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Hard Green: Saving The Environment From The Environmentalists A Conservative Manifesto Paperback – November 14, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (November 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465031137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465031139
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #871,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Hard Green, by conservative engineer-attorney Peter Huber, pulls off a neat trick: redefining the terms of discussion to win by default. Environmentalists will be surprised to learn that green rightfully refers only to conservation of wilderness lands--certainly a noble cause, and just about the only green issue likely to fire up traditional conservatives. Well worth reading by those of all political perspectives, Huber's writing is as clear and thorough as you'd expect from someone with his training. His assertions that shortages of fuel, food, and space for waste will be solved by ingenuity seem dazzlingly hopeful, but ultimately his arguments come down to faith. Much stronger are his discussions of privatizing pollution and wilderness protection, which should open eyes across the board. Moreover, his analysis of recycling programs and their ilk gives a much-needed kick in the pants to complacent types who think their garbage sorting is helping anything but their consciences. While it's unlikely to change the political Green movement, much less supplant it, Hard Green will certainly encourage thinking among the thoughtful--and that might be all we need. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has written an ultraconservative manifesto aimed at exposing the fallacies of soft green environmental policy and reinvigorating the conservationalist ethic of Theodore Roosevelt. In his introduction, he outlines the difference in thought between Hard and Soft Greens in four important areas; Part 1 surveys the present and future of environmental issues from a capitalist green perspective, and the final section sets forth a conservative environmental platform, with regard to scarcity, pollution, politics, and ethics. A strong believer in free markets, Huber argues throughout that Soft Green modeling results in prescriptions akin to alchemy. His choice of language in differentiating between the advocates of a liberal philosophy vs. a conservative viewpoint is often abrupt and some what offensive, e.g., "rough riders" vs. "wonks," and he tends to generalize from a few examples and a limited bibliography. But this book promises to encourage further debate among environmental policy makers. The paucity of conservative environmental writing prevents comparison of this book to similar titles. Recommended for larger academic libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a must read for anyone who really cares about preserving the environment.
Azlan Adnan
I think the real value of this book is not so much his ideas, but that he challenges the environmental community to re-evaluate its thinking.
Marceau Ratard
Unfortunately, Huber's weak sourcing, strident bias, and lack of critical thinking make the book less than it could be.
Arthur Digbee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Joseph L. Bast on March 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm not surprised that the reviewers appearing in Amazon.com disagree profoundly on the whether this is a "good" book. I've read "Hard Green" closely several times, discussed my likes and dislikes with its author, and have written three published reviews, and I'm still torn over whether I like or dislike this book.
Huber is simply magnificent at debunking the myths of radical environmentalism. If you are a "true believer" or a fan of Brown, Carson, Capra, Colburn, etc. etc. this book is a must read. It will challenge you to go beyond the fundraising letters and newsletters that often constitute "research" for most environmentalists.
Huber's achievement, though, is compromised by two things. The first is noted by several other reviewers: a writing style that is often "flippant" and "strident," and the absence of source citations or other evidence of careful research and fact checking. Most of us would have preferred more footnotes and a more nuanced writing style.
The second shortcoming, not mentioned yet by other reviewers, is Huber's unexplained dismissal of free-market environmentalism (FME), an important new movement inside the environmental movement that calls for greater attention to sound science and market-based, rather than government-based, solutions to environmental problems.
Huber doesn't mention a single scholar who has been active in this field -- Terry Anderson, Richard Stroup, Jane Shaw, Fred Smith, Bruce Yandle, etc. Worse, he makes sweeping concessions to anti-market environmentalists on issues such as public goods that reflect little awareness of the current state of the debate.
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112 of 133 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are only two or three people who can think and write on new subjects like Peter Huber. Richard Posner and Andrew Ferguson, maybe. In the mid 1980s Huber rethought and led a quiet revolution in the law of suing people. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Huber rethought and led a quiet revolution in telecom law. Huber's newest book will be an affront to V.P. Gore supporters but should have a much larger and positive effect than Gore on environmentalism: people who love the outdoors and the environment will worry in a new way how best to protect it.
I don't have time to read everything that looks interesting. This I read and recommend to others.
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63 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Logical and consistent, Peter Huber does not suffer fools on either side of the political spectrum. This is a remarkably balanced account of what's wrong with standard left environmentalism and what we should do about it.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on November 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In a relentless assault on the ideas that underlie the modern environmental movement, lawyer and engineer Peter Huber knocks the props from under some of the fundamental assumptions of what he calls the Soft Greens.

"Hard Green" is primarily a book about morality, analysis and policy, not a debate about data. In the most persuasive part of his book, Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, shows that computer models of complex systems, like global climate, are worthless.

The problem is not that our computers are too feeble to give us answers if we ask the right questions. The problem is that we do not know enough to ask meaningful questions.

Huber shows that, if even one feedback loop is missed or mis-sized, the models all end in catastrophe. When you get the same output no matter what the input was, that is not science.

It is anti-science, or, as Huber calls it, trans-science.

"Hard Green" covers a great deal of territory. While Huber uses logical analysis to demolish computer modeling, he uses historical experience to demonstrate, again convincingly, that the concepts of "sustainability" and "carrying capacity" are meaningless.

Thomas Malthus, 200 years ago, made the classic statement of carrying capacity. Since then, every limit anyone has proposed has been shattered. "No law of geophysics, biology, engineering or economics decrees: So far, but no farther," Huber writes.

But logical arguments mean little to the sizable segment of the SG movement that is frankly anti-rational. Huber has a challenge for these mystics, too.

The predictions of catastrophe have not come true, nor is there any evidence doomsday is close.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By David Dennis on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hard Green's primary fault is that it's glib and superficial and bounces all over the subject matter without penetrating deeply into what are undeniably important issues.
To get the most out of Hard Green, you have to read what the Greens themselves are saying. Indeed, they may well be more effective critics of themselves than Huber is. A publication called 'Synthesis / Regeneration', a journal of Green political thought, spends its 48 pages without mentioning conservation or traditional environmental issues even once. Instead, laughable theories are created: We should eliminate all private business. No, we should let some private business operate, if they're small enough. No, we should only run worker-owned cooperatives. Every line item of production should be voted on by The People. No, they should vote on packages selected by politicians. These folks play lip service to having learned the lessons of the collapse of communism, but in the end, their prescription is little more than Soviet-style Communism with an environmental twist.
Huber's point is simple and clear: The world doesn't work as Greens want it to. A modern plutocrat car, the Mercedes-Benz S420, is safer, more fuel-efficient, faster and pollutes far, far less than the VW Microbus still driven by many Greens. A modern power plant pollutes less than burning trash in your backyard, as the Greens want you to do. Want to use solar or wind power? You'll have to clear thousands of acres of pristine forest to make room for the plants. Better to save the forests and get power from underground stuff like oil and uranium.
Finally, no, the world isn't running out of resources. Every time it threatens to, our capitalists go to work and find more. And on that unhappy day when they don't?
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