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Nov 21, 2013

Libertarians, who would have thought we were so powerful

 Image: SMH take on Abbott

Climate frantic, Ross Gittins is fretting about the election of the Abbott government and the subsequent move to abolish the climate tax.  Ross seems a bit down over this as he hopes to have grandchildren who will want to pay the tax: 
Australians elected a government that wasn't genuine in its commitment to combating the effects of climate change, and that even abolished the main instrument economists invented for that purpose, I never accepted this complacency. 
Partly because that government's predecessors had done such a poor job of introducing effective measures - and even a party known as the Greens played its cards all wrong - the nation lost its resolve and allowed its original bipartisan commitment to decisive action to be lost. 
The minority of people who doubted the scientists' advice that the globe was warming combined with libertarians - who, as a matter of principle, oppose almost all arguments for intervention by government - to persuade the Liberals to break with bipartisanship.
So, apparently that minority which is usually described as a small group of intellectually impaired ‘deniers’ or worse, has with the aid of libertarians managed to get the Abbott government to stop being bipartisan. 

While this may be a great comfort to Tony who has not been described as bipartisan in more than four years, it seems to hint that libertarians are much more powerful than we had previously guessed.  Liberals, like Gittins, tend to be creatures of the state who tend to believe that the reason that Labor went wrong was in failing to intervene in the economy and personal liberties in the same way as the LNP does.
This means that the small ‘climate denier’ base had to be massively enhanced by the entry of a huge influx of libertarians in order to form the critical mass to force Abbott to drop the climate tax.  Who would ever have guessed that we had those numbers?
Gittins assumes that the libertarian argument against big government and the nanny state is simply a matter of principle.  In other words, we are just a mob of rather bloody minded pricks determined to deny the state its fundamental role as he sees it, of running every aspect of our existence.
The reality is, that libertarians understand the basic principle as described by Ringo Starr, “Everything the government touches turns to shit.”
We do not accept the ‘consensus’ position that a government, which couldn’t insulate houses without burning them down and killing people, has the infinite wisdom to fix the climate.  Out in the real world, home insulation occurs every day without such dramas.
Nor would a libertarian be conned into the government idea of picking winners out of infancy technologies such as ethanol, wind power and solar.  These have a long way to go before they become economical, but owing to subsidies, and mandated usage, are only viable at massive cost to consumers and taxpayers.
Where a government would subsidize business to turn food crops into fuel and order that a certain percentage of all fuel has to be from this source, thus increasing taxes and consumer costs, the free enterprise system would drill more wells.
The libertarian position just makes more sense.

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