as dogmatic as those corpses.

        BTW, there are more choices that Stalinism and Randism. Maybe you can’t count past two.

    • Whups! It was Derecho64 who provided the link to Dr. Friedman’s work. Out of gryposaurus we haven’t even gotten that much.

    • Rich’s post shows he still wants to discuss Koch’s right to do what he does for whatever reason. This must mean that a discussion over whether someone is eroding Libertarianism must include the rights the person violating to be worth’s Rich’s thoughts. This does not follow basic logic. Yes, it is within Koch’s right to spend money to undermine the intellectual nature of the debate on individualism for his own business interests. This is just more of Rich fulfilling the narrative of only being able to debate about the Libertarian talking points, which to people who care, are just really boring.

      Rich then points out that I’ve not supplied enough references to make my point. The irony is that it is his own posts that lend the most credence to what I am saying about the Libertarians view of science. And of course any reference to CATO’s literature is easy to find. The problem is their literature is less radical than Rich’s, which asks the question as to whether it is needed to be shown considering how deeply indoctrinated into the anti-intellectual narrative driven by CATO, CEI, and AfP. But looking at CATO’s global warming site and we go to the chapter of the handbook on global warming, we can see it focused on the well-worn talking points about global warming “stopping” after 1998, and mentions the Keenlyside projection of continued cooling until 2015, which is already wrong. It also misrepresents CO2 emissions and doesn’t discuss the accumulation properly, trying to give credence to the idea that “we have time” or something, and I have no idea what it’s point about ocean heating is. It just a bunch of cherry picked anti-scientific talking points that no one takes seriously in an academic sense, only a media one. Otherwise, there are a lot of papers written about scientific misconduct (this is what Rich seems to take most of his talking points from), while ignoring its own misrepresentations, and then opinion pieces based on their flawed look at climate science. CATO’s senior scientist also went in front of Congress recently, trying to undermine the mainstream science, and summarily and easily dismissed. When called out for it on this very blog his final response, which speaks for itself, was “Can I ask why one has to have a tommy gun to go after the IPCC?”. That’s CATO science.
      The Libertarian Party website barely mentions climate, except in it’s Platform saying “. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior” pretty much admitting, it doesn’t have any idea how to handle this problem besides deferring to ideological thoughtless attitude. The issue page on environment blames the problem on the government, and instead of offering real solutions, merely asserts that selling off the land to private ownership will solve the problem. More ideological hooey, and shows a complete dearth of understanding on what the real issue is.

      So I’ll just leave it at that, considering this must be the most unpleasant conversation I’ve had on the internet in a while and I’m sure Rich will only strengthen my case against the current mainstream Libertarianism is his response.

      • Oh, good. So to what – precisely – is gryposaurus objecting in any of these linked sources? After some truly confused fumbles about my alleged failure to follow “follow basic logic” (er, how?), gryposaurus made noise above about “the anti-intellectual narrative driven by CATO, CEI, and AfP,” kvetching about “their flawed look at climate science” and citing as support – to the extent that one can call it support –

      • Tsk. premature post. Browser glitch or my own fumble, this post should be removed.

      • Oh, good. So to what – precisely – is gryposaurus objecting in any of these linked sources? After some truly confused fumbles about my alleged failure to “follow basic logic” (er, how?), gryposaurus made noise above about “the anti-intellectual narrative driven by CATO, CEI, and AfP,” kvetching about “their flawed look at climate science” and citing as support – to the extent that one can call it support – Dr. Michaels’ post in Dr. Curry’s blog which reads (in toto):

        Can I ask why one has to have a tommy gun to go after the IPCC? The principals are, in fact, nominated by their governments, which (dare I say) have their own agendas. It seems to me the standard of argument against the IPCC should be lower than it would be for a debate in the refereed literature (though that, too, suffers from some problems related to Public Choice). The same should apply to the CCSP, by extension.

        Santer’s statement to that effect was simple appeal to a very political authority.

        This is what gryposaurus decries as “CATO science.”

        Er. wotthehell? Dr. Michaels speaks very briefly to the less-reliable-even-than-the-peer-reviewed-warmist-fraudulence quality of IPCC “scientific” assertions (of which only the willfully blind are not aware) and upon such we’ve got gryposaurus expecting anybody to accept his opinion to the effect that libertarians are sinfully “trying to undermine the mainstream science“?

        Not that the demonstrably corrupted “mainstream science” doesn’t require some considerable work to remedy the toxic pollution dumped into it by the AGW snake-oil peddlers.

        I have no doubt that these exchanges have been for gryposaurusthe most unpleasant conversation” he’s ever had on the Internet. He is encountering – almost certainly for the first time in a long time – a scientifically and politically skeptical disputant in a forum where warmist proprietors are not censoring such argument into that level of obliteration of opposition gryposaurus requires for his comfort.

      • Rich’s post shows he still wants to discuss Koch’s right to do what he does for whatever reason. This must mean that a discussion over whether someone is eroding Libertarianism must include the rights the person violating to be worth’s Rich’s thoughts. This does not follow basic logic.

        So how exactly does one determine whether or not rights are being eroded, without discussing the said rights?

        And would I be right in saying your main objection is to the likes of Koch spending some relatively paltry sum of his own, to offset the tens of billions of the public’s money spent to push CAGW ? The fact that such smll sums can raise doubts about an idea in which perhaps $100 billion has now been invested, should surely give pause for thought.

      • Also, how to Koch’s critics know he doesn’t actually believe global warming is hooey and deserves to be debunked for that reason alone?

    • Michael Larkin

      Richard,

      People may say what they like, but you can be extremely entertaining at times. I was trying to identify whose prose style it was that you remind me of, and then all of a sudden, it came to mind: G.I. Gurdjieff.

  61. Jason Calley

    Dr. Curry, you ask: “So why do Libertarians seem generally to be opposed to the idea of AGW and policies like carbon cap and trade? ”

    I think the answer is so obvious that you might not want to hear it. Libertarians tend to NOT be swayed by appeals to authority.

    Almost every argument in support of the CAGW hypothesis is presented as a form of appeal to authority. For example:
    Proponent: “My analysis of tree rings shows that climate was stable for 1000 years and then suddenly warmed.”
    Sceptic: “Show me the data and methods of analysis.”
    Proponent: “Not even if you get an FOI! Instead, I will hint at the data, give generalities about my methods, and tell you my conclusions. Just trust me!”
    Sceptic: “I don’t care who you are, you are no scientist, just a fraud!”

    Even very bright scientists generally accept peer reviewed literature as conclusive even if they have not closely read the paper themselves. That is nothing more than a scientist falling for the old appeal to authority.

    Open data, open software, open reasoning. Only that will sway libertarians.

    Dr. Curry, perhaps you accept the analysis from NASA GIStemp software? Do you have any idea what is in it, or do you just accept that Hansen et al are authorities?
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/gistemp/

    • Libertarians have access to open data, open code, open reasoning.

      And have done nothing.

      What’s the take-away message, given those facts?

      • DR64, there was no reply button above. You tell me what you consider to be valid “hockey stick” reconstructions and I’ll respond to each and everyone

      • Tanganyika.

      • DR64, you’ve got to be kidding. We’re talking about global reconstructions that validate Mann and you give me Lake Tanganyika. Gawd, I think I am done with you – you are consistently unresponsive. By.

      • Show me McIntyre’s reconstruction.

        Oh wait – he doesn’t do the real work.

        Never mind.

      • My last comment to you. McIntyre has stated for years that he doesn’t do reconstructions. He has never claimed that. What he and others have done , though, is to completely and unequivocally repudiate Mann’s. I am convinced you are not familiar with any real literature. By, By.

    • Have you looked at Barnes’ Clear Climate Code project? Pretty much blows “chiefio”‘s claims and assertions about GIStemp to smithereens…

      • DR64, I am waiting, but I expect you will have the sense to not include anything with the name of Rutherford or Hyubers!

  62. Gee, Derecho64 is one of the few people posting here who truly sounds credible. Yet, along with Chris Colose, Michael Tobis, Bart Verheggan and a handful of other people who actually seem to understand the science, Derecho64 gets trashed constantly.
    Is this now an anti-science site? I came here in hopes of learning how we might find workable ways to find compromises between warring factions to begin making at least some changes to reduce CO2. For example, we could support a very small fossil fuel tax to fund R&D that could create new markets – since no change seems possible unless somebody is making a profit.
    Dr. Curry stepped up to try to bridge the gap between mainstream science and the skeptics, but the gap seems to be unbridgeable judging by the majority of the comments here. I find this very discouraging, and I’m baffled by the vehement denial of rapid climate change – even as it is happening in front of us. All I can think of is that there must be financial motivations somewhere – maybe threats to investment portfolios, threats to businesses, belief that it will mean huge taxes or fear of deprivation -like driving more fuel efficient cars.
    In some ways I agree with libertarian views about excessive government interference, for example seat belt laws and helmet laws. I always wear a seat belt or a helmet anyway, but I deeply resent being ordered to do it. But government regulations may be the only way to force serious action. Industries have a very poor track record of voluntary compliance and self-regulation, and belief in the power of unfettered free markets is clearly a dangerous delusion.

    • My thoughts exactly, CGL. I disagree with you on the R&D funding tax; it is too late for such modest measures. But I agree in wondering what Dr Curry is hoping to accomplish here.

      She seems to think that the more commenters the better, regardless of the quality of the comments, which have descended in large measure into truly juvenile trolling. There seems little point in attempting to engage seriously, as few serious people will have the patience to wade through all this childish finger-pointing.

      I would be happy of an opportunity to engage in a real conversation with a real, intelligent skeptic who understands something of how intelligent discourse is conducted, but those seem very hard to spot among the trolls in these parts.

      • Juvenile trolling as opposed to what, lemming like alarmism that’s been displayed over and over again?

        Speaking about your host as if she wasn’t here, whilst in her ‘living room’ no less, is bad manners, or didn’t your mummy teach you that?

        Many commentors on this blog who don’t toe the ‘team’ line have made valuable contributions. The fact that you can’t engage them to your satisfaction with your failed pseudoscience doesn’t make them trolls.

        U unhappy Tobis? Stiff cheddar. Go back to RC and keep looking for that missing heat. That should keep you busy for a decade or two.

      • Michael, Climate Etc. has technical threads and discussion threads. This is a discussion thread. I usually monitor things quite closely on technical threads, which are pretty much troll free. There have been excellent discussions with very knowledgeable skeptics on many of the technical threads. If you look at the denizens list, there are many people spending time here with serious credentials and wide ranging and varying professional experiences. This is not a place where mindless people bother hanging out.

        What am I hoping to accomplish on discussion threads? I raise thorny topics on the discussion threads, at the interface between science and society. People challenge their own prejudices by arguing with people having different opinions. Invariably I learn something when people suggest interesting things to read (on this thread, i have found some of Tokyo Tom’s links to be interesting.)

        Assuming i have time in the next day or do (which is not a good assumption, I’m afraid), i will do a Part II on this thread, picking out some points/ideas to focus on in a follow on thread. Once we get the heat out of the way, we often generate some light over here.

      • i have found some of Tokyo Tom’s links to be interesting.

        Happy to be of service to your agenda, Dr. Curry.

        TT

    • randomengineer

      All I can think of is that there must be financial motivations somewhere – maybe threats to investment portfolios, threats to businesses, belief that it will mean huge taxes or fear of deprivation -like driving more fuel efficient cars.

      Read the denizens thread and you’ll find that on average the skeptics herein are well educated and there’s an overrepresentation of engineers of varying stripes.

      Since engineering is the point where science gets turned into useful stuff, it’s difficult to argue that engineers are either anti-science or too dim to grasp it.

      It’s equally difficult to argue that the financial rewards awaiting these same engineers who can leverage climate science information to create highly efficient energy tech or even research tools are actually counter-motivated by a handful of shares in Shell. e.g. if ARGO wasn’t already running, somebody here would by now be sending proposals to the NSF for funding. There’s also a great deal more money to be made in energy efficiency than there is in a garden variety mutual fund.

      Your attempted insult reads much like the accusations of “big oil funds the skeptics,” variation #23. Oh my, the skeptics are all afeared of fuel efficiency! Seriously? That’s your argument? That’s *it*?

      I came here in hopes of learning how we might find workable ways to find compromises between warring factions to begin making at least some changes to reduce CO2.

      Although Dr Tobis finds it somewhat distateful this particular petri dish is where Dr Curry is attempting to get a handle on precisely what factions are warring. Who are the skeptics and why are they skeptical?

      For instance, I’m not a climate skeptic but I think Dr Tobis is wrong, almost comically so, regarding urgency. I think we have plenty of time. He doesn’t. I think that we’re going to have plenty of time to solve any problems because that’s what global geopolitics will dictate. Dr Tobis is brilliant in his field. His field isn’t global realpolitik. This is pragmatism. Does that make me a denier? Of course not. And yet I reckon RC might think so, and in yet in other places I’d be seen as an AGW alarmist, socialist wannabe.

      Perhaps to you this seems silly. And perhaps it is. And perhaps something good will come of it.

      • Adding to what you said about oil companies: why on earth would they try to overturn a theory (AGW) which has probably done more than anything else to increase the dollar-barrel price of their product, and therefore their profits?

      • randomengineer

        Obviously, they wouldn’t. One of the interesting things about this argument is that it’s designed to appeal *solely* to those predisposed to presume that corporations are inherently evil and require extensive government restraint. To the more right wing ear this sound absurd on the face of it. The leftist ear hears TRVTH.

        In other news people express surprise that AGW support tends to divide politically left (support) and right (skeptics.) Seems to me that when your starting premise is that corporations (oil companies) are evil then belief probably comes easier. You see posters here like d64 pounding the anti-corporation drum, which to me is just as much an indicator of ideology driving belief as their suspicions of evangelicals.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        As a left-wing cAGW sceptic, I hear a lot more people on this thread banging the anti-government “interference” drum. Plenty of ideology there as well. Let’s have a bit of balance huh?

