The Libertarian Holy Grail of Law: NAP and How is Pollution and the Transmission of Harmful Diseases not Violations?
Fundamental principles of Libertarianism outline the idea that the only time freedom can be restricted in a free society is when you reduce the equal freedom of others...
Fundamental principles of Libertarianism outline the idea that the only time freedom can be restricted in a free society is when you reduce the equal freedom of others. This opinion has been formulated into the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). After doing some research, it seems to me that when you pollute the environment and cause harm to others without their consent, you would be violating their rights of freedom and it is justifiable for the government to put restrictions on the polluter.
In another sense, there is a similar case for individuals transmitting harmful diseases like Covid, etc.
However, many of the loyal followers of the Libertarian party oppose any and all restrictions on pollution and preventing transmission. This is a hot debate among Libertarians. Two questions to ask:
Where do you draw the line? If you agree that severe pollution violates NAP, where do you set the limit? Do you ban all fossil fuels? All meat consumption? The line of inductive reasoning necessitates an arbitrary limit to what you can accept as "not a NAP violation,” which is where it gets tricky and therefore divisive.
Is empowering the government the best way to correct the problem? Many Libertarians who may agree with the premise will still resist the idea of expanding government control as the correct response.
Full disclosure, I do not associate with any political party. I believe if you do associate with any individual political party you’re already too far gone in your ideologies. However, I can see the opinion of the need for federal-level rules to mitigate climate change. I can also see the willingness to accept more government control in order to prevent a catastrophe that we're otherwise unable to prevent.
Continuing on, Libertarian intellectuals such as Milton Friedman or Robert Nozick seem to have supported taxing pollution:
Friedman on the Appropriate Role of Government
Friedman Talks about Pollution
In terms of Robert Nozick:
In my opinion, these public views of many Libertarians violate their own holy grail of law, the NAP. Ron Paul said that you don’t have the right to pollute somebody else’s property and suggested that recognizing and respecting property rights could be the Libertarian solution to environmental issues.
This is just a thinking piece to get readers to think. As I mentioned, I have no political views and despise each and every party on the spectrum. However, each party does present enticing and well thought out ideas that provide debates for or against the belief presented…