OCALA - A decades-old scheme to eliminate private ownership of land has been working quietly to snatch up thousands of acres in North-Central Florida and across the nation under the guise of environmental protection. The plan, formally known as “Agenda 21,” was originally outlined in a 1976 United Nations report called ‘Habitat I.’
United States and Florida law enshrine the protection of life, liberty, and property, but the U.N. condemns private property and goes on to state that “public control of land use” is “indispensable.” Private land ownership, according to Habitat I, contributes to “social injustice.”
The two ideologies are irreconcilable, but Agenda 21 marches on with the support of the U.S. government and even state and local governments. “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,” the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs explains on its Web site.
In the final agreement after the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, section H encouraged countries to “pursue these principles at the appropriate level of government,” recognizing that in countries like the U.S., the power is supposed to be divided among different levels of government.
So, the ‘Commission on Sustainable Development’ was created in 1992 to “ensure effective follow-up” of the U.N. “conservation” treaties and “to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels.”
According to the Department of Interior, the federal government alone owns almost 30 percent of the land in the U.S.
“The principles embodied in Agenda 21 present a framework for environmental action that should be pursued at all levels of society--in our schools, local communities, governments, and in our lifestyles,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi before urging fellow representatives to co-sponsor the implementation of Agenda 21 in America.
The law she was pushing, HR-353, called for “national and international actions to integrate environment and development, negotiated and adopted by the United States and 177 other countries” and the U.S. “participating in a high-level U.N. Sustainable Development Commission.” It states in section B: “The United States Government should encourage and facilitate, at all levels of community and sectors of society, appropriate means for adopting individual Agenda 21 plans of action, including the establishment of local, county, State, business, and other boards and commissions for achieving sustainable development. Each member of the Congress should help initiate this process within their States or districts.”
The law passed in 1992.
|Land in Alachua County shown in black has already been acquired while the gray areas have been ‘nominated.’ Programs like ‘Alachua County Forever’ and ‘Florida Forever’ were outlined in U.N. documents as part of ‘Agenda 21’, a global plan to put land under ‘public control.|
Florida’s government has already acquired almost 6 million acres “that are managed for natural resource protection,” according to James A. Farr, the environmental supervisor at the Florida Division of State Lands. When combined with local and federal government holdings, almost 30 percent of Florida is strictly “conservation land.”
In an article titled ‘Florida’s Landmark Programs for Conservation and Recreation Land Acquisition,’ Farr also discusses the establishment of “land acquisition programs” by local governments.
“We were often criticized, perhaps fairly, for purchasing more land than we were able to manage,” wrote Farr, his department’s chief, Greg Brock, and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in the report they collaborated on.
Critics point to government mismanagement of land as one of the many reasons why it is better left in the hands of private owners with a vested interest in the property. One example commonly cited in Florida is the federal government’s waste of billions of dollars in an attempt to “drain” the everglades, then having to spend billions more to attempt restoration.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection boasts on its Web site of a new program to transfer control of land from the people to the government using the people’s tax money: the ‘Florida Forever Program.’
It will replace the “highly successful,” three-billion dollar “Preservation 2000 Program” which acquired almost two million acres over its 10 years.
“This new program is more than just an environmental land acquisition mechanism,” it says before assuring readers that eminent domain will not be used in “most circumstances.”
This is just one of Florida’s many programs or departments busily buying up land across the state.
In Alachua County, where the City of Gainesville flies a U.N. flag at city hall to celebrate U.N. day every year, and where the Sheriff is the chair of one of the local U.N. ceremonies, a land buying program similar to Florida Forever was approved in 2000.
It will manage over 5,000 acres of land and was involved in acquiring over 10,000. The ‘Alachua County Forever’ used a property-tax hike to raise $29 million which will fund the purchases, management and “improvement” of “environmentally significant lands.”
In Marion County, more and more land is also coming off the tax rolls and entering the realm of what propagandists call “public-private partnerships,” a union between big government and corporate interests that Mussolini appropriately named “corporatism.”
One of the immediate problems is that when this land is taken off the tax rolls, the burden is shifted by default to other home and business owners. Just last year the state government took ownership of more than 1,700 acres in Marion County, the second and final phase of a purchase near Silver Spring of almost 5,000 acres.
The move is part of a partnership between Marion County and The Nature Conservancy, an environmentalist group funded by wealthy foundations and government grants that buys up land for “conservation” or to sell to a government, often times for a lot more than it paid. It is supposedly to “protect the water quality” of Silver Springs – this in addition to land “owned” by the Greenways projects, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, national forests, state parks, and associated preserves.
Private property is also under attack with outrageous fees, regulations, and fines – like those proposed in Marion County last year under the guise of “springs protection,” say property rights activists.
The Fourth Amendment to The Bill of Rights protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, yet lobbyists are hard at work to give the government the power to walk on to private property and demand that residents prove that they are in compliance with laws that many legal experts say are unconstitutional and ridiculous to begin with.
