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Tom DeWeese warns that “sustainable development” schemes are stripping away private property rights

by Tom DeWeese, RANGE magazine contributor and president of The American Policy Center


On July 23, 2004, I addressed the fifth annual Freedom 21 Conference in Reno, Nevada. Freedom 21 was the first coalition of limited government/private property advocacy groups. Freedom 21 eventually sponsored 10 national conferences and educated and trained a cadre of leaders to fight Agenda 21. But in 2004, George Bush was in the White House and still pushing the Sustainable policies two years after the devastation to individual liberty, free enterprise and private property that defined the Clinton Presidency. Yet, even then, so many Americans failed to understand the threat they faced. Our movement was divided into fractured issues. Even most major Conservative organizations refused to mention Agenda 21 (and many still refuse to use the term).

So, to this gathering of Freedom 21, I delivered a call to arms. We had circled the wagons so tightly that we seemed to have only one left. I said we needed to charge! Stop being on the defensive. Go straight at the Sustainablists. Take it to the people. Amazingly, this was five years before the tactics that I had called for in 2004 began to take shape though the creation of the TEA Party. That movement brought our people together in a unified force and I was able to help them focus on the dangers of Sustainable Development. Finally, the issue began to gain national attention. Spokane, Washington became one of the first communities to begin to debate Sustainable policy. Then Richard Rothschild and his gallant fellow Commissioners in Carroll County, Maryland fired the first real shot as they ended the county’s membership in ICLEI – the first to do so. More than 150 communities followed, taking that same action against the main perpetrator of sustainable policies in local communities. Several state legislatures began introducing legislation to stop the spread of Sustainable Development. And the perpetrators like ICLEI and the American Planning Association became “concerned.”

Keep all of that in mind as you read this speech, given so early in the fight, when we hadn’t made a single advancement in our battle. This was back when even people in our own movement thought we were crazy conspiracy theorists. As the title of my first book reads (which covers much the activity during this time) “Now Tell Me I Was Wrong!” Most importantly, take it to heart, because I could still give this speech today, calling for the same actions. We made a lot of headway when we joined forces and fought together. But today I see the return of the fracturing as our movement once again forgets the roots of the policies we oppose, and returns to fighting the branches. As a result, Sustainable policy is on a rampage through local and state governments because our opposition is not unified. We will only win when we unite in one mighty fist to wipe out the complete agenda that ties them all together – the enemy we face is Sustainable Development. Tom DeWeese

Address to the Freedom 21 National Conference, July 23, 2004

By Tom DeWeese

My friends, we come here today from many walks of life. A wide variety of reasons got each of us started on the road to activism. Some of us started simply because we noticed something funny about our child’s curriculum in school. Some of us were outraged by government trying to take away our guns. A good many of us suddenly found government agents and members of private groups plotting to take away our land. Some have had their livestock confiscated. Some have found themselves facing jail just for doing what their fathers and grandfathers had done on the same land for decades.

Some of us just wanted to be allowed to go to church, pray to God, and celebrate Christmas without being fined for it. A few of us would even like to be able to go to a restaurant and order food we like — even if it is greasy, fattening, and full of carbs and calories.

All of us just want to live in an America where our rights and pursuit of happiness is protected. And so we fight. And now we’ve found ourselves here today in a room with hundreds of others in the same boat.

We Can’t Win This Way

I have one thing to tell you. You are not going to win in the manner we are fighting now, because the other side has cut us up into little pieces. They’ve divided and conquered us.

They’ve succeeded because you think your fight is against gun control. Because you think your fight is against bad schools. Because you think your fight is against the Endangered Species Act and roadless programs, wetlands regulations, water rights, and Heritage Areas. Because you think your fight is against Democrats and not Republicans. Because you think it’s a fight between evil liberals and good guy conservatives.

You’re wrong. Your fight is against a well-planned, well-orchestrated agenda for the complete transformation of America. And unless you learn that fact now, today… and unless you fully educate yourselves to every aspect of that agenda and fight it on the proper terms… then you cannot win!

I’m here to tell you that every one of these issues you are facing is interrelated. There is an agenda being implemented before your very eyes. It’s called Sustainable Development. And I will tell you now, if you want to keep your guns, your property, your children and your God, if you love liberty, then Sustainable Development is your enemy!

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 you wear, the kind of homes you live in, the method of transportation used to get to work, the way you dispose of waste, perhaps the number of children you may have, even your education and employment decisions.

Sustainable Development is that “ruling principle” for the implementation of what former Vice President Al Gore said we must all suffer through in order to purify our nation from the horrors of the Twentieth Century’s industrial revolution. In his book, Earth in the Balance, Gore called it a “wrenching transformation of society.” Those are pretty powerful words that should concern anyone who values liberty. It’s a warning that the rules are changing and that a new power elite is taking control.

Perhaps you are beginning to notice such changes as you go about your daily routine, but haven’t understood where those changes, and the ideas behind them, are coming from. But Sustainable Development is a very difficult concept to grasp. It’s written in an almost foreign language — designed to mislead and refrain from alarming you.

