Statement by Tom DeWeese American Policy Center July 20, 2002 Freedom 21 Conference Nashville, Tennessee

If only the world had read and acted upon the rantings of Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” we could have prevented World War Two.

If only the world had acted to toss Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto on the trash heap, we could have saved Russia 70 years of horror – and millions would not now be suffering the tyranny of Red China.

Today you and I have another chance. Sustainable Development is the new threat. Sustainable Development is the new enemy dredged up by those who seek to control the world.

Worse, Sustainable Development is a horror that hardly anyone in this nation understands or even cares to oppose.

Ignore Sustainable Development at the peril of everything you hold dear. Individual liberty, private property, free enterprise, free travel, free association, life itself.

My task today is to discuss Sustainable Development and Agenda 21. Part of my assignment is to discuss and describe “Stakeholder Councils,” The “visioning” process, Zoning abuses, open space and land grabs.

But I believe that if I were to attempt to use such language – their language – I would be guilty of committing a very grave mistake. One that the proponents of sustainable development hope I commit. A mistake that has been committed time and again by our side when we use their innocent-sounding terms to describe something so horrible.

Were I to do that, I believe that when I finished you would have as little understanding of sustainable development as you have now. And you would be unable to go home and fight it on a local level.

So how do I present this information in a way to demonstrate that Sustainable Development is not just about environmental protection – but affects every aspect of our lives and our liberties?

Let me try it this way.

With a show of hands, how many of you consider yourselves to be grassroots activists? Politicians or elected officials? Business representatives?

How many of you are fighting in your local communities against abortion? Against illegal immigration? Against federal intrusion of education? Against higher taxes? Against government intrusion into your business? Against local, state, or federal government land grabs? Against the United Nations and global government?

I’m not finished yet.

How many of you believe that you have a right to own and control private property?

How many believe that you have the right to raise your children with your values?

How many believe in free enterprise?

How many believe that you have the right to enter a restaurant and order the meal and portion of your choosing?

How many of you believe in the sovereign borders of this nation?

Do you believe in limited government where individuals are free to live their lives as they choose, making personal decisions on family, career, personal health care, religion, clothes, food, transportation, type and location of your home, or any other personal decision you decide to make for your life, so long as it doesn’t entail killing, robbing or cheating another person?

Well,- I must tell you that none of you have any hope of winning your fights or fulfilling your vision of life, unless you first understand that sustainable development invades all of these issues.

And every one of these things are to be controlled by decisions made for you by government bureaucrats, members of private, non-government organizations or NGO’s, in partnership with private businesses and elected representatives working together in specially organized councils with names like sustainability councils, stakeholder councils or the progress for Nashville Council.

The names are endless, the control absolute.

If you try fighting the battle for your single interest, you are going to get rolled. It’s called divide and conquer. While they have you working to fight a local initiative concerning easements on your property, or you’re going to the school board to question a strange new curriculum, you are missing the whole picture.

America is changing right before your very eyes. The America envisioned by the Founding Fathers is fast becoming a faded memory in our minds – and most Americans don’t even know things are changing.

Sustainable development is a term seldom heard, even in places where it should be triggering alarms.

So what is Sustainable Development?

Imagine an America in which a specific ruling principle is created to decide proper societal conduct for every citizen.

That principle would be used to consider everything you eat; what kind of home you live in, how you heat it and where it is located; the way you get to work; the number of children you have; availability of medical care; employment decisions; even the attitudes, values and beliefs that you possess.

Imagine, too, that all of these decisions were called “voluntary,” but your ability to discuss, dispute or vote on such ideas would be impossible, as taxes, penalties and something called “revisioning” would be imposed on you for non-compliance.

That ruling principle is Sustainable Development.

The logo used in Sustainable Development literature depicts three concentric circles, each labeled with a defining category of the ruling principle. One is labeled “social equity,” another, “economic prosperity,” and the third, “ecological integrity.”

They sound innocent enough. But these three categories encompass every aspect of human life. To achieve the goals behind these three very basic items would demand unlimited government authority to control business decisions; eliminate private property and personal achievement, and create a completely managed society under top-down bureaucratic control.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Social Equity: The Report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development describes “Equity” as the effort to “ensure that all Americans are afforded justice and have the opportunity to achieve economic, environmental and social well-being.”

What do we need in order to achieve social well-being? according to the planners of this grand plan? For starters, we need adequate housing, medical care, and a job. You have a right to all of them, they say. Government will provide them if they aren’t available otherwise.

Social equity means cultural diversity in a world without discrimination. Intolerance, say the Sustainable Development proponents, causes disruption in daily routines, thereby damaging the social well-being and security of others.

Anyone who disagrees with that is guilty of spreading fear and hate and must not be tolerated.

