Agenda 21

This month, the Mechanicsville Tea Party is bringing Right Wing activist and conspiracist Michael Coffman to Hanover County.  Coffman argues that the United Nations is secretly taking over America, namely by chipping away private property rights in the name of “sustainable development,” i.e., Agenda 21.  Coffman manages a website called “Discerning the Times,” which catalogues how the environmental movement is supposedly tied to the coming New World Order predicted in the Book of Revelations.

The “sustainable development will take your land” meme is spread by a small group of men, including Coffman, who have extensive ties to the industries of land development, agriculture, livestock production, paper production, and pest management.  Coffman and his ilk use an imaginary threat to consolidate their own power.  We urge local chapters of the Tea Party to question the fact that a small cadre of men provide all of the “educational” material the Tea Party movement uses to propagate the Agenda 21 conspiracy.

In an explanation of the enforcing power of Agenda 21, Tariq Banuri, the director for the United Nations’ Division for Sustainable Development, stated in an interview with Media Matters for America:

“Agenda 21 is not a binding treaty. It sets out a sort of common vision. Agenda 21 is trying to say that environmental concerns are common concerns of everyone on this planet.  Without any mechanism to enforce sustainable policies, Agenda 21 is literally powerless to coerce anybody to anything.”

The irony of the Tea Party’s resistance towards local land use planning is that they fantasize about protecting the virtues of “small town” rural America and yet they seem to fight the hardest against measures aimed at limiting urban sprawl?!

It is important that we understand and counter narratives that trash sustainability by the likes of Michael Coffman and the Tea Party because they’re dangerous, paranoid falsehoods.  Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that Coffman and others that sow the seeds of Agenda 21 paranoia have their plows paid for by the very industries whose bottom line is most threatened by sustainability.

Coffman & Agenda 21 Propaganda
September 15, 7 p.m.
8700 Bell Creek Road
Mechanicsville

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6 Responses

  1. What I don’t understand is this: how will the Tea Party behave at the local level once they take over local government and dismantle it? Their paranoia, racism, and anti-government agenda is extreme. Aren’t they bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers? Are they for common sense growth or do they think the free market will take care of everything? How will their ideological fervor translate at the local level regarding the environment or preserving the future well-being and rural character of Hanover County?

  2. Why don’t you idiots get your facts straight? First of all, Dr. Coffman is a well-respected scientist and economist with a Doctorate degree. Why is it so hard for you all to give him the respect he deserves? Second of all if any of you wingnuts would’ve gotten off you lazy butts to actually attend this meeting, you could’ve researched everything Dr. Coffman said for yourselves. Then, and only then, can you comment on something. You make yourselves look stupid talking out of the side of your mouth. As for the poster above, as a tea partier I don’t even know who the heck the Koch brothers are. Everyone in our group has bought and paid for these types of things out of the hard earned money we make working at real jobs. Progressives want to take all of this away and have the govt hand us everything and tell us what to do with our land. If you people are so dumb as to be spoonfed by the govt. don’t let us stop you now! Do you know what we want to do after we take over our local govt and “dismantle” it? Leave it alone! Wow, that’s very threatening isn’t it? Before you criticize the tea party as conspiracy theorists why don’t you get off your butts and actually attend a meeting instead of making stuff up?

