by Diane Alden
August 18, 2000
It is called by many names, including sustained development, eminent domain, ecosystem management, biodiversity, or whatever term du jour collectivists are using at the moment.
By whatever name it is called, however, it is still a pagan utopian dream rooted in the worship of nature, its roots planted deep in early human history.
The last time nature worship as government policy raised its nihilistic, anti-human head was when Hitler came to power. The philosophy of National Socialism contained extreme reverence for nature. Preferring to acknowledge the forces of the natural world as opposed to the human or spiritual and the Divine, it offered the underpinning to Germany's racism.
Unfortunately, the religion of National Socialism has come back to haunt America in the form of radical environmentalism. In Germany it was called Volk, or as scientist and environmentalist Alston Chase says, "they believed that preserving society required the re-establishing of connections with nature by reviving the primitive agrarian culture or Volk."
As historian Robert A. Pois observes, National Socialism was a "religion of nature." In 1933 the Third Reich launched a ruralization program where subdivisions and private property were declared illegal.
According to Chase, "forests and wildlife, symbolizing Germany's pre-Roman past had to be preserved; SS training included a respect for animal life of near Buddhist proportions. Vivisection was banned and Hitler's Germany became the first European nation to establish nature preserves.
Chase also says that the modern environmental movement is not as diabolical as the environmental notions held in Hitler's Germany; however, he indicates he does not like the obvious uncomfortable similarities.
In the United States modern environmentalism is basically altruistic. It stems from a Walt Disney outlook on nature rather than a Hitlerian overview. The results of both Philosophies, however, are much the same.
The environmental belief system encompasses a sentiment that man is nothing special on the earth. Human qualities are assigned to nature and to animals qualities that they simply do not possess.
Additionally, in the process of "saving" the environment, nature has become a godlike end in itself.
This new religion and its practitioners are akin to the crusades and crusaders of the Middle Ages. The power it wields over every aspect of American life is every bit as deadly as the power of any religious crusade. It demonizes its enemies and justifies its activities in the name of some greater good.
The environmental movement destroys human worlds and rationalizes it away by saying it is for the "greater good." This is always the answer of tyranny and demi-gods.
As Kieran Suckling of the Southwestern Center for Biodiversity of New Mexico stated recently, "(The survival of) a Loach Minnow is 10 times more important than, say, Jim and Betty's ranch."
The new religion and its prophets evolved as the people of the United States and the developed world became prosperous beyond anything ever dreamed in mankind's history. When man no longer had to worry about his survival, he made up things to worry about.
This prosperity has offered nearly unlimited opportunities to pursue folly and decadence. One of these follies appears benign and good. But at its core it is every bit as pagan as the worship of trees and rocks by the Druids or the human sacrifices of the Maya and Inca tribes of South America.
In today's world this human sacrifice is government sanctioned. However, it only kills the spirit and the various ways of life.
It has managed to infiltrate the seats of power, especially at the national level. To a lesser extent it exists at the state and local levels. Closer to home, the citizen still maintains some control over the disposition of his property and his destiny.
Wielding more influence than almost any other single-issue group in the history of the modern world, the environmental movement has mutilated the truth.
Consistently it refuses to subject its scientific information to peer review. Nor does it allow divergent opinions to its orthodoxy. The only compromise it offers nonbelievers is "my way or the highway."
Like all quasi-religious movements it depends on the true believer. One must have total faith in its creed as promulgated by the high priests in The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and 90 percent of environmental groups.
The problem for the average American begins when that movement and these organizations and their well-heeled supporters have a pernicious influence on government policy. Policies affect millions of people, not just the true believers in the movement.
Since the environmental movement began to pick up steam in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of regulations and rules passed by Congress are being executed by unelected bureaucracies. The Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, and many laws passed in the last 40 years are the "controlling legal authority." They have capriciously confiscated and closed down entire industries and sections of the country.
The consortium of government, the environmental movement, elite foundations and the global governance crowd are moving toward restricting or destroying private property. It is an elitist notion that maintains that only a small group of individuals have the vision or sense to know what is good for the planet earth. This special group has the answers to what is best for all of nature. Man is merely incidental in this picture.
Until now most of the damage has been inflicted on the American West. East Coast busybodies and West Coast socialists have killed several American industries that depend on the use of natural resources. Mining, logging and livestock grazing are about to go under. In the case of logging and mining, the greens anticipate with glee their impending death.
This has not gone down easily with those most affected. Loggers scratched their heads as the spotted owl was used to disguise the intent of environmental forest policy. The goal was to close down logging in the Northwest. For the most part they have succeeded.
The truth is that they intend to close down logging everywhere in the United States. The wood products industry in places like Georgia and Alabama is just beginning to feel the crush of the environmental embrace.
United States mining companies dealing in iron ore and coal production, as well as gold and silver, have found that leaving the country is less costly and time consuming than going to court and fighting the government-supported environmental movement.
At the moment, fires are consuming millions of acres in the West, acres that federal land managers have badly mismanaged. Those who live in the East and Midwest say, "So what?" They think it isn't going to make a difference to them unless they want to vacation in the West.
