Earth Day Turns 40

Environmentalist pioneers have had it their way for four decades. It's time for a change.

Forty years ago this week, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day celebration. It was the largest national demonstration ever, with events taking place on 2,000 college campuses, 10,000 elementary and high schools, and with another 2,000 community groups. Before Earth Day, conservationists, anti-pesticide activists, and pollution control advocates separately pushed their causes, but after Earth Day these disparate groups melded into self-conscious parts of a broader environmentalist political movement. So how has the nation’s environment fared since that day four decades ago?

Earth Day was the brainchild of Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisc.) who conceived of it as he was flying back from seeing the damage done by the Santa Barbara offshore oil well blowout in 1969. Nelson aimed to make Earth Day a national ecological teach-in modeled on the anti-war events then popular on college campuses. In January 1970, Nelson gave a major speech in the U.S. Senate outlining his environmental concerns. From the perspective of today, that speech set most of the environmentalist agenda for the next 40 years and, for good or ill, most of that agenda has been fulfilled.

Nelson opened by advocating a new constitutional amendment: “Every person has the inalienable right to a decent environment. The United States and every State shall guarantee this right.” So far there is no such amendment. But Nelson went on to set out five immediate action areas that aimed to “rid America in the 1970s of the massive pollution from five of the most heavily used products of our affluent age.” The five areas were the internal combustion engine, hard pesticides, detergent pollution, aircraft pollution, and non-returnable containers.

Nelson proposed phasing out internal combustion engines by January 1, 1978, unless they met national emissions standards by that time. He proposed massive federal subsidies to achieve the phase-out. A few months after the first Earth Day, Congress passed the Clean Air Act which required that emissions of various gases by automobiles be cut by 90 percent by 1975. Pollution control devices called catalytic converters were installed on almost all new cars beginning in 1975. Since 1970, automobile hydrocarbon emissions have been reduced 99 percent, carbon monoxide by 96 percent, and nitrogen oxides by 99 percent.

Motivated by Rachel Carson’s 1962 anti-pesticide book, Silent Spring, Nelson argued for the elimination of “persistent toxic pesticides,” chiefly chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT. On December 31, 1972, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT in the United States. The use of DDT for agricultural spraying should have been halted. But unfortunately this comprehensive ban spread across the world, greatly hampering efforts to control malaria. In 2001, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants essentially imposed a global ban on 12 organic pesticides.

In the 1960s Lake Erie was declared “dead” largely because of massive algae blooms that had depleted oxygen levels in the lake. Algal blooms—fertilized by nutrient pollution, especially phosphorus in laundry detergents—were affecting as many 10,000 bodies of water in the U.S. Phosphorus helped clean clothes washed in mineral rich water, i.e., “hard water.” Although Congress held hearings on the phosphorus problem, federal action became superfluous after the majority of states banned phosphorus, forcing manufacturers to almost entirely eliminate it from their products by the late 1990s.

The EPA issued regulations to reduce aircraft emissions in 1973. With regard to non-returnable containers, Nelson argued, “It is my conviction that the long run answer to our sold waste problem must be a massive effort to turn our wastes into valuable new products that can be recycled into the economy.” In 1973, Berkeley, California, became one of the first cities to mandate curbside recycling of newspapers. Currently, there are more than 8,500 curbside recycling programs in the U.S. and about 30 percent of municipal solid wastes are recycled. Part and parcel of this recycling movement are recent bans on plastic bags and imposed redemption fees on bottles and cans.

Once these five areas had been addressed—as they largely have been—Nelson proposed another nine future goals for the nascent environmental movement. Here’s his list:

  1. Establish the right of every citizen to plan his family.
  2. Establishment of a federal environmental advocacy agency.
  3. Halt pollution of our seas—moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf oil drilling.
  4. Establish a national environmental education program encompassing pre-school through college.
  5. Divert money from interstate highway construction to public transportation.
  6. National land use planning so as to “halt the chaotic unplanned combination of urban sprawl and industrial expansion.” This included a ban on strip mining and the filling of wetlands. In addition, he wanted to expand national parks and other reserves.
  7. Establish a national minerals and resource policy—change the mining law of 1872.
  8. Establish a nonpartisan national environmental political organization.
  9. Establish a national air and water quality policy.

Family planning was needed because as Nelson asserted, “If we cannot manage the wastes produced by 200 million people, it will be catastrophic when we reach 300 million, as predicted within the next 30 years.” By 1970, the U.S. total fertility rate (the number of children a woman has over the course of her lifetime) had dropped from a recent peak of 3.7 in the late 1950s to a basic replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. To highlight population issues, Indiana University Women's Liberation Movement members threw oral contraceptives at participants in an Earth Day rally. Nevertheless, the U.S. population has grown to over 300 million, yet pollution levels have fallen steeply since 1970.

On December 2, 1970, the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened for business and began to administer the plethora of new environmental laws that were shortly passed by Congress. In 1988, the Congress passed the Ocean Dumping Ban Act which prohibited the disposal of sewage sludge and industrial waste in the seas by December 31, 1991. Congress first enacted legislation establishing a moratorium on oil drilling on the outer continental shelf, except for the western Gulf of Mexico, in 1982. President George W. Bush lifted that ban in 2008 and President Barack Obama recently declared that he would open some parts of the outer continental shelf to oil exploration beginning in 2012.

The EPA has devised an extensive educational outreach program for elementary and secondary schools. The interstate highway system was completed in 1992. Originally estimated to cost $25 billion ($185 billion inflation-adjusted) over 12 years, it actually cost an inflation-adjusted $425 billion. Congress passed the Urban Mass Transportation Act in 1970 and has since spent tens of billions on public transit systems. Meanwhile, public transit, which carried about 4 percent of urban travel in 1970, has now fallen to 1.6 percent today. Perhaps more Americans will turn to public transit once gasoline taxes are increased.

With regard to national land use planning, the Endangered Species Act functions in that role to some degree by limiting what landowners may do with their property. The federal government administers over 1 million square miles of protected areas (about 27 percent of the land area of the country), including national parks, wilderness areas, and so forth. For the record, U.S. forest area has been stable at around 750 million acres since 1910, despite the fact that our population has more than tripled since then. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that wetland acreage is no longer declining, and that there was a net annual average gain of wetlands of about 32,000 acres between 1998 and 2004. Earlier this month, the EPA announced new regulations that would greatly reduce the amount of strip mining permitted. The one total failure in achieving the agenda set out 40 years ago by Nelson is the fact that the 1872 Mining Act remains unreformed. Given the proliferation of environmentalist lobbying groups, Nelson’s goal of establishing a national environmental political organization is superfluous.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at Nelson’s goal of establishing a national air and water quality policy. In his speech, Nelson declared, “Today it can be said that there is no more clear air left in the United States.…Today it can also be said that there is no river or lake that has not been affected by the pervasive wastes of our society.” Nelson continued, “Tomorrow? Responsible scientists have predicted that accelerating rates air pollution could become so serious by the 1980s that many people may be forced on the worst days to wear breathing helmets to survive outdoors. It has also been predicted that that in 20 years man will live in domed cities.”

Obviously, Nelson’s dour pollution predictions did not materialize. We don’t wear gas masks or live in domed cities. Since 1980, ambient concentrations of the six major regulated air pollutants have dropped by 54 percent, while U.S. population grew 34 percent, energy use increased 32 percent, automobile miles nearly doubled, and GDP rose by 126 percent. Specifically, ambient carbon monoxide is down 79 percent; ozone down 25 percent; nitrogen dioxide down 46 percent; sulfur dioxide down 56 percent, particulates down 68 percent.

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  • The Gobbler||

    Happy Birthday, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin!

    Don't you EVER change!

  • Ska||

    Whoa - hoodie girl switched to a polo shirt and kicked the meth habit!

  • Pete O'File Preditor||

    I find her less attractive now.

  • zoltan||

    She looks much better smiling.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    I miss Hoodie girl. Alas...