  3. As an independent candidate for local office in Hanover this fall with citizen engagement as one of my central campaign planks, I am both cheered and disappointed by the comments above. I am glad to see citizens are acting on their sense that things are off track in our country. The Tea Party is not a monolithic entity. Different local chapters have their different points of emphasis, organizational cultures and sources of funding. When citizens take the time to organize and speak, we should listen. But that does not mean that we have to agree with everything that is said. Just as I am glad that citizens are getting more engaged, I am disappointed by the fragmentation, polarization and the use of cherry-picked information or outright disinformation that characterizes a lot of today’s public speech. Spending just a few minutes researching Dr. Coffman’s own web page, including abstracts of his books, and web pages of other groups aligned with his agenda that describe Dr. Coffman, demonstrates that CHF’s characterization of him and his philosophy is accurate. As for not being aware of the Koch brothers, Google “Koch brothers” and you get 2.4 million hits about two of the richest and most controversial men on planet Earth, who have been deeply involved in American politics for several decades – including as a Vice Presidential candidate (David Koch) in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket. As for the charge that CHF folks are lazy, I know from personal witness and acquaintance over the years that CHF folks have been working just as hard as other active citizens to be engaged with local and state government representatives – and in many cases doing so for a lot longer. They do this so we can have fairer decisions that preserve the individual liberties and property rights of people in general (rather than just the powerful special interests who buy custom-written legislation like penny stocks), within the context of our cooperative and interdependent human society. The right balance between autonomy for everyone and our right to be free of the ill effects of our neighbors’ expression of their autonomy is what it’s all about. In my opinion, the Tea Party’s support for the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory industry hurts their credibility, undermining their stand on other issues such as fiscal responsibility.

  4. I’m sorry, Mr. Ellis, but I consider anyone making false and incendiary statements without first attempting to research or review the subject they are criticizing-lazy. Just plain lazy. If Ms. Bland or whoever wrote the above article had attempted to attend the meeting to listen to Dr. Coffman or even taken a moment to visit his website, read his books or review his material, I wouldn’t have thrown that out there. However, it is plainly obvious that the above writer did not. How dare you say that you are “disappointed by the fragmentation, polarization and the use of cherry-picked information or outright disinformation that characterizes a lot of today’s public speech” when you yourself call Agenda 21 a “conspiracy theory?” Have you lost your mind? Are you saying that the research Dr. Coffman presents on his page and in his writings isn’t legitimate? Or because it doesn’t come from Media Matters you don’t consider it a credible source? Mr. Ellis, let’s face it, your contribution to this discussion shows your true colors. Don’t you think the voters of Hanover County can see through your thinly-veiled mask of liberalism that you call “Independent?” Remember, sir, we are still in Hanover County after all. This is not Northern Virginia.

  5. I realize that part of the job as an elected official will be to interact with citizens who feel strongly about specific issues, and with whom I may disagree. I look forward to doing that job, not out of some desire for conflict, but out of respect for all people and interest in the learning that may occur for me as well as others. I would agree that anyone making false and incendiary statements without first attempting to research or review a subject is lazy. However, I do not agree that the statements were false. (I also don’t believe they were incendiary, though I suppose incendiary is in the eye of the beholder.) I used the phrase “conspiracy theory” as a way to capture a description from Dr. Coffman’s website describing his interpretation of world history, which is his context for his interpretation of Agenda 21 as part of a broader insidious attack: “Tragically, a small group of international financiers and globalists has deliberately guided the insidious attack by the progressive movement on the Constitution since the early twentieth century. Their ultimate goal is global governance.” If a small group of shadowy figures conducting an insidious attack across international borders and many decades, bent on global domination, is not a conspiracy, I guess I don’t know what is. Dr. Coffman’s intepretations of history and facts are certainly legitimate in the sense that they exist in writing and are the product of his labors. Beyond that, however, they constitute a theory about the broader meaning of those facts regarding this insidious attack. That is, they constitute a theory about a conspiracy. Hence my use of the term “conspiracy theory.” Finally, regarding my status as an Independent candidate — I qualified for the ballot as an Independent candidate under the regulations set forth by the Virginia State Board of Elections. If elected I will not join or re-join any political party. I have spent my life respecting reason and seeking resolution to conflicting ideas and will continue to do that in office. It doesn’t get any more Independent than that. My past affiliations are documented on my website, in my brochure, in my press releases and in my discussions with voters. People know who I am and where I have been. There is no “masking.” Sometimes things are just as they appear to be.

  6. Why even respond to Ashley’s rude attacks? She doesn’t use facts to support her fears? She also might want to look up the meaning of civil discourse while she’s figuring out who the Koch brothers are. Meanwhile, protests are being waged against corporatism and the banks, er, criminals on Wall Street. Tea Party? What Tea Party?

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