Originally published in the Winter 2014 edition of RANGE magazine, the late Michael Coffman wrote this overview of the U.N.’s anti-property rights Agenda 21 “Sustainability” Initiative, and the stealth policies used to implement it at all levels of government. In his expose’, Coffman has addressed one of the most dangerous movements now afoot in the United States and other developed nations. Although the Obama Administration has passed the baton to a new, pro-property rights president, the policies and bureaucrats dedicated to a globalist, socialist, centralized control agenda, remain. In this report, Coffman warned us of the Deep State and the degree to which its totalitarian schemes are already impacting our lives and curtailing our freedoms.
Special Report Part I
Agenda 21: Swallowing America
Michael S. Coffman, Ph. D.
Since the ’90s, the United Nations’ Agenda 21 has been implemented nationwide at the federal, state and local levels, with very few people even being aware of it. It is dangerous because it destroys the most important civil Liberty we have- private property rights.
Most Americans have read or heard of one or more federally funded programs promoting “sustainability.” Few citizens, however, know these programs are based on a major U. N. program called Agenda 2I, which is buried in smoke and disinformation generated by the government and its partners in the media. This U.N. program is very dangerous to our personal liberties and the stealth with which Agenda 21 has been implemented should concern everyone.
Miracle of a Great Nation
Wealth creation and liberty are impossible without legally protected private property rights- which are the cornerstone of all other liberties. This is why Agenda 21 takes direct aim at eliminating them. This critically important principle is no longer being taught in public schools, but was well-known to our Founders. James Madison wrote: “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well as that which lies in the various right, of individuals…this being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures, to every man, whatever is his own”.
This may sound crazy if you are less than 50 years old and educated in the public school system. For more than 60 years, the education change artists have successfully removed any hint of this all-important principle. Yet it was widely known and understood by all colonists as the primary principle of “whoever owns the property owns the people depending on it to Live.” Wayne Hage, a Nevada rancher who successfully fought a major property rights case in the U.S. Court of Claims during the 1990s and 2000s, made the concept even simpler:
“If you don’t have the right to own and control property, then you are property:’
With the exceptions of safety, harm and nuisance restrictions, property rights were the backbone of U.S. law until the mid-20th century. It allowed the creation of a powerful middle class and their ability to create wealth that benefited all people. This was unheard of until the late 1500s when Sir Edward Coke wrote that all men should have the right to own legally protected property. Sir Edward then established an independent judiciary in England that brought those rights laid down in the Magna Carta to the common man. Those rights provided the driving force for expansion of the British Empire and, more recently, the United States.
In the late1990s, the World Bank commissioned a global study to determine why capitalism failed so miserably in the former communist and developing nations but succeeded in the West. The results are presented in a stunning book, “The Mystery of Capital;’ by Peruvian Hernando de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. De Soto found the common denominator underlying every failure around the world was the lack of easily obtained and inexpensive legal title to property. The process is simple to understand. Capital is required to start, expand or buy a business. In more than 70 percent of cases, that capital is obtained by using the equity in land, homes, stocks and other assets owned by an individual. Without title to that property, there is no way to secure an equity loan.
The effect is enormous. The wealth of a nation can be found in a simple graph of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) over an index of private property. The index of legal property rights accounts for 74 percent of all variation of per capita GDP. Western nations have varying degrees of formal property rights; the communist and former communist nations do not, or have only recently begun to obtain them. The World Bank noted at the time: “While the concept seems simple, very few property owners actually hold official government- licensed titles outside the United States, Canada, Australia, Western, Europe, and Japan. De Soto estimates that nearly five billion people are legally and economically disenfranchised by their own governments. Since these people do not have access to a comprehensive legal property system, they cannot leverage their assets to produce additional wealth. They are left with what De Soto calls dead capital.” The basis of wealth creation for every nation is legally protected private property rights. The better the legal protections, the greater the wealth of the nation. SOURCE: James Gwartney and Robert Lawson, from Economic Freedom of the World – 2005 Annual Report, Fraser Institute, 2005.
Agenda 21 Destroys Private Property Rights
Any infringement of private property rights beyond “harm and safety” can have a huge negative impact on liberty and wealth creation. As mentioned above, Agenda 21 cannot be implemented without destroying private property rights, yet it is what the United Nations unequivocally states must be done. At the Habitat I Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1976, a U.N. document stated:
“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; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.”
The United Nations has it backwards. Like so many “noble” schemes socialists and progressives implement to help the poor or save the environment, their policies accomplish exactly the opposite. European green energy, another Agenda 21 folly, has turned into a disaster and shown that green policies were disconnected from reality from the start.
Money is one of our private property rights. By taxing citizens to fund an ideological boondoggle in green energy, the government is stealing from its citizens, thereby denying them the ability to use their property in a way that can create wealth. The entire economy falls into a bureaucratic malaise-exactly what has happened in Europe for over I00 years and more recently happened in the United States, thanks to all presidents except Reagan, especially Carter and Obama.
