Climate activists target states with lawsuits

May 05, 2011 By MATTHEW BROWN , Associated Press

(AP) -- A group of attorneys representing children and young adults began to file legal actions Wednesday in every state and the District of Columbia in an effort to force government intervention on climate change.

The courtroom ploy was backed by activists looking for a legal soft spot to advance a cause that has stumbled in the face of stiff congressional opposition and a skeptical U.S. Supreme Court.

The goal is to have the atmosphere declared for the first time as a "" deserving special protection. That's a concept previously used to clean up polluted rivers and coastlines, although said they were uncertain it could be applied successfully to .

The spate of lawsuits, led by an Oregon-based nonprofit called Our Children's Trust, were based on "common law" theories, not statutes adopted by state or federal lawmakers. Documents in the cases were provided in advance to The Associated Press.

State-level lawsuits were filed in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, and a federal lawsuit was filed in California, said Julia Olson with Our Children's Trust.

Suits were planned in Alaska, Arizona, Massachusetts and New Jersey. In all other states, regulatory petitions were filed or pending to ask state environmental agencies to tighten restrictions on vehicle and industrial plant emissions, Olson said.

Conservative opponents warned the effort could overload the judicial system and paralyze the economy with over-regulation.

Attorneys involved in the lawsuits said a victory in even one or two cases would give environmentalists leverage, leading to new regulations to rein in that scientists say are driving higher.

A 16-year-old climate activist listed as a plaintiff in one of the cases, Alec Loorz of Ventura, California, said he latched onto the effort because he thought "it would give us teeth, give us a bigger voice than just yelling and marching."

"People have tried pushing legislation and that hasn't worked. Obama hasn't been able to push anything through. The only option we have is the judicial system - taking this to the courts," said Loorz.

Loorz said he began giving public presentations on climate change when he was 13, soon after seeing former Vice President Al Gore's movie, "Inconvenient Truth."

Another case that relied on unconventional legal tactics to address climate change got a tepid reception during arguments last month before the U.S. Supreme Court. That matter involved several states that sought to rein in power plant emissions by declaring them a public nuisance.

A ruling is pending, but Harvard Law School professor Jody Freeman said justices had questioned whether courts were the appropriate forum for the issue.

"I am generally skeptical the plaintiffs will succeed in the courts pressing for common-law remedies from judges," Freeman said.

Columbia University law professor Michael Gerrard described the public trust suits as a "bold move" by activists looking to use all available options to impose greenhouse gas restrictions. Still, he joined Freeman in saying the pending decision in the public nuisance case would heavily influence the outcome of the state-level lawsuits.

A more optimistic view came from Gus Speth, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Jimmy Carter.

Speth, now at the Vermont Law School, said public trust litigation over climate change could work if its backers can find a judge willing to innovate a new area of law.

Yet that outcome could only result if a judge is willing to buy into what conservative analyst Hans von Spakovsky called "a creative, made-up legal theory."

"This is a complete violation of our whole constitutional system. These kinds of public policy issues are up to either the state legislatures or Congress to determine, not judges," said von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Eddy and others involved in Wednesday's lawsuits credited University of Oregon law professor Mary Christina Wood as laying the legal groundwork for their litigation.

Wood told the AP that mainstream environmental groups had approached climate change with the same tactics used to combat industrial developments or protect endangered species. But she said lawsuits based on existing environmental laws had come up short.

What is needed, Wood said, is a sweeping challenge to the government's failure to address climate change. And having young people as plaintiffs in the cases gives added moral authority, she added.

The plaintiffs include college students, high school activists, and children of conservationists and attorneys, along with at least one environmental group WildEarth Guardians.

"We should be getting youths in front of the courts, not polar bears," Wood said, referring to widely publicized attempts to have courts declare polar bears endangered as rising temperatures melt Arctic ice.

Explore further: Climate change increases risk of crop slowdown in next 20 years

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GSwift7
2.6 / 5 (5) May 05, 2011
I wonder who is financing this? I looked up Our Children's Trust web page. There's no indication of where they get thier funding, and they look way too small to be self-supporting. They only show like half a dozen staff and board members.