      • AnyColourYoulike: As a left-wing cAGW sceptic, I hear a lot more people on this thread banging the anti-government “interference” drum. Plenty of ideology there as well. Let’s have a bit of balance huh?

        All government action is by definition interference. You may or may not like it, but that’s what it IS.
        Recognising facts is not being ideological. Denying or camouflaging them is what being ideological is – eg with euphemisms like “intervention”.

      • This is a fair example of the one of the core problems of Libertarianism.

        Govt action is “interference”. By contrast the free-market is not. It’s pure, unsullied – virtually a force of nature, hence the idea that “all govt action is… interference”. In this, Libertarianism is pure ideology, arguing a contradiction; a value-free proposition for a human construct.

        Libertarianism is an empty husk that has been utilised by corporate lobbyists to further their aims.

        In its current form, its utility in addressing problems in the environment is pretty close to zero.

      • Thanks for summarizing so well. Libertarianism just cannot address environmental issues – those that effect all that are because of all. There’s just no language in libertarianism that can handle the concept, so they dismiss it.

      • Again, you are incorrect.

        A libertarian perspective is that any proposal must make sense in order to be implemented. In the case of potential climate change, if those believing there is a case for action could/would present the “case for action” (cost benefit analysis, etc.) the proposal would be accepted.

        That case has not been presented for action in the US.

      • A cost/benefit analysis must assume that all costs/benefits are known and quantifiable. What’s the monetary value of a rain forest as a carbon sink vs. clearing it for agriculture? Can you provide a number?

      • You wrote “A cost/benefit analysis must assume that all costs/benefits are known and quantifiable.” That is actually untrue. It is necessary to identify the predominate costs and benefits that are of concern to the stakeholder (in this case the United States taxpayer)

        It would not be particularly difficult to calculate the economic value of the assets in the rain forest vs. the cost of that same rain forest not existing and potentially causing someone in the future to suffer some harm as a result of it not being there. This is called risk analysis and is done on many projects.

        That said, it is not relevant to the decision in the United States. In the US the decision is really simple (IMO). It is the cost to the economy of implementing the proposed actions to reduce CO2 emissions vs. the forecasted benefits to the United States that those same CO2 reductions will achieve.

      • The US taxpayer isn’t the only stakeholder. Narrowing the analysis that far can lead to rather reprehensible results – sort of like Ford not putting a cheap part in the Pinto.

        Believe it or not, but not everything of value can be reduced to a number with a “$” in front of it.

      • Michael writes:

        Govt action is “interference”. By contrast the free-market is not. It’s pure, unsullied – virtually a force of nature….

        Yeah, pretty much. Human nature. Species Homo sapiens differs from other critters in the earth’s biosphere in a number of interesting ways, but the most interesting of all is the fact that our instincts pretty much suck. We have to survive by way of learned behavior and the use of conscious thought. Our individual and aggregate quality of life, in fact, gets to be pretty well correlated with our capacity to make use of reasoning and the products thereof.

        The market process is what might be called the bearing surface of that division of labor economy which is the whole purpose for which society – the process whereby members of species H. sapiens come into contact with each other without summarily raping, killing, and/or eating each other – happens. This understood, the market is not only “a force of nature” but the nature of what it is to be human.

        The closest that other critters can come to what we have been doing for thousands of years – probably since we first began using tools in prehistory – in our marketplace encounters with each other, in terms of specialization and division of labor, is most definitely far more sophisticated, adaptable, efficacious, resourceful, and even artistically satisfying than anything done by critters guided only by instinct.

        In the marketplace that is human society, government – to the extent that it isn’t something like Thomas Paine‘s “French b*stard landing with an armed Banditti and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives” – is a service provider, objectively (we hope!) exercising under delegation each market participant’s unalienable right to retaliate violently against criminal aggression.

        That right is “unalienable” because if the morality of self-defense is not recognized, if the right of retaliation does not exist, it cannot be said that a person has any right to anything else. Not even a right to a property in his own person.

        The continuing demand of the “Liberals” (and other fascists) that private persons be denied the means and the exercise of lethal force in defense of their property – chiefly by way of victim disarmament, with the fiction that the state has some sort of “monopoly of legal violence” (patent idiocy, that!) – makes all “Liberal” whining about consent nothing more than null noise.

        To the extent that libertarianism can at all be characterized, it is simply this:

        A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being for any reason whatever; nor will a libertarian advocate the initiation of force, or delegate it to anyone else.

        Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim.

        Hm. Anybody else wondering why all these “Libertarianism is an empty husk” government-as-god authoritarian schmucks keep running away from this?

      • Of course, the way libertarians define “force” and “initiate” have such huge flaws that things like collective action resulting in collective harm don’t count.

        Say, everyone dumps their used motor oil down the storm drains. No one person causes harm, but the contamination of the water supply is most assured. Libertarians can’t handle the concept.

      • Truly, D64, you are a wonder. Libertarians are good stewards and don’t pour oil into storm drains. Prove me wrong with even one example and I’ll give you a hundred bucks in cash. I want the name of the libertarian who pours motor oil in the storm drain. It’s a principal value…the freedom of my fist ends with the tip of your nose.
        Don’t you get tired of telling people how they think?

      • What would keep a libertarian from dumping motor oil down the drain? Her actions, in isolation, won’t cause any real harm to anything. So why not do it?

      • Because it would be stupid…and it would harm the fishies. We like fishies.
        Where do your ethics, sense of right and wrong, and common sense come from, D64? Most people–regardless of color, philosophy, creed, religion and ethnicity–act responsibly and don’t need government to force them to.
        You’ve never seen a libertarian pour motor oil in a storm drain…so knock it off with your clueless generalizations.

      • Whereas if the libertarian sees no harm – like burning fossil fuels, it’s “Drill, baby, drill”. Right?

        I’d rather not depend exclusively on personal perceptions of harm. Why do you?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “Most people–regardless of color, philosophy, creed, religion and ethnicity–act responsibly and don’t need government to force them to.”

        Say what??? What fairytale land are you living in Ken?

      • Speaking of “government-as-god authoritarian schmucks,” we’ve got Derecho64 noising about how “everyone dumps their used motor oil down the storm drains” without pausing to think (haw!) about how government “ownership” of those storm drains – and the failure of government goons to responsibly protect those drains and the effluents they carry off, ’cause government thugs function according to Dr. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy and not in response to market incentives – is the reason why people dispose of their used motor oil thus.

        Y’know, what Derech64 is actually demonstrating is that government goons really can’t be entrusted with stewardship of any common resource or service other than breaking things and killing people. First, they haven’t got any real incentive to perform such tasks effectively. Second, they haven’t got the aptitudes required to do so. Third, they’re nowhere near as omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, or omnibenevolent as Derecho64 in his “god-as-government” fantasies religiously wishes them to be.

      • The obvious problem being that given that human nature also leads to some form of governance, so government is also, virtually, a force of nature, and so Libertarianisms special pleading for ‘the market’ as some kind of system of nature falls flat on its face.

        Liberatrianism made some sense at its inception – markets were a novel idea and people had limited experience with what they were, what they meant and what they could be. Now we know better – the market is just another tool we can weild as we wish. For better or worse.

        Liberatarianisms fetish for the market was an evolutionary dead end, one that has been obvious since the early 20th C.

        It’s the dodo of political philosophy.

      • Nah. Michael, nothing’s “obvious” to someone who’s willfully blind, and I think you’re qualifying. What you obviously want is for libertarians to be absolute anarchists, so hostile to the concept of governance that we acknowledge no limitation on our desires, no matter what they might be.

        What you emphatically don’t want to confront is that the greatest part of libertarian thought – in the literature, online, everywhere – is upon how governance can be effected to optimally reconcile the “killer ape” character of H. sapiens and the potentials for creativity and enjoyment of life of which the individual human being is capable in company with his fellow people.

        If anything, the concept of civil government as we understand it in the post-Enlightenment West is very much a market phenomenon. It was in the 17th Century that European thinkers began to evaluate civil government not as something ordained by the Great Sky Pixie (the “divine right of kings”) but as an agency providing society with a specific service – the management of retaliatory violent force in the deterrence of criminals both foreign and domestic.

        From there the questions came to be about how it should be structured, what its proper functions ought to be, how to pay for it, how to reign in the officers of civil government when they got to violating the rights they were supposed to be protecting. All the thought expressed in works like Locke’s Two Treatises, Cobden & Bright’s Cato’s Letters, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. You’re totally ignorant of these, right, Michael?

        One of the key characteristics of the market is choice. Okay, so you, Michael, don’t want people to have choices. They may choose options you don’t like. And so you propose…?

        People of a normative bent – or just crazed with power-lust – have tried throughout human history to deprive “lesser” folk of choice. These efforts have invariably result in reduced quality of life for the people denied options, and when the victims can’t find end-around evasions, they tend reliably to get fed up enough to r’ar back and kill the necessarily smaller portion of their population who have been screwing with them.

        What modern libertarians are doing today is pretty much analogous to what Dr. Locke and his contemporaries were doing in the half-century following the start of the English Civil Wars. We’re dickering over the proper role of civil government, trying to preserve its beneficial characteristics, and abate the fatal nuisances being imposed by people who – for reasons of cupidity or megalomania or religious zealotry – are trying to use civil government to get results that government is really no goddam good at achieving.

        Hell, mostly those government-besotted goniffs are after results that are unarguably deleterious to society as a process and to whole boatloads of real human beings, none of whom can be expected to lie down and keep on taking it indefinitely.

        And if history is any guide, when those people who conceive themselves to be getting screwed by the officers of civil government get fed up enough, or desperate enough, they’re going to start killing those whom they perceive to be employing the guise of lawful civil government as a mechanism of criminal predation. Bloody mess.

        Now, have you noted any libertarians calling for that kind of bloody mess? The most of us consciously pledge ourselves to the Non-Aggression Principle (which I’ve mentioned above), and we’re willing to go to great lengths to avoid such an outcome, even to the point of getting together in a single American state or two and seceding from the horrible mess the “government-as-god” schmucks are making of the national republic.

        Might be best for people like you, Michael, if we left, no? Then you’d be without our “dodo” influence to advance along your “progressive” path to whatever perverse paradise on earth tickles your fancy.

        Of course, you’ll be in economic ruins as those of us with valuable skills to exchange in the marketplace get out from under the extortionate grasp of your taxpayer-funded thugs and leave the rump republic containing you and your fellow collectivists to collapse into ruin.

        Hey, if you hate us so much, why is it that the idea of us libertarians getting out from under your “spread the wealth around” hammer freak you statists into gibbering hysteria?

      • “Civil government” is “very much a market phenomenon”.

        Now there is ideology imposing itself on history.

        Civil government had a narrow escape from Libertarians and their fellow market-worshippers. Indeed it was a welcome move away from the”Great Sky Pixie”, but so enamoured were they with this new market thing, that they proposed to enslave western civilisation to it. In this view, the market was a benign and truly impartial force that would mediate relations, not just between individuals, but between nations. At their most naive and gradiose, the free-marketeers claimed that war would be a thing of the past, as such a thing would never occur as it would be in no one’s rational interest!!

        Civil government as a market phenomenon! Ha!!!.

        The marketeers were quite dispondent over the progress of civil government. This democracy thing was quite messy. Having escaped the ‘Great Sky Pixie’ they saw the ‘passions of men’ as little better. The cool rationality of the market beckoned. No madding crowd or corrupt polictians – it was a force beyond man.

        Yes, they proposed a new “Great Sky Pixie” – the market. Government of man could be abolished. All praise the new diety!

        This hope lingers on with our modern Libertarians, who at least have learned the lesson that this is absurd, and now just tinker around the edges with their ever vague mumblings about small government.

        Do I want you to leave? No. I just hope you continue to fail to further enslave us to your “Great Sky Pixie”, the market.

      • Aw, Michael, don’tcha know? The market in which the price was paid for getting civil government out from under the “divine right of kings” and into the status of responsive (and by law limited) service provider was held in English towns like Edgehill and Naseby, in places like Marston Moor, and later in American towns like Concord and Monmouth and Saratoga, at Cowpens and on King’s Mountain and at Yorktown.

        The metals of exchange were lead and steel, and the market prices paid were denominated in blood. But even though the people went into the hurly-burly of dickering for what they wanted, they knew pretty well what was being demanded of them, and they were willing to pay.

        Not all markets count transactions in stuff that rustles and clinks.

        But why should we expect the willfully blind – like you, Michael – to be able to take account of such?

      • Tsk. Writing in these “comments” boxes while trying to do something else is troublesome. What I had intended above was:

        What we human beings have been doing for thousands of years – probably since we first began using tools in prehistory – in our marketplace encounters with each other, in terms of specialization and division of labor, is most definitely far more sophisticated, adaptable, efficacious, resourceful, and even artistically satisfying than anything done by critters guided only by instinct.

        Well, hell. Y’know what I meant ab ovo.

      • MichaelThis is a fair example of the one of the core problems of Libertarianism : Govt action is “interference”….In this, Libertarianism is pure ideology, arguing a contradiction; a value-free proposition for a human construct.

        The state is the monopoly of legal violence in a geographical area. This means that each and every thing it does is backed by the use or threat of proactive violence. It’s entire purpose is to subvert consent as a means of social interaction, in the affairs it involves itself in.

        To deny this is pure ideology. Or perhaps just delusion.

      • Anything, done by anyone, is by definition interference.

        So the point is…..there isn’t one.

        Which nicely sums up Libertarianism.

      • Michael: Anything, done by anyone, is by definition interference.

        Interference here refers to interference by some people with the rights of other people. And not all social interection is of an interfering nature – there is also consensual interaction.

        Governments, by their very nature, only ever interfere, since they operate by proactive coercion (as do gangsters).

        In simple terms, a libertarian is one who recomends that the level of coercion in society (and hence of goverment) be set to the lowest level possible. Socialists/totalitarians are the polar opposite, desiring that coercion (and hence government) be set at the highest level possible.

      • Government == Mafia is neither helpful nor correct.

      • Especially in the sense that when the Mafia runs lotteries, they give better odds than do governments.

        The Mafia has to respond to market demands.

      • And if you don’t wish for the ‘lowest level’, Libertarians will impose it upon you.

