Conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s dystopic novel Agenda 21 opens with the chilling line: They took Mother away today. Written in collaboration with Harriet Parke, the novel creates a regimented world in which people are relocated from the countryside to cities, where, under constant surveillance and threat of punishment, they can do nothing but what the authorities decide. The aged mother is taken away because for two days she failed to generate her quota of electricity by walking her energy board. The adult daughter has tried to make up the quota and get food for two but has apparently been found out. It’s a world where animals, plants, and the wilderness take primacy over humans. And there are no property rights — or any rights, for that matter. The Authority, drawing on a law called Agenda 21, takes care of everything.
It’s no coincidence that the frightening novel — which could well become a reality should the leftist global strategy succeed — is named after the U.N.’s Agenda 21. Here’s how Rosa Koire, a land use and development expert, described the U.N. document: “an inventory and control plan of all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production all food, all energy, all information, and all human beings in the world.” Even from that brief description of the opening of the novel, it’s easy to visualize the parallels with Koire’s fears: a seemingly innocuous plan of “sustainable development” for the 21st century is in fact a social engineering program to achieve global governance. With surveillance, individual liberties will go, and with individual liberties gone, representative governments will perish. The erosion of government as we know it has already begun — with the slow strangling of local government.
Agenda 21 was introduced at the U.N. Earth Summit in 1992, along with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as the “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.” Together, they toll the death knell for wealth creation and economic and personal liberty, based on the fallacious assumption that development will lead to the extinction of life on Earth. With top-down controls, they aim to end local power and vest it in a global governance system. Environment protection is the excuse and weapon for this draconian program to fundamentally transform human lives, force citizens to surrender their liberties, and enforce socialist global control. The agenda is political.
The Convention on Biological Diversity was created under the pretense of restoring biodiversity in the U.S. It was a proposal to set aside land in North America for “rewilding” — to protect biodiversity from human influence and reintroduce animals into areas of human habitation. Anti–property rights directives that implemented a Wildlands agenda called for the eventual elimination of private property to use it for the “common good.”
The project was created in the 1990s by eco-terrorist David Foreman, who in 1979 had founded Earth First, the most militant environmentalist organization in the world. His core beliefs show utter contempt for human life: “Life of the Earth comes first, not life of the people” and “We humans have become a disease — the Humanpox.” And Reed Noss, co-author of the project, says, “The collective needs of nonhuman species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.”
Currently, 12%, or 100 million acres, of U.S. land is wilderness protected as wildlife refuges and national parks. The project aims to convert at least 50% of land across North America to wilderness off-limits to humans. Identified core wilderness areas are to be interconnected by wilderness corridors, also off-limits to humans, and surrounded by buffer zones where use of natural resources will be restricted. Human populations are to be resettled into the remaining 25% of the land into communities deemed “sustainable” as depicted in a U.N. map. Like in the novel, relocation to designated centers will be determined by central planning.
Slowly and stealthily, the conversion of land to conform to this agenda has been occurring for decades. This is being achieved using condemnation, conservation easements, and regulations that offer no compensation for land takeover. Originating from the U.N. and filtering down to local authorities, a comprehensive plan of action has been promoted that will take effect at global, national, and local levels. The prime actors are government agency officials and powerful NGOs, using buzzwords such as “smart growth” and “sustainability” and programs such as the Green New Deal and the Rewilding Project. They have successfully encroached into the domain of local governments with planning, water, energy, and historic preservation boards of unelected individuals with specific political agendas.
A prime example of the diminution of local authority is the saga of the multi-generational Bundy Ranch, established in Nevada in the late 1800s. When the state was created, land had been granted to families like the Bundys to encourage settlement. More than 25 years ago, claiming that an endangered tortoise had to be protected by decreasing ranching on the property, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal agencies began restricting the Bundy family’s use of federal land they had historically grazed. When Cliven Bundy, the ranch’s current owner, protested, the BLM and federal agencies decided he was a trespasser and set up a military compound with 200 hired guns surrounding the ranch. They rounded up and shot cattle, which were dumped into mass graves. They destroyed water infrastructure that was more than 100 years old. They beat up protesters and threatened the family with Waco- and Ruby Ridge–type actions.
In my own Los Angeles suburb, we face ordinances that, if enacted, could outlaw second stories and other home additions, require building in deep canyon areas a significant distance from ridgelines, and even make it impossible to rebuild homes destroyed in natural or man-made disasters. A wildlife ordinance will require the incorporation of bird-safe building design, including windows that obstruct views, prohibiting non-native plants, imposing height and square footage limitations, decreeing open fencing for free wildlife movement, mandating extensive open space regulations, and imposing the replacement of dead or fallen protected species trees, which must be retained on site. There are other restrictive and costly provisions, too.
Our Founders recognized property rights as the basis for liberty and wealth creation. They also viewed local authorities as central to the principle of representative government. Decentralized and bottom-up by nature, local governments best serve and empower citizens. Plus they can leverage local resources and capital and provide services keyed to specific local needs. But with the advent of Agenda 21–focused entities, local governments are being pressured to comply with “smart growth” programs. Zoning, once the preserve of local government, is being wrested from that arena: across the nation, suburban and rural single-family homes are being targeted for elimination, to be replaced by urban, government-controlled housing with strict energy regulations.
Will that mean, that like Mother, you could be taken away for either using too much electricity or not generating enough? There is reason to believe that the taking away of local powers could be the edge of the sword. Eventually, individuals — prized above all by our Founders — will be unable to freely choose how and where to live. The agenda is for a global governance system to end the nation-state, sever national and state borders, and end the ability of individuals to control their fate.
The Biden administration, with its proposed trillion-dollar infrastructure package, aims to federalize zoning laws as part of the Green New Deal, perhaps the most comprehensive program toward full implementation of Agenda 21/CBD. The suburbs will be eliminated. The uniquely American dream of a house with a white picket fence and a backyard for a Fourth of July barbecue will no longer exist.
And the nightmare of the novel may eventually come to pass, with the proposed high-rise apartments packed with people forced off their own land to allow “Grizzlies in Chihuahua” to have an unbroken passage to “Grizzlies in Alaska,” as the Wildlands Project envisages. In this state of serfdom, Americans will have no say over their lives in the Land of the Once Free.
The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of ThinkCivics.com.
American Thinker is a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda.