sexta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2012

The federal takeover of local governments

How bad has the expansion of federal government power into every area of life become? Consider the following statement about federal intrusion into local government:
The federal government is already so enmeshed in the affairs of American cities that no one knows the extent. Federal tax money is used for schools, health facilities, public power, research and development, air-pollution control, water-pollution control, public sewage, streets and freeways, airports, welfare, public vaccination programs, transportation, unemployment relief, employment services, special programs for manpower training and development, parks and recreation facilities, public libraries, special youth training, prison facilities, police activities, juvenile-delinquency control, miscellaneous public works.
This comes from a report published February 1, . . .
The writer was Dan Smoot, a talented conservative activist and former FBI agent. In this report, he warned against what was threatening to be the “the government’s most dangerous, perhaps most expensive, involvement in urban affairs . . . urban renewal.”[1]
He pointed out the key mechanism involved in how freedom has been lost in America: federal money, the cheese in the trap so to speak.
In order to get federal money for urban renewal, urban communities and entire States have scrapped fundamental American concepts of freedom, including rights of property owners.
This is money purposefully used to advance a humanistic ideology at the expense of individual liberty:
Liberals who are pushing plans for a Metropolitan America, have no faith in the freedom and individualism which built our great cities; but they seem convinced that compulsory, tax-financed governmental planning can create heaven on earth.[2]
A local community leader asked me the other day, “What’s this Agenda 21 thing?” After the thumbnail sketch, he said, “This was written in 1992? Twenty years ago. How come I haven’t heard of this thing until now?”
Great questions. I have covered Agenda 21 in my article, Executive tyranny: how freedom was lost. There I summarize,
In 1992, a United Nations “Earth Summit” was held in Rio de Janeiro. Out of this conference came a book-length document titled Agenda 21 popularizing the slogan “sustainable development.” Basically, every time you hear the world “unsustainable” used in public it’s a by-product of this agenda.
According to the online version of the document, Agenda 21 “is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.”[3] What follows is nearly 300 pages of double-column, fine print providing guidelines for global Treaty controlling of every area of life—everything from all science, business, and industry down to the very air we breathe and water we drink—and calling for international revenue sources (taxes) and mechanisms to pay for it. . . .
As we can see from the Smoot report, this basic strategy goes back much earlier than the UN’s 1992 version. LBJ used it in 1965, and in reality the drive for centralization of power over local decisions goes back much further. The UN’s version is merely to take what was a nation-wide version to global level. (One may suspect they are both cousins descending from a larger previous goal.)
The reason it is so little publicized is because its liberal and statist proponents know it would be unpopular if known and understood by the public, and thus they have always preferred to work as quietly as possible, and to use happy-face, bleeding-heart, or save-the-earth propaganda where they have to speak publicly.
Smoot wrote in 1965 that a “first step” in the urban renewal scheme of LBJ and his central planners was “the adoption of a city managership, together with strong zoning laws”[4] This, channeled through deceptively-named “home-rule” laws was used to skirt elected local officials and instead bring “government by appointed experts over whom local voters and taxpayers have little control.”
Indeed, rule by unelected local officials is standard in many areas today, including school boards, as is the use of bond-financing often not requiring approval from voters. As a result, tons of local regulations and ordinances are put in place quietly and funded through debts taken out against future taxation, and voters have little knowledge or say. This setup allows schemes like Agenda 21 to prosper through a network of programs and a pyramid of regulatory unelected and even unofficial agencies from the UN level all the way down to the local governments.
It’s invisible government—or more accurately, “governance”—and it can only be stopped when locals begin to care, seek it out, expose it, and destroy it in their locality.
In a letter to Justice William Johnson in 1823, Thomas Jefferson warned against centralizing political power in Washington, “where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market.”[5]
As I have worked to show with my “Restoring America” project, Jefferson’s warning had already long-since gone unheeded, and has been the central phenomenon at the heart of the decline of America since. We have simply looked to Washington too often and too long for solutions to our problems—economic, political, judicial, social, and even moral. And the privileged offices and lobbies have long since been bought and sold by powerful special interests—banks, unions, corporations, armies, and more.
Centralization of planning, financing, and power have destroyed freedom in this nation. But it has only succeeded because locals have been complacent and, while in some cases merely deceived, in most cases have actually welcomed the exchange of liberty for handouts. Liberty will not be recovered without significant learning, effort, and sacrifice by locals at the local level.
In this regard I have one minor disagreement with Smoot. He stated,
People can fight tentacles of the metropolitan-government octopus at the local level, by opposing urban renewal projects and Metro schemes. But only the U. S. Congress can destroy the monster—by withholding the federal tax money which feeds it.[6]
He is mostly correct, although a concerted effort by enough localities, and certainly a concerted effort of Nullification and Interposition by enough States, would be enough to cripple the monster mortally. In reality, it will probably take both: willpower by locals to reject the handouts, and voter-pressured decisions by Congress to end them. In the meantime, any peaceful local or State resistance to handouts should be accepted as a biblical and historically Christian expression of the duty of the lesser magistrates.
The end-goal, of course, will be, as Smoot concluded, “to stop all federal interference in the affairs of our cities.”[7]

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