There’s only one thing people on the far right hate more than the United Nations, and that’s the United Nations setting international guidelines for sustainable development. I learned this a few days ago, while listening to a special episode of Glenn Beck’s radio program about a secret UN initiative to deal with the looming threats of global climate change and overpopulation. One after another, people were calling in and literally screaming about the nefarious presence of bike lanes in their communities, and how we’ve started down a part that will invariably lead to urban concentration camps. Bike lanes, and traffic circles, it would seem, are harbingers of a unified world government intent not only on rationing our use of oil, but crushing individual liberty. The wheels, according to Beck, were set in motion decades ago, when, on June 13, 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), 178 governments voted to adopt the program called Agenda 21.
The threat is so great, according to Beck, that he’s written a book about it, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The book, entitled Agenda 21, shows us what life will be like in a post-Agenda 21 world, says Beck.
Here’s a clip from the dust jacket:
“I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.”
Just a generation ago, this place was called America. Now, after the worldwide implementation of a UN-led program called Agenda 21, it’s simply known as “the Republic.” There is no President. No Congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.
There are only the Authorities.
Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life. Those who cannot do either are of no use to society. This bleak and barren existence is all that eighteen-year-old Emmeline has ever known. She dutifully walks her energy board daily and accepts all male pairings assigned to her by the Authorities. Like most citizens, she keeps her head down and her eyes closed.
Until the day they come for her mother.
“You save what you think you’re going to lose.”
Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family’s future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth? As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic — but is she already too late?
Beck, of course, didn’t really write the book. According to an editor who had worked on the project some time ago, it was written by a nurse named Harriet Parke, who was inspired by Beck’s entreaty to his Fox viewers to “do your own research” on Agenda 21. Here, by way of background, is how this editor describes the UN document from which the book takes its name, to the readers of Salon.com.
…If you’re not an urban planner, here’s a crash course on the novel’s eponymous United Nations Agenda 21. It’s a 40-chapter behemoth written in 1993. It lays out non-binding guidelines for promoting economic growth, environmental protection and social equality. Basically, it is a recipe for living within our means today, so that we do not pass along to our children a degraded economy, environment and society. It addresses topics as various as toxic waste, biotechnology, conservation and green transportation, all with the goal of helping poor countries develop economies — in large part, by encouraging wealthy countries to dial back in sensible ways on their consumption of resources.
Today, city and regional planners support the concepts that underpin Agenda 21, because they translate the big picture to local efforts to save people time and money. In other words, think globally, act regionally. After all, the planning profession is about supporting a community’s efforts to collaboratively make the best of change — such as whether your community is growing or shrinking, or becoming more rural, suburban or urban. Change is inevitable: Brookings reports that “our population exceeded 300 million in 2006, and we are on track to hit 350 million in the next 15 years.” And that “America will probably be older, more diverse, more urban — and less equal” than we are today.
Planners help communities find common-sense, constructive ways of using limited resources wisely. It looks for ways to make transportation inexpensive, keep energy plentiful, and help towns and cities avoid the kind of bad economic decisions that lead to eyesores like, say, a half-deserted strip mall anchored to an abandoned Wal-Mart. Thanks to zoning, for instance, which was created in the 1920s to protect property values, no one can come in and inappropriately construct a landfill or a steel mill next to your house.
Glenn Beck and fellow pundits hate Agenda 21, however, because they interpret a few lines from chapter four out of context. Their scare tactic is to say it’s the narrow end of a wedge that will insert global UN authority over American towns and cities, allow the government to confiscate private land, reallocate resources by force, and evict people from their single-family homes. Never mind that the law of the land begins with the United States Constitution and that our relationship with the UN can hardly be described as lockstep. Moreover, the United States has no land use laws at the federal level, whatsoever. All land use decision-making authority in the United States lies with the states, who delegate authority to local governments. Relatively speaking, the United States has some of the strictest protections for private property in the world.
