Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Europe's Religion of 'Negative' Environment-Centric Sustainable Development is Being Proselytized at the International & Local Levels


A. The Growing Phenomenon of Religious Environmentalism

Environmentalists have long worked with liberal politicians and government officials on both sides of the Atlantic, with the clergy of various religions, and within the environmental, health and cultural agencies of the United Nations to forge and proselytize a new global religion – multilateral environmentalism.

Their goal simply is to convince UN member governments and their public constituencies at the international, national, state & local levels (the latter venues offering a much smaller and easier audience to persuade) that they must take proactive Precautionary Principle-based regulatory action, in the name of negative sustainable development, in order to ‘save’ the planet from an almost imminent destruction – a religious admonition – “no matter if the science is all phony”,[2] and no matter the cost.[3]

According to Philosophy Professor Peter Menzies of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia,

“In my experience, most Christians endorsing Kyoto don't spend a lot of time emphasizing science. Critiques citing original research or engaging in genuine critical analysis and original thought aren't very common. My sense is that this is more about particular philosophical and theological outlooks than about science. To illustrate, consider the following: ‘The debate about climate change and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is fundamentally a public justice issue. We agree with the World Council of Churches that 'social justice for all people and eco-justice for all creation must go together.' ‘Because global climate change will harm much of Creation, hurting the less powerful…disproportionately, it is against God's will for God desires justice and shalom to reign on Earth.’ ‘Human induced climate change poses a great threat to the common good, especially to the poor, the vulnerable and future generations.’

Two things emerge from these quotes and further reading of these documents: 1) The driving force for rationalizing Kyoto is a perception that the protocol will advance the idea of social and eco-justice, and 2) The assumption that warming, especially if it is human induced, will cause serious harm to creation. Indeed, the debate is often framed in terms of ‘saving the planet’…[T]he goals of these Christian organizations seem to echo that of Christine Stewart, a Canadian Environmental Minister: ‘No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits ... climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world’” (emphasis added). [4]

Although many people may not be familiar with it, religious environmentalism is not a new concept, though it has only more recently been repackaged as negative ‘sustainable development’. Scholars and commentators were already discussing the concept over a decade ago. For example, in 1995, University of Wisconsin History Professor Paul Boyer described

“[T]he efforts of Christian fundamentalists to interpret current events as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies foretelling humanity’s final days. Each generation of fundamentalists, Boyer, explains, has thought that it was living in the end-times, and each generation has been willing to pay to hear and read about humanity’s imminent demise.” [5]

However, according to at least one commentator, Professor Boyer had overlooked the evolution of religious environmentalism into environmental hysteria.

“Rabbi Daniel Friedman, of Deerfield, Illinois, considers environmentalism to be a lay rehash of end-times mythology. ‘It is striking,’ he notes, ‘the extent to which Environmentalism resembles classic religious [prophecies about the end of time]. Man is still the rebellious sinner. The source of evil isn't Satan but the industrial revolution, technology, productivity, and capitalism. Redemption is to return to that Eden-like state of nature before man's corruption of Earth.’ Regardless of whether the Bible's Eden is a myth, the pre-industrial Eden imagined by environmentalists certainly is: Prior to the industrial revolution, most children didn't live past age five, and existence for the average adult was a plague-ridden, hungry affair, pretty much like ‘life’ today in those societies that have never discovered free enterprise. In the religion of environmentalism, it is the power of the state -- not the supernatural power of God or church -- that is designed to bring about salvation. Instead of Adam and Eve, the Burning Bush, and the Splitting of the Red Sea, environmentalism has alar, acid rain, asbestos, dioxin, global warming, and ozone depletion. The scientific literature exists to debunk these modern fables, but when it comes to environmentalist propaganda, [the media]…prefer to interview Hollywood celebrities and spokespersons or self-proclaimed ‘environmental groups’, rather than interview authentic scientists. And so the con game continues, even as one environmental ‘crisis’ after another is proven groundless.[6]

This same point was brought up last year (2006) by a British science consultant and media commentator Martin Livermore in a BBC News ‘Viewpoint’ column.

In the West, with the decline of organised Christianity and the discrediting of Marxism, environmentalism has taken the place of religion for many. In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright ‘I believe in God, only I spell it Nature’. Googling ‘environmentalism as religion’ returns 854,000 hits. The new orthodoxy teaches that Mankind is guilty of Original Sin by despoiling Eden (the pre-Industrial world). This guilt must be assuaged by repairing the damage and protecting all other forms of life. For the deepest Greens, the only real solution is the disappearance of our species from the Earth - the ultimate sacrifice - and for many others a much smaller ‘optimum’ population of humans is a desirable goal.

...In fact, all species affect their environment to a greater or lesser degree. Termites build complex homes, beavers construct dams to alter the flow of streams and grazing animals profoundly alter the balance of plant species. People do the same. The difference is that we have a uniquely greater capacity to do so. But, as this capacity has grown, so has our awareness of the consequences, and our ability to make rational choices between options. So, in the last half-century, environmental quality in the developed world has improved greatly by almost any measure…[Problems often arise, however,] when we try to manage the environment actively – to do what is ‘right’ – the result isn’t always what we expect.” [7]

With his last point, he, in effect, put his finger on a very important issue, namely, that despite the best of intentions as concerns proactive environmental stewardship we may cause more environmental and other (economic) harm than the harm we seek to avert.

A more recent January 2007 London Financial Times commentary also concerned itself with these issues, especially as it has evolved in Europe.[8]

Environmentalism embraces a myth of the Fall: the loss of harmony between man and nature caused by our materialistic society. Al Gore recounted the words of Chief Seattle, as his tribe relinquished their ancient lands: ‘Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother?’ This lost Eden never existed. Humans have burned and eaten the environment since time immemorial. The first Americans crossed the Bering Strait and killed every tame animal they saw. Chief Seattle sold his heritage for a life of luxury and his eloquent speech may have been penned by a television scriptwriter.

