Additional Titles








How America
is Being







PART 1 of 4



By Michael Shaw

October 7, 2006

Imagine a weed lot transformed into a landscape filled with the sights, the sounds, and the sweetest scents of native California, in a manner that no government-owned land has ever matched. Imagine children barefoot, frolicking in an open meadow or resting on willowy mattresses of native central California oat grass. One lone child gathers a bouquet of blue-eyed grass, sky blue lupines, white and golden yarrow, golden Mariposa lilies, orange monkey flowers, and the prized addition to her array, an 18 inch tall California rein orchid.

Imagine that child’s parents leaving the woods with a basket filled with delicious, sun-roasted California wild hazelnuts. As sunset approaches, they decide to return to the lodge. They hike through the willow swamp with its purple-blue carpets of blooming Douglas iris and a striking array of green and chartreuse sedge plants. They come upon a plot of giant bent grass and admire its golden seed heads against the backdrop of the sunset sky. As they proceed, alluring fragrances rise from the native herbs crushed beneath their feet. They enjoy succulent black­berries before they enter a knoll of lovely managed pink currents. Nowhere else are there such prolific producers.

Pausing, they catch the distant din from Highway 1 to the northeast; from the other direction come the relaxing sounds of the waves from Monterey Bay. Song-like whistles and chirps fill the air from the multiple species of birds, both common and rare, that now inhabit or visit the thriving landscape. They try to count the different species but quickly lose track as the birds mingle and flit from bush and tree. In the distance, they catch sight of a doe and her two fawns resting serenely on the lush native grasses under a fully blooming elderberry. Clearly, people are not the only beneficiaries of the improvements made here.

Once this landscape was an impenetrable thicket of stressed willow, walls of poison oak and bramble, and invasive non-native plants like pampas grass, scotch broom, poison hemlock, and bull thistle. It was then transformed into its present state—a diverse and productive landscape—by rigorous human disturbance directed by reasoned trial and error.

The young couple realizes that gardens such as this one with rich food sources for unusual birds and other species would be plentiful in a region of stewarded landscapes.

Imagine the family reuniting in the tearoom. Each person eagerly chooses from dozens of native herb tea formulations. The father describes his morning spent hunting and gathering herbs. Now a newly budding expert, he offers his advice regarding the selections. Mother and daughter are excited about tonight’s dinner, the wild mushroom entrée, for which they gathered twelve very wild-looking varieties. One by one, each person shares the day’s adventures, knowing that tomorrow will be just as special.

The place you are imagining is Liberty Garden, a paradise that represents, in the face of considerable odds, a triumph of private property and its responsible use.

A Degradation

Today, the American government owns a growing 53% of the nation’s landmass, over 50% of the California coastline, and much of Santa Cruz County. Most of this land is wild. Its ecological condition is degrading while human conflict over its use is rising.

This degradation is occurring as the United Nations rapidly advances its biodiversity-based “Agenda 21” in the United States. Cloaked in terms of “Sustainable Development” with its components “Smart Growth” and the Wildlands Project, Agenda 21 seeks to transform America while eliminating the middle class. It plans to reach these goals on several fronts: by restructuring agriculture, creating broad wildlife corridors void of human activity, determining where and how people live, controlling human reproduction and human movement, constraining and controlling energy consumption and water use—in short, by eliminating private property. [See DVD: "Liberty or Systainable Development"]

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All of us should be concerned about these developments. Just as the environment at Liberty Garden represents a complex interplay of plants and animals, soil and water, natural processes and human interventions, our liberty involves the complex interplay of our natural rights, both personal and economic, and our interactions with one another and with our government. At the heart of our individual liberty lies the institution of private property. If the ideals of private property erode away, our personal liberty will wither and die as surely as Liberty Garden would die without wind, rain, and human tending. In what follows, I want to explain why private property is the precious basis of the freedoms we enjoy and why it is worth protecting.

Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4,

© 2006 Michael Shaw - All Rights Reserved

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Michael Shaw is a founder and director of Freedom 21 Santa Cruz and is a frequent host of the nationally syndicated Freedom 21 Santa Cruz Radio Show. He holds degrees in Political Science and Law and has practiced as an attorney and as a Certified Public Accountant. For 20 years he has implemented Abundance Ecology land management techniques on land he owns on the central coast of California. His success at creating an indigenous plant wonderland is unparalleled. Details are available at

More information on the Nature Conservancy and Sustainable Development (research documents, subject topic articles, radio archives, neighborhood tools to counter Sustainable Development and free subscription to The Report) is available at

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...United Nations rapidly advances its biodiversity-based “Agenda 21” in the United States. Cloaked in terms of “Sustainable Development” with its components “Smart Growth” and the Wildlands Project, Agenda 21 seeks to transform America while eliminating the middle class.