"Smart Growth" is "Agenda 21"
|By Henry Lamb|
|Thursday, 20 February 2003 16:00|
From one end of the country to the other, "Smart Growth" has become the politically-correct buzz-word to mask a variety of policy initiatives designed to bring about sustainable development of sustainable communities that will produce sustainable lifestyles - as determined by the authors and promoters of Agenda 21.*
From Santa Cruz to Myrtle Beach, hundreds of cities and communities have decided they need a new vision for the future. In all the communities, both the process and the product are remarkably similar; both the process and the product are prescribed in Agenda 21.
Birmingham, Alabama began its "visioning" process in 1996, when Dr. Neal Berte, president of Birmingham-Southern College, invited 56 individuals to meet to develop a visioning process that grew into "Region 2020." The process included 17 different meetings, involving more than 1800 people, who produced 4727 ideas, which were refined into 34 goals, and 217 strategies, which are to be implemented throughout 12 counties.
So what. What's wrong with "smart growth" plans?
What's wrong, is both the process and the product. In the first instance, government should not be in the business of telling citizens where and how they should live. This fundamental principle is a major distinction between America, and almost every other nation. In Socialist countries, the function of government is to tell people where and how they should live. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution gives the government such authority. Yet, the President's Council on Sustainable Development, and the agencies of government, have decided that people in America should live their lives as prescribed by Agenda 21, and are actively pursuing public policies to force people to comply with Agenda 21 recommendations.
The process is particularly onerous. It's called "collaborative consensus building," but in reality, it is the implementation of pre-conceived ideas, in ways that by-pass or avoid accountability through elected officials.
Our system of government provides ample opportunity for any citizen to present any idea or proposal to any governing body - city council, county commission, state legislature, or the Congress of the United States. When policy proposals are presented to, debated, and adopted or rejected by elected officials, the people can hold those elected officials accountable.
The reason the vision has come into being, is the fact that elected officials and private citizens of the region have not adopted the policies thought by some to be necessary to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, the process and the product have been designed, and are being implemented across the country, to achieve what the President's Council on Sustainable Development believes to be necessary:
"We need a new collaborative decision process that leads to better decisions; more rapid change; and more sensible use of human, natural, and financial resources in achieving our goals." (PCSD We Believe Statement #8).
The objective is to avoid or by-pass elected officials who can reject or modify any policy proposal, and put the policy-making authority in the hands of professional bureaucrats.
In Birmingham, and in every other community where the visioning process has produced a localized version of Agenda 21, every elected body of government affected by the vision, should retain absolute veto power over any or all provisions of the vision. No policy should be implemented in any community without, first, the authorization of that policy by elected officials who can be held accountable.
Anything less is a major erosion of the first principle of freedom: legitimate government is empowered by the consent of the governed - not by the recommendations of Agenda 21, the President's Council on Sustainable Development, or by the "visions" on non-elected professionals, no matter how well-meaning they may be.
Smart Growth is Agenda 21 by Henry Lamb
Henry Lamb is the Executive Vice President of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO). See www.freedom.org. Henry Lamb has a comprehensive archive totaling more than 2,000 pages and accumulated since 1994, located at Sovereignty International's Library.
*More information - What is Unsustainable?