But myths are literature, not history or science: classical epics and the great religious books are cultural treasures and their educational value does not depend on their literal truth. The Apocalypse myth is equally familiar. Our wickedness has damaged our inheritance and, although it is almost too late, immediate reform can transform our future. Christians look to the Second Coming, Marxists to the collapse of capitalism, with the same mixture of fear and longing…Environmentalism offers an alternative account of the natural world to the religious and an alternative anti-capitalist account of the political world to the Marxist. The rise of environmentalism parallels in time and place the decline of religion and of socialism”. [9]

He, too, discusses this issue in order to bring up the very same critical points: as the condition of many aspects of our global environment – our air, rivers, and seashores - have steadily improved over time due to human intervention, environmentalists are looking for “a [new] persuasive Apocalypse myth… In Europe, these stories no longer have the impact they did. Environmentalism now fulfils for many people the widespread longing for simple, all-encompassing narratives”.[10] And, in his estimation, environmental extremists seemed to have found it in the issue of global warming/climate change.

The discovery of global warming filled a gap in the canon. That is why environmentalists attach so much importance to the assertion not just that the world is warming up, which is plainly true, but that this warming is our fault, which is less plainly true. The connection between rising carbon concentrations and the growth of modern industrial society provides justification for the link between the sins of our past and the catastrophe of our future. Environmental evangelists are therefore not interested in pragmatic solutions to climate change or technological fixes for it. They are even less interested in evidence that if we were really serious about reducing carbon emissions we could do so by large amounts without significantly affecting our economies or our lives. Windmills on roofs and cycling to work are insignificant in practical consequence, but that is to miss their point. Every ideology needs rituals of observance which demonstrate the commitment of adherents.” [11]

If one requires any more proof of the phenomenon of religious environmentalism and its increasing influence on the development of international, regional, national, state and local law, both here, in America and abroad, he or she need just consider the activities of a group called the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE). The NRPE, which was founded in 1993, has enlisted a diverse group of religious organizations, including the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network, to develop environmental programs that mesh with their own varied spiritual teachings. They “have been provided with resource kits on environmental issues, including sermons for clergy, lesson plans for Sunday school teachers, and even conservation tips for church and synagogue building managers.”[12] And these seeds appear to have taken root.

“The Colorado-based National Association of Evangelicals is urging its 30 million members to pursue a “biblically balanced agenda” to protect the environment alongside fighting poverty… Indeed, it was Evangelical minister, Reverend Jim Ball, who started the influential “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign promoting hybrid cars back in 2003. More recently, Ball has worked with likeminded Evangelicals to craft a faith-based policy statement on global warming. Another key organization is the Forum on Religion and Ecology, which holds conferences that bring religious leaders together from all over the world to discuss religion’s role in ecological matters. Earth Ministry, an association of 90 churches around Seattle, takes a more “hands-on” approach. It organizes hikes, book parties, and volunteer support for local agricultural projects, helping to educate thousands of people along the way. Some congregations also conduct church “greenings,” like replacing church light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents and virgin copier paper with recycled paper. Some more hard-hitting environmental actions have sprung up at the congregation level as well. In Mississippi, Jesus People Against Pollution brought together local churchgoers to pressure authorities to clean-up local toxic waste sites. And in Detroit, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart turned a former crack house into a community vegetable garden. Meanwhile, New York’s Hamburg Presbyterian Church “adopted” a nearby creek and won it designation as a protected habitat. And just like good environmentalists everywhere, Hamburg Presbyterian’s parishioners continue to monitor the creek to ensure that it remains vibrant and healthy.” [13]

And, American academics looking to develop new course offerings that may increase university enrollments and raise alumni endowments have also migrated to this ‘rich’ and ‘controversial’ subject matter. [14]

B. Religious Environmentalism is a Key Premise Underlying Global Governance

With all of this in mind, curious persons may wish to ask the following question. If the environment is improving, and we, as humans, generally recognize that we must, in undertaking our daily economic activities, maintain an overall balance with Nature as we do with most other aspects of our lives, then what is the true purpose behind all of this alarmist ‘environmental religion’ and negative sustainable development/precautionary principle talk? The answer: to facilitate greater ‘global governance’-based legislation, regulation and standardization overseen by the self-proclaimed ‘elite’.[15]

Many current and former European and American government officials have participated in the process of erecting a legally binding global regulatory framework based largely on the French civil law ex-ante [16] model of regulation.[17] This movement is so advanced that proclaimed ‘economic reformer’ Nicolas Sarkozy, center-right Gaullist candidate for the French presidency, recently backtracked and announced that he was now in favor of “managed regulated free trade”. He also proposed that Europe’s mission statement include “the moralization of financial capitalism”,[18] which includes an assault on private property ownership.

This global governance work began as early as 1991, and was initiated through a newly formed UN Commission on Global Governance (UCGG). It resulted in the publication of a Commission report entitled, "Our Global Neighbourhood" [19] which set forth the following rationale:

“Half a century has passed since the [United Nations] Charter was signed in San Francisco. There has been no world war in that time, but humanity has seen much violence, suffering, and injustice. There remain dangers that could threaten civilization and, indeed, the future of humankind…nation- states find themselves less able to deal with the array of issues--some old, some new--that face them. States and their people, wishing to control their destinies, find they can do so only by working together with others. They must secure their future through commitment to common responsibility and shared effort...

