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A War on CO2? Civil Libertarians, Beware!

By Robert Murphy -- September 14, 2009

“It seems clear that the first major penalty man will have to pay for his rapid consumption of the earth’s nonrenewable resources will be that of having to live in a world where his thoughts and actions are ever more strongly limited, where social organization has become all pervasive, complex, and inflexible, and where the state completely dominates the actions of the individual.”

– Harrison Brown (1954), quoted in Anne Ehrlich, Paul Ehrlich, and John Holdren, Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1973), p. 388.

Free-market writers such as Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman have stressed that it is impossible for a government to restrict economic freedoms while retaining civil or “personal” liberties. For example, even if a democratic yet socialist government assures its citizens they have “freedom of the press,” that assurance is hollow because the government owns all the newspapers and radio stations.…