Glenn Beck is an entertainer who pitches his schtick at the eagerly deluded and culturally paranoid. Given that we live in a nation of some 300 million, that’s enough of an audience to make a man wealthy.
So when Beck publishes a book titled “Agenda 21,” a fictional warning of a UN takeover of the United States in which the U.S. government is abolished and its citizens are allowed only two functions, “to create clean energy and to create new human life,” it’s easily dismissed as the harmless lunacy that it clearly is.
However, when seven leading GOP members of the Georgia Senate gather in the state Capitol on state taxpayer dollars to hear a lecture on that same “Agenda 21″ preaching much the same craziness, it gets a little more troubling. When Sen. Chip Rogers of Cherokee County submits legislation attempting to further that outlandish conspiracy theory, it gets more troubling still. (It is somewhat of a comfort that Rogers was deposed yesterday in a Senate Republican Caucus meeting.)
And when you consider that others in attendance included Barry Loudermilk, chairman of the Senate Science and Technology Committee; Jack Murphy, chairman of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee; John Albers, vice chair of the Science and Technology Committee; Bill Heath, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and Butch Miller, chairman of the State and Local Governmental Operations Committee, it doesn’t bode well for serious governance.
Now, attendance in a lecture should not be confused with adherence. But based on a 52-minute video and the Powerpoint slides presented, the level of crazy would have sent many a sane person fleeing the room.
For those not well-versed in tin-foil theories, Agenda 21 is an obscure document created in a U.N. conference 20 years ago. If you read the document, it is a perfectly reasonable, utterly harmless recitation of standard land-use planning techniques. It is particularly aimed at developing countries that are trying to adapt to sudden population shifts from rural to urban areas.
But somewhere along the line, sifted through the minds of the paranoid, Agenda 21 becomes something much more sinister. For example, GOP senators attending the Capitol briefing were warned that those spreading the traitorous Agenda 21 have been trained in the use of a mind-control technique known as the Delphi technique. Among the buzzwords that betray influence by Agenda 21 include “best management practices,” “international baccalaureate,” “historic preservation,” “livable communities,” and “public-private partnerships.”
Now, using tax dollars to build a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons would be a public-private partnership. And while personally I think that’s a bad idea given more pressing public needs, I would not have dreamed of attributing the idea to a U.N.-inspired attempted takeover of the United States. Does that make me a victim of the Delphi technique?
According to Field Searcy, who made the presentation, the influence of Agenda 21 can already be detected in the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Cumberland Community Improvement District in Cobb County and in Cobb County itself. Searcy also compared President Obama’s creation of a White House Rural Council to Josef Stalin’s five-year development plan that ended in the starvation deaths of millions of Ukrainians, and with Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward, which also killed tens of millions.
These are the ideas influencing some of this state’s top leadership. Has it become impossible for saner conservative leaders to publicly denounce this stuff for the lunacy that it is? Perhaps so, given that a condemnation of Agenda 21 was even incorporated into the GOP’s 2012 political platform.
– Jay Bookman