Freedom 21 Backgrounder
The Wise Use movement, as well as the Property Rights movement, emerged to oppose excessive intrusion by the federal government. Hundreds, if not thousands, of groups have organized to oppose restrictions on logging, grazing, mining. Other groups oppose excessive restrictions on the use of private property imposed by the Endangered Species Act, federal wetland policy, and the Ecosystem Management policy. Groups have been formed to oppose the expansion of Biosphere Reserves and so-called Heritage Areas. Thousands of groups are opposing a myriad of government regulations that are transforming America from the "land of the free" to the home of the enslaved.
A wise and wonderful old grey-haired philosopher once said, "you never get ahead by always being against." It is time that Americans who love "the land of the free" get ahead. To do so, we need to not only be "against" those policies which infringe freedom; we must also advance those principles which ensure our freedom. Freedom 21 is an effort to identify, celebrate, and reinstate those principles into public policy at every level of governance.
Why freedom is at risk
The explosion of federal, state, and local regulations in recent years is not the result of elected officials responding to the expressed desires of their electors. It is, instead, the manifestation of the reappearance and emerging ascendancy of a system of governance that America knocked off track nearly a century ago. Our little victories, such as the defeat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the defeat of the last three nominations for Biosphere Reserves, are but temporary annoyances for those who no longer embrace the principles of government on which America was founded.
To get ahead, and ultimately to prevail, it is essential that we understand who and what the enemy actually is. The enemy is not the "liberals," or the UN, or the federal government, or the "green" NGOs. They are simply the instruments through which the real enemy facilitates its system of governance.
The real enemy is much more elusive; the real enemy is an idea. Throughout the 20th century, this idea, or concept of a system of governance, has struggled to gain ascendancy in the world. Throughout this century, this system of governance has appeared, with varying degrees of success, in different places, at different times, and described by a variety of names.
American freedom is at risk because this concept of governance is now emerging around the world, called by a new set of names, but constructed on the same principles that America has so emphatically rejected in the past. The proponents of this system of governance are committed, dedicated, smart, and rich. They are succeeding in America, and around the world, where their predecessors failed.
American freedom is at greater risk than at any time in its short history. To get ahead, and to ultimately prevail, we must understand who and what the enemy is, and how the enemy operates. Then we must develop a new strategy so strong that even the "gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Understanding the enemy
The idea in conflict with American freedom is a concept of governance in which there is no war, no suffering, no struggle for survival. It envisions a world of "equity" in which all people share equally in the earth's bounty -- and in the toil required to produce it. It is a compelling idea for many people, especially for those who must constantly struggle for survival, who see it as "unfair" that some people prosper while others suffer in poverty. It is a concept that is particularly appealing to people who have been the innocent victims of war.
To achieve this utopian system of governance, there must be a central regulating authority to decide the quantity of natural resources that may be used without endangering biodiversity. A central authority must decide how much greenhouse gas may be emitted without endangering the global climate. A central authority must have the power to prevent war by disarming all nations, and all people. A central authority must decide how many people the earth can support, and have the power to keep population within safe limits. A central authority must have the financial resources to enforce the "right" of all people to "a full stomach," health care, and decent housing. A central authority must have the power to take "from each according to his ability," and redistribute to "each according to his need."
There is nothing new about this system of governance -- except the modern names used to describe it. It is the system of governance enjoyed by kings and dictators throughout history. It is the system of governance championed by Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner, who modified the concept to transfer authority and power from a single sovereign, to a sovereign institution christened by Colonel Mendell House as The League of Nations. Reflecting the views and values of their electors, the United States Senate knocked the concept off track when it refused to ratify the League's Charter. The League withered, but the concept of governance did not. Marx, Lenin, and Stalin rekindled the concept with more modifications and a new name. For 70 years, central authority and power was held in a Politbureau that regulated every aspect of every human life throughout eastern Europe.
