President Obama’s Executive Order 13547, issued July 19, further extends federal power, embraces global governance, diminishes the rights and privileges of individuals and brings the United States into compliance with Agenda 21, Chapter 17.6, which says:
Each coastal State should consider establishing, or where necessary strengthening, appropriate coordinating mechanisms (such as a high-level policy planning body) for integrated management and sustainable development of coastal and marine areas. …
The National Ocean Council created by the executive order creates this mechanism – and much more.
The genius of the American system of governance created by the U.S. Constitution is the delicate balance of power between the federal government, state and local governments, and the people. The founders recognized the people as the source of power; the people came first. It was the people who organized states. The states created a federal government and through the Constitution limited the power of the new government to those specific powers set forth in Article I, Section 8. All unspecified powers were explicitly retained by the states or the people.
In the first 200 years, the United States of America produced greater wealth and prosperity than the rest of the world had produced in 2000 years. Why? Because individuals were free to pursue their own individual happiness.
Throughout its entire history, however, there have been those who believe that government is, or should be, the source of power; that the people are, or should be, subjects of the state. Since the 1970s, these people have used “environmental protection” as an excuse to expand the power of government. They argued that free people, in their pursuit of personal happiness, were polluting the environment. Therefore, government had to restrain free people in order to save the earth.
Their arguments prevailed in Congress, in the schools and throughout society. The result has been ever-expanding government power that continually diminishes individual freedom, which results in less investment in the pursuit of individual happiness and a gradual slowdown in the growth of prosperity for everyone.
Once, Americans could do whatever they could conceive, restrained only by the possible consequences of infringing their neighbors’ right to do the same. Now, Americans must get permission from multiple layers of government to do anything that produces income, pay multiple taxes on whatever income is generated, and comply with expensive regulations that govern every activity that might be pursued. Consequently, the individual entrepreneurial spirit is steadily being replaced by the ever-expanding reach of government’s ambition to manage society.
President Obama’s most recent executive order is another example of government’s ever-expanding reach. First, Obama created an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force in June of 2009. This group worked a year to produce a report that recommends how government can better protect the environment relating to the oceans and the Great Lakes. The executive order essentially adopts the recommendations in the report as national policy and creates a new bureaucracy called the National Ocean Council to implement all the recommendations in the report.
The two most egregious recommendations are: controlling activities on land that affects the ocean and ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Before America became a nanny state subject to the tyrannical decrees of the federal government, people were subject to laws that forced polluters to make whole anyone who was harmed. People who used their own property in the pursuit of their own individual happiness who inadvertently, through negligence or deliberately polluted water that harmed a neighbor could be brought to court and forced to pay damages.
Now, the federal government ignores private-property rights by requiring government approval of any proposed use of private property, payment of fees for the privilege and payment of penalties for any infraction of a myriad of rules that govern the activities government may allow.
The trampling of private-property rights is not as bad, however, as the subjugation that would result from the ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. This treaty was rejected by Ronald Reagan in 1982. Despite the so-called improvements to the treaty boasted by the Clinton administration, the U.S. Senate rejected it in 2000. President Bush tried to have it ratified, but the Senate rejected it again in 2004. Now Obama is trying again to force this horrible treaty down America’s throat.
This treaty would give the U.N. power to regulate activity within our territorial seas (Article 2, (3)); it would give the U.N. the power to levy taxes in the form of application fees ($250,000) and royalties; it provides no benefits that the United States does not already enjoy. Yet, the Obama administration has set up this new National Ocean Council to convince the Senate to ratify the treaty.
This treaty is another expansion of global governance, which is defined by the U.N. to be that “framework of rules, institutions and practices that limits the behavior of individuals, organizations and companies” (U.N. Development Report, 1999, p. 34).
Obama’s expansion of government is taking the nation in the wrong direction. The federal government should be reduced in size, scope and function. The federal government should be pushed back inside the bottle of those limited powers defined in Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution. States and individuals should reclaim the power given to them by the Constitution and guaranteed by the 10th Amendment. No elected official – including President Obama – is immune to the power of the ballot box. Those in power who support Obama’s brand of foolishness should be forced to find a new career path this November.