Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.

Last updated 06/20/10.

Libertarians are often grotesquely anti-environmental in terms of regulation. (Though some do like market-oriented pollution rights.) They frequently repeat anti-environmental propaganda. In addition, they generally reject all government interest in population control.


Population: Delusion and Reality
Amartya Sen's sensible consideration of government solutions to overpopulation problems. Refutes notions of "laissez-faire" being the best policy. This is treated at much greater length in his Development As Freedom.
With Liberty and Justice for Some
by Ernest Partridge. An excellent, short, big-picture criticism of libertarianism. It first criticizes libertarianism in general, and then with respect to environmental problems.
Perilous Optimism
by Ernest Partridge. Exposure of Julian Simon's Corunucopian follies as invalid due to basic ignorance of ecological principles, atmospheric science, and thermodynamics.
Environmental Justice and "Shared Fate"
by Ernest Partridge. A refutation of libertarian dismissals of fair compensation for environmental injustice.
The importance of the current extinction crisis.
Two extropian libertarians didn't think extinctions were important, and thought libertarianism was the answer. Mike Huben explains it to them.
Correcting anti-environmental myths.
Jim Norton's terrific catalog of rebuttals to specific anti-environmental literature and its fallacies.
Lies, Damned Lies and the Litany
Jim Norton's large collection of hostile reviews of Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Lomborg's book is a classic example of accusing opponents (environmentalists) of one's own sins. It's a piece of brownlash propaganda that takes a severe and well-deserved drubbing.
Polluted Data
Eban Goodstein and Hart Hodges' The American Prospect article that documents overestimated costs of environmental regulation by all sides and explains why regulation has always been much cheaper than expected, even by proponents.
Earth in the Balance Sheet: Economists go for the green.
"... I would be hard pressed to think of a single economist not actually employed by an anti-environmental lobbying operation who believes that the United States should protect the environment less, not more, than it currently does." Paul Krugman
The Hooey School has its points on the environment, but...
by Molly Ivins. She takes Julian Simon to task.
Capitalism, Right Libertarianism and the problem of "externalities?"
Gary Elkin's brief explanation of the problems capitalism causes for ecology.
Libertarian Belle
The Village Voice's critique of Interior Secretary Gale Norton, with predictions of how she will abuse her power for libertarian purposes.
A Critical Assessment of "Lies, Damned Lies, & 400,000 Smoking-Related Deaths".
The Cato Institute, heavily funded by tobacco companies, hired Levy and Marimont to denounce statistics about smoking related deaths. This article refutes their key arguments, finding them unscientific and inflammatory.
Takings: Rhetoric, Not Substance
Professor F. Patrick Hubbard presents the big picture of takings, showing that the issues are not as presented by the takings ideologues.
Where the Public Good Prevailed
Stephen Isaacs' American Prospect article detailing public health successes in lead, fluoride, and auto safety.
Efficiency, Sustainability, and Access Under Alternative Property-Rights Regimes
Elinor Ostrom provides a broad introduction to and overview of the factors that make some managed commons successful and more practical than private property. Essential reading.
Varieties Of Institutional Failure
James Acheson describes failures of resource management by markets, private property, government, and communal management. Libertarian emphasis on the first two only is inappropriate.
The Tradable Permits Approach to Protecting the Commons: What Have We Learned?
Tom Tietenberg provides an overview which shows how despite their market gloss, tradable permits are a sophisticated government program, and privatization in a very limited sense.
Sixteen Myths About Population: Part 2 - The Belief That Population Growth Poses No Threat
Refutes two common libertarian claims: "population growth stimulates economic growth" and "technology will solve all problems".
Rethinking the Think Tanks
Sierra Magazine's article detailing the corporate financing of anti-environmental propaganda from thinktanks like Cato.
NEW 7/06: I think I despise anti-environmentalists as much as I do anti-evolutionists.
P. Z. Meyers (of Paryngula fame) presents a really good story about "deranged libertarian right-wing anti-environmentalist science deniers." Not a straw man: we've all seen their work at CATO and other locations.
NEW 3/07: The Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts
Chris Jay Hoofnagle details the public relations methodology of CATO and other anti-consumer, business-funded organizations. Count how many of these you've heard on your favorite topic: global warming, for example.
NEW 6/10: The Man Who Wants To Northern Rock The Planet
Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist is telling the rich what they want to hear
Matt Ridley joins the ranks of cornucopian libertarians with a similarly error-ridden and cherry-picked set of arguments.
NEW 6/10: Matt Ridley: Optimism without limits
Liz Else, associate editor at NewScientist, shows skepticism of the Rational Optimist. Follow the link to the experts criticisms where failed banker Ridley defends himself by claining the experts are in it for the money: a standard denialist tactic from policy entrepreneurs who ARE in it for the money.
NEW 6/10: Serial Mistake-Makers on Climate Change (Part I): On Matt Ridley and Bjorn Lomborg
Serial Mistake-Makers on Climate Change (2)
Howard Friel, who wrote The Lomborg Deception, points out the weak basis of the arguments in Matt Ridley's : a circle jerk of industry-funded pseudoscience PR and bad references.

Print References

The links here are to Amazon.com, through their associates program, primarily because of the review information. Books without links are generally out of print, and can often be easily found at AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search. Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are Online Bookstore Price Comparison and AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison. Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is BookFinder.com.

John R. E. Bliese "The Greening of Conservative America"
A conservative refutes common conservative anti-environmental claims that are much parroted by libertarians.
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber "Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future"
Details of the public relations and brownlash manipulations of CATO, Steven Milloy, and others.

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Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( mhuben@world.std.com ).
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