Conclusion to the Book
Enterprise, endeavor, industry... production, hope, pride, and profit...
These are almost lost words. Some people say them with a sneer of disgust and fear, like there must be something wrong with them. Our forebears spoke them with the quiet simplicity that only comes with having conquered their challenges with their humanity intact.
What they did not know, did hurt them: the broken hearts and broken backs accepted in the price of what only freedom can offer. They may not have expected any more from a life of risk, toil, and filth than a better one for their children, but at least they completed their lives with their spirits intact. If there is a principal benefit to a constant flow of immigrants, it is their belief in that truth.
We, the native born, who have supposedly "elevated" our status beyond the level of bitter struggle, have somehow assumed the dual expectations of prosperity and protection from harm. We seem to have forgotten something. Many, having lived without freedom, need not be reminded:
"Öwith a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
We have forgotten that life is not without risk and personal sacrifice in the defense of liberty. For without that risk, our lives are not our own.
Those of us whom have come to believe that by virtue of our birthright as Americans we have some kind of entitlement to peace and prosperity under a protectorate; that we are due a lifestyle to which we wish to become accustomed, regardless of the price of liberty, have, in submission to a popular chimera, abased the requirement of vigilance, ignored the value of industry, and abdicated our responsibility to regulate our government, our conduct, our selves. We have adopted an optimistic delusion sold by those to whom we are instructed to entrust our choices: those who would profit on the sale.
The price isnít, "Free!" It is freedom.
There was something in that industrial culture that many of us now miss: The certain expectation of the undiluted blessings and daily satisfactions to be found in the practice of what we wholeheartedly believe is productive work, the conduct of personal integrity, and the shared enterprise of individually-held shares. These personal experiences of internal confidence and the power of will were indeed sullied with the knowledge that prices were being paid by others at the expense of our benefit. Out of an overblown sense of guilt, and the consequent belief that no one could be trusted, we gave monopoly control of all factors of production to government, a body intrinsically undeserving of that trust. We thus surrendered to a mere idea, without even considering the full array of the options afforded by a free society under the rule of law. It was a surrender that may yet cost the society itself, and take the planet with it. It was a failure of leadership by those with too much to gain.
What we have before us is an opportunity to add the certainty of having done our best to account for the total effects of our striving to our cultural birthright to improve the lot of our successors. What we can gain is the certainty that responsibilities for our actions have been, or will be assumed, and that the product of our work is of net benefit to all, not at the expense of something or someone else. We can operate with the certainty, that the measure of our success in the marketplace is an objective judge of value.
Though there might be an unwitting cost to others, once it is identified, the vision allotted by conduct with integrity will drive us to measure and calculate its impact. For upon recognition of a cost, there is always opportunity: Profit is found in the reduction and control of risk.
Problems are opportunities. Though we still have a lot to learn, the redirection of human motivation can assure continued insight into the whole consequence of our being.
It is a better way to live and a better way to make a living.
Crocuses in Flandersí Fields
A Personal Epilog
This book was not about the environment. This book was about our relationship with the world: our property, our neighbors, and our government. It was about the truth of our responsibilities and the awful consequences of their abrogation. It is about the release of spiritual power and financial wealth when people begin to value honestly in others that measured fraction that is themselves. Whether it is public schools or public parks, socialism is a massive fraud we have sold to our fears. It is no way to interdependency; it is servitude and dependency.
We have a choice: to succeed or to succumb.
The people of North Korea really believe that things are worse outside their devastated prison. The environmental fascists really believe that global socialism is the only way to save the environment. Their masters really think Global Governance will work, but their priorities will betray their purpose and leave devastation in their wake. As it was in the Reign of Terror, so it could be again under a common belief that one is more capable of representing the interests of the other than they are for themselves.
They just donít know any better.
If the environmental lobby succeeds in killing private property rights, we will never know the depths of their folly, until it is too late. It is a process that is irreversible without the historic price of blood. It is precisely the reason why elitists find the likes of Dave Foreman so useful. As much as these plutocrats may fan their egos with the artful delusion that what they are doing is good and necessary, when it comes to choices they will betray that justification. They have more concern about their need for self-reinforcement by evidence of their primacy than they do about The Environment, respect for unalienable rights, or the blessings of self-government.
It is a hierarchy of self-deception, structured and maintained by power.
It doesnít take a genius to figure out that a system supporting unlimited withdrawal of groundwater, as " water rights," is archaic. It is obvious that, if people pay $1.5 million for a house in a forest, they do not want a denuded hillside next to it. If an industry wants to burn coal, it should have reason to control particulate emissions. It is clear that when people divert water for their own purposes, that they can cause problems for neighbors downhill.
It is, however, worse to go to government to solve the dispute.
Externalities are endemic to all human conduct. They donít get solved without asking how to best resolve individual disputes in a market of civil conduct among sovereign Citizens. Disputes cannot be addressed without the mutual responsibility and respect for others that we should demand out of our political leaders. It is a moral issue, and moral behavior is requisite to its expression. We should expect fewer, more carefully considered laws that describe truths to be settled as a civil matter, instead of asking government to fix it for us by directing compliance under criminal statutes. Government cannot make us moral, quite the contrary.
