By Clark M. Jones
I became aware of sustainability through what was happening in our local government, in particular in the City Council. People there were referring, perhaps without knowledge of the source, to the ideas contained in Our Common Future of the UN’s Brundtland Commission of 1987 and the UN’s Agenda 21 of 1992.
In the April 20th Rapid City Council meeting, Alderman Malcom Chapman read a letter/email from Alderwoman Karen Olson, who was at a Green Cities conference in Portland. Chapman said he wanted to put in a plug for the conference, and referred to sustainability as so important to our country’s future.
In the July 20th Council meeting, Item 19 on the agenda was a proposal to adopt green/sustainable recommendations put forth by council members Karen Gunderson Olson, Patti Martinson, and Aaron Costello. Karen Olson, during the discussion of Item 19, referred to a
“…suggested list of interest areas that we, that the committee thought would be appropriate as that committee, as that task force is put in place.”
That suggested list includes “environment, economy, and social equity.”
This is the outline of the entire UN agenda for sustainability. The introduction to Our Common Future calls it “a global agenda for change.”
The following quotes from Agenda 21 are from its introduction, and then chapter 28 on local government.
“Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.
28.2. The following objectives are proposed for this programme area:
(a) By 1996, most local authorities in each country should have undertaken a consultative process with their populations and achieved a consensus on “a local Agenda 21” for the community;
(b) By 1993, the international community should have initiated a consultative process aimed at increasing cooperation between local authorities;
(c) By 1994, representatives of associations of cities and other local authorities should have increased levels of cooperation and coordination with the goal of enhancing the exchange of information and experience among local authorities;
(d) All local authorities in each country should be encouraged to implement and monitor programmes which aim at ensuring that women and youth are represented in decision-making, planning and implementation processes.
28.3. Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations and private enterprises and adopt “a local Agenda 21”. Through consultation and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organizations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies. The process of consultation would increase household awareness of sustainable development issues…”
As I read its plan and advice for local governments, it looked to me like Item 19 from the July 20th Council meeting. From what I have been seeing, it is being done in city and county governments all over America.
Agenda 21 is a very specific plan of the United Nations designed to achieve global governance by using local governments to enact this without going through the constitutional process in our country where all treaties with foreign powers must be ratified by the United States Senate.
I also recently became aware of gubernatorial candidate and Brookings Mayor Scott D. Munsterman’s connection to these ideas and of his book A Vision for South Dakota. The first thing that got my attention was his philosophical statement in his campaign brochure. “To fully realize our potential, we must make investments through statewide community development initiatives, ensuring that resources are working together for a common purpose. Our vision should be one of local control, supported by local and state-level investment. This vision for South Dakota is based on four pillars of sustainable development: Education, Economic Development, Environment and Energy, and our Social and Cultural Fabric. Each pillar helps support the Community of Purpose Program…”
Looking at what is going on in our state, at the rural plans in Vermont and elsewhere, and at the agenda of the current White House administration, this all looks to me like the New Economic Plan of Vladimir Lenin, the plan of John Maynard Keynes, FDR’s economist, and like Agenda 21.
Stalin believed the New Economic Plan was too much of a concession to Capitalism. Lenin himself said it was absolutely not a return to capitalism, but was “one step back to take two steps forward.” Heavy industry and transportation stayed in the hands of the central government, while the peasants were allowed to have their light industry and small farms. In exchange for these “freedoms,” they were required to meet quotas for production and submit to price controls. This happened in America from the Depression on through the 1960’s, when Ronald Reagan began challenging it in his 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing.” People were being thrown in jail for refusing to submit to quotas and price controls through the National Recovery Act, a whole different NRA, and the farm bills.
The Communists in Russia under Lenin proclaimed the program a great success, since the people increased production with the “freedom” they had. The problem was that the plan starved farmers, because they couldn’t meet the quotas and live themselves and make up the difference in cost of the things they were getting from industry. This was the hammer and sickle philosophy of government. Then the factory workers were starving because not enough was being produced. When Stalin began implementing his succession of Five Year Plans, millions of people died.
In America we are seeing this implemented before our eyes. We are told the banking industry, the housing mortgage industry, the automotive industry, the health care industry, and the newspaper industry are all too big and too important to fail. Everything big is being collected in the hands of the central government and tax structure is being considered to control personal and business behavior. Soviet Russia used quotas and price controls, although those things have been advanced in all kinds of ways in agriculture, suggested caps for executive pay, and price controls and caps on pay in the health care industry.
What should be the nature and work of local government? William Blackstone wrote in his Commentaries on the Laws of England,“MUNICIPAL law, thus understood, is properly defined to be ‘a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in ‘a state, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is ‘wrong.’”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in his A Summary View of the Rights of British America that “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Notes on the State of Virginia, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
John Greenleaf Whittier wrote in 1836 in Song of the Free, “If we have whispered truth, Whisper no longer; Speak as the tempest does, sterner and stronger; Still be the tones of truth Louder and firmer, Startling the haughty South with the deep murmur; God and our charter’s right, Freedom for ever! Truce with oppression,-Never, oh, never!”
Government that denies the moral foundation of law automatically converts over to social engineering. If we can’t command right and punish wrong, then social, economic, and environmental engineering is the only alternative.
In two successive elections, the people of South Dakota have denied this foundation.
Clark M. Jones is a student of history and a member of Citizens for Liberty, the group which organized the Rapid City Tax Day Tea Party and the Rapid City Independence Day Tea Party. To find out more about what Citizens for Liberty is doing in western South Dakota to fight excessive government and restore our land to limited government, go to www.sdcitizens.com or attend their next meeting (details on the website).