This looks like a publicity stunt to me. I can't see how they will have the ability to carry this out unless they have a lot more financial support than what they are showing. It doesn't even look like they properly maintain thier website. There isn't much content and much of it is incomplete and/or out of date.

I know people here will go bananas about this story, but my advice is that, while the idea is interesting, I'm not seeing any reason to take Our Children's Trust seriously.

I just read the complaint filed in Washington. It doesn't look serious to me. There's way too many things that the defense can dispute, even if the Court accepts the Standings.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (10) May 05, 2011
Coercion is what 'progressives' do when they can't persuade.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (6) May 05, 2011
Continued:

Here's a direct quote from the Washington complaint:

Immediate action is imperative. Once we pass ever-nearing tipping points, feedbacks will be triggered exacerbating the conditions of the already accelerated heating of the planet and we will then not be able to prevent the ensuing harm. A failure to act guarantees the collapse of nature. Nature has sustained our life here, but the catastrophic consequences of our changing climate can result in a planet totally foreign to human civilization


I don't think they plan on getting past the standings issues. They are just trying to get into the newspapers.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.9 / 5 (7) May 05, 2011
Coercion is what 'progressives' do when they can't persuade.
How's this for coersion, if you can't guarantee that your emissions won't wind up in the soil of my private property you must cease and desist.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) May 05, 2011
Coercion is what 'progressives' do when they can't persuade.
How's this for coersion, if you can't guarantee that your emissions won't wind up in the soil of my private property you must cease and desist.

How do you plan to stop CO2 emissions from the living things on your property?
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) May 05, 2011
Coercion is what 'progressives' do when they can't persuade.
How's this for coersion, if you can't guarantee that your emissions won't wind up in the soil of my private property you must cease and desist.

How do you plan to stop CO2 emissions from the living things on your property?
Not relevant. You must guarantee that you will not damage my private property. If you do damage my property, you are impinging my rights. Do you disagree?
ted208
1 / 5 (7) May 05, 2011
The last desperate gasp of the warmist!
Get ready for the final smack down from the courts to the Watermelons. It should be lots of fun!
I hope they broadcast it.
ryggesogn2
1.6 / 5 (7) May 05, 2011
"All of us in the environment movement, in other words whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess. None of our chosen solutions break the atomising, planet-wrecking project. I hope that by laying out the problem I can encourage us to address it more logically, to abandon magical thinking and to recognise the contradictions we confront. But even that could be a tall order."
"For two decades greens have arrogated to themselves the authority of science and wrapped themselves in the arrogant certainty of self-righteous contempt for those who oppose them. "
http://blogs.the-...re-lost/
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) May 05, 2011
Answer the question, with your own words preferably. Opinion pieces from the uneducated bore me. I have not an inkling of knowledge of where your fascination with them comes from.
that_guy
4 / 5 (4) May 05, 2011
I happen to agree with Gswift that this is an interesting idea, but probably a bad one, and mostly a publicity stunt. Unfortunately it sounds like it could be unconstitutional if they take the wrong direction.

@ryggesoqn - STFU with your politics. The tea baggers are far more guilty of trampling the constitution and filing bogus lawsuits than progressives.

