An organization called 10:10, whose mission is to promote a global campaign to get everyone to (voluntarily) reduce their carbon emissions by 10% starting in the year 2010, has produced what is perhaps the most ill-advised publicity campaign ever.

Apparently they thought it would be funny to highlight the allegedly voluntary nature of this campaign by, um, alluding to the very justifiable fears that many environmentalists are willing to impose their values on others by (deadly) force. It would be wonderful if everyone would make some small sacrifice to reduce their carbon emissions by 10%, so the campaign goes, but if you don’t want to, that’s cool. It’s your choice. No pressure. Red button pressed. BOOM!!! SPLATTER!!! Such a pity you made the wrong choice. Tee hee!

I’m not kidding. Watch the video below. But be forewarned: it is graphic.

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In a previous post I pointed out the slippery slope in accepting government-backed licensing of “crucial” professions. The problem with slippery slope arguments is that they tend not to be rhetorically-compelling to those without a sufficiently cynical, I should say realistic, conception of the state. They are simply not convinced that allowing certain “reasonable” policies now will set a precedent that will lead to unreasonable policies down the road. Our worries are discounted as merely hypothetical possibilities. They are quite content to put off discussion of crossing that bridge when we come to it…if we come to it, as they see things. And, in any case, something needs to be done about the current problem now, dammit! The trouble is, by the time we reach that bridge of unreasonableness (wherever it happens to be for our interlocutor), we have already gathered so much momentum from sliding down the slope that it is difficult, if not impossible, to halt, much less reverse, the slide. Along the way, with each new government intervention, people grow increasingly used to turning to government solutions for every little problem — they lose the ability to even imagine the possibility of private, market solutions — and what was once thought unreasonable no longer seems so.

We libertarians have more than merely consequentialist, slippery slope arguments against government policies, of course, but I still think it is useful to point out dangerous precedents, particularly when our worries are not just theoretical as we are already well on our way down the slide. The acceptance of professional licensing of “crucial” professions has over time been expanded into ever more areas, even to the licensing of florists in my home state of Louisiana and now to calls for the licensing of parents.

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So….the Republicans have put out their Pledge to America. Is it any good?

Jeffrey Tucker sums it up pithily by juxtaposing short quotes from it and the Declaration of Independence:

Declaration of Independence (1776): “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

A Pledge to America (GOP, 2010): “Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.”

If this goes on, related fellow TLS blogger Daniel Coleman to me, in another 100 years it will be “Whenever a subpoint of policy within a government agenda becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to organize a committee to change those subpoints of policy and replace them with better subpoints.”

Liberty Central, the Establishment’s attempt to co-opt the Tea Party, has a poll asking us to grade the Pledge. Head on over there and tell them what you think of it. Fellow TLS blogger Jacob Huebert has a couple of good posts on about Liberty Central, the Tea Party, the Pledge, and Glenn Beck.

The Liberty Central poll only lets you grade the Pledge as a whole. Here is a quick graded breakdown of important aspects of the Pledge, with short reactions by me in parentheses:

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Micah White at The Guardian writes of the growing danger of ecofascism or environmental authoritarianism. Some environmentalists, like James Lovelock and Pentti Linkola, want to put democracy on hold and/or return humanity world-wide to a primitive state of existence in order to combat global warming. Ironically, his proposal to fend off this growing danger is itself an example of the very thing he fears, though perhaps his proposal is motivated not entirely by environmental concerns but also by an independent dislike of consumerism.

White’s solution is to end the culture of rampant consumerism in the West. How does he propose to do this? Ah, now there’s the rub.

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The song was written in 1971 by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, a long-time resident of Slidell, Louisiana.

Live 04/16/83 in Hamburg, Germany: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (guitar/vocals), Homer Brown (tenorsax), Bill Samuell (tenorsax), Joe Sunseri (baritonesax), Craig Wroten (piano), Miles Wright (bass), Robert Shipley (drums).

HT Dick Clark for bringing this to my attention.


Cross-posted at The Libertarian Standard.

In a recent post at The Libertarian Standard, Akiva claimed that people (in general) get the government they deserve. The US is an imperial-warfare state and a growing surveillance-police state, not to mention a nanny-welfare state. Boston Legal’s left-liberal attorney Alan Shore echoes Akiva’s sentiments in a closing argument in defense of, oddly enough, a tax protester (video below). He points out many of the evils of the US governments and their infringements on our liberties and concludes that Americans must be okay with it all.

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Hugh LaFollette, “Licensing Parents Revisited,” Journal of Applied Philosophy.1

The premise of his article is that the legitimacy of professional licensing is well-established and the practice should be expanded to parents.

While one could argue that it doesn’t follow from professional licensing being applied to various professions that it should be expanded to parents, this article is really illustrative of why libertarians should oppose professional licensure outright.

It’s a slippery slope from licensing florists to licensing parents.2 Once you concede the legitimacy of some licensing, then more outrageous nonsense inevitably follows.


Cross-posted at The Libertarian Standard.

  1. Anytime you see the words “applied philosophy” or “applied ethics” together and the article isn’t written by a libertarian, it is safe to assume it contains some nonsense like environmental socialism, Big Brother or nanny statist stuff like this or national health care or other social-welfare programs, calls for government to make businesses more socially responsible, and so on. 

  2. No offense, my home state of Louisiana. Why we need to be protected from bad floral arrangements is beyond me. What professional licensing is really about is restricting competition in order to protect existing players in the market; which, not incidentally, is what the state-granted monopoly privilege called intellectual property is about too.