The need to work together also guided the visionary men and women who drew up the Charter of the United Nations. What is new today is that the interdependence of nations is wider and deeper. What is also new is the role of people and the shift of focus from states to people. An aspect of this change is the growth of international civil society…These changes call for reforms in the modes of international co- operation--the institutions and processes of global governance…The international system that the UN Charter put in place needs to be renewed. The flaws and inadequacies of existing institutions have to be overcome. There is a need to weave a tighter fabric of international norms, expanding the rule of law world- wide and enabling citizens to exert their democratic influence on global processes. We also believe the world's arrangements for the conduct of its affairs must be underpinned by certain common values. Ultimately, no organization will work and no law upheld unless they rest on a foundation made strong by shared values. These values must be informed by a sense of common responsibility for both present and future generations [sustainable development]

The development of global governance is part of the evolution of human efforts to organize life on the planet, and that process will always be going onAs this report makes clear, global governance is not global government…This is not to say that the goal should be a world without systems or rules… We make recommendations for managing economic interdependence, and for reforming the United Nations in ways that also offer a larger role to people through the organizations of international civil society. And we address the need for extending on the global stage the rule of law that has been so great a civilizing influence in national societies”. [20]

Europe quickly grasped how they could lead the push towards global governance and define the international legal and regulatory norms that other nations, working together multilaterally would need to follow.

The world and with it Europe are in the midst of a rapid change on a global scale. Among the main factors which seem to drive these changes are: [1] the deregulation of markets, financial liberalization and the emergence of an integrated global market with new international actors (e.g. World Trade Organization (WTO))[;] [2] the emergence of new poles of dynamism in the world[; and] [3] the explosive growth of telecommunications, computers and the Internet. There is a broad consensus–at least in academic circles–that one of the most urgent problems to be addressed is that of how to govern this ever-changing worldBut it is more difficult to name these problems, and therefore to understand them. This holds true for both politicians and scientists. Especially there are serious doubts that terms like ‘capitalism’, ‘globalization’, ‘global village’, among others, do lead to a better understanding of what is happening. There is a need for more distinctive termsIn 1991, a group of eminent persons of the world–most of them politicians–formed an initiative within the United Nations' organizational system in order to grasp these changes. Their report on ‘Our Global Neighbourhood’ was published in 1995. We believe that some of their findings could help us to define and structure some of the ongoing problems in Europe”. [21]

Among the report’s key findings was that “Although states are sovereign, they are not free individually to do whatever they want…It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global environmental cooperation” (emphasis added).[22]

Furthermore, having set forth a negative assessment of the environmental health of the planet, the Commission report prescribed the following legal, ethical and moral policy antidote: preventive environmental stewardship and use of the Precautionary Principle to achieve negative sustainable development.[23]

The core value of ‘justice and equity’ is the basis for sweeping changes in the UN as proposed by the Commission… commitment to equity everywhere is the only secure foundation for a more humane world order in which multilateral action...improves global well-being as well as stability...Equity needs to be respected as well in relationships between the present and future generations. The principle of intergenerational equity underlies the strategy of sustainable development.

The effectiveness of this global ethic ‘will depend upon the ability of people and governments to transcend narrow self-interests and agree that the interests of humanity as a whole will be best served by acceptance of a set of common rights and responsibilities’… Among the[se] ‘rights’ [is the right to] [a] secure life… The right to ‘a secure life’ means much more than freedom from the threat of war…The right to a secure life also means the right to live on a secure planet. ‘Human activity...combined with unprecedented increases in human numbers...are impinging on the planet's basic life support systems. Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks'.

... In confronting these risks, the only acceptable path is to apply the ‘precautionary principle’…This set of core values underlies Agenda 21 adopted in Rio de Janeiro. Virtually every international treaty and agreement introduced during this decade reflects this set of core values. The Commission's recommendations to achieve global governance seek to enforce these values through the programs authorized and implemented by a global bureaucracy growing from a revitalized and restructured United Nations system.” [24]

One of the most interesting aspects of this report is that it defines values that are anathema to American national interests and that threaten individual American’s fundamental constitutional rights.

The foundation of global governance is a set of core values, a belief system, which contains ideas that are foreign to the American experience, and ignores other values and ideas that are precious to the American experience. The values and ideas articulated in the Commission's report are not new. They have been tried, under different names, in other societies. Often, the consequences have been devastating. These values, under new names, have been emerging in UN documents since the late 1980s, and have dominated international conferences, agreements, and treaties since 1992”. [25]

Another intriguing aspect of this report is its definition of the term ‘governance’. It would appear that it means compulsory ‘regulatory’ governance, which when circumscribed by a new definition of ‘sovereignty’ that transcends national borders invites legal enforcement at the global, local and regional levels with the assistance of civil society.[26]

Academics enamored of negative sustainable development and precautionary principle-based ‘social’ science have further confirmed this evolving movement towards global governance.

Thus, the institutionalization of precautionary norms and ideas means that segments of what would once have been considered domestic policymaking may, increasingly, be carried out at the international level, which reinforces multilateral processes and underlines the importance of the convening, coordinating, and facilitating roles of international institutions such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)”. [27]

Given this framework’s reliance on the Precautionary Principle to achieve negative sustainable development, it is obvious that it has been designed to reverse the legal burden of proof and to hold industries and individuals throughout the world, especially those based in emerging and developing countries and in the United States, publicly accountable. Public accountability will ensured at both the regulatory and civil society levels via various types of administrative review, public criticism, and judicial enforcement. At first, this evolving system will be administered by national, state and local governments. Later on, it is intended that the system’s administration be assumed by and centralized at the United Nations. If they are successful, these extremist ideologues will weaken the recognition and protection of exclusive private property rights, the rule of law and free markets, within the United States and throughout the world.

