Which would you choose?

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If you could only choose one of the following which would you choose?

A-Clean air, water, food (no pesticides) or

B-Guns (all you want)

Please choose either A or B and tell us why. Remember there are no scenarios where you can have both.

-- debra in ks (solid-dkn@msn.com), November 21, 2000

Answers

Guns. Because if I have guns I can take the other stuff away from you. I'm joking, of course. But this is really a stupid question because the two, A or B, have nothing in comon so we can't relate to them together. It just sounds like some liberal who wants to whine about something.

-- Shooter (jcole@apha.com), November 21, 2000.

Shooter -Thanks for your honest answer. That's all I wanted. Don't intend to whine about anything, just curious how people make their decisions about important topics. One question I forgot to put on the thread was-Would you choose the same answer for your children?

-- debra in ks (solid-dkn@msn.com), November 21, 2000.

I don't know what the question was. Was it, would I choose my children over clean air, water, food etc.? You answer it put that way, debra. But, my answer is, if I have guns I can protect my children from those who would rape and murder them. Where if I only had a stick, I could not protect them. See debra, you gotta' look at our side of the coin too.

-- Shooter (jcole@apha.com), November 21, 2000.

OK, I'll bite, I'd chose A. Because if everyone had A., there would be very little to fight about, wouldn't there? Also, my morals and ethics wouldn't allow me to use B., except in dire emergency, and target practice, and besides, you can't eat, breathe, or drink, B.

I believe this a test similiar to one we had in philosophy years, and years, ago, will be interesting how the answers are different now, as opposed to then, early 1970's. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (annie@1st.net), November 21, 2000.


This is a loaded question!!! I agree with Shooter, it is the kind of thing a liberal would ask. I definitely believe in the right to bear arms. It is a known fact that the states where people are allowed to carry guns, have a lower crime rate. Guns don't cause the problem, it's the people and I think the liberals in a time of little, would be more likely to use them because they would think it was their "right" to take away from others, much the same way they do now only through our government with all the liberal programs, welfare, etc. I'm not against welfare if someone is truly needy but so often it is someone trying to get something for nothing because they "shouldn't have to work". I see another looong thread coming on!

-- bwilliams (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), November 21, 2000.


Not really a valid choice since the two aren't mutually exclusive. One isn't reliant on the other. It would also depend if the guns were eliminated from everyone or just myself and my children. If that was the case, clean air, water, etc. would win out because I can carry a bigger stick than most to protect that which is mine. If guns were not universally eliminated, I would choose them as that would be the surest way to protect my local environment and I could still use force of argument and will to sway those who would despoil the environment.

-- ray s (mmoetc@yahoo.com), November 21, 2000.

The forum was much smaller when I logged on (about) 2 yrs ago, and I don't remember these sorts of questions being posed until recently. (ie: do you shave{that was agood one}, have electric, hunt, fish, live in 1 rm or 10) Has the forum become a stopping ground for survey takers? Is someone writing a book? Just wondering??????????

-- Kathy (catfish@bestweb.net), November 21, 2000.

Why were you wondering?

-- Shooter (jcole@apha.com), November 21, 2000.

Personally, Debra, I already have both A and B and I won't be giving either one of those rights away to anyone. I will be bequeathing them to my children and my children's children.

-- Laura (gsend@hotmail.com), November 21, 2000.

Without B you have no ultimate bargaining tool to gain A. When a man picks up a rifle he is instantly transformed from a subject to a citizen, a sovereign citizen in control of his own destiny.

If you choose A then whether you receive it or not is the sole choice of those you have power over you. A subject can make no demands of those that are their superior. As the Emperor of Grungyland I could quite simply round up the ecopeople who had gotten too far out of hand or had displeased me with demonstrations and plant your bodies in the wastelands (insert evil chuckle soundtrack here as a sinister smile crosses my face and I contemplate the irony of planting a tree for my lumber mill in each corpse).

As Shooter, I too am suspicious of where this line of questioning is going. On the other hand, it could lead to an important discussion. Which right is the ultimate right? If you were to be a one issue voter then, what right is the one that makes or breaks a candidate?

