Monday, January 2, 2012

The Atlantic on Tea Partiers disrupting planning commissions because of Agenda 21

I've blogged before about how Tea Partiers are fighting efforts to improve mass transit, build high-speed rail, protect endangered species, and prepare for climate change. Now, The Atlantic has an article about this topic with entirely new examples of people concerned about Agenda 21.

How the Tea Party Is Upending Urban Planning
Across the country, Tea Party activists have been storming planning meetings of all kinds, opposing various plans by local and regional government having anything to do with density, smart growth, sustainability or urbanism. In California, Tea Party activists gained enough signatures for a ballot measure repealing the state’s baseline environmental regulations, while also targeting the Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that seeks to combat climate change by promoting density and regional planning.

Florida’s growth management legislation was recently undone, and activists in Tampa helped turn away funding for rail projects there. A planning agency in Virginia had to move to a larger auditorium and ban applause, after Tea Party activists sought to derail a five-year comprehensive plan and force withdrawal from the U.S. Mayors Agreement on Climate Change.

What’s prompting the ire is anything from a proposed master plan to a new water treatment plant, rules governing septic tanks, or a bike-sharing program. What’s driving the rebellion is a view that government should have no role in planning or shaping the built environment that in any way interferes with private property rights. And in almost all instances, the Tea Partiers link local planning efforts to the United Nations’ Agenda 21, a nearly two-decade old document that addresses sustainable development in the world’s cities – read as herding humanity into compulsory habitation zones.
It may not be time to panic. In some cases there are very few vocal activists leading the charge, but the Tea Party has been so well publicized, and their tactics are often so sophisticated, that their powers of intimidation appear outsized. This is also in part a case of everything old being new again. Property rights activists have always been well organized, and were energized by the Kelo Supreme Court case affirming the use of eminent domain. The sprawl lobby – the fanciful label from my first book, This Land – circles the wagons for corporate home-builders, road-builders and even the lawn-care industry invested in far-flung conventional suburban development. The anti-smart growth American Dream Coalition dovetails with the Tea Party view, giving some familiar contrarian voices new visibility. Wendell Cox and Ron Utt co-authored a grave warning against “radical environmentalists,” driven by, yes, the UN’s Agenda 21, in a recent fact-contorting essay for the Heritage Foundation.
Yet, as in national politics, the Tea Party view doesn’t leave room for compromise. Even the most open-minded and free-speech supporting planner can’t operate when the framework for the dialogue itself has been invalidated. Where does one go from there? The skirmishes at town halls around the country over the past year or so means that planners will have to try even harder to make their case. But in the mean time, the chairman of that sleepy planning board hearing might be eying the exits, looking for a black helicopter, to make a run for it.
Read the rest of the article, including the 325 comments, which the Tea Partiers are swarming.

The general outlines of this phenomenon, including the connection to the "sprawl lobby," but not all the details, such as the general anti-environmental hysteria, were forecast more than eight years ago during the filming of "End of Suburbia" by James Howard Kunstler. In Bachmann on $2 gas and Kunstler on maniac politicians, I put together quotes of his from two sources in which he outlines his prediction.
There will be a great battle to preserve the supposed entitlements to suburbia and it will be an epochal act of futility, a huge waste of effort and resources that might have been much better spent in finding new ways to carry on an American civilization.
Americans will elect maniacs who promise to allow them to keep their McMansions and their commutes and that’s going to produce a lot of political friction, probably a lot of violence, probably a threat to our democratic institutions.
Prophetic, wasn't he?

Kunstler has since escalated his language from maniacs to "corn pone Nazis." Even he thinks the Tea Party is his prophesy come to life.
The Tea Party people are the corn-pone Nazis I have been warning you about.
There is a reason why I use the "corn pone fascists" tag for posts about the Tea Party and the politicians they support.


  1. James Howard Kunstler is probably right... they will end up proving themselves to be corn pone Nazis if and when the economy collapses (again). For who will they turn on with all their fury when it inevitably does so? The Jews!

    1. I understand that's probably what drives Kunstler's anxiety about them. I think he's wrong for two reasons. First, a lot of them are Christian Zionists who support Israel for their own warped reasons. Second, even more of them hate gays, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Muslims even more than they hate Jewish people. Those groups will become scapegoats and targets instead. That written, their choice of target doesn't make them any less fascist.