In February, 2014, I was invited to present the keynote address to the annual Clouds Over America conference in Oklahoma City, OK. Part of the program that evening was the presentation of awards to members of the Oklahoma state legislature who had distinguished themselves as defenders of freedom during the legislative session. I then had the privilege of speaking to this esteemed audience. Though some of this material has been published in a recent issue of the DeWeese Report, many in that audience asked for copies of this presentation. So I decided to reprint it here in its entirety. TAD
“Freedom.” We use that word a lot. Do we all really know what that word means? It’s used in so many different ways. Do we understand how it is attained? Most importantly, do we understand how it is used by some to actually take freedom away?
Simply put, freedom is the ability to act without hindrance or restraint. Freedom is owning your life, your actions, your labor. We say we support the “principles” of freedom. But what are those principles and where did they come from?
First of all, we must understand principles are not legislated or invented. Principles are discovered. Someone doesn’t just come up with an idea and start to sell it as a principle. A principle exists and you are subject to it, whether or not you know it.
For example, for centuries men were ignorant of the laws of physics but they were subject to them nonetheless. Man couldn’t fly or fit two objects in the same space, no matter how hard he tried because the laws (or principles) of physics are fact, whether known or unknown.
The same is true with the principles of freedom. The basic principles of freedom are consistent with man’s nature and that’s why they work. When the principles of freedom are recognized and adhered to, there is prosperity, justice, and happiness. When the principles have been ignored or rejected, men have suffered poverty, stagnation, and political tyranny.
So to obtain freedom it’s vital that we know what the principles are. There are three, actually. Individualism, private property, and free enterprise. They are all necessary for freedom to exist. Leave just one out, and freedom is eroded.
Individualism — your personal choices — the ability to pursue your own rational self-interest. Choices such as the religion you choose, the size home you build, the car you drive, the type of spouse you select. In short, individualism is fulfilling a life of one’s own.
Private Property. We start with the concept of the right to own and control private property. Your own body is the most important property you will ever own.
So private property is not just land. It is your thoughts, your possessions, and the fruits of your own labor. Without the right to own and dispose of the products of ones own life, the individual is dependent upon the State (or someone) for his very existence. So, it is obvious that one can’t be individualistic without the ability to own and control private property.
It can be argued that one can have no other rights without property rights. George Washington said, “Private property and freedom are inseparable.” Property rights activist and rancher Wayne Hage said, “Either you have the right to own property or you are property.”
And that brings us to the third principle of freedom — Free Enterprise. Free markets. Capitalism. The process whereby free men buy and sell and trade the products of their own lives free from interference.
These are the three principles of freedom and these are what we are fighting for.
So, I am honored to speak to legislators who have distinguished themselves in their duties by standing for the principles of freedom. You face so much as a legislator. The unending pressure from special interest groups to support their agenda.
The news media which watches for any misstep, ready to pounce and defame you — especially if that misstep is not a misstep at all, but rather a bold move for freedom that goes against their agenda.
And of course, there is the push from fellow legislators, some from your own side of the aisle, who pressure you to support their legislation, apparently failing to understand its consequences on freedom.
You have so very many details in which to be involved, to be wary of — to try and understand. So, I wanted to spend a little time today sharing with you some issues that many times do confuse even the most dedicated freedom advocate.
Especially in dealing with Agenda 21 — one of the most difficult issues of all to understand and defend against. Agenda 21; Sustainable Development; conservation; planned growth; environmental protection — Agenda 21 comes wrapped in each of these names, and many more. Like spoiling fish, the wrapping hides the smell.
But, as a result, we seem to be drowning in a sea of endless political fights and issues that affect our actions every day. Where do these issues come from? Who has time to think them up? Who is advocating them?
Recently, a local activist asked me to name six issues that would surprise most people to learn are directly connected to Agenda 21.
Agenda 21, according to the Planners, the Greens, and Progressives (I know, I repeat myself) is just an innocuous 20-year-old document that has no connection to local planning. Moreover, they tell us it is just a guideline for conservation and "smart growth" of our communities. Nothing more.
In fact, in their own words, they assure us that "sustainable communities encourage people to work together to create healthy communities where natural resources and historic resources are preserved, jobs are available, sprawl is contained, neighborhoods are secure, education is lifelong, transportation and health care is accessible, and all citizens have opportunities to improve the quality of their lives."
It all sounds so innocent. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, putting these plans into place is where the problems begin.
Here are six leading issues that are rarely mentioned or connected to Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development (especially when we are told that Agenda 21 has nothing to do with federal, state, or local government policy). And I’m going to add direct quotes from the proponents of these policies so there can be no doubt of their true purpose and origin.
Issue 1: Global Warming/Climate Change. It has been so discredited in the true scientific community that proponents have become almost silly in their continued attempts to push it. So, why don't they stop? Why is it so vitally important that they continue to promote something that clearly is unproven, to say the least?
