Grassroots dedicated to restoring the prerogative of Wisconsin
voters to determine the size, scope, and direction of government
Follow Us On:
   fbook  Follow Wisconsin912 on Twitter  rss
Cultivating Green Tieranny: Roots
Written by Kirsten   
Monday, 06 August 2012 22:32

The first in-depth article in this series dealt with a significant but little-known Agenda 21-based agreement established in 1998 by Governor Tommy Thompson between the State of Wisconsin and the German state of Bavaria. That agreement would become a refining fire for dangerous ideas already percolating in Wisconsin. In 1999 those ideas would take more definitive shape in an elaborate proposal for the Green Tier program.

This second in-depth article explores additional seeds of the program, its pre-development, and three of its crucial building blocks: consensus, public-private partnerships, and communitarianism. It also necessarily sheds further light on the administration of Governor Tommy Thompson, under whose leadership—and with whose blessing—the deceptive seeds of Green Tier were not only sown but nurtured.

Tommy Thompson's Industrious [and Connected] DNR Secretary

As Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), George Meyer was a busy man, occupied with the development of a new environmental regulatory regime. In Governor Tommy Thompson, Meyer found an enthusiastic partner. By the end of Thompson's administration, the two men had ensured the growing detrimental influence of unelected bureaucrats, foreign powers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on environmental regulatory policy—the effects of which continue to the present day.

Currently a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, George Meyer has a long record of environmental advocacy. Most recently, he was in the vanguard of the 2012 charge to defeat AB 426, a mining bill that would have cleared the way for much needed revitalization in economically depressed northern Wisconsin.

First elected DNR secretary in 1993 by the Natural Resources Board, before the DNR became a cabinet-level agency, Meyer that same year helped to found the Environmental Coalition of States (ECOS), uniting environmental regulatory agencies nationwide. From 1996 to 1998, he additionally served as a representative to the Enterprise for the Environment Reform Initiative. Formed and chaired by former EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, the initiative advocated a "consensus"-based approach to environmental regulation and a strong reliance on public-private partnerships. More than coincidentally, both themes would prove central to the DNR's direction and momentum during Meyer's tenure.

In fact, it's worth knowing a bit more about Ruckelshaus, as well, since much of his work on regulatory aims and policies would be mirrored in Meyer's own efforts in Wisconsin.

Under President Nixon, Ruckelshaus became the first-ever administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From 1983 to 1985, he reprised that role under President Reagan. Also in 1983, he became the sole American on the World Committee on Environment and Development, better known as the Brundtland Commission. Spawned by the United Nations (UN) and chaired by socialist former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, the commission is widely credited with giving conceptual substance to sustainable development, calling for its further promotion, and laying the foundation for the 1992 UN Earth Summit. It was in Rio, held the year before Meyer's election as DNR secretary, that 178 nations adopted Agenda 21, the blueprint for deploying sustainable development at global, national, regional, and local levels.

Ruckelshaus was no partisan. From 1993 to 1997, as chairman of Browning-Ferris Industries and former EPA administrator, he was appointed by Bill Clinton to the newly formed President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). As indicated in the opening paragraph of this UN report, the PCSD was "conceived to formulate policy recommendations for the implementation of Agenda 21." While serving on the PCSD, Ruckelshaus began chairing the aforementioned Enterprise for Environment Reform Initiative on which George Meyer served

George Meyer, then, was swimming with at least one very big and highly influential globalist fish. Moreover, as we shall see, with Governor Thompson's assistance, he was quite keen to deploy likeminded globalist ideas and policy initiatives at the state level.

Tommy and George: The New Progressives

In 1995 Governor Thompson made the DNR a cabinet-level agency. It was an opportune moment to temper the DNR's more radical leanings. Upon the agency's change in status or at any point during the remainder of his administration, Thompson could have appointed a new DNR secretary. Instead, he retained Meyer.

