Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.
They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights…
The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power and belief that man-made global warming is a hoax…
The Republican National Committee resolution, passed without fanfare on Jan. 13, declared, “The United Nations Agenda 21 plan of radical so-called ‘sustainable development’ views the American way of life of private property ownership, single family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms; all as destructive to the environment.”
This is one of those stories that simply made me say, “Huh?” when I first read it. But the article suggests this is now mainstream in conservative circles as Newt Gingrich has mentioned it in a debate and the Republican National Committee has addressed it.
I would be interested in hearing more about whether this is really about sprawl (conservatives want the right to live in the suburbs/more rural areas) or about related issues like international law, the power of the UN, the environmental movement, and liberty. It also suggests that sprawl is not simply about where one can live but symbolizes a whole way of life that is associated with freedom.
I didn’t realize this was tied to a larger movement but this helps provide some background for why some Naperville residents have been so vehemently opposed to smart meters (read some of their arguments here). This group has gathered over 4,000 signatures on their petitions and they make a sort of slippery slope argument: it may be smart meters today but soon the government wants to get all of your information and influence your decisions in the future.
A last question: what is so threatening to freedom about bike lanes?