      • Government == Mafia is neither helpful nor correct.

        What I actually said was : they operate using the same basic method – proactive coercion – which is obviously true. They use or threaten violence unless you do as they demand. Ignoring this is not helpful.

        And if you don’t wish for the ‘lowest level’ [of government] Libertarians will impose it upon you.

        Liberty is a lack of imposition, and hence cannot be imposed. Hence you cannot ‘impose’ liberty on those who don’t want it. Anyone desiring to be controlled more than a given govetnment is doing, can freely contract with private parties to make up the difference.

    • Most of the world is anti-science.

      I’d still rather see the anti-science expressed with all the clarity and focus it can muster, so I know what it is.

      It’s the cobra you don’t see that you worry about.

      • Most of the world is anti-science

        Yes – that’s why they hide data, try and stifle views other than their own, dream up mickey-mouse Principal Components techniques, etc.

      • … fail to study science, obtain any academic credentials in technical fields, practice debating skills instead of performing experiments and subjecting the results to qualified review, make derivative analyses of others’ work because they never learned to do their own original research, etc.

        All of that, of course, and more.

      • Latimer Alder

        Performing Experiments???

        Who in climatology performs experiments? A lot of people b****r about with unvalidated and unverified models and pretend that they are doing ‘experiments’, when all they are doing is exploring the characteristics of the models. But nobody does actual real experiments as in physics or chemistry or biochemistry experiments.

        If they did, I might just have more confidence in the theories.

        But when the ‘leading lights’ of this ‘science’ spend a great deal of time explaining to us mere mortals why it would be a total waste of hos precious time to actually try to see if his model bore any relationship to the real world.

        And when his associates spend their days making arbitrary and unrecorded ‘adjustments’ to the data to fit the theory, then what little remaining trust I have in their outpourings goes out of the window.

        So please don;t mention ‘experiments’ in the same breath as climatology. My primary qualification is in an experimental science. And climatology ain’t one.

      • And yet, your practice of debating skills is far more apparent when you approach this topic than your performance of any relevant experiments.

        If you’re an experimentalist, do some climate-related experiments pertinent to the issue.

        There have to be some.

        Let us know the results, when you get them.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry pal..not my problem. I don’t keep a dog and bark myself.

        I am a private individual, not a taxpayer funded ‘scientist’. And as such I don’t have the time or resources to do climate experiments. The ‘public servants’ we all employ to do this have plenty of both at our expense.

        That they choose not to, in favour of ‘adjusting’ data and of refusing to test their models against reality is a sad but ture criticism of the whole pseudoscience of Climatology.

      • Experimentation has been undertaken on Dr. John Martin’s oceanic iron fertilization theory, but – of course – the computer models of the warmist cabal indicate (or have been jiggered to indicate) that were Martin’s “Geritol solution” to the non-problem of anthropogenic atmospheric carbon dioxide increase implemented, it would – in theory – effect only the reverse of the (erroneously and/or fraudulently represented) “warming effect of about 1/6th of current levels of anthropogenic CO2 emissions,” and even if phytoplankton fixation of atmospheric carbon dioxide were facilitated according to Dr. Martin’s suggestion, “CO2 levels will have risen by the time this could be achieved.”

        In other words, taking one-sixth of current levels of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – the accumulation of more than a century and a half of human output since the start of the first industrial revolution – out of the earth’s atmosphere while increasing the yields of fisheries all over the planet is something to which the warmists strenuously object because it would do far more to mitigate any putative “greenhouse gas” effect about which they’re screaming so hysterically than would shutting down every coal-fired powerplant in the western hemisphere….

        Er, are we still pretending that these “global warming” bastiches are even arguably sane?

      • Someone who studies say literature or law rather than science, is not thereby anti-science.

        The only doggedly anti-science grouping here is the Phil Jones & his IPCC friends, who follow Jones’s “Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it” approach. And the remainder of the climate professionals who decline to criticise this.

        One does not need a degree in science to detect if it has been corrupted like this.

    • CGL, you apparently haven’t seen how Dr. Curry has been slagged off in places like RC, for her ‘crime’ of daring to publicly question certain tenets of AGW dogma.

    • CGL

      Gee… Derecho64 gets trashed constantly…

      Still far, far, better than being censored.

      Is this now an anti-science site?

      An anti-currupt science one.

      I came here in hopes of learning how we might find workable ways to find compromises between warring factions to begin making at least some changes to reduce CO2.

      You speak as if the case for CO2 reduction is settled.

  63. Latimer Alder

    Fine. Great idea

    Suggest a blog other than here where such a debate may be conducted and is not subject to the heavy hand of moderation. Where a sceptic view is even tolerated? Because I know of no other.

    Until such another place exists, Judith’s is what you’ve got. And if you want to persuade those who are not funded by the academic AGW industry to believe your story, these are the sorts of debates you will need to have.

    There is a discernible decrease in faith in AGW disasters among the general public. Hiding away in your moderated echochambers and complaining that the peasants are getting uppity and do not conduct ‘intelligent discourse’ to your standards is not the way to reverse this trend.

  64. Latimer Alder

    Just to add that you can look at the earlier thread marked ‘denizens’, and read the bios of quite a number of regular contributors here.

    In general you’ll find that they have a reasonable amount of ‘real world’ experience of making things work, rather than just writing papers about them. Perhaps that is why their manners aren’t always quite to the standard you’d like while sipping port in the Common Room. But lacking in savvy they are not.

    • Latimer Alder

      Clarification:

      My two posts above should be read as replies to

      Michael Tobis | January 9, 2011 at 1:06 am

      Somehow the ‘reply’ button failed to work correctly.

  65. Judith,

    You write “there is a group of anti-science deniers out there, who distrust science (young earth creationism is usually a sign of someone who distrusts science.) Once this is acknowledged/ identified/understood, then the libertarian and scientific skeptics are taken out of the same “denier” category as those that are truly anti-science.”

    Yes, it’s fair enough to exclude genuine scientific sceptics form the denier category. Mind you, I’m not not sure that there are many who would have sufficient scientific knowledge to fully qualify.

    But, why should libertarian sceptics be excluded too? Surely anyone who rejects a scientific argument or conclusion for any other reason that the scientific merit of that argument must be a denier. It doesn’t matter if their motivation is religious or political.

  66. Up above we’ve got Bart R going on about water fluoridation thus:

    All of the arguments you make about fluoride [regarding fluorosis and the fact that the deliberate addition of bioavailable fluorides to municipal water supplies imposes a proximal health hazard on the very small minority of people at risk of such toxicity for the very small benefit of a reduced incidence of dental carries in the majority of the population obliged to draw upon those municipal water supplies] have their obvious analogues when applied to CO2 in the context as appropriate.


    How these “obvious analogues” apply, of course, Bart R does not go on to explain.

    Well, hell. Bart R says it’s “obvious,” doesn’t he? He then goes on to write that I:

    …not only believe there’s no harm in artificially adulterating one shared common resource but advocate more of the same without limit, and on the other hand you oppose even limited introduction on principle.

    Let’s try that Rude Loud Buzzer Noise again. What Bart R is stumbling into is the conflation of fluorosis (with specific patients’ particular bodies suffering injury as the result of the deliberate actions of “We’re Doing This For Your Own Good” types in civil government – a wonderfully “progressive” idea which reduces the householder [who is required to pay for the government monopoly delivery of water to his domicile] to the status of incompetent cattle too stupid to know what’s good for him) with the preposterous and unproven contention that global – meaning the whole friggin’ planet, not just any cadre of specific patients – adversity in the form of “climate disruption” is being caused, or will ever be caused, by another “artificial adulterating” chemical – anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

    Now, if Bart R were to try telling anybody on this forum that the amount of CO2 being emitted (or ever likely to be emitted) into the earth’s atmosphere could attain levels sufficient to cause anything like CO2 narcosis in a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)…. But, nah. Bart R couldn’t be that dumb, could he?

    Y’see, being a physician, when I have to consider water fluoridation, I’ve got to acknowledge that the doctor or other prescriber who simply knee-jerks his writing for pediatric vitamins to include fluoride in every one of them will, ceteris paribus tend to write such prescriptions for kids who are already taking in much fluoride by way of the municipal water supply. When fluorosis develops in any of that prescriber’s patients, members of the Plaintiff’s Bar are going to come after said prescriber for having failed in his duty to those patients, and that’s medical malpractice. The potential adverse consequences of water fluoridation are considerations of which I am aware – as Bart R apparently is not. He views municipal water fluoridation as an unalloyed good. I know that it is not.

    Then we get to the megaton release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by way of the combustion of fossil petrochemicals – an inadvertent byproduct of this process which cannot be mitigated except by ceasing combustion altogether – and (remember, we’re talking about real human beings drinking therefrom) the “progressives'” ever-so-deliberately fluoridated municipal water supplies.

    Thus Bart R gets the Loud Rude Buzzer Noise. Y’see, he’s trying to get away with implying that I “believe there’s no harm in artificially adulterating one shared common resource” (don’tcha just love his implication that I’m writing here because I “believe” something, the way religious whackjobs and socialists and similar jerkwads do?) when what I’m focused upon when he attempts to conflate municipal water fluoridation with the combustion-induced addition of carbon dioxide to the planet’s atmosphere is proven potential for harm.

    With fluoridation, there are proven potentials for harm. You’ll find them in any public health textbook or other consideration of the subject, and especially you’ll find them in the FDA-approved labeling (those much-folded prescription instructions packaged with the products) for prescription pediatric vitamins containing fluoride.

    With carbon dioxide, even in the amounts produced by an industrialized civilization, there is precisely NO proven potential for harm.

    You “global warming” shmucks got that? It’s not a matter of what I “believe” (though I acknowledge that you guys are squatting on your position with nothing more than a faith-based contention in your Neanderthal hands) but rather what has been proven in support of the great hysterical “man-made climate disruption” hokum.

    And that’s bloody well nothing at all.

    • Rich

      Nice to see your reply, with its attempt at cogency and coherence. For you.

      You make a number of strident assumptions about my unstated beliefs and opinions, and I won’t bother to disabuse you of all of them; however, I don’t believe fluoridation is always a good, far from it. Especially so where the process of fluoridation is brought about without due consideration. Much like the process of carbonization clearly is.

      If the analogues are inobvious to you, then by all means, let’s have a look at more:

      1. Air and water are both shared common resources. A global change in air composition, or a region-wide change in tapwater, are clearly analogous, with of course global changes to air being more pervasive and difficult to avoid than changes to tap water.

      2. CO2 and fluoride are both substances that in some measure occur naturally in air and water respectively.

      3. CO2 and fluoride are both substances being introduced at elevated levels by human action; that CO2 is an incidental insult to the atmosphere, and fluoride a deliberate one to tap water, for my purposes I ask Rich to overlook, as much as I know he loves incidental insult.

      4. The debates about the merits and drawbacks of these human adulterations are complex, full of technical and scientific dispute and uncertainty, and with a lot of room for skepticism and disagreement.

      5. The amount, type, and quality of proofs of harm of CO2 and fluoride are roughly comparable, though as the global atmosphere is many times larger, the volume of proof of CO2’s harm is many times larger than fluoride’s. It’s close enough for a wildly hand-wavy metaphor of the type Rich loves.

      5.a) Both sides of the debate call the others’ offerings hokum, for example.

      6. Libertarians have a long and well-documented track record of statements of principle about both. That the principles stated are diametrically opposed (“don’t force that poison down my throat without my consent” vs “don’t stop me from putting whatever I want wheresoever I like without limit”) and makes libertarians seem two-faced hypocrites.. is the point.

      • Libertarians have a long and well-documented track record of statements of principle … [that] are diametrically opposed (“don’t force that poison down my throat without my consent” vs “don’t stop me from putting whatever I want wheresoever I like without limit”) and makes libertarians seem two-faced hypocrites.. is the point.

        Where did you find the straw libertarians who adhere to the second of those?

      • Well, Punksta, I found Rich, Jim and Gene here.

        Of course, my wording might not be the way they say it, but they’ve done nothing to persuade me I’m mistaking their view by word, or more importantly by deed.

      • Hardly. That you would make such a claim (and even, perhaps, believe it), when it’s easily refuted by a search within this very page, speaks volumes. Both Jim and I voiced the opinion that restrictions would be apropriate to address an actual harm. I won’t speak for Rich (looking for my discussions with Rich, also on this page, would explain why) . Bart’s argument seems to be that he holds personal veto power over everyone else’s CO2 emissions.

      • Well let’s ask them. Rich, Jim and Gene : what is your position is on the property rights of seemingly unavoidably joint ownership?

        The original tragedy of the commons example was down to a lack of property rights on grazing land, leading to overuse. The solution is to create propery rights on it, since owners have an incentive to look after their grazing pastures.
        Air has always been commons too, and as such could in principle also be subject to overuse/abuse. But there isn’t a comparable way to create ownership rights to parcels of it. So if CAGW turns out to be true, we may well be stuck with joint ownership as the only option. Which is practice will mean state ownership – with the state dictating how it may be used.

      • Asked and answered, but, once more for the record: preventing and/or punishing harm to a common resource, such as air, is a proper function of government.

      • Bart R complains that I have made “a number of strident assumptions about [his] unstated beliefs and opinions, but – of course! – Bart Rwon’t bother to disabuse {me or any-goddam-body else] of all of them.”

        This, of course, is sometimes called lying by way of willful omission. In risk mitigation seminars at CME conferences, the attorneys engaged as instructors warn us doctors that if we get caught doing this, the punitive damages phases of the judgments rendered against us (and they will come out against us) are going to be spectacularly horrible.

        Bearing in mind what this evinces in everything we will be reading from James G in this post and henceforth, let’s proceed with his enumerated efforts at further bamboozlement, illogic, and evasion.