  • ¢||

    I hope that future environmentalists will find that enclosing the commons [...] will more effectively protect and restore the natural world.

    "Enclosing" in the historical sense of herding all the poor people out of the country and into ghettos, yeah, they're doing that. It's the next best thing to starving all the undesirables to death—on which front they're doing all they can, too, over in Africa where we can't see.

    Good folks.

  • ||

    I think that "enclosing" Ron Bailey is talking about is more akin to that proposed in "the mystery of capital, which did a good job of explaining how it is just this tragedy of the commons that prevents poor people from owning the land that they maintain, causing them to be forever outside of the bell jar of capitalist success. Commons don't enrich the poor, they cap them at the knees.

  • ||

    Speaking as a forester, I can attest that NEPA caused massive damage to the US.

    Lawsuits, which under the NEP Act can indefinitely prohibit logging on Federal land, led directly to the million acre forest fires that ravaged the western portion of the country in the late 1990s. Dense pine stands that were allowed to grow up without management reached their natural, normal "stem exclusion" phase of their life cycle, and rather than allowing loggers to remove the resulting deadwood, environmentalists blocked all their operations for decades.

    The result was the destruction of how many homes and lives?

    Yeah. Good job Big-Government types...

  • Choany / MNG||

    But, but, but...TEH EXTERNALITIES!

  • Martin Rheaume||

    I'm a self-proclaimed libertarian extremist, but I do believe the negative externalities of industrial capitalism are one problem that we've failed to adequately address.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Lawsuits, which under the NEP Act can indefinitely prohibit logging on Federal land, led directly to the million acre forest fires that ravaged the western portion of the country in the late 1990s. Dense pine stands that were allowed to grow up without management reached their natural, normal "stem exclusion" phase of their life cycle, and rather than allowing loggers to remove the resulting deadwood, environmentalists blocked all their operations for decades.

    The result was the destruction of how many homes and lives?


    To be honest those forests were burning down before Injuns with stone axes chopped down the first tree and changing the frequency of forest fires.

    How many lives and homes were destroyed back then?

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    I don't know, dude. You tell me. LOL

    Jess
    www.vpn-privacy.us.tc

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    GASP!

    You mean... The Indians were managing the timberland? Like the NEP Act prevented us from doing???

    OMG! They were destroying the Earth!

  • ||

    Happy Birthday, Adolf!

  • ||

    And George!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It's also Manatee Awareness Month.

  • Rosie O'Donnell||

    Hey, thanks for noticing!

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +5

  • ed||

    I'm aware that they are delicious.

  • Really?||

    Lesbians? How do you cook them?

  • Vagitarian||

    No cooking, just eat'em raw.

  • Bloomberg's ban||

    Just don't go pouring salt into that womb.

  • ||

    Family Guy's writers deserve some appreciation, so it's all good.

  • Captain Horatio McCallister||

    Yar. 'Tis no man... 'tis a remorseless eatin' machine.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Actually, the hat tip for Manatee Awareness Month goes to Adult Swim, but seeing as they show Family Guy on there, it's all good.

  • cartman||

    Why does everyone think I would like Family Guy?? It has no plot! Just a bunch of references strung together incoherently goddammmit!!!

  • ||

    It may sound old fashioned, but I celebrate Arbor Day instead of Earth Day. Arbor Day is a day dedicated to the premise that you can do something to make the world nicer for the next generation. You can plant a tree (or several) and create a shady spot that you will never enjoy, but your grandchildren might.

    Earth Day has always seemed so PC, so liberal, so granola. At least here in Nebraska, we tend to think of making the place cleaner, nicer, and generally better. That fits with the idea of a holiday that is about getting your hands dirty doing something, instead of kicking a hackey sack around while some grunge band bleats out a tune or some eco nut berates the evil corporations.

  • zoltan||

    BRM there are lots of trees you can enjoy a shady spot beneath within several years.

  • ||

    Yes, and not really the point I was going for.

  • A legacy||

    A true gift that you don't get to enjoy but you take satisfaction in the bestowing.

  • ||

    Sweet Jaysus!

    I have $100 that says David Mathews passes a clot before post 50.

  • the wager||

    should be which regular poster would coincidently drop dead simultaneously.

  • Adonisus||

    The irony of the banning of DDT is that Carson herself in fact did NOT advocate the banning of DDT for anti-malaria use. She said that 'No responsible person contends that insect-borne diseases should be ignored'

    It's also rarely mentioned that the largest polluter in the United States is in fact the U.S. Government. It doesn't even want to pick up its own trash! And we want THESE people to be the guardian of our environment? Christ!

  • .||

    Not that there aren't a lot of slobs in the nation. Hey cigarette smokers, would it kill you not to toss your butts in the street?

  • TP||

    Forget the street, I smoke and I can't stand finding butts on the beach.

  • Steff||

    I'm pretty neat, but considering what I pay in taxes just so I can be treated like a second-class citizen for enjoying a legal product...? I can't fucking blame smokers for not giving a shit so much anymore. Only so long you can beat a dog.

  • Mother Pigeon ||

    And what am I supposed to line my babies nest with? Crack vials?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    hur hur, I'll toss YOUR butt, hur hur hur

  • George Takei||

    Hellooooo!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    +50

  • TP||

    Please, my state is still fighting with a small defense contractor that is holding a bunch of low level radioactive material that has already polluted the groundwater. Guess who's got their back. That's right, the US government.

  • ||

    Motivated by Rachel Carson’s 1962 anti-pesticide book, Silent Spring, Nelson argued for the elimination of “persistent toxic pesticides,” chiefly chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT. On December 31, 1972, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT in the United States. The use of DDT for agricultural spraying should have been halted. But unfortunately this comprehensive ban spread across the world, greatly hampering efforts to control malaria. In 2001, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants essentially imposed a global ban on 12 organic pesticides.

    This is like saying that, yeah, the Nazis killed a couple people.

    I teach my children that Rachel Carson is the most evil human being that has ever lived. Her lies led to the deaths of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of human beings, mostly children. Millions today still die because of her hubris.

    She didn't mean to? Oh, I guess that makes it OK.

  • ||

    Ditto and thanks for making the point. The unintended consequences of the econuts are one of the, if not THE most under-reported stories in the world today.

  • Adonisus||

    As I said before, Carson did not reccomend or intend for DDT and helpful pesticides to be gotten rid of, she just reccomended that people use them more responsibly.

    Also, comparing Carson to Hitler....wow.

  • ||

    Also, comparing Carson to Hitler....wow.

    Same result, even though less died as a result of Hitler's actions. I defy you to find a quote of Hitler where he damns humanity. They both believed that THEY knew what was best and millions of other human being deaths was a price they were willing to pay.

  • Adonisus||

    Carson never 'damned' humanity. Neither did she view humanity as some sort of plague.

    Also, it is both irrational and morally irresponsible to lay the blame for bad public policy on a single woman who neither reccommended the policy of banning DDT nor was involved in making of such policy.

    And again, comparing Carson to Hitler is pretty low, even by Godwin's standards.

  • ||

    I didn't write the quote above:

    "Motivated by Rachel Carson’s 1962 anti-pesticide book, Silent Spring, Nelson argued for the elimination of “persistent toxic pesticides,” chiefly chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT. On December 31, 1972, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT in the United States.

    Did Hitler kill a single person (outside WWI) personally? So we clearly can't blame him?

    You sound like my 5 year old. "I didn't mean for it to happen"

    As I said before, Oh, it's OK then.

  • Adonisus||

    Well, Hitler was actually ALIVE through most of the Holocaust, unlike Carson who passed away from breast cancer a couple of years after Silent Spring was published.

    Anyway, I'm officially done with this conversation. May your days be long and prosperous.

  • Patriot Henry||

    I teach my children that Rachel Carson is the most evil human being that has ever lived. Her lies led to the deaths of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of human beings, mostly children. Millions today still die because of her hubris.

