Blogs > Liberty and Power > High Sierra

Feb 13, 2004 3:33 pm

High Sierra

[cross-posted at

As a longtime believer in greater cooperation between libertarians and the Left, I was pleased to hear that the Libertarian Party has invited Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, to speak at the LP's upcoming national convention. (See the story here.)

I've long been puzzled by the hostility between libertarians and environmentalists. Environmentalists warn against the unintended consequences of ignorant intervention into self-ordering ecological systems, but have no similar qualms about intervening in self-ordering economic systems; libertarians have precisely the inverse set of concerns. These are two groups that really need to sit down and talk with each other.

Having read a number of Pope's articles, I fear I'm rather skeptical of LP National Chair Geoffrey Neale's insistence that Pope is already quite market-friendly. But as Neale says,"you can't learn how to talk to the Left unless you're willing to occasionally listen to the Left as well." And Pope certainly deserves credit for fighting to resist the looming takeover of the Sierra Club by eco-terrorist and anti-immigrant activist Paul Watson.

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Robert L. Campbell - 2/15/2004

You may well be right about Neal Boortz (whose radio show I've never listened to, so I can't comment further). It might just mean that the next national convention of the Libertarian Party is a "must-miss" event.

Charles Johnson - 2/13/2004

Whatever bad things there may be to say about Carl Pope, he's also a darned sight better than his fellow guest speaker at the upcoming convention, putatively "Libertarian" hate radio host Neal "bomb the world" Boortz...

Robert L. Campbell - 2/13/2004

To the extent that dialogue between libertarians and environmentalists might be beneficial, it's too bad it isn't taking place somewhere else. How much respect does the national-level organization of the Libertarian Party retain, even among libertarians?

I could envision rich prospects for interaction with libertarians, if environmentalism were truly about self-ordering systems and what happens when human beings intervene without understanding what's going on in terms of various levels of systems and their interaction. But how much of environmentalism's following comes to it out of the felt need for a systems perspective?

Doesn't enviromentalism also meet felt needs for a post-Christian religion, with a new drama of sin and redemption? Or for control over the lives and habits of one's neighbors?