The 65th meeting of the U.N. General Assembly kicked off this week with a call from its new president, Joseph Deiss, for the 192-nation body to reclaim the “center of global governance” to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000.
Pundits and politicians who pooh-pooh global governance are finding it increasingly difficult to pretend that the U.N. is not on an aggressive mission to create a:
“… framework of rules, institutions, and practices that set limits on behavior of individuals, organizations, and companies.”
– U.N. Development Report, 1999, Page 34
Specifically, the Convention on the Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the realization of sustainable development through the implementation of Agenda 21 are high on the priority list for the year. The standard agenda items will get the usual lip service: remove the permanent membership status from the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia and find independent funding for the U.N.
Sustainable development goals are most appealing, and, perhaps, easiest to achieve. Sustainable development results from the implementation of Agenda 21, which is a non-binding policy document. Nations are free to implement these recommendations on a voluntary basis – as far as the U.N. is concerned. In the United States, however, it is a different story.
Sustainable development is appealing because it claims worthy goals with which few can disagree. What is most disagreeable is the method employed to achieve those goals. Sustainable development, as defined in Agenda 21, cannot be achieved without the loss of individual freedom, private property rights and free markets. Sustainable development and sustainable freedom cannot coexist.
The goals of sustainable development are quite worthy and can be achieved much more efficiently through free-market forces. This approach, however, eliminates the need for the bureaucracy that defines, implements and enforces sustainable development through the U.N. plan.
The U.N.’s version of sustainable development requires government to define what constitutes sustainable development in a given community through the adoption of a comprehensive land use plan and related international codes. Citizens are required to comply with the plan or face serious fines, penalties and even the loss of property.
People – especially politicians – need to step back and consider this question: Is the function of government to dictate the behavior of its citizens by limiting their individual freedom? Marxists must reply with a resounding “yes.” This is precisely the effect of the U.N.’s version of sustainable development.
Many Americans, on the other hand, believe that the legitimate function of government is to do precisely what the citizens who created it and the Constitution instruct it to do – and nothing more. Many Americans believe that they should be able to live where they choose and can afford to live. This fundamental choice is taken away from people subjected to comprehensive land use plans that dictate where, and under what conditions, people must live. Freedom and sustainable development are mutually exclusive.
Across the nation, private property rights advocates and, increasingly, tea-party groups, are discovering that they can stop and reverse the sustainable development process that has permeated virtually every community. Until now, local officials have been coerced and intimidated by federal agencies and fed the sustainable development Kool-Aid by U.N.-accredited NGOs, such as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. Now, however, local organizations are showing up at city council and county commission meetings and challenging the assumptions of sustainable development,.
For example, a couple worked years to save the money to buy 38 acres 10 miles from town to build their dream home in the country. They discovered that their county’s comprehensive land use plan required no less than 40 acres per home. Why?
There can be no perceived “common good” to be gained by this rule that is more important than the exercise of individual freedom to do what the owner wants to do on his own land. Marxists strongly disagree. This is not a Marxist nation – yet. Sustainable development is rapidly transforming community after community into a system of governance that is Marxist and a perfect reflection of the system of governance the U.N. General Assembly wants to impose on the entire world. They call it global governance.
It is imperative that local groups learn about sustainable development and about global governance. It is even more important that informed citizens elect officials at the local, state and federal levels who understand sustainable development and global governance. There is a wealth of material available, and it is being distributed by local organizations to their elected officials and to their friends and neighbors.
Now is the time to stand up to government and let every governmental entity know that their first responsibility is to the citizens who elect them and not to the policies adopted by the U.N.