Social Justice requires that the earth’s wealth be shared between those who produce and those who don’t. That there be equality between male and female and between current and future generations.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Wife, Nane, said in a lecture to the American Museum of Natural History that those working to restructure our society through sustainable development are “resolved to free future generations from the threat of living on a planet irredeemably spoiled by human activities.”

Economic Prosperity: The Report from the President’s Council on Sustainable Development describes “economic prosperity” as a sustained “healthy U.S. economy that grows sufficiently to create meaningful jobs, reduce poverty, and provide the opportunity for a high quality of life for all in an increasingly competitive world.”

Gosh, why didn’t our Founding Fathers think of that?

Under Sustainable Development, business is a tool of the social planning managers. Partnerships between business and government decide what kinds of products are to be produced, who will produce them – and how they will be produced. All must be done in accordance to environmentally correct procedures.

Taxes to force compliance will ensure proper business conduct. Those taxes will help pay for the equity programs.

Ecological Integrity: Well, that’s just the excuse for the social planners to enforce there timeless schemes for power.

Americans would never concede their liberty to Swastikas or Hammer and Sickles. But tuck it all in a green banner for environmental protection; or for security and safety and we’ll toss it all on the fire like a good old fashioned book burning.

The fact is, Sustainable Development is the social planners’ dream of utopia. They think they just have to dictate the policies, make you comply and they will create the perfect world.

There is no regard for your opinion. No reservation for your property or business. No hesitation to consider your pain.

Experience is proving them to be right to believe that we will follow their dictates, with few questions and fewer protests.

In the name of protecting the environment; in the name of social equity and justice; in the name of safety and prosperity; Sustainable Development is fast becoming official policy in the federal government, state government and every large city and small burg in America.

I believe these people are demented. But they are powerful, well funded, well placed and well organized. No matter how crazy the plan, they are succeeding in building support from the American people.

Here’s how.

Your community is now a sustainable community. No exceptions. Go home and look it up. Attend meetings of your town council or county commissioners.

Listen to the discussions. Are they talking about how to curtail growth? Are they talking about historic preservation? Are they talking about how to create more jobs for the community? Has the subject of public transportation come up?

Here is the definition of a sustainable community from the Report of the President’s Council:

“Sustainable Communities encourage people to work together to create healthy communities where natural resources and historic resources are preserved, jobs are available, sprawl is contained, neighborhoods are secure, education is lifelong, transportation and health care are accessible, and all citizens have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.”

Now break it down. How do you actually achieve these goals?

How do the people work together? We need some sort of committee or council to join. One that will set a vision for the city.

We need all of the leaders, from elected officials to educators, to business leaders, to the local chamber of commerce to the local news media. They will put a plan together for the future development of the community.

(By the way, that plan isn’t really written by the committee. The blue print will come out of Washington).

Now, to see that the committee can rally achieve its goals, it needs to have some teeth. We need a partnership between the committee and government. A plan will be drawn up and it will be the guideline for legislation for laws and regulations.

Individual land owners and businessmen can’t share the vision on their own. They must have such guidelines to properly protect open space and historic buildings.

The Committee then must control the use of all private property. It must decide what is historic and must be preserved. It must set boundaries beyond which no new homes may be built. It must decide how the community should look. Where open space should be. Where business can be allowed to operate.

But we must do more. The vision can’t become reality unless the people in the community have the proper respect for the plan.

They must have the right attitudes, values and beliefs in order to support what the good folks on the committee are trying to do for the common good of us all.

One place to start is in the schools. Here are our future generations. It’s not as important that they can read and write and perform math problems as it is to understand the importance of living together with your neighbors in a happy, prosperous, safe, well organized community.

They can learn the basic academics on their own. But it’s vital that they understand our goals.

So let’s add some classes to help them obtain the proper outlook for the future.

Teach them that they must work together rather than selfishly setting personal goals.

Teach them that our community only needs certain kinds of workers to help the program along.

Help them select career paths that fit the needs of the community.

Help them understand that personal wants and dreams and ambitions are selfish and will only hurt everyone’s future.

How best to teach them these things? Businesses know best. Let’s form a partnership with businesses to help the children learn about work, right there in the school.

In fact, we can even let the children take half of each school day to go to the job as a volunteer. To make sure that everyone participates, we’ll make it part of their grade.

And to make sure that they always keep the valuable lessons and don’t stray from the special teachings they learned in the school to work partnership, let’s keep their education going for life.

We’ll require that they come back for refresher courses periodically through out their lives. To protect our sustainable community we’ve got to make sure everyone maintains the property attitudes, values and beliefs.

To make sure that they do attend life-long learning classes we’ll use that partnership with business as an on-the-job incentive. That way, life-long learning can lead to better jobs and better pay. It’s all very organized.