The Rhodes-Milner-House version of the concept differed slightly from the Marx-Lenin-Stalin version. The latter group believed the use of force was necessary to coerce cooperation; the former group believed that education was the source of cooperation, with force available to be used for the uneducable. The United Nations was created by the remnants of the Rhodes-Milner-House group in 1945. Convinced that education was a more effective tool than military might, the reincarnation of the old League set out to educate the world about the benefits of its concept of governance. When the Marx-Lenin-Stalin version of the concept collapsed, the United Nations was well-positioned to move in and fill the vacuum. The world has now been sufficiently "educated" to embrace the benefits offered by the concept of governance which promises no wars, no suffering, and no struggling for survival.
How the enemy operates
Identify a problem -- real or perceived -- and offer a reasonably credible solution. This is the underlying operating principle used to "educate" people about the benefits of the old concept of governance all dressed up in new names. "Communism," and "socialism" are both tainted terms in much of the world. The new all-encompassing name for the old concept is "Global Governance." Proponents of the old concept are quick to declare that global governance is not world government. And here is revealed another important operating principle: "a rose called by any other name...." A pile of cow manure can be described as a "biodiversity enhancer," but it still smells like, and is, a pile of cow manure. Global governance smells like, and is, world government. The United Nations is consolidating authority and power to regulate every aspect of every life by "educating" people about the benefits of "sustainable development" and the dangers of global warming, over-population, economic disparity, and international terrorism.
The education campaign has been incredibly successful. In hardly a generation, the values of "sustainability" have permeated public schools and pushed aside the principles of personal responsibility and individual freedom. The idea of national sovereignty is described as obsolete, promoted only by right-wing radicals. The idea of free markets is described as corporate greed that ignores the "rights" of workers and rapes mother earth and ravages her resources to produce products for the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor. Land, and the resources it contains, are assets held in common by all people, to be administered on the basis of need as determined by a central authority. These ideas are now accepted as the norm among many, if not most, Americans. These are the ideas that drive public policies such as the Endangered Species Act, the Ecosystem Management policy, the School to Work Act, and national and personal disarmament. These ideas are the enemy. Our strategies must not only rail against the institutions of government that implement these ideas. Our strategies must fight fire with fire; ideas with ideas.
The ideas of governance on which America is founded represent, perhaps, man's greatest achievement. The idea that government must be empowered only by the consent of the governed, is the most powerful idea about governance ever conceived. At the end of the day, it is the idea, and the system of governance, that will guide all people to healthy, happy, and prosperous lives. But there is little to prevent the world from suffering through another century, or millennium for that matter, of the inevitable oppression that results from self-empowered government that grants, or denies, freedom and wealth to its citizens.
New strategies - Freedom 21
Without reducing our resistance to every manifestation of global governance advanced through federal policy, we must also develop a strategic offense. We must not only be "against," we must be "for." We must be for those principles of self-governance which inspired the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We can no longer be content to fly a flag and light fireworks on the fourth of July. We must do more -- a lot more.
Freedom 21 is conceived to be an on-going celebration of the principles of self-governance that empowers America. Its purpose is to focus public attention on just how wonderful it is to be an American, and more important, exactly what makes it so wonderful. It is conceived to be an on-going national "teach-in" through which communities around the country participate in a range of activities which educate and appreciate the fundamental principles of American self-governance.
Composition contests in writing, music, and electronic communications, can inspire thousands of students and church goers to think about, and perhaps rediscover, the values and principles that define America. Parades, concerts, study-groups, town hall meetings, all focusing on the values and principles of American self-governance, conducted in every community in America, sponsored by grassroots organizations can have a profound effect on whether or not our nation is consumed by global governance.
The United Nations Millennium Assembly and Summit has authorized the U.N.'s vision of global governance. The pace of implementaton will now accelerate. With the approval of the heads of state from more than 150 nations, and the U.N. General Assembly, the U.N. has a mandate from the highest political powers on earth.
The Freedom 21 Campaign was launched at the Freedom 21 National Conference in St. Louis, July 9-12, 2000. The Conference adopted "Principles of Freedom" Resolution. The Freedom 21 Campaign is continuing with the development of a Freedom 21 Agenda. Participating organizations are encouraged to undertake a variety of initiatives to advance the principles of Freedom. The Freedom 21 web site will be the center of activities as the Campaign continues to build momentum. Check this site often.
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