Wake Forest Professor Joins Attack on Libertarianism

Associate Professor of Philosophy Adrian Bardon here at Wake Forest wrote an article this week in our school newspaper attacking a recent article of mine concerning the politics of climate change.  I have to say, I’m fairly excited to engage him in debate.  

While I don’t claim to completely understand climate change (and don’t think anyone really does), the basic argument I put forth was that politicians and some researchers often use climate research for political or idealistic gain, and this reflects an age-old symbiotic relationship between rulers and intellectuals.  However, Bardon, from both his tone and rhetoric, seems to think that I am an absolute loon.  He writes:

I have been writing all semester about irrationality. My particular concern has to do with how our continued indulgence of religious belief facilitates a disregard for evidence pointing toward discomforting truths. As discomforting as it is, climate change and resource depletion need to be addressed now.

Along comes the Old Gold & Black column from Feb. 25 (“Politicians often use climate research for political gain,” Elliot Engstrom), which offers the view that international bodies and the world’s “elite” are conspiring to manufacture a global environmental crisis so as to seize total power. With his references to Murray Rothbard, individual liberty and minimal government, I am presuming that the author is one of our vocal campus Libertarians. Radical libertarianism has many of the characteristics of a religion: it is internally incoherent, in that it is founded on a notion of absolute property rights that is indefensible according to its own moral principles, and its followers often exhibit the blind fervor of those in the grips of religious mania.

I’ll be responding to Professor Bardon in two weeks when we come back from spring break.  Read the rest of his article here.  And please, after reading the article, feel free to leave Professor Bardon some comments.

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