C. French President Chirac Relates Environmentalism to Religious/ Ethical Values

In his recent speech at the Earth Conference for Ecological Global Governance, Monsieur Chirac made what could be characterized as a religious/ethics-based appeal for humankind’s ‘conversion’ from economic neo-liberal materialism to spiritual environmentalism:

Humankind must stop seeing itself only as the ‘master and owner of nature’…We must move towards a new state – a state of responsible awareness: our intelligence must be devoted to protecting the planet. We must learn to cultivate a harmonious relationship between humans and nature, a new and necessary relationship.” [28]

D. UN Officials Cite Environmental Stewardship as Religious Obligation

President Chirac’s understated appeal to religion and ‘enlightened’ environmental ethics was in the tradition of similar appeals made previously by European officials at other UN forums. In a 1999 address to the World Council of Churches, [29] for example, a group that participated in the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Bonn, Germany, former United Nations Under-Secretary General and UN Environment Program Executive Director Klaus Topfer endeavored to imbue the Precautionary Principle and environmental sustainability with a sense of religious urgency.

We have entered a new age. An age where all of us will have to sign a new compact with our environment…and enter into the larger community of all living beings…A new sense of our communion with planet Earth must enter our minds”. [30]

According to the president of at least one U.S.-based nonprofit organization that promotes free markets, who attended the preceding church service and later heard Mr. Topfer’s address,

“[T]he pastor preached the new ‘earth gospel’ that industrialized countries are doing harm to the environment and that the world needs a far-reaching policy to achieve social and environmental ‘justice’. Industrialized countries must scale back our standard of living (become humble) in order to save the earth. The WCC has co-opted unsuspecting churches in their mission to save the earth...The UN spews its propaganda that the earth's carrying capacity (population explosion) has reached 6 billion people, although they cannot substantiate their numbers nor do they know how many people the earth's resources can provide for. Fertility rates in most "industrialized" countries are below replacement: 2.1 children per woman. The UN contends, however, that if the fertility rate in ‘developing’ countries drops to 2.2 children per woman, the world’s population would reach 8.9 billion by 2050 (The Dallas Morning News, “Population Problem Hasn't Been Solved,” September 11, 1999). These UN numbers require more faith than is required by any of the world’s religions!. [31]

Mr. Topfer’s appeal was followed a year later by a newly published book authored by Adnan Z. Amin, former Director of the UN Environment Programme’s New York Office. Within the introduction to this UNEP book entitled, Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action, Amin, evoked similar religious undertones.

As we enter a new century, characterized not only by sweeping and fundamental new changes and immense new opportunities, but also by greatly increased risks, the need to foster a new spirit of international cooperation has never been greater. As trade, economic and physical barriers among countries have progressively fallen and as wealth has increased in some countries, poverty and misery continue to be the lot of a large and growing segment of humanity. It is in this context that we increasingly witness new challenges to the security and sustainability of the planet. At the same time, we are also witnessing an era where the fundamental lessons for humanity contained in the religious and faith traditions of the world are increasingly coming to the fore and guiding and motivating our actions to meet those challenges. One of those challenges, environmental sustainability, is based on the realization that we can no longer blindly trust in the regenerative capacity of ecosystems…UNEP’s “Global Environment Outlook 2000” confirms that the environmental crisis confronting humanity in the new millennium is a world threatened, either because people have too much or too little. The continued poverty of the majority of the planet’s inhabitants and excessive consumption by the minority are the two major causes of environmental degradation.[32]

E. Politicians and Clergy Rely On the Teachings of ‘Subsidiarity’ to Alter American Views Toward Environmentalism at the State and Local Levels

Central to the practice of religious environmentalism in Europe, is the region-wide EU political and legal concept known as ‘Subsidiarity’. In general, subsidiarity speaks to the political and legal relationship between and among EU member state governments and the regional Brussels institutions. It has been incorporated within Article 5 of the EU Maastricht Treaty[33] as a binding legal principle that applies to all areas of non-exclusive competence.[34]

“The Treaty on European Union has established the principle of subsidiarity as a general rule, which was initially applied to environmental policy in the Single European Act. This principle specifies that in areas that are not within its exclusive powers the Community shall only take action where objectives can best be attained by action at Community rather than at national level. Article A provides that the Union shall take decisions as close as possible to the citizen.” [35]

As it turns out, subsidiarity has long been a key tenet of Catholic social thought – it traces back as far as medieval times.

“[It] holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State.” [36]

According to Church scholars,

Subsidiarity applies to all human institutions, including the state. When the federal government usurps the rights and responsibilities of state and local governments, a flagrant violation of principle of subsidiarity has occurred.” [37]

Scholars have found that the Catholic Church employed subsidiarity

“[T]o limit the State’s interference in social issues and [to] consolidate its power. [It] [s]tress[ed] subsidiarity [and the need to maintain]…‘closeness to the individual’ in undertaking any social and economic activity as a way of restricting the intervention of the State…[This] was the main argument of the Church both in the Quadragesimo Anno and the later encyclicals “Mater et Magistra” (1961), “Pacem in Terris” (1963) and “Centesimus Annus” (1991) (Canatan, 2001: 29).” [38]

Adherence to subsidiarity is also looked upon as a way to support human dignity at the level of the individual, and to define the individual’s role and prescribed conduct within society vis-à-vis other individuals and society as a whole.

“The idea of subsidiarity in the Catholic doctrine rests on the metaphysical understanding regarding the dignity of human being… [A] person should be fully respected and should not be exploited or damaged in any way. However…this inherited dignity can only be finalized by the interactions of the person with the other persons in the society, which is the only way for him to fully realize his potential and his personality. By contracting among themselves, individuals should form different associations through which they can realize their goals and satisfy their needs. The important point here is to strike the right balance between the person and the society; that is the society should not intervene as long as the individual can realize his necessities. This is also the essence of the theory of “catholic personalism”, which later had serious influence on Jacques Delors (Follesdal, 1998: 12).” [39]

In etymological terms,

“[T]he word ‘Subsidiarity’ is a two-faced concept which embodies the Latin connotations of ‘subsidiary’, implying the higher level’s being in a state of secondary position; and of “subsidium”, implying the necessity of help and support by the higher level when the lower level is not capable of undertaking a certain duty.” [40]

Apparently, this notion of subsidiarity also informed the decisions of America’s founding fathers concerning separation of powers and the notion of states’ rights.

