They also remind you of good stories about how it is that market mechanisms actually deliver sound environmental policy better than any existing alternatives. My colleague at this Institute for Humane Studies seminar, John Hasnas mentioned in his lectures the case of the Audubon Society allowing natural gas drilling in the Rainey Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, a piece of property that they own and manage. A PERC op-ed that summarizes the case well indicates that a common law approach to property rights and potential environmental harms does a better job of delivering both environmental quality and economic value.
One of the best things about hanging out with philosphers is that they remind you of cool stuff you read way too long ago, like this quote from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty about the harm principle and individual liberty:
“… the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-defence … the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”