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In the article "Thousands of people attend anti–fracking demonstration in California " the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported about the large demonstration going on in California (USA) against the practice of fracking, Basically, they are saying Frack You! to the governor.

Fracking is a method of extracting oil but primarily natural gas from rocks where it would otherwise not be possible. A short explanation follows. The soil is drilled and a mixture of water and chemicals pumped inside under pressure. This pressure fractures (breaks) rocks releasing gas and oil. The main critique to this method is that chemicals are highly toxic and stable, poisoning air, water and land for decades (or more) to come. The long version can be found in Wikipedia searching "Hydraulic Fracturing" if you are interested.

This is a good opportunity to examine real life environmental issues and how democracy has failed and continues to fail.

LYING POLITICIANS

That's certainly a new one; haven’t heard this one is quite some time… not! Protesters complain that the Californian governor promoted himself as a bastion of environmentalism only to succumb to money from oil and gas companies.

We don't really know if any foul play was involved here, but what we do know is that political campaign promises were broken or at least bent.

This is typical political behavior emphasizing the fact that politicians lie not by mistake or necessity, but simply because it is in their job description (see Politicians and Bureaucrats Job Security Through Misery).

People need to comprehend and internalize that politicians are not there to protect citizens or to look after them; they are there to look after themselves. In this case this fact became painfully obvious. The bottom line is that:

Politicians did nothing!

EXPLOITING POLITICAL PARTIES

Continuing with this saga, the Democratic Convention (i.e. a group representing the Democratic party of US), stated that many disagree with Californian governor (also a Democrat) but that people should continue to demonstrate because "even though it does not look like" the government is seeing and listens to you. They also pointed out that the issue with fracking was brought to light by them and that people now know what it is all about thanks to them.

Translation:

The governor screwed–up and this is a total political disaster. There is a large risk that voters will get upset and we may lose our jobs. We need to appear to disagree with the governor to keep appearances, but not so much as to undermine him. We also need to obtain as much good will as we possibly can by taking over all the awareness efforts in this matter (regardless of whose effort it really was).

In other words, the Democratic Party is doing what any other party would do: spin the story. Spin, spin, spin and then spin some more. Get any good will if you can and then spin some more. The amount of effort spent in spinning is monstrous. The amount of effort spent in actually correcting the issue is ZERO. The Democrats did what any other good political party would have done: nothing.

Political parties are not here to help you or protect your environment; they are here to exploit you. Their main goal is to ensure job security for politicians.

The bottom line?

Political parties did nothing!

DEMANDING CITIZENS

Demands from the demonstrating crowds are, as usual, mixed. Some want the practice of fracking banned; some regulated. Some have done the economic calculations and some did not. Many are acting out of fear of the unknown and some are demonstrating because they know. Many complain because the industry is using resources (mainly water) that were provided by taxpayer money. Many are complaining as an ethnic group (Latinos) or Native Americans who are also complaining due to religious and/or cultural reasons. And then, we have the standard group of scientists waving studies demonstrating the toxic levels of the practice. According to one poll, 51% of Californians are against fracking.

Yet… as expected and right on queue nothing is being done. We have stated this repeatedly in other posts; in a democratic system what people want is totally and utterly irrelevant. This is just another such case. This is not an exception; it is the rule… and an iron one at that:

The democratic system did nothing!

OVERWHELMING GOVERNMENT

The article further points out that in the last few years the gas and oil production in US has grown drastically, in not small parts due to the current presidential initiative to diminish US' dependency on foreign energy sources. This clearly points out that the government at the highest levels, is condoning (or even encouraging) the practice of fracking. The government simply overwhelms anything else. This is, again, standard practice and not an exception. Even if by some sort of miracle the Californian governor would to attempt to oppose fracking, he would simply be overruled by the president. It is that simple. Of course this process would be wrapped in back–room negotiations and would never come to light, but it would indeed happen. All politicians know this, everybody that "counts" knows this. The only people that do not know this are the citizens. There is indeed bliss in ignorance.

In the end?

The government overwhelmingly did nothing!

THE DEMOCRATIC FAILURE

The failure of democracy in this particular environmental issue is the same failure that happens throughout the world and in all other issues. This is nothing new or different. This is Standard Operating Procedure. The two major critical failure points are:

Representation

Politicians do not and cannot represent people more than they can represent "ecology" or "industry" or any other group. We have pointed out this fact in several other writings, but will repeat it again. It is simply not possible to simultaneously represent people with diverse and even opposite points of view in a single issue. It is not possible to advocate and oppose simultaneously for the same issue. Yet, this is what democracy is based on! This is not a fluke or a mistake; this is the core of democracy. It cannot be fixed. This environmental issue simply brings these facts to light.

Private property

The second critical failure point is the rule on which all democracies operate:

You shall not steal unless by majority vote… of your representatives.

And so your property becomes government property to do as they see fit (for their purposes). All these people affected by fracking have no recourse because gas and oil companies operate under government licensing agreements which make them very hard indeed to sue in court for damages. Through these licenses the government is in effect shielding these companies from infringing in other people's properties. These licenses are simply the price of doing business.

Remember, the definition of License is: an official permit to do something that otherwise would be considered either a crime or civil law infringement.

Again, this complete and total disregard for private property is standard and default the modus–operandi of governments. This is not a mistake, this is something carefully planned and executed (see First Come First Served)

THE SOLUTION

The solution is not to demonstrate or continue trying to be heard. This is patently ridiculous since nobody is listening! The solution is not to change governments or politicians because they all operate under the same rules. The solution is not advocate for tougher environmental rules or laws or regulations because they will be bypassed or neutralized.

The true solution is to remove all governments altogether. Once you do so, once private properties become absolute, the whole environmental issue solves itself. It is quite simple, really. In an Absolute Austro–Libertarian system if a company wishes to frack a property, they absolutely, positively and definitively need a voluntary contract with the owner allowing them to do so. However, any and all ecological damage of any kind to any other property makes them instantaneously liable to the full extent of the damage.

Is your property smelling because of chemicals?

They owe you.

Is your water polluted?

They owe you.

Do you or any animal in your property suffer from illness due to chemicals?

They owe you.

Basically, there is no escape. There is nowhere to run (see Evil Externalities for a lengthier explanation). In these conditions, companies would be the best stewards of the environment simply because it is in their best financial interest to do so.

CONCLUSION

The bottom line is that democracy has failed miserably in terms of ecology… as it does with any other issue. This should only be a surprise for those of you that still believe in it. We don't. It is now your chance to say Frack You! to governments. Or not. Your choice.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

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