Monday, February 14, 2011

Michael Coffman, the UN and global governance

After Michael Coffman's keynote speech Thursday for the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference, media reports -- mine and others -- mostly glossed over his lengthy segment detailing what he sees as the global aims of environmental true-believers. Lest we let any misconceptions linger, it's fair to take a closer look at what he said.

Coffman started by asserting that much of the nation's current cultural divide can be traced back to two men in the 18th century -- John Locke, the English philosopher who believed property was a natural right, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the French writer who heavily influenced the French Revolution and was "the father of European socialism," according to Coffman. Put another way, we're in a "battle of worldviews," with one side believing rights come from God and the other thinking they come from government, he said.

America's Founding Fathers believed that the purpose of government was to preserve private property, Coffman said. Thomas Jefferson was one who believed strongly in distributed government, which necessarily makes government less efficient, he said.

Today you hear calls for government to be more efficient, but "the only way government can be more efficient is to take your liberty away and put it in the hands of bureaucrats," Coffman said. "That's exactly what's happening."

Private property
Why are private property rights so important? Because according to recent data, Americans' average annual income of $45,000 was well above "socialist" Europe's $34,000, while the income in former communist countries was just $2,000 a year, Coffman said.

"The amount of regulation determines your gross domestic product and the average income of your citizens," he said. "It's a striking relationship, one we need to be aware of because we're struggling with more and more regulation." In the U.S., some 50,000 pages of new regulations are introduced each year, he said.

After a trip to France during the revolution there, Thomas Jefferson believed "Washington would become oppressive" if it followed the French model, Coffman said.

"He knew what was going to happen," Coffman said. "He could see the day we're living in today and realized Washington ... would become venal and oppressive and it's happening before our eyes."

All of this leads to the modern environmental movement, whose leaders mostly hold to the collectivist idea that private property is evil and have embarked on a slow, decades-long offensive against property rights worldwide, he said. Here, Coffman noted that he doesn't believe every environmentalist thinks private property is evil, but many of their groups' leaders do. And he said these people don't make up a large segment of the population, but they're present in many vestiges of power around the world -- particularly in the United Nations.

This worldview in the 1960s and '70s led to the creation of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other regulatory vehicles to control what happens on both public and private land nationwide, he said. In 1973, the Adirondack Park Agency was created in upstate New York, which "gave a state agency total control absolute control over anything that could happen in the park" which included public and private lands in a huge swath of the state. That became a model for similar land-use-controlling agencies around the world, Coffman said.

The United Nations
This brings us to the U.N., and specifically its Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Division of Sustainable Development. Its core document is Agenda 21, which Coffman characterizes as a 40-chapter document that spells out how every human being is going to be controlled. Here's how the UN's Web site describes it.

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

Each section of the document is available for reading online. Coffman notes that it uses phrases that we've all heard, such as creating a "green economy" and "decoupling" environmental impacts from the use of natural resources and economic growth.

"A nation can't survive without the use of natural resources," he said.

Coffman said a working document of the EPA speaks of "amending national policies to achieve international obligations." A Cllinton-era document, Sustainable America, was based on Agenda 21, he said.

'Central principle'
"This now has become the central principle of every federal agency of the United States," Coffman said. "You're dealing with a mentality ... meant to put you out of business. Every federal agency is in the loop."

Coffman argues evidence of environmental leaders pantheistic worldview can be found in the UN's Global Biodiversity Assessment in the 1990s. Christopher Woodward of explains:

Section 11 of the GBA states that there are too many people in the world living at too high a material standard, and offers two options for how to address this. The first option is for most human beings to live as “peasants”, which would allow for a population of 5 to 7 billion people. Alternatively, the GBA states, that “a reasonable estimate for an industrialised world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion."

Under Section 12, the GBA condemns Christianity by denouncing the “western worldview” for its “denial of the sacred attributes of nature which became firmly established with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious traditions” It contrasts this with the "traditional worldview" where humans see “themselves as members of a community that not only includes other humans, but also plants and animals as well as rocks.... People are then members of a community of beings -- living and non-living. Thus rivers may be viewed as mothers. Animals may be treated as kin."

The GBA also attacks property rights stating that they should be “usufructual.” The concept of usufructual rights was established during the Roman Empire and meant that everything is owned by Caesar, who distributes the right to use property by permit.

"What can we do to heal America?" Coffman said. "We need to expose the progressives in Congress and in the legislatures and let people know who they are. They are extremely dangerous.

"They literally do not know what it takes to put food on the table," he said. "You cannot convince them of anything ... They want to do good. They don't want to do evil. But they are doing evil by the bucketfuls. They're destroying American society as we know it."

Sound crazy? Nadine Bailey, the logging conference spokeswoman and a long-time acquaintance of Coffman, thought so when she first heard him speak about these issues 15 years ago. In fact she used the word "crazy" during her introduction of Coffman on Thursday. But she doesn't think it's crazy anymore after seeing the way things have turned out, she said.

As for me, whenever I hear folks talking about global governance or a new world order, I tend to start thinking, "Much easier said (or feared) than done." World government? Try telling that to the protesters in Egypt who've grown violent over the mere hint of foreign interference. North American Union? Heck, the most weak-kneed immigration bill in Congress sparks so much controversy that there's little hope one will get passed anytime soon, whatever its benefits for ag. Shoot, they're having trouble keeping the European Union together, and that's just one continent.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that there are like-minded bureaucrats at all levels who dream of more power and more control, that a good number of them reside at the U.N., and that environmentalism is one of their favorite tools. The fruit of their labors is self-evident. The fact that Michael Coffman has spent a career meticulously documenting these labors and warning others of their dangers is to me simply an example of a citizen taking part in the political process.

For his part, Coffman hasn't been hiding behind his book. Over the past week he's attended numerous community meetings, done radio interviews, talked with people face-to-face and backed up his arguments with facts.

One can agree or disagree with his conclusions, but to simply chalk him up as another conspiracy theorist would smack of intellectual laziness at best.

No comments:

Ag in the West social media watch

Capital Press videos on YouTube

Our most popular videos