SUSTAINING NOTHING, LOSING EVERYTHING
By Tom DeWeese
The "Community Character Act" is a homeowners' association on steroids. It sustains nothing and takes from every American his or her birthright of freedom. What is Sustainable Development? Imagine an America in which a single, specific ruling principle is created to decide proper societal conduct for every citizen. That principle would be used to consider everything you eat, what you wear, the kind of home in which you live, the way you get to work, the way you dispose of waste, the number of children you may have, even your education and employment decisions.
On June 29, 1993, former President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order # 12852 to create the President's Council on Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of a national zoning system.
Locally elected officials will no longer be the single driving force in making decisions for their communities. Rules will be made behind the scenes in non-elected "sustainability councils" armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and money.
According to Sustainable Development policies, air conditioning, convenience foods, single-family housing and automobiles are among the products that have already been determined to be unsustainable. Under such a system, the federal government, backed by an army of private, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like the Sierra Club, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Education Association, will influence, if not dictate, policy in state governments and in local communities.
Sustainable Development is nothing but pure Socialism in a Green cloak. Too many Conservatives throughout the nation are either falling for the deception or ignoring it. This is the current crisis of the Conservative movement. Until now, Congress has not passed specific legislation to impose Sustainable Development. Legislation is supposed to be openly debated and fully aired before it is voted upon, enacted, and implemented as the law of the land. Those who are driving these policies and seeking to get them put into effect via presidential directives, or executive orders, are well aware that, if the general public fully understood Sustainable Development, there would be very little chance of implementation of such policies.
The Senate version of the Community Character Act (S-975), and its counterpart in the House of Representatives (HR-1433), are the proposed legislation which, if enacted, will formally legitimize and legalize enforcement of Sustainable Development in every community in the nation. Both versions of the bill provide that local governments are to be required to implement land-management plans using guidelines outlined in a federal document called the Smart Growth Legislative Guidebook. This publication was developed with $2 million provided by the Clinton administration to "guide" counties, cities, and towns on how to "update their local zoning."
The Community Character Act will offer grants to communities that will pay up to 90 percent of the costs for localities to "update" their zoning, but only if they do it the way the federal government dictates. The Community Character Act will require localities to "conserve historic, scenic, natural, and cultural resources." These are euphemisms that mean more land grabs and fewer places where people can freely go about their daily lives. The euphemisms serve as camouflage for the elitist political agenda for the Socialist-minded ecology kooks, i.e., the ideologically dogmatic and extremist environmentalists. Their political agenda entails an economy centrally planned and directed by the national government, including restricted housing, diminished use of automobiles, and a substantial reduction in private initiative, private ownership, individual choice, personal freedom, and family autonomy and privacy. This political agenda of the environmentalists reflects their determination to weaken and undermine the U.S. Constitution, the reserved powers of the states under the Conatitution, and the American tradition of local self-government--in short, to centralize all power in the hands of a national government dominated by the environmental extremists and their political allies in the Leftwing Liberal Establishment.
Above all, the agenda of the environmentalist ideologues entails government control of property. The proposed legislation contains not a single mention of private-property rights protection.
The Community Character Act, if enacted, will demand that local communities "integrate local land-use plans with Federal land-use plans." That means local wants and needs, local problems, and local culture will be ignored--wiped away--as the entire nation is homogenized into one unhappy, colorless, centrally controlled Big Brotherhood.
Having conditioned Americans to believe that property values are more important than property rights, the effort is now being made to deprive Americans of those rights. Once that is achieved, the objectives of Socialism will have been instituted in America. Homeowners and other owners of property in America will be reduced solely to people whose only right is to pay taxes on their property. They will have no right to determine what they may do with their property.
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Tom DeWeese publishes THE DEWEESE REPORT and is President of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist thinktank headquartered in Warrenton, Virginia.
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