@SH - Your argument is too specific. Any individual emission will make no effect by itself - and there are plenty of emissions that cannot be helped. By living you create carbon dioxide and methane - by eating cow, you only compound the problem, etc. I believe that this is an issue tackled as a country, rather than trying to blame 300 million citizens. Unfortunately we have so many TPers and Republicans being led by their C0cks by the tea party, that it's hard to move forward together.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) May 05, 2011
Your argument is too specific. Any individual emission will make no effect by itself - and there are plenty of emissions that cannot be helped. By living you create carbon dioxide and methane - by eating cow, you only compound the problem, etc.
Apparently I didn't convey the situation properly. Ryggesogn2 is Marjon, he always uses a specific argument that the government should only protect property rights, I framed the question in terms he understands. He cannot answer the question and maintain his stance without becomming a hypocrite, so he won't answer it.
Caliban
3.4 / 5 (5) May 05, 2011
I'll take a stab at it, and speculate that this organization is a grassroots effort, funded through individual donations, and pursuing a strategy of precedent-setting in state and federal courts. It can be a very effective strategy, if carried out in a coordinated, systematic fashion, and effectively "paint into a corner" lawmakers and regulators.
I believe them to be an individually-funded organization because I'm pretty sure I was solicited by them for a donation in the not too distant past.
One only needs to look as far as MADD, for instance, to understand how successful this strategy can be in terms of changing/creating law/policy.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (6) May 05, 2011
STFU with your politics.

MY politics?
What about the politics of Our Children's Trust? Who are they?
But that is typical of 'progressives'. Try to shout down and insult instead of defending their socialism.

Actually I support this type of action in courts as it would end SH's Regulatory State.
People who believe their property rights have been violated can take their claim to a court for a remedy from the violators. Maybe the remedy could be monetary. Maybe a remedy could be sound proofing a house if airplanes are too noisy.
But this would also demand the govt protect everyone's property rights, including businesses.
I don't know how The Children's Trust will PROVE their property was damaged by CO2 as they all breathe CO2 and plants produce CO2.
And maybe it could lead to a technical solution, more nuclear power for example, instead of political solutions. But the desired end of AGWites IS political power, not a technical solution.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
MY politics?
What about the politics of Our Children's Trust? Who are they?
Why don't you call and ask them?
But that is typical of 'progressives'. Try to shout down and insult instead of defending their socialism
You are unintentionally hilarious every time you type this.
I don't know how The Children's Trust will PROVE their property was damaged by CO2 as they all breathe CO2 and plants produce CO2.
Fossil fuels emit far more dangerous things than CO2. By your logic, the goverment should be empowered to defend private property and the public trust of all citizens. That's what's going on, and now you're mad about it. Someone has framed the conversation in terms you should understand, yet you don't.

It must be hard having zero principles.
ricarguy
1 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
As is often the case, these "activists" are far and away misguided, in my opinion. That is the nicest word I can use.

If they want to save their future, perhaps they should concentrate on the massive debt being bequeathed to them. That is law, measurable by anyone who can count that high and beyond doubt, quite unlike the theory/conjecture of man made global warming.

If governments keep up the massive spending under the guise of caring for society and the "weak", they will eventually collapse the society they claim to protect and the weakest will suffer the most. Frances Scott Piven will get her wish. There WILL be riots in the streets. History suggests that if such a revolution actually takes place, the results will be quite unlike anything she envisions and by that time no one will give a rat's behind to global warming.

The lawsuit discussed in the article is trivial folly but may or may not be accommodated by some equally misguided activist judge somewhere.
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
@SH - regarding your explanation for the specific argument. Fair enough.

@ryggesoqn - How ignorant and single minded can you be? Yes, your politics. Because you believe that every extreme liberal group has views that apply to all progressives. In reality, most "progressives" are actually very moderate people who just hate TP/republican politics.

If you had noticed, most of the liberal commenters here expressed similar but less vitriolic concern as you about what these people are doing.

But in you mind, everyone who doesn't always agree with you wholly must always believe the thing you hate most. you and people like you are absolutely the worst part of america.

We don't live in a world where everything is segregated black from white, and neither is science. So until you are capable of understanding anything else, I believe you should refrain from commenting.

ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) May 06, 2011
you should refrain from commenting.

Now you want to censor me?
How 'liberal'!
We do have a world in the USA that was based upon something called a Constitution. This is called a standard. Science uses standards as well. Some are called constants and others axioms.

must always believe the thing you hate most.

Do you deny you do not support collectivism/central planning/ statisim/socialism/big govt?
emsquared
2 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
Fossil fuels emit far more dangerous things than CO2. By your logic, the goverment should be empowered to defend private property and the public trust of all citizens.