    There are other options, some of them better (getting rid of standing water, increasing health of the ecosystem to grow the number of pest predators, etc). In a free market DDT may have had a longer run but it's inferior to a long term big picture solution and would have lost out in the long run.

    Rachel Carson did do some good reporting and writing. "Silent Spring" is a classic because it does point out a bit of the damage that had been done. I read the book when I was perhaps 12 or so, and unless there's a lot I don't recall she most certainly should not be held responsible for the governments of the world using her work to further their control over everything.

    Marshall Gill, did you ever read "Silent Spring"?

  • anarch||

    It's also rarely mentioned that the largest polluter in the United States is in fact the U.S. Government. It doesn't even want to pick up its own trash! And we want THESE people to be the guardian of our environment?

    "Give me ... The wretched refuse of your teeming shore... I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ~ The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +1

  • Libertarian||

    There's no such thing as damage to the environment. It doesn't fit into my preconceived worldview.

  • ||

    FUcking troll.

  • ||

    Libertarian|4.20.10 @ 5:15PM|#
    "There's no such thing as damage to the environment. It doesn't fit into my preconceived worldview."

    No doubt. But your "World Ends Tomorrow" sandwich board is sooooo stylish.

  • Antonio Tajani||

    Establish the right of every citizen to plan his family vacation.

    FTFY

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +15

  • Chad||

    Relying on this insight, I hope that future environmentalists will find that enclosing the commons, rather than using the blunt instrument of political regulation, will more effectively protect and restore the natural world

    A nice sentiment, but in practical reality, most major opportunities to do this have already been done. There are plenty of very serious environmental issues which cannot be solved by enclosing the un-enclosable.

    You know, such as the planetary "air-shed".

  • ||

    Actually, there are plenty of areas where this can be done: (1) Marine fisheries and ITQs; (2) recognize property rights of local people in tropical forests; (3) establish water markets; just to name a few.

  • David Mathews||

    Ron Bailey wants to establish water markets. Would he deprive the impoverished of their water just as capitalism deprives the impoverished of all their other resources?

    Ron Bailey isn't a libertarian. He's a fascist. He would steal from the poor to feed his own unhealthy appetites. Billions of people on this planet are already deprived of the basic necessities of life ... Ron Bailey would deprive these people of their life.

    So much for libertarianism.

    How many people would you kill for oil, Ron Bailey?

  • ||

    I think we may have finally found a worthy replacement for LoneDipshit.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Do you drive a car, David?

    If so, shut the fuck up, hypocrite.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Ron Bailey wants to establish water markets. Would he deprive the impoverished of their water just as capitalism deprives the impoverished of all their other resources?


    Without water markets, the impoverished would deprive themselves of water by using it all up.

  • Maverick||

    Didn't your band's tour bus dump a bunch of shit on some boaters once upon a time . . .

  • jayrad||

    WOOHOOO! Let it begin!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Fucking hilarious!

  • barfman||

    *barf*

  • Patriot Henry||

    Would he deprive the impoverished of their water just as capitalism deprives the impoverished of all their other resources?

    Capitalism only deprives the guilty of their resources.

    Ron Bailey isn't a libertarian. He's a fascist.

    I lean towards agreeing but fail to see any basis for your argument.

  • Chad||

    Here in the US, Ron, we already use tradable permits and quotas for many fisheries. Since libertarianism stops at the water's edge, there is nothing you or anyone you support politically would do about the open ocean, which is in far worse straights. Strangely enough, fishery policy is an area where the US (along with New Zealand and Iceland) is a world leader. The Japanese, Spanish, and Russians are the bottom-feeders and deserve any condemnation you can heap on them.

    I don't think forest ownership by locals would apply to most tropical forests except in the areas near where people are already located. More of it will be converted to public or private sanctuaries. Additionally, if you DO privatize it, a lot of it will simply be sold to the first logger who comes around.

  • David Mathews||

    Libertarians are all very pro-pollution and they love living in their own sewer.

    Not to worry, though, you people are all living on borrowed time and when the bill becomes due you will discover that Nature has little use for your own survival.

    What humankind destroyed hastily Nature will repair in her own sweet time. After four billion years of living even a scourge of human pests cannot destroy Nature ... but it can eradicate itself.

    Libertarians don't mind being morbidly obese if it benefits some corporation. Libertarians don't mind getting cancer so long as they accumulate wealth.

    The libertarians live as if they want to die ... humankind, a species which could never handle existence, goes extinct.

  • ||

    human pests

    Yep, know where you stand.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Marshall,

    If any animal on this planet behaved like the humans the humans would drive that animal extinct as the most horrendous sort of pest, like vermin ... just as our ancestors nearly drove the bald eagles extinct because they were considered worthless vermin and not worthy of life.

    Humans are the very worst of the animals. The newspapers are filled with stories about humasn killing humans. This is the behavior I would associate with a self loathing primate pest.

    Humans hate humankind so very much that the good people of the United States vaporized 100,000 on a single day back in 1945. Included among those were plenty of innocent babies and civilians and old folks who were powerless and guiltless.

    Humans hate humankind. Of all the animals that humankind hates, humans hate humankind the most.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    it starts with one. so go ahead, lead the charge, and rid the planet of the pest you are.

  • David Mathews||

    Libertarians are very pro-suicide specifically because libertarians are suicidal.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    At least we're for people having the choice to commit suicide if they so choose.

    One would think you'd be all for that, David.

  • ||

    Dave, you're filled with a lot of self-loathing. Are you really fat or something? Maybe Waxman-level ugly?

  • David Mathews||

    It is self-loathing for humans to poison the planet and leave a sewer for the children to inherit from the parents.

    It is self loathing for humans to accumulate guns, bombs, missiles and violent wishes. Humans are devoted to killing fellow humans.

    If humankind wanted to survive the species would live differently. Humans hate life and they hate every living thing ... including their own very self.

    The future which you are destroying is your own.

  • ||

    You didn't answer my question, Dave. I'm going to go with ugly; you just don't sound like a fat person. Not jolly enough.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Episiarch,

    You are the person who prefers to live in your own sewer. Why do you hate yourself so very much?

  • ||

    I live in a sewer because the rent is cheap, Dave. Isn't that why you do?

  • David Mathews||

    Yes, Episiarch, turning the Earth into a sewer is cheap. Corporations don't care whether you live or die by their toxins. They just want to dump them and forget them.

    Decades ago a river caught fire because capitalists did not value the river or its life or the humans who happened to live within its toxic environment.

    The capitalists don't care about consequences. They will cover the Earth and asphalt and drive every animal extinct so long as they can make a profit.

    Capitalism is the most effective tool to motivate an animal to drive itself extinct.

  • ||

    You were doing pretty well at the "I'm a psychotic Malthusian" game, but it's gotten a little too over the top. Still, an excellent effort.

  • David Mathews||

    You really aren't going to enjoy the future, Episiarch. The future will turn out differently than you imagine.

  • ||

    "Capitalism is the most effective tool to motivate an animal to drive itself extinct."

    I'd always wondered what happened to the dinosaurs. I guess they just discovered free trade and it was all over for them.

  • Barrack Obama||

    David Matthews

    Thanks for coming to this site. You are such a thoughtful, caring person. Your concern for the enviroment is beyond the pale.

    If it sounds like people aren't loving you on this site, it's just because they dont understand. But they will.
    Hang in there, Mr. Wonderful.

  • logician||

    It is self offspring-loathing for humans to poison the planet and leave a sewer for the children to inherit from the parents.

    Geez. What does it take?

  • MNG||

    "Maybe Waxman-level ugly?"

    Lol, that is SO my new adjective!

  • ||

    Davey,
    It is very simple, if you don't like being human......drown yourself.

  • David Mathews||

    Another suicidal libertarian!

  • ||

    Humans hate humankind. Of all the animals that humankind hates, humans hate humankind the most.

    I missed this before and BRAVO! Dave Matthews is simply the best at the Lefist parody ever seen! Another A+ sir!

