Agenda 21 or Freedom 21: Making the Right Choice

April 27, 2005

By Tom DeWeese

Which do you choose? A way of life in which you are the master of your destiny, or one in which virtually all decisions are made for you by one ruling body or another? It’s the classic struggle facing every human on earth. Freedom or control.

Truth be known, there are many who actually choose control. It makes for a well ordered society with few surprises. In a controlled society, one doesn’t have to make complicated career choices, health care is provided. Community planners decide where housing will be placed. Committees decide what industries are to be allowed and how they will operate. Watchdogs decide the foods that shall be permitted to eat, to protect our health, of course. Family planners decide the number of children allowed. Those children, of course, will be well taken care of every day in public education centers that, not only provide a centrally planned curriculum, but also provide for all physical and mental health needs. No reason for crime because there are no real possessions to steal and no personally-owned weapons to threaten bodily harm. The aged have no fears for the future, as they are taken care of with government controlled social security accounts. Economic security is promised for a better world as everyone equally sacrifices to help their fellow man. Everything is well organized, peaceful and controlled. Everyone is secure in the knowledge that tomorrow will be just like today.

On the other hand, there is the chaos of what some foolishly call freedom. In such a society, people are fully responsible for their own actions. Untethered individuals throw a monkey wrench into a well-ordered society by inventing new gadgets that make life easier and more productive, but threaten old ways. Selfish people pursue their own dreams and ideals without ever worrying about how they fit into the order of society. They want to benefit from the fruits of their labor, own property and raise families without controls established from the wisdom of the community. Imagine such a society in which parents get to decide how best to educate their children. And think of the irresponsibility of individuals actually being able to chose if and how they want to invest their money to prepare for retirement. In the so-called free society, people eat what they want without benefit of government approval. Children are part of the family that bore them, not overseen by the state. People start enterprises without asking permission. Nothing stays the same, except that individuals are secure in their homes and have the ability to live their lives as they choose.

Control today has a name. Agenda 21. This is the name of a treaty that was first unveiled at the United Nations’ Earth Summit in 1992. Implementation of the treaty is through a policy called Sustainable Development. This program is now the official policy of the United States and is being systematically imposed in every single state of the Union and in every city and town. There are very few exceptions. Sustainable Development is no less than a ruling principle through which decisions for all aspects of our lives are determined through public/private partnerships between government (at all levels) and private institutions in our communities. They provide guidelines to determine business decisions; property use; medical care; education curriculum; foreign policy; economics; taxes; labor policy; career decisions; housing; building material; farming policy; and much more. Agenda 21 is based on the principle that government grants our rights.

If you choose freedom, then there is a counter to Agenda 21 and its Sustainable Development program. It’s called Freedom 21, and it’s quickly growing into a “freedom movement.” Freedom 21 is not an organization. It is a loose coalition of groups and individuals who believe that our nation’s Founding Fathers had it right when they established this nation as one with tightly controlled reins on government. The Founding Fathers believed that all individuals were born with their rights of individual liberty, and that government’s job is to protect those rights as individuals pursue their own dreams and goals. That’s the basis for the Freedom 21 agenda.

Freedom 21 was organized six years ago by Henry Lamb (Environmental Conservation Organization), Tom DeWeese (American Policy Center), Craig Rucker and David Rothbard (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow), and representatives of Eagle Forum. Today, this group is joined by The Chicago-based Heartland Institute and Chuck Cushman’s American Land Rights Association. The unique fact about Freedom 21 is that it is truly a grassroots coalition. It has no central infrastructure; no official leader; no budget; no overhead; and no bureaucracy. The co-sponsors are independent organizations which do not give up their individual identity or autonomy to participate in Freedom 21 activities. It succeeds precisely because members are open to the activities of others and are happy to lend their support. The coalition operates under a set of principles of freedom first adopted by activists in conference in July of 2000.

In its six years, Freedom 21 has served as a mechanism for reaching out to the freedom movement to share ideas and unite grassroots activists. Through Freedom 21 projects and conferences, the movement has been able to introduce leaders in other movements to the principles of freedom. Even more, one-issue activists are beginning to learn that they share common goals and adversaries with other grassroots movements. Freedom 21 has been instrumental in uniting Second Amendment defenders; property rights activists; free market advocates; tax opponents; personal privacy protectors; family autonomy champions; back-to-basics education activists, and many more. These single issue activists have come to understand that they all share a common foe in Sustainable Development.

Today, Freedom 21 is providing invaluable tools to help fight back against the threat of the UN’s Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development. In the past year, Freedom 21 leaders have developed a six-hour DVD presentation entitled, “Americas’ Choice: Liberty or Sustainable Development,” designed to help educate activists and elected officials. Also produced is a booklet for elected officials entitled, “Understanding Sustainable Development: A Guide for Public Officials.” In 2005, Freedom 21 has turned its efforts toward creating new sources of funding for a cash-starved freedom movement. Just announced was Freedom, a unique internet service provider that gives $2 of every member’s monthly subscription fee to the freedom organization of the member’s choice. Soon two more unique funding sources will be announced under the Freedom 21 banner.

The most important project each year is the Freedom 21 national conference, this year scheduled for July 14 to 16 in Reno, Nevada. This year’s conference is designed like building blocks to show how Sustainable Development policies erode the principles of freedom in every area of life. Participants will learn about sustainable polices on water, medicine and education. They will learn how to use alternative media, like the Internet and television, to help fight for the principles of liberty. Participants will hear from local activists about how to fight on the home front; and they will learn of the ravages of Sustainable Development on the international front. The conference educates, unites, inspires, and renews the spirit. Go to for all the details. Freedom 21 is the gathering place for the freedom movement.

Collectivism, and its false promise of security, may be the accepted policy of the day, but the freedom movement is learning how to fight back.

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.