Fossil fuels do, that's correct. And for the most part, excepting vehicles, those actual pollutants are already controlled to the greatest extent allowable by all reasonable measures. The CAA has several provisions (MACT, BACT, CFR Part 75, etc.) that ensure this. Natural gas and oil fields for example must equip all generators and compressor engines with catalysts capable of demonstrating 95% reduction in HAPs, CO and/or NOx depending on the type of engine (Rich or Lean Burn, etc.). Power plants and cement plants must have baghouses capable of 95-99% control of particulate in some cases. Can you believe 99% control is even possible? It is, and they do it. They also control SO2 and Mercury (and other heavy metals) to the greatest extent possible under current technology, via scrubbers and HRSG technology. TBC
emsquared
1 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
There's lots of other different controls I could go on about that are already and have been in service for a long time, not the least of which are urea-injectors now mandatory in diesel vehicles, etc. The US is tip-top in controlling actual pollutants. Compounds that directly impact health. This is good, this is necessary. We do these things and regulate them closely. Not a lot of people know, or seemingly care, about what measures are actually already in place (and have been for decades now) to control actual pollutants. Regardless they want to impose huge economic burdens on the industry and consumer to control compounds which are not even proven beyond a reasonable doubt to INdirectly affect peoples health. There is so much cost and benefit to be considered to regulate industry with the GHG concerns, and it's actions like these lawsuits that seek to bypass a democratic debate and process to achieve that.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
SH is schooling you marjon. Property rights are not absolute, but this lawsuit is nonsense.

If someone has a self consistent set of rules for absolute rules regarding property I'd like to see it...I haven't seen one yet...
Na_Reth
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
There's lots of other different controls I could go on about that are already and have been in service for a long time, not the least of which are urea-injectors now mandatory in diesel vehicles, etc. The US is tip-top in controlling actual pollutants. Compounds that directly impact health. This is good, this is necessary. We do these things and regulate them closely. Not a lot of people know, or seemingly care, about what measures are actually already in place (and have been for decades now) to control actual pollutants. Regardless they want to impose huge economic burdens on the industry and consumer to control compounds which are not even proven beyond a reasonable doubt to INdirectly affect peoples health. There is so much cost and benefit to be considered to regulate industry with the GHG concerns, and it's actions like these lawsuits that seek to bypass a democratic debate and process to achieve that.

Even by rolling a tire on the road creates pollutants.
emsquared
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
Even by rolling a tire on the road creates pollutants.

With all due respect, I'm not trying to be evocative, this is an honest question: what's your point?

I said cars are the exception. And they're a difficult exception. Do you drive a car? Are you going to tell others they can't drive a car? I don't think it's reducto ad absurdum when I say; building a house and running water create pollution, do you want people to stop using those things? We can't have zero impact on the environment, it's impossible, it's non-sensical, it's disingenuine to say we can, all creatures impact the environment they live in, we just have a more complex impact and therefore have to be responsible about what we do, do. My point is, we are pretty darn responsible. Could we be more-so? Of course. Can we be more-so without hampering our own progress as a civilization? Yes. But, that's starting to get tricky, especially when you can't get anything from people but the extremes.
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
Do you drive a car?

No i don't, it's against my principles.
Are you going to tell others they can't drive a car?

No, they won't listen anyway.
I don't think it's reducto ad absurdum when I say; building a house and running water create pollution, do you want people to stop using those things?

No, but we can build structures that completely recycles all of our wastes.
We can't have zero impact on the environment, it's impossible

But we CAN tome it down so that it becomes negligible. We just need to change our economy and the way we live.
that_guy
3.7 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
you should refrain from commenting.

Now you want to censor me?
How 'liberal'!


So me advising you to comment less and think more equals censoring. I think you support my point quite nicely.

Your double negative statement "Do you deny you do not..." also smacks of ignorance, and you automatically ascribed to me the traits that you hate the most, idiot, but I will feed the troll anyways.

I believe in a sensible form of government, one that adheres to the constitution, one that considers all reasonable options and moves in a direction that is best for most, without trampling on reasonable rights of the few. I believe in a balance, where the truth is picked whether right or left.

