Jonathan Hiskes Makes a Simple Error(s) on the Oil Spill
Thursday, June 17, 2010 5:08:22 AM
Jonathan Hiskes encapsulated the main errors of reasoning in regards to the property theory of environmentalism in a single post. I think this is because he genuinely misunderstands, I don't think he's lying. But he has chosen to be very public in his cavalier treatment of the positions of others. So lets go though this:
"If there's one thing the leaking gash in the Gulf of Mexico seems to make clear, it's that private companies shouldn't be left unwatched to meddle with the messy innards of our planet. They shouldn't be allowed to open a hole they can't close, as William Saletan puts it. The disaster makes a rather obvious case for powerful, independent, competent safety regulators that improve on the worthless oversight we got from the Minerals Management Service."
Right, state programs are known for being horribly incompetent because they are disconnected from that which they regulate. That is, if you own a lake, you have much more concern over the well being of that lake than if you are just the appointed caretaker of a community lake, and thus are much less likely to be bribed or cut corners on safety - because it's YOUR lake. And the Gulf of Mexico would be THEIR GULF, and so the people who make their living off the gulf would be much better at deciding upon the caretakers than a monopoly regulatory agency and would probably hold the caretakers financially liable for any disaster - that would be like making the department of the interior financially liable for granting BP a categorical exclusion from inspection.
The laws were in place to prevent this, the officials were there to stop this. They didn't need to have some crystal ball, they just needed to enforce the law and not grant BP a categorical exclusion from inspection. But they didn't. The problem is not a lack of laws or officials, it's INCENTIVE. And the only people who address the incentive problem are the propertarians.
"So Louisiana shrimpers and Florida beachgoers are supposed to take BP to court -- before disasters -- to make sure they're drilling with blowout preventers and containment domes at the ready? That's supposed to provide better protection?"
This is nonsense. Beachgoers today don't manage the beach, the restaurant, the lifeguards, or any of that. Different people manage different things for various reasons. Does Hiskes need division of labor explained to him?
When you eat at a restaurant, do you inspect the kitchen? No, some other agency does, be it a state or if there were no state the relevant legal or homeowner's association agencies. You would also take that place to court if they poison you.
BP was working under the assumption that if something went bad, they wouldn't be liable for damages. They were like a restaurant that got categorical exclusion from inspections and a guarantee that they wouldn't have to pay if something went bad.
But THIS spill is so bad that Obama has to look serious and fine BP $20 billion. I assume BP, if they expected a spill, didn't expect a spill this big.
"With a slick spreading hundreds of miles and threatening to creep through the Florida Keys and up the Atlantic Coast, it's ridiculous to expect everyone who might be harmed by corporate negligence to take to the courts to protect themselves. And it simply shifts responsibility to understand the risks from an agency focused on safety to federal courts, so it's not even a "non-governmental" solution. Doesn't work."
Apparently Hiskes has never heard of something called a "class action lawsuit". It's where a great mass of people sign onto a single lawsuit against a single organization, and they get a refund of some sort depending on the outcome of the case.
"In a different sense, not-for-profit conservation groups take "ownership" of coral reefs, fisheries, mountain ranges, and watersheds by working to protect them. In many cases, they also work to nurture those ecosystems back to health. Awesome as that work may be, it shouldn't replace public safeguards backed by the rule of law."
This is imbecilic. I'm for law, everyone is for law. People who oppose the state are for law, law no more requires a state than schools or roads do.
Property is protected at the margins by the threat of force, by the individuals themselves and / or some legal agency, in this case a state that claims final jurisiction over vast tracts of wilderness. If the endangered animals are property, and property is protected by whatever the legal agency is, then on a total market, the endangered animals would be protected by law - as property is.
Furthermore, on a total market, law would not be decided democratically. If a population wanted to seize the habitat of some endangered animal for their farms on a democracy all they would have to do is make the proper votes and the legal agency would seize the property with whatever they say is fair compensation. On a total market, if some people wanted that land, they would have to pick up their rifles and shotguns themselves. Property is much more solid when it's not voted on.
"I don't see how you privatize oceans without buyers wanting to take something from them that would leave them in worse shape. We're still waiting for a libertarian solution to this one. Speaking of which, we're still waiting for any solution for plugging the hole."
Now I'm used to getting arguments for state control of land, oceans and law based on the bad things that would happen if the state didn't have these things. But this BP spill has reached a whole new level of absurdity: people are saying we need more state control over oceans based on the bad things that DID happen under the state.