Well, they'd better get ready, because the same wickedness, which has nearly destroyed the resource users in the West, is headed their way.
Grim Reaper Heads East
Not all Americans have been lobotomized by the green propaganda machine. There are thousands fighting this ill-conceived elitist notion of how things should be. The American West is notorious for such movements as the Sagebrush Rebellion and now the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade.
On July 4th of this year in the beautiful area near Elko, Nevada, people from all over the United States came with shovels to open up 900 feet of road the United States Forest Service had closed a road that had been used by the locals for over a hundred years.
Earlier, the environmental movement and the federal government speciously discovered a fish they claim is endangered. The closing of the road will do nothing to save the fish except in the fevered brains of the green crusaders. This event was rather a last straw for the people of rural Nevada.
According to J. Zane Walley of the western Paragon Foundation, the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade is heading east, to counter what they believe is another injustice about to take place in the farm country of Ohio.
Over 200 years ago George Washington deeded farmland in an area known as the Darby to veterans of the American Revolution. The same families have held this farmland since that time. The federal government and the environmental movement set their sights on the area in 1994. As usual, they are about to feudalize the territory by making it a government "refuge."
However, the white hats are riding to the rescue.
Walley states, "The S.O.S., or Shovels of Solidarity, will be meeting with the S.O.D., Stewards of the Darby, in London, Ohio, Saturday, Sept. 2. This will involve a 2000-mile convoy crossing portions of rural America in eight states from Nevada to Ohio. Shovels collected in support of the fight against the Forest Service closure of the Jarbidge Road in Nevada will be delivered to the Darby Farmland Rally, where a mass rally is scheduled."
Furthermore, "This is in resistance to a secretly planned condemnation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the intent of converting to a wildlife refuge over 53,000 acres of prime farmland. This would constitute a 'taking' of private property held by some 500 families many of whom have occupied these ancestral homes and farms since Revolutionary days over 200 years ago."
A convoy bearing the shovels will be led by the "Grim Reaper," a semi-trailer painted with a listing of the Montana sawmills closed since 1990 and showing the number of jobs lost.
The convoy will leave from Elko, Nevada, on Monday, August 28, at 8:30 a.m. and will be joined by people along the way who are concerned about government land grabs throughout the entire United States. "Rallies at stops either for lunch or overnight will give people a chance to hear and share the many problems being faced mutually throughout the country. Donations of money and shovels (new or used) to help the cause will be welcomed."
According to Julie Smithson, a full-time truck driver and spokesperson for Stewards of the Darby (SOD), a group formed to oppose the taking of the Darby lands, Fish and Wildlife Service is working with The Nature Conservancy, The National Audubon Society, Rivers Unlimited, and a montage of other environmental groups to force the farmers from their land by identifying the Darby as a high-priority area for protection of biological diversity.
Smithson stated, "As far back as 1994 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was secretly 'studying' our area. We have documentation proving that a $25,000 grant was given to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) by The Columbus Foundation 'for Darby Bioreserve' but, even as recently as late 1997, no one in our area was aware of these actions. They accomplished their studies of our private lands in secrecy!"
Smithson also observed: "The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed from 21,000 to 57,692 acres for a wildlife refuge. They have chosen for this refuge some of the best farmland in the United States land that has been farmed by some of the same families for 200 years. The proposed refuge would dispossess these families and transform a productive agricultural economy into a non-productive service economy."
The Draft Environmental Assessment "identifies a need for 166,000 more additional Acres ... for mid-migration habitat for an estimated 25.7 million ducks."
SOD has intensively researched similar federal land taking in other areas of the U.S. They firmly believe that the plan by FWS is to render their farmland useless with restrictions by using the presence of several endangered shellfish found in the Darby watershed, thusly turning them into "willing sellers."
Smithson parallels the proposed takings of private Darby lands to a 1994 federal land grab in Washington County, Maine.
"For several years," she explained, "Washington County had been the target of federal, state and preservationist efforts at setting aside privately owned land as parks or protected areas.
"The local landowners formed a property-rights group, the Washington County Alliance, in 1988 to protect their property but they lost to the federal agencies.
"In 1994, the Alliance conducted a survey of people who had sold land to the FWS in that county. The survey confirmed that half of responding landowners selling to FWS indicated they sold under regulatory agency pressure although they were misleadingly labeled 'willing sellers' in official literature and testimony."
Smithson further noted: "Due to the many options available to FWS regarding our land, we are faced with the specter of eminent domain, the more recent term 'friendly condemnation,' and the persuasive arguments to sell our 'property development rights,' restrictive covenants, perpetual easements, or 'conservation easements,' to the Fish and Wildlife Service."
SOD questions why FWS is even attempting to seize their land after praising them for their good stewardship.
William Hartwig, regional director, stated, "It is no accident that this biologically rich stream flows through land cared for by conservation minded farmers in Madison, Union and Campaign counties. Over the years, their use of conservation practices such as crop rotation and conservation tillage has enabled them to maintain economically viable farming operations while at the same time protecting the area's natural heritage. It is because of their actions that we have something worth saving today."
