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The Tea Party’s Next Target: Sustainable Development

RP Siegel | Monday November 22nd, 2010 | 12 Comments

Now that the Tea Party has landed on our planet, in our country, like some kind of alien advanced strike force in preparation for a takeover, they are beginning to look around to see how they might rearrange things to better suit their peculiar perspective.

We’d be wise to carefully observe these folks, in an effort to understand how they think, or even, where they are coming from, since we’ve been told that they represent the future of America.

One member of a Virginia-based subgroup called the Virginia Campaign for Liberty, Donna Holt took aim at the UN’s Agenda 21, an initiative which started in 1992. She told an assembled group of supporters this past summer that the Agenda, “…outlines, in detail, the UN’s vision for a completely managed society, dictating the process to be used for industry, agriculture, housing development, and especially education. It’s an all-encompassing plan to rule from an all-powerful central government.” She went on to explain to an absolutely horrified audience that the name for this policy is “Sustainable Development” and that it seeks to abolish private property and prepare children for global citizenship, ultimately aiming to reduce the population.What Agenda 21, which is also known as the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is really is a set of international sustainability guidelines. It’s difficult to know which of the Declaration’s twenty-seven principles these newcomers find so threatening. Perhaps it is #1 which states that, “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.  They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.” Or the one that says, “The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.” Hard to find anything wrong with that, either. Perhaps it’s the one that says, “States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.” I admit that it is difficult to see the inherent evil here. Perhaps other examples might prove instructive.

Another one of these newcomers is a Colorado man named Dan Maes who was running for governor.  Maes directed his righteous indignation at bicycles. He referred to his opponent, John Hickenlooper’s bike sharing policy as an attempt “convert Denver into a United Nations community.”

“This is all very well-disguised,” he told a group of supporters, “but it will be exposed.” Okay. I can hardly wait.

A Florida-base web site that calls itself the “Home of Patriotic Resistance,” urged its readers to oppose a bill that would require homeowners to responsibly maintain their septic tanks.

Up in Maine, an effort to avoid overcrowding of Highway1 along the mid-coastal area before it became a problem was referred to by tea-bagger David Andreasen as “centralized planning for the de-industrialization of large segments of Maine, and the relocation and isolation of the population into human habitation zones, along certain corridors over a span of 20 years.”

Okay, I agree, these examples don’t exactly elicit a battle cry from me, either. In fact, the things that they are so strenuously objecting to, all seem perfectly reasonable to me. But there does seem to be an emerging underlying theme here.

Perhaps one more example will clarify. This one is from Tea Party Commentator Henry Lamb. Lamb says that, “If the word ‘freedom’ is to have any meaning at all, it must mean that people are free to live wherever they choose, and free to use their property as they choose.” He then goes on to decry the emergence, first of zoning laws, then later of planning, “which gave the government the right to control the use of land,” in the interest of the common good.

I think by now the pattern should be clear. These people have somehow come to see any kind of social consciousness as a gateway drug to socialism. They worship at the altar of narrow self-interest and have come to regard selfishness and irresponsibility as a defining characteristic of the American way of life.

This point is driven home in another one of Lamb’s columns in which he praises author Beverly Eakman, who in her recent book, A Common Sense Platform for the 21st Century. “takes direct aim at the nation’s education system for training generations of people to focus on the collective rather than the individual.”

So it turns out that the problem all along was with those kindergarten teachers who told us that we needed to share with the other kids. Didn’t they realize how un-American that was?

Of course, what these people don’t see is that they have all been had by a secretive cabal of industrial billionaires who have recruited their aid in winning the recent election, in order to further weaken the already crumbling authority of the US government over corporate power, for fear that the few remaining regulations or offices not already filled with corporate shills, could potentially put a drag on their already gargantuan profits. Ironically, the tea-partiers will get absolutely nothing out of the deal, except the perverse satisfaction that a mob of beer-sodden, adrenalin-gorged sports fans gets after having rooted for the winning team.

RP Siegel is co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails. Despite the fact that he rides a bicycle and occasionally shares things with his friends and neighbors, he still considers himself an American.

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  • VinMan

    What the author does not realize is that the elites leading the Democratic Party and the Socialist movement in the United States and the world are just as rich (if not richer) and out of touch with “the unwashed masses” as he accuses the Tea Party leaders of being. People are at the center of our interests, not an enemy to be controlled or abolished. Economies around the globe are crumbling due to irresponsible and selfish population control theories espoused and promoted by these millionaires (like the Clintons). If we are going to be sustainable (environmentally, socially and economically), we must realize that promoting a culture of life around the world is the only way it will happen.

    • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bob-siegel/ RP Siegel

      If you read the piece again, you will see that I did not mention Democrats or Republicans at all. Could you explain how “economies around the globe are crumbling due to irresponsible and selfish population control theories?” I would be interested in understanding how that works.

    • Norri

      Population control theories? What in the world is that supposed to mean? I thought it was about fiscal responsibility?