  • jayrad||

    He's no parody, Marshall, sadly he is all too serious. Luckily, he's here on a Reason comment board being seriously crazy instead of making some kinda biological weapon a la "12 Monkeys"

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    He's the spawn of Naomi Klein and David Suzuki

  • barfman||

    Dude, Avatar was just a movie.

    And *baaaarrrrrfffff*

  • Patriot Henry||

    This is the behavior I would associate with a self loathing primate pest.

    Due to the influence of the state/government/tribe most people fail to develop into civilized adult human beings, instead remaining in some sort of inferior mutant mental state that combines elements of children, sheep, dogs, bugs, and zombies.

  • dennis||

    You're stupid.

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Dennis demonstrates the intellectual vacuum which exist within the small minds of libertarians.

    This world is bigger than you, Dennis, and it will be just fine after you are gone. Nature doesn't need humankind.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    yet you remain essential?
    why are you still here?

  • David Mathews||

    I'll live until I die.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    but doesn't your continued existence pollute the earth?
    why do you hate the earth, dave?

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Libertarian thinks that everyone lives like he lives. Seems that isn't always the case.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    I don't want people to live my way, I want people to live the way they want. You can live whichever way you want, I don't care.
    Stop being so judgmental.

  • David Mathews||

    China will decide how you shall live in the years ahead. The moment they cease propping up your lifestyle you will discover that you no longer have any choice.

    Nature is also going to begin making decisions on your behalf in the years ahead. Nature won't care about your weeping, too, regardless of how much you might suffer from her decisions.

    Humankind is in a very bad place. The future is bleak.

  • ||

    Poor Libertarian thinks that everyone lives like he lives. Seems that isn't always the case.

    Really, shit head? Are you saying that the computer and the internet upon which you have been spewing your idiocy wasn't created and powered by the very thing you decry as evil?

    I realize now that you are not a real person but a parody. A+

  • David Mathews||

    Poor Marshall is confused about a whole lot of things. I'm not going to boast about how I live nor attempt to justify it to you.

  • ||

    Poor Libertarian thinks that everyone lives like he lives. Seems that isn't always the case.

    I'm not going to boast about how I live nor attempt to justify it to you.

    And only one minute apart?

    What is the time record for contradicting yourself? I believe we have a winner!

  • Barrack Obama||

    We know Dave. You live so gently on this earth. Thanks again, Mr. Wonderful.

    Kumbaya...

  • Mike Valentine||

    Please, do us all a favor and discorporate immediately.

  • dennis||

    I don't recall ever claiming nature wouldn't be fine without me. Your stupidity lies in the fact that you don't know a damn thing about libertarianism yet you make bold declarations despite your ignorance. I suppose this could also reflect a moral failing like dishonesty (your misanthropy certainly lends credence to the notion that you are a wicked pustule.) I typed "you're stupid" because you really didn't deserve more of a response. In fact I feel dirty replying to you now.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello Dennis,

    You are trying very hard to be interesting and still failing.

    Libertarians don't amount to much in this world. They are an extremist minority for a reason.

  • dennis||

    Yawn.

  • God||

    Why must you cut others down in order to build yourself up, David? You disappoint me severely.

  • Patriot Henry||

    Libertarians don't amount to much in this world. They are an extremist minority for a reason.

    There is such a reason: the majority of the population believes we are living under the law of civilization, No Stealing, when we are really living under the law of the jungle, "Might makes right".

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    *yawn*

  • barfman's spear carrier||

    *yawn*

    Sorry. I meant *barf*

  • Steff||

    Do you drive? Use plastic products? Life in a house made of treated lumber? Shit in a toilet?

    Gotcha. Hypocrite.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:03PM|#
    "Not to worry, though, you people are all living on borrowed time and when the bill becomes due you will discover that Nature has little use for your own survival."

    Your "World Ends Tomorrow" sign is ready for pickup at the sign shop.
    They've been making them for years.

  • David Mathews||

    Ron, Ron, Ron ... you live on a planet which has a long history of civilizations collapsing and primates going extinct.

    Immortality is for the delusional and the religious fundamentalists. Immortality doesn't belong to you nor does it belong to your civilization.

    Of course, this world is coming to an end. It is already crumbling to dust right under your feet. But you will live long enough to verify that technological civilization can end and you will regret having lived too long.

  • ||

    Dave, I'm intrigued. Do you have a screenplay for this? I bet we can still convince Mel Gibson to film Mad Max 4.

  • ||

    DM: You might find my review of Jared Diamond's silly book Collapse edifying. Or perhaps not.

  • David Mathews||

    Ron Bailey comes across as a scientifically and historically illiterate person.

    I'm afriad that you aren't going to like the future so very much, Ron ...

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:14PM|#
    "....Of course, this world is coming to an end. It is already crumbling to dust right under your feet...."

    Yep, fire and brimstone!
    So please tell us: When is the rapture?

  • David Mathews||

    There is no rapture, Ron ... and there is no escape from the horrors which are coming. Humankind will suffer and people such as yourself will wish that they had died.

    If you live too long you'll find yourself in a hellish place and no one will rescue you from your troubles.

    Technological civilization will collapse in the 21st century. The human population bubble will collapse in the 21st century. All of your hopes, dreams and aspirations will end in the 21st century.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Better do what he says, Ron... after all, God speaks to David Mathews.

  • Barrack Obama||

    "Technological civilization will collapse in the 21st century. The human population bubble will collapse in the 21st century. All of your hopes, dreams and aspirations will end in the 21st century."

    Which means David Matthews will end in the 21st Century. Buh bye!

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:46PM|#
    "There is no rapture, Ron ... and there is no escape from the horrors which are coming."

    Again, asshole: State a time, or put a sock in it.
    Anyone can claim 'things are going to happen' and your claims so far are nothing other than that sort of bullshit.

  • Patriot Henry||

    There is no rapture, Ron ... and there is no escape from the horrors which are coming. Humankind will suffer and people such as yourself will wish that they had died.

    I agree. The governments and their bastard children the corporations have fucked us all.

    Ronald Bailey, Reason, and much of the "libertarian" crowd seem blind to this reality.

  • Ted S.||

    So please tell us: When is the rapture?

    whenever you want

  • ||

    Not to worry, though, you people are all living on borrowed time and when the bill becomes due you will discover that Nature has little use for your own survival.

    So true. We'll all die, and when we do, the Universe won't really care.

    What humankind destroyed hastily Nature will repair in her own sweet time. After four billion years of living even a scourge of human pests cannot destroy Nature ... but it can eradicate itself.

    Also true - nature eventually reestablishes itself. And, since, oh sometime in the early '50s, we have been able to eradicate ourselves.

    So, far, our buddy Dave is trafficking in trivial truths.

    But then, of course, he veers off into a bizarre combination of irrelevancy, ad hominem, and straw manning, with his claims about fat libertarians with cancer.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello R C Dean,

    It is remarkable how well you tiptoe around the truth and whistle while crossing a graveyard.

    You need to think about the implications of what you are saying and then you will have no choice except to rethink your future plans.

    Humankind is living in an unsustainable manner. Animals that live in such a way don't survive for very long. Something really horrendous is going to happen to humankind in the 21st century.

    So it goes ...

    The sun will keep rising and flowers will keep blooming longer after humankind is extinct. It will be very much as if our species never existed.

    That's the future. You'll verify these predictions directly if you have to misfortunate of living too long.

  • TP||

    You're right. We should all abandon civilization and return to our anarcho-primitivist roots with John and Ramona Africa.

    MOVE not Move-on.

  • David Mathews||

    You are going to lose civilization regardless. The future ain't pretty.

    You will lose everything and have nothing. You will learn true impoverishment and deprivation.

    Perhaps you will survive or perhaps you will not. Nature doesn't care. Nature isn't merciful. Animals that destroy their only home should expect a very bad outcome.