I don't want to live in a pure socialist state like NK, but I don't want to live in the only country without any socialist parts - Somalia.

I like driving on our highways, using the post office, and got a highschool education. Shall we ban these socialist institutions?
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
I don't want to live in a pure socialist state like NK


To be honest NK is not a pure socialist state.
emsquared
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
No, but we can build structures that completely recycles all of our wastes.

If this is demonstrated true, and to not consume more energy or take up more space than a "normal" house-hold with present day technology, that'd be awesome, I'd love nothing more than for this to be true. But as far as I know, at present, such a life-style requires either more space or more energy per capita (or heavy subsidizing by the government) where space creates urban-sprawl, which destroys habitat (about the worst impact we have) and necessitates driving for modern life-styles, which brings up the car issue. As for the energy: renewables? Sure, but these have impacts of their own (esp. PV). Subsidies? IMHO this encourages market stagnation. Hate getting political... sorry... but the point when it becomes political, the process MUST be democratic.
We just need to change our economy and the way we live.

I agree emphatically with your premise, however I suspect our methods would diverge.
that_guy
1 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
I don't want to live in a pure socialist state like NK


To be honest NK is not a pure socialist state.

almost all companies and services are owned and run by the state.

The definition of socialism is "a means of social organization whereby the means of producing or distributing goods or services by a centralized government that often plans or controls the economy."

That sounds like North Korea.

Are you trying to tell me that NK is a 'true' marxist communism whereby all the people work together in peace and harmony collectively to make decisions?

(please note, the above statement is for distinction only. I'm fairly sure that true marxist communism will only ever exist in fair tale land.)
Na_Reth
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
Well, in my view a pure socialist state means that everyone is the government, not just a group of people. It may sound like Marxism but not necessarily. It is the true form of democratic socialism.
But what is wrong anyway by having an ideology like Karl Marx and try to achieve that?
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
But what is wrong anyway by having an ideology like Karl Marx and try to achieve that?


Because you're a freaking slave to everyone around you based on their "needs" (whatever the hell they may be)?
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
There is some overlap in the communist and socialist systems. I mainly go by the book definitions when commenting in order to reduce semantic misunderstandings.

History is whats wrong with trying to achieve the Karl Marx ideology. If you could achieve it, great. but the discordant (the other side of this coin is our creativity) nature of humanity makes actual communism frail, and no one has achieved a true communism on large scale due to the tendency of it to lapse into dictatorship.

A government can not function nor satisfy the majority of its people if it sits on a single ideology.

The ideal government follows no ideology and is influenced by a little of everything. (Except democracy, a lot of influence of that is needed)

Na_Reth
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
Because you're a freaking slave to everyone around you based on their "needs" (whatever the hell they may be)?


And right now you are not a slave to society? In order to have a healthy life in modern society there are requirements to be met, sounds like slavery to me.
Dont get me wrong i am not a Marxist, but i admire him for his ideology.
The ideal government follows no ideology and is influenced by a little of everything. (Except democracy, a lot of influence of that is needed)

Which opens up for dictatorship/corruption and capitalism and the end of society as seen though history.
due to the tendency of it to lapse into dictatorship.

I agree with you totally. The problem was education though not properly teaching its people about why and how the form of government is in place for instance. Next is to teach people to be open minded and think for themselves and not as to follow a crazy loon. It only tells me that there was corruption to begin with.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) May 06, 2011
But what is wrong anyway by having an ideology like Karl Marx and try to achieve that?

Millions of people die in the process.
But that's what the 'greenies' want, fewer people. I guess the ends justify any means.

The ideal government

...is self-government.
The state is a monopoly on force, period. Those who love the state, recognize this and embrace the force and all its consequences: death and misery for the victims.
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
Seems like i have fed the trolls... :(
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
I don't want to live in a pure socialist state like NK


To be honest NK is not a pure socialist state.