In the end, it made sense. In fact, Thompson and Meyer shared a similar spirit, perhaps best summed up in a remark Thompson made on the occasion of the 1998 signing of the Wisconsin-Bavaria agreement: "The environment is everyone's job," Thompson quipped, "and it's government's job to help others do what's right."

George Meyer couldn't have agreed more. Referring glowingly to Thompson in a June 1999 paper, Meyer would place a clear label on the two men's shared outlook: "New Progressivism." According to Meyer, New Progressivism sought to leverage a conjunction of citizens, business, and government in order to "achieve together what none could achieve alone." Translation: public-private partnership.

The Truth about Consensus and Public Private Partnership

What could possibly be wrong with finding agreement and getting everyone to work together? It sounds so perfect. Why wouldn't Thompson and Meyer build an environmental regulatory approach on such high ideals?

The answer? Unfortunately, consensus and PPPs simply don't work as advertised. Rather, they are both designed to mislead and to achieve something far more detrimental than claimed.

The Consensus Lie

The type of consensus so often referenced by Meyer and other environmentalists derives from a need to quell debate and resistance. Variations on psychological techniques pioneered by the Rand Corporation in the 1950s are used to bring "stakeholders" into alignment with a pre-determined outcome. "Visioning sessions" and "consensus-building" sessions are little more than carefully choreographed kabuki theatre, designed to deceive stakeholders into believing they've had a voice and that the outcome was the result of their own thought and effort. Often, even the stakeholders are pre-selected for their inclinations or vulnerabilities, in order better to ensure the desired outcome (think appointed committees and boards). "Consensus," then—as Henry Lamb, Beverly Eakman, and other experts point out—is not open or honest decision-making. It is nothing more than group manipulation.

The PPP Scam

But what about PPPs...? Surely it's better and more efficient to get government, business, and the public together to solve problems... Right...?

Not quite.

Partnership between business and government is, on its own already dangerous because it inevitably results in monopolies that hurt citizens. A third partner now frequently exacerbates the threat. Explains Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center in a 2007 two-part article on PPPs (part 1 & part 2):

Picture...[a] triangle. And label each point: 1. Government Power 2. Corporate Money 3. NGOs Agenda

The truth is, corporations aren't always willing players in the partnerships - neither is government, for that matter. Many times both are answering to pressure from activists with a specific agenda...

Perhaps you've heard the term Corporate Social Responsibility. The idea is that corporations must not conduct their affairs merely to achieve profits for their stockholders - or even to just provide products and services for their customers.

According to the doctrine, businesses must also help further the "well-being of society."

(DeWeese has actually described a precept of communitarianism, about which more later.)

Further describing the role of NGOs in the PPP, DeWeese continues:

They assert the right to dictate corporate social responsibility by declaring themselves stakeholders, even though their only stake is philosophical. In most cases, they have no economic interest in the companies.

They place ever-increasing demands on business to take ever more radical measures in the name of protecting the environment or in the name of social equity. Products have been banned. Even whole industries have been destroyed.

PPPs are frequently touted as a benevolent, free-market approach to environmental problem-solving. That has certainly been the case in Wisconsin. In fact, they are anything but free enterprise. Their ultimate effects are: 1) to undermine true representative government; 2) to facilitate an agenda that benefits a few at the expense of the many; and 3) to effect a massive and wrongful redistribution of wealth. 

Called for directly within the chapters of Agenda 21, PPPs have become the centerpiece of many sustainable development initiatives, including the Green Tier program and its immediate predecessor (discussed below).

Tommy and George Plant a Sustainable Policy Garden

By 1997, Thompson and Meyer were off to the proverbial races. Via the 1997-1999 biennial state budget, they successfully established the Environmental Cooperation Pilot Program (ECPP). Mapped out in Wisconsin State Statutes 299.80, the program allowed the DNR a period of five years within which to engage the participation of a maximum of 10 businesses and "the public." Its purpose? The development of "innovative regulatory methods, including working together to reduce pollution below statutorily allowed levels."

