Friday, October 19, 2012

More on Agenda 21: Talking to "Steve"

I found a comment “awaiting moderation” yesterday, and was impressed that Blogspot had read my statement that I’m not going to allow anonymous comments on my blog.  This comment was submitted by “Steve.”  “Steve” has been on Blogger since December 2011, and “his” profile has been viewed 4 times (twice by me).

Well, hi, “Steve.”

“Steve” commented on my blog Agenda 21:  A Straw Enemy.”    That blog took issue with the claim by some folks that the United Nations, through “Agenda 21,” is pushing a one world government to be implemented through “local visioning,” “historic preservation ,” “consensus,” and the like. 

The blog pointed out that this view is entirely divorced from history, in light of the fact that these concepts existed (and were being implemented) before Agenda 21.

Long before Agenda 21. 

For example, here’s a pre-Agenda 21 example of comprehensive planning.  It’s L’enfant’s plan for Washington, D.C., developed in 1791:


Whether or not we believe that planning is an outrageous assault on property rights, whether or not we believe that it’s OK for a French person to tell Americans how to build a city, can we at least agree that the United Nations wasn’t responsible?

That was the point of the blog, and I’m afraid that “Steve” missed it. 

In the blog, I reprinted a paragraph of Agenda 21 that calls for “broad public participation in decision-making."  This paragraph states:

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.

I asked:  “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’”?

Well, “Steve” was.  “He” wrote:

You wish to rally for critical thinking - Ok. Where in that section of text quoted does it say that participation is voluntary? To highlight further "the need for new forms of participation has emerged." What new forms of participation? Many people already participate in using green products, recycling, and many other environmentally friendly movements voluntarily. There is no necessity for the UN to become involved. (Unless their goal isn't just environmentally friendly nations). We can do it ourselves, and better than they can. Also, your article is essentially Reductio ad absurdum considering you don't address any of the reasons "The Tea Party" or "conspiracy theorists" dislike Agenda 21 - Namely the removal of privacy and property

Well, I could rise to the bait.  I could point out that “participation” is not an ominous term.  Coercion is not inherent to the term “participation.”  The On Line Dictionary says it means “The act of taking part or sharing in something: Teachers often encourage class participation.” 

That hit home.  I’m a teacher.  I try to encourage class participation.  And I swear on everything that I hold dear:  the United Nations has never forced me to do so. 

I could also point out that Agenda 21 wasn’t talking to us, or at least not to us alone.  It’s also talking to Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria. . . It’s a big world out there. And most people, in most countries of the world, don’t have the opportunities to participate in decision-making that we have here.

So Agenda 21 suggests (and that’s all that it can do) that countries adopt a proud American product:  the environmental impact assessment process.  This is not “new” to us, since it’s been around since 1969 in our country.  It’s not “new” in other developed countries.  But it might be “new” to Afghanistan.

But no, I’m not going to rise to the bait. 

The point of disagreement between “Steve” and me is not really the benefits of participation or even issues relating to property rights and privacy, where we might find some points of agreement. 

The disagreement is that “Steve’s” underlying premise, untouched by any of the facts in my blog (and unresponsive to them), is that the United Nations dictates U.S. policy.  At every level of policy.  

When that premise remains in place regardless of all evidence to the contrary, we can’t talk about issues.  We can’t debate or discuss.  That big scary straw man stands in our way. 

As Cervantes* said, “Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things under ground, and much more in the skies.”   Once you accept the premise that the United Nations runs our government, you can see Agenda 21 in every policy.

It is an empirical fact that a lot of groups influence government policy.  The Chamber of Commerce, the Building Industry Association of Washington, and the fossil fuel industry come to mind at the local, state, and federal levels.  In some small way, the dreaded ICLEI (a nonprofit intended to help local governments to implement “sustainability” goals contained in Agenda 21) may have influenced our government.  That doesn’t mean that the United Nations runs the world.  Nor does it mean that One World Government is either the cause or the result of every Agenda 21 policy.

*While it’s never possible to know for sure, it seems unlikely that Cervantes (1547-1616) was an agent of the United Nations.  After all, his character Don Quixote was the ultimate opponent of windmills. Windmills, an example of "green energy," are alleged to be the spawn of Agenda 21.  Ergo, Don Quixote must be a prequel.  By tilting at windmills, the Knight of the Woeful Countenance was fighting against the "giant," which was really Agenda 21.


  1. Man was given dominion over the earth, to care for it as if a garden.

    But without central planning. Or, I guess, any planning.

    If Man were meant to plan, he would have been given the largest comparable brain capacity in the animal kingdom. It would weigh, oh, about 3 pounds or so.

    1. Indeed.

      I always wonder what would happen if the private sector were informed that planning is evil. Perhaps we should let them know that individual action, free of "collectivist" planning activity, leads to the best of all possible worlds.

      As things stand, MBA programs are full of courses in strategic planning. Businesses -- in our very own community, I daresay -- believe that their bottom line will be improved if they plan ahead.

