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Freedom rising

By Henry Lamb
web posted March 10, 2003

With all the anti-war protests filling TV screens across the country, it would be easy to conclude that America, and the freedom it symbolizes, is a relic of the past; that a new, global, socialist society is arising. Not so fast. Television news does not report the big picture.

Socialists in Europe, and in America, have made a major effort to grab power, especially since the end of the cold war. The European Union has established its own currency, set up its parliament, and is discussing the creation of its own army. In its wake, however, a resurgence of freedom is evident throughout Europe.

Richard Miniter, formerly with the Wall Street Journal, and now a Senior Fellow with the Center for the New Europe, details a growing trend toward capitalism and free markets. Socialist-leaning governments have been defeated in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland and Denmark, since 2001. "Germany, Sweden, and Greece are the only center-left governments" that remain, according to Miniter, and "the German social democrats are at their lowest levels of support in the polls since 1933."

Nine of the 15 EU members have center-right governments, and two of the currently socialist governments are facing strong opposition from growing conservative movements. Eight of these center-right governments signed an open letter in support of President Bush, giving French President Jacques Chirac considerable heartburn.

Resistance to collectivist, socialist policies is emerging in America as well. For nearly three decades, public policy in America has been dominated by collectivist, socialist philosophy masquerading as environmentalism, multiculuralism, and social justice. With the exception of the Reagan years, this philosophy has flourished, especially during the Clinton/Gore years.

The Republican victory in 2000 is an indication that Americans may have had enough big-brother collectivism. The Republican victories in the 2002 elections are further evidence, reversing the historic trend of losses for the incumbent party in mid-term elections. The most compelling evidence, though, is outside the Beltway, in the states and towns across the country.

Kentucky has rejected repeated efforts to impose "Smart Growth" legislation. New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana are considering legislation to exert dominance over the federal government's land management policies. In Maine, a bill has been introduced to block efforts to impose Kyoto-like emissions controls at the state level. And, in state after state, grassroots organizations are sprouting to challenge collectivist policies at the city, county, and state levels of government.

The Freedom 21 Campaign, launched four years ago by a coalition of national grassroots organizations, has spawned a local Freedom 21 Santa Cruz organization to counter the effects of the first Local Agenda 21 program in Santa Cruz, California. Affiliated groups - Take Back Kentucky, Take Back Illinois, Take Back Florida - are having remarkable success, and new groups are forming in other states as rapidly as possible.

The environmental movement has grown rapidly since the 1970s. With the help of a willing media, and funded by wealthy foundations and the federal government, environmental organizations had their way with public policy: redefining "waters of the United States" to include mud puddles on private property; passage of The Endangered Species Act; the National Environmental Policy Act, and many other laws and regulations that faced very little public opposition.

Those days are gone. No more "free ride" by simply labeling a bill "environmentally friendly." A new initiative to identify and regulate "invasive species," similar to the Endangered Species Act, is under way by environmental zealots. This time, the initiative will not go unchallenged. Grassroots organizations across the country have been alerted, informed, and activated.

Communities that quickly embraced the "sustainable development" propaganda, are beginning to rethink their decisions, as they see the economic impact on local and state budgets. The town of Monterey, Virginia recently voted to abolish a "Historic District" created in 1981, because of the "arbitrary decisions" imposed by an "unneeded layer of government." People in towns across the country are resisting collectivist policies imposed by non-elected bureaucrats.

The global environmental agenda is showing signs of unraveling as well. The World Summit on Sustainable Development was a flop, according to environmental organizations that participated. A Freedom 21 Campaign event, headed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, organized local people in Johannesburg, South Africa to parade and protest the U.N. delegates meeting in finery, eating lobster and caviar, while discussing the world's poor.

According to Canadian press reports, Canada will be forced to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol because it simply cannot afford the economic impact that the treaty will require.

As the people in America, and around the world begin to realize, and feel the impact of the collectivist, socialist policies that have been imposed upon them, they are stirring, and responding, and resisting, and organizing to cast aside the chains of social bondage and economic slavery.

Freedom is, indeed, rising!

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

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