That winter, Meyer published an article in the professional journal Environmental Quality Management, Vol 7, (2) that provides valuable information on what ECPP and everything that came after it was all about. In "Adam Smith, the States, and the Financial Ecometric Imperative" (request a digital copy at a library near you), Meyer paints the ECPP as a laboratory for developing new approaches and metrics in order to achieve enhanced environmental regulation. Meyer did not seek to replace standard command-and-control regulation, but instead to expand regulatory reach by bringing government, business, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) together as stakeholders in a cooperative (consensus-based) regulatory process.

The article's title augurs a co-option of free-market concepts popularized by 18th-century social philosopher and political economist Adam Smith. It's nevertheless fascinating to watch Meyer's efforts to achieve that co-option for the environmentalist cause. He wastes no time in latching on to "the invisible hand," a metaphor generally understood to signify the self-regulating nature of the marketplace:

Adam Smith believed the pursuit of self-interest was compatible with the public good. But he also believed that the pursuit of self-interest did not automatically serve the public good, suggesting that government action may be justified if markets could not "prevent mutual injury" to the ''commonwealth."

In this post-Communist era of democratic capitalism, free nations are challenged, if not obligated, to use the "invisible hand's" untapped potential not only to achieve Smith's dream of borderless markets, but also to address his desire to prevent mutual injury-including environmental injury related to commerce.

These philosophical underpinnings guide Wisconsin's test of environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 to achieve mutually-reinforcing and achievable environmental and economic goals. Using our state's environmental innovation law [ECPP], signed by Gov. Tommy G. Thompson in October, 1997, we will explore a type of communitaran capitalism that uses free market principles, public involvement, and quality management system tools to protect the environmental commons. [emphasis added]

The phrase "communitarian capitalism" deserves special attention, because it immediately exposes the noble-sounding scam being laid out for Meyer's readers...the one he and Governor Thompson had already begun to perpetrate in Wisconsin.

The United States was founded on the concept of individualism, the idea that each citizen is essentially free to pursue his or her own destiny. Communitarianism, by contrast, claims to balance the rights of the individual against the "rights" of the community.

Sound startlingly familiar...? It should.

The United States Constitution makes no allowance for "community rights"—for good reason. Rather, it roots itself in individualism and individual rights. Balancing the rights of the individual against the "rights" of the community will always inevitably result in the utter decimation of individual rights and true liberty.

Competing definitions of the term "capitalism" exist. But Meyer seems to want his readers to understand that he means a system based in free markets. While it's hard to sum up free markets in a single sentence, its workings are always dispersed amongst a network of individual decision-makers rather than being centralized.

Under communitarianism neither markets nor individuals can ever be truly free. For instance, communitarianism necessitates that profits attained by all but a few elite actors must remain continually subject to various modes of control and redistribution in order better to fulfill the "rights" of the community. In sustainable development literature, including Agenda 21 and its sub-initiatives, this idea is often termed "social equity." Under such a system one's constitutional rights become entirely violable. Private ownership of any kind, including the fruits of your labor, becomes a fiction. Anything you own can ultimately be taken from you and given to someone else if it is deemed "in the interests of the community"...even, and perhaps especially, the global community

Communitarian capitalism, as touted by George Meyer, then, is nothing more than clever marketing spin, designed to lure businesses and citizens into giving up their rights—and their profits—voluntarily. Swindlers have a much easier time robbing you of your rights and your money if you don't believe there's any danger...if you will simply give them what they want because it seems like a good, noble, and safe idea.

Meyer and Thompson would use the 1998 agreement with Bavaria to refine their development and implementation of communitarian environmentalist policy in Wisconsin. Just seven months after entering the agreement, which provided key schooling in the mechanics and breadth of Bavaria's own regulatory "reforms," Meyer offered up his pitch for Green Tier.

And what a pitch it was...

With some groundwork on the subject now laid in place, the next article in this series will provide analysis of George Meyer's actual 1999 Green Tier proposal and its aims, demonstrating plainly the incorporation of consensus, PPPs, "new governance," and reflexive law, all of which ultimately erode representative government and individual rights.