It is the inevitable result of the socialist state.
If socialism is not 100%, if only one individual does not want to play in your socialist sandbox, the system MUST start down the path to totalitarianism. You either must force that one dissenter to comply, kill him or force him out of the commune.

reasonable rights of the few.

What does this mean?
If you support a Constitution of limited state power, individual rights are inherent and unalienable.
that_guy
3.7 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
"What does this mean?"
really ryggesoqn? the individual rights that the constitution supports are fairly reasonable, don't you think?

Ok, I'll rephrase that more clearly - I believe that reasonable rights of people, such as those listed in the constitution should be protected, whether the group of people needing those rights are small or large. IE, the government should work for the best of the majority as long as it is not trampling on the minority.

@Na Reth - I hate to say this, but ryggesoqn has a correct point. If you have a pure or nearly pure socialism/communism, if enough people disagree, the government has to become totalitarian in order to preserve the socialist/communist way, which ironically is a step away from pure socialism/communism itself.

An ideal government will encourage its citizens to work together as well as work individually. Each part has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it should strive to achieve the best balance, and to change when needed.
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
[
The ideal government

...is self-government.
The state is a monopoly on force, period. Those who love the state, recognize this and embrace the force and all its consequences: death and misery for the victims.


Self government? Do you mean Democracy? The fact that the citizens run the government? You do realize that every democracy has socialist services or parts as part of its government. I think you're arguing on a different level, because everyone here has agreed on the democratic concept. We are discussing the ideal democratic system ryggesoqn. Please catch up with us if you want to add to the conversation.
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
@that_guy ryggesogn2 is an anarchist/capitalist. He believes that protecting his property is his basic right and stands above all other rights.
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
@that_guy ryggesogn2 is an anarchist/capitalist. He believes that protecting his property is his basic right and stands above all other rights.


I am aware - I was just stating, that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Every ideology has some benefit in some places - otherwise no one would support it, and it wouldn't be an ideology.

He has a right to protect his property above all else, and I have a right to protect my property above all else. However, if rygg is impinging on both your and my right to own property, then our rights to protect our property outweigh his, two to one, as Skeptic Heretic was saying earlier.

So we have the government to help mediate everyone's individual rights...aw damn $%@$%&%^&% now we're back to a government with regulations and socialism in it. (Like we have now)
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) May 06, 2011
@that_guy ryggesogn2 is an anarchist/capitalist. He believes that protecting his property is his basic right and stands above all other rights.

I also support protecting YOUR property, too.
now we're back to a government with regulations and socialism in it

Doesn't have to be if the Constitution is followed.
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
I am aware - I was just stating, that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Every ideology has some benefit in some places - otherwise no one would support it, and it wouldn't be an ideology.

I agree totally.. every system can be abused, it depends completely on who is in it. That is why i believe that everyone is the government not just a group of people. But it starts looking like anarchy with some kind of moral code like in ancient japan?

I also support protecting YOUR property, too.


What if someone owns all pigs and decides not to sell them or for a very high price? Will you just starve yourself from meat?
that_guy
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
@that_guy ryggesogn2 is an anarchist/capitalist. He believes that protecting his property is his basic right and stands above all other rights.

I also support protecting YOUR property, too.
now we're back to a government with regulations and socialism in it

Doesn't have to be if the Constitution is followed.

The constitution actually explicitly embodies socialism in several key areas. National defense, import/export duties, governing branches, and courts for example.

The constitution allows for reasonable socialism with consent of the people, in fact, things that made us a powerful, like public education, libraries, roads, the post office, etc.

So, if we have a dispute, where I'm defending my property, and you think you are defending your property, we have the socialist justice system to help resolve our dispute.