  • Bob Marley||

    Can we at least have a kick-ass party first? We soooooo need that what with all this recession and stuff.

  • God||

    Who is this "you", David? Do you realize that when you point your finger in accusation, there are 4 fingers pointing right back at you?

    No go pray I don't smite you just for the Hell of it!

  • Max||

    Ronald Bailey is a fucking idiot who doesn't even have a scicne degree, which is why he writes about science for the leading rag of the libertarian cult. Scietnific fact is the libertarian cultist's worst enemy.

  • MNG||

    Max, I'll have you know that many libertarians have bachelors degrees in engineering or graphic design, so I'm betting you'd want to take that snarky comment back right about now. These men are scientists dammit, scientists!

  • MNG||

    "It is undeniable that over the past four decades in the United States that the air is much cleaner, the water much clearer, and forests are healthier. It is also undeniable that these environmental improvements were achieved largely through centralized top-down regulatory schemes."

    Holy shit Ron they are going to burn you at the stake for saying that. Look, there's prolefeed and Marshall Gill gathering kindling over there.

  • David Mathews||

    Hello MNG,

    America's air and water have become cleaner against the objections of libertarians such as yourself and Ronald Bailey.

    Just as libertarians continue to fight against limiting carbon dioxide pollution and the burning of fossil fuels.

    Libertarians prefer to live in a sewer so long as they can maintain their illusion of wealth.

  • MNG||

    "against the objections of libertarians such as yourself"

    Wow, you are new here...

  • David Mathews||

    Sorry, MNG, I was mistaken. Glad to read your post.

  • ||

    I was mistaken.

    Well, you did get one thing right!

  • Chad||

    How is he wrong? You guys DO fight against almost all forms of environmental policy, because, you know, government is always bad, by definition, and could never ever beat the mythical free market.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    David,
    MNG is a liberal, but Chad is a flaming Libertarian!

  • Chad||

    How is he wrong? You guys DO fight against almost all forms of environmental policy, because, you know, government is always bad, by definition, and could never ever beat the mythical free market.

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:30PM|#
    "How is he wrong? You guys DO fight against almost all forms of environmental policy, because, you know, government is always bad, by definition, and could never ever beat the mythical free market."

    So?

  • TP||

    See the live bald Eagle webcam in Central NJ here:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-cam

    And the live Red Tailed Hawk webcam on a windowsill of the Franklin Institute in Center City Philadelphia here:

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-franklin-institute-haw-cam

    Imagine that.

  • MNG||

    Keep building shit on their usual habitat, they'll adapt!

  • TP||

    Yeah, I mean, you know, Center City Philly has been their usual habitat for at least 200 years.

    If you hate being human, there's a cure for that.

  • MNG||

    I'm not sure where the charge of hating being human comes from TP.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Hating humans is a common theme in pretty much every post of David's.

  • MNG||

    Yeah, well I'm not David.

  • Steff||

    LOL! But he is your biggest fan, dearling. That sure does say something.

  • MNG||

    Only for the logically challenged...

  • quasi DM||

    Keep building shit on their usual habitat, they'll adapt!

    Who you callin' an adapter?

  • MNG||

    My favorite argument is that we can best preserve endangered species by promoting markets in them. See, no rational producer would harm their valuable business (no peanut butter producer would produce tainted peanut butter, it would ruin the guy and he knows that), so everyone would run around taking care of these endangered species.

    Since slavery is such a fav topic here I can't help but think of how similar arguments were advanced by Southerners defending that institution. Of course we treat our slaves really good they said, they are our valuable property after all.

    I mean, by this logic the way to fight human trafficking is by setting up a market in human trafficking. I mean, who would harm the product their livelihood depends on dudes?

  • David Mathews||

    Amen to that thought, MNG.

    These libertarians seem to forget the horrific acts committed by capitalists throughout the past several centuries.

    19th century America & Britain treated humans -- slaves, children, workers -- as worthless disposable machinery. People worked themselves to death and the capitalists stacked up their money over the corpses of the poor.

  • MNG||

    But remember Dave, those people who worked themselves to death did so in technically voluntary ways, so YAY 4 LIBERTY!

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Peace, brother!

  • MNG||

    Dave
    You shouldn't forget the rather amazing upsides to the advent of capitalism. Class societies have a lot to be said for them compared to caste ones, and while they certainly fostered a great deal of needless inequality overall welfare has been raised to remarkable levels under capitalism. Heck, Marx recognized this. Capitalism is a good (actually quite amazing) thing, it's just fundamentalist capitalism that's pretty crappy.

  • David Mathews||

    This is a mistake, MNG. Capitalism provides a benefit for a minority of humans for a very limited amount of time.

    Billions of humans are already suffering, impoverished, deprived and abandoned to their dying.

    Capitalism doesn't care about these billions and it will let them die ... just as capitalism will allow future gneerations of Americans to die.

  • MNG||

    I think quality of life pretty obviously increases under capitalism Dave. Additionally life choices do. Certainly as bad as conditions were in Dickensian England they were better than under Medieval England. And look at life in major capitalist nations now, it's the apex of human existence in terms of choice and quality of life (undercutting both your claims about capitalism's awfulness and many libertarians claims that life is getting worse under what they see as ever growing "socialism").

  • David Mathews||

    The quality of life increased ... for whom?

    No doubt about it, Americans live well on borrowed money. A day will come when capitalism has run its course and the Americans won't be able to live on China's welfare any longer.

    So the end result of capitalism is quite horrible for everyone.

    Capitalism promised much, delivered a little for a short time, and ends horrifically for humankind.

  • ||

    FTW!

    This is, without doubt, the funniest parody of Lefitst idiocy that I have ever read in my entire life!

    Well done spoofer, well done!

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Thanks Marshall for saying that. Only a parody could reach this level of sillyness.

    I bet Dave wears a colandar on his head, with tinfoil when he needs more inspiration.

  • Chad||

    I agree. It is obvious that my 50-something parents were richer than their parents. My 30-something generation is richer than our parents were when they were our age, but I don't think we will finish richer due to the debts they have laden us with. Young people in their 20s and younger are just screwed, and will not be richer than their parents.

    Far too much of our "income" the last few decades has been nothing more than leveraged borrowing and resource pillaging.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Part of that - no, most of that - debt you're bitching about, Chad?

    Caused by your party.

    Drink!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    He won't cop to it, FIFY. Liberals never admit when they've fucked up.

  • Mousie Dung||

    Yeah, remember when those capitalists rounded up all the Jews and gassed them? And remember my great capitalist cultural revolution? And good ol Pol Pot - what a free market guy he was! To say nothing of Papa Joe 'Mises" Stalin. Yep, all those capitalists really go out and kill people.

  • St. V||

    There's a reason you don't shit in a hole in the ground, doofus!

  • Chad||

    MNG, quality of life pretty obviously increases in the long run under almost any political and economic system.

    There is no real correlation between bigger or smaller government and the economy, unless one approaches the wild extremes of anarchy or totalitarian communism.

  • MWG||

    You're worthless...

    http://www.freetheworld.com/20.....09_ch1.pdf

    Go to page 19...

  • Mr. FIFY||

    We all know how clean the Soviet Union was...

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:33PM|#
    "MNG, quality of life pretty obviously increases in the long run under almost any political and economic system."

    If you want to starve slowly and painfully, why, Communism's your baby:
    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=cu&v=67

    Yep, all the economic systems are just about equal, right, Chony?:
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_gdp_history

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 6:38PM|#

    Dave
    You shouldn't forget the rather amazing upsides to the advent of capitalism. Class societies have a lot to be said for them compared to caste ones, and while they certainly fostered a great deal of needless inequality overall welfare has been raised to remarkable levels under capitalism."

    Ah, yes. An ignorant claim of "class" solves all arguments, right?

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Err... Great Britain not only outlawed slavery early in the nineteenth century, they also had their navy roam the seven seas attacking any ship transporting slaves and freeing the slaves. According to the usual source:

    Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard. (Wikipedia entry on Abolitionism)

    People really should check their facts and their presuppositions.

