The UN Attack on Property.
Across America property owners are under concerted attack. In the Klamath Basin of southern Oregon and northern California, hundreds of ranchers and farmers are being forced from the land by heavy-handed federal policies that have cut off their irrigation water, ostensibly for the benefit of sucker fish that have been declared "endangered." Farmers in Okanogan County in north-central Washington state have been struggling for survival against the same policies. Ditto for thousands of farmers and ranchers in hundreds of other rural communities throughout the Western states.
In the Eastern states, along the Appalachian Trail, the U.S. Forest Service is making "willing sellers" of property owners by threatening to take their land through condemnation if they don't willingly sell their property to the government. From coast to coast, thousands of property owners adjacent to, or surrounded by, national parks, national forests, or other federal lands are under increasing pressure to deliver their land to ravenous federal agencies. Meanwhile, millions more rural property owners are facing relentless harassment over wetlands, endangered species, water quality, scenic viewsheds, habitat restoration, and other environmental issues.
What many of these besieged citizens are beginning to realize is that there is connection between the outrages they are experiencing and the United Nations. The meddling that they had earlier thought to be simply the harebrained folly of state and federal legislators and bureaucrats turns out, in fact, to be proceeding from various UN environmental treaties and conventions.
A number of frightful programs emerged from the UN's 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. One of them is the Convention on Biological Diversity, supposedly crafted to protect our planet's flora and fauna and all its ecosystems. It is accompanied by a huge 1,140-page instrument known as the Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), which claims to provide a scientific basis for implementing the convention. In 1993, President Clinton began implementing the GBA, even though the United States Senate had not ratified the treaty.
According to the GBA, "property rights are not absolute and unchanging, but rather a complex, dynamic and shifting relationship between two or more parties, over space and time." And the UN bureaucrats are determined to make any property rights they don't abolish outright as "complex, dynamic and shifting" as possible. "We should accept biodiversity [i.e., the primacy of plants and animals over human wants and needs] as a legal subject, and supply it with adequate rights. This could clarify the principle that biodiversity is not available for uncontrolled human use." In practice, this means assigning "rights" to animals, trees, bugs, bushes, weeds, birds, fishes, even mountains, and then appointing "custodians," "guardians," "trustees," or "stakeholders" to look out for and speak for the rights of these ecological "citizens."
"Contrary to current custom," says the GBA, "it would therefore become necessary to justify any interference with biodiversity, and to provide proof that human interests justify the damage caused to biodiversity." In other words, under this scheme, a "guardian" or "stakeholder" (someone claiming to represent a plant or animal species on the property) can assert a priority right over that of the actual property owner, and force the owner to prove that any activity he contemplates for his property will not adversely impact the flora and fauna which constitute the biodiversity in that ecosystem. This is already happening all across America. And it is accelerating and intensifying, as radical environmentalists and their allies in government become more audacious.
One of the most stunningly audacious programs to grow from the Global Biodiversity Assessment is the Wildlands Project, which proposes to convert approximately one-half the land area of the United States into a huge biodiversity preserve -- free of people. The Wildlands project is the basis for the policies already in effect that are pushing farmers, ranchers, loggers, miners, and other so-called resource exploiters off the land. Dave Foreman, the radical founder of Earth First! and an architect of the Wildlands project, says the scheme "is a bold attempt to grope our way back to October 1492."
The Convention on Biological Diversity, which spawned all of this, is, however, just one component of a far-reaching global environmental action plan. This plan was formalized at the UN Earth Summit as Agenda 21. Environmental activist attorney Daniel Sitarz, who edited one of the most popularly available editions of the document, enthused over the utopian ambitions of this master plan:
AGENDA 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by every person on Earth....Effective execution of AGENDA 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced -- a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources.
Sitarz and his fellow radical environmentalists believe act as if they are supernaturally endowed with the wisdom necessary to "reorient all human society." The arrogance is mind-boggling.
Agenda 21 is nothing less than a green Marxist manifesto which holds that "land must be regarded primarily as a set of essential terrestrial ecosystems and only secondly as a source of resources." We must develop new social systems, it says, because "traditional systems have not been able to cope with the sheer scale of modern activities." These new systems will "have as their goal both the effective management of land resources and their socially-equitable use."