        (1) Ain’t nothing at all “clearly analogous” (or even remotely analogous) to the conflation James G is trying to create between municipal water fluoridation and the proven potential for harm thereof and the clinically insignificant increases in global atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the purposeful combustion of fossil petrochemicals. Despite the fact that “global changes to air [are] more pervasive and difficult to avoid than [are] changes to tap water, what we’ve got from James G here is abso-friggin’-lutely no address of the differences between bioavailable fluoride levels deliberately imposed upon municipal drinking water supplies and changes in atmospheric CO2 levels caused by combustion when we consider proven potential for harm.

        I would suggest that James G drop efforts to string out this fluoridation analogy-that-isn’t. He’s already gotten to a wonderfully pointless “Reverend Johnson” level here. I’ve already observed that enormous numbers of private persons, having found themselves confronted by the top-down “We Know What’s Best For You!” arrogance of the municipal water supply fluoridators, have so consistently and thoroughly refused to suffer exposure to what they are forced by government monopolies to purchase that they elect to spend additional money to buy bottled water which is advertised to be free of fluoride and other noxious chemicals infused into municipal tap water.

        Big market for that bottled water, even though the purveyors thereof are frequently perpetrating fraud by simply drawing off municipal tap water and selling it as if it were not.

        (2) Yep, “CO2 and fluoride are both substances that in some measure occur naturally in air and water respectively.” So are hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and sodium and the halogens other than fluorine, and sulfur…. Er, is there a point that James G is trying to make here, or are we seeing another “Reverend Johnson” moment out of him?

        (3) Also true that “CO2 is an incidental insult to the atmosphere, and fluoride a deliberate one to tap water,” but – of course – James G is continuing to evade all obligation to consider proven potential for harm. With fluoridation of municipal drinking water, there is a mensurable and clinically significant proven potential for harm. With anthropogenic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide – anent the “man-made global climate disruption” hypothesis (’cause James G doesn’t want us calling this hokum “hokum”) – there is no goddam proven potential for harm whatsoever.

        (4) Yet more “Reverend Johnson” action from James G about “a lot of room for skepticism and disagreement” when, in fact, there’s no goddam room at all for disagreement about the proven potential for harm in municipal water fluoridation (it’s small, but it’s definite) and the abject lack of such in the gaudy AGW blithering idiocy. As has been elsewhere discussed – repeatedly – what we have of the “climatologists” riding upon the taxpayer-funded “climate change” gravy train are interpretations of abstract models which have been developed on the basis of demonstrably flawed (hell, cooked!) observations, incredibly bungled (or mendacious) methods of analysis, and studiedly unexamined conclusions, all of it rendered even more unreliable by way of the deliberate corruption of professional peer review confirmed in the communications of the C.R.U. correspondents exposed by Climategate.

        I’m looking at the issue of water fluoridation and atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions on the basis of proven potential for harm, and James G is….

        Well, hell. He’s told us he “won’t bother” to be explicit about where he’s coming from, where he’s going, or who he intends to run over in the process.

        (5) But James G does assert that “The amount, type, and quality of proofs of harm of CO2 and fluoride are roughly comparable,” to which the only reasonable and proper response is that Loud Rude Buzzer Noise I’ve used before and words that Dr. Curry won’t let me use here, darn it.

        Does the expression “flagrantly unsupported assertion” strike anybody as unreasonable here? How about “cite your goddam sources!” and “PPR or ST*U”?

        As for James G even more spectacularly pointless point (6), we’ve got a pretty good idea that the ever-so-evasive James G hates the concept of individual rights and therefore anybody who seeks consistently to defend that concept in the conduct of human affairs, so how much weight can we possibly afford James G‘s equally unsupported assertion that “libertarians seem two-faced hypocrites“?

  67. >Up there we’ve got Vaughan Pratt boasting:

    Even though the US Supreme Court has recently veered further away from its liberal posture than in many decades, it has still declared CO2 a pollutant. Bart R has neglected to point out that this puts RM at odds with the SCOTUS.

    To the address of which I add my endorsement of Jim Owen‘s rebuttal.

    I’m supposed to accept on a matter of scientific fact the opinions of a bunch of lawyers – especially former law students who now get to mark not only their own but everybody else’s examination papers – politically appointed by Boot On Your Neck Party popularity contest winners? Nine pompous slugs who might best be characterized as “scum-de-la-scum”?

    The same body responsible for the Kelo v. New London (2005) voiding of the Fifth Amendment’s “takings” clause? Those guys?

    Pardon me for being repetitious, but “Har-de-friggin-har!”

    • David L. Hagen

      Vaughan Pratt
      claims the US Supreme Court “has still declared CO2 a pollutant.”
      It did not.

      If EPA makes a finding of endangerment, the Clean Air Act requires the agency to regulate emissions of the deleterious pollutant from new motor vehicles. . . . We need not and do not reach the question whether on remand EPA must make an endangerment finding, or whether policy concerns can inform EPA’s actions in the event that it makes such a finding. . . .We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute.

      MASSACHUSETTS v. EPA (No. 05-1120) 415 F. 3d 50, reversed and remanded.

  68. Upstairs and getting squeezed off there’s JamesG, stout defender of collectivism reducing everybody but enlightened socialists to the status of beef cattle, implying I’m contending that:

    …if someone had killed Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot or any of the other mass murderers of either right wing or left wing descent the numbers massacred might have been a lot less and greater good would have been achieved.

    Not that I had done so, or would state such. Ioseb Jughashvili and Miss Schicklgruber’s grandson Adolf and Saloth Sar were particular individuals complicit in the implementation of the political pathology we know as “socialism,” and had each of them been extirpated early in life – as doubtless most of their equally rabid and villainous contemporary co-religionists were – another specimen would have flourished to take advantage of the conditions in which these critters flourished. None of them were particularly describable as unique geniuses, nor men who innovated. Fanaticism and paranoia and a proclivity for mass murder together with a fulminant hatred of the human capacity for reasoned thought are, after all, found combined in other men (and some women) elsewhere in history.

    I’ll admit that there’s a particularly Sicilian emotionally satisfying aspect to the thought of such individuals getting blown away. Certainly, such would be a well-justified retaliatory exercise of lethal force. But I’ve got to concede the argument made to me in other online fora that these particular people were animals participating in a sociopolitical “ecosystem,” and even were they removed, the conditions accruing to their malevolent potencies would not have been remedied.

    Further in his post JamesG continues his effort to conflate libertarians with the “violent right wingers” he (justifiably) hates and fears – but, of course, he makes no case for the commonality he wands so desperately to assert. That and a bunch of personal insults on the part of JamesG he thinks will get snarkily past Dr. Curry’s rules of politeness.

    Can JamesG get any more pointless? Well, I have faith in his abilities demonstrated thus far. Given free rein, he ought to get even more frenziedly ludicrous. Let’s watch.

  69. As a person who is a true independent voter, with some Libertarian leanings and some “green” leanings, I find this topic most interesting. But let me begin by stating exactly what I feel the ideal role of a any government should be limited to:

    “The ideal role of government should be to create and maintain an environment whereby each individual citizen living under that government has opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.”

    By environment here, I mean the whole environment, both physical as well as economic, social, and national defense. And while this definition, on the surface may seem simple enough, I feel it has a certain power that can be seen in practical applications.

    For example, lets take the case of a company that wants to come in and build a manufacturing plant near a town. Some libertarians might say, great, let them come in and cut all government red tape, including even environmental regulations…complete laissez-faire capitalism. Further, it could be argued that no company would willingly pollute the area as it would be bad for business, etc. so the government should just stay out. Such extreme positions of course do not work in the real world as we know that capitalism is based on one thing…the acquisition of capital. Profits trump everything in the end. Going back to my definition of what the role of government should be, it IS the role of government to make sure that companies do not pollute and degrade the environment as that will directly impact the opportunity of every individual to achieve their maximum potential, as individuals with serious medical issues, cancer, etc. certainly aren’t in the position to achieve their maximum potential.

    Some libertarians argue on this point that no clear linkages are established between pollution and cancer, etc., but I reject such arguments as completely anti-science, as the most thorough research clearly indicates the roll of environmental factors in creating many of today’s most serious health issues. One has only to look at Libertarian leaning organizations such as the Heartland Institute, who took up the side of cigarette companies in trying to provide doubt about the link between smoking and serious health effects. To me, this blind allegiance to the pure laissez-faire capitalism is the most repulsive side to libertarianism. The individual should always be the focus of, and trump all other concerns in a free society– and specifically, creating and maintaining an environment (physical, social, economic, national defense, education, etc.) that gives that individual the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.

    It is important to note that in my definition the ideal role of government that I used the word “opportunity” for what the government ought to give the individual. I did not say “guarantee” or “make” or “ensure”. It is here that my leanings toward the deeper spirit of libertarianism comes to the front. It is up the individual, by their own efforts, to take advantage of the opportunity afforded them– the government simply creates and maintains the environment where they have that opportunity. From this perspective, the ideal government is no different than the ideal parent, for a parent ought to give their child the opportunity to succeed by creating an environment for that success, but never should a parent “do” the work for the child. This creates lazy and non self-actualized humans. This is no different than those who go on public welfare and become addicted to the handouts. Yes, sometimes assistance is needed, but it should always have the goal of moving the individual back to a position of self-reliance and self-determination. This ties back directly to the ideal role of government– when people do fall on hard times, an environment exists whereby they can, by their own efforts, pull themselves back up.

    You can see then how taking my definition of the ideal government quickly makes sense in the areas of education, economics, and national defense. For example, if we have a poor national defense, and are subjected to constant attacks or threats of attacks from foreign governments, then that would not be conducive to allowing individuals in that society the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential. On the flip side, if we have too large of a national defense, whereby the individual is burdened with excessive taxation to pay for a sprawling military, then that too creates an environment where the individual does not have the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential. The answer of course is, the right sized military, strong enough, but not excessively so. In this regard, I would applaud the stance of such libertarians as Ron Paul, who I noted with interest was booed by other right-leaning groups at a Tea Party rally a few months back when he specifically mentioned cutting back of the military. It seems that for some libertarians, the military can never be too big or too powerful, and I find this uniquely interesting, as certainly there is a point at which it becomes excessively so and a tax burden that is excessive and not conducive to creating the environment whereby the individual has the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.

    and even trying to

  70. Punksta | January 9, 2011 at 9:33 am | — “And you can see how real scientists talk, by reading the Climategate emails.”

    Yes, that’s precisely right, but many have decided they’re a betrayal of their own fantasy ideal of how scientists should talk, even in private correspondence. For examples of how scientists in the field of biology slag off their peers in what is not even meant to be entirely private correspondence, check out a selection from the editors of Environmental Microbiology (H/T to Eli): http://writedit.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/helpful-vocabulary-for-journal-reviewers/

    Whoever said you have to be nice to be right? Ten year olds??

    • The problem Climategate highlighted isn’t the slagging off of personalities. It’s the endemic dishonesty and contempt for the notion of seeking the truth that has blighted virtually the entire climate establishment.

      • The real problem with Climategate is opportunistic misrepresentations of what the Climategate emails actually tell us via prejudiced quote-mine-aganzas.

      • Oh, there’s another “problem with Climategate,” and that’s the wonderful “Nurmee!-Nurmee!-Nurmee!-I”m-Not-Listening!” reaction of the global warming True Believers when the doctored datasets and the wonderful “hockey stick” computer modeling kludge code (which makes up the preponderant content of that wonderful FOIA2009.zip archive – which you’ve read through in its entirety, haven’t you, J Bowers? – including the “Harry Read Me file.

        The e-mails are perfectly representative of the various deviations from professional ethical standards among the “Hockey Team” (so do they have hockey leagues in the federal prison system?) and their collusion to conceal and destroy data with criminal intent to evade lawful requests under prevailing U.K. and U.S. Freedom of Information statutes (kinda explains the “FOIA” in the name of the zip archive released to the ‘Net by that “outside hacker” whom the Norfolk police are going to get their hands upon Real Soon Now, doesn’t it?). Positively “Enronic,” those e-mails, ain’t they?

        On Dr. Curry’s recent “Evangelicals and Environmentalism” thread, I’ve already drawn the fascinating parallels between the stone-headed adherents to the “anthropogenic global warming” fraud and the religious whackjobs who approach all scientific matters with attitudes straight out of the prosecution in the Scopes Monkey Trial. You wanna check that out, too, J Bowers?

      • “I’ve already drawn the fascinating parallels” lol, a legend in your own mind?

    • The emails speak plainly about hiding data, arranging to have non-alarmist papers kept out of journals, circumventing IPCC rules, asking people to delete evidence of that…. etc etc etc.

      That they are science crooks is beyond all reasonable doubt. No “context” could justify this, and no attempt to provide missing emails to demonstrate this and undo alleged quote “mining” has been attempted. It is all consistent with Jones’s brief lapse of honesty when he said “Why should I show you my data when I know you’ll try and find something wroing with it”.

  71. Up above we’ve got Derecho64 – as expected – evading the question direct and in the spirit of duplicity, misdirection, and completely contemptible conduct in public discourse writing instead:

    Rand wasn’t an anarchist; what makes her views wrong and stupid, compared to yours, Rich?

    .

    Would you dump your used motor oil down the storm drain? Why or why not?

    This, of course, implies that I am an uncritical acolyte of Mrs. O’Connor, that I am an anarchist, and that I would dump used motor oil down a storm drain.

    In precisely the same spirit, might I ask Derecho64 why he sodomizes small dogs, sneaks onto dairy farms by night to poison the silage, and supports the repeal of the 13th Amendment?

    Having had considerable friendly converse with anarchists over the decades (would that Derecho64 had an open mind and thus the capacity for such conversation), I’ve had occasion aplenty to see the sense – and the liabilities – of their positions. I am myself what most libertarians characterize as a “minarchist,” reconciled to the utility of civil government in its “goons with guns” role – what has been called the “night watchman state.”

    This position is also known as the advocacy of government under the rule of law, and obviously such a limitation on civil government is nothing that our “government-as-god” types – like Derecho64 – are prepared to allow their fellow human beings.

    As for my personal attitude toward (and practice with regard to) dumping “used motor oil down a storm drain or anywhere else, I suppose I’m much like anybody else in America who has grown up and lived as an adult in areas where there aren’t any storm drains down which used motor oil can be dumped.