“As our founding fathers made clear in The Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution was designed to leave many issues of great importance in the hands of the states. The federal government was to do only those things which the individual states could not effectively do for themselves. The subsidiarity principle was at work in the foundation of our nation.” [41]

Thus, in many ways, the notion of subsidiarity within the Maastricht Treaty is similar to, but much less developed than, the U.S. ‘separation of powers’ principles reflected in the federal preemption, foreign and interstate commerce, and supremacy clauses of the U.S. Constitution and the 10th Amendment of the accompanying Bill of Rights. This distinction may flow from fact that the European Community is a confederation of separate and independent sovereign states with distinct histories and cultures, unlike the United States, which is arguably a federation of dependent, semi-sovereign states sharing the same culture and history. Some American scholars, mostly Europhiles, however, doubt that there is a genuine distinction at all between European subsidiarity and American states’ rights, and have been counseling EU member governments and American state legislatures and governors to act more assertively in environmental and foreign affairs as between each other.[42]

“[T]he EU has to recognize that political power in the US is not found exclusively in Washington. The US is in fact a federal system in which state governments are able to exercise considerable latitude in legislation as well as implementation. In the field of climate change policy, the states have in reality been leading the way. For those with a historical memory, the role of the states now on climate change recalls the role of the states in social policy in the 1920s and early 1930s. Essentially, states are experimenting with policies which are custom tailored to both individual state needs and governance structures…[Hence,] A constructive US-EU dialogue on climate change policy must include state governments. Brussels would acknowledge the leadership of states if the Commission proposed a new transatlantic forum dealing with climate change which included state officials .” [43]

Interestingly, while there may be overlap between the EU concept of subsidiarity and the American 10th Amendment notion of states’ rights as concerns the general political need and legal bases for retaining power and jurisdiction at the state and local levels, vis-à-vis the federal or regional government, over regulation, taxation and the trying of criminal offenses – if not otherwise expressly or impliedly delegated to the central government, there are also significant divergences. And such divergences are likely to exist at the individual rights level.

For example, individual rights, especially private property rights, as defined in the United States Constitution and accompanying Bill of Rights may be infringed upon, to the extent public environment, health and safety obligations premised on hazard-based regulatory presumptions of harm rather than empirical and/or probabilistic risk assessments conflict with, impair and otherwise contravene economic rights (free trade, financial and commercial market, and private property rights). If one harbors any lingering doubts concerning the interrelationship between religious environmentalism, European subsidiarity, UN-based global regulatory governance and European style welfare-state socialism, one need only engage in a bit more reading.[44]

Indeed, these findings raise an important question. If it is generally agreed that power over regulation, taxation and criminal prosecution should be retained by the states wherever possible to give voice and influence to the people over their own affairs, are there situations where this could conceivably work against them?[45]

For example, although well-known 18th century political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, generally supported the notion of subsidiarity/states’ rights, it is said that he abhorred the welfare ‘nanny’ state which, he believed, would eventually subsume the state and enslave its citizens, thus keeping them “in perpetual childhood”.[46] Is it possible that he foresaw how the socialist and environmental religious movements, here, and in Europe, are increasingly holding sway over state and local policy and rulemaking, perhaps, because it is easier for them to infiltrate neighborhoods and rule the few rather than the many? Is it possible that he also foresaw the degree to which such local control could seriously threaten the fabric of America - free market capitalism, the rational rule of law and the preservation of private economic property rights? And, is it possible that de Tocqueville foresaw that a schism may ultimately arise between competing interpretations of subsidiarity when it came to such key American values?[47]

According to one commentator,

“[T]hough the doctrine of subsidiarity presupposes that ‘local control’ is a Good Thing - is this necessarily so? In reality it can actually prove pretty oppressive. Ask anyone who's had to go back to live with his parents. Subsidiarity has also been lauded on the grounds that ‘neighbourhoods generally have better information about what they need than higher-level organisations do, and so are in a better position to direct funds efficiently to address those needs.’ However, this ‘better information’ can also severely compromise individual freedom. Ask anyone who lives in a village. In other words, subsidiarity can make you the responsibility of your family, the most ‘local’ unit of all, and thus deliver you into the power of the patriarch. It can also leave you at the mercy of the village elders. Subsidiarity is a subtle way to subjugate you to a group which is intimate enough to control you and deprive you of your rights as an independent citizen. [48]

This raises another important point. Considering what is occurring today in Europe, the U.S. Congress and within some American state and local legislatures and governor’s mansions, and given Europe’s growing influence over international trade, international environmental, health and safety regulatory policy and rulemaking, and treaty and related customary international law formation, would it not behoove all Americans to reexamine their steadfast belief in the power of the 10th Amendment to safeguard our constitutionally protected personal freedoms and economic rights? Should we give our politicians a pass, or should we challenge them? Given their handling of these matters, should we continue to afford them the opportunity to govern us? Are they worthy of our trust, respect and admiration?

Many Americans have long embraced the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a protection (backstop) against federal government largesse and overreaching. But, what if the 10th amendment, the U.S. presidency and even the U.S. Congress are no longer willing or able to protect citizens against the influence of foreign policies and laws, and the largesse, ineptitude and/or political agendas of foreign or American elected officials, at the federal, state and local levels? In other words, what if the foxes are already in the chicken coop? How do we chickens protect ourselves??