In conclusion, you are absolutely incorrect rygg.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 06, 2011
Some parts of the Constitution are socialistic.
That doesn't mean it is correct or moral. Given how far down the sociailist path the US has gone, a return to the Constitution is a solid fist step.
Bastiat defines quite well what the govt and the law should be and do:
"What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the
individual right to lawful defense."
"If every person has the right to defendeven by forcehis
person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective rightits reason for existing, its awfulnessis based on individual right."
"The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely
different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy. "
"But there is also another tendency that is common among
people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the
expense of others."
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 06, 2011
Bastiat defines legal plunder quite well here:
"Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number
of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a wholewith their common aim of legal plunderconstitute socialism."
"Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism?"
"This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for
all, and there are only three ways to settle it:
1. The few plunder the many.
2. Everybody plunders everybody.
3. Nobody plunders anybody."
I prefer #3.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 06, 2011
Examples of socialism; state control of private property by the Regulatory State:
"Well, here is a gentleman in his mid-50s with more than 25 years of construction experience who was a licensed contractor in Florida before moving to Arizona. For more than six months he has been fighting to gain the requisite licensing. He is obliged, among other onerous duties, to provide twenty-five references spanning his entire career and from across a continent before his application can enter the waiting list. He estimates his application will cost $10,000 and take another six months."
The Freeman on Facebook.
_nigmatic10
1 / 5 (2) May 07, 2011
Dangerous actions pushed by cause seeking children too young to really know and old men set in their ways.They try to tie in the much needed detoxification of our planet with the global warming religion, which is blind to the simple truth that even if all human activity stopped tomorrow, the earth would still warm or cool as it always has.

Of course, we could always try to control the weather under this banner, but then one would have to wonder how close are they to those that have already tried.

Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (2) May 07, 2011
Oh come on. How many 16 year olds are even capable of understanding the math and sciences involved in the planetary dynamics involved in "climate change"?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) May 07, 2011
Oh come on. How many 16 year olds are even capable of understanding the math and sciences involved in the planetary dynamics involved in "climate change"?


Propaganda depends upon ignorance.
Na_Reth
5 / 5 (2) May 07, 2011
@Na Reth - I hate to say this, but ryggesoqn has a correct point. If you have a pure or nearly pure socialism/communism, if enough people disagree, the government has to become totalitarian in order to preserve the socialist/communist way, which ironically is a step away from pure socialism/communism itself.


I completely understand the problem myself, and i have been thinking about solutions myself for a very long time, and i think i have a pretty good solution to that.
In fact there is nothing wrong with capitalism per se, it becomes wrong when abused, like all other systems.
If we can build our economy and infrastructure in such a way that we no longer depend on money for human health (requires very high level of socialism and it is possible with current technology) then other systems will have a hard time interfering with peoples health and as to create a war for that reason or abuse it to gain power(think pesticides, oil prices etc.).
Capitalism is for bigger projects.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 08, 2011
In fact there is nothing wrong with capitalism per se, it becomes wrong when abused, like all other systems.

The only way capitalism can go wrong is when the govt is used to coerce the customers.
If you don't use money, how will the participants in the system know what to produce and how much to produce? Money is the feedback system that controls the capitalist system.
Assuming the govt isn't devaluing the dollar as it is doing now, when the price of oil rises, this sends signals to producers to sell more so they can make more money. Supply rises, demand falls and so does the price.
Farmers use prices in their decision what to plant or what animals to raise. Of course there are time delays and risk associated so if no profit is made, the producers go out of business.
How will your socialism motivate people to be doctors and nurses or companies to create life saving drugs if they can't earn money? Do you plan to make doctors slaves?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (5) May 08, 2011
Of course money doesn't motivate everyone. A typical US Navy SEAL earns ~$55k/year. About the same as the average teacher in the US.
Of course not many qualify to be a SEAL and it is too easy to qualify to be a teacher.
So if Na wants to end money, how will doctors be rewarded with limited compensation? Do you make doctor training rigorous leading to few doctors or do you make it easy leading to more?
The US state of MA is limiting doctor's pay so there are now fewer doctors in MA forcing patients to wait longer.
That's the problem with socialist fantasies, they are fantasies with no basis in reality and never succeed.
Na_Reth
not rated yet May 08, 2011
Of course money doesn't motivate everyone. A typical US Navy SEAL earns ~$55k/year. About the same as the average teacher in the US.
Of course not many qualify to be a SEAL and it is too easy to qualify to be a teacher.