People in impoverished nations are locked into poverty. Meanwhile, the income of the middle class in rich nations will gradually diminish, especially as income redistribution sucks the life out of those who produce and gives it to those who don’t. Agenda 21 and sustainable development, accompanied by an ocean of ignorance, is the perfect vehicle to accomplish transferring property rights from the people to the government–all under the guise of bringing prosperity.
What Is Agenda 21?
In its introduction, Agenda 21claims to be “a comprehensive blueprint for action to be taken globally, from now into the 2lst century.” The U.N. ambition was high, and so were its stated goals: improving the living standards of those in need; to better manage and protect the ecosystem; and to bring about a more prosperous future for all. Despite its noble propaganda, many people of both political parties strongly oppose Agenda 21 because they know it can never accomplish prosperity and livability. They also know that agenda-driven bureaucrats can never create a dynamic, vibrant economy that creates jobs.
Stunning in its magnitude, Agenda 21 covers everything from human population to urban development, global warming, destruction of biodiversity, women’s rights, and much, much more. Although it has no enforcement ability, its existing and proposed enforcement treaties will eventually provide a web of interlocking international laws that would regulate virtually every aspect of human interactions with each other and the environment. Until then, the executive branch is going around Congress to make policy changes that implement it piecemeal.
The international Union for the Conservation of Nature is a nongovernmental organization that allegedly serves as a scientific advisor to the United Nations. It has more than 880 state and federal government agency and nongovernmental organization (NGO) members in 133 countries. Federal members include the U.S. Department of State, Commerce, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others.
Since the 1970s, these federal agencies collaborated with the majority of environmental organizations in the United States behind closed doors to craft treaties and develop policies they, not Congress, believe the United States should in1plement. This unh only alliance between federal agencies and special interest groups is against the law, but Congress has shown no interest in stopping it.
As members of the IUCN that developed Agenda 21, these federal agencies began to prepare implementation of Agenda 21 as early as 1993 when an EPA internal working document laid out the plan: “Natural resource and environmental agencies… should…develop a joint strategy to help the United States fulfill its existing international obligations [e.g., Convention on Biological Diversity, Agenda 21). The executive branch should direct federal agencies to evaluate national policies…in light of international polices and obligations, and to amend national policies to achieve international objectives.”
How Agenda21 got into your backyard. Agenda21 signed by President Bush also dominated President Clinton’s President’s Council on Sustainable Development from 1993 to 1999. PCSD published “Sustainable America” in 1996, along with several subdocuments, with goals that were quietly promoted by all federal agencies which worked through the U.S. Council of Mayors and the National Association of Counties.
Secretive Agenda 21
Meanwhile, Agenda 21 was being implemented in the United States by stealth through a new anti-property rights federal policy called Sustainable America, published by the Clinton administration in 1996. Birthed in June 1993 when Clinton created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, it was no accident that half its 25 members also belonged to the IUCN. The latter guided the process from start to finish in near secrecy and the PCSD’s purpose was “to begin translating the vision of Agenda 2I into U.S. action”.
Once Sustainable America was completed, it was broken into seven subdocuments: (1) Eco-Efficiency; (2) Energy and Transportation; (3) Population and Consumption; (4) Public Linkage, Dialogue, and Education; (S) Sustainable Agriculture; (6) Sustainable Communities; and (7) Natural Resources.
Members of the PCSD, in its document, ‘Toward a Sustainable America;’ urged every federal agency to immediately begin implementing Agenda 21:” Upon receiving the report, the president asked them [the PCSD] to begin implementing our recommendations. Among our first action, the Council worked in partnership with the federal government to support the efforts of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties as they created the Joint Center for Sustainable Communities in 1996.”
Without the names Agenda 21 or Sustainable America ever being mentioned, programs with sizable cash grants were announced to local governments. Each one was heavily promoted using the theme of becoming more “prosperous and desirable places to live:• The American Planning Association and the International Council for Local Environmental In initiatives had dozens of templates and manpower to help cash strapped communities “plan” for the 21st century.
These local government officials were happy to take the money and had no understanding of what was happening to them, or cared that they were implementing Sustainable America and Agenda 21. When concerned citizens accused elected officials of implementing Agenda 21, they could adamantly say they were not, because they really didn’t know they were.
Since the 1990s, most, if not all, planning grants from any federal agency have been linked back to Sustainable America and Agenda 21. They are always wrapped in motherhood-and-apple-pie rhetoric like prosperity, livability and environmental harmony, but in fact they transfer private property rights to the government.
If the plan is regional, the regional body (made up of bureaucrats and non-governmental environmental organizations) sets priorities and policy and is almost never accountable to the citizens because members are not elected by those citizens. At the same time, the elected local government officials no longer have control over what happens in their community, they will only have one representative on a regional council of 10 to 20 members and the council can pretty much do what it wants while remaining unaccountable to the citizens over whom it has authority to do and enforce almost anything it dreams up and implements.
The strategy used to implement Agenda 21 in the United States through Sustainable America can only be classified as a diabolical way to strip American citizens of their property rights and liberty. Don’t expect Congress to do anything because it is controlled by progressives on both sides of the aisle who agree with this absolute control. It is time to expose and stop it community by community across America. ■