The lie of anarcho-capitalism and the environment…

Is it true that “property rights” are the only way to protect the environment? The unbridled greed of the capitalist West in destroying our natural resources and our environment shows this as a lie. But furthermore:

But, beyond these points lies the most important one. Namely, is the option to sue about pollution *really* available in the free market? Rothbard thinks it is. Taking the case of factory smoke in the 19th Century, he notes that it and “many of its bad effects have been known since the Industrial Revolution, known to the extent that the American courts, during the… nineteenth century made the deliberate decision to allow property rights to be violated by industrial smoke. To do so, the courts had to -and did- systematically change and weaken the defences of property rights embedded in Anglo-Saxon common law… the courts systematically altered the law of negligence and the law of nuisance to *permit* any air pollution which was not unusually greater than any similar manufacturing firm” [Rothbard, op cit, page 257].

In this remarkably self-contradictory passage, we are invited to draw the conclusion that private property *must* provide the solution to the pollution problem from an account of how it clearly did *not* do so! If the nineteenth century USA – which for many Libertarian’s is a kind of “golden era” of free market capitalism – saw a move from an initial situation of well defended property rights to a later situation were greater pollution was tolerated, as Rothbard claims, then property rights cannot provide a solution to the pollution problem.

It is, of course, likely that Rothbard and other “Libertarians” will claim that the system was not pure enough, that the courts were motivated to act under pressure from the state (which in turn was pressured by powerful industrialists). But can it be purified by just removing the government and placing courts into a free market? The pressure from the industrialists remains, if not increases, on the privately-owned courts trying to make a living on the market.

28 thoughts on “The lie of anarcho-capitalism and the environment…

  1. Instead of Politics November 20, 2011 at 19:27

    Collectivisim = pollution. Take a look at public areas and collectivist countries. The bigger and more collectivized they are, the more polluted. When “everyone” owns them, no one owns them. A true owner will stop others from intruding and diminishing the resale value of his property. Where tort law is allowed to operate freely, aggression is minimized because aggressors are held fully responsible. Propertization is the cure. Leave it to the politicians to contaminate vast areas with their collectivist philosophies and useless bureaucracies.

    I have devoted half of my text, “Instead of Politics (Civilization 101)” to the relationship between property and order.

  2. Instead of Politics November 21, 2011 at 21:25

    Property is not a “concept.” It is the basis for civilization. Even the plants and animals are territorial.

    • Francois Tremblay November 22, 2011 at 01:19

      Read “What is Property,” by Proudhon. Property is a nonsensical concept. If it’s the basis of civilization, then pull the plug on civilization. (fortunately, it’s not)

      • Instead of Politics November 22, 2011 at 06:20

        Read “Instead of Politics.” The Soviet Union was Proudhonianism in practice. By attempting to repudiate property, the collectivist anarchists created the most dictatorial totalitarian state the world has ever known. In the real world, property cannot be abolished. As a result of their attempted prohibition of property, all property was merely ceded to the state. Their blood-splattered revolution instantly made slaves of them all.

        • postleft November 22, 2011 at 14:45

          Not to end your party over here, Instead of Politics, but Anarchists were some of the first ones to go under Soviet rule.

        • Francois Tremblay November 22, 2011 at 15:02

          “The Soviet Union was Proudhonianism in practice.”

          Since Proudhon was against communism, that’s a rather bold claim. Can you justify it?

          “By attempting to repudiate property, the collectivist anarchists created the most dictatorial totalitarian state the world has ever known. In the real world, property cannot be abolished. As a result of their attempted prohibition of property, all property was merely ceded to the state.”

          Your reasoning is very confused. If all property is ceded to the State (and indeed the State claims the rights of property usually attributed to private individuals, such as the right to modify, destroy, buy and sell, etc), then property was not “repudiated” or “abolished.” Soviet Communism was merely capitalist property under government rule.

          • Instead of Politics November 22, 2011 at 21:45

            It is impossible to eliminate property. When the collectivists say, “everything belongs to everyone,” they eliminate accountability, which encourages pollution and other forms of aggression. So they create a bureau to redistribute property and wealth from the producers to the parasites – in the name of “egalitarianism.” The collectivists, in their attempt to abolish property (or repudiate it), cede it to the state (the redistribution mechanism).

            The Soviet Union was a natural result of collectivist politics (the repudiation of property). For the collectivists, the only question was if their utopia should be imposed with violence (the Mensheviks) or without violence (the Bolsheviks). Since their utopia can never be achieved, both types of collectivist engage in an eternal struggle. For the Bolsheviks, the ends justified the means. Philosophy run amok.

            • Francois Tremblay November 22, 2011 at 22:01

              “It is impossible to eliminate property. When the collectivists say, “everything belongs to everyone,” they eliminate accountability, which encourages pollution and other forms of aggression.”
              I already pointed you to the refutation of the Tragedy of the Commons. You must have missed it. Read my previous comments.