What nonsense is this? Do you really think money motivates people to become either a teacher or a SEAL?
The US state of MA is limiting doctor's pay so there are now fewer doctors in MA forcing patients to wait longer.

States are a capitalist construct, in a socialist country a state/province is nothing more but a landmark.
The system that you keep referring to as "govt" is also a capitalist construct, in socialism everyone is the government.
Government capitalizes on political ideals, collects tax and reinvests.
That's the problem with socialist fantasies, they are fantasies with no basis in reality and never succeed.

They could succeed if the greedy capitalists stayed out of it.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (2) May 08, 2011
Oh come on. How many 16 year olds are even capable of understanding the math and sciences involved in the planetary dynamics involved in "climate change"?


Propaganda depends upon ignorance.

Yeah, you're ripe for the picking.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 08, 2011
They could succeed if the greedy capitalists stayed out of it.

That's another socialist fantasy heard quite often.
Where is the data?
Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (2) May 08, 2011
In fact there is nothing wrong with capitalism per se, it becomes wrong when abused, like all other systems.

The only way capitalism can go wrong is when the govt is used to coerce the customers.


You uh...aren't very familliar with the actual history of capitalism, monopolies, and labor wars are you?

Don't watch the history channel much do you?

What we have today is "Oligopoly" which is a handfull of big companies own everything in a particular economic sector, and pretend to compete while setting prices, which is only one step better than monopoly.

If not for minimum wage laws and refundable tax credits for the poor and middle class, most people in this country would still be living in 1 or 2 bedroom shacks with maybe 1 bathroom, and the top 1% would have 80% of income and own 99.9% of accumulated wealth, instead of "only" 20% and 40% respectively.

Capitalism is in every respect an unfair and failed system. It always has been.
Quantum_Conundrum
5 / 5 (1) May 08, 2011
Nation-states are by there very nature socialist. You can't have civilization without socialism.

To the person referring to how many socialist states have failed. The reason Russia failed is because they oppressed their own people, AND because of economic sanctions from the west who WANTED them to fail, just as the west "WANTS" China's government to fail.

The irony is that all the capitalist western nations are borrowing from China and Russia.

And anyway, when a Republican thinks of Communism or Socialism the only thing they can possibly imagine are death squads and everything that is wrong in China and Russia, political or ethical suppression/cleansing, etc, which are moral issues and have nothing to do with socialism per se.

When a person such as myself thinks of social justice, I envision a world with fairness and real equal opportunities, and where land owners and business owners can't just manipulate everyone else for perpetual generations.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 08, 2011
QC, do you read books?
Your history is based upon the History Channel?
Capitalism is in every respect an unfair and failed system. It always has been.

It is the best system to promote liberty and prosperity for all because it is not based upon force.
Minimum wage laws make people poor by decreasing the number of jobs.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 08, 2011
The reason Russia failed is because they oppressed their own people,

Socialist states must repress their people or they must abandon socialism.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) May 08, 2011
where land owners and business owners can't just manipulate everyone else for perpetual generations.

So you want to gang up on these people, with the force of the state, to 'manipulate' them to YOUR will?
Consumers manipulate businesses millions of times every day with the products and services purchases they make or do not make.
A key component of Wal Mart's success is tracking purchases at their stores. Same for Trader Joe's. They track the products that sell and don't sell and keep their shelves stocked for their customers. How manipulative of them!
emsquared
not rated yet May 09, 2011
Geez Caliban, I'd love to respect you, what with the Shakespeare (et al) reference for your tag, but if you don't want to debate my statments on their own merit, and instead prefer to act like an intellectual coward and just down-rank my comments because you don't like what I'm saying regardless of it's truths, well then it's kind of hard to take you as anything other than an ignorant troll.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet May 10, 2011
The reason Russia failed is because they oppressed their own people,
Socialist states must repress their people or they must abandon socialism.
You mean like churches do? They're socialist. Are you citing the church as socialist?