      The war against individual rights has even spread to the Harvard Business Review. Not often recognized as a bastion of socialism, HBR published an article stating that "The primary task of management is to get people to work together in a systematic way." (Oct. 2006, The Tools of Cooperation and Change, by Clayton M. Christensen, Matt Marx, and Howard H. Stevenson.)

      Note that the last name of one of the authors is "Marx." Yes, the same last name as Karl Marx. The fact that Marxists can promote "cooperation" through the Harvard Business Review shows that Agenda 21 has gone viral.

      Whoa, sorry! Got a little carried away there. You can't just pick words out of a longer article, out of context, to support whatever point you want to make.

  2. Jean,

    As I am sure you know, and probably agree, we all engage in conspiracies.

    Those who rail against Agenda 21 or, from the other side, about associations of people like the Tea Party engage in their own conspiracies to bring about the demise of the evil they see in the other.

    Our nation was founded by conspirators. David and yourself, along with those who believe as you do "conspire" to change both urban and rural Whatcom County while I, and a few who think as I do "conspire" to frustrate your efforts to end what I/we consider to be traditional rural lifestyles in Whatcom County.

    But, in fact, there are broad approaches or, “conspiracies,” at work in our world today. The ideas the United States were founded on are no longer much favored today but we haven’t really figured out what “new” we are going to replace the “old” with.

    I don’t really know whether or not Agenda 21 as a discrete “conspiracy” exists or not but, certainly, the kind of collectivist approach to various issues the various ideas attributed to Agenda 21 does exist as one of the overarching working theories contending for the minds of women and men in the world today; “Ordinary men and women cannot be trusted to do the right thing so those of us who are the modern version of the old-fashioned aristocracy need to be in a position to temper the excesses of the people.” To the extent that people holding those views involve themselves in "planning" the views are integraged into planning effors and, eventually, into "law."

    I think that lost in the background of the often silly discussions over things like Agenda 21 is a much more important problem. In places like America we’ve discarded the old but, as yet, have not discovered common ground as to what the new should look like. That, in a world in which the three power bases represented by radical Muslim movements, the rudderless remnants of what was once called the “Free World,” and the new power bases represented by what is left of the old Soviet Union, China and their allies are contending for influence may lead to the ignition point for World War III.

    1. Conspiracies are based on false facts or no facts. There are no facts to prove that Agenda 21 "caused" comprehensive planning or the desire to make sure that our water stays clean,

      As for planning -- some of the oldest words about property rights were originally in Latin: "Sic utere tuo ut alienum laedes." Use your property in a way that doesn't harm others. I think that most people would agree with that idea, if the issue were prevented that way -- rather than as a big bad one world government trying to take over your rights.

    2. Sorry, that first sentence was intended to say "Conspiracy theories". A slip twixt brain and fingers.

    3. Traditional rural lifestyles that require city residents to subsidize. Everything from
      Schools to law enforcement to fire protection to transportation are subsidized by efficient urban services. Why "pop" conservatives like Jack continue to support these subsidies is beyond my understanding. Maybe that is part of the ALEC conspiracy agenda.

  3. Jean,

    Are you actually saying that all 'conspiracy theories' are "based on false facts or no facts?" That no conspiracy theories (before proven) actually describe an actual conspiracy?

    I'm not sure I agree. Like Jack, I firmly believe people are conspiring all the time. Most of our conspiracies have little or no impact, but some conspiracies certainly do. If Greg Kirsch is reading, he knows I'm alluding in particular to the bankers' conspiracy that created the Federal Reserve (as described in enlightening detail in THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND).

    I don't know whether any facts support the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory or not; however, I wouldn't group all conspiracy theories together. Some are likely to be proven accurate given enough time.

    For example, I believe there is a conspiracy to allow local developers to continue to receive tax subsidies in the form of inadequate impact fees, and I suspect there are quite a few facts I can identify to support my 'theory'. Maybe I'm just crazy.

    Aluminum foil, anyone?

  4. Free Merriam Webster Dictionary, Conspiracy theory: "a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators."

    There's not a lot that's secret about the failure to adopt impact fees in Whatcom County.

    Jack's claim that David and I are conspirators just made me laugh, because everything we do is out in the open and our only power base is the law.

    But let me change my statement to "conspiracy theories thrive in the absence of facts." I'm not interested in a definitional debate.

  5. Typically, those who attempt to inform the public of attacks on their interests by economically and financially powerful individuals are countered with dismissive, ad hominem criticism; usually that they are "conspiracy theorists,"

    And next, in some bastardized version of the reductio ad absurdum, with jocularity and sarcasm, much is made of the preposterous notion so many stalwarts of the master class would actually have time for all these secret conclaves.

    In fact, as civil law recognizes, conspiracies do not require face to face planning. They needn't even entail communication. Where individuals acting separately but in concert damage someone you usually have a civil conspiracy.

    For all the rhetorical debasement of the word, the greatest conspiracies evolve where powerful forces acting separately achieve an end from which they all benefit at the public expense.

    Though the powerful often employ conspicuous means: syndicates, monopolies, cartels and the like; by far their most useful tool is government and its easily seduced representatives.

    OK. Please pass the tinfoil, Larry.

  6. Hey Greg,

    Bart's gotcha covered...