It’s because all of Agenda 21 policy is built on the premise that man is destroying the Earth. Climate Change is their “Proof.” To eliminate that premise is to remove all credibility and purpose for their entire agenda. They are willing to go to any length, even lies, to keep the climate change foot on our throats.
But don't take my word for it. I'll let them speak for themselves:
Christine Stewart (former Canadian minister of the environment) said, "No matter if the science of global warming is all phony ... climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."
Timothy Wirth (president, UN Foundation) and former official of the Clinton administration said, "We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy."
Paul Watson (co-founder of Greenpeace) said, "It doesn't matter what is true. It only matters what people believe is true."
Issue 2: Fear of overpopulation is the central driving force behind nearly every sustainable policy initiative. The fact is, in developed nations, population is actually going down. The only real growth in the U.S. population in recent years has been from immigration, legal or otherwise.
There is a major divide in the Green movement over the issue of population. Some in the Sierra Club advocate that U.S. borders be closed to stop population growth here, just as you and I do, and for mostly the same reasons. Illegals, they say, overcrowd our cities and damage our way of life, including our environment and use up our natural resources.
The majority of environmentalists, however, insist that the borders must be open to allow as many to immigrate here as possible. They argue that the U.S. has a greater ability to control them and protect the environment than if we left them in third world countries. That’s because the Greens have already strangled our nation and our industry with massive environmental regulations.
In the face of their fear of overpopulation, however, it’s interesting to note that studies have shown that there is no worldwide overpopulation crisis. In fact, one study insists that we could put the entire population of the world in an area the size of Texas with a population density of Paris, France.
Overpopulation, and its accompanying environmental degradation, is a problem only in poor countries that lack the ability by the poor to improve their conditions. Nations that refuse to legalize private property ownership for the masses, for example, is a primary reason for poverty in these nations.
Meanwhile, Sustainablists work to ban these nations from developing or increasing energy use, thereby keeping them poor. Green regulations stop the building of infrastructure. They panic at the idea of increased energy use in developing nations, and move to stop that growth at all costs.
Instead of working to solve the real problem — poverty — they exploit the excuse of overpopulation, and advocate enforcing polices to drastically reduce populations. China’s brutal one-child policy of forced abortions and sterilization has become their model.
Do you think I’m joking? Then consider this quote from David Brower (Sierra Club): "Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing."
Or this one from the United Nations Global Biodiversity Assessment: "A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion. At a more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible."
That report is, of course, advocating that we live on less — actually advocating poverty as a means of achieving sustainability. In other words, enforcing the very thing that would cause populations to skyrocket instead of diminish.
Issue 3: The goal of Agenda 21 is the destruction of the Free Market system. We have heard statement after statement from the UN, from members of Congress, from the news media, and from Hollywood all deriding the free market system as evil, corrupt, and a tool of the rich to hold down the poor.
Now suddenly, they are worried about the poor — if it leads to their ability to raid our bank accounts. So, are they really worried about protecting the environment — or honoring the tactics of Jesse James? Redistribution of wealth is behind every policy that comes out of the UN, and now the Obama Administration as well.
The EPA is the attack dog to shut down entire industries such as coal. It has become very difficult to operate a manufacturing business in the U.S., and nearly impossible to start a new one. Environmental protection is always the excuse, even when Obama's own State Department says the Keystone Pipeline is not an environmental threat. Just last week, radical greens with torches demonstrated outside the house of the head of the Keystone pipeline company. Does that scene not bring back visions of the terror of the Dark Ages?
At the UN's Rio + 20 Summit last year, the idea of "Zero Economic Growth" was advocated — just to keep things fair. It was stated that even the building of new roads upsets the status quo and disrupts a well-ordered society. Such idiotic ideas are the driving force behind Sustainable Development. Again, images of the Dark Ages.
And again, not my words. Let them tell you themselves: Dave Foreman (Earth First) said, "We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land."
Have you had pressure put on you to support legislation to tear down dams and grab (I mean preserve) thousands of acres of open space? Now you know its origin.
A minute ago I stated that their goal is to make us all poor. You thought I was just making that up. Sorry, all of what I’m telling you is their words. I’m just the messenger whom they love to call a fringe nut.
Professor Maurice King (population control advocate) said: "Global sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption, and set levels of mortality control."
Now, planning groups like to assure you that their projects are all local, made with local input and have absolutely nothing to do with Agenda 21. Well, not so fast. This quote is directly from the website, plannersnetwork.org and its Statement of Principles: "We believe planning should be a tool for allocating resources ... and eliminating the great inequalities of wealth and power in our society ... because the free market has proven itself incapable of doing this."
The largest and most respected planning group in the nation, the American Planning Association, is a member and supporter of these principles.
Issue 4: Cheap Energy is the enemy of the Earth. To the average person, the drive to stop any ability to obtain cheap energy makes no sense. People are hurting economically. Jobs are lost. Energy costs are skyrocketing. Any attempt to drill oil, fracking of shale gas, and mining coal are all vigorously blocked by government and green policy. Yet the government spends billions of dollars on "alternative energy" such as wind and solar, which provides less than 3 percent of our energy needs. Why? What is the motivation to put such shackles on the U.S. economic engine?
The excuse is that energy use drives up CO2 emissions and accelerates global warming — the excuse necessary to "harmonize" the U.S. into the socialist, Sustainable global noose.
But, according to some anti-energy advocates, the fear of cheap energy goes beyond environmental protection. Energy availability, they say, helps build wealth for individuals and removes them from the rolls of the dependent. And you see, dependency on government is a little-mentioned, but major goal, of sustainable policy.
Professor Paul Ehrlich (professor of population studies, Stanford University) said, "Giving society cheap, abundant energy is the worst thing that could ever happen to the planet."
Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute) said, "Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it."
Jeremy Rifkin (Greenhouse Crisis Foundation): "The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet."
Issue 5: Common Core. Many people see the reorganization of the public school issue as separate from Agenda 21. It's not. Those who are promoting what they call the Agenda for the 21st Century understand that it is going to be a long, drawn-out process.
To reform a nation that has been created on the ideals of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty into one that unquestioningly accepts government top-down control will take time. They must wait out those of us who were educated in the old system, we who were taught that we were born with our rights and that government's job is to protect those rights.
The sustainable system says government will grant us our rights. To enforce such a radical turn-around of our society requires that the children be indoctrinated to accept it.
The effort started in earnest in the 1990s under the Clinton administration through the Department of Education and programs including Goals 2000, School To Work, and Workforce Development Boards. These programs set children on the path to accepting top-down control as schools became mainly training centers to create the workers of tomorrow.
The original American education system effectively provided an overall academic education from which students could choose their own futures. No longer. Today, the new curriculum has morphed into what is called Common Core. It’s a state-run central curriculum that revamps schools as little more than job training and indoctrination centers.
Because, you see, today’s curriculum is also designed to strip the children of their attitudes, values, and beliefs that parents may instill in them, and indoctrinate them into accepting global values — global citizenship and a global economy based on the sustainable agenda.
Little of American civics and history is taught in today’s classroom. But textbooks contain whole chapters on the Five Pillars of Islam, while ignoring the 10 Commandments of Christianity. The children are fed an unending diet of the evils of capitalism, the selfishness of individualism, and the social justice of redistribution of wealth. It punishes students for possessing individuality and is designed to eliminate such natural human tendencies.
That is the "common" in Common Core. Common values, common goals, common future. Don't rock the boat of a well-ordered society. Common Core is the curriculum necessary for the acceptance and implementation of Agenda 21. And today nearly every adult up to the age of 40 has gone thought this indoctrination, trained to accept a future chosen for them by someone else.
Issue 6: Healthcare. How is healthcare connected to Agenda 21? Simply Google "Sustainable Medicine," and you will find more than 5,850,000 English language references to the subject. Read through the ideas expressed there and you will find nearly every provision of ObamaCare.
A friend of mine and an expert on Sustainable Medicine, the late Dr. Madeleine Cosman, put it this way: "Sustainable Medicine + Sustainable Development = Duty to Die." How do we handle the preconceived overpopulation problem? Central control of the healthcare system — ObamaCare.
Sustainable medicine makes decisions through visioning councils (usually bureaucrats with little or no medical knowledge) assigned the power to determine what shall be done or not done to each body in its “group” in its “native habitat.” Sustainable medicine experts do not refer to citizens in sovereign nations, but to "humans" in their "settlements."
Sustainable medicine is the pivot around which all other Sustainable Development revolves. Principle #1 of the Rio Declaration that introduced Agenda 21 is that all humans must live in harmony with nature. It means rationing healthcare, low technology for healthcare treatment, and emphasis on medical care — not cure.
These are the stories that are not usually discussed or connected to Agenda 21. Americans must understand and connect these dots to everyday policy so that they can understand the root and long-term goals of policies that are affecting them in their personal lives.
Agenda 21 is the “common core” and it has already invaded every corner of our lives. Sometimes it feels hopeless to stop it. But let me just leave you with this thought.
When you feel overwhelmed in your fight to preserve our freedom, when you feel there is no hope, remember this — there are millions in the world who really want freedom — we are not alone.
There is a great uprising beginning to take place around the world. The Internet has become an incredible tool to spread the word of freedom. And oppressed people are reading our founding documents and dreaming of freedom for themselves.
Truth is on our side. Right is on our side. And I believe time is on our side. Call me Pollyanna if you will, but I see signs of change. The immigration battle, the battle against ObamaCare, the entire Tea Party movement; all show that people are alert. The sleeping giant is awakening.
The truth is, in our lifetime we are probably not going to see America become what we might envision to be the perfect world. Frankly, many of us would disagree among ourselves about what that perfect world should be.
But, in the face of the forces of tyranny which we now fight every day, if we can preserve our nation’s sovereignty and independence and keep the Bill of Rights alive — a document based on the three principles of freedom — then frankly that will be an incredible victory.
And for our children and grandchildren to have a hope of living in freedom, that will be enough.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information.