Signal Intelligence About The LP

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Green Libertarianism

Yes, green libertarianism not only exists, but is flowering within the Libertarian Party. Thanks to the LP Reform Caucus, we finally have a platform that doesn't insist that torts are the only way to address pollution -- a position that prominent LP leaders have been questioning for years. Nor does our new platform rule out land value taxation, which had five defenders among the 15 members of the 2008 PlatCom, and has other prominent LP sympathizers. The triumph of moderates/reformers at our 2008 convention has resuscitated the "Boston Tea Party", which is now siphoning off some of the LP's most radical Rothbardian activists -- the ones who would be most opposed to a green libertarian agenda.
For a multi-party green/freedom agenda, this redacted version of the Democratic Freedom Caucus platform would be a good start. Even better would be the EcoLibertarian Manifesto, which is artfully vague in its use of the terms "commons" and "community" for the specific purpose of winning assent even from Greens and anarchists. The manifesto can be summarized as:
Your body, time, and property are fully yours, but you must pay when you monopolize, consume, pollute, or congest the commons.
For an annotated bibliography of 23 platforms, manifestos, and Bills of Rights going back to 1760 BC, see here.
The future of freedom is green. The winning freedom agenda is 1) constitutionalist decentralism and 2) the green tax shift -- i.e. Ron Paul meets the Pigou Club. I would love to see a cross-party green-freedom caucus. I currently work within the LP, but the idea of green freedom is too powerful and too important to be bottled up within any one party. Let's work together and help each other turn our respective parties toward green freedom. I'll gladly jump ship to any party that gets there before the LP does.
Brian Holtz
Secretary, 2008 LP Platform Committee
P.S. Mike O'Mara is mistaken when he says the Cato Institute hasn't published on corporate welfare. A 24-page study from 2007 is here. A 1995 study is here. (It begins: "Reich challenged the Cato Institute to come up with a list of 'business subsidies that don't make sense.' We have enthusiastically accepted that challenge.") The biannual Cato Policy Handbook (formerly the Cato Handbook for Congress) has had a chapter on corporate welfare ever since it was first published in 1997. Opposition to corporate welfare has always been a key part of the LP agenda, and has become only more important with the events of the last couple weeks. Libertarians have long recognized that denunciation of corporate welfare is crucial for distinguishing our authentic free-market positions from the corrupt and failed corporate statism of the GOP.

[Update: It turns out O'Mara didn't make the simple factual mistake alleged above, but rather the more egregious mistake of claiming that the LP and Cato Institute are neither "serious" nor "sincere" about economic freedom. For details, see here.]

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