[1] See Michael Crichton, “Environmentalism As Religion”, Speech Presented at the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco California (9/15/03) at: http://www.michaelcrichton.net/speeches/speeches_quote05.html .
[2] See P.D. Brown, “Christians and Kyoto”, U-Turn, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring 2003) at: http://u-turn.net/9-1/christianskyoto.shtml (citing a statement made by former Canadian Environmental Minister Christine Stewart, as reported in the December 14, 1998 issue of the Calgary Herald).
[3] “The environment minister came calling this week with the news that one year after signing it, she still has no idea what the economic impact of the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming will be in Canada. ‘We don't know the cost,’ Christine Stewart said. Oh good, I thought. The federal government is flitting about the world, signing treaties which provide -- as the minister conceded -- for more ‘equity’ in the world's economy and hasn't the foggiest idea how much it will cost. She did point out that some people think it will cost Canada a two- to three-per-cent decline in its GDP growth over 20 years but, oh heck, what's a loss of $ 100 billion dollars between friends if it's going to help those nice Indonesians?” See Peter Menzies, “Concerned About Cost of Kyoto”, Calgary Herald (12/14/98) at: http://www.sepp.org/Archive/controv/controversies/concerned.html .
[4] Ibid.
[5] See David G. Danielson, “Environmentalism: A New Religion?”, Heartland Perspectives (7/27/95) at: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=177 .
[6] Ibid.
[7] See Martin Livermore, “In Thrall to the Green God”, BBCNews Viewpoint (3/3/06) at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4766096.stm .
[8] See John Kay, “Green Lobby Must Be Treated as Religion”, Financial Times (1/8/07) at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2b1aa74e-9f4d-11db-9e2e-0000779e2340.html. (“Anthropologists have established how different cultures independently evolve similar myths – familiar stories, such as the myth of the Fall and the myth of the Apocalypse, which meet deep-seated human needs. The Christian tradition describes the temptation of Adam and Eve and warns of the Last Judgment.”). Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] See Peter Toot, “For Gods Sake: Religious Organizations Preach Environmental Stewardship”, About: Environmental Issues, at: http://environment.about.com/od/activismvolunteering/a/religion.htm .
[13] Ibid.
[14] See, e.g., “American Environmentalism: Science or Religion”, University of California, Santa Barbara, at: http://real.geog.ucsb.edu/research/esr/links.html . See also, John Proctor and Evan Berry, “Religion and Environmental Concern: The Challenge for Social Science”, University of California, Santa Barbara (2004?) at: http://geog.ucsb.edu/~jproctor/pdf/ERN2004.pdf .
[15] See “Invasion of the Property Snatchers”, Institute for Trade, Standards and Sustainable Development, supra.
[16] Ex ante is latin word for “beforehand”. “Risk management tools are ex-ante (regulation), and ex-post (judicial law). Both are intended to reduce the probability and/or size of an event occurring. An ex-ante approach imposes controls “before the fact” or independent of the occurrence of a specific event…Standards and guidelines are examples of an ex-ante approach to risk management. Ex-post (judicial law) or an “after-the-fact” approach is dependent upon the occurrence of an event and it allows damages to be recovered for harm done…Liability and negligence rules are examples of the ex-post approach…Both ex-ante and ex-post approaches to risk-management are needed to achieve the socially optimal allocation of risk damages and incentives for hazard reduction.” See Judith I. Stallmann, “Economic Impacts of Regulations Governing the Development and Dissemination of Animal Agricultural Biotechnologies”, in Ethics and Patenting of Transgenic Organisms, National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (2003) at: http://nabc.cals.cornell.edu/pubs/occ_paper_1/Occ1_toc.html; http://nabc.cals.cornell.edu/pubs/occ_paper_1/Stallman.html.
[17] See Henry Lamb, “A Summary Analysis of Report of the Commission on Global Governance” Ecologic (Jan./Feb. 1996) at: http://www.sovereignty.net/p/gov/gganalysis.htm . See also Yolande Hiriart, David Martimort and Jerome Pouyet, “On the Optimal Use of Ex Ante Regulation and Ex Post Liability” IDEI Working Paper No. 274 (3/2/04) at: http://idei.fr/doc/by/hiriart/optimal_use.pdf . (This paper entails “an analysis of the optimal use of ex ante and ex post interventions when a firm engages into activities potentially risky for the environment or third-parties and has private information about the level of the damage.” It concludes that, “The joint use of ex ante regulation and ex post liability ensures that the firm has a strict incentive to reveal its information”). Ibid., at pp. 1 and 4.
[18] “[W]hile [Sarkozy] believed in free trade it should be ‘managed, regulated free trade.’ [He said that] Europe needed to protect itself from ‘speculators and predators’ and from ‘Asian dumping.’ ‘If I am elected president…I will propose to our partners to assign as missions to the euro zone the moralization of financial capitalism and the promotion of an economy of production against an economy of speculation and rent.’” See Katrin Bennhold, “Sarkozy Tones Down His Image as a Reformer”, International Herald Tribune (2/22/07) (describing and citing portions of a campaign speech of Nicolas Sarkozy) at: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/22/news/france.php .
[19] See Ingvar Carlsson and Shridath Ramphal, Co-Chairmen’s Foreword to Our Global Neighbourhood, The Report of the Commission on Global Governance (Nov. 1994) at: http://web.archive.org/web/20020223232927/www.cgg.ch/foreword.htm .
[20] See Henry Lamb, “A Summary Analysis of Report of the Commission on Global Governance” supra.
[21] See Kei Ishii and Bernd Lutterbeck, “Governance and Subsidiarity in the European Union: Towards an Institutional Framework for a European Constitution”, Draft Report of the Permanent Study Group for the European Constitution in association with The European Institute, South Bank University London, England (3/31/98) at: http://ig.cs.tu-berlin.de/oldstatic/bl/031/ .
[22] “The foundation for global governance is the belief that the world is now ready to accept a ‘global civic ethic’ based on ‘a set of core values that can unite people of all cultural, political, religious, or philosophical backgrounds.’ This belief is reinforced by another belief: ‘that governance should be underpinned by democracy at all levels and ultimately by the rule of enforceable law”. See Henry Lamb, “A Summary Analysis of Report of the Commission on Global Governance”, supra.