Ive had a similar discussion with a number of people who were 1 issue abortion voters. Some couldnt understand why I felt that the proper understanding and support of the Second Amendment was more important than the abortion issue. I honestly dont wish to go through that all here because abortion certainly is a very touchy subject. In a nutshell I guess my position is that unless I am able to do my part to insure the safety and continuation of myself and this generation then there can be no next generation. It helps to understand what I mean if you ask yourself this question, "When the oxygen masks fall from their overhead compartments in an aircraft incident, why do are you supposed to put yours on first and then assist those children and infirm travelling with you?" Is it because airlines hate children? Obviously not. If you were to attempt to assist the child first then you may die before completing your effort thereby condemning those dependant upon you to death. If you have provided for your own well being by applying your own mask then, you are capable of assisting those dependant upon you.

Firearms are your ultimate life saving device and dreaded implement of last resort. If we were to ask those 20+ million murdered by Mao or the 20+ million murdered by his predecessor, "Which would you prefer, clean air or a rifle?" Which do you think they would choose? If we were to ask the pregnant Ukrainian women, whose husbands and boyfriends had already been killed in German labor camps, as they were being marched naked to the mass grave sights where they were to be executed, "Which would you prefer, a. an abortion, b. a constitutional amendment banning abortion, or c. a rifle to shoot your captors" then what response would you expect? Tell me Mr. Peasant whos family lives in a village in the middle of one of the Khmer Rouge killing fields, "What is a more important right, the right to make a speech on the evils of the soldier about to kill your family or the right to grab your rifle and defend your family?"

-- William in WI (thetoebes@webtv.net), November 21, 2000.



I'd definately choose B. Just because everyone has air, water and food (or a lot more) doesn't mean someone isn't going to try to take something away from you. Our society is a prime example - often the people who don't "have" something are willing to take it away from others, and those who do "have" often want more and will do anything to get it. There are plenty of people worldwide who have anything and everything they need, yet want still more - money, power, whatever, and are more than willing to take from others. I can't see these people being satisfied with clean air, clean water and preservative free food, particularly those in positions of power in our country. Without the right and ability to defend ourselves, our family and our way of life , we wouldn't have anything for long.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), November 21, 2000.

I chose A because I could make my own weapons if push came to shove,with little technology required.What came to mind was zipguns or kinves .I can't get clean air,water and food w/o alot of technology to help me clean it up.So I could have one and still come up with the other. "Loaded" question-was that a play on words?

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), November 21, 2000.

"Make" your own weapons?!! I was under the impression that the world would be safe if we'd all just turn in our guns. You mean it's people, not the guns after all, and we'd still be in danger? Imagine that!

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), November 21, 2000.

Personally, I don't know what all the fuss is about this right to keep and bare arms. Where we live it's pretty cold this time of year and though I like to wear short sleeves & tank tops as much as anybody else in the warmer months, you'll find me with long sleeves and no bare arms this time of year, and yes I intend to keep my arms for a long time.

Oh, what's that? You meant guns? nevermind,

I'll take the clean veggies, air & water.

-- Rose Marie Wild (wintersongfarm@yahoo.com), November 21, 2000.


No Sharon, the "loaded question" comment was not meant to be a play on words. I honestly never even thought about it till you mentioned it. In all due respect though, if someone were to come at you with a gun, be it a rifle, pistol, shot gun or machine gun I don't think a zip gun or knife would do much good. The first thing Hitler did was take away everyone's guns. Think about it. I have a feeling that is the direction our gvt. is going.

-- bwilliams (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), November 21, 2000.


Thanks to all who have answered the question so far. We have been having theses types of discussions at home recently to try to determine what is most important to each person and why. We have been having quite a good time with it!

For those of you who believe you smell a liberal asking the question, my fiance informs me that I am not. He says I'm neither conservative or liberal. Actually he says he can't figure out what I am! On about a third of the issues I agree with the conservatives, on about a third with the liberals, and about a third I agree with neither one. For that reason I'm a registered Independent who votes for the candidate who most closely mirrors my views.

-- debra in ks (solid-dkn@msn.com), November 21, 2000.


