CIVIL DEFENSE PERSPECTIVES

 

March 1997 (vol. 13, #3) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1997 Physicians for Civil Defense

 

PARADISE LOST

 

Eviction from the Garden of Eden-into the wilderness-meant toil and sweat; exposure to storms and floods, extremes of heat and cold, and the ravages of hostile beasts; and ultimately death, usually after a life that was ``nasty, poor, brutish, and short.''

Nevertheless, the earth is fruitful: ``The earth shall bear more than enough, that temperance may be tried,'' wrote John Milton in Paradise Lost. Thus, Adam could say, ``My labor will sustain me.''

Mankind was given the tools with which to tame the wilderness, most importantly, the use of Reason. ``Reason is the being of the soul, discursive and intuitive,'' said Milton.

Although the way back to the Garden was barred, ``The world was all before them, where to choose/ Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.''

In Milton's view, freedom-even if it led to rebellion-

was the Creator's gift to mankind: ``I formed them free, and free they must remain,/ Till they enthrall themselves.''

``He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,/ Dominion absolute; that right we hold/ By his donation; but man over men/ He made not lord,'' said Adam.

Of course, the history of the world is one episode after another of men lording it over their fellow human beings, with the constant result of ``havoc and spoil and ruin'': bloodshed, poverty, ignorance, and overall misery.

There have been few and generally short-lived exceptions. Only in modern times, with the ascendancy of Western civilization, have ordinary citizens been able to enjoy abundance. The United States of America seemed close to Paradise, in the eyes of most of the world. The circumstances of a humble American tradesman might be envied by ancient royalty.

This achievement, unique in human history, is dependent not only upon science and technology, but upon a foundation of human rights. As our Founding Fathers understood, the greatest threat to the welfare of human beings comes from violation of their rights by government.

A just government derives its powers only from the consent of the governed. And no government has the rightful authority to deprive its citizens of unalienable rights, not even with a 99% majority, much less with the consent of 51% of those who vote.

The rights enshrined in our Declaration of Independence -to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness-are sustainable only when there is a right to private property. For how can a person sustain life if deprived of the means of production or the fruits of his labor?

Today, in the name of ``sustainability,'' mankind could suffer a worse fate than Adam and Eve. Not only the Garden of Eden, but also the wilderness could become off-limits to humanity. And most of the land could be defined as ``wilderness,'' perhaps in the name of all manner of beast, fish, fowl, worms, and microbes-some purportedly ``endangered'' (and thus by definition contributing the least to the ecology) and some not (as spokespersons for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say, we have no right to use animals of any species). All of humanity could be confined to the reservation.

Once again, mankind is in the process of enthralling itself. Popularly elected governments are assisting, but ultimately the controllers may be completely without accountability to the electorate. ``Non-governmental organizations'' (NGOs), such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), are in the ascendancy and are setting the agenda, through the United Nations. About 50,000 such organizations network via the Internet (see http:// www.gn.apc.org). One recommendation is to restructure the UN Trusteeship council so as to be governed by accredited NGOs with dominion over the ``Global Commons,'' consisting of the atmosphere, outer space, the oceans beyond national jurisdiction, and the related environment and life-support systems that contribute to the support of human life.'' An enforcement mechanism is, of course, essential.

Top on the list of enforcement targets will probably be those who exceed limits on emissions of ``greenhouse'' or allegedly ozone-depleting gases (human emitters, that is, not termites or volcanoes). A total of $2.3 billion has been spent on global-warming projects, with most going to accredited NGOs.

As of 1994, 980 NGOs were officially accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council; these are called ``civil societies'' and contrasted with ``populist organizations,'' which can ``...in a minute destroy the work of decades of deliberation'' (eco logic Jan/Feb 1997, PO Box 191, Hollow Rock, TN 38342, tel. (901)986-0099).

The greatest enemy of these ``civil societies'' is truth. Chicken-Little scenarios are needed to gain popular support for the regulations, prosecutions, taxes, and outright confiscations that could destroy industrialized society and prevent non-authorized, private accumulation of wealth. The game might be over if the public (and through them the U.S. Congress) knew the facts about apocalyptic threats such as global warming.

Thus, groups like the UCS are concentrating their efforts on public communications. Only 7% of adult Americans meet a minimal test of scientific literacy; the UCS means to form the opinions of the other 93%. The UCS media campaign aims to discredit the opinions of the 83% of North American climatologists, who debunk global warming (ibid.); the UCS has seized and inverted the meaning of the term ``junk science'' ( Nucleus, Winter 96/97, ``Is Junk Science Trashing Our Planet?'').

The UCS also targets representatives to international meetings, asking them to strengthen the Montreal Protocol banning CFCs, for example, by ending the essential-use exemption for metered-dose inhalers, and by accelerating the phase-out of the essential agricultural chemical methyl bromide.

The UCS supports the ``ambitious,'' economically devastating goal of cutting emissions of ``heat-trapping'' gases (a term better understood by ill-informed Americans) to a level 20% below that of 1990 by the year 2005. A year-long campaign is underway and is expected to culminate in a new international agreement in Kyoto, Japan, in December, 1997. The UCS denies that such action would have a deleterious effect on the

Economy-and they are correct, providing that one considers abundance evil and scarcity good.

Milton's words are also true in our time: ``Wolves shall succeed teachers, grievous wolves who shall taint truth and traditions with superstitions.''

