“You know about Agenda 21, right?” It’s always said in a tone approaching a hushed whisper. If I can manage to nod and smile, at least, rather than rolling my eyes, I will be admitted into the club: a club of knowing, Alex Jones-listening “true conservatives” or “patriots.” Because I — we — know what They are Really Doing.
Agenda 21 is the latest bugbear for conspiracy-minded right-wingers. The Economist recently reported on how jogging and biking trails were opposed by elected Republican officials on the grounds that they would advance the United Nations’ sinister Agenda 21, as part of a grand plan to abrogate American sovereignty.
In case you’re wondering what Agenda 21 actually is, here’s the Wikipedia page. This is just another feel-good, do-nothing UN statement of Things That We Like that has no legal force anywhere — from 20 years ago. (It’s interesting how the bêtes noirs du jour that conspiracy theorists seize on are so… arbitrary.)
My ire was raised on this topic this morning when reading on the New Hampshire Union-Leader‘s website that the former chair of the NH GOP (before he was forced out by sensible folk), Jack Kimball, has endorsed a maverick sheriff candidate on the grounds that he’s anti-Agenda 21:
Kimball said that Szabo is “not only aware of Agenda 21, but was prepared to stop it, if elected Sheriff. Frank is truly a breath of fresh air and it is good to know that we have a true Constitutional Candidate for Sheriff.”
I suspect conservatives like to resort to conspiracy theories because it is all too easy to ascribe evil intent to one’s political adversaries, and because it provides a “short cut” of sorts to development of one’s issue positions. Instead of actually learning about transportation issues, let’s just take our stance from the fact that the other side wants to usher in the Antichrist.
Conservative activists, you might want to try actually learning how to communicate how conservative policies benefit the average American (if they do), rather than wallowing in paranoia. The swing voter is not impressed.
And no, I’m not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations or the Trilateral Commission.