For the adults, there can be public visioning classes for them, too. After all, we can’t fully organize the community around our grand idea if there is resistance from some of the people. That will spoil all of our great plans for the health and security of the community.

So, again, with our business partnerships, and with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, and the schools, we’ll work with the folks on a neighborhood basis. The United Nations has a program we can use as our guide. Chattanooga TN did it. So can we.

Neighborhood by neighborhood, we’ll bring the folks in, teach them how important it is to protect the environment, how evil sprawl can be to our well-laid plans.

And once we have helped them obtain the proper attitudes, values and beliefs, we can set up some life-long learning classes and business partnerships for adults too.

We must take care of our elderly and our sick. Doctors must not be so greedy. We’ll set up government-sponsored clinics with tax-paid healthcare so all can afford it. After all, we have a right to be taken care of when we are sick.

Doctors will just have to form a partnership of their own with the committee and accept a decent salary. It’s all for the public good.

Cars are a very nasty habit. We must teach our community that everyone should be more open to public transportation. We must build light rail trains and bus lines to get us around to our jobs.

And to make it convenient for everyone, we’ll design housing developments around the rail and bus lines so they are within walking distance for everyone.

We’ll eliminate cars from the community and that will relieve over-crowded streets. Cars will be banned.

Our homes can be designed in buildings with office space on one floor and stores on the main floor. We never have to leave our building during our daily routine.

We don’t need yards that have to be mowed with smelly, gas-guzzling, air polluting, noise polluting mowers.

We’ll just provide parks and other open green space for the people to find recreation.

The committee will actively seek to bring in business to the community to provide jobs for our people. But we only want certain businesses here.

We won’t accept those who lack the proper environmental attitudes. They will either comply or be banned from operating on our town.

If we don’t have enough jobs, we’ll tax the businesses to raise the necessary funds to help those who don’t have one. Social equity is key to our committee’s plan.

People must have homes and medical care and food. It’s their right. It’s the duty of those who have money to help those who don’t, especially the businesses, which are so rich.

There are other things that the committee will find necessary to ban – in order to assure that the citizens have the opportunity to improve their lives.

Of course with our low and high rise public housing, single family homes that waste precious land won’t be necessary. Suburban housing will be banned.

But we must also look after public health for our people. They must eat properly. That’s why we can’t allow precious farm land in our county to be wasted on raising cattle for beef consumption. Beef is harmful to your health, so it will be banned. Wheat and soy will be grown on that land instead.

Ever had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner of tofurkey?

With our new healthy diet, as outlined by the committee, we will no longer need things like 7-11’s and McDonalds and their unhealthy fast foods and snacks. They will be banned.

There is one more danger to the happiness and security of our community that must be addressed – overpopulation. The committee will decide the proper number of folks who can comfortably live in our community limits.

If we don’t control the population, we will be overrun. Some strict guidelines must be imposed, for the sake of the community’s well being and for the protection of our environment.

Birth control education and supplies will be a major part of the process for keeping the population down. But if our folks don’t heed the committee’s warnings, if the population begins to exceed our limits, drastic action will be required.

Limits on the number of children a family may have will have to be imposed. Those conceiving children against those limits will have to pay a high price.

Fines, of course. Imprisonment for exceptional cases. Now, what to do about those yet unborn, but illegal babies…? Action must be taken, for the sake of all of us in the community.

* * * *

Do you understand where we are headed, my friends?

Name the issue – name the aspect of your life that is not affected by such a mentality.

All of this, and much more is the future under Sustainable Development. This is not about “preserving the environment of future generations.”

This is about totalitarianism. It’s about controlling every aspect of our lives with decisions made by committees that will grow more powerful and more oppressive with each passing day and each new regulation proposed by newly empowered special interests groups.

There will be no satisfying their lust for power. There will be no part of our lives that is overlooked or uncontrolled

Our homes, our food, our babies our liberty. There can be no private property under sustainable development. There can be no free enterprise under Sustainable Development. There can be no individual liberty under sustainable development.

Group thought, group plans, group action is how the community will work together. It will be justified as we are constantly told that we are all in this crisis together.

Usually, when we talk about Sustainable Development, we talk about environmental programs like the Endangered Species Act; wetlands regulations: conservation easements: water sheds; view sheds; heritage areas; heritage corridors; heritage sites; historic preservation; rails-to-trails; zoning; CARA; energy consumption; greenways; biosphere reserves; Biodiversity; environmental impact statements; global warming and the Wildlands Project.

But these are simply the tools being used to dismantle our society and our culture. To beat them we must first understand the character of our enemy and his true goals.

More importantly, we must understand the root of our own culture and the values that produced our nation with the highest standard of living ever known in human history.

We must understand that it is free men operating in free markets, untetherd by government regulation that allows men to find solutions to hunger, decent housing, superior medical care, education; overcrowded highways and human happiness.

