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AMERICA IS BEING SOVIETIZED
By Michael Shaw & Edward Hudgin
An unrecognized threat to the liberty and prosperity of each American has spread throughout the country, taking root in every state and county. Its current and most serious manifestation was fashioned by an international organization with the explicit goal of replacing the autonomy of individuals over their own land with a collectivist control system that ultimately destroys the natural rights of each citizen. Its weapons for limiting liberty include councils that are similar to the institution of “soviets” that were pioneered by the communists who once controlled Russia. And yet most Americans see it as a well-meaning attempt to create a cleaner, better planet.
Agenda 21 is the guidebook to implementing “Sustainable Development” which is a comprehensive concept for human management adopted by the United Nations summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The land use element of Agenda 21 is implemented in the United States under labels like “Smart Growth,” “Comprehensive Planning”, “Growth Management,” or “Community Visioning.” It uses American political activists, politicians, academics, government agencies, non governmental organizations, non profits and “collaborative business” to foster a new economic system; so-called “public-private partnerships.” As a result a new form of governance is emerging that is evolving outside the bounds of the preexisting legal and Constitutional framework. Non-elected councils are intended to manage all private property in real estate and material assets. This restructure is designed to restrict the owner’s rights to the use and enjoyment of his property. It is crucial that citizens recognize the nature of this threat to American individualism if they are to break political stranglehold that these new soviets place on our liberties. [Must see video: "Liberty or Sustainable Development"]
Government Protection and Protection from Government.
In a free society political institutions are constructed to protect the fundamental rights of individuals – including property rights -- both from the initiation of force and fraud by other individuals and from the political regime itself. One means by which government is restrained is through voting. Citizens vote for lawmakers including members of the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, county commissions or city councils. They vote for executive branch members, including the president, governors, mayors and county executives. Legislative deliberations are open to the public and votes of elected officials are matters of public record. Ultimately if lawmakers or members of the executive branch do not satisfy the voters, they are voted out at regularly scheduled elections.
Unrestrained democracy and concentrated and centralized powers endanger liberty. That is why the U.S. Constitution assigns limited and enumerated powers to the federal government. This concept forms the framework for the American regime – government exists to protect individual rights by application of the principles of equal justice. That is why the powers of government – executive, legislative and judicial – are separated and balanced. America’s Founders intentionally made it difficult for majorities to violate the natural rights of a minority including when the minority is but one person.
A major problem especially since World War Two has been the abrogation by legislators of their lawmaking authority to non elected regulatory bureaucracies. The rule-making by these bureaucracies do not receive the kind of attention and are not subject to the kind of checks that restrain lawmakers. Yet some checks still exist; proposed rules must be posted, public hearings must be held and agencies are subject to restrictions imposed by legislatures such as requirements for cost-benefit analyses. But this problem of abrogation grows worse, with “regional” bureaucracies joining the effort.
The checks have become impractical and ineffective. Even at the local level, the volume of “vision” meetings, legal postings, public hearings, and public comments result in voluminous rule making that would require legions of citizens to even monitor and report the activities.
The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Threat
Many of the modern assaults on private property have been in the name of environmentalism and it is no secret that many advocates of such policies are not merely trying to produce a cleaner planet but, rather, the elimination of free enterprise and of ridding much of the planet and America of the presence of human beings.
Assaults on land use have taken a new, dangerous form thanks to the federal government’s adoption, by executive order, of the United Nations’ “Sustainable Development” (Agenda 21) initiative. Sustainable Development requires a much more systematic program, directed in accordance with a globally arranged central plan, than heretofore is found in the local or even federal regulations. The term, Sustainable Development, was defined in the Bruntland Report, Our Common Future, at U.N.’s World Commission on Environment and Development as, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” That report set the groundwork for the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development or Rio Earth Summit in 1992 at which 178 governments, including the United States, agreed to Agenda 21. This Agenda and many documents that followed, offered a detailed description of the policies that would allegedly result in “sustainable development”.
The Agenda contained the usual socialist class warfare assumptions but couched it in environmentalist language. For example, chapter 4 explains that, “Excessive demands and unsustainable lifestyles among the richer segments of humanity place immense stress on the environment. The poorer segments, meanwhile, are unable to meet food, health-care, shelter and educational needs. This pattern, which aggravates poverty in the world, is a matter of grave concern.”