[23] “Evidence has accumulated of widespread ecological degradation resulting from human activity: soils losing fertility or being eroded, overgrazed grasslands, desertification, dwindling fisheries, disappearing species, shrinking forests, polluted air and water. These have been joined by the newer problems of climate change and ozone depletion. Together they threaten to make the earth less habitable and life more hazardous. Both the rate at which and the way key resources are used are critical factors in determining environmental impact. Industrial countries account for a disproportionate use of non- renewable resources and energy... Poor people press on the land and forests, over- exploiting them to survive and undermining the resource base on which their well- being and survival depend. These countries must be helped to climb out of poverty and so ease pressure on their habitat. But as they become less poor, their living standards and therefore consumption levels will rise. The world must find ways to ensure they can do so without endangering environmental safety. They must have access to technologies that use fewer resources, such as energy- saving technologies. To keep global resource use within prudent limits while the poor raise their living standards, affluent societies need to consume less. Population, consumption, technology, development, and the environment are linked in complex relationships that bear closely on human welfare in the global neighbourhood. Their effective and equitable management calls for a systemic, long- term, global approach guided by the principle of sustainable development, which has been the central lesson from the mounting ecological dangers of recent times. Its universal application is a priority among the tasks of global governance” (emphasis added). See Our Global Neighbourhood, The Report of the Commission on Global Governance, supra at Chap. 1, at: http://web.archive.org/web/20020224001108/www.cgg.ch/chap1.html .
[24] See Henry Lamb, “A Summary Analysis of Report of the Commission on Global Governance” supra, summarizing and quoting excerpts from
[25] Ibid.
[26] “The frame of reference of the report is their understanding of the term Governance: ‘Governance is the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and cooperative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest.’ The key points of the definition are: i. A new definition of sovereignty [which entails] [t]ransfer of competences to local, regional and global organizations. ii. The compression of international relations through compulsory rules. iii. The civic society as a source for efficiency in international co-operation” (emphasis added). See Kei Ishii and Bernd Lutterbeck, “Governance and Subsidiarity in the European Union: Towards an Institutional Framework for a European Constitution”, supra.
[27] See Steve Maguire and Jaye Ellis, "Redistributing the Burden of Scientific Uncertainty: Implications of the Precautionary Principle for State and Nonstate Actors",
pp. 505-526, at p. 506, in "Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations", W. Andy Knight, S. Neil MacFarlane and Thomas G. Weiss, eds., Vol. 11 No.4 (Lynne Rienner Publishers, Oct.-Dec. 2005), at: (http://www.rienner.com/ggsample.pdf ).
[28] See Speech by M. Jacques Chirac, supra. The religious undertones of Chirac’s appeal cannot and should not be ignored if, for no other reason, than France is one of three Catholic-denominated nations in Europe. However, his appeal has also seemed to resonate with American Catholic scholars and clergy. “Mark Stoll, a history professor at Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Tex., argues that Catholics have not been prominent environmentalists in the past because their religious worldview encouraged a sense of sacredness among a community of people rather than with nature. In a paper entitled The Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Environmentalism, Stoll writes, ‘Religiously-minded Catholics dedicated themselves in service to the Church, or to the poor, or to the unconverted – to society, in other words...and by and large left nature writing to Protestants, alone in the woods with their God.’ While Catholics have certainly always appreciated the natural world, their passion for ecology has usually been an afterthought to their commitment to social concerns. But, as Stoll points out, ecology is becoming a social concern. In his statement for the World Day of Peace in 1990, Pope John Paul II said, ‘the ecological crisis is a moral issue [that] has assumed such proportions as to be the responsibility of everyone.’ In response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Renewing the Earth, in which they insist that ‘he ecological problem is intimately connected to justice for the poor’…Paul Gorman, executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, argues that people are not going to make the environment a critical issue until they have ‘an awareness of the question of human purpose in the greater web of life.’ The environment cannot be reduced to one issue among many, he warns. Rather, environmental awareness must take the shape of a ‘religious awakening.’ Until it does, no one is going to pay attention to a sermon about global warming. Also calling for a new way to understand our relationship to the environment is Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis, OP, the founder of Genesis Farm in Blairstown, N.J. A proponent of ‘the new cosmology’, Sister MacGillis, like Mark Stoll, believes that the traditional Catholic commitment to justice is centered on ‘the human in [the] beginning, middle, and end of our concerns.’ To change the environment, she proposes, we have to change our entire cosmology. Fundamental is a sense of humanity as part of creation, rather than as master of it, and an acknowledgment of all creation as worthy for its own good, rather than for the good of human beings. ‘You reverse everything when you do that. You see that the future of humanity is totally aligned with the future of the planet’…Sister Elizabeth Johnson writes that there are two ways to approach the ecological crisis in good faith: the stewardship model, which envisions the Earth in the service of humans; and the kinship model, which envisions humans in the service of the Earth….” See Jeffrey J. Guhin, “America: Whatever Happened to Catholic Environmentalists?” Catholic Online (2/3/06) at: http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=18579 .
[29] Mr. Topfer’s address followed a “ceremony organized by the Protestant Churches of Germany…The WCC Program based in Geneva, Switzerland, parallels the prophetic ‘one-world religion’ with its three-pronged agenda: justice, peace and creation.” See Cathie Adams, “Eagle Forum Alert United Nations Conference in Bonn, Germany: Reports IV, and V”, Texas Eagle Forum at Report IV, at: http://www.texaseagle.org/alert/1999/bonn2.html .
