Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Eco-libertarianism (Libertarian v Greens)

I have yet to met a Libertarian that believes in climate change. The very subject can make some very angry indeed. Libertarians have a natural distrust of control by government. Combating climate change could lead to more government control over our life's or that's the fear.

As a consequence on face value it would appear that Greens and Libertarians have little in common. But this is not the case as Green Libertarianism has shown. This is based on the environmental values of the Green party and the civil liberties platform of the Libertarian Party in the United States. Its a consolidation of socially progressive values with economic liberalism.

If you think about it it does make sense. A pure Green if they could will grow their own food, build their own property, have little to do with the national politics, supply their own electricity and therefore separate themselves from a controlling society and require less from the state in return, thereby being more Libertarian by consequence. It does make perfect sense.

Have a read of this article here on Greens and Libertarians who are coming to arrange this between themselves.

So next time Greens or Libertarians bash each other for believing or denial in climate change, why not think about the way you live and see how you could both benefit from a different arrangement.



  1. Perfect sense? Or the same kind of perfect nonsense perhaps? The fantasy of the atomised individual living without the headaches or benefits of society and economy is not one I share.

  2. Not my image of Greens. I have met many, most are social, all believe in public services such as NHS and transport.

    I havent met any Libertarians, a couple have been commenting on my website. They want everything privatised, a tiny state, so they can pay less tax. They seem to think climate change is a vast conspiracy.

    Left and right are a bit out of date yet people still use them, Greens are most often seen as left, Libertarians as right.

  3. Perfect sence, too them thats what I meant. not to me as such.


    just because different movements are left or right does not mean that there is not a situation where they can live in harmony with both values. If the situation fits like above, it can be done.

  4. On the other hand I'm not convinced by your characterisation of the libertarian view of climate change. Coming from the libertarian side of the Lib Dems I, and many I know, agree that the evidence supports the climate change narrative, but we disagree on what can be done about it. That's where we get in to the libertarian view of the role of the state and the relationship between the individual and the state, as opposed to the individual and the society within which they operate.

    For what it's worth I don't see what's described as a particularly scaleable solution, or particularly aligned with an economic liberal perspective, recognising that libertarianism in Europe is quite different from that expressed in the US.

    That said if one looks at the Green Party in the UK one sees a party that is very hostile to even a European Libertarian perspective with a very centralised and controlling state with significant constraints on a wide range of personal activities.

  5. being a bit libiterian myself, see my compass box, perhaps your a left Lib which explains why your a lib dem. Right libs tend to advocate thats there is no climate change, not always of course.

  6. I agree this is more likely to happen in the US not Europe, I get the impression there are less libs in europe anyway

  7. Oh I'm about mirrored to your position on the other side of the vertical axis. I'd generally characterise myself as Classical Liberal, member of Lib Vision etc.

    The debate tends to be a bit more nuanced in Europe cf the US, perhaps because we've actually been through a number of transitions rather than the way the US has formed.

  8. European Libertarian perspective ? I still dont know what their uk views are. From what I hear, they don't want to pay tax, they think thousands of scientists are lying to get a job. They want to privatise the health service, and everything else, partly to pay less tax.

    Most parties have policies on many hundreds of subjects, is it a surprise that a few polices may be similar between say the LD and the Greens? It would be more surprising of we had nothing in common.