In this blog from Washington State, this activist [Bob Benze] published his remarks on ICLEI and here they are with highlights quoted below:
Good evening. My name is Bob Benze and I reside in Silverdale. I am an environmental engineer and a member of a number of boards including the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growth Management Policy Board where I represent property rights organizations.
Hard to argue with an environmental engineer. The ICLEIites probably sighed relief for a second or two…
My question to you this evening is straightforward: Why would you want the United Nations, who’s member countries are quite frankly not supportive of America or its values, telling you how to plan your city’s future?
SLAM! BAM! It gets better; Benze starts with the Washington State Constitution:
Article I, Section 1 states: “All political power is inherent in the people and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.
It does not say governments are established to protect public rights or environmental rights. Instead, government’s primary function is to protect individual rights, including the individual’s fundamental right to own property.
Our founders understood that the ability to create equity through property ownership is essential to the wealth-creating ability of a country. In the United States, equity loans on personal homes provide the funding for 70 percent of all small business starts. Michael Coffman says that: “When the state gains control over private property rights, the ability to create wealth stagnates or even declines, thereby creating poverty and misery rather than freedom and wealth.”
Hernando de Soto says that the inability to own property is the primary cause of poverty in much of the world. He notes that: “The poor inhabitants of these nations — five-sixths of humanity — do have things, but they lack the process to represent their property and create capital. They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation.” De Soto concludes that, “The total value of property held, but not legally owned, by the poor of the developing nations and former communist countries is at least $9.3 trillion! If this “dead capital” was legalized, it could be used as collateral for investment loans, just like it is in the West – eliminating poverty overnight.”
Hernando de Soto is not the Spanish explorer who first crossed the Mississippi River but the author of this book: The Mystery of Capital. He ought to win the Nobel in Economics! This activist presented and cited sources. He also started with USA values. Now he contrasts them with UN values:
At the heart of the UN philosophy is Agenda 21, a core UN treaty document designed to strictly control energy development and consumption; transportation; industrial development; terrestrial and marine resource development; and land use. It was signed by George H.W. Bush at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit – but never ratified. Instead, it was implemented through an executive order signed by Bill Clinton.
Implementation at the local level is through ICLEI, the International Council For Local Environmental Initiatives — an international association of local government organizations whose members are bound to the sixteen ICLEI Earth Charter Principles to guide local actions. The major thrust areas are the three E’s:
Equity – which advocates a system of “social justice”.
Economy – which promotes Fabian socialist economics.
Environment – promoting Sustainable Development – which advocates the abolishment of private property.
The U.N. position on private property can be seen by looking back at Habitat I, the 1976 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Vancouver, BC. The preamble to the section on land stated, in part:
Land, because of its unique nature and the critical role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; ……
……….. Public control of land use is therefore indispensible to its protection as an asset and the achievement of the long-term objectives of human settlement policies and objectives.
Benze NAILS IT! He ties in UN socialistic land policies with ICLEI!
So the real question then is: Which system actually works for the betterment of society? Is it a traditional American capitalistic free market system, where individual people are free to own property without government interference and to pursue their own self-interests, or is it a United Nation’s system that places a higher value on the rights of the society and the rights of the environment.
I would suggest that real-world data clearly shows it is the former that has given us the wealth, the freedom, and the standard of living we enjoy – and the wealth to protect the environment — and that we should not casually abandon it for a system that has a history of failure.
The bottom line is that sustainable development policies simply don’t work. They don’t achieve their advertised objectives. Instead, they actually hurt the economy and they hurt the environment.
The choice is yours. Do you want the freedom to make your land use policy at the local level with the “consent of the governed” or do you want the United Nations to tell you and the people you represent how to do it? I would suggest that abandoning ICLEI would be a good start.
Thank you for listening.
Notice first – Benze didn’t call people traitors or other mean names. Second, he inspired his audience. Choose American values, not UN values. He also ended with a small objective that his community could do: Get out of ICLEI!
Bainbridge, Washington might very well be shortly OUT of ICLEI. Let me know when it happens.