[30] See Klaus Topfer, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Program, in an address to the World Council of Churches (10/31/99) in Bonn, Germany, cited in Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action, Libby Bassett Ed., John T. Brinkman and Kusumita P. Pederson Co-Eds., Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP ©2000).
[31] See Cathie Adams, “Eagle Forum Alert United Nations Conference in Bonn, Germany: Reports IV, and V”, supra.
[32] Ibid.
[33] “The Community shall act within the limits of the powers conferred upon it by this Treaty and of the objectives assigned to it therein. In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community. Any action by the Community shall not go beyond what is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Treaty” (emphasis added). See “Consolidated Version of the Treaty Establishing the European Community at: http://www.europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/en/treaties/dat/12002E/htm/C_2002325EN.003301.html .
[34] See “Subsidiarity: From Maastricht Until Today, Subsidiarity and Proportionality – Essential Principles”, Subsidiarity Monitoring Network, European Union, Committee of the Regions, at: http://www.cor.europa.eu/subsidinet/en/sub_hist.htm .
[35] See “Treaty on Maastricht on European Union”, Europa website at: http://europa.eu/scadplus/treaties/maastricht_en.htm#SUBSIDIARITY .
[36] According to at least one scholar, “The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This ‘leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.’” See David A. Bosnich, “The Principle of Subsidiarity”, Religion and Liberty Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 4 (July-August 1996) at: http://www.acton.org/publicat/randl/article.php?id=200 .
[37] Ibid.
[38] See Bengi Dimirci, “The Principle of Subsidiarity in the European Union Context”, A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Middle East Technical University (Sept. 2003) at p. 20, at: http://etd.lib.metu.edu.tr/upload/1074673/index.pdf .
[39] Ibid.
[40] Ibid., at p. 17.
[41] See David A. Bosnich, “The Principle of Subsidiarity”, supra.
[42] According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington DC think-tank, The Clinton Administration [had previously] encouraged the states to act unilaterally in the area of climate change both as a way to achieve substantive change as well as to put pressure on Congress. And, CSIS has seemingly carried the Clinton Administration‘s climate change torch to the present as it recommends to the EU how best to engage the U.S. on climate change policy. In this regard, CSIS has advised the EU to practically bypass the White House in favor of the states. See Alberta M. Sbragia, “U S -EU Relations and Climate Change: The Need for Institutionalization”, prepared for the CSIS Think Tank Summit, titled “The Future of U S -EU-NATO Relations: After the Cold War and Beyond the War in Iraq”, at pp. 4-5, at: http://www.csis.org/zbc/tts_papers.htm; http://www.csis.org/zbc/sbragia.pdf .
[43] Ibid., at pp. 2-3.
[44] “[There are] inner feedback loops between solidarity and sustainability… Subsidiarity is all about ‘checks and balances’ within and between levels of governance, and these ‘checks and balances’, not unlike feedback loops, keep all the levels acting together for the common good…[G]ender equity [is necessary] for using well the subsidiarity principle… There is strong correlation between gender equity and adherence to the subsidiarity principle, and there is strong correlation between gender equity and both human wellbeing (including inner peace and integration) and biosphere wellbeing, i.e., the integrity of the human habitat. It is recognized that overcoming the patriarchal mindset of consumerism and domination, and embracing the tripod of solidarity, subsidiarity, sustainability, is a difficult transition process for both individuals and communities. For believers and non-believers alike, the practice of daily meditation (under competent guidance) is recommended as one of the best ways to make progress on the path toward solidarity and sustainability.” See Luis T. Guiterrez, “Solidarity and Sustainability”, A Newsletter on the Socio-Ecological Impacts of Religious Patriarchy, Vol.1, No. 8 (Dec. 2005) at: http://www.pelican-consulting.com/solisust08.html .
[45] One emerging conundrum concerns how the Catholic ‘left’ is employing moral suasion and making ethical appeals in an effort to manipulate the doctrine of subsidiarity so that it promotes ‘enlightened’ environmental stewardship at the US state and local levels. It is not surprising that these appeals come at the expense of private property rights. They are based on the prescriptions set forth within UN Agenda 21 which is informed by UN notions of environment-centric sustainable development that minimize private property rights. As you are aware, the notion of subsidiarity had long been relied upon in Europe by Church dioceses (since the Middle Ages) to justify their retention of authority and governance over local affairs i.e., to retain a modicum of sovereignty as against the monarchs. Today, the notion of subsidiarity is relied upon by the 27 EU member states as a means of better allocating resources (regulatory governance and authority) away from the Brussels institutions to the most local levels, in an effort to demonstrate democratic accountability. Subsidiarity was also brought to the United States and relied upon, in part, by the founding fathers as a basis for the federalist system we have today. In the US, state and local primacy ala the 10th amendment has been relied upon to control taxes, to govern social and religious issues, to ensure against over-regulation, and to protect exclusive private property rights. Arguably, the Catholic ‘left’ is now trying to reprioritize the philosophical bases for subsidiarity so that environmentalism, not private property rights, is advanced at the local levels.
[46] See David A. Bosnich, “The Principle of Subsidiarity”, supra.
[47] “The National Conference of Catholic Bishops needs to take a closer look at the principle of subsidiarity and to apply it more consistently. In the realm of economics, this would entail respect for the mechanisms of the free market and opposition to state intervention… The Bishops must understand that taking away the power of decision from producers and consumers and entrusting it to government bureaucrats violates the subsidiarity principle…If the Bishops understood this point, they would not be advocating government price controls on goods ranging from health care to cable television.” Ibid.
[48] See Muriel Fraser, “Subsidiarity – The Importance of Sounding Local”, National Secular Society (12/27/05) at: http://www.secularism.org.uk/subsidiarity.html?CPID=558642df95e5cf6680e567bab3d8c185 .

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