Agenda 21 goes on to state: All countries should undertake a comprehensive national inventory of their land resources in order to establish a system in which land will be classified according to its most appropriate uses...." And, in classic Marxist style, it proclaims: "All countries should also develop national land-management plans to guide development."
At present, this plan's bark is worse than its bite. But the UN's Watermelon Marxists (green on the outside, red on the inside) intend that the "soft law" of Agenda 21 will be ratcheted up into "hard law" treaties and conventions with real teeth mandating regulations for the entire planet in the years ahead.
The UN showed its blatant socialist bias against private property as far back as 1976 at its global Habitat Conference. The Habitat Conference Report touched off a minor firestorm with declarations such as the following:
Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice.... Public control of land use is therefore indispensable....
According to Karl Marx, "the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property." That's pretty plain, and it's directly out of The Communist Manifesto. It has been the rallying cry of collectivists of all stripes -- Communists, socialists, anarchists, fascists -- and has guided the most ruthless and bloody regimes of the past century. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Ceausescu, Tito, Castro, Pol Pot, Mengistu, and dozens of other Communist dictators and tyrants all fervently espoused that Marxian precept and applied it with a vengeance. In so doing, they have produced mountains of corpses and rivers of blood unequalled in all history.
It should not surprise anyone that Marxist hostility toward private property dominates at the UN. After all, most of the regimes that make up its membership are run by Communists and socialists of one stripe or another. Even many of the western European nations usually referred to as our allies -- such as France, Great Britain, and Germany -- are ruled by Labor parties that are members of the Socialist International, which boasts of its direct lineage to Karl Marx.
This socialist antagonism toward private property not only is widely shared by the official member nations of the UN, but is especially virulent amongst the militant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have become, in Secretary-General Kofi Annan's words, "the new superpower" at the UN. It is shared also by the likes of billionaire socialist Ted Turner, who has been the largest private funder of the UN. The Turner Foundation insists that property rights are responsible for a host of problems associated with urban and suburban sprawl and further insists that state governments must impose more restrictions on property rights. According to the Foundation, "politically potent bubbles about free markets and property rights must be popped."
Property and Liberty
True champions of freedom, on the other hand, have always recognized that private property is essential both to human liberty and to the material well-being and economic advancement of all classes of people. James Madison, aptly considered the Father of the U.S. Constitution, stated:
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort....This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own....
"Let the people have property," observed Noah Webster, "and they will have power -- a power that will forever be exerted to prevent a restriction of the press, and abolition of trial by jury, or the abridgement of any other privilege." (Emphasis in original.) Justice Joseph Story, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President James Madison and became one of America's most revered jurists, put it this way: "That government can scarcely be deemed to be free where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon the will of a legislative body without any restraint. The fundamental maxims of a free government seem to require that the rights of personal liberty and private property should be held sacred."
In our own day, the importance of private property was expounded clearly by Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich A. Hayek. "What our generation has forgotten," he said in his 1944 classic, The Road to Serfdom, "is that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less or those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves."
The millions of farmers, home owners, businessmen, shopkeepers, artisans, laborers, and professionals who own their own property form a natural obstacle to tyrannical aspirations. If people are allowed to own their land, grow their own food, manufacture whatever products they choose, live in homes of their own, and freely exchange their goods, services, and labor -- why, they just might not meekly yield to the dictates of central planners whether of the fascist, Communist, or socialist variety!
Do the folks at the United Nations and their collectivist allies in the U.S. media, academia, politics, and the corporate world understand this? They most certainly do. And they have consciously chosen to follow the path of Marx, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, and Castro rather than that proposed by Madison, Webster, Story, and Hayek. Time after time after time, they've chosen the path of power, slaughter, tyranny, and destruction, rather than liberty, morality, and justice. It is time for America to realize that our membership in and support for the UN has put us on this same path toward destruction, It is time for us to get back onto the right path.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||United Nations|
|Author:||Jasper, William F.|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Oct 22, 2001|
|Previous Article:||Civilian Disarmament.|
|Next Article:||The Global Taxman.|