The idea, that your competitor is your adversary, is that moral failing. The old "golden rule" is as much observation, that one will treat others as they see themselves, as it admonition to reflective consideration. It is essential that laws reflect moral values if we expect to foster moral conduct. It certainly makes the job of administration just a tad easier.
If the preceding chapters depressed or angered you, please consider a free market alternative. There are ways of getting this done. Please help get it done. Understand the alternatives. Treat this work as a reference and review the sections on risk-based pricing and contracts for use; go back and read between the lines of the sections on exotic species. Study what might be done with local government. Get to know the few remaining free thinkers at State resource agencies and see if you can set up a program. Contact your State insurance commissioner and industry lobbyists and lean all over them about the management and reduction of risk. If you can, find a lawyer who understands and loves the Constitution. Take the ethic to your community and expose its simple and necessary logic. Make an issue out of it. Improve upon what I have proposed and I will do the same. If you do better than I have (and I am sure that you will), God bless you.
By writing this book I wanted to exhort the landowner to go do the hard work of objective science, to learn from and restore their land, and to measure the costs without getting too discouraged. I struggled to identify the tools to fight those who would destroy, with their fear and arrogance, what they propose to protect. I wanted to show hope to the property owner, a vision of the wealth of opportunities in their land out of which to market all its special attributes. I wanted to show the all-too-often down-trodden scientist in civil service the promise of a new career working with people who love their land, to spend their time actually doing science to help the land they love instead of writing grants to nameless benefactors who place bizarre demands upon the output. I wanted to show the financial elite that they have made a horrible mistake. There are better ways to make money.
The good news is that I probably donít have to do very much exhorting. If you know the land, you are in love. So perhaps it is better that I stop trying to exhort, and instead, sharpen a few ideas and render them a touch more personal before this is over.
In the process of research, I was inescapably led to the ecological requirement that the unalienable rights of citizens, especially property rights, must supercede the claims and powers of the state. You donít have to be religious to understand the essential mechanics of the God-given unalienable rights of citizens. Without them, there could be no private property or a free market in which to trade and invest in ecosystem assets. The logic is inescapable.
Arriving at these ideas was conducted in relative isolation. Nobody told me to use a free market for ecosystem management. When I started this, I had no idea if anybody else was doing such work. Nobody suggested I use risk- management enterprises to price externalities; it was an obvious conclusion to a more subtle question. Nobody pointed out the need for transactable rights of land use; it was a necessary means to resolve overlapping and dynamic system boundaries. These ideas and observations were simply the result of as honest and logical an inquiry as I could perform.
Once I understood the importance of particular individual valuation, what was left was to resolve the individual claims against externalities within the normal conduct of free enterprise. It was a much more mechanical task than realizing the abstractions, requiring only that I ask the questions, once the abstractions were incorporated. That is still easier said than done.
The challenge was to communicate these abstractions and incorporated them into the reader. That takes other people: smart, tolerant, and objective people. It isnít easy to get their attention, especially when youíre nobody famous or eminent, asking for an awful lot of time and patience, and babbling wild ideas incoherently. To those many readers upon whom I inflicted so much frustration, consternation, pestering, and confusion, I beg forgiveness and offer my most sincere thanks. That confusion and consternation unwittingly supplied me with many of the questions, against which to integrate the (by then) too obvious answers. The process teaches humility.
Whether I like it or not this work is probably not done. If you have constructive observations or suggestions please let me know. For my failings to make this clearer (or shorter) I beg this apology: It was a big book already, I was running out of money and it needed to get out to people who are so buried that they need help articulating their perceptions and perhaps some useful tools with which to retake the Moral High Ground.
It is, perhaps paradoxically true, that I cannot own such a thing as an observation, but merely its empowering articulation. For this writing is obviously not only a collection of truths observed. If it had been so, this book would be only a few pages long. It is my hope that I have done a faithful job of offering a well-conceived, logically self-regulating structure that reflects those truths and integrates suggested activities into useful synergies that continuously generate new opportunities and reduce costs. That desire to prevent corruption of such a powerful tool is why I chose to protect it by patent. I hope to see a lot of deserving and talented people get rich. (If you think that I did this much work, and took this much risk just for money, you are certifiably crazy). I do hope it provides me the chance to write yet more. I have enjoyed this process like nothing else in my life. I can only hope that those who see the potentials presented here will not turn the extremely powerful tools into evil. It is certainly possible.
Which brings us all back to intent and motive. Hopefully, I have done something about that, though certainly not nearly enough. In the future, all I can do is ask for Godís help, and yours.
Thank you for your time.
Natural Process: That Environmental Laws May Serve the Laws of Nature, ISBN: 0-9711793-0-1. Copyrights © 1999, 2000, & 2001 by Mark Edward Vande Pol. All rights reserved.