  • http://flagler.edu Allan Marcil

    The Tea Party only decries the educated elite, not the wealthy elite (although many times those entities merge). The Tea Party is lost in a nostalgic day dream of times when there were few government regulations on anything- banking, the environment,corporate pollution – Tea Party Americans desire the freedom to eat whatever they want, drive whatever they want, drink whatever they want, pollute however they want and not be taxed, told what to do or how to behave and to hell with the consequences…Oh, and get the black guy out of the White Hou, their #1 priority. The collective amnesia about the last administration shields them from any semblance of how we got where we are. And as lonfg as “Professor” Beck is schooling them, they will continue to be part of head in the sand Isiot America.

  • http://offthemall.org/ Bryant Turnage

    The Tea Party is just a name for a far-right segment of the Republican Party. People like them, fearing government, change, and loss of power, have always existed in our society and probably always will. We’re not likely to appease them with anything short of caving in to all of their demands, and of course that leaves the vast majority of our population shortchanged and unhappy. The best thing we could all do is convince the media and politicians to ignore this small but very loud minority – but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

    The real question that we have to answer is, are there any conservatives and libertarians willing to face up to the very real problems we face, and come to the table? Urbanism, multi-modal transit, and alternative energy have a lot that should appeal to fiscal conservatives and proponents of free markets, if they can get past the idea that these concepts are somehow only for liberals.

  • Dr Krakatoa

    Guys – the reason that the Tea Party (and related sentiment) has been successful is 100% about taxes and fiscal policy. Both Republicans and Democrats in recent times have grown the size of the federal deficit enormously and this is basically a rebellion against it. Pensions, unions, government workers – they can be just as corrupt and greedy as the corporate folks they claim to be fighting.

    Then you get a few fringe crazies who make matters worse by talking about how “Sustainable development” is some kind of plot. But they wouldn’t get anywhere if both Democrats and Republicans were a little less corrupt.

    Sad, but true. But don’t be too distracted by the redneck sterotype, at the heart of this whole thing is advocating responsible fiscal policy, which is the one thing the Tea PArty has right!

    • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bob-siegel/ RP Siegel

      Used to be the Republicans held the sole distinction of sleeping with Big Business, But then Clinton caved in on NAFTA and Obama, in a panic, let Wall Street tell him how to respond to the meltdown (by giving them all big bonuses). So the Dems have given up the moral high ground they once held. Now you have the RW distortion machine telling folks how corrupt the Dems are, as if the Repubs are lily-white and blameless. Had Obama taken a hard line with Wall Street and demanded accountability, I don’t think the TP would have made the gains they did. But as I said earlier, this is not about Dems or Repubs and all this tea-party business is just a side show. They’ve been whipped up and mobilized but they don’t really get what is happening. The main issue is that big corporations are gradually taking over the government, regardless of who is in power, greasing the skids for themselves, and skewing our entire system to maximize their profits.
      Lastly, let’s not forget where this huge deficit came from: the unnecessary Iraq war, and the meltdown which came about as the result of total effective financial deregulation (aka greed gone wild), both courtesy of GWB.

  • buffalo

    This is not surprising to me at all. The nice thing about the election is it will give an opportunity to show the citizens the ignorance and lack of compassion for people and the environment that the Tea Party people have.

  • http://www.houstontomorrow.org David Crossley

    For 60 years, national, state, and local governments have conspired to make it difficult for people to live in urban circumstances, in order to encourage the spread of the sprawl lifestyle. These governments have worked with land speculators to drive up the prices of ex-urban land by using public assets to subsidize their investments. Now tea partiers saying they’re about freedom and free markets are coming out to support these government policies and to oppose the effort of the 40-50 percent of people who don’t want to be coerced into the sprawl lifestyle. Amazing.

  • Marlboro

    The overall tone of your article is condescending and littered with ad hominem attacks. While the “kindergarten teachers told us that we needed to share,” is it not the decision of the child — the individual — whether or not to share? I know if you were the teacher it wouldn’t be. The fear of the tea-partiers, moderates, and most independents, is that someone with your perceptual framework would have the authority to remove or restrict that right. Agenda 21 http://bit.ly/buuYPx

    • Avery

      Is it condescending to say that video is utterly bonkers? Like, daffy duck with steam coming out his ears, head spinning ’round, woo! woo! woo! BONKERS!!!! ?

    • http://www.triplepundit.com/author/bob-siegel/ RP Siegel

      Thank you, Marlboro for sharing this video with me. It is truly a wake-up call to realize just how much work we have ahead of us in educating the American people about the choices that lie ahead. What astonishes me about yourself and the people shown in this video, is the complete absence of awareness of the hidden hand behind our current self-destructive trajectory that is informed by selfishness and greed and underwritten by zealous billionaires intent on protecting the profitability of a way of life that was designed by them and for them and with no consideration of the broader consequences to the multitudes of people and the planet that supports the whole thing. You don’t see that this is every bit as much of a “conspiracy” as you claim Agenda 21 to be. The difference is that the people behind Agenda 21 are drawing from their highest ideals to try and design a road map for future survivability and prosperity of our species on the planet, while the people in the video, with all their mock outrage are concerned only with themselves and their investments. They are indeed the kids in kindergarten who refuse to share their toys, otherwise known as spoiled brats.
      You will say, this is a free country, we can do whatever we want. We don’t have to share. That may be true, but there is one major problem with this attitude and the way of life in entails. It is not sustainable, meaning that it will eventually lead to its own demise and the demise of everything and everyone around it.