UN Agenda 21:We’re all being PUNCT

As I drove down US-31 a week or so ago, I saw a sign at the Emmet County Fairgrounds advertising an upcoming meeting on “UN Agenda 21”.   I rolled my eyes as I realized the paranoid conspiracy folks have made their way to Petoskey.  Last year they got the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners to adopt a resolution criticizing Agenda 21 based on a couple of minute presentation and without reading what Agenda 21 was.  On the word of a single hopelessly paranoid individual and his crudely printed brochure, an elected board made itself look extremely silly.   So was Petoskey next on the list?  I made a mental note to go to the meeting and try to provide some insight before more lazy officials did anything to make Emmet County look as silly as Charlevoix County.

Before I discuss the eye-popping meeting in Petoskey, it’s important to understand what the UN Agenda 21 actually is.  We can then compare that to what the paranoid conspiracy folks say it is.

To hear the paranoid conspiracy folks (Heck, let’s create our own acronym so my fingers don’t start cramping up typing that every time.  How about Paranoid United Nations Conspiracy Theorists or PUNCT?)

To hear the PUNCTs talk about it, UN Agenda 21 is a nascent attempt by world government advocates to take over our private property.  In fact, Agenda 21 was adopted in 1992 as a blue print for sustainable development worldwide.  You can find the document here, and I urge you to read it.  It is a long and detailed document that looks at a wide variety of the causes of “poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy, and the continuing deterioration of the ecosystems on which we depend for our well-being” as well as suggesting a plan of action to combat these issues.  UN Agenda 21 recognizes that we all seek a more prosperous future but that “No nation can achieve this on its own; but together we can – a global partnership for sustainable development.”

So far, so good.  Unless our position in the United States is “We’re number one and to hell with the rest of the world,” it’s hard to argue with the objectives of Agenda 21.  If our economy is to grow, it will grow through trade and that trade will be enhanced if more people around the world have the resources to buy things from us.   We don’t have to go to far back in history to see how this works.  At the end of World War II, Europe and Japan were in shambles.  Through the efforts of the United States, both Western Europe and Japan were rebuilt, not so much out of humanitarian concerns, but rather because we needed markets to sell the products that would soon be streaming from our factories.  Isolationism and closed economies do not build world powers and that’s as true today as it was in 1945.

Agenda 21 goes on to lay out a wide variety of activities that countries, cities, and individuals could do to help meet the goal of sustainable development.  So who must comply with the Agenda 21 plan?  Legally, no one.  Like the United Nations itself, Agenda 21 is not binding on any nation.  PUNCTs and others are always surprised to know that, with the exception of military actions authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (think Korean War, first Iraq War), “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter;” (Article 2, section 7)

So the UN recognizes the sovereign equality of states.  It makes recommendations to countries on how problems might be solved and has a remarkably successful record on a number of health issues since the late 1940’s.  But because of Article 2, section 7, if the UN recommends something to a country, the country is not legally bound to do anything about it.

Throughout the Agenda 21 document you see references to state sovereignty in several spots:

  • Section 15.3: At the same time, it is particularly important in this context to stress that States have the sovereign right to exploit their own biological resources pursuant to their environmental policies, as well as the responsibility to conserve their biodiversity and use their biological resources sustainably, and to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the biological diversity of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
  • Section 40.7: The organs and organizations of the United Nations system, in coordination with other relevant international organizations, could provide recommendations for harmonized development of indicators at the national, regional and global levels, and for incorporation of a suitable set of these indicators in common, regularly updated, and widely accessible reports and databases, for use at the international level, subject to national sovereignty considerations.
  • Section 40.19: . Existing national and international mechanisms of information processing and exchange, and of related technical assistance, should be strengthened to ensure effective and equitable availability of information generated at the local, provincial, national and international levels, subject to national sovereignty and relevant intellectual property rights.

So despite what the PUNCTs say, nothing in UN Agenda 21 is binding.  No property is confiscated.  No world government. Just a long list of things that could be done to raise the standard of living of people around the world while preserving our environment.

Yet around the country, PUNCTs are going to local and state governments and getting them to denounce the idea that our world would be a better place if we eliminated poverty, disease, and illiteracy.   It’s apparently a bad thing to protect our environment so that future generations have a shot at the good life too.  Arizona and Oklahoma, two of the most unenlightened states in our Union, have recently passed bills opting out of Agenda 21.

There’s all kinds of problems with this action from a legal standpoint of course.  The sacred Constitution of the United States contains this clause:

  • Article VI, section 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

So because the United States signed off on Agenda 21 back in 1992, any laws that the United States makes consistent with the goals of Agenda 21 are binding on the states as well.  Remember, Agenda 21 is NOT binding on the states because it’s not binding on anyone!  US laws made in compliance with the recommendations of it, however, are in fact binding.   So all the bluster by Oklahoma and Arizona doesn’t amount to much, except huge legal expenses for the citizens of those states should they decide to challenge any federal law in court.

So back to the meeting at the Emmet County Fairgrounds.  As I entered the room I looked around and noticed that of the couple hundred people there, all were white, almost all were male, and almost all were well over 60.  There were less than 10 women, and perhaps as many as 20 who were under 60 years old.  At the head of the room was a speaker from the John Birch Society.

