by Henry Lamb When Bill Clinton assumed the presidency in 1993, few people had ever heard the term "sustainable development." When Barack Obama assumes the presidency on Jan. 20, sustainable development will guide the formulation of public policy in city councils, county commissions, state legislatures, the U.S. Congress and the U.N. General Assembly.
Sustainable development is the reorganization of society around a body of principles and recommendations set forth in a document called "Agenda 21," endorsed by 179 nations in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.
Sustainable development has permeated government at every level because its sponsors have executed a magnificent marketing campaign and provided extensive funding incentives for the agencies and governments that implement Agenda 21 recommendations.
Sustainable development is government management of all development to achieve environmental protection and economic and social equity. Neither free markets nor private property rights can exist in a sustainable society managed by government.
It didn't take long for the pain of sustainable development to be felt. The federal government provided states with model legislation and generous funding incentives to enact laws that require counties to adopt a "comprehensive plan" that includes the principles of Agenda 21.
It didn't take long for freedom lovers to respond with the creation of Freedom21, pledged to "advance the principles of freedom in the 21st century." The group held its first national conference in 2000, attracting leaders of dozens of grass-roots organizations from across the nation and developed its own policy Alternative to Agenda 21.
Now, hundreds of groups have taken up the challenge to "advance the principles of freedom in the 21st century," by educating their neighbors and their local elected officials, and showing how federal and state mandated sustainable development policies are destroying private property rights and transforming the function of local government into what the U.N. calls "governance."
Alabama's Alliance for Citizens Rights conducts regular seminars throughout the state, educating both elected officials and private citizens about the source and consequences of sustainable development and "smart growth" policies. Chairman Ken Freeman and Vice Chairman Don Casey have led the group to recognize and resist policies that infringe private property rights.
The Alliance for Citizens Rights is typical of hundreds of organizations working in the Freedom21 movement to advance the principles of freedom. These organizations are not funded by government or by large foundations. They consist of hard-working individuals who make time after work to see that freedom is preserved for their children and grandchildren.
To help the people and organizations that are involved in the freedom movement, the Freedom21 Federal Credit Union was created in 2006. Only members of Freedom21 can participate in the credit union. But because the Alliance for Citizens Rights is a member of Freedom21, and has opened an "Endowment Account" with the Freedom21 Federal Credit Union, the members of the Alliance for Citizens Rights are eligible to join Freedom21 and the credit union. Moreover, one-third of the membership fee is deposited into the Endowment Account of the Alliance for Citizens Rights.
This is the first and only credit union ever created expressly for people who are involved in the freedom movement. The credit union is a not-for-profit organization owned by the depositors. Every penny of profit must be returned to the members. And Freedom21 actively works to promote funding for the Endowment Account of its member organizations.
Organizations that participate in the Freedom21 movement work together to share information and assist with legislative initiatives at the local, state and federal levels. EdWatch.org in Minnesota is the point of the spear in matters related to education. Their work informs all Freedom21 organizations, and all Freedom21 organizations respond when a legislative initiative needs action.
Freedom Advocates specializes in sustainable development policies and provides educational materials for other Freedom21 organizations as well as for elected officials.
Take Back Kentucky has developed an extremely effective statewide organization that has sweeping influence in the state Legislature. Their organization plan has been an example followed by several other states that have seen similar results in their legislatures.
The American Policy Center is one of the federal watchdogs, keeping all the organizations informed about activities in Washington that need a coordinated response.
These are but a few of the hundreds of organizations working to "advance the principles of freedom in the 21st century." In several communities, their work has already brought reversal of policies that deny property rights, and blocked government's plans to manage local markets.
Freedom21 does not have the power of government behind it, as does Agenda 21. It does, however, have the power of people who are devoted to the principles of freedom. These are the people who have always defended freedom, despite government's tireless efforts to destroy it. These are the people who won't let freedom die.