Facts, Not Fear

Facts, Not Fear 

 

If your children are accusing you of bringing the Planet to the edge of doom, say by drinking from a styrofoam cup, you need a copy of this new book by Michael Sanera, a featured speaker at the June meeting of DDP, and Jane Shaw (Regnery 1996). After reviewing hundreds of books used in government schools to teach about the Environment (a politically mandated subject in many states), the authors have prepared a compendium of facts and reasoned analysis to refute many myths (deforestation, a garbage crisis, ozone depletion, acid rain, and so on). Many excellent references are suggested.

``If, after evaluating the curriculum in your children's school, you find more indoctrination than education, you may wish to remedy the situation,'' the authors state.

Increasing numbers of parents have gone beyond the suggested actions (talking with teachers, becoming a speaker, contributing books to the library, etc.) to ask: if we need this for an antidote, why not stop the exposure to the poison?

 

More Good Reading

 

Ø The Robinson Self-Teaching Home School Curriculum, v. 2, on 22 CD-ROMs, from phonics through calculus and university-level physics, $195 from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, PO Box 1279, Cave Junction, OR 97523. [Quotations from Milton and Winthrop are included as illustrative sentences in the 6400-word vocabulary exercises.]

Ø The True State of the Planet, edited by Ronald Bailey, Free Press, 1995, a project of the Competitive Enterprise Institute: ``Ten of the World's Premier Environmental Researchers in a Major Challenge to the Environmental Movement.'' Extensively referenced, numerous graphs, tables, and illustrations.

Ø Conservative Environmentalism: Reassessing the Means, Redefining the Ends, by James R. Dunn and John E. Kinney, Quorum Books, 1996. ``If America's environmental laws and regulations are left unchanged, they will ultimately contribute to the destruction of the human and the natural environments.''

Ø Science Without Sense, by Steven Milloy, Cato, 1995. A devastating spoof on what passes for health research, illustrating methods such as data dredging and the mixmaster technique.

Ø The Ultimate Resource 2, by Julian L. Simon, Princeton University Press, 1996, explodes myths about population growth, ``species holocaust,'' and death of the Planet.

Ø But Is It True? A Citizens Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues, by Aaron Wildavsky, Harvard University Press, 1995. ``In a preventive society, the people in charge of raising the alarm will rule.'' Wildavsky makes a an impressive, 574-page scientific case for a conclusion reached in 1644 by John Winthrop in Arbitrary Government Described: ``When we have provided against all common and probable events, we may and ought to trust God for safety from such dangers as are only possible, but not likely, to come upon us; especially when our striving to prevent such possible dangers may hazard the deprivation or weakening of a present good, or may draw those or other evils nearer upon us.''

Ø The Freeman, a monthly journal on liberty, available on request from the Foundation on Economic Education, 30 S. Broadway, Irvington-on-Hudson, NY 10533. The tragedy of the commons and the importance of private property in protecting

the environment are recurring themes.

Fear

 

Can peaceful, law-abiding citizens of these United States have their property seized and sold at public auction for $1 and then find themselves facing years in prison, after a trial in which they are denied the due process rights guaranteed to accused murderers and rapists?

In a showcase proceedings in the Adirondacks, Kent and Glenda Duell were found guilty of 164 counts of ``willfully intending to pollute the waters of the State of New York.'' Actual pollution was not proved, but the Duells did have a leaking septic system that they had repaired many times in cooperation with local officials.

The Duells were denied a ``Bill of Particulars'' and the right to discovery. Numerous defense motions were denied, and almost all of the DA's objections were sustained. The defense was cautioned not to mention Constitutional rights. When the time came to instruct the jury, neither the judge nor prosecutor could figure out what specific aspect of the law the Duells had violated, so they relied on a faxed opinion from lawyers at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Maximum penalties could amount to $32 million in fines and 1200 years in jail.

In cases such as this, the main agenda appears to be to establish precedent for vastly expanded prosecutorial powers, changing what were formerly minor civil cases into major criminal actions, with seized property going into state coffers.

The Duells are still free on bail, though they have already lost their property, pending appeal (for which expenses exceed $11,000 just for the transcripts and trial). A Duell Family Legal Defense Fund was set up by the Land Rights Foundation, PO Box 1111, Gloversville, NY 12078. Details of the case are published in the Land Rights Letter, Dec '96 and Jan/Feb '97, and The DeWeese Report, March, 1997. The telephone number for Liberty Matters News Service is (518)725-1090.

``Nationwide outrage by concerned Americans will help stop such abuses of power,'' writes DeWeese.

 

In cases such as the Duells, there are some constraints on law enforcement through the local political structure. There is even less accountability for officers of federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM's rulemaking authority has been expanded to include criminal penalties, and the new rules appear to go far beyond even the increase authorized by statute. In violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the BLM has made it very difficult for the public to identify significant changes in the regulations. The standard of criminal intent has been dramatically changed: the accused need only have intended to commit an act which is prohibited, whether or not he know the act to be illegal. An extensive analysis is published in the Property Rights Update, March 1997, PO Box 847, Bountiful, UT 84011.

 

``As for laws,...I conclude the necessity of declaring and stating them, so as all the people may know them, for I have ever held it unjust to require of men the obedience of any law which they may not (by common intendment) take notice of.''

John Winthrop, Arbitrary Government Described

``Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.''

Thomas Paine, Common Sense