We must understand that it is only bad government that causes poverty, overpopulation and environmental damage. Totalitarianism, socialism, fascism and every other ism are the root of suffering on earth.

We must understand that none of this could be happening in this country where our Founding Fathers made property rights the premier right – unless we had first accepted the premise that we have a right to tell our neighbor what to do with his private property.

It starts there, in a local home owners association or with local zoning regulations and grows into the 800 pound guerrilla called Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development is simply a homeowners association on steroids. The premise is the same.

To gain power over our lives, proponents of Sustainable Development will use any means necessary. That fact alone is enough to tell you the color of their character.

They will lie about the science of global warming to enforce the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol to impose severe energy restrictions on rich nations so that they can redistribute our wealth to nations with bad government.

In fact they will go to any length to move that agenda along. Do you think I exaggerate?

Then go to Loudoun County, Virginia, where this very day the County Supervisors are considering a proposal to restrict the use of outdoor lights in an effort to “protect the night sky” from light pollution.

This regulation would force stores to shut off their signs after 9:00pm. It would also force residents to shut off security flood lights and ban the use of outside Christmas lights – because some of the residents can’t see the stars like they used to.

The culprits driving this demented agenda tell us the purpose is the “protect our heritage of dark skies…”

There is no such thing as light pollution. There is no damage to the environment. The stars are not taken away. It does not bother anyone except a few amateur astronomers and a couple of lovers out for a moon-light walk.

Yet, for this nonsense, the county will damage business, help increase crime, destroy Christmas joy and infringe on property rights. Of course, the real agenda is not light pollution – it’s a stealth effort to enforce Kyoto restrictions on energy consumption.

And the lies and the hysterical warnings continue to mount.

The World Wildlife Fund just released a report stating that the earth will expire by 2050 if Sustainable Development policies aren’t implemented immediately. Their report says that nearly a third of the world’s resources have been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.

Environmentalists want to rule the world. Do you think that’s an exaggeration? Then read Ron Arnold’s report on a proposed new environmental “Marshall Plan” called “Restructuring the Global Economy.”

The plan, written in part by Randall Hayes, founder of the ultra-radical Rain Forest Action Network, says “capitalism is an absurd economic system rapidly destroying nature, cultural diversity, and decent local life.”

His plan calls for grabbing control of global economic decision making and putting it in the hands of non-profit Non-government organizations through the United Nations. This, says Arnold, is the smoking gun proving the greens have planned all along to take over the world. Now we have it in detailed black and white.

It should come as no surprise that one can trace the roots of the Sustainable Development concept to the United Nations.

Specifically, the blue print is a United Nations’ program called Agenda 21. It is a product of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and outlines the means for a complete restructuring of nations to fit the desired mold.

Agenda 21 outlines in detail the UN’s vision of a completely managed society, dictating the process to be used for industry, agriculture, housing development and even education curriculum in the classroom. The federal government’s drive to acquire and control massive amounts of land is necessary for the full implementation of Agenda 21.

The United Nations, through Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty, and through a slew of international policy making meetings has been mapping out such plans for several decades. Sustainable Development is the culmination of those plans.

If you doubt what I am saying about the dangers of the sustainable development restructuring plan; if you think that I am exaggerating the threat; if you still think that all of this must just be a misunderstanding about necessary programs to protect the environment – then consider these quotes from the Wildlands Project, which is the underlying blueprint for the whole mess:

“To achieve this end, human civilization must be radically restructured, vast stretches of land must be re-primitivized, roads must be ripped from the landscape, and human populations must be forcibly relocated.”

“Does this mean,” the quote goes on to say, “that Wild Earth and the Wildlands Project advocate the end of industrial civilization? Most assuredly. Everything civilized must go…”

Their words, not mine.

Now the full court press is on to speed up the process.

In August, next month, the heat will be turned up on the plan as the UN sponsors yet another international conference called Johannesburg Summit 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Here, the social planners will assess what they have accomplished since the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. And they will organize to accelerate their efforts. They will not stop until free enterprise, private property and individual liberty are fully replaced with the well organized sustainable community.

The logo of Sustainable Development, with it’s three concentric circles, should be viewed by all who love liberty as the new swastika of our era. There is no greater threat to our way of life.

Sustainable Development is anti-science.

It is anti-knowledge.

It is anti-human.

It is anti-reason.

In a nut shell, Sustainable Development is designed to throw out virtually everything man has learned since the beginning of time.

It is the creed of the mindless savage who seeks brute force over reasoned thought.

And if we don’t learn of its evil now,

If we don’t heed the warning…

If we don’t rip it out of every level of government policy by its well-entrenched roots…

Then American life, indeed human existence as we know it, will enter a new dark ages of pain and misery unlike any ever experienced by the community of man.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.