  • David Mathews||

    The need for Great Britain to outlaw slavery indicates that humans were treated like worthless expendible property beforehand.

    Geat Britain did end slavery, though ... too late, though. 600,000 Americans died because of Britain's crimes against humanity. Millions of slaves died, too.

    This is how humans typically treated humans centuries ago. Humans behave in nearly as horrific a manner today but our slaves are hidden away in Third World countries working 18 hour days for pennies an hour.

    Libertarians don't spend much time thinking about those people, though.

  • David Mathews||

    Of course, only I am the exception to the filthy humans I hate so much.

  • Maverick||

    Here's the link to the article that describes your tour bus's bowel evacuation onto a tour boat and into the Chicago River. Good job!

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:56PM|#
    "The need for Great Britain to outlaw slavery indicates that humans were treated like worthless expendible property beforehand."

    Not real quick in the thinking department, are we?
    Slavery is (and was) an artifact of government coercion.
    No slave, given a free choice, would remain a slave; they were kept in that state by government laws granting coercive power to slave-holders and government laws requiring the return of escaped slaves.
    It wasn't that slavery was 'outlawed' regardless of the propaganda; it was the removal of government sanctions enforcing slavery which simply allowed slaves a choice.
    This is similar to the misunderstanding that the government 'grants' freedoms. It doesn't under proper circumstances; freedoms are limitations on government actions.

  • ||

    "Slavery is (and was) an artifact of government coercion." ~Ron L.

    Good one genius? Explain why many of the Southern slaveholders defended the slave trade in the name of "free trade." Explain why slavery was defended in the South in the name of "states' rights." Explain why it took the intervention of the big evil government took end slavery.

    The average libertarians sense of American history is informed primarily by their ideology. That is why they'll preach about how much our founding fathers valued liberty so much but will ignore the fact that they owned slaves. Talk about hypocrites. Can you explain why, if they valued liberty so much, and felt that "all men were created equal," why black people, who had no right to vote, were to nonetheless count as three-fifths of a person, countributing to a significant electoral majority for the those liberty loving founding fathers that resided in Southern states?

    You can't explain these facts without doing serious harm to the mythology with which you shroud the ironic nature of this country's founding principles. They were only truly realized by progressives, which you may smear now as "communists" that wanted to take away your freedom.

    Your freedom to do what exactly?

    Anything you want regardless of how it might harm others?

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:56PM|#
    "...Geat Britain did end slavery, though ... too late, though. 600,000 Americans died because of Britain's crimes against humanity. Millions of slaves died, too...."

    Ooops; missed this bit of contradiction.
    You should be thrilled! Government-backed slavery killed millions, as has government banning of DDT.
    Not to mention Mao, Stalin and other heroes of the left; probably some 300,000,000 - 400,000,000 in total (that's three to four hundred million, MNG; I know zeros confuse you).
    Why, that leaves more room for, ah, fleas, right? Let's hear a cheer for murderous regimes, David!

  • Chad||

    Two problems, MNG:

    1: It only applies to a handful of the species we are going to wipe out, which may well be MOST of them, between habitat loss, invasive species and pathogens, pollution, and climate change. We are indeed in the midst of the sixth great extinction.

    2: I don't think that a few hundred polar bears living in cages somewhere, with the purpose of being turned into ear-muffs, is quite what environmentalists (or any sane person) is looking for.

  • MNG||

    Dude, I was agreeing with you, parodying the idea...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "most"

    What a knee-slapper! It is to laugh!

  • Chad||

    LG, I invite you to read up on the previous five grea extinctions. "Most" is absolutely and utterly accurate. Please note that only one of the five is believed to have been caused by a meteor. The others were caused by...duh duh duh....climate change.

    Please get back to me when you have cured your ignorance of the day, and are scared shitless, as you should be.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Wow, you're almost as depressing as David.

    This all hinges on mankind being the only cause of climate change, right? Still peddling that same tired shit can make a man crazy. You should have a little lie-down. You're in a tizzy!

  • ||

    Please note that only one of the five is believed to have been caused by a meteor. The others were caused by...duh duh duh....climate change.

    You mean that previous extinction events were caused by the internal combustion engine?! Are you actually admitting that there was "climate change" prior to the evil that mankind represents?! Four extinction events caused by pre-human climate change but this time it's cause is humans, for reals?

    Chad has learned something!!! Climate changed before human beings! They said it could never happen, but it HAS!

    If you approach Chad's ignorance does time slow down? Is there an "event horizon" that surrounds the black hole that is Chad's "intellect"?

  • Chad||

    Are you actually admitting that there was "climate change" prior to the evil that mankind represents

    Uhh, no one, ever, anywhere, has denied this. Please quit wasting my time with straw men. Actually, please learn what a straw-man argument is, as you probably aren't even intelligent enough to understand.

    I seriously do not know which is worse: that you don't know how ignorant you are, or that you don't CARE how ignorant you are.

    Why the hell would anyone advocate a policy that is almost certain to lead to the sixth mass extinction, other that gross ignorance or pure, unadulterated evil?

    Yes, climate changes "naturally", but this is usually much more slowly than what we are doing (and it is bad when it isn't), and even in other cases of rapid change, species didn't have to simultaneously deal with the massive waves of invasives, pollution, and habitat losses at the same time. There is a big difference between kicking an ecosystem in the nuts, and kicking it in the nuts after you have stabbed, beaten, and raped it.

  • ||

    Chad, could you be more self-centered? The world is going to end on your birthday? YOU or I will cause the end of the planet?!

    There have been four mass extinctions due to climate? Doesn't this tell a person with even two brain cells to rub together that man isn't the cause?!! If I punch you in the face four times, you simply know for a fact that the fifth time will come from Warty?!!

    What is amusing is that you admit that climate change has existed since before man walked the earth. But you know man is causing it this time because computer models predicted temperature in the decade between 1999 and 2009. Oppps!

    So, I am evil because I think that climate change is cyclical and little can actually be done to prevent it. You, on the other hand are good, good, good, because, even though the climate has been changing since before man, you are willing to crush economies "just in case".

    You are clearly to ignorant to be considered evil. Thank Science that you do not have any power. I have little doubt that, like Rachel Carson, you would see the deaths of millions to "save the planet".

    Let me revise that. You are evil.

  • Chad||

    That isn't much of a "hinge", LG.

    Again, we have another libertarian pulling out the straw-man card by inserting the word "only", which no one, and specifically myself, claims. Why does your side seem to be unable to avoid strawmen? Because you have no real arguments have have to resort to childish, unethical rhetorical tricks?

    Actually, one climate scientist summed up our responsibility for the current episode of climate change really nicely: he said that we are somewhere between 80% and 120% responsible.

    Get back to me when you are able to understand what he meant. I won't hold my breath.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    [citation needed]

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    crap.


    Actually, one climate scientist summed up our responsibility for the current episode of climate change really nicely: he said that we are somewhere between 80% and 120% responsible.

    [citation needed]

  • Rachel Carson||

    Yeah, just go back and check the global census of species. Five big wipeouts - most species died because they smoked too many cigarettes, though, not climate change.

  • Rachel Corrie||

    species got nothing on my sacrifice

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:38PM|#
    "LG, I invite you to read up on the previous five grea extinctions. "Most" is absolutely and utterly accurate. Please note that only one of the five is believed to have been caused by a meteor. The others were caused by...duh duh duh....climate change."

    Uh, Chony, care to inform us about how humans were either involved in those or how humans might have effected any improvement?
    And the question goes to you also: When is the Rapture?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    My favorite argument is that we can best preserve endangered species by promoting markets in them. See, no rational producer would harm their valuable business (no peanut butter producer would produce tainted peanut butter, it would ruin the guy and he knows that), so everyone would run around taking care of these endangered species.


    That is correct.

    Cows and chickens are not going extinct anytime soon.

