Friday, April 06, 2007

point of view

From Ayn Rand, I've learned that appeals to efficiency are not as important as liberty, and that even if methodological individualism and capitalism were to be more "costly" policies to society, we should still prefer liberty to interventions seeking to enhance efficiency and stability.

From Ludwig von Mises (and Murray Newton Rothbard) I've learned that appeals to efficiency are false because costs are subjective and hence unmeasurable. Furthermore, they demonstrate in so many ways how interventions is always a decrease in utility, and would probably cause more instability, not less.

From Robert Anton Wilson I've learned that all appeals to efficiency are essentially an appeal to an illusion, a fiction with no bearing on reality.

A simple example which demonstrates the difference between all three positions would be that of your typical environmental concerns.

Ayn Rand would insist that human life is the ultimate end, and that appeals that value biological and ecological diversity above human life is irrational and anti-life.

Mises or Rothbard would argue that environmental concerns are those problems which stem from the lack of rigid property rights, the classic tragedy of the, [because there are] commons. Once polluters have to internalize all aspects of their costs, the environmental problem stops being a societal concern and one for individuals to work out in a tort system to minimize specific, individual harms. Furthermore, they would point out that government, and not private concerns have been the greatest polluters simply because they have no incentive to be efficient, as all pollutions are essentially a form of inefficiency on part of the producer who have not captured the fullest usage of all their output.

I haven't seen Robert Anton Wilson's position on environmentalism, but if he were to be a consistent discordian, he would insist that the environmental bugaboo is to be biased towards certain chemical compounds, as if the earth or "mother nature" cares for a particular composition or molecular arrangement (which it obviously doesn't). It cares not if the entire surface is desert, water, ice, forested, denuded, or atomic wasteland. The homuncular inhabitants may have their neurological circuits prefer a specific scenario, but it wouldn't exceed a normative whim in importance.

No comments: