Template:Disputeabout Template:Green politics sidebarTemplate:Libertarianism sidebar Green libertarianism is a political philosophy that has developed in the United States. Based upon a mixture of political third party values, such as the environmental platform from the U.S. Green Party and the civil liberties platform of the U.S. Libertarian Party, the green libertarian philosophy attempts to consolidate socially progressive values with economic liberalism.[1]

A green libertarian would be an individual who adheres to libertarian political philosophy as well as to green ideology. While these are not traditionally seen going hand-in-hand, the two are not necessarily incompatible. For example, free market economics and environmentalism are combined in the concept of free market environmentalism. And there has recently been an interest in "how to bring green sensibilities into line with the free-market agenda of libertarians."[2]

Ecology vs. EconomicsEdit

The biggest debate among green libertarians is how to balance ecology with economics. The green libertarian philosophy confronts conflict between the principles of environmental protection and economic free trade by stressing that the two can go hand-in-hand, only with corporate responsibility and accountability. According to some green libertarians, government intervention is required if big business is apathetic to environmental stability.

Ideas of green libertarians are based on the assertion that the government itself is the biggest polluter.[3] Therefore, the government should be held accountable to all the same environmental regulations they place on businesses. The problem is that, whereas one can sue private corporations for its damage to the environment, the government protects itself from the same suits; therefore green libertarians call for the abolition of sovereign immunity.

The green libertarian philosophy supports limited government. Green libertarians advocate cutting the size and scope of the federal government substantially to maximize civil liberties and encourage private charity. However, they would expand the understanding of the classic libertarian motto "your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins" to include pollution as force-initiation which may be regulated.

Although many libertarians are against government regulation of business in regard to the economy, they believe that restitution-- rather than regulation-- would be more effective at preventing pollution than current anti-pollution laws. In the current system, the government is immune, and corporations which pay fines pay them to the government rather than to the victims of the pollution-- a libertarian system would enable payment to the victims.

A justification of other types of environmental intervention could look like this:

  1. Pollution creates health hazards. Individuals have to pay themselves to maintain their health. Therefore, pollution is stealing.
  2. Destabilization of the biosphere is initiation of force.
  3. Allow that the minimal state is justified.
  4. The minimal state must prevent and punish violations of the nonaggression principle.
  5. Therefore, environmental regulation in a minimal state is justified.

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