In a society that values money (not just capitalism!) any cost that can be externalized is free: polluting the environment is free because “the environment” has no monetary value. Hence regulations and fines and taxes. Understanding this makes or breaks a liberal position: if you want the freedom to do whatever claiming the market will fix it, or if you want to abolish regulations and fines and taxes without careful consideration, we cannot be friends.

I think the key to understanding liberals in Switzerland and maybe in Europe is their historic context: the liberals fought the clergy and the nobility, and their representatives. They fought for civil rights, an independent state, the separation of powers, progressive taxation, freedom of movement, freedom of profession, and many other such things. If only they still fought for civil rights, progressive taxation, individual freedom! But now they just serve capital. 💰💰💰

@kensanata I think many people would pay good money for a clean environment. So, I think money could eventually solve the problem with pollution, no?

@Makuro I think that’s the point: “many people agreeing to do something” means political action and “paying for a clean environment” means raising money using taxes” in order to get things done, so yes, I agree. I would not agree, however, if somebody argued it has do be “voluntary”, or “individual”, or based on raising money via donations. That’s only ever going to be drops of water on hot stones.

@Makuro @kensanata many people are paying good money to go *visit* a clean environment… by plane, or by cruiseship

this desire has been sold to us via advertising as an affordable escapist fantasy for many, many decades now

@kensanata I think we are improving, not regressing. I have more civil rights now than at any time in the past. My freedom of movement is underpinned financial independence. It is difficult to construct a self-consistent, liberal idea-framework for the complexities and nuances of life. Each case demands thought and consideration.

@alephnull Absolutely. I’m accusing the liberal parties in particular for having dropped civil liberties in favor of corporate liberties. That’s why the generation of my parents could conceivably vote for them and that’s also why it’s absolutely inconceivable for me to vote for them.

@kensanata Sometimes I think of running for public office. Then I wake up. I do not think elections and principles are compatible. I'm not being a cynic when I say that this seems to be a fundamental principle on which democracy is based.

@alephnull @kensanata May I recommend some reading?

"The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics" goes into great details about the nature of power.

Key lesson is that politicians, weather they are dictators or democratically elected ones, almost always do what is expedient (for them to stay in power), not what is right.

@sajith @kensanata It is this book that crystallised my feelings after trying my damndest to get a company off the ground. As a group, the ends invariably justify the means.

@alephnull I sometimes have the same dream until Claudia reminds me of the realities of life. All the politicians she knows are only interested in staying in power.

@kensanata Exactly. What really sticks in my throat that this has been true since the Romans (at least). Yet this system has brought us to where we are now.

@kensanata The reason our countries are over-optimized for cars and trucks is heavy state support for those modes of transportation; via regulations, fines, taxes, and public construction.

While people are trying to come up with market solutions left and right (latest one e.g., nation states have decided to not withdraw licenses from the heavy hitters (e.g. coal power plants), but instead tell you that paying them more money can magically fix the environment. 😂

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