Let me put it in the simplest language I possibly can. The Atkins Diet is not sustainable. Now, why do I say that? Because on page 350 of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Assessment Report it says that the grazing of livestock, including cows, sheep, goats, and horses, is not sustainable. One reason for that concept is because Sustainablists contend that the animals pollute streams and damage the river banks. Getting us to stop eating beef is a major effort needed to fully implement the Sustainable Agenda. Since they are cowards who fear your reaction to an outright banning of eating meat, they have to try to trick you into thinking that not eating meat is your idea. So they use scare tactics. For years they have told you that eating meat raises your cholesterol. Fat is bad for you. Meat causes heart attacks. With PeTA’s help they were succeeding in turning us all into little sissies, eating salads.

Then along comes Dr. Atkins who shows us that a low carb beef diet will help you lose weight in a healthy way. Suddenly the nation has gone Atkins crazy. Beef sales are skyrocketing. The Sustainablists are in a tailspin. They’ve lost control of your eating habits. Now watch what they are doing to get you back on track. Suddenly reports are being published in leading women’s magazines about Atkins being dangerous to your health. Lawsuits have begun to pop up against the diet.

Do you see how it works? That’s how the Sustainable Development agenda is implemented. Behavior modification based on fear. Freedom of choice is not part of Sustainable Development. And so I repeat, the Atkins Diet is not sustainable.

Sustainable Development: A Life Plan Chosen By Someone Else

  • Now, perhaps you’ll understand why there are Sustainable Development papers, guidelines and regulations to impose the ruling principle:
  • On our public education system — to prepare our children to live in a sustainable world.
  • On our economy — to create partnerships between business and government, making sure business becomes a tool to help implement the policies.
  • On the environment — leading to controls on private property and business.
  • On health care — the new drive against obesity is leading directly toward controls on what we eat
  • On farming — Sustainable Development policies affect farmers’ ability to produce more crops by regulating or banning free farming practices that have fed America and the world for 200 years.
  • On our social and cultural environment — where political correctness is controlling policy, including hiring practices, immigration policy, multiculturalism, marriage laws, etc.
  • On our mobility — with emphasis on carpools and public transportation and away from the freedom of personal transportation.
  • And on public safety — where the rule of law and the court system is being challenged by new regulations that affect the right to privacy and unreasonable search and seizures.

It’s important to understand that these leading issues we face today are not just random concerns that find their way into the forefront of political debate. They are all interconnected to the policies of Sustainable Development. And you must understand that Sustainable Development is the official policy of the government of the United States of America — and every state, city and small burg in the nation. It is completely bi-partisan. It is being equally implemented by Republicans and Democrats. No matter the outcome of any election — the Sustainable Development agenda moves forward unabated.

What I am telling you here today is that Sustainable Development isn’t just some land use policy. It is a complete transformation of American society; away from the rule of law; away from the ideals of property ownership, free enterprise, free travel and even free association.

Step-By-Step Stealth Enforcement

And Sustainable Development is not a myth, or a theory or a conspiracy — as I’ve heard some in our own movement call it. Since the 1970s literally hundreds of issue papers, charters, guidelines, and treaties have been presented at scores of international meetings, each becoming a building block in the creation of what would eventually become Sustainable Development. Finally in 1992, the UN’s Earth Summit in Brazil brought all of these ideas together in two major documents called Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty. Here the ideas were officially presented to world leaders that all government, on every level, needed to be transformed into top-down control over housing, food production, energy, water, private property, education, population control, gun control, transportation, social welfare, medical care, and literally every aspect of our lives.

To get the full picture, add to these, the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, both of which create UN-mandates on abortion, child rearing, and government interference on families.

In 1993, President Clinton created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. From that Council came a flood of policy papers and recommendations to enforce it as government policy. And the Clinton Administration didn’t need Congress to get into the act. All Cabinet officials had to do was change some wording of existing programs and reroute already approved funding to begin to implement the agenda – without Congress and without debate. Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown told a meeting of the President’s Council that he could implement 67% of the Sustainable Development agenda in his agency with no new legislation. Other agencies like Interior, EPA, HUD and more did the same thing. To help it all along, Clinton issued a blizzard of Executive Orders.

The American Heritage Rivers Initiative was born that way. So were roadless policies designed to stop logging in national forests. National parks have become core biosphere reserves designed to shut out any human activity. And the buffer zones around them are designed to shut off existing human activity, allowing the core to continually grow like a cancerous tumor.

Any possible excuse to control human development or activities began to sprout up — from rails-to trails bikeways — to wet lands regulations — to historic preservation projects. Endangered species, real or made up, have been used to close down industry and steal private lands. Valuable natural resources have been locked away in national parks and preserves. In this way, an international agenda to transform the world into global governance under Sustainable Development policy took hold and became official policy of the United States of America.

The red states from the 2000 election are made up of the desperate Americans who rushed to the polls hoping to get a breath of fresh air — a champion to turn these smothering policies around. But in four years, other than throwing a few bones on roadless areas, President Bush has yet to undo a single Clinton Executive Order on Sustainable Development. It is still the official policy of the United States government.

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