Comments about ‘Letter: Measures against pollution cannot be voluntary’

Return to article »

Published: Friday, Aug. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

Good letter, but you are clearly not a lock-step Utahn who votes solely based on a candidates party and religious affiliation. Most Utahns have only 2 criteria when choosing in my opinion; and the politicians they vote for know this.

Kinda like the proverbial wolf minding the sheep.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Oh, but aren't all the businesses in Utah responsible, kind-hearted, patriotic job creators who put everyone else ahead of their profit margins?

Gee, if we can't trust them, who can we trust?

There is one out there we can trust, however.

He's running for Governor and his name is Peter Cooke.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Robert,

I have wrestled with this exact argument many times. I don't believe in forcing others, but I do believe in protecting my own freedom. However, there is still a logical dilemma with this argument.

In order to preserve my free right to live according to my own choices, including the health and function of my body being according to my own choice and not that of others- it would only make sense for us as citizens to require cleaner practices of businesses via our government.

The problem is that most of us don't have clean practices to begin with. Telling your neighbor 'don't pollute my air' while you pollute it yourself is not only ineffective at cleaning up the air, but it is also unjust. In order to avoid involuntary participation your argument takes other's choices away, but if you are still participating then your motive is not satisfied.

Taking freedom from the masses, even if to protect your own freedom, isn't moral. This is to say that in order for you to live, you would accept taking multiple lives to save your own. Ultimately this destroys freedom. It does not preserve it.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

A Voice of Reason,

But what if I DO have clean practices? What if I and my children live well but still have to breathe the bad air?

Let's look at water. Let's say I have some land right next to the one and only water source for your community. I want to dump my toxins into the ground (those naturally seep into the water).

Do I have the right to pollute that water source? Do my actions take freedom from you and others in the community? If so, is it within your rights to protect the community from my actions?

Don't like that example? What about fire? Can I (on my own land) start fires even if there is a severe drought and there exists the distinct possibility that the fires could get out of control and burn down your community?

Laws that prevent one person from harming the community are not analogous to taking someone’s life. The liberties, rights, and responsibilities involved are those necessary for a community to exist.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

It's amazing how little our state leadership cares about our health and environment. What good is money if we're all sick? What good is the land, air, and water if it's polluted?

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Twin Lights,

Thank you for your response!

If my neighbor smokes, do I have the right to forcibly stop him in order to prevent smoke from entering my yard and my lungs? I indeed believe that I have the right to breath clean air, but I don't believe that that gives me the right to force others against their will. If two wills conflict, does this automatically justify violence or force? If you feel it does in your life, I can understand why. But if you consider the outcome this would have on society and peace overall, it would be a devastating doctrine. I believe that people who tail me when I go 65 in the right lane of the freeway are putting my life at risk. Do I have the right to slam on my breaks and end their lives because they were a threat to me?

I'm not saying it's right. I do not believe it's right. But just because a moral wrong has taken place, does not automatically justify our taken forced action against it. A slap on the face doesn't justify full-blown war resulting in millions of deaths.

Demo Dave
Holladay, UT

Robert is right. Herbert is as good as no governor at all.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Twin Lights,

I apologize. I didn't have enough room to make my point without being blunt. All I am trying to say is that there is more than the consideration of 'them wronging me vs me forcibly claiming what is rightfully mine'. If force is used, it should be reserved for extreme circumstances. Someone polluting my air is a violation of my rights, true. However, consider this...

I choose NOT to breath pollution. 1 Million people choose to participate in activities that pollute. While I have every right to not breath pollution, if I forced 1 million people against their will and took away their ability to choose- I would have committed the more serious wrong.

Freedom results in abuses of freedom and violations of rights. This is inevitable. That doesn't mean you take away freedom. You either believe in free agency or you don't. While I firmly hate the idea of pollution, and I firmly hate the idea of other things people do- even when they affect me personally and directly.. if I forced them to make MY choices instead, I would be doing something even worse than what they were doing.

PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

Wow, it looks like the anti-Herbert environmentalists are out in force today with their letters. Congrats to the governor for holding the line against more environmental laws that will only erode freedom, stifle our economy, and have little or no real effect on air quality.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

A Voice of Reason,

No, you have no right to stop your neighbor because the pollution is negligible. However, if your neighbor is burning toxins that are giving your family diseases then yeah, you do.

When two wills conflict, the will that has to give way is the will that is doing the harm. Your examples are of thrusting your will on others by harming them. Others don't have a right to harm you no matter how much they enjoy doing it. Laws should protect you from such harm.

You don't have to slam on your breaks. Slow down gradually. They will pass you.

If you are not saying it's right, then what are you saying? Please look at my questions and answer them.

Law and force are not the same. Yes, the threat is implicit but the Bible tells us "he beareth not the sword in vain".

If you can't take away someone's freedom for violating another's rights, how can rights ever be protected?

Reasonable law and agency do not conflict. Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's . . .

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Sometimes you do more good when you change people's minds rather than monitor their behavior.
There are great points on both sides of this argument but the power of persuasion can be greatly underestimated.

More people have been persuaded, than have been forced, to give up smoking. I think we might be positive at times and talk of the "diminishing" problem of pollution. Vehicular emissions, industrial pollutions, and habitual tobacco smoking have greatly diminished over the years. More persuasion will, imo, do greater good yet, although it is true that much has sometimes been enforced by law in the cause of the general welfare.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

Sorry folks but rights end when they infringe on others. Period end of story. When it comes to the commons, air, water, nuclear waste, and the such then we must take must take the approach of community first. By the way, smoking is a poor example. A person can smoke in their own personal space without effecting others it's when they don't smoke in their personal space that creates the problem. Businesses cannot pollute confined to their personal space.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

ugottabkidn,

"rights end when they infringe on others"

I'm more libertarian (not liberal) than most and even I can recognize the problem with that argument.

Do we agree on what constitutes a "right" when considering the principle of marriage? Abortion? Etc? Twin Lights didn't even agree with me regarding my right against a smoker's. Perhaps if I could show them the affect smoking has had on my life, do you think they would be magically convinced then?

Democracy is something we all participate in and are bound by. A governor imposing law on the masses against their will (even if protecting the rights of the few) is not lawful BY OUR constitution nor is it just by any principle other than tyrannical rule and dictatorship.

You either believe in the freedom to choose for yourself or you don't. Sometimes our choices conflict and bruise our moral beliefs- but none of that has ever or will ever negate the fact that freedom preserves justice most effectively.

Either I can use force to stop smokers from smoking or such claims remain contradictory without an alternative appeal to reason. No such argument has been presented on here yet.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments