Monday, June 10, 2013

Agenda 21, Seven 50, and Environmental Fascism

(In addition to my article which is taken from my book Earth Restored, 2002; that's how long ago I warned people of a plan to overcome private property rights, PLEASE watch the full video below of how the city of Vero Beach, FL, overcame this anti-American agenda). 

In his booklet, The Decline of Property Rights and Freedom in America, Dr. Michael S. Coffman, president of Environmental Perspectives, details the original intent of the Founding Fathers, who saw our God-given right to own land as one of the foundational elements to freedom. Coffman also provides an overview of the systematic erosion of the right to private property in America, which has come at the hands of government interference and its usurpation of individual rights. I strongly recommend the reader get a copy of his booklet. The gist of Coffman’s thesis is that America is presently witnessing a move toward a “new feudalism.” Complete centralized control over most of this nation’s landscape will have the nefarious effect of elevating the federal government, and perhaps the United Nations, as the ultimate power over the lives of Americans. Personal liberty will be a thing of the past. 
In an article for Mining Voice, Dr. Coffman, notes, “With the Grand Canyon National Park as his backdrop, President Bill Clinton used the 1906 Antiquities Act to set aside one million acres of land into three national monuments in Arizona, Nevada, and California on January 11 [2000] this year.”30 This action was not done with the approval or review of Congress. In addition to the federal government’s unprecedented lock-up of public lands, “more than 20 million acres of private land could be purchased over the next decade with no congressional oversight.”31 Using the Clean Water Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture plan to administratively shift “water protection from point source pollution (a single factory or city) to non-point source pollution over an entire watershed.”32 Consequently, federal land use jurisdiction will extend to all of the 2,100 watersheds in America, including private property. This use of the Clean Water Action Plan will affect a total of “48 million acres of private property.”33
Just three days before leaving the White House, former President Clinton created seven new national monuments and expanded an eighth on January 17, 2001. All totaled, the Clinton administration designated more than three million acres as national monuments in 2000 and 2001. U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton has indicated that President Bush will not seek to reverse Clinton’s land-grabs, but only adjust them so oil drilling, coal mining, and other development can take place.
Moreover, the U.S. government is working to implement the UN’s Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Treaty), which was introduced during the June 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Agenda 21 is a 40-chapter tome focused on reorganizing society around ‘sustainable’ use and development of the planet. Based on socialist principles of equal sharing of all natural resources, Agenda 21 sets a goal to control all human activity to protect the Earth’s ecosystems and biological diversity.”34 Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty in the U.S. is currently being sought through The Wildlands Project, which is designed “to transform at least half the land area of the continental United States into an immense ‘eco-park’ cleansed of modern industry and private property.”35 This will be accomplished through the creation of “reserve networks” across America. These reserve networks will be made up of “cores,” and “corridors,” a mixture of both private and public lands. As a result, 50 percent of the U.S. continent will be restricted or considered off-limits to the public!
The Wildlands Project is essentially the pet project of David Foreman, the principle founder of the eco-terrorist group, Earth First. Foreman summarizes the strategy as an effort to “tie the North American continent into a single Biodiversity Preserve.”36 John Davis, editor of Wild Earth, is more to the point, when he says the Wildlands Project seeks “the end of industrialized civilization...Everything civilized must go.”37 This Orwellian nightmare would close many U.S. industries, block or remove highways and roads, stop all timber harvesting, and what is more, force many hundred of thousands of Americans to relocate.
It is in this context that Coffman urgently calls us to rebuild a system where government exists to protect absolute private property rights limited only by the principle of “harm and nuisance.” This is a system that places control of the environment at the local level, where it is regulated by a strict system of checks and balances. In “The Decline of Property Rights and Freedom in America: The Destruction of Our Founder’s Intent for the U.S. Constitution,” Coffman observes, “In turn, common law nuisance and harm provisions limit the rights of a property owner to harm their neighbor. Therefore, if an activity or use of property clearly causes harm to a neighbor by causing harm to the environment, the property owner must pay the cost of mitigation or restoration. These activities can be established in regulatory statutes where the regulators are accountable to those within their jurisdiction. However, if a regulation benefits the larger (i.e. a “public good”) without a clear and definable harm, reduction of property value must be compensated according to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Finally, if an activity or use does not cause a definable harm by itself, but does when added to all similar activities or uses preceding it, both the property owner and society should share the cost of diminished property value. Society must bear responsibility because it contributed to the problem as much as the proposed activities or use of the current property owner. Partial compensation according to the Fifth Amendment should be required.”38
He concludes, “In the final analysis, it is private property rights as constrained by common law and significant harm that is the ultimate answer to environmental protection. A continued reliance on heavy-handed laws and regulations will only serve to devastate landowners and deny them the ability and desire to develop creative solutions to our environmental problems. It will also deny them the incentive to creatively provide the natural resources this nation must have to provide the security and standard of living we all enjoy.”39