Agenda 21 is simply a non-binding, unenforceable menu of guidelines that exists to help any town or city that signs on to it. But when removed from all sensible context and cast forward into a dystopian future, Agenda 21 becomes the novel “Agenda 21,” which tells the story of a post-American settlement where people are forced to ride bikes and walk on treadmills to generate electricity, told whom to marry, raised in communal kibbutz-like nurseries, and forced to swear allegiance to a scary green one-world socialist entity…
Unfortunately, though, some people are taking the “threat” of Agenda 21 very seriously, as evidenced by the fact that, during this last summer’s Republican National Convention, the Republican Party adopted a resolution opposing Agenda 21, adding the following line to their official platform: “We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty.” Furthermore, several state and local governments have considered or passed legislation opposing Agenda 21.(Alabama became the first state to prohibit government participation in Agenda 21, and Arizona just recently rejected a similar bill.) And, irate Tea Party activists, waving copies of the Agenda 21 guidelines, are not only making the lives of city planners in America miserable, but also derailing significant projects. The following comes from a report earlier this year in the New York Times.
Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.
They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.
“Down the road, this data will be used against you,” warned one speaker at a recent Roanoke County, Va., Board of Supervisors meeting who turned out with dozens of people opposed to the county’s paying $1,200 in dues to a nonprofit that consults on sustainability issues.
Local officials say they would dismiss such notions except that the growing and often heated protests are having an effect.
In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom a high-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions…
And, thanks to our friends at BetterGeorgia.com, who recently attended a four-hour briefing session for Georgia’s Republican State Senators, we now have some insight as to how this particular conspiracy theory is making its way though our state legislatures. Following is hidden camera video, shot on October 11, of a four-hour Agenda 21 information session for Georgia legislators called by Chip Rogers, the Republican Majority Leader of the Georgia State Senate, and Treasurer of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). During the session, Rogers shared what he’s uncovered about Agenda 21 with his fellow State Senators. (The invitation to the event promised that the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.'”) I particularly like the part, at about 23 minutes into the presentation, when we hear conservative operative Field Searcy relate to the Senators how Obama is using a mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to trick the American people into accepting this UN-orchestrated coup, which will ultimately see all of us forcefully relocated to cities. (It should be noted that Rogers was just two votes short of getting anti-Agenda 21 legislation approved by the Senate last session.)
And, did you catch that Majority Leader Rogers is the Treasurer of the ALEC Board of Directors? (He’s also their Georgia State Chairman, and winner of ALEC’s State Chair of the Year Award.) I find that connection really interesting, given ALEC’s well-established role as the lead entity pushing the extreme legislative agenda of corporate America. As one doubts that the very intelligent individuals behind ALEC truly believe that President Obama is attempting to enslave us, and hand our country over to the United Nations, I can’t help but think that they’re involved in the pushing of this conspiracy theory for other reasons… most notably, to stop environmental legislation that would negatively impact the bottom lines of America’s largest and most powerful corporations. This, in other words, has nothing to do with the threat of creeping Socialism, and everything to do with a desire on the part of America’s CEOs to operate outside of the law. This is about keeping cap-and-trade from being implemented, and keeping our coal-powered factories belching black smoke into the atmosphere.
And, on that note, I give you the ad for Glenn Beck’s book. Be sure to watch until the end. Otherwise, you won’t learn about how, in the future, we burn old people alive for energy.
note: I should add that I think this subject matter should be fair game for fiction writers. Dystopian novels, when done well, as in the case of 1984 and the Handmaid’s Tale, can be incredibly powerful. And, as we find ourselves, right now, at a time in history when natural resources are dwindling, population is rising, and our climate seems intent on wiping humanity from the face of the planet, I think we need to begin exploring, through fiction, and all other means available to us, how our countries might choose to intervene in hopes of salvaging what can be salvaged. It’s certainly plausible, I think, that we could find ourselves in a situation, for instance, where people are incentivized to give up their cars, move into urban centers, and use mass transportation. (Personally, I’d like to think that we could figure out how to make cheap, efficient solar power ubiquitous before resorting to the burning of our elderly, but I suppose it’s an alternative worth considering.) No, what I object to isn’t the book, but the fear mongering being done by certain people on the right who have a vested interest in the status quo. I have a problem with ALEC taking up the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory as a way to drive terrified and poorly-informed individuals into the offices of their elected officials, demanding that we not, for instance, legislate the emissions of coal plants, because it’s all part of Barack Obama’s evil Socialist plot to overthrow our great and powerful country. And, it pisses me off that Glenn Beck is building an empire on this nonsense, peddling fear between ads for gold coins, local gun shops, and so-called “survival seeds.” So, it’s not the book that I object to – it’s the completely disingenuous propaganda campaign surrounding it.