Though most don’t realize it, very few states even allow property to be owned in allodial title anymore. Texas and Nevada are among the holdouts, and the few that do posses an allodial title there are among the last true land owners in the world.
In Florida, tenants may own an interest or estate in land, subject to property taxes, zoning bureaucracies, and more. If an owner of what Florida statutes call “real property” or “real estate” can’t afford the taxes, the land can be sold to pay them.
Two or more individuals who “own” their property in Florida are known as “tenants in common.”
Throughout most of history, land available for true ownership by the common man has been rare, with property rights being reserved mostly for kings and nobles who could then charge the people rent.
America was founded on the principle that individuals have a right to own property, the fruits of their labor. But, at few times since Americans secured the right has it been more endangered than it is today, property rights activists say.
Most don’t openly advocate the destruction of private property rights or a return to the systems of the past that kept the bulk of the human population as penniless slaves and serfs. That doesn’t mean it isn’t being discussed behind closed doors.
“Feudalism is coming back in a different guise,” said John McClaughry, a property rights advocate and retired State Senator. “A growing body of legal theorists, allied with activist organizations and congenial political leaders, has been working very hard to replace the long-cherished concept of freehold property and land with the old feudal concept of social property. The essence of that theory is the contention that property and land cannot be owned by anyone.”
The land we live upon and the homes we reside in are much more than lines on a map, said a Marion County property rights activist concerned about Agenda 21.
“Property is the foundation of a free society, and the sacred heritage of any people who would dare lay claim to the right of liberty,” he said.
Even local governments are participating in these violations of property rights, said the activist who asked not to be named, so “let this be your siren warning.” “Environmentalism, with all of its ‘newspeak’ code words, is just the means by which our new feudal lords are selling us on the idea that private property is detrimental to society,” he explained.
The land use management concepts, according to the activist, come from a “pseudo-science” known as “conservation biology.”
“They use masterful public relations techniques,” he explained before going on to cite some examples.
“The Wildlands Project” has a nice sound, but it calls for the elimination of human presence on over 50% of the American landscape and heavily controlled activity on most of the rest. “Smart Growth” calls for dense human settlements subject to increasing controls on how we live and increasing restriction on our mobility.
The most damning evidence against this movement to people who support the right to own property comes right from the pages of its own founding documents. The “Habitat I” report that provided the blueprint for Agenda 21 openly states: “Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.”
Property owners can only wonder, indispensable for whom?
“Since public property is a collectivist fiction, since the public as a whole can neither use nor dispose of its property, that property will always be taken over by some political elite, by a small clique which will then rule the public – a public of literal, dispossessed proletarians,” wrote Ayn Rand, a famous author renown for her fierce defense of capitalism and property rights.
In California, another state where these plans are relatively advanced, there are already laws on the books which call for the “decommissioning” of roads, homes, and businesses. This would mean the literal abolition of the communities that exist there. Roads, homes, schools, businesses, and churches will be “decommissioned,” all in the name of the environment.
And what of the idea that we must sacrifice private property rights for the benefit of the environment? That argument doesn’t stand up to even the most casual analysis, say defenders of property rights.
China and Russia, two countries that have rejected the notion of private property for generations, are environmental disasters. Seventy percent of China’s rivers are contaminated. In Dzerzhinsk, Russia, a former Cold War-era center for making chemical weapons, the average life expectancy is 42 for men and 47 for women.
With no private entity or stakeholder to protect and value the land and natural resources, the state has had the freedom to do as “it” saw fit. Private property is not only desirable for economic reasons, say virtually all economists, it is the only means by which to ensure that the environment is protected. Polluted land is of no value to its owner, and a polluter is liable for polluting his neighbors land.
“It is important that every American citizen recognize the goal of this plan for what it is; a return to the ideas that ruled humanity throughout the dark ages and the system where men and women toiled on their land only at the permission of the aristocratic ruling elite,” said the knowledgeable activist and property owner from Marion County.
The founders understood the concept of inalienable individual rights, rights that necessitate the ability to own property, rights that are derived from our Creator and are above the reach of government. They wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to secure and protect those rights.
The Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, are all proud reminders of America’s heritage of freedom. Now, they’re also all considered official U.N. ‘World Heritage Sites.’
“Neither Congress, nor any state legislature, has ever voted to approve any of the 47 U.N. Biosphere Reserves in the United States. The management policy for millions of acres covered by these reserves is crafted by international committees of bureaucrats, none of whom is elected,” said Henry Lamb, the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization and the chairman of Sovereignty International. “To comply with ‘international obligations,’ the United States conforms its management policy and in some cases its law to accommodate the wishes of bureaucrats that are completely unknown to the people who are governed by the policies.”
The U.N.’s “declaration of human rights” states in article 29 that: “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
Also, officials at the U.N.’s Commission on Global Governance “strongly endorse community initiatives to encourage the disarming of civilians,” according to their report, ‘Our Global Neighborhood.’ The Liberty Sentinel did an extensive report on the matter in Issue II of Volume I, including an interview with the C.E.O. of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, and a headline story about the U.N. flag flying at city hall. Both are available online.