              “The collectivists, in their attempt to abolish property (or repudiate it), cede it to the state (the redistribution mechanism).”
              “The Soviet Union was a natural result of collectivist politics (the repudiation of property).”
              Yes, I agree that the Soviet Union is an eloquent proof of the depravity of property rights when taken to their logical extreme, rather like the extreme corporatism we’re seeing in the United States today. Planned economies are bad, no matter whether they’re left or right wing.

            • postleft November 23, 2011 at 12:09

              You realize that neither bolsheviks or mensheviks were Anarchists, right? Or are you just having fun with your word salad and should I just leave you alone?

              • Francois Tremblay November 23, 2011 at 12:54

                Yea, I think he’s just having fun. His “reasoning” is pretty absurd…

              • Instead of Politics November 23, 2011 at 21:23

                Anarchists? Collectivists can not be anarchists. Most people who claim to be anarchists unwittingly support the state in their futile effort to abolish property and free markets. A true anarchist would have no use for the state whatsoever.

        • David Gendron November 25, 2011 at 09:45

          WHAT?

          Soviet Union wasn’t an anti-property regime, this government used violence to obtain their illegitimate property.

          “he collectivist anarchists created the most dictatorial totalitarian state the world has ever known”

          This is utterly false! You’re confused between “bolchevism” and “communism”.

  3. Instead of Politics November 23, 2011 at 06:53

    I can see that you are still blinded by this free-for-all mentality. By refusing to believe in the existence of property, you do not even acknowledge that accountability is directly proportionate to individuality of ownership, When you come to your senses, we can continue our discussion. I’ll wait.

    Meanwhile, your assignment is to read the section “The Nature of Property.”

    • Francois Tremblay November 23, 2011 at 12:55

      Sorry, I used to be like you, but I did “come to my senses.” You have no idea how absurd the things you’re saying are from my perspective. I realize now how empty capitalist reasoning is and I don’t think I’m ever going back to that nonsense.

  4. David Gendron November 25, 2011 at 09:46

    “Yes, I agree that the Soviet Union is an eloquent proof of the depravity of property rights when taken to their logical extreme, rather like the extreme corporatism we’re seeing in the United States today. Planned economies are bad, no matter whether they’re left or right wing.”

    AMEN!

  5. David Gendron November 25, 2011 at 09:47

    @Instead of politics

    Why you don’t talk about possession?

  6. David Gendron November 25, 2011 at 10:10

    Even tough I agree that privatized (and when I say “privatized”, I don’t talk about selling the State property) property is better for the environment than State property, I strongly disagreeing with Instead of Politics’ argumentation.

  7. David Gendron November 25, 2011 at 10:17

    In this quote “communism” is used as the bolchevic sense.

    “In capitalism, the State is the ally of corporations, in socialism the State is the antagonist of corporations, and in communism the State takes over all corporations and thus fully assumes corporate power (which leads to the counter-intuitive conclusion that communism is merely the fullest expression of capitalism).”

    https://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/why-anarchists-must-be-pro-markets-and-anti-capitalism/

  8. Instead of Politics November 26, 2011 at 07:07

    The state is official compulsion and official aggression. Pollution is an aggression – a violation of property. The owner(s) naturally tend to expel the aggressors – unless they are forbidden from doing so. The same is true of military aggression.

    The market has no need for the state. Cronyism opposes the free market and property. Statists love collectivism, because it gives their cronies many ways to aggress in the name of “regional jobs,” “public property,” “the common good,” ad infinitum.

    While collectivists may have difficulty understanding what a stateless society will look like, a true anarchist knows that it must be allowed to die. If that is not the first step, if the ends justify the means, then a new state will simply replace the old.

  9. Paul August 14, 2013 at 09:07

    Hello Francois, why do you say that property is a nonsense concept?
    Also, what do you think of the notion that if I am happy to share land, in a free market I am able to do so, and if I choose to own it privately so that none of my subjective value analysis conflicts with the subjective value analysis of those I am sharing it with, I can do that to. Lastly do you believe that the planet has a purpose other than the uses life take from it?
    Thanks :)

  10. Paul August 16, 2013 at 12:06

    What’s the alternative to the private property suggestions made by anarcho’s and libertarians in your opinion?

  11. Paul August 17, 2013 at 01:54

    Hi Francois. Are the individual freedom issues that exist within socialism more acceptable to you than the private property issues? Also I’m wondering if you make a distinction between an act of aggression and act of defence within priv.prop rights?

    • Francois Tremblay August 17, 2013 at 02:03

      “Are the individual freedom issues that exist within socialism more acceptable to you than the private property issues?”
      I don’t understand what you mean in asking whether some issues are “more acceptable” than the other. An “issue” is just a matter of fact.

      “Also I’m wondering if you make a distinction between an act of aggression and act of defence within priv.prop rights?”
      Yes, of course acts of aggression and acts of defense are always opposite no matter what perspective you take: they are opposite by definition. Whatever you define as aggression cannot be defense, and whatever you define as defense cannot be aggression.

  12. Paul August 27, 2013 at 09:53

    Hi, what I’m meaning to ask is do you believe that some freedoms (defined as the ability to act without taking another’s freedom) will be lost for socialism? Also, how is Hayek wrong about why socialism cannot work? Peace

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