Monday, February 6, 2012

Newt Gingrich and the Republican National Committee demagoguing Agenda 21

While I've blogged before about the grassroots paranoia among Tea Partiers about Agenda 21, this time the movement has moved beyond the grassroots to the highest levels of the Republican Party. As the New York Times reported on Friday, Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot. Most of the article reviews the same examples that the Washington Post and The Atlantic have already used. However, it also shows that people higher up than a mere member of the House of Representatives are taking this crackpot idea seriously. In fact, it goes all the way up to the top.
In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21.
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.”
Hey, this sounds familiar.
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.
In the service of defending suburbia, the American public may turn to political maniacs...who promise to allow them to keep their McMansions and their commutes...
That looks even more familiar.
To make the point that anyone who disagrees with him on housing policy is just an elite liberal snob, instead of engaging them on substantive economic policy grounds, Gingrich has taken to mocking people who don’t own a detached single-family home in the suburbs and drive everywhere.

At the National Association of Home Builders, “Rally for Homeownership” in South Carolina, Gingrich said, “Those who, you know, live in high-rise apartment buildings writing for fancy newspapers in the middle of town after they ride the metro, who don’t understand that for most Americans the ability to buy a home, to have their own property, to have a sense of belonging is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and it makes them feel like they are good solid citizens.”
On Friday he reiterated his hatred of people who live a more environmentally efficient lifestyle. Speaking in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucus, a contest he is sure to lose, Gingrich attacked “elites” in Manhattan who live in high rises and “ride the subway.”
If it sounds like Gingrich with all of his hating on mass transit and city life is fully on board with the Agenda 21 bashing, he is.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Gingrich has called Agenda 21 an important issue and has said, “I would explicitly repudiate what Obama has done on Agenda 21.”
Looks like Newt and the RNC are banking on Kunstler's prophesy that the "American people will elect maniacs" who promise people the entitlements of suburbia, including "single family homes, private car ownership, and individual travel choices." If it means stirring up anti-environmental paranoia, that's a feature, not a bug.

Speaking of stirring up anti-environmental paranoia, the Tea Partiers at the grassroots seem to be confused, and their confusion is contagious.
But some local officials argue that the programs that protesters see as part of the conspiracy are entirely created by local governments with the express intent of saving money — the central goal of the Tea Party movement.
Well, that's what the Tea Party says both to itself and to outsiders, but as I've pointed out using Troy Mayor Janice Daniels as an example, the movement isn't really about fiscal issues; it's about social ones, including preserving what they see as the American way of life. It's not a coincidence that Troy at first voted down a transit center, then acted in a penny-wise yet pound-foolish way by approving the transit center with a conventional gas furnace instead of a geothermal heating/cooling system. To top it all off, the public comments after the vote included remarks about Agenda 21. The New York Times article didn't mention Troy as an example, but they should have.

I mentioned that the confusion was contagious.
“The Tea Party people say they want nonpolluted air and clean water and everything we promote and support, but they also say it’s a communist movement,” said Charlotte Moore, a supervisor who voted yes. “I really don’t understand what they want.”
Truth be told, neither do they.  They just don't realize it yet.

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