    Since slavery is such a fav topic here I can't help but think of how similar arguments were advanced by Southerners defending that institution. Of course we treat our slaves really good they said, they are our valuable property after all.


    It depends on how much value their labor adds.

  • MNG||

    Yes, people wouldn't overmine this already fragile supply for short term gain. Why, no rational human does that!

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 7:26PM|#
    "Yes, people wouldn't overmine this already fragile supply for short term gain. Why, no rational human does that!"

    Not if they own it and have prospects for further use, they don't.
    But poor economic illiterates can't seem to separate the tragedy of the commons from ownership.

  • MNG||

    Exactly! Nobody has ever worked their own property to ruin! It wouldn't be rational, and we are always rational. Likewise no producer has ever tried to sell a produce which would sicken his customers, since then he would lose future customers. It will never happen because it's irrational!

    Boy, Austrian economics is fun, no math or thinking!

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 7:34PM|#
    "Exactly! Nobody has ever worked their own property to ruin! It wouldn't be rational, and we are always rational. Likewise no producer has ever tried to sell a produce which would sicken his customers, since then he would lose future customers. It will never happen because it's irrational!"

    Already been busted, jackass. You're not looking better by adding hogwash.

  • Chad||

    Wrong, Ron. You assume people are rational over infinite time frames, when in fact, they aren't even rational in choosing between now and five minutes from now. People will consume or liquidate for short-term profit despite wildly incredible long-term paybacks by waiting it out.

    Do you guys even take the time to read anything about behavioral psychology?

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:40PM|#
    "Wrong, Ron. You assume people are rational over infinite time frames, when in fact, they aren't even rational in choosing between now and five minutes from now."

    Ah, yes; more ignorance from the left.
    "People will consume or liquidate for short-term profit despite wildly incredible long-term paybacks by waiting it out."
    And presume that *you* (as an ignorant third-party) can decide which of those alternatives is "rational"?
    Cite, please, including argument that one is more "rational" than the other. Oh, and make sure your evidence is of general application.

  • Chad||

    Cite, please, including argument that one is more "rational" than the other

    No no no, Ron. You have it BACKWARDS. I claim both methods are flawed, but they are the best we have and have to take advantage of their unique strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation. YOU claim that one is always better. YOU need the citation.

    Please, prove to me that unfettered markets always do better than a government can. Citations, please.

  • MNG||

    I love it when Austrians get all relativistic on the concept of rational. It means everything and nothing depending on what they need. We can certainly have some objective sense of what is rational, and we know from study after study that humans don't always act so.

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 6:25PM|#
    "My favorite argument is that we can best preserve endangered species by promoting markets in them. See, no rational producer would harm their valuable business (no peanut butter producer would produce tainted peanut butter, it would ruin the guy and he knows that),..."

    My favorite argument from economic illiterates is that we can trust the government to look out for our best interests.
    See, no government would outlaw a pesticide and cause millions of deaths as a result, it would cause the government, well, no damage whatsoever. In fact, brain-deads would applaud the effort.
    Now, to make it clear to the brain-deads, that peanut butter was not purposely tainted; it somehow passed the government-mandated tests, and by that mistake, it got distributed. It resulted in eight (8) deaths. And if you don't think it changed the testing and cost the mfgrs a ton of money, why you'd have to be as ignorant as, oh, MNG.
    OTOH, the ban on DDT has resulted in some 60,000,000 deaths (that's sixty *million*, MNG).
    And this wasn't the result of an accident; it was intentional.

  • MNG||

    What peanut butter are you talking about? This must be a liberal MSM lie, becaus eno producer of peanut butter would ever scrimp on health measures for short term profit and sell a product which would sicken their customers, it would be against EKON 101 dude! You're crazy self seems to be using empirical examples to "prove" to me that someone actually did that. That's so un-Austrian, all we need are our self evident axioms that people are totally rational and no rational person would do that, and we already know such reports must be lies.

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 7:37PM|#
    "What peanut butter are you talking about? This must be a liberal MSM lie, becaus eno producer of peanut butter would ever scrimp on health measures for short term profit and sell a product which would sicken their customers, it would be against EKON 101 dude!"

    You've already been busted, MNG. Silly attempts at 'jargon' just makes you look more ignorant.

  • MNG||

    I've also heard this MSM liberal lie that some CEO's will mismanage their companies for the short term gain they might get, and the subsequent mismanagement leads to ruin for many unsuspecting employees/shareholders. The MSM uses this kind of lie to advocate for more coercion (=SLAVERY!) in the form of "regulation" which we schooled in EKON 101 know is superflous. No CEO would do such a thing because his reputation, career and future earnings potential would be ruined. The market will take care of it before hand!

    Don't even get me started on the MSM lie about meteors hitting the earth. Like we don't know the market envelopes the earth with a mighty force sheild in the form of a hand which protects it from such damage.

    An invisible hand.

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 7:41PM|#
    "I've also heard this MSM liberal lie that some CEO's will mismanage their companies for the short term gain they might get, and the subsequent mismanagement leads to ruin for many unsuspecting employees/shareholders."

    Yeah, that's called "fraud", and they go to jail, which kinds keeps them from repeating the offense.
    Unlike the government which continues to promote Ponzi schemes.
    Busted, jackass.

  • MNG||

    You mean the government intervenes and solves the problem? Get thee behind me Socialist Satan! We all know the incentives of the market solve that, and many other problems, before any government would have to step in!

    Tell Comrade Stalin high for me commie!

  • ||

    MNG|4.20.10 @ 7:47PM|#
    "You mean the government intervenes and solves the problem?..."

    Dealing with such shallow thinking is a bit of a pain.
    No, the government doesn't "intervene"; the government is charged with enforcing contracts. That's one of its few proper activities.
    Are you trying for the kindergarten gold star? If so, you're failing.

  • Chad||

    Yeah, just look at all the CEO's going to jail for fraud...errr

    yeah...

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:42PM|#
    "Yeah, just look at all the CEO's going to jail for fraud...errr"

    Cite please. Which CEOs have been convicted of fraud an not gone to jail?

  • Chad||

    They don't get convicted, nor usually even charged.

    If you don't think that the big banks were spewing fraud from every oriface and then some for the last ten years, you and I have a very different concept of what fraud is.

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    Invisible hand? Is that what he/she touched you with? Point to where the invisible hand touched you. LOL

    Jess
    www.vpn-privacy.us.tc

  • Chad||

    My favorite argument from economic illiterates is that we can trust ourselves to make good decisions, despite the mountain of evidence that we are very predictably irrational.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    elections come to mind

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    elections come to mind

  • ||

    Chad|4.20.10 @ 8:41PM|#
    "My favorite argument from economic illiterates is that we can trust ourselves to make good decisions, despite the mountain of evidence that we are very predictably irrational."

    Projection, Chony, and infantile intellects such as yours do need professional help.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Are you including yourself in the "we", Chad?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Fat chance. Chad is as arrogant as David.

  • Enyap||

    Which is why we should leave are decisions to a government composed of these same irrational people, who are elected by irrational people, and lack the first hand information of individuals.

  • Enyap||

    our

  • ||

    Which is why we should leave are decisions to a government composed of these same irrational people, who are elected by irrational people, and lack the first hand information of individuals.

    But let's not forget that once those irrational people have power over others they have the ability to amplify their irrationality.

    Chony believes that something magical happens when people vote. They actually think that voting produces "the good people" who should then be trusted with EVERYTHING.

    One must wonder how you draw "rational" people from a pool of "irrational" people. Magic, I guess.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Don't forget that modern governments have first registered then confiscated firearms, and then murdered tens of millions of their citizens.

    Makes you wonder if governments really can be relied upon when they say they are looking out for our best interests...

  • ||

    MNG: So where's the chicken shortage; Persian cat shortage; the eucalyptus shortage? That's right there are none-they are all owned and traded in markets.

  • wayne||

    ...horrific acts committed by capitalists throughout the past several centuries...

