“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
— H.L. Mencken
Is the glass half-full, or is it half-empty? Ask an overly ambitious politician, and the answer usually will be “half-empty.” Ask environmental activists, who wag the dog in today’s political power circles, and again, the answer will always be “half-empty,” or in many cases, “hopelessly empty.”
Such is the impetus behind Gov. Mike Easley’s quest to become the state’s water czar. More than happy to play politics with the state’s drought, Easley wants to seize the opportunity of a lifetime — to supercharge the governor’s office with the godlike power to control the most basic of necessities.
Easley’s grand scheme, announced March 11, would usurp local-government power and grant the governor’s office sweeping authority to monitor and control all sources of water, including private wells and ponds, in the state. Some of the language, such as that calling for conservation-based pricing and for regular testing of pipes to detect leaks, in the governor’s plan seems reasonable.
On the other hand, the overall ramifications of Easley’s plan would be Orwellian. Among the tools at the state’s disposal are global tracking and information systems that can keep a watchful eye on human activities. Now, the governor proposes using additional high-tech gadgetry to spy on citizens. In some cities such as Raleigh, North Carolinians already are feeling the effects of noncompliance. Citizens are receiving hefty fines. Residents of other states are being sentenced to jail.
The governor says he must be given the power of Big Brother because, “We can not (sic) let up on our conservation efforts and that is why today I am announcing a public awareness effort to encourage citizens to save as much water as possible now, make water conservation a way of life in North Carolina and make our state drought proof.” “Public awareness effort,” “encourage citizens,” and “make” water conservation “a way of life “ are indicative of Easley’s doublespeak throughout his two-page announcement.
More is involved than the pretense Easley espoused in asking the General Assembly to give him that authority. For years it has been the dream of radical environmentalists — and the politicians they influence — to control infrastructure. If this unholy alliance is allowed to control water — and electricity, transportation, and public access to land, as the extremists are trying to do under other programs — it can manipulate citizens like puppets.
The radical movement transcends the governor’s proposal. Easley is merely aping what the United Nations introduced in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The conference’s crowning achievement was Agenda 21, the U.N.’s blueprint for global transformation in the 21st century.
The U.S. Senate, recognizing the danger to civil rights and the very sovereignty of the United States, rejected the U.N. treaty. But the Clinton Administration, which embraced Agenda 21 and the Biodiversity Treaty, enacted the U.N. manifesto anyway through the various federal Administrative agencies. Americans, in every state, are suffering the consequences today.
The “sustainable development” agenda, pushed by planning departments, is already sweeping across North Carolina. Citizens in targeted areas can detect its presence by the appearance of buzzwords — such as “visioning,” “partners,” “stakeholders,” and “consensus building” — in the sycophantic media.
Achieving public and political consensus, a key component of the environmentalist’ agenda, requires painting scary scenarios of a dying planet that frighten children, anger youth, and persuade adults to submit to unthinkable regulations. Outspoken opponents are eviscerated in public “hearings” by “facilitators” trained in a cynical modification of the Delphi Technique.
North Carolina’s legislators — and foremost, their constituents — should think through the ruse before they anoint Easley, like Al Gore, as another emperor of the environment.
“Political skill is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
— Sir Winston Churchill
Richard C. Wagner is the editor of Carolina Journal.