    Those of us in flyover country – without experience of “Do-Everything-For-You” government – learn early and well about the consequences of our actions. Unburdened by the fantasy of “government-as-god,” we’ve pretty much g0t a “you broke it, you fix it” attitude toward the world around us.

    So we don’t dump used motor oil anywhere. Besides, it can be filtered and re-used, if not on the farm than in the petrochemicals industry. That had to be learned where I grew up, back during POL rationing in World War II. I guess the habits set pretty firmly in my generation, too. As a result, I don’t particularly take credit for my lifelong compliance with a policy I’ve never considered anything but sensible.

    Heck, where I live, our wells draw upon an aquifer that runs so shallow that when somebody lays down asphalt the most sensitive tastebuds can pick it up in the drinking water. Big incentive not to tip a bucketful of Derecho64‘s “used motor oil” into a ditch anywhere near your property.

    • As usual from Rich, a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

      I’ve discussed minarchism and anarchism with adherents of both since before you were still soiling your diapers, son.

      Both are unrealistic and impractical in the real world, as opposed to the land of cyberspace.

      Have you ever considered a run for political office, Rich? It’s an option freely open to you here in the US. Why haven’t you?

      There’s a straightforward link between your rhetoric and the recent violence against a particular government official; perhaps toning it down a few bejillion notches will do your “arguments” some good. Much as you may fantasize that you’re a bulwark of rights, freedom and liberty against the neo-totalitarian forces of the gubmint arrayed against you, compared to what the sufferers of (say) North Korea deal with every day, you got it pretty darned easy.

      It never ceases to amaze me the number of people online who believe they’re living under a totalitarian regime but whose real-world experience of the same is utterly nonexistent. If they had actually experienced that reality, they’d be a heck of lot less hyperbolic and downright inane, as our dear Rich has illustrated with just about every post of his.

      • Derecho64 claims to have “discussed minarchism and anarchism with adherents of both” since the Truman Administration, and I’ve got to wonder if he’d ever had a sit-down with Frank Chodorov.

        Probably not. A little late to the “Liberal” cannibal feast, Derecho64 tries to besmirch me (and all libertarians) with the attack upon Rep. Giffords and her group, claiming – whoopee! – that “There’s a straightforward link between [my] rhetoric and the recent violence against a particular government official” down in Arizona.

        Aw, how pitifully predictable. There’s a libertarian e-mail SIG in which I participate, and the folks were – of course – discussing Jared Lee Loughner (it’s a media rule that all lone gunmen have to have their middle names prominently mentioned, right?) and his paranoid schizophrenic effort at participatory democracy. One of my correspondents had written (while commenting upon the recent discovery of the Phoenix BATFE office “walking” semiautomatic and automatic longarms into the hands of criminal gangs in Mexico to pad their statistics on the supposed flow of firearms from these United States into that country) about the Giffords shooting:

        As I write these words, what I’m confident will prove to be another carefully contrived and photogenic shooting has just been carried out in Tucson, Arizona, where someone in a crowd has fired on a Democratic congresswoman and her entourage, conveniently fulfilling several purposes at once: damaging the reputation of gun owners and shooters in general, especially non-Democrats; making Janet Napolitano look good (along with her defamation of everyone she can’t control as “domestic extremists”) in the home state where she achieved political power by stepping on the innocent faces of those who exercise their Second Amendment rights; bringing into disrepute Arizona’s new Vermont Carry law, and generally besmirching a state that all collectivists despise.

        Scavengers like National Public Radio are already beginning to feed.

        But what this story of putrescent BATFE corruption proves, beyond the palest shadow of a doubt, is that I was right, and that my critics are all wrong. Somehow, when socialists extol the warm, fuzzy, humane visage of their political philosophy, they always forget, along the way, to mention the evil, leering, ugly, brutal faces of its enforcers.

        What we are left to wonder now is whether the gory sacrifice of one of their own was simply meant to cover up the story of 500 smuggled M-16s.

        I wonder under what fantasies Derecho64 imagines himself a “bulwark” of anything? The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives?

        As for the rest of his spew, need I remind anybody that yet again Derecho64 has refused direct answer to my questions?

      • There’s a straightforward link between your rhetoric and the recent violence against a particular government official; perhaps toning it down a few bejillion notches will do your “arguments” some good.

        You’ve got your head where the sun don’t shine, Do64. You should really put brain in gear before opening mouth.

        Before you get too exercised about anything more you need to check out this little story that hasn’t, to my knowledge, shown up anyplace else yet:
        http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/01/028111.php

        I know – you won’t like the source. Tough.

  72. Again drawing down to the foot of the Web page from upstairs, I take note of the comment of randomengineer, who wrote about former General Eisenhower (USMA Class of 1915) getting the interstate military highway system built (to emulate the really neat Nazi Autobahn he exploited once he’d gotten his forces into Germany in 1945) and then went on to say:

    You and I won’t agree on this but as I see it the republican spending at least comes back in terms of business creation largely from the effect of technological investment. Democrats tend to be luddites such as Kerry who vowed to slash NASA funding claiming there were “problems right here on earth” that needed the money more.

    Oh, you’re goddam right I won’t agree with you on this. Saying that the Red Party “spending at least comes back in terms of business creation” is like saying that at least your dipsomaniac Uncle Ignatz’ theft and guzzle of your prized expensive gallon jug of single-malt scotch whiskey comes back in terms of the weed-killing effect of his urine piddled all over your back yard.

    What’s that line about politicians being like rats? What they steal for themselves is nothing compared to the damage they do in getting it. Well, the good they do – intentional or unintentional – is nothing compared to the waste they inflict in the process of producing what little of benefit we may wind up with. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the indisputably damaging negative externalities they deliberately or inadvertently dump upon us innocent bystanders and our progeny.

    As for NASA…. Well, don’t try to push the case for NASA to a libertarian futurist. We have ample in the way of robust reasons to wish NASA dead and gone, especially as it would put an end to that agency’s role in suppressing private-sector enterprise in space. As an easy introduction to the pure rottenness of NASA, permit me to recommend to you Victor Koman’s Kings of the High Frontier (1996).

    Not that I agree with Sen. Kerry on much of anything, but there’s always that “stopped clock” concept to bear in mind, no?

    • randomengineer

      Summary of my point:

      You quote Pournelle a lot. Read Strategy of Technology. Republicans for whatever reason seem to go in this direction, democrats are luddites.

      • Dr. Pournelle and I have differed – sometimes loudly, though that’s chiefly because Dr. Pournelle was an artillery officer during the Korean Unpleasantness, and people who have permanent hearing loss tend to be perceived as SHOUTING ALL THE TIME) – ever since we first met in 1976. While I like him personally and have read much of his output (fiction and non-fiction, solo and in collaboration), and though I take note of his “agnostic” skepticism regarding the concept of carbon dioxide greenhouse effect terrestrial climate change (he is not yet willing to come straight out and call it the fraud that it undeniably is), I disagree with his politics. Profoundly.

        Similarly, I disagreed with Dr. Isaac Asimov’s politics when he was alive. I confess I didn’t much like his fiction much, either, particularly after he got out from under the editorial hand of John W. Campbell.

        I cite Dr. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy – a formulation he devised back in the early ’60s – because it aptly characterizes what is seen in any bureaucratic organization, private sector or public, but – like most libertarian speculative fiction readers – I’m far more inclined to quote Robert A. Heinlein.

        The Strategy of Technology (co-written with Dr. Possony and Dr. Kane in 1970) was a book I had read some years ago in connection with my interest in military history. At that time and in the decade subsequent, Dr. Pournelle was also indulging an interest in conflict simulations games and submitting for publication in small wargaming magazines articles on historical subjects of interest to him. I recall reading one such item he’d written in the ’70s on the Nomonhan Incident (1939), being myself active in wargames design and development.

        I think it remarkable to find someone posting here who appears also to be familiar with Dr. Pournelle and some of his work.

  73. In the interest of furthering conversations being squeezed off the board above, I bring forward this comment of the chronic Derecho64:

    How does technology exist without science? And given the current Republican/Tea Party desire to see science funding slashed, how do you reconcile this contradiction?

    Okay, we’ve long since established that Derecho64 is functioning on a profoundly impoverished fund of general knowledge, but he continues to demonstrate his capacity to surprise when he asserts that “science” somehow had to pre-date “technology.”

    This means that the complex late neolithic tools found wherever human beings ranged in prehistory are not evidence of “technology, nor was metallurgy in the centuries before and after the developments of agriculture and civilization, nor mining, nautical navigation, ocean fishing, the extended routes of commercial truck and barter practiced by the bronze-age Beaker people, or all the rest of those complex and systematically organized activities practiced by human beings prior to the formal development of science in Europe during the 17th Century.

    There was, according to Derecho64, no “technology” in the architecture and agriculture of the ancient Egyptians because there was no “science.” Ditto for the highly effective military organization of the Roman Republic and Empire, or even for the tightly controlled and well-supported horse archer tumen of Genghis Khan’s military system.

    That wasn’t “technology” by Derecho64‘s lights, because it wasn’t preceded by “science.”

    As for any political advocacy to see government funding of scientific research favored by career bureaucrats and popularity-contest winners….

    Well, jeez. How could that not make sense? If the pursuit of scientific research in any area is worthwhile, the people interested in making such inquiries or undertaking such developments ought to be able to get support for it without asking government thugs to mulct the funding from people who have their own perfect right to keep their spending power and do with it as they please.

    Who says that career politicians – who get and keep their jobs by lying for a living – are better qualified to judge the merit of proposed scientific research than are those common, run-of-the-mill “non-scientists” whom the credentialed research types want to pickpocket?

    There is in the mind of Derecho64 some kind of alleged “contradiction.” But, then, who knows what goes on in the mind of Derecho64?

    I mean, apart from a licentious fixation upon the publications of the American Kennel Club.

    • randomengineer

      I had intended to point out that the only science the right wing seems to have issue with is… none. GW Bush threw the rabid evangelicals a bone with refusal to fund embryonic stem cells. Even so this didn’t stop the science, just the government funding of this single effort.

      From there it’s derived that “republicans are against science,” which is about as many syllables as the lefty mind can comprehend at one point.

  74. Dr Curry –

    Ok, maybe this thread didn’t go the way you intended? Maybe you really meant it to pose the question, “For the sake of argument, let’s *assume* harmful AGW is really happening, then what do libertarians think should be done about it?” I have some thoughts if it was. Others might also.

    • GregP, I think it is far more likely that Dr. Curry – if she had any expectation of American libertarians at all in initiating this thread – emphatically did not intend it to commence with any supposition that “For the sake of argument, let’s *assume* harmful AGW is really happening, then what do libertarians think should be done about it?”.

      I have been in contact, directly or indirectly, with individuals participant in libertarian political thought for more than forty years, many of them active science fiction fen, who have tended reliably in the past half-century to hold and express libertarian political sentiments in much the same way that the Futurians of the 1930s tended to profess allegiance to “scientific socialism.”

      I remember conversations at conventions with these aging Trotskyite, Communist, and otherwise earnestly pinko senior statesmen of fandom during the 1970s and 1980s, listening to them bewail the ascent and prevalence of radical agorism, Randite and non-Randite objectivism, and what Heinlein’s endearing character, Professor <a hrefBernardo de la Paz, had called “rational anarchism” among us younger folk.

      Given the modern prevalence of a profound “Question Authority!” attitude among libertarians in general since the beginning of the 1960s, and particularly since Nixon made it impossible for us to sustain any illusion that the Republican Party was in any way the proper political vehicle to constrain civil government under rule of law (I draw particular attention to Nixon’s imposition of peacetime wage and price controls and his final divorce of U.S. currency from even the illusion of specie payment as the complete rebuttal to anyone alleging that the Red Party is in any way an advocacy group for fiscal conservatism), I cannot believe that Dr. Curry could have developed any familiarity with American libertarians without having some appreciation of the tremendous hostility prevailing among them toward any argument from authority, particularly one advanced or endorsed by the great Boot-On-Your-Neck Party perpetual incumbency poisoning the American body politic from their stronghold in Mordor-on-the-Potomac.

      The whole of the AGW hysteria is nothing but argument from authority, a bogus blundering excuse for a scientific hypothesis seized upon by Fat Albert Gore – the consummate grasping slug of a “Liberal” – in the late 1980s to advance his personal and political prospects. It never has been anything else.

      But even if the “science” of the AGW fraud were not so obviously raddled with error and duplicity and pure rot that it could not stand, libertarians had the strong presumptive evidence of pure bogosity well established in the simple consideration of the career liars – the professional politicians – who had hitched their wagons to this tinsel excuse for a star.

      • I’m sure she can respond for herself. The H/AGW is compelling and plausible, so we should be considering contingencies in the event it is substantially proven. Why not be prepared? And libertarians can/should be part of that dialog. But it’s one thing to have a contingency plan and another to start implementing policy before the problem has been established. That’s what is happening now and it’s misguided.

      • Oh? Doubtless Dr. Curry canspeak for herself.” That hasn’t prevented warmist fascisti like Derecho64 from struggling like the good little jackbooted thug he truly wants to be in efforts to play Web site policemen censoring everything posted that does not hew to the ‘viro orthodoxy.

        The way I’ve been seeing things since Dr. Curry started this thread is that when libertarians and other skeptics enter such “dialog” with the AGW True Believers, the latter folk get exposed for the fumbling illogical megalomanic incompetents they truly are and end up thoroughly clobbered.

        Not what you’re used to in warmist-censored “dialog,” is it?

      • greg, this is exactly what i am interested in, what is the libertarian contingency plan for something like this, contingent on substantial evidence of this happening and everyone being convinced that the impacts would be bad.

      • No problem. I’ll see what I can get together on this.

      • Dr. Curry, if this really is your intention, then let me put it this way.

        My brother-in-law, a nice guy, comes to me with what he think is “substantial evidence” that his next-door neighbor is a homicidal sexual predator determined to shoot my brother-in-law’s kids, rape my brother-in-law’s dog, flood my brother-in-law’s basement, and steal his power tools.