    Capitalists make Communists look clean by comparison, I guess. We had three mile island and they had Chernobyl. We are all so dirty. What is your solution, DM?

  • David Mathews||

    Capitalism and communism were both built upon lies. Capitalism succeeded because it appealed to the lowest common denomination explicitly. Communism was a vow of poverty for the masses while the elites lived it up like the capitalists.

    Neither economic system has any long term viability. Communism collapsed before capitalism by historical accident but in the great scheme of things both economic systems have already reached their end.

    I don't offer any solution to humankind's problems. The species has gone malignant and terminal and it is too late for humankind.

    Nature will clean up humankind's mess and move on very well without us. That's the happy ending to the human tragedy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Excepting yourself, of course... right, David?

  • anarch||

    The species has gone malignant and terminal and it is too late for humankind.

    Now I'm curious: Just when did it go malignant, and please describe its pre-malignant state.

  • ||

    David Mathews|4.20.10 @ 6:52PM|#
    "Neither economic system has any long term viability."
    Yep, and things are gonna happen one day! When is the rapture?

    "I don't offer any solution to humankind's problems. The species has gone malignant and terminal and it is too late for humankind."
    Again, will the rapture happen before the sun goes giant or after?

  • wayne||

    Koresh, is that your? Have you translated the seven seals yet?

  • Dan Rather's Mugger||

    I still don't know what the frequency is... or who "Kenneth" is, for that matter.

  • TP||

    What a board, left and right wing trolls. I'm outta here.

  • Ghost of Schrödinger's cat||

    Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!

  • MNG||

    Indeed.

    Labeling everyone who doesn't agree with you a troll is the height of cowardice.

  • ||

    Labeling everyone who doesn't agree with you a troll is the height of cowardice.

    Funny, I thought that crying "you called me a name" was the height of pussiness.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    No, TP, don't leave. This thread is positively theatrical!

  • Solanum||

    David - we're still waiting on an answer: lion or komodo dragon?

  • Tman||

    I would think that Paul Ehrlich could come up with a better screen name than "Dave Matthews" but considering how horribly wrong he's be on almost every prediction he made I guess it makes sense.

    Well played Mr. Ehrlich, this Matthews fellow has given me some good laughs.

  • Paul Krugman||

    I like David!

  • ||

    Happy 4/20! Everybody enjoy and partake.

  • Warty||

    Davey, have you thought any more about the question I asked you last night? I think the lion would totally kick the komodo dragon's ass, 'cause lions are sweet. Komodo dragons do have the awesome filthy mouths full of deadly bacteria, though, so it might be a close battle, but it would still be pretty tits. In conclusion, animals are fun. Do you like birds, Davey?

  • ||

    You didn't mention that Father of Earth Day, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.), made U.S. population stabilization such an important part of the teaching back in 1970 and why he spent much of the last 20 years warning of the environmental dangers of continuing our high-immigration policies.

    Most of the U.S.'s population growth is due to immigration. The last failed amnesty bills would have doubled the legal immigration from one million a year to two million.

  • Apogee||

    Fantastic!
    Even though the Flicker page fleshed out the character, and was a great part of the sell, Dave Mathews' 4/20/10 @ 7:15 comment: Of course, only I am the exception to the filthy humans I hate so much.
    - went just a bit over the top.

    Is it a tell?
    You see, in my trade, this is called - what you did - you cracked out of turn. Huh? You see? You crumbed the play.

  • Steff||

    Holy shit. Okay, David is the best parody ever.

  • $||

    How long are the troll-enablers going to keep this up? You guys are pretty much ruining the threads right now.

    Stop feeding Chad, Tony and this new asshole - for all of LaVey's kookiness, "psychic vampires" was a genius term.

  • ||

    +1

  • Tony||

    Do you really find it interesting to do nothing but engage in philosophical circle jerks? I like debating people I disagree with. That's why I'm here. If you prefer only to hear what you already believe told back to you, then I don't see how you aren't incredibly bored. Echo chambers aren't the best places to develop a rigorous understanding of how the world works.

  • ||

    I argue that all smoking bans should be deemed illegal since the right to breathe fresh air was never promised in the U.S constitution.

    ... And I hear fuckin' Virginia is jumping on the anti-smoking bandwagon? I can understand NYC and the liberal-fascists wanting to ban smoking.. but VA? If it wasn't for tobacco Virginia wouldn't even exist.

    Such a shame, it's like those asshole kids that grow up and kill their parents.

  • DoDoGuRu||

    The use of DDT for agricultural spraying should have been halted.

    Bullshit. The crusade against DDT had nothing to do with any specific problem. It was an environmental power grab looking for a problem.

  • Paul A'Barge||

    "The environmental degradation that rightly concerned Nelson and other early environmentalists occurred in open access commons—areas where no one owned the resource and so had no incentive to protect and conserve it. Instead, the incentive of people operating in an open access commons is to grab as much as possible as quickly as possible because otherwise someone else will take it before they can."

    Roger that.

    Except that the improvement in (decreasing) pollution levels takes place in ... wait for it ... commons areas.

    So much for the theory, eh mate?

  • ||

    Small point of correction, if it hasn't been noted elsewhere: Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

    Although Senator Nelson attracted a lot of publicity for Earth Day, Senator Edmund Muskie (D-ME) served as the primary sponsor of the major air and water pollution control legislation referred to in this article (for better or for worse; debate amongst yourselves).

  • ||

    Wow! What a great article. "Just trust the people to take care of stuff because they own it and will protect it then."

    Old Ron must be one of those Libertarians that is smoking too much Mar-a-ja-wana. Ron, Mar-a-ja-wana is bad Umm-K.

    Trust people - Hahahahahahahaha

  • ||

    Trust people - Hahahahahahahaha

    I agree! How stupid to trust someone simply because they claim to "care"! Next thing you know, people will be trusting government!!

  • ||

    Mr. Bailey, Lake Erie is really a great success story, and we recreational boaters there generally take a very active interest in its preservation. One thing we are very concerned with now is the return of algae blooms. Some people say it's a result of a cleaner lake. Environmentalists and local governments like to blame farmers and fertilizer runoff. However, the greatest threat in my opinion comes from municipal wastewater treatment plants. When we have sustained heavy rains, those plants allow raw sewage overflow. The worst I ever saw it was when the region lost power in August, 2003. Without power, all of the municipal plants dumped their raw sewage into Lake Erie and its inflowing rivers. You literally had to navigate through masses of raw sewage. I'm just trying to demonstrate that the government is way more often the problem rather than the solution.

    And don't even get me started on those fucking Asian Carp.

    Cheers,
    SL

  • CallMe||

    "The environmental degradation that rightly concerned Nelson and other early environmentalists occurred in open access commons—areas where no one owned the resource and so had no incentive to protect and conserve it. Instead, the incentive of people operating in an open access commons is to grab as much as possible as quickly as possible because otherwise someone else will take it before they can. "

    Moved along reasonably well up to this point. Incentivizing the polluter's of the Commons by giving it to them and assuming that would make for change. Why that's like Change You Can Believe In. Horse hockey.

  • NIKE SALE||

    Moved along reasonably well up to this point. Incentivizing the polluter's of the Commons by giving it to them and assuming that would make for change. GREAT WORD

  • closethecommons||

    How do you suggest we "close the commons"?

  • Ben Kalafut||

    Every time the myth of a ban on DDT for malarial control is repeated, a (g)libertarian loses his credibility.

    Nice job Bailey...then again wearing kneepads for Bjorn Lomborg (just what was meant by "no argumentation whatsoever"?) ensures he didn't have much credibility to start.

  • ปลวก||

    I think that "enclosing" Ron Bailey is talking about is more akin to that proposed in "the mystery of capital, which did a good job of explaining how it is just this tragedy of the commons that prevents poor people from owning the land.

  • RAN||

    One thing we are very concerned with now is the return of algae blooms. Some people say it's a result of a cleaner lake. | ran แรน |

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