Harry Browne on Environment

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Environmental scares are excuses for government control

From the cranberry scare of the 1950s to the Alar-in-apples hysteria of the 1980s, from the “New Ice Age” of the 1960s to the “global warming” of the 1990s, environmental alarms almost always turn out to be false. Few non-political scientists fear ozone loss or acid rain. These are just issues that some people hope to use to reorder the lives of the rest of us.

A great deal of what you hear about the future of Planet Earth isn’t science, it’s politics. Notice that with every alarm-about air pollution, endangered species, or anything else-the preferred solution is always the same: more government.

The supposed struggle to save the planet is really a struggle for power-power over your life. So politicians and environmental extremists never wait for their claims to be proven before demanding to turn your life upside down. If these weren’t at bottom political issues, occasionally the reformers would suggest solutions that don’t call for increased political power over your life.

Source: The Great Libertarian Offer, p.165-167 , Sep 9, 2000

Sell off federal assets; except some national parks

Q: What’s your plan for dealing with Social Security?

A: Sell off assets the federal government shouldn’t own (there are trillions of dollars worth), and use the proceeds to buy private, life-time annuities for everyone dependent now on Social Security.

Q: What are some of the assets a Browne Administration would sell off?

A: The federal government owns 25% of all the land in the US (and only one seventh of that are the national parks). The government owns power companies, pipelines, unused military bases, commodity reserves, and much, much more. None of them serves any constitutional function.

Q: So you’re not talking about selling off the Grand Canyon.... you’re talking about selling off old air force bases and the like?

A: I would be willing to exempt some of the national parks (even though many of them are highly polluted under government ownership), but mainly we’re talking about land that is tied up by the government but serving no discernible purpose.

Source: EVote.com on-line chat , Jun 14, 2000

Government-owned land is polluted land-privatize it

Q: How would the LP safeguard the environment?

A: How often have you heard of a private company polluting its own property? Almost never.

How often have you heard of a private company polluting government land or rivers? Often.

Government (including the EPA) is the worst polluter of all. Get as much property as possible out of the hands of government, where administrators have no stake in the value of the property, and transfer it to private owners who will worry about its future value.

Source: EVote.com on-line chat , Jun 14, 2000

Protect environment via private property ownership

Government property is some of the worst treated and managed. Environmental damage is excessive. A recent 4-part expose done by the Boston Globe demonstrated this point clearly.
But when private individuals and companies own land they tend to take much better care of it. Private ownership has been used in the past to protect fishing rights in streams and rivers. This has given those owners a vested interest in maintaining and protecting their property. When someone has come along and wreaked havoc, they have gone to court to protect their property.
Source: Email correspondence from the candidate with OnTheIssues.org , Jan 27, 2000

Solve enviro problems via private property rights

Browne would reduce current federal regulations on the environment. “The solution to most environmental problems is private property rights. Some of the worst environmental care-taking is occurring on government lands. I would sell most of these assets t people who would have a vested interest in caring for them,” he says. Browne does not support the UN’s Kyoto treaty regarding global climate change.
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Agrees with goal of cleaner environment, but not via govt

I resolve to identify myself with the social goals someone may seek -- a cleaner environment, more help for the poor, a less divisive society -- and try to show him that those goals can never be achieved by government, but will be well served in a free society.
Source: WorldNetDaily “New Year’s resolutions” , Dec 31, 1998

Who are we saving the irreplaceable resources for?

The entire issue of conservation has always seemed to be a strange one for me. I’ve never been able to figure out for whom we’re saving the irreplaceable resources. If we aren’t allowed to use them, then the next generation shouldn’t use them either, nor the one after that.
Source: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, Page 114 , Mar 1, 1998

Protect environment via local trespassing laws

Browne does not support reimbursement for “takings;” nor strengthening the Clean Water Act; nor the use of “cost-benefit analysis” to determine the economic impact of proposed environmental protection and cleanup legislation. Browne says, “the environment would be better protected through the enforcement of local trespassing laws.”
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Sell public lands; repeal all environmental laws

Browne supports selling public lands to private parties or to the state in which the land is located, as part of “repealing all federal environmental laws and regulations.”
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

Privatize grazing lands and national parks

Federal grazing lands should be privately owned, so its owners can negotiate with livestock owners for grazing rights-instead of conducting political battles over whether the government should charge ranchers more or less.
National parks should be sold to non-profit trusts and private companies who can continue to operate them for the public, but in ways that keep them clean and valuable, an incentive government employees don’t have.
Source: Why Government Doesn’t Work, by Harry Browne, p.177 , Jul 2, 1995

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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016