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Friday, June 28, 2013

Agenda 21 and the Rise of Enviro-fascism: Unpacking Ideology

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Brad Murphy

There are many individuals that recognize the benefit of preserving certain aspects of the environment based on their own set of values and what they perceive as beneficial. Globalizing market structures have changed the way many view the relationship between individuals and the environment. The program that is commonly referred to as Agenda 21 takes the idea of preserving the environment and wraps it within a political framework of one of the most insidious ideologies of the modern era: Fascism. 

Agenda 21 has six primary themes: The quality of life on Earth, the efficient use of the Earth's natural resources, the management of human settlements, chemicals/management of waste, and facilitating sustainable economic growth.(Sitarz)

When presented in this manner, it would appear that any individual who opposes Agenda 21 and its proposals is someone who completely despises the environment; for who in their right mind could find fault with any of these goals?

The first alarm bell that should sound off when examining the writings of those that advocate Agenda 21 is their dogmatic emphasis on the unanimous passage of the agreement. This emphasis illuminates the mindset of those that would push Agenda 21 on the global community; using catchy slogans like "we have reached a global consensus" and "the science is settled, the debate is over." Agenda 21 and its policies have been wrapped in a blanket of absolutes, dictating to you, the individual, that the powers-that-be have conducted all the necessary tests, and the final conclusion can only be the rapid and complete adoption of this overarching and globally mandated plan. 

But if Agenda 21 is supposedly a plan that halts the degradation of the environment, it would make logical sense that the logistics of said plan would need to be quite specific. However, the language within Agenda 21 is incredibly vague, leaving questions on how exactly these goals will be achieved. For how does one accomplish all the proposed goals of Agenda 21? The entire document is comprised of absolutes; they resemble edicts more than proposals.
All phases of industrialization must be examined and reoriented to emphasize optimal resource use....More accurate assessments and accounting of values, costs, benefits, risks and impacts of land use must be made...As the world population increases and demand for food rises, special efforts must be taken to ensure that the production of food does not harm the fresh water resources of the Earth... (Sitarz)
So if there is no codified implementation of Agenda 21, whose job is it to advance these goals? Point 1.3 of Agenda 21's preamble states quite clearly who is to assume authority for this paradigm shift:
Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems of today and also aims at preparing the world for the challenges of the next century. It reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation. Its successful implementation is first and foremost the responsibility of Governments. National strategies, plans, policies and processes are crucial in achieving this... (Sitarz)
Within the text of Agenda 21 itself, Governments have been assigned the premier duty for implementing all subsequent proposals, leaving the actual individuals that comprise the populations of Governmentally ruled nations with the mere role of accepting what has already been deemed as the global consensus. 

This type of broadly based, top-down model has been used in the past and falls within a particular ideology. The beginning of this essay identified the undertones of this ideology as fascism. Since the advent of Italian fascism during the early part of the 20th century, fascism as an ideology has evolved to the changing times and accelerating world events: Agenda 21 can effectively be characterized as environmental fascism, or simply, enviro-fascism. Enviro-fascism is a relatively new brand of totalitarianism and Agenda 21 is rife with its adoption of compartmentalized central planning. However, enviro-fascism should not be confused with eco-fascism, albeit the two seem identical at face value: Key differences separate the two.

There were several prominent and vocal eco-fascists within the Nazi and Italian regimes, but these fascistic tendencies revolved around nationalism and trade protectionism. Eco-fascism is generally smaller in scope and focuses on a return to, or exultation of, primitivism with an emphasis on people's symbiotic relationship with the environment. Enviro-fascism is designed to be a global ideology that conducts sweeping changes on the entire global mindset. The idea of improving sustainable economic growth and human development does not work well with an autonomous nation-state system, each with its own brand of self-interested protectionism. Enviro-fascism advocates for traditional Liberal values such as free trade and is more positive in nature as compared to the cynical proponents of eco-fascism.  

Enviro-fascism disguises its authoritarianism with a smiley face because this brand of fascism is here to accomplish what is best for everyone, for humanity in its entirety. Environmentalist David Orton explains that in order to legitimately label somebody an eco-fascist, it is an attempt “ describe 'Wise Use' type activities, that is, against those who want to exploit Nature until the end, solely for human/corporate purposes, and who will do whatever is seen as necessary, including using violence and intimidation against environmentalists and their supporters, to carry on.” (Orton). Enviro-fascism is not as overtly violent or domineering as its eco-fascist ancestors, which, through its deceptive and convoluted language, allows the former to garner a wide-breadth of international support. 

But is Agenda 21 really a brand of fascism? To understand what fascism advocates, one only needs to read the writings of Mussolini and other intellectuals of the time. Traditional fascism was the process of turning the State into a religion; it represented the deification State authority upon society and heralded a new moral value system.

Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought - Mussolini. (Ball and Dagger)
For Agenda 21, the State is not what is being deified but rather the Earth itself. The environment is the new symbol of authority that humanity must serve: Peter Adriance, former Secretary of the Executive Committee of the U.S. Citizens Network on the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, elaborates... 
Primary among the spiritual principles which must guide the systematic implementation of Agenda 21 is the oneness of humanity. It is this cardinal principle that will provide the spiritual, moral, and ethical underpinnings for the successful translation of Agenda 21 into practical action in all parts of the world and at all levels of human society. (Noel and Quiblier)
A spiritualized global system requires a radical value shift because fascist ideology compels its citizens to view their own existence in a very different way. There is no longer individualism, but rather a homogenous view of 'humanity':
Agenda 21 is not a static document. It is a plan of action. It is meant to be a hands-on instrument to guide the development of the Earth in a sustainable manner. Recognizing the global nature of the environmental problems that face humanity, it is based on the premise that sustainable development of the Earth is not simply an option: it is a requirement – a requirement increasingly imposed by the limits of nature to absorb the punishment which humanity has inflicted upon it. (Sitarz)
Agenda 21 is in fact a plan of action. It is a plan of action so vague and malleable that it can be adopted and enforced by any means necessary. The absolute language of its proposals reinforces the "ends justify the means" mentality; for when the ends are to benefit the future of humanity, who is any single individual to stand against it? This mentality is rooted in ideological fascism and was advanced by Alfredo Rocco, an Italian law professor and political theorist, who explained:
As a matter of fact, Fascism never raises the question of methods, using in its political praxis now liberal ways, now democratic means, and at times even socialistic devices. This indifference to method often exposes Fascism to the charge of incoherence on the part of superficial observers, who do not see that what counts with us is the end and that therefore even when we employ the same means we act with a radically different spiritual attitude and strive for entirely different results. (Ball and Dagger)
Agenda 21 is designed to be a plan of action. It does not matter how the goals are achieved, because these goals have been assigned a higher moral and ethical value. Agenda 21 marks the arrival of enviro-fascism as a system of authoritarian humanitarianism. This is an attempt at a global paradigm shift: This is a new world order. 

Works Cited:

Ball, Terence, and Richard Dagger. Ideals and ideologies: a reader. 7th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.

Brown, Noel J., and Pierre Quiblier. Ethics & Agenda 21: moral implications of a global consensus. New York: United Nations Environment Programme, 1994. Print.

Orton, David. "Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis." Home | N.p., n.d. Web. 15 June 2013. .

Sitarz, Dan. AGENDA 21: the Earth Summit strategy to save our planet. Boulder, Colo.: EarthPress, 1993. Print.

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