Sunday, March 18, 2012

Paul Krugman has discovered Agenda 21 paranoia

Paul Krugman made a point about how crazy he thought the Right had become in First, they came for the golf courses. There, he linked to the Think Progress article TX Sen Candidate Ted Cruz Spouts Paranoid Fantasy About United Nations/George Soros Conspiracy To Eliminate Golf. Yes, really.

As soon as I read the combination of George Soros, the United Nations, and eliminating golf courses, I knew I was dealing with someone who had bought into the paranoia about Agenda 21. I was right. The Think Progress article quoted a page from Ted Cruz's own website railing against Agenda 21, one with a title so precious that I have to reproduce it here: Stop Agenda 21: The Constitution should be our only “Agenda.” I have to hand it to Cruz; that's the perfect framing for someone who wants to run with an anti-Agenda 21 plank.

As for what Cruz wrote about Agenda 21 eliminating golf, here's the section that Think Progress quoted (bolding theirs).
In 1992, the United Nations adopted Agenda 21 to “achieve a more efficient and equitable world economy,” outlining a process to eliminate environmental decay and social injustice through micromanaging industries, communities, and culture. They will meet again next year to discuss its “progress” in over 100 nations.

The originator of this grand scheme is George Soros, who candidly supports socialism and believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property. He has given millions to this project. But he is not the only one promoting this plan; in fact, the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) now consists of over 600 cities in the United States.

Agenda 21 attempts to abolish “unsustainable” environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. It hopes to leave mother earth’s surface unscratched by mankind. . . . Agenda 21 subverts liberty, our property rights, and our sovereignty.
First, Ooga booga! George Soros! Yeah, scare your base while saying "Pay no attention to the Koch Brothers behind the curtain!" Second, golf courses? I have no problem with golf courses here in Michigan. I live within a few blocks of one. It adds to the green space around me and helps keep this neighborhood quiet, along with the two cemetaries and the city park on the other three sides of my house. Golf courses in California are another matter, but that's a small matter compared to all the other extravagant uses of water there. Third, it's not cow pastures that are the problem, it's CAFOs. I rather doubt anyone is going after Joel Salatin for the pastures on Polyface Farm. Finally, the man is projecting about paved roads. After all, he belongs to the party that is underfunding state and local government, which means roads don't get paved.

I didn't post any of the above in response to either article. Instead, I compiled some of my greatest hits on Agenda 21 paranoia and posted the result as comments to both the Krugman post and the Think Progress article. Here it is.
Ted Cruz isn't the only Republican candidate who is using Agenda 21 to rally his party's paranoid base. Newt Gingrich has been explicitly campaigning against Agenda 21 since last November, vowing that he'll reverse all the sustainable development initiatives during the past 3 years that he claims are evidence of Obama implementing Agenda 21. It's a major part of the reason why he's been hating on New Yorkers and residents of D.C. who live in high rises and take the subway, saying that one can't put a gun rack on a Volt, and promoting his candidacy with a vaporware program to reduce gas to $2.50/ gallon. Newt is even putting the $2.50 gas logo on his campaign signs. He thinks this is a winner.

The paranoia extends beyond Newt Gingrich. In January, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. It 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.” So this isn't just an isolated incident. The belief that Agenda 21 is the new black helicopter goes all the way to the top of the GOP.

And to think this all started last summer as Tea Partiers vs. manatees in Florida.
It turns out that Krugman would have found out about the RNC resolution if he had clicked through to Cruz's website. The very first paragraph mentions it.
The Republican National Committee recently took a stand in voting unanimously to oppose Agenda 21, a dangerous United Nations plan that takes aim at the American economy – and American freedom – in the name of environmental reform.
Look for more Republicans playing the roles of maniacs promising people can keep their cars, McMansions, and commutes this year.


  1. Perhaps golf courses are keeping arable land in trust. When things get bad the grass can be ploughed and we can raise corn.

  2. Another thought,

    A measure of sustainability is how much land can be left fallow at one time. The more the better but we have reached a population density where all productive land must be used all the time and little can really be left fallow without starvation happening. Correct me if I'm wrong but getting down to 1.3 acres of arable land per American is very scary, maybe even beyond scary.