The transformation of government, by Henry Lamb
October 9, 2011
Where did governments — at every level — get the idea that they are supposed to manage the affairs of their citizens? Governments were first created in America to serve their citizens. Now, citizens must ask their government for permission to build a house, to drive a car, to open a business, or to buy a gun. The role and authority of government has changed over the years from an entity that serves the needs of its citizens to an entity that manages the affairs of its citizens.
In recent years, especially since the emergence of Agenda 21 in 1992, government has assumed the role of forcing its citizens into lifestyles that government dictates. Agenda 21 is a set of policy recommendations designed to achieve what it defines to be “sustainable development.” The document claims that this transformation of society is necessary to save the planet.
One of Agenda 21’s first policy recommendations is to “…ensure sustainable management of all urban settlements…” (Article 7:15), which means to force people off the land and into high-density, planned communities. Consequently, government decided that it is a bad thing for citizens to move to the suburbs. Government labeled this practice as “urban sprawl,” and condemned it. Moreover, government continues to enact laws to prohibit or severely discourage people from moving to the country.
Local governments are encouraged, or forced, to adopt Comprehensive Land Use Plans that often create “Urban Boundary Zones,” beyond which municipal services will not be provided. To discourage “urban sprawl,” some local plans even require up to 40 acres to build a single home outside a UBZ. Even then, the government often dictates the maximum size of the structure, the percentage of the land that must be left in its natural condition, and the location of the structure in relation to any stream or hill. In some instances, government can even require a home builder to purchase open land and dedicate it to the government as mitigation for despoiling what government says is a wetland or critical habitat.
Why does government think it has either the wisdom or the right to dictate to a private citizen where he should live?
Government management of lifestyles doesn’t stop with dictating where its citizens must live. With the introduction of the International Green Construction Code, government will be able to force private citizens to use the paint and building material it dictates, as well as the plumbing fixtures and appliances it dictates. Moreover, under the specifications of this onerous code, government can require “Smart Meters,” and even specify the level of natural light that must be available in the building.
This transformation of the function of local government is partially the result of requirements dictated by state governments, but primarily, it is the result of pressure from the federal government. The federal government gave the American Planning Association more than $5 million to produce model legislation for state governments to adopt. The APA produced “Growing Smart: Legislative Guidebook.” The federal government offered states a variety of grants to adopt and implement the legislation promoted in the APA’s guidebook. The federal government has provided a variety of grants to local governments and to non-government organizations, to promote and implement the recommendations set forth in Agenda 21.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a “Partners for Sustainable Communities” grant program that has Agenda 21’s sustainable development projects working in 49 of the 50 states. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency also has grant programs that promote the implementation of Agenda 21’s sustainable development recommendations.
Perhaps more than any other influence, Agenda 21 is responsible for transforming government from a servant of the people to the master of the people. Agenda 21 is the outgrowth of a fundamental transformation of philosophy established in 1976 at the United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements. That conference adopted a document which said:
- “Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice…. Public control of land use is therefore indispensible.”
The United States government accepted and endorsed this document with signatures provided by William K Reilly, who was to become the Administrator of the EPA, and by Carla A. Hills, who was to become U.S. Trade Representative who negotiated the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The United States also endorsed “Our Common Future,” the report of the 1987 U.N. World Commission on the Environment, as well as Agenda 21, produced by the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Since the 1970s, the United States environmental policy has been guided by the United Nations. These policies are constructed on the Marxist idea that government exists for the purposes of ensuring that all people benefit equally from the earth’s resources. Marx says that government should abolish private property, and should take from those who have the ability to produce wealth, and give it to those people who do not produce wealth.
This is the objective of Agenda 21. This is the ultimate goal of sustainable development. This is happening in your community.
© Henry Lamb
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