: That's a quote from George Bernard Shaw which I use in my animal rights debates, but which I think is appropos in this discussion.
A very good quote indeed, I think I'll write that one down.
: : : You know, ever since I was a kid I've wondered how anyone could "own" a forest or a mountain or a lake; these things were there long before people arrived, so how could they be owned?
: : I agree, it is an odd concept. Something that you think about on those warm summer nights when there is a clear sky and the stars are shining. Damn, sorry for straying from my capitalist caricature of a cold-hearted ruthless evil doer, it is the Antonio Carlos Jobim music. (Quiet nights...ohhh yeah)
: That's right, you're the music guy. I've never heard of Jobim. Who's he comparable to (i.e. can you name a famous musician he might remind me of), and can you recommend a good album of his?
Jobim is a Brazilian musician; his music is Bossa Nova so it is kind of like latin music. My favorite CD of his is The Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook which features his most well known song "The Girl From Ipanema." It is a nice album, it features Stan Getz (my favorite Sax player).
: : From what I know, the Native Americans had a very hard time understanding what the white man meant when he marched onto the land and said, "This is my property."
: : This is where I disagree. Native Americans did have a sense of property rights. In fact, just about every recorded intertribal war was due in part to squables over territory.
: Again, I'm not an expert on Indian tribes, but while they undoubtedly had territories which they defended vigorously, I doubt that they also considered their territory to be their "property." A distinction can be made here: "territory" is that portion of the land which they control, but it is owned by heaven, and so must be treated with respect. Git it?
I agree, they had great reverance for the land and the animals that inhabited it. However, people often confuse not have a sense of property to meaning that all the tribes lived happily together sharing the land.
However, I believe there is a happy medium between using the lands resources for progress and completely relying on subsistence farming in order to preserve it.
: : MDG, we both want the same things in the end. We both want to see an end to the destruction of endangered species and needless killing of animals. However, we both have different ideas as to how that is to be achieved. I believe the only way to save something is to own it. When I was eight I went on a field trip to the dog pound, there was a black dog there named Debbie, she was to be put down in three days. I went home and scrounged around enough money to buy her. My parents were angry but I didn't really care. It was small, but it worked. To own something is the best way to protect it.
: Good for you about that dog. That's a great story. Now, to continue arguing with you: I'd say the best way to protect something is to love it.
The two are inseperable. You may love something, but to protect it from people who do not love it, you must had ownership of it--at least in this culture. When you have ownership of something you can legally protect it and have recourse in a court of law against those who violate it.
: : : Frankly, I'd like the see the U.S. government buy back the bulk of our natural resources and declare them public property, property which may still be utilized by private companies which have a license to, for example, extract timber or minerals, but property which is owned and managed by the citizens of the country primarily for the nation's benefit.
: : That just opens up a whole new can of worms. Who decides which companies get liscenses? Politicians? Politicians can be bought off. Anybody can be bought off. What happens if that company screws up royally? Would certain companies be given monopolies on timber or coal?
: A good point, but politicians are accountable to the public (at least in theory, which private companies are not), and so an environmentally-thoughtful public would punish the politicians for favoring unscrupulous companies.
The reason why I trust companies over politicians, even good ones, is because they are predictable. A companies only motive is profit, and that is something I can understand. Both politicians and companies are both going after power, keep in mind, but companies are a lot more straightforward about it.
: Also (and I do this kind of work for a living), the government frequently punishes companies which harm the environment, such punishment including a cessation of business rights with the government and a yanking of any rights to exploit public land.
That is reassuring. However, my theory is that if all the land is privately owned (specifically land that has natural resources) than you are able to hold companies accountable for what happened to the land they owned. For instance, if you owned a few thousand acres of forest and a company courts you with an offer to buy it, you check up on the companies past record and discover the the land they had owned is now completely barren and destroyed, you can always refuse to sell.
: We can continue to disagree until the sun burns out, but I think we can agree that regarding the environment, things are always better under any system when people respect and care for the plants, animals, and natural resources that make this a habitable planet, and not a cold moon.