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Categorized | ICLEI, News, Opinion

ANOTHER CITY gives ICLEI the BOOT! COLLEGE STATION (TX) joins the WALL of HONOR! Thank Councilman Fields for his VISION!

In great news, after a couple of setbacks for the anti-ICLEI fight, College Station Texas (home of Texas A&M University) voted not to renew their membership in the unconstitutional ICLEI!

In further evidence elections matter (How about that anti-ICLEI SUPER PAC!) we have this visionary councilman:  Jess Fields.  Here’s what Councilman Fields had to say about the ICLEI vote and has written a wonderful manifesto against ICLEI.  Here are a few highlights:

First, the ICLEI Charter, the governing document of the organization and, by extension, its members. The most recent charter was revised and approved by the ICLEI Council, the governing board of the organization, on October 21, 2011.

The mission statement, which is section 1.3 of the Charter, makes clear that ICLEI is an organization whose primary goal is to utilize municipal government policy to achieve a global objective:

The Association’s Mission shall be to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global sustainability with special focus on environmental conditions through cumulative local actions.

An important word therein is “cumulative.” ICLEI’s goal is ultimately to build policies that develop over time, meaning that initiatives of today are the groundwork for initiatives of tomorrow. This focus on a long-term buildup of policy indicates rather clearly that the ICLEI’s policies directed towards furthering global sustainability are going to become greater in scope as time passes, not less. More regulations shall be added to existing ones, so that the policies promoting sustainability become more comprehensive.

From this, we see that ICLEI’s goal is not merely policy at the local level, but also the reinforcement of sustainability initiatives at all levels of government, including national and international governments (e.g., the U.S. Federal Government and the United Nations). Furthermore, the section specifically mentions that this advocacy is done on behalf of its members. To bring it to a local level, a city who is a member of ICLEI is therefore giving ICLEI the permission to represent them in front of the federal government as well as the United Nations.  (Emphasis mine)

BRAVO!  Well done!  There’s more!  After citing the political goals of ICLEI in its Charter, Fields writes this:

Principle 3 states, “build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.” This is noteworthy because of its scope: it is calling for the rebuilding of society as a whole to embrace these particular concepts. It is not that having a just or participatory society is a bad thing, but to have an international organization call for such enormous change in society as a whole shows that its ends are far greater than just that of promoting the idea of sustainability.

Principle 9 calls for the eradication of poverty, a worthy goal. Again, however, the question of scope arises: what, exactly, does ICLEI seek to advocate here? Since these principles are not only those that ICLEI wishes to be reflected in local government policy, but also are those advocated for at the heretofore mentioned “national and international” levels of government, one must wonder what policies ICLEI actually wishes to advocate for.

The eradication of poverty is a significant and important aim, but some of the policies enacted for that goal might not be good policies. Some, in fact, could be rather destructive, including the redistribution of wealth, or perhaps, significant restrictions and regulations upon the economy. Since it is not addressed specifically, I will not ponder further what possibilities it could include. The noteworthy aspect here is that indeed, ICLEI allows itself a much greater role in its advocacy than just that of sustainability practices. As a representative of its member governments, it carries the influence they provide it into its advocacy of policies to eradicate poverty, among other things. Yet what those policies are is left undefined, meaning that they could be just about anything.

Principle 10 is to “ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.” We need not speculate as to what this means, as with the eradication of poverty. This is because to ensure that economic activities promote some thing or another is to ensure that governments restrict and regulate the economy in a given way; that is, to use the power of government to direct the resources of the economy.

Governments certainly have justifiable roles to play in the economy, and some regulations are doubtless necessary and important. However, to have ICLEI, an international organization, call for the regulation of the economy in such a broad way certainly is eyebrow-raising. ICLEI’s desired economic regulations would promote “equitable” and “sustainable” human development. In other words, the organization desires to subordinate economic activity to these broad goals. There is much wiggle room there as to what specifically those policies might be. However, all such policies would involve a greater involvement of government in the lives of its citizens.

Councilman Fields says in effect that ICLEI is socialistic and authoritarian.  Fields cites the ICLEI Strategic Plan.  Without saying explicitly about ICLEI membership being unconstitutional, he says in effect the same thing:  That ICLEI is a Fifth Column in our nation:

The next section, Part V, “Our partnerships,” mentions a few points of interest in how ICLEI relates to the connection between local governments ant international organizations. The second paragraph states:

We will continue connecting cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies. We will forge multi-stakeholder partnerships, form strategic alliances and join forces with leading institutions from the academic, expert, business and NGO sectors.

That pretty well speaks for itself; ICLEI desires to have local governments go over the heads of their state and national governments to connect directly to the United Nations, among other international organizations. The rest of the section discusses this in a bit more detail.

Councilman Fields’ conclusion is remarkable and fabulous:

ICLEI’s Charter and its Strategic Plan both reinforce what could already be surmised by examining its founding and history: this is an international organization with an extreme environmentalist bent, which desires to impose its vision of “sustainability” on the citizens of member cities and connect to the United Nations in a way that furthers that goal.

In addition, ICLEI’s goals reach well beyond sustainability, to the very question of how to create a better society. Agenda 21′s inclusion as part of the goals of ICLEI should make clear that the goal is no less than to remake society in a fundamental way, and ICLEI’s open-ended goals on such things as “eradicating poverty” lead to a question of what kind of policies are advocated for.

***

As nice as it sounds to be sustainable, the real impacts of the policies advocated by ICLEI and many other organizations, as well as those that subscribe to such policies, are dangerous to our free market economy and to our taxpayers, and we must resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon. Fostering a respect for the environment is important and desirable, but governments too often go overboard in trying to promote it. Because governments’ only tool is to coerce people with force, we suffer a significant loss in individual rights if we attempt to impose the policies necessary to achieve ICLEI’s vision of a “sustainable future.”

It is far better to deal with the real problem of externalities in the marketplace; that is, the problem that some people create negative effects upon the properties of others. For that, we have the courts and sensible regulations, which can do much more to address the real issues without putting the rights of our citizens in jeopardy. We can also do much to ensure that our publicly held lands are respected, in that we preserve the natural environment where possible and ensure that a good balance of nature and use exists in how we develop policies relating to them.

Ultimately, however, we should always exert caution when using the force of government to promote any cause, because government is the only entity legally entitled to use force. As such, any policy which is not truly in the public interest, which undermines the free marketplace, or which creates undue cost and burden upon our citizens must be rejected.

In rejecting ICLEI, College Station has taken an important step to that end.

Councilman Fields gets it; let’s show him some love by contacting him here:

Cell phone #: 979.571.6724 E-mail: jfields@cstx.gov I welcome questions, comments, and feedback from our citizens. Feel free to contact me at any time.

I am proud to add College Station Texas to the Wall of Honor! PS:  There’s usually a commited patriot, liberty and sovereignty activist behind every victory over ICLEI and this is no exception.  Councilman Fields cites this person:

I also want to thank a citizen, Mary Oliver, for her steadfast efforts to bring this issue to my attention over the past couple of years. Without her interest in the subject this might not have been possible. College Station is blessed to have citizens like her who care about what goes on with their local government.

Councilman Fields also thanked an assistant to the City Manager of his city:  Jason Steube.  RAH!

 

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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