30 Michael S. Coffman, “Globalizing Mining in America: Is It Environmental Concern That’s Driving Mining Out Of The United States Or Rather Politics On The Grandest Scale?” Mining Voice, March/April 2000. (; Internet).
31 Ibid.
32 Ibid.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid.
35 Ibid.
36 Ibid. ???
37 Ibid. ???
38 Michael S. Coffman, “The Decline of Property Rights and Freedom in America: The Destruction of Our Founder’s Intent for the U.S. Constitution” (Bangor, ME: Environmental Perspectives, Inc., 1996), 38.
39 Ibid, 17.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Frederick Edwin Church and the Christian Vision of America

Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900) was a devout Trinitarian and Congregationalist. Ministers and theologians were among his closest friends throughout his life. For years a student of Thomas Cole, he left his tutelage in 1846 and established his own studio in Hartford where he heard the sermons of Horace Bushnell at North Congregational Church. In those years Church would have been exposed to the ideas of the young Christian Romantic minister that had just published Discourses on Christian Nurture. I will comment briefly on only one of his paintings.

Niagara (1857) is a monumental piece both in physical size and meaning. Painted at a time when America was transitioning from an agrarian to an industrialized economy, and when a new sense of nationalism was in search of an identifiable cultural icon, the significance of Church’s picture of Niagara Falls found a ready audience. While Niagara Falls had been painted many times, even by his mentor Cole, Church brought a fresh awareness to the mammoth waterfall. Not only is his picture overwhelmingly larger than any other (his serial panorama was intended to encourage the viewer to feel as a participant in the story), but also he reversed his point of orientation from the conventional American side looking toward Canada to a view from the Canadian rim looking towards the vast openness of the American frontier. In this way Church highlighted Niagara Falls as the new cultural icon of a growing, changing, and prosperous nation. Like Bushnell and Coleridge, Church saw the role of the artist as prophet and seer. To him, America is a chosen people of God. He used biblical metaphors to express his message.

Above the falls we see a rainbow (something Cole never painted) – the covenant sign of God’s blessing to Noah. Church wants us to see America in the very same sense: having endured hardship, God has now set his sign and seal of promise upon Americans and is calling them to thrive in the land of their sojourning. The metaphorical Christian imagery extends to the very use of water in its concealed affiliation with the Christian waters of baptism, a rite that is also tied biblically to the deluge. Also, Church follows the basic idea of Christian Romanticism that nature is symbolic of God: the power of the falls is meant to point us to the power of God and his protection of the American people, as long as they heed his voice and obey his commands.

Though Niagara was received as a new cultural icon of nationalism and industrialism, Church, like his teacher Cole, was wary of the implications of economic expansion for nature. The American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) echoed this circumspection in The House of Seven Gables (1851):

What we call real estate – the solid ground to build a house on – is the broad foundation on which nearly all the guilt of this world rests.[1]

American novelist Herman Melville (1819-1891)[2] shared Hawthorne’s view, as seen in his masterpiece, Moby Dick (1851):

Hereby perhaps Stubb indirectly hinted that though man loved his fellow, yet man is a moneymaking animal, which propensity too often interferes with his benevolence.[3]

[1] Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables, Chapter XVII, “The Flight of Two Owls.”
[2] His classic Moby Dick is about the search for truth and self-discovery in the midst of battling with one’s own demons. Both Melville and Hawthorne, as opposed to the Transcendentalists, focus on the more negative side of human nature. They combine realism, allegory, and moral issues.
[3] Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 93, “The Castaway.” American Literary Classics.