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Originally posted by Reflection
First off, I share some, if not a lot, of Libertarian values. It's just that I think, like all political and religious ideologies, Libertarianism is not divine, or based on empirical evidence, in all of it facets. This is just one in particular, albeit important, flaw I see in the ideology and our current economic practices that reflect it.
The old libertarian idea of, "It is my right to acquire, consume and waste what I want and however much I want, as long as I'm not dumping the waste on my neighbor's property" is outdated.
In today's global economy of oil based consumerism, it's very difficult to see the direct result of our consumption. The waste is much more "hidden." Often, it's either completely invisible or it gets lost in the muddy waters of the distribution process.
None the less, when we mindlessly consume and disregard the waste produced from it, whether consciously or unconsciously, it is infringing on another person's life. It affects the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and all of the ecosystems that make all of that possible in the first place.
The planet is symbiotic. We can not isolate ourselves from that fact, whether we want to or not.
The free market does not create real equilibrium. The invisible hand of the market is only good at balancing supply and demand. It has proven to be horrible at balancing the ecosystems.
There need to be limits on what we can pull out of the ground, consume and waste. And those limits need to be based on empirical scientific evidence. And when we don't know for certain, we should err on the side of caution.
There is enough empirical scientific understanding for us to produce the things we need, and, as technology grows, more and more of the things we want, while still being in alignment with the natural order. The problem is only in our designs, values and practices, not in our practical capabilities.
In our current paradigm, we assume that the ecosystems are there for us to use as we please, as long as it's good for the "economy." And environmental conservation, protection and alignment is fine, as long as there is profit in it.
That system is simply not working. The free market reigning supreme over everything has caused a lot of environmental degradation and it isn't slowing down. We need a new paradigm.
The economy should be a subset of the ecosystem, not the other way around, like it is now. Alignment with the natural order should be the box, or the limit, and then the free market and its invisible hand could function within those limits. (This is known as ecological economics)
Would we need to sacrifice some of our wants and conveniences?
Yeah, probably so, for the time being. But we are sacrificing right now.. the PLANET and our FUTURE for a lot of our mindless and irrational wants.
Look, we all love freedom, no matter what our ideologies are, but we are only as free as our choices and our choices are not without consequence. I can't wake up tomorrow and choose to be "free" of gravity. Nor can I mindlessly consume and expect to be "free" of destructive waste.
Remember, nature doesn't really have "waste." In nature, waste is really nutrients for other systems. It's a cycle.. a closed loop. We can either align with it and flourish or ignore it and suffer the consequences... which we are "free" to do so, of course.
How we transition towards this paradigm is obviously complex and I certainly don't have all of the answers. I have some ideas (like better education, local production and less propaganda to describe a few) that I would be happy to get into with anyone interested.
I'm also not proposing some radical, imposed transition, so please spare me all of the "communist, socialist, Marxist and utopianists" remarks. In many ways, I think it should be our right to destroy ourselves.
Problem is, while some of us choose to continue business as usual, degrading the planet, we're harming others at the same time who are not interested in destroying themselves and their environment.. I consider that to be a form of infringement..
Not a Libertarian value..
We have to figure out where to draw the line.. That's what societies do..
Hopefully we've matured enough as a species that we choose to base those lines on science and love, instead of dogma and selfishness.