America: a "fascilist" country?

By Henry Lamb
web posted March 13, 2000

If land and its resources are, in fact, the source of production, America is in a heap of trouble.

The first, defining characteristic of a socialist country is: government ownership of the sources of production. The first, defining characteristic of a fascist country is; private ownership of the sources of production, under the control of centralized government.

More than 40 percent of the land in America is owned by governments, and the rest of it is controlled by the government. Does that make America a "fascilist" country?

It's not enough to own 40 percent of the land. The Clinton/Gore administration is pushing the George Miller-Don Young, bipartisan Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), which will set aside as much as $3 billion per year so governments can buy more land.

We, the tax payers, are being forced to finance the transformation of America from a land in which the sources of production are owned by private individuals, to a country where the sources of production are owned by the government. Until the transition is complete, government is extending its regulatory tentacles across every square inch of land that remains in private hands.

The term "wetlands" emerged in our vocabulary, not from a land use policy enacted by elected representatives, but from a mangled distortion of agency rule-making, and consent decrees arising out of law suits filed by environmental extremists. For years, the policy was enforced under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act, a law which did not contain the word "wetlands."

The wetlands policy, conceived and implemented by bureaucrats, gave the federal government jurisdiction over an estimated 200 million acres of private property. This policy applied only to wetlands larger than three acres.

On March 3rd, the Corps of Engineers released a new 172-page proposed rule that reduces this exemption to one-half acre. Private property brought under federal jurisdiction by this new rule could easily double.

On February 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new proposed rule on Watershed Resource Management. This bureaucratic expansion of the rules has the potential to plunder private property, although it is presented as a measure for public land.

Representative Helen Chenoweth is fighting efforts in the Senate to add an anti-property rights amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that would appropriate $5.5 million for a new Habitat Conservation Plan in Idaho. This test run would let private property owners "voluntarily" agree to restrict certain land use, in exchange for assurances that no future regulatory enforcement action would be imposed. In the fine print, however, we find the term "adaptive management," which means the government could change the rules anytime it wished, once the property is signed on, but the property owner would have no such option.

Bruce Babbitt is running from one end of the country to the other, looking for more land that the President can designate as national monuments, further blocking the public from public land.

Oblivious to the guarantees lodged in the history of legislation relating to RS2477 rights of way, the U.S. Forest service is busy closing public roads on federal land, assuring that the public can have no use of public property. Private land owners whose property is surrounded by federal lands, are harassed, and even jailed, for driving on an RS2477 road without a Forest Service permit. This harassment is called "grooming a willing seller."

There are literally dozens of regulations, initiatives, programs, decrees, executive orders, and inter-agency agreements that give the agencies of government the power to control the use of virtually any, and every square inch of land in America.

The regulatory activity has intensified dramatically in this last year of the Clinton/Gore reign. They want to get as much land under government control as possible, just in case Republicans storm the Bastille in November.

It will take a complete house cleaning and thorough fumigation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to reverse this march toward a fascilist nation. No candidate should be elected to any office at any level of government, who has not first signed the Freedom 21 Pledge, and has the backbone to live by it while in office.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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