Wait. What?  The John Birch Society?  Masters of the grand conspiracies that threaten anything that is not white, Christian, and male?  These same guys who were the punch lines of so many jokes since the end of WWII?  The same guys who scrape together $30 so they can paint “Get the US out of the UN” on shabby bus stop benches?  This was the same group that connected fluoridation of water to the Communists.  The same group that passed out leaflets on November 21, 1963 asking for the arrest of JFK for treason.  And the same group who thought polio vaccines were another plot. The John Birch Society was leading the PUNCTs?  I wanted to laugh, but as I saw heads nodding around the room at the preposterous claims of the speaker, I knew they hadn’t come for the comedy.

If you don’t believe me about how out of touch and paranoid the John Birch Society is, visit their website.  Usually a group would not want to be labeled as a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorists, but the JBS does it to themselves!  They actually have a section on their website devoted to conspiracies.  You would think you were back in the 1950’s as the JBS apparently is still finding Communists in every corner of the world and in Washington.  (Cold War is over folks.  We won.)

The primary strategy of the man at the front of the room was “nullification.”  He ranted on about how the states have the right to nullify any federal law they feel is unconstitutional.  He cited Virginia and Kentucky and their attempt to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams.   But nullification itself is not legal, and the alleged scholar at the front of the room should realize that.

From Andrew Jackson’s famous argument against it (which you can read here) on through the Civil War, nullification has been defeated every time.  Granted it took 700,000 battle deaths to convince the South of this, but in the end, no credible legal mind supports the notion that nullification is legal.  I’ll end with a citation from Sanford Levinson writing for statesman.com.  I chose it because it uses arguments from Donald Rumsfeld to make its case.  And if I am agreeing with Donald Rumsfeld, we must have stumbled upon some universal truth above reproach.  (You can read Levinson’s entire argument here.)

“That is, no serious lawyer could believe that nullification could possibly be effective as a legal possibility. Anyone who believes otherwise is simply deluded or being misled by an ignorant demagogue. To paraphrase former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, we conduct our politics under the Constitution we have, not the Constitution some people wish we had. As it happens, I am quite bitterly critical of a number of defects in the Constitution and support a constitutional convention to correct them, but that does not change the fact, for example, that Wyoming has the same number of votes in the Senate as does California, or Vermont the same number of votes as does Texas. The inability of states to “nullify” federal legislation is another such fact.”

In the end, local communities and our state should not be sucked in by the clouded and closed minds of PUNCTs.  When Greg McMaster was laughed out committee last year for bringing an anti-Agenda 21 bill to it, he didn’t give up.  He’s repackaged the goals of his PUNCT friends and he’s trying again this year.  While it’s true that our state legislature has done much to embarrass Michigan in the last year, I sincerely hope they are awake enough to laugh at McMaster one more time…and just before the voters of his district send him packing in 2014.

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5 Comments on “UN Agenda 21:We’re all being PUNCT”

  1. roberta4949 April 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    treaties in my understanding is a contract and is binding, this country has been contracted to apply agenda 21, which i read at length and frankly it was so ambiguous in their stated purpose, (they state their purpose but not how when where or what) it could be interpreted any way you want, to me the united nations has no business even making suggestions, their sole purpose when set up ws to free the world from the scroge of war, nothing about implementing enviromental anything or job creation or the like or feeding the poor or anything of that nature, just ending wars, these other items were to be dealt with by each individual states and countries on their own, it was for dispute resolution not about wealth redistribution(which agenda 21 is) or anything of that nature.

    • Mark Pontoni April 29, 2013 at 1:17 am #


      Thanks for reading and commenting. The Preamble of the United Nations and Articles I outline why the UN was formed. It’s a lot more than trying to preserve the peace. Most people would argue the greatest successes of the UN have been in the humanitarian field.

      The Preamble:
      to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
      to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
      to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
      to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

      to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
      to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
      to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
      to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

      And then Article I:

      The Purposes of the United Nations are:
      To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
      To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
      To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
      To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

      • roberta4949 April 29, 2013 at 10:50 am #

        yea maybe but that was not their original state purpose. charity should be left to voluntary organizations funded by donations not by gun to your head taxes that were designed to fund public services for the people who actually pay for it. most of the money collected taxes/donations do not reach their intended target, like I said this organization is just another fraud, they operate under the cloak of righteousness but according to the bible this scarlet colored wild beast is just that a wild beast(predators that feed off the sheep instead of caring for the sheep) that will not solve the problems of this world, even if their intentions are noble, (which they are not but that is another story)these problems require devine intervention and God is not using human organizations to achieve this. but thanks for the reply, I looked up the word scarlet in adictionary it said sinful, so yes this scarlet colored wild beast is definitly sinful, you cannot solve problems of lawlessness by breaking the law your self in order to stop lawlessness. which is what the un does. of course I mean the law, not legalistic color of law.

      • Mark Pontoni April 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

        See Roberta, we were having an intelligent conversation then you go all Bible and beast on us. Try to remember that the United Nations is a voluntary organization and their charities are among the most effective in the world. No one is forcing you or anyone to participate. The Preamble and Article I which I quoted are from the original document and thus are, in fact, just as much part of the original intent as any other part. The founders of the United Nations, much like the founders of our country realized that society cannot thrive when people are struggling to survive. So in the UN Charter a call for humanitarian concerns exists, just as in our Constitution there’s a call for us to work toward the common good.

  2. Chi flat iron April 28, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    well, nice post, thanks for share

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