Steven Milloy, proprietor of junkscience.com, resident at the regulation-hatin’ Cato Institute, and true-blue wingnut, has a hilarious article running on FoxNews.com. Pay no attention to those who criticize Bush’s environmental policies, he says, they are but “left-leaning environmental activists and their supporters in academia.” He lauds Bush for avoiding the “dance of death” that is the Kyoto Protocol, but saves his highest praise for the dysfunctional regulatory process the administration has produced. “Short of dismantling the EPA in favor of a more rational approach to the environment — the preferred solution,” he says, “the president has done the next best thing by bollixing up the EPA rulemaking process.” Woot!To salvage some sort of serious point out of this: The problem with these Cato libertarian types is not that they support the free market. As Robert Kennedy Jr. is fond of saying, a geniunely free market would be the best thing that ever happened to our environment. The problem is that Cato think-tankers don’t run things. The people that run things are happy to get rid of some regulations and tax breaks — generally those that protect poor and working class people and public land. That’s about the only kind of bone the small-government wing of the Republican party gets tossed. The regulations and tax breaks that favor industry and the wealthy don’t ever seem to fall under the free-market axe.
It’s admirable that honest libertarians are even-handed about their desire to free the market from controls and regulations. But if you’re even-handed on an uneven playing field, you fall over. Or something.