The Darby Watershed Project Manager Bill Hegge mirrored Hartwig's statement, observing that, "Unlike the Darby Creek system, the other streams throughout Ohio and their fish and fauna have been greatly modified since settlement times. In contrast with other land uses, the long-term practice of agriculture has enabled the aquatic system to sustain its current level of biodiversity."
Wes Beery, agricultural coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, disagreed with FWS, Stating: "Farming can't help affecting the Darby. More than 80 percent of the land is used for agriculture. The problems that show up in Darby are sediments, many simply caused by farming the landscape."
The impending federal land grab has reincarnated the Log Cabin Rebellion. Darby farmers have been in Washington before the U.S. House Resources Committee bluntly speaking their piece. They recently presented written testimony stating:
"Our area is under threat of being declared a National Wildlife Refuge by the actions of corrupt officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting in collusion with The Nature Conservancy, which is attempting to impose one of its restrictive 'Bioreserve' projects on our farming community. The Columbus Foundation and Affiliated Organizations, a consortium of urban foundations unconcerned about rural economies and the property rights of farmers, gave The Nature Conservancy a grant of $25,000 in 1996 'For Darby Bioreserve, including hiring RiverKeeper to promote citizen-based protection of Big and Little Darby Creeks.'
"Despite massive opposition to the project by our local citizens, FWS continues to act under the influence of The Nature Conservancy and their funders, the Columbus Foundation consortium, to cripple our farm community. We request that Congress fully investigate this foundation-funded attempt to destroy the economy of our local farm community.
Local residents also drafted a declaration entitled "Our Land Is Our Responsibility," which reads in part:
"We, the residents of the area publicized as the Darby Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Study Area, want our voices heard! We, who live and work in this farming community, believe the impact to area businesses would jeopardize their very existence.
"In the case of the proposed Darby Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, most of the land has been acquired by our farmers over many generations. At an average of 4.5 persons per home, this equates to the possible residential displacement of over 7,500 people from the Darby Study Area alone, with a loss of approximately 4,000 taxpayers to the community.
"Those of us who have been entrusted with the privilege of caring for the land know well the proper care and nurturing required to maintain, protect and preserve our farmlands, and sustain a well-established wildlife habitat through conservation management. With an eye to the future, and the experience of almost 200 years, we know that our land is our responsibility!"
Smithson sums up the spirit of the Darby. "Distilled in their veins is the blood of their forefathers and the premise upon which this United States of America was founded. This fertile land has cradled their dead, raised their food, provided trees for shelter from the winds of storm and winter, and resurrected their ancestors in the eyes of their children and grandchildren. They rightly claim the stewardship that they exercise. No distant government, nipping at their heels, can expect the surrender of all values held dear, without one hell of a fight."
Journalist Sarah Foster interviewed James Beers, Chief of Refuge Operations for the Fish and Wildlife Service for eight years, who dismissed such promises as "window dressing." In his former position within the service, he oversaw law enforcement, training, information systems, budget, "everything."
"I don't believe that any of them can say that eminent domain will not be used," he told Foster. "The government can exercise eminent domain at any point they want. Three years, five years down the road they can say, 'You know, it's very important that we have this farm here because it's important to our water supply for this, that and the other, and we have to exercise eminent domain.' Nobody, not the Fish and Wildlife Service, not the secretary of Interior, not even the president can say, 'We will never exercise eminent domain.'
"That is an academic point," he continued. "They have the authority for eminent domain, and the fact that they want to say right now - or even if they put in writing that they can foresee no reason to exercise it you still won't have any recourse. You can't go into court and say, 'Gee, in the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) back in the year 2000 it says they wouldn't exercise eminent domain, and here it is 2006, and they want to exercise it.'
"Think about it," he urged. "The government can't give away a right or responsibility. That's all window dressing."
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling - Keep Them Shovels Rolling!
The Shovel Brigade is headed east in an attempt to show solidarity with the people who farm and live on the land known as the Darby. Five thousand to 10,000 citizens from all over the country will call attention to the proposed destruction of a yet another way of life.
Fox News Cable has promised to cover the event and CNN might be there as well.
Regardless of what happens at the rally, the collectivists, the government and the quasi-religious environmental movement will not give up their claims over the Darby.
Like a noxious mist killing everything in its path, the narcissistic green movement moves east. The 'greens' in and out of government have the resources to litigate and outlast the people of the Darby and their supporters.
Like all destructive and arrogant movements, however, the "green" crusade, eventually, will be relegated to the same place other grand notions are buried: as a footnote to historical follies.
For the time being, the worshippers of 'green' gods will persist in functioning like the Indian goddess Shiva the Destroyer of Worlds.
|Diane Alden is a research analyst, writer, historian and political economist. She writes columns for NewsMax.com, Etherzone, Enterstageright, American Partisan and many other online publications. She also does occasional radio commentaries for Georgia Radio Inc. Reach her at email@example.com.|
This article originally appeared at
19 aug 2000