        As “substantial evidence” my brother-in-law avers that he knows the next-door neighbor has a hunting license and a couple of shotguns suitable for taking deer, that my brother-in-law has seen the neighbor’s subscription to Penthouse being delivered, and that my brother-in-law has been told of some very reliable rumors that the guy downloads pornography and makes lots of 900-number phone sex calls.

        Not that he’s actually got the neighbor’s phone bill in hand to confirm this by handing it to me or you or anybody else, but we’re supposed to take my brother-in-law’s word that he’s seen proof positive.

        Now my brother-in-law demands of me which of the following measures should be taken to address the problem posed by this next-door neighbor:

        1) Report him to the police in the hopes that they’ll do something
        2) Jump the guy, beat him up, torture him until he confesses, and then report him to the police
        3) Shoot him to death by musketry
        4) Capture him, take him into my brother-in-law’s basement, use my brother-in-law’s power tools to torture him, then drag him out in the woods and burn him at the stake
        5) All of the above

        Okay, “everyone being convinced that the impacts would be bad” if this next-door neighbor were allowed to continue at liberty to carry out what my brother-in-law is convinced he’s going to do with regard to my brother-in-law’s kids and his dog.

        Not that I think all that much of my brother-in-law’s brats, but I kinda like his dog, which is an amiable mutt.

        You getting something of my attitude – and that of almost all other libertarians, particularly those of us with undergraduate and postgraduate training in the sciences – when it come to the whole fraudulent idea of “man-made climate disruption”?

        There isn’t any “substantial evidence of this happening” (which has been my point throughout these exchanges), and though I can readily agree that “the impacts would be bad” if anyone were to blow away my brother-in-law’s offspring or sodomize his setter, asking me – or anybody else of sound mind – to tell you how we think “this” (man-made global warming) should be addressed is precisely like my brother-in-law asking me which of his proposed options should be exercised anent his horrible-nasty-evil-Penthouse-reading neighbor.

        Please let me know if I’m not making my case clearly enough.

      • we are on different wavelengths here. you’ve made your case clearly enough. I am asking a hypothetical what if question (call it problem “X” or something, not AGW). How do libertarians deal with avoiding tragedy of the commons problems.

        From the wikipedia:
        “The metaphor illustrates the argument that free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately reduces the resource through over-exploitation, temporarily or permanently. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals or groups, each of whom is motivated to maximize use of the resource to the point in which they become reliant on it, while the costs of the exploitation are borne by all those to whom the resource is available (which may be a wider class of individuals than those who are exploiting it). This, in turn, causes demand for the resource to increase, which causes the problem to snowball to the point that the resource is depleted (even if it retains a capacity to recover). The rate at which depletion of the resource is realized depends primarily on three factors: the number of users wanting to consume the common in question, the consumptiveness of their uses, and the relative robustness of the common.”

        “potential management solutions to commons problems including privatization, polluter pays, and regulation.”

        Take a different example, not AGW, something like whales.

      • Excellent question, Dr. Curry. If we libertarians pooled our energy and resources, we could track and kill every whale in the ocean. Does anyone doubt that?
        However, we’re not doing it. Why? Because it would be stupid. Wrong. A waste. Evil. Bad. The whales are not ours…it would be stealing. Whales are cool–they have a right to live.
        Why do you assume thoughtful libertarians have no moral code?

      • Inuit kill whales, see here http://www.highnorth.no/library/hunts/other/al-es-wh.htm. they don’t think it is stupid or wrong. Things are complicated and people have different moral codes. I’m asking how do libertarians sort out something like this.

      • With logic and compassion…and common sense. I’ve said this many times…if I believed the claims of progressive activist climate scientists, I would dedicate at least some of my time and money and energy toward improving my lot and of that of my family and my fellow man. It’s the right thing to do…to leave things in a better state than I found it. However, I am not going to waste my time and my money on invented perils…and I’m determined to fight against foolishness and folly…particularly when we’re talking about regulations and taxes. You want to emit less CO2? Have at it…but leave me alone.

      • Ken

        Could you point to some examples of libertarian compassion or logic with regard to this topic?

        Common sense is notoriously difficult for disputants to agree on, but compassion ought be fairly self-evident and logic has exacting measures of truth.

        Since, cause to be skeptical based on this topic.

      • Bart, are you being intentionally or unintentionally obtuse? No six-figure salary for you, Mr. Eminent Thinker.

      • if I believed the claims of progressive activist climate scientists,

        Ken, my feeling about who to believe depends on whether I think I know more or less than them in their area of expertise. If less, then I’m inclined to take their word for it, particularly in medicine or any other area where my health, safety, well-being, etc. depend on it.

        In the case of climate science I’ve noticed that very little of the science requires much more than high school physics. Before I switched to the brand new subject of computer science in 1967 (which didn’t even exist as an academic discipline before then or I would have switched sooner since it’s such a no-brainer to jump into a brand-new promising field when the opportunity presents itself), I took physics in college up to honours level (with a year of nothing but pure maths beforehand for preparation for a career in theoretical physics), roughly the equivalent of a masters-without-thesis in the US.

        On that basis I figured climate scientists couldn’t be much more expert than me at least on the physics part, and that therefore I didn’t need to take their word for it. I worked out the whole thing from scratch, based on the official story, and except for trifling details I could nitpick about, I found the whole thing was pretty much as the science said it was.

        One thing I was able to figure out that seems to have stumped climate science is why the number for climate sensitivity is all over the shop. There are two basic reasons.

        1. Climate sensitivity depends on whether you calculate it from first principles the way some people like to, or from extrapolation of how the Earth’s surface temperature has actually responded, which is what a few climate scientists (not enough in my view) call “observed climate sensitivity.” The advantage of the latter is that it takes into account all the contributory factors, since Earth is acting like a sort of giant analog computer calculating exactly what the climate sensitivity number ought to be by sitting down (on a tortoise, so I’m told, but in that case what does the tortoise sit on?) and doing the experiment itself and measuring the outcome, using neat little instruments Earth has strewn around its surface called “people.”

        Trying to simulate the whole planet even approximately over a period of decades even using the most massive digital computers on the planet is an exercise in group wishful thinking. Digital usually beats analog, but not for this particular computation. I should know, I’m a computer scientist by career if not training (5 years of math and physics in Australia vs. 20 months at Stanford for my Ph.D.) and have worked with both kinds. There are just too many important factors we don’t fully understand yet, for example the rate of heat downtake and return of the deep ocean, the amount of extra cooling generated by evaporation of rain while it falls, etc. etc.

        You won’t believe this but climate science to date has totally ignored evaporation of rain while falling, even though rain began its career as evaporation from surface water, which is much harder to evaporate than rain, having vastly less surface area per unit volume. So even though Kiehl and Trenberth have calculated that surface evaporation is an even bigger contributor to cooling than net radiative cooling (something like 80 W/m2 for the former and 65 W/m2 for the latter), they have totally neglected what is surely even more than 80 W/m2 based on that surface area argument. This could totally account for “Trenberth’s travesty” of the missing heat.

        2. But that’s not all. There is also the question of which of the following you mean by “climate sensitivity.” It turns out that the number is hugely sensitivity to this choice.

        (a) The amount by which the temperature of the Earth’s surface would eventually increase if some passing comet were to suddenly dump a load of CO2 in our atmosphere equal to the amount currently there. Climate science calls this “equilibrium climate sensitivity,” and it is the Earth’s eventual response to a step function in the CO2 level.

        (b) The amount by which the surface temperature will have increased 20 years from now assuming CO2 has been climbing both before and after at 1% a year. (For comparison it’s currently climbing at about half a percent per year and at the current rate of rate of climb should hit 1% around 2060.) Climate scientists call this “transient climate response.”

        (c) The amount by which the surface temperature is increasing today assuming the actual rate of climb of CO2 all along. The IPCC doesn’t acknowledge this concept AFAIK, though a few climate scientists write about it in the literature.

        (d) A blend of (b) and (c): 20 years hence, but assuming the rate at which the CO2 is actually climbing. Not a concept known to climate science.

        (e) Same as (d) but 30 years. Ditto with regards to anyone having heard of the concept.

        I don’t have a clue what the value for (a) should be, but I have no objection to 3 degrees per doubling or any other number people feel like suggesting, 1 or 10 is equally fine by me. That’s because the concept of equilibrium climate sensitivity strikes me as just downright silly. First, the step function would indeed take something like a huge comet to realize. Second, the idea of waiting forever to see how it converges is even less realistic than a huge comet dropping its load on us since so much else can happen in the meantime such as passing a tipping point like Arctic methane while waiting, or humans having a sudden collective religious experience and swearing off oil and coal. I can easily imagine two models that had been written totally independently of each other each simulating a thousand years and coming up with totally different numbers because they model ocean and air dynamics differently. (But I doubt there exist two models that were written totally independently of each other, so one would expect some sort of agreement. And I don’t know of any that include either tipping points or collective religious experiences in their simulation, which could be due to peer pressure, no basis for a simulation, or any number of reasons.)

        (b) is more realistic, suffering only from the fact that 1% is way too high for 50 years ago, double what it is today, equal to what it will be midcentury, and too low by 2100 assuming business as usual. But making due allowance for all that. I figure somewhere in the vicinity of 2.7.

        For (c) I can confidently say that it is 1.84, based on the HADCRUT3 data, the Keeling curve, the Hofmann formula for CO2 based on that curve, and the Arrhenius Law of logarithmic dependency of surface temperature on CO2. I get this number using all the data for temperature between 1850 and 2010, but I get almost the exact same number if I discard the last 30 years of data and use only what we knew up to 1980, back when the temperature record had been flat for decades and indicated no upcoming crisis.

        You can see the basis for these two datasets at respectively here and here. What’s so striking here is that theory predicts the temperature should suddenly turn around after decades of flatness and scream upwards. As it did. And it’s not complicated theory, just extremely elementary calculations using nothing but the items I listed and standard curve-fitting techniques given all that information. Completely transparent stuff. No complicated theory of either atmosphere or data, I let the Earth calculate that part for me, so far it’s been pretty reliable as an analog computer, even we humans haven’t managed to break it, however resourceful we might imagine ourselves to be.

        Given only the temperature data without the CO2 data and our understanding of the physics, you’d have had to predict no rise in temperature between 1980 and 2010 because there was no significant rise between 1950 and 1980. CO2 is a huge game changer, and only by taking it into account could a 1980 climate scientist have correctly predicted the next 30 years of temperature.

        I see no reason for this to change between 2010 and 2040 other than (i) we hit a tipping point (so it would rise faster than predicted) and/or (ii) some new technology miraculously appears to meet our energy needs without generating as much CO2 as at present (so it would rise slower or arguably even decline considerably faster than David Archer seems to expect). (i) seems more likely to me than (ii).

        For (d) I get 2.69, call it 2.7 if you don’t like so much precision. (And that’s my only basis for my rough guess of 2.7 for (b), which I have no other way of computing.)

        For (e) I get 3.28.

        Hopefully this makes it clear why the literature is so unfulfillingly coy about that elusive number it optimistically refers to as “climate sensitivity.” Until people sit down with each other and agree to all use the same definition of the concept we will continue to see numbers that range all over the place.

      • We used to light our homes with whale oil. If kerosene had not come along, there would barely be a whale of the types harvested for whale oil on the face of the earth.

      • That’s true. And there were those who bemoaned the coarseness of the kerosene lamps, too. But the use of oil to produce kerosene, gasoline and a range other products DID save the whales. And a lot of sailors lives.

        An environmental “problem” was thereby solved by technology. As the present “problem” will be if there actually is a “problem”.

        But the present “problem” is based largely on the Precautionary Principle (That we MUST take action to prevent any possible harm from a possible, even if unproven, menace) . Suggested reading would be Aaron Wildavsky’s 1995 book “But is it True”. Specifically, the chapter re: the Precautionary Principle. His conclusion :

        The truth value of the environmental-cum-safety issues of our time is exceedingly low. With the exception of CFC’s thinning the ozone layer, the charges are false, mostly false, unproven or negligible. What in my vision, is left of environmentalism? There is respect for nature, for all life. There are the moral questions of the human relationships to all of creatioin. What is left out? Only the falsehoods.

        Wildavsky was a Professor at UC Berkeley and ran a risk analysis center there. At one time he reportedly stated that Global Warming was “the Mother of all environmental scares.” He was right.

      • “Rock oil” (petrochemical) distillates like kerosene were also cheaper than whale oil. That’s what really killed the whaling industry in the West.

        Where the harvested meat is considered a delicacy and fetches premium prices, the profit potential remained (and continues to remain) high, and thus a whaling industry with considerable capital investment and sustaining good-sized labor forces continues to operate.

        Now, if something could be found that pleased the Japanese palate precisely as does onomi and the rest of the cetacean sources of sashimi – and is markedly cheaper – we could see much of the world’s whaling fleet in the breakers’ yards before the year is out.

      • This source indicates after the Civil War the government picked the winner: kerosene, and the loser: camphene. That John D. Rockefeller loved to pay for the free market he wanted!

        http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/papers/fuel.html

        Back to the books; time to burn some whale oil.

      • …the government picked the winner: kerosene, and the loser: camphene. That John D. Rockefeller loved to pay for the free market he wanted!

        That should of course read : for the unfree market he wanted – aka Socialism for Capitalists.

      • Punksta

        In my experience, “Socialism for Capitalists” is also called “Corporate Charity,” and generally means unearned or intrinsic government subsidies.

        Think Ford, GM, Exxon, BP, Haliburton, Microsoft vs. AT&T.

        A laissez-faire market is as unfree as an over-regulated one, as the “Free” in the market ought apply to the decision power of the consumer, not the ethical obligations of the seller, since the mathematical outcome of free consumer decision is economical distribution of scarce resources, and the inevitable outcome of ethics-free sellers is screwing the consumer and running away with the loot when the shell game collapses.

      • In response to Punksta on this thread, Bart R had written: In my experience, “Socialism for Capitalists” is also called “Corporate Charity,” and generally means unearned or intrinsic government subsidies.

        Hell, Bart, Frank Chodorov beat you in the terminology contest almost sixty years ago, when he called it “Rotarian socialism.”

