Holidays are not slowing the rightward march of the Bonner County Property Rights Council. Monday night, the controversial Property Rights Council is sponsoring a “public seminar” on “The Theoretical Basis for a Property Rights Council.” The featured speaker is Sandpoint-based James L. Payne. Mr. Payne is a frequent contributor to the polluter-friendly and Koch-connected Independent Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education. It is unclear how this seminar got officially scheduled — the PRC meeting scheduled for last week was cancelled and prior meetings made no mention of the seminar.
Mr. Payne’s anti-government views are not exactly mainstream. For example, he is critical of government spending, sure. But he’s even opposed to FEMA and government-supported disaster aid. (“The private sector can and does address all of these issues.”) He is sharply critical of environmental regulations, sure. But he’s opposed to regulations designed to prevent major environmental “catastrophes” like the gulf oil spill. Instead, Payne concludes, “In the final analysis, overcoming environmental abuse is not likely to be achieved by governmental dictation. Instead, it is a process of social learning that includes everyone: friends and neighbors, reporters, pamphleteers, teachers, researchers—and companies too, as they discover how pollution hurts their image and their bottom line.” Yeah. That’ll work.