But as two different indexes of economic freedom, one developed by the Heritage Foundation, the other by an international coalition of think tanks headed by Canada’s Fraser Institute, clearly show, the strongest correlation with prosperity is economic freedom and with poverty, economic repression. Yet the Preamble of the Agenda states that to meet its goals will “require substantial new financial assistance for developing countries.” Further, Article 8 of the Draft Covenant on Economic Development for the Agenda states that “equity will be achieved ... through transfers of resources to developing countries." Of course, this would follow the hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. aid that has been dumped into those countries over past decades with no results aside from propping up the governments that keep their own people in poverty by denying them economic freedom.
Agenda 21 sees governments as the answer. The Preamble states that “sustainable development is primarily the responsibility of governments, and this will require national strategies, plans and policies.” And chapter 4 states that to produce sustainable development, governments should strive to “promote efficient production and reduce wasteful consumption.” The United States submits regular reports to the United Nations to validate the nation’s achievement of the Agenda 21 programs and timetables.
What these statements really mean for most Americans was spelled out by Maurice Strong, the Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit, and Canadian oil billionaire, who wrote that “current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.” The lifestyle that Americans worked so hard to earn is the explicit target of Agenda 21. Even more ominous for freedom were the words of Harvey Ruvin of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, who is also a Clerk of the Circuit and County Court in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He defined the issue well when he said “individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective.”
In rural areas of developed countries the goal of Agenda 21’s Wildlands Project is to eliminate human presence from “at least” 50 percent of the American landscape according to Reed Noss, an editor for the project’s quarterly publication, Wild Earth. That means eliminating roads, bridges, dams, farms, houses and any kind of productive activity. Throughout the country Sustainable policies are driving forestland owners, ranchers, farmers and other rural residents off the land. A wave of NGO sponsored conservation easements are setting up rural landscapes for the loss of private management authority. Without management authority the private nature of land is lost and the Wildland’s Project goals are advanced.
The urban version of Agenda 21, usually under the name Smart Growth, seeks to concentrate people into more densely crowded city centers with limited transportation options. Put another way, Smart Growth is a war against suburbs with single-family houses with large yards and individuals traveling principally by automobile.
How Agenda 21 Works
Agenda 21 is a kind of handbook that promotes local action to begin the process of implementing Sustainable Development policies. Any number of actors can start the process. Often it is a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO), that is, an activist group. These groups can secure official accreditation from the United Nations. The process also might be started by a federal regulatory agency or bureaucrat. Or it might be kicked off by a local government official.
The bills initially are often paid for by tax-exempt foundations. These have included the Rockefeller Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Turner Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation and the McArthur Foundation.
The institutional instruments that activists seek to establish are so-called stakeholder councils. Activists might place an ad in local papers announcing an initiative to deal with one of any number of purported problems – water, soil, wildlife, housing costs, transportation etc. The initiating party might call other local activists – members of the Sierra Club and other local environmental and business non-profits – to make certain they are at the meeting.
Paid facilitators usually run the meetings. The goal of the facilitators is to reach a “consensus” concerning the problem that is to be addressed. This often involves many meetings, subcommittees and the like. Ultimately some action plans or “best management practices” are issued. Of course, the actions of these councils themselves do not have the force of law. But usually the councils have been working closely with local government officials friendly to their causes. The officials might then secure an act of the city council, county commission, or other body to adopt the council recommendations.
Sometimes a federal, state or local regulatory agency with jurisdiction over some land use issue in a particular area, for example, over water use or wildlife, might simply issue the council’s recommendations as its policy. The end result is the loss of a property owner’s right to the management and use of their property and the destruction of the ideals of private property.
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© 2005 - Michael Shaw - All Rights Reserved
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Michael Shaw is an Abundance Ecologist and proprietor of Liberty Garden – a managed ecological oasis on the central California coast. www.LibertyGarden.com. He is also a founding participant of Freedom 21 Santa Cruz www.Freedom21SantaCruz.net. He spoke on: “Sustainable Trouble; Restoring Liberty” at the concluding session of the July 2005 Freedom 21 Conference in Reno Nevada. Credit to Terry Hayfield for his insights on artificial dialectic.
Smart Growth is a war against suburbs with single-family houses with large yards and individuals traveling principally by automobile.