        The way I’ve heard it characterized is “Three cheers for free enterprise, and keep them quotas, tariffs, subsidies, set-asides, grants, regulations, cost-plus contracts and sweetheart deals a-coming!

      • The Inuit might be included as a group of people who provide many sea stewards of special aptitude in tracking, tagging, and otherwise monitoring whales, though doubtless there are plenty of other human beings who could and would engage in such activities were whales taken “out of a state of nature” and into status as the free-ranging property of specific persons, corporations, and other organizations.

        People of a whale-hunting culture (who wish to preserve that culture) might be the best individuals to rely upon for good management of these animals, including appropriate culling of the owned whale pods traveling the earth’s oceans.

        It wouldn’t be an issue of arrogant government slugs in Ottowa or Washington or Moscow or Tokyo issuing “permits” to these folks to harvest whales for food and other resources, but a matter of private persons responsibly exploiting a resource in which they have a vested interest – by way of property rights – in preserving.

        Even the most tenacious and prolific wild animals are always at risk of extinction. On the other hand, North American bison – buffalo – owned by private parties interested in getting optimum yield out of their carcasses when harvested are in no danger whatsoever of being callously wiped out.

        Good eatin’, too.

      • I think the system we have in the US dealing with the “commons” is pretty good. I have to say, however, that I’m not sure exactly what the “commons” includes. We don’t all own everything just by way of being born. To me the air is commons. Coal and oil are property. It works out well to pay someone to dig it up. It pays to have someone process it into usable pieces. It makes sense to pay someone to transport it. It makes sense to pay someone to convert it into electricity. That way, we all don’t have to do all those things just to turn on a light. For something more appropriately common by my definition, the air, we have faced it getting truly dirtied and that was handled via the political system. It is when that system is bastardized to impose unnecessary regulation that we have a problem on our hands.

      • Writes Dr. Curry:

        I am asking a hypothetical what if question (call it problem “X” or something, not AGW). How do libertarians deal with avoiding tragedy of the commons problems.

        Take a different example, not AGW, something like whales.

        Okay, easy. Vest property rights in the whales, working from laws regarding ownership of cattle on the open range. It’s certainly possible to tag cetaceans, even tracking them.

        Private sector entities have ample standing to take these whales “out of a state of nature” and into property status. Non-governmental organizations, private charitable foundations, even profit-making corporations and individuals who want to “own” a whale or a pod of whales for public relations purposes.

        The warm-and-fuzzy fascist “environmentalists” can invest their budgets in (and raise even more money on appeals to donors for) tagging and tracking “their” whales at sea, announcing calvings and rescuing them when they beach and strand themselves, and bemoaning those tragedies when one of “their” whales dies.

        Similar for the other FROMATE clowns and the terrestrial wonders of nature. Let the Sierra Club own and run Yellowstone National Park. Even if they do a more horrible job than has the federal government (though that ain’t likely), at least we’ll have specific human beings responsible for what’s being done with that material property, not faceless bureaucrats and elected thugs under “hold harmless” statutes and regulations.

        As I’d said at the outset of this thread, make use of property rights. If something in nature is of any value – commercial or aesthetic – the only way to prevent it from being exploited or simply callously destroyed is to have somebody own it. Governments can’t do this because, as agencies, governments are neither created nor equipped to handle such tasks.

        Breaking things and killing people, remember?

      • ok, good answer. now what about the air. Company X is spewing all sorts of pollution in the atmosphere, that people can actually see and smell, and there is sufficient evidence or at least inkling that this is causing health problems (e.g. asthma). Property status of the air doesn’t really work, since it moves all over the globe. thoughts on this one?

      • You are effectively leading Rich to a point that will show why his perspective is far from universal for those who describe themselves as libertarian. As another example, Rich and I seem to hold similar views regarding our perceptions of religion, but we differ on the topic of climate change as well as the proper role of government to help resolve macro issues.

      • Mr. Starkey speaks glibly about “macro issues” when those who consistentlydescribe themselves as libertarian” work from a methodological individualistic perspective.

        There ain’t no such thing as “macro issues” when you get right down to it. All agglomerations in human society are composed of discrete human individuals. Thus the remedies embodied in common law regarding public nuisance – if not maliciously disabled by public officials who have sold or rented themselves to the perpetrators of such nuisances – provide for that which is necessary (both particularly and at the “macro” level) to address concerns about negative externalities imposed upon unwilling participants in the commons.

        Then there’s also the observation that even to speak of any kind of “universal” among libertarians – apart from the non-aggression principle – is friggin’ ludicrous.

        Familiar with the expression “herding cats,” Mr. Starkey?

      • Rich
        Your “perspective” as to how sub groups can or should behave are yours, but are certainly not universally held by all who designate themselves with that label (or by others who feel a need to apply a label). I personally prefer to discuss issues and the case for potential solutions to those perceived issues.
        Regarding the “herding cats” comment, I do not understand the point, but then again; I don’t understand why you highlight last names in you posts either. Neither lack of understanding on my part really matters.

      • I make use of boldface for other posters’ ekenames because that’s how this WordPress.com software treats them in presentation. It helps me pick out names to better keep track of the specific poster(s) whose comments I’m addressing. So many of them, alas, tend to have so little of the unique in their voices and positions that many just blur together.

        Mr. Starkey continues with his fabulous insistence that somebody spoon-feed him a “universal for those who describe themselves as libertarian” that suits his peculiar perverse predispositions (hey, I’m a married man with kids; I recognize and appreciate pointless evasion of the acknowledgment of objective reality) all the while ignoring the efforts made to direct his attention to the non-aggression principle which is the sole necessary praxeological principle agreed by libertarians to define themselves and others as such, and you’ve got to wonder just how far Dr. Curry’s rules of politeness stretch before the term “cement-head” comes undeniably into accurate usage.

        Er, Mr. Starkey? You want to provide references to “those who describe themselves as libertarian (in your experience) whose positions on the AGW fraud and the tragedy of the commons differ significantly from my own as I’ve expressed them in this forum?

      • Although there are many different definitions and perspectives, in answer to your question

        “How do libertarians deal with avoiding tragedy of the commons problems”

        Imo, libertarians generally want a minimal intrusion by government and where it makes sense for intrusion they wish government to operate as efficiently as possible in the use of the “stakeholders” (voters) resources. In your examples, in the United States; libertarian voters would wish for a case to be made to demonstrate that government intrusion was necessary to prevent harm to the “stakeholders” (US voters) and to then demonstrate that the proposed solution was effective from a cost/benefit analysis perspective for the stakeholder (US taxpayer).

      • Rob Starkey

        Like libertarians wish in the case of fluoridation?

        I’ve followed that particular discussion for decades, and can say yours doesn’t appear to be the libertarian approach at all in that case.

        Further, flat reading of the definition of the libertarian philosophy with regard to liberties conflicts with your suggestion of how libertarians ought act in this case.

        Please, help me reconcile how what you say can possibly have any even tenuous connection to the truth?

      • Bart R

        I wrote on 1/6 @ 10:24
        The attempt to “understand” the relative positions of libertarians or evangelists, or any other generalization of human behavior only diverts attention from the productive discussion of actual issues and their potential solutions (or at least improvements from the current condition). As with any other prejudicial generalization, some of the preconceptions will be accurate while other are not. In any case, the discussion will yield zero beneficial results.

      • Ah, Bart R persists in his pointless perseveration about municipal water fluoridation and the reasoned response of many libertarians (and non-libertarians) to the practice of adding an arguably beneficial but in many cases most definitely deleterious chemical to what the “progressive” government thugs expect will be everybody’s drinking water (if they didn’t want to – literally – force it down everybody’s throats, why do the fluoridators insist on adulterating even that with which we flush our toilets?).

        Hey, Bart? You ever gonna address fluorosis as a clinical pathology? No?

        Yeah, I didn’t think so.

      • Dr. Curry avers that “Property status of the air doesn’t really work, since it moves all over the globe,” pardonably having forgotten a comment I’d made earlier regarding the means whereby English common law was evolved to address the matter of public nuisance.

        In that post, I discussed also how it was the purposeful interference of politicians and bureaucrats flourishing in the early years of the first industrial revolution which deliberately “disarmed” the protections against the sorts of public nuisance to which Dr. Curry refers when she speaks of her hypothetical “Company X…spewing all sorts of pollution in the atmosphere, that people can actually see and smell.

        Under common law in the 17th,18th, and 19th Centuries, we ought to remember, the causative links between public nuisance in the form of air pollution and “health problems (e.g. asthma)” were only dimly understood – if at all – and usually not of sufficiently convincing quality to persuade the courts before which such matters were brought. Concerns about straightforward “stenches” in the air, on the other hand, could be put in front of m’lud Judge by way of sworn attestation on the part of just about any lay person accustomed to taking a bath more than once a month.

        Today as in the reign of King James I, if an actor in the commons – like our “Company X” – has political influence, he can reliably quash almost all public nuisance actions taken at law by “the little people” to oblige a cease-and-desist order (and perhaps both compensatory and punitive damages) enforceable by Officer Friendly and his merry back-up band of SWAT squaddies with sniper rifles and Kevlar underwear.

        Thus does over-reaching (and malfeasantly under-performing) civil government manifest as the problem to which Dr. Curry presently refers, not “Company X” as a hypothetical participant in our great marketplace of division-of-labor human society.

      • Property status of the air doesn’t really work, since it moves all over the globe.

        I think this should be : several (as opposed to joint) ownership doesn’t work.
        Which is this case can probably only be state ownership, even to your average libertarian.

      • Whereas animals in the wild face are at risk from being hunted to extinction, farmed animals are not.
        What is needed for whales, is that they become owned by farmers.

      • Punksta

        Witty as that idea sounds (and you are in my reading an excellently witty respondent, thoughtful and worthy), there aren’t enough farmers in the world for all the species worth preserving, nor does farming always produce the benefits you suggest.

        The number of extinct heritage domestic breeds is huge, and you’d need farmers to be more economically successful with the incredibly expensive prospect of farming animals that roam half the globe than farmers, say, like ADM who have intrinsic and explicit government subsidies for their sub-standard product.

        How’s that going to work?

      • Jeez, you don’t read, do you, Bart? See above in this thread for discussion I’d already posted regarding a readily practicable way to get property rights vested by any number of private entities – with any number of motivations – in freely-ranging cetaceans (and also suchlike other charismatic megafauna roaming around the planet without benefit of the protections afforded in being owned by somebody capable of making a ruckus if said property owners’ rights get trespassed against).

        You don’t need “farmers” for such to be accomplished. To the extent that there’s any economic gain to be gotten by way of owning and husbanding ocean-ranging whales (and there is, if you’re familiar with Japanese sashimi restaurants), it’s more analogous to what old movies like Red River (1948) were based upon than to the operation of a beef cattle feedlot by farmers leveraging their excess grain production in the meat markets.

        You still want to talk about “witty,” Bart?

      • Virtually all libertarians believe liberty will be maximised with a minimal government, not with zero government; they are minarchists rather than pure anarchists.
        As such, if convinced of CAGW, and that adaptation, geoengineering etc was not feasible, they would accept some sort of political solution as part of a minimal state.
        IOW, their approach would be much like any other practical person’s.

  75. Libertarianism and liberty?
    In my opinion, “Liberty” (under law) is the right to choose for one’s self what decision or action is best. “Liberty” traces its heritage to Natural Law, through Common Law, and into our founding documents as an Endowment.

    The issue of the “Commons” has long had a solution. The people affected can come together and pass a law or form an association.

    A solution by regulatory rule reduces liberty. A regulatory agency is also subject to The Peter Principle. Examples abound.

  76. Judith, whatever you intended for this thread, it has been the most enjoyable read thus far. You poked the pig, and for your efforts out-poured some of most provocative ,and at the same time, eloquent politically discourse you could have hoped for. But at the same time, it is enough to make a normally stable orthopedic person somewhat ataxic. I for one would appreciate your consideration of affording Rich Matarese the opportunity to post a separate treatise, on this subject matter without the pit terriers like DR64 snipping at his heals. I ask this for selfish reasons only, but I expect I am not alone. Also my apologies to Rich for even suggesting this imposition of his time without his consent.

    • bob, I would be interested in a part II to this subject, and it would be great if Tokyo Tom or Rich wanted to do this, provided the topic was about how to deal with global environmental issues and potential tragedy of the commons issues.

      • Not sure how you could reconcile the distance between these two. Yes, they are both Libertarians. But one sees the climate issue like so:

        Yeah, I deny the anthropogenic carbon dioxide global temperature forcing “hypothesis” (not that it deserves even the courtesy use of that term). It started out as an extraordinary – hell, preposterous – effort to account for a completely screwed interpretation of insufficient surface temperature data (gained initially, it appears, from Stevenson screen thermometers “sited next to a lamp” by way of all sorts of instrumental screw-ups related to urban heat island effect and similar artifact) thirty years ago, and has proceeded through those three decades not only without the development of convincing evidence supporting this brain-dead blunder but suffused with a continuing agglomeration of data-doctoring, book-cooking, code-jiggering, suppressio veri, suggestio falsi, peer-review-perverting, dissident-censoring, cork-screwing, back-stabbing, dirty-dealing, and bald-faced lying.

        and the other sees it a bit differently:

        On environmental issues in general and climate in particular, find me someone ranting about “Malthusians” or “environazis” or somesuch, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t understand – or refuses to acknowledge – the difference between wealth-creating markets based on private property and/or voluntary interactions/contracts protected by law, and the tragedy of the commons situations that result when there are NO property rights (atmosphere, oceans) or when the pressures of developed markets swamp indigenous hunter-gather community rules.

        So what’s the deal? Here’s a perfect opportunity for skeptics to educate the supposedly market ignorant, but they refuse, preferring to focus instead on why concerned scientists must be wrong, how concerns by a broad swath of society about climate have become a matter of an irrational, deluded “religious” faith, or that those raising their concerns are “misanthropes” or worse.

        Some on the left likewise see libertarians and small-government conservatives as deluded.

