"As Cyriacus hastened along the quay, something caught his eye and caused him to look up at the Roman arch that rose over the port. . .The gleaming white monument was astonishingly well-preserved, considering it had been erected centuries ago. Its inlaid bronze letters had been pried out, leaving the inscriptions as ghostly cavities, but the rest of the structure was intact and appeared light and graceful. . ..
Unlike texts on the pages of books, handed from one generation to the next by more or less caring hands and prone to errors of transcription or misunderstanding, physical artifacts were direct links to the past. They reflected immediately and tangibly the preoocupations of the ancients, bore their fingerprints and traces of their breath. . .
Though elated by this visceral connection with the past, Cyriacus also felt troubled. Throughout Italy and in the East he had seen ancient remains not merely disregarded by the locals, but regularly despoiled by them for building blocks and burned for lime. If they were not somehow safeguarded, they would be gone. . .
Standing before Trajan’s arch in Ancona, Cyriacus sensed his life coming into focus. His curiosity, his hunger for travel, his quest for a meaningful existence, his need for intellectual enrichment would all be amply satisfied if he were to take on this new mission: to seek out, study, and preserve for future generations the material remains of classical cultures."
From To Wake the Dead: A Renaissance Merchant and the Birth of Archeology, by Marina Belozerskaya (W.W. Norton & Co., 2009), pp. 3-12.
What the author of this book did not tell us – perhaps because Pizzacolli himself was not aware of it – is that Renaissance merchant Cyriacus Pizzacolli was a tool of the United Nations. And of George H.W. Bush.
Yes, Agenda 21 (read it here), sponsored by the United Nations and signed by George H.W. Bush in 1992, reached back 550 years and made Cyriacus Pizzacolli an agent of the United Nations agenda of world domination.
How? Agenda 21 forced Cyriacus Pizzacolli to promote historic preservation.
In case you haven’t noticed that Agenda 21 is running YOUR life also, let me make one thing perfectly clear:
What is Agenda 21? It’s a long, aspirational statement of ways that people around the world might be able to reduce pollution and improve quality of life. It is a compilation of concepts that ALREADY EXISTED IN 1992 – it didn’t really invent anything new, as far as I can tell. If it had been full of new, innovative concepts, would 178 nations – including the United States, under President George H.W. Bush -- have signed onto it? Of course not.
Nonetheless, a strange and counterfactual conspiracy theory has grown some roots, both politically (in the Tea Party and, under that influence, the Republican Party) and geographically (here in Whatcom County). The Agenda 21 conspiracy theory claims that every word in Agenda 21 is the cause of the concept that it discusses. According to conspiracy proponents, Agenda 21 did not reflect centuries of experience or the best practices of the nations that contributed to it. Instead, it gave birth to every concept that it mentioned.
According to one easy-to-find website, Agenda 21 is responsible for all of these concepts – and more: “Alternative Energy, Local Visioning, facilitators, regional planning, historic preservation, conservation easements, development rights, sustainable farming, comprehensive planning, growth management, consensus.”
I just clicked on a provision of Agenda 21 at random. As it happens, this provision might have some resonance here in Whatcom County. It says:
23.2. One of the fundamental prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development is broad public participation in decision-making. Furthermore, in the more specific context of environment and development, the need for new forms of participation has emerged. This includes the need of individuals, groups and organizations to participate in environmental impact assessment procedures and to know about and participate in decisions, particularly those which potentially affect the communities in which they live and work. Individuals, groups and organizations should have access to information relevant to environment and development held by national authorities, including information on products and activities that have or are likely to have a significant impact on the environment, and information on environmental protection measures.
Are you shocked, are you outraged, by the statement that “individuals, groups, and organizations” should be allowed to “participate in environmental impact assessment procedures and to know about and participate in decisions, particularly those which potentially affect the communities in which they live and work”?
I hope not.
If facts mattered at all to this kind of debate, it might be important to recognize that the National Environmental Policy Act, which is the law that requires the preparation of environmental impact statements in the United States, was passed – by the United States Congress, not by the United Nations – in 1969. That’s more than 20 years before Agenda 21. But why let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.
I think that this analysis correctly explains the Agenda 21 conspiracy phenomenon: “this type of fearful rhetoric helps create a perceived enemy to rally against.” And that’s what we’re seeing here in Whatcom County. It's too bad, because it creates a division that no amount of facts, and no appeal to common interests, can overcome.
Is there a way to get people to rally for critical thinking?