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Sustaining nothing, losing everything

By Tom DeWeese
web posted June 24, 2002

A new catch phrase, "Sustainable Development", has crept into discussions of the most fundamental right Americans have, the right to own property. It is essential to all other liberties and our economy. It is protected by the US Constitution. That protection is about to be lost if "The Community Character Act" is passed.

"The Community Character Act" is a homeowner's association on steroids. It sustains nothing and takes from every American their birthright of freedom.

What is Sustainable Development? Imagine an America in which a single, specific ruling principle is created to decide proper societal conduct for every citizen. That principle would be used to consider everything you eat, what you wear, the kind of home in which you live, the way you get to work, the way you dispose of waste, the number of children you may have, even your education and employment decisions.

On June 29, 1993, former President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order #12852 to create the President's Council on Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of a national zoning system.

Locally elected officials will no longer be the single driving force in making decisions for their communities. Rules will be made behind the scenes in non-elected "sustainability councils" armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines and money.

According to Sustainable Development policies, air conditioning, convenience foods, single-family housing and cars are among the products that have already been determined to be unsustainable. Under such a system, the federal government, backed by an army of private, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the National Education Association will influence, if not dictate, policy in state governments and in local communities.

Sustainable Development is nothing but pure Socialism in a Green cloak. Too many Conservatives throughout the nation are either falling for the deception or ignoring it. This is the current crisis of the Conservative movement.

Until now, the congress has not passed specific legislation to impose Sustainable Development. Legislation is supposed to be openly debated and fully aired before voted upon and implemented as the law of the land. Those who are driving these policies understand that if the general public fully understood sustainable development there would be very little chance of implementation.

The Community Character Act (S.975), and its counterpart in the House of Representatives (H.R.1433), is the legislation that will legalize enforcement of Sustainable Development in every community in the nation. The bill requires local governments to implement land-management plans using guidelines outlined in a federal document called the "Smart Growth Legislative Guidebook." This publication was developed with $2 million provided by the Clinton Administration to "guide" counties, cities and towns on how to "update their local zoning."

The Community Character Act offers grants to communities that will pay up to 90 per cent of the costs for localities to "update" their zoning, but only if they do it the way the federal government dictates. The Community Character Act requires localities to "conserve historic, scenic, natural and cultural resources." These are euphemisms that mean more land grabs and fewer places where people can freely go about their daily lives. It means planned economies, restricted housing, and diminished use of cars. It means government control of property. The bill contains not a single mention of private-property rights protection.

The Community Character Act demands that communities "integrate local land-use plans with Federal land-use plans." That means local wants and needs, local problems, and local culture will be ignored---wiped away---as the entire nation is homogenized into one, unhappy colorless, controlled Big Brotherhood.

Having conditioned Americans to believe that property values are more important than property rights, the effort is now being made to deprive Americans of those rights. Once that is achieved, the objectives of Communism will have been instituted in America. Homeowners and other owners of property in America will be reduced solely to people whose only right is to pay taxes on their property. They will have no right to determine what they may do with it.

Tom DeWeese publishes The DeWeese Report and is president of the American Policy Center, a grassroots, activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, VA, The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org. (c) Tom DeWeese, 2002

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