        Both sides, it seems, prefer to fight – and to see themselves as right and the “others” as evil – rather than to reason. 

        While we should not regret that we cannot really constrain human nature very well, at least libertarian and others who profess to love markets ought to be paying attention to the inadequate institutional framework that is not only poisoning the political atmosphere, but posing risks to important globally and regionally shared open-access commons like the atmosphere and oceans (which are probably are in much more immediate and grave threat than the climate). And they also ought to recognize that there are important economic interests that profit from the current flawed institutional framework and have quite deliberately encouraged the current culture war.

        So, once again, ideological affiliations aside, there are people who look for ways to solve possible problems and people who look for reasons to ignore possible problems.

      • gryp, good summary. I’m interested in libertarian strategies for solving an actual or potential problem like this

      • Dr. Curry, you have to understand that until there is objective proof: (a) that such a “potential problem” as global climate change induced by the purposeful combustion of any hydrocarbon actually exists, and (b) that any of the warmist-proposed (and rammed down other folks’ throats) “solutions” to this “potential problem” could – alone or en suite – mitigate the awful-horrible-nasty-we’re-gonna-drown-the-Empire-State-Building consequences of evil, selfish “man-made global warming,” no American libertarian – even those of us with experience of and interest in speculative fiction – are going seriously to propose anystrategies for solving an actual or potential problem like this.”

        Heck, speaking as a conflict simulations games designer and developer, and lifelong student of military history, you might as well ask me to come up with an operational plan to invade and conquer Communist China.

        As a pure “thought experiment,” I could certainly hammer together the outline of such an ops plan. But would embarking IRL upon such an endeavor make any friggin’ sense? Moreover, are conditions – real and potential – likely ever to justify that kind of bloodbath?

        Back in the ’30s, Will Rogers told a joke about speaking with a Chinese waiter regarding the Japanese invasion of the waiter’s homeland. They spoke over the course of several meals about the numbers of Japanese and Chinese dead in ongoing battles. Always the casualty figures were reporting five or ten times more Chinese corpses than sons of Nippon going to Yasukuni Shrine. Throughout, the waiter smiled as he received the news from Mr. Rogers.

        Finally, Will Rogers asked the waiter if he wasn’t discouraged by the dichotomy between Chinese and Japanese KIA figures. To this the waiter replied:

        “Oh, no! Plitty soon, no more Japanese.”

        There’s something similar to the fraud we know as “man-made climate disruption,” if the warmist “Cargo Cult Science” schmucks aren’t just blowing it out their distalmost alimentary sphincters, and that’s the understanding that the potential for global climate change – only insignificantly (if at all) attributable to human-induced increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide – could not be mitigated even by completely wiping industrial civilization off the face of the planet.

        So compare the address of “man-made climate disruption” in the light of that Chinese waiter’s sound appreciation of what was happening to the forces of Imperial Japan even in the 1930s when it was purely a Sino-Japanese war.

        “Plitty soon, no Japanese.”

      • Gotta wonder to what extent (if any) gryposaurus has ever engaged in the process academic peer review. I’ve done it both in assisting colleagues to respond to reviewers comments and as a reviewer myself. I think there’s a fundamental fatal error in the AGW whackjobs’ approach to their hysterical “Let’s Pillage and Ruin the Whole World’s Economy to No Benefit!” campaign which blinds them to how assertions alleged to be supported by objectively verifiable evidence are tested under the rubric of scientific method.

        Y’see, there are people who look for ways to assuage their neurotic anxieties by imposing unjustified costs and restrictions on their inoffensive neighbors through a scrambling, frenetic push to foist a dead-from-the-moment-it-was-proposed simulacrum of a scientific hypothesis, alleging “risks” that sound methodology in inquiry keeps demonstrating don’t bloody well exist, and proposing political “solutions” that wouldn’t do a friggin’ thing to mitigate AGW even if it weren’t purest hoax – and then there are those of us who adhere to scientific method.

        As both a “skeptic” regarding the AGW fraud and a libertarian, I’m not really much interested in leaving the matter to nothing more than an effort to “educate the supposedly market ignorant” about the benefits of individual human rights, the efficiencies (and efficacies and moral superiority) of a market in goods and services free from “picking the winners” dirigiste government extortion and other coercion, or the application of openness, honesty, and effective error-checking in scientific inquiry.

        I’ve got to presume that the fascisti presently masquerading as “Liberals” (or is it “progressives” this week?) and the wild-eyed ‘viro fanatics freaking out over evil-horrible-nasty industrial civilization know all of this stuff. Heck, us libertarians have been writing and speaking and trying to engage the socialists and monarchists and mercantilists in “meaningful dialog” for some centuries now.

        The scientific skeptics anent the AGW bogosity have been pounding away at rebuttal for over three decades – so persistently, vigorously, and methodically that the warmist “Hockey Team” had co-opted control not only of the key surface temperatures datasets but also of scientific periodicals and refereed conferences in the disciplines of atmospheric physics, meteorology, and climatology because they perceive – correctly – the need to shut these “deniers” out of any debate if their AGW bullpuckey is going to have the least chance of surviving.

        As I’ve learned in dealing with two-year-olds (both professionally and in the family), you can’t put a reasonable proposition to human-shaped critters who simply aren’t amenable to reason. The difference, of course, between almost all two-year-old children and the frothingly rabid “Watermelon” socialists trying to slide by as warm-fuzzy-caring environmentalists is that toddlers tend reliably to prove educable. The fanatic collectivists…. Er, not so much.

      • Rich, apologies for my selfish suggestion to Dr. Curry that you be afforded the opportunity to a treatise outlining a sagacious libertarians view of the cAGW and AGW debacle. Your prose is like non other. I guess one could couple all your posts together to extract the essence, but nonetheless it would be a hoot. Getting you to agree to this would be like walking a wild Siberian tiger on a leash. If only that tiger was bottle fed and hand raised.

      • Bob, I’ve got little (more like “no”) control over how my prose is subjectively perceived by anybody. Michael Larkin above made a comment about how my prose style reminds him of G.I. Gurdjieff (a writer of whom I’ve read but whose works have been of no greater interest to me than those of Georgette Heyer) with no further explanation, and here you’re saying that it’s sui generis altogether, talking about “a wild Siberian tiger.”

        The closest I get to “a wild Siberian tiger” is a rather overfed stray tomcat adopted by my daughter and fixed neurotically upon my company since my most recent hospitalization. His style of expression is limited to claws-in-my-thigh petitions for a seat across my lap and accusatory looks every time I pass the saucer customarily used to provide him the ration of milk he has come to expect every time I make myself a cup of coffee.

        I’m a “gatekeeper physician” in the modern American mangled care industry. Not even the most inexperienced “be bright, be brief, be gone” young pharmaceuticals sales rep tries to blow smoke up my posterior by appealing to my sense of self-importance as a “thought leader” and inviting me to host one of those farcical “dinner meetings” to which they’re always trying to drag any physician with a prescriber data profile indicating a potentially profitable susceptibility to her product’s marketing message for this particular quarter of the business year.

        Neither as a scientist nor as a libertarian have I have any expertise sufficient to expect that anybody would give a damn for any “treatise outlining a sagacious libertarians view of the cAGW and AGW debacle” which I might write.

        That notwithstanding, especially since the wonderful Climategate revelations of 17 November 2009 in particular I have been intensively re-examining the blithering idiocy and the political pursuit of power and pillage wrapped up in the so-called “catastrophic man-made global warming” fantasy, building upon that surveillance which I have maintained consistently if at times desultorily since the subject was brought sharply to my attention in correspondence with Dr. Petr Beckmann sometime alongabouts 1981 or 1983.

        I’m certainly satisfied that my fund of knowledge on this subject is sufficient for me to have come to an opinion upon which I can rely, and in which I repose as much confidence as can be managed anent any subject of scientific inquiry. I’ve expanded upon my reasoning in online fora since the Climategate release, and I don’t really see any need to recapitulate the details of that reasoning here. But the thought of Dr. Beckmann’s role in introducing to me the subject of “man-made global warming” back in the ’80s, however, gives cause to remark further in this venue.

        Dr. Beckmann maintained a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) he called “Fort Freedom (the contents of which continued to aggregate until not long before Dr. Beckmann’s death in 1993). An archive written to disk by Dr. Beckmann for another of his correspondents – Australian R.J. Long – in 1989 is presently maintained on the Web by Mr. Long for reference and readers’ continuing enjoyment.

        This archive serves to provide what I consider one of the single most interesting insights into the thoughts and online skeptical (as opposed to hysterical) discussion of what Dr. Beckmann referred to as “The Greenhouse Constituency” and the ways in which this flaming “Cargo Cult Science” was cancerously spreading toward the close of the ’80s.

        What Dr. Beckmann had written and aggregated in that 1989 capture of his Fort Freedom BBS on the subject of “the Greenhouse effect” ought – I contend – to be of use to anyone on either side of the present debate. The past is always something of a foreign country, and for those reading here who were not engaged in following the “catastrophic” AGW hysteria in media res as a sociopolitical phenomenon over the course of the past thirty years, Mr. Long’s preservation of his download from Dr. Beckmann should prove valuable.

        Though, of course, my personal opinion of the AGW True Believers is such that there is no benefit whatsoever to be gained by appealing to a reasoning faculty these friggin’ jerks had long ago forsworn.

      • Rich, much obliged for your response. Unfortunately, have to go bring home some bacon. Will open up your links later, especially look forward to Dr. Beckman’s.

      • Rich, much obliged for your response. Unfortunately, have to go bring home some bacon. Will open up your links later, especially look forward to Dr. Beckmann’s.

      • Michael Larkin

        Rich,

        Your prose style indeed reminds me of Gurdjieff’s (although I’ll grant you what he talks about is quite different) – florid, bombastic, and verbose. Sometimes I wonder what your point is or why you seem so agitated.

        But like him, you can be quite entertaining. Let’s just say I enjoy your pyrotechnics. They make me laugh, in a good way.

        Peace, bro. I ain’t gonna argue; not on this thread, at any rate. I’m a Brit and Libertarianism just isn’t that big a deal over here, like Creationism or the Second Amendment. I’m mostly lurking, pretty much as an amateur anthropologist might, studying Homo americanensis in its native environment.

      • And there are those whose argument indescribable. I’ve been on one side of this exact argument:

        Need I specify which side?

      • ideological affiliations aside, there are people who look for ways to solve possible problems and people who look for reasons to ignore possible problems.

        And people who expound and exploit ficticious ones.

  77. Thanks Judith. I realize it is your blog and it is presumptuous of me to suggest what I did. I think most would agree it would be difficult to find someone else with Rich Matarese’s global libertarian knowledge.

  78. One wishes for more of these thread-cleansing blasts of fresh air

  79. All right. Time to ‘fess up. The following thread has been cooking a long time.

    The Politics of “AGW” « Thread Started on Oct 28, 2008, 3:27pm »

    Why are we following the Global Warming and Weather Discussion? (This is the top-level topic containing this thread.)
    It’s just a pattern, but lots of us have a hunch that the Sun has something to do with the temperature of the earth. So, we follow the alternate theories and observations.
    IPCC (politicians) ignore alternative root causes of “Global Warming”, claim incredible levels of certainty about their findings and denigrate skeptics personally. We see U.N., national politicians and media pundits ignore a quiet sun, cooling trends, decadal oscillations in oceans, and the effect of clouds. We also read that no energy alternative is acceptable except those that are unproven, distant, expensive or politically correct.
    Politicians are not fools. We might suspect that the politicians have an agenda, something hidden up their sleeve.
    This thread proposes to look up their sleeves.
    http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=192

    The advantage of a forum (including this one by Dr. Curry) is that it attracts information and citations from diverse points of view. Proponents should consider the views of contrarians, and vice-versa. Both sides are informed, and should be prepared to offer factual support for their views.

  80. Re: Bart R | January 11, 2011 at 9:46 am |

    Punksta

    In my experience, “Socialism for Capitalists” is also called “Corporate Charity,” and generally means unearned or intrinsic government subsidies.

    Actually, it is better called “The Corporate State” (aka Corporatism, Corporate Statism). Mussolini implemented it; even FDR admired it for a time. It was popular in the 1930’s, especially with rent-seekers. (Of course, any similarity with current events is purely coincidental.)

    Whatever its name in the 1930’s, it was the economic face of Fascism.

    • Another expression of utility with regard to this concept I had mentioned above while drawing upon Dr. Clyde Wilson’s brief, intensely angry article “The Republican Charade,” in which he stated his opinion that the Republican Party:

      …is and always has been the party of state capitalism. That, along with the powers and perks it provides its leaders, is the whole reason for its creation and continued existence. By state capitalism I mean a regime of highly concentrated private ownership, subsidized and protected by government. [emphasis added]

      I repeat, however, my preference for Frank Chodorov’s more sardonic term “Rotarian socialism.”

  81. Interesting thread that meanders and seems to have provoked a myriad of reactions.
    Surprisingly, I could not find any reference to what I would consider the two best libertarian blogs:
    1. smaizdata: http://www.samizdata.net/blog/
    2. questions and observations: http://www.qando.net/
    or the one blog on climate that consistently tackles the politics and policy of climate from a libertarian perspective, namely climate resistence: http://www.climate-resistance.org/

    Now many denizens are quick to criticize when a non-scientists comments and does not appear to have read all the extant science (not really possible, but it is always easy to pick something as not being used as the basis for ignoring all the comment and/or trivilizing the questions raised) yet it is an interesting characteristic that most scientists, including those on this blog, are quite willing to wax eloquently (and/or obtusely!) on things non-scientific without having availed themselves of those resources that those of us who work in this field all the time would see as basic, elemental and essential.

    Note: what libertarians dislike most is being told what they are and how they think by those who use their language and rhetoric to frame their characterization of who and what we are.

    And just a quick correction, neither the media nor academia in Canada is any less stasis in tone than their US counterparts. A libertarian academic is just as isolated here as in the States!
    (Stasis vs. dynamism: Virginia Postrel “The Future and its Enemies” a wonderful primer on libertarian ideology and its practical relevance in today’s policy environment).