The Power Line Show, Ep 182: Earth Day at 50, with Terry Anderson

It’s Earth Day today—and not just any old Earth Day, but the 50th anniversary. It’s passing rather more quietly than in many previous years because the coronavirus crisis is eclipsing everything at the moment. But a lot has changed since the first Earth Day. Not only is the environment in the United States, and in most places around the world, in much better condition than it was in 1970, but our perspectives on environmental policy has changed somewhat for the better since then, too. Environmentalists used to say openly that “Economics is a form of brain damage,” but today the centrality of economics to sound environmental policy is grudgingly conceded by even the most Malthusian holdout greenies.

Terry Anderson

One of the key thinkers behind this change in perspective is Terry L. Anderson, the co-author (with Don Leal) of one of the most significant books of modern conservative-libertarian intellectual thought: Free Market Environmentalism. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that I learned everything I know about how to think straight about the environment from Terry. The book has gone through several editions since it first appeared in 1992, has been translated into multiple foreign languages, and is widely used in college classrooms. Terry is currently a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, and was one of the co-founders and long-time executive director of PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, which is one of the premier intellectual nodes of contrarian environmental thinking. Terry also does a lot of research and writing on native American culture and economies, with similarly unique insights and observations.

And don’t miss Terry’s article on Earth Day up today at The Hill.

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