Did I misunderstand the question Debra? The last line states that there are no scenarios where you can have both. That means one, or the other, correct? None of us would live very long without food, water, or air, about 3 minutes without the air, I believe. But perhaps you mean we could have dirty water, air, and food, and still have guns? Then I would have to change my answer to guns, dirty air, dirty water , and dirty food. Could always trade extra guns for better air, water, and food. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (annie@1st.net), November 21, 2000.

I suppose it depends on if you perceive the world to be full of power mongers, or if you believe the the world is full of peaceful folk who can co-exist in harmony. I think a lot depends on the balance of hormone cocktail that one self-doses. So, if the world were only full of women, I'd say "A". Of course, if the world were only full of men, I'd say "B" although it would be a short-lived experiment. Since we've pretty much got the A.I. part of procreation figured out, I suggest opting for "A". Can I keep my husband around for a pet, though?

Good answer for a good question.... ;)

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), November 21, 2000.


Liberal wasn't such a maligned word until President Alzheimer's started using it derogatorily during his term. I am beginning to see that its overuse is just like the "F" word. When people can't think of anything more appropriate or creative to use, it gets slammed on anything around. My opinion on this is hardly news, however. Feel free to apply it freely, whether appropriate or not. Especially if you can couple it with "smell" or anything else olfactory...

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), November 21, 2000.

I personally believe that I don't have to choose. I certainly don't choose either or by which candidate I vote for, unless I vote for Gore, then I get neither. This is because the president cannot determine the state of the water or the air, but can facilitate the loss of the right to keep and bear arms. In fact if anyone has the power to determine the state of the water, air and food, it is each and every one of us. If you want clean water, don't pollute and don't purchase from those who do. Ditto for air and food. Laws are not necessary to protect the integrity of our resources committed people are. To me this question is completely unrelated in issue, although many liberals believe they can protect their resources by voting for democratic or green party candidates. The question I have is if that is true then why when the democrats held both houses of congress and the presidency in the past wasn't the water clean and the air clean, and the food protected from pesticides? It wasn't because it makes very little difference what happens in Washington D.C. and all the difference in the world what happens in our own hearts. It's called personal responsibility. So since I will never have to choose, I won't!

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), November 21, 2000.


Y'know, I read this stuff about guns and the right to bear arms, all in the name of the "right" and once again am struck by the ability of some in the media to shape the thinking of the masses. Neither Al Gore nor most of the "liberals" have advocated taking our guns away. They have suggested elimination of assault weapons, some have suggested registration etc. And yes, I agree, the problem is with people, not the guns.

Please folks. If we're going to opine at least do it with some respect for facts and the truth of things and try to avoid the scripts provided for you by the NRA, Rush Limbaugh etc.

And to answer the question---A is my choice.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), November 21, 2000.


The problem is John that what you said is misleading. The purpose of a right to keep and bear arms is not so that I can go hunting. It is so that I can defend myself when my government exceeds the bounds of it's authority. The reason our forefather's established the right to keep and bear arms is so that the populace could be the ultimate check and balance in government. As long as the people are armed they cannot be the subjects to tyranny. Hitler registered guns also. He said, " This day will go down in history, for the first time a civilized nation will have full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future." Well we followed their lead alright. We followed them right into the second world war. The Jews and everyone else got to pay the price for that little bit of deception. The question is, why did Hitler take weapons away from Germany's citizens? Was it truly for the good of his nation, or was it to further his own plan of world domination? I think we all know the answer to that question. I think we all need to be asking ourselves what benifit will be derived to the party in America who takes our ability to defend ourselves against tyranny? This question must be uppermost in our minds before we allow the second amendment to be dismantled. Do we really want to trust in the altruistic motivations of all future humans in governemnt here? Do we really want to believe that there won't ever be a time when will have to defend our country against invaders? You may have made the decision to accept whatever regime that seeks to control you, but do you want to make that decision for all your children and your children's children? I believe that every person should have the right to defend his or her own life against those who would seek to take it, by force if necessary. Just as I believe that a woman who is attacked by a man seeking to hurt or kill her should be able to defend herself with as much force as she chooses to use. Gun registration gives the power for gun confiscation. Gun confiscation gives the next Hitler the right to commit mass murder. I personally don't want that to happen to my children. I am not willing myself to be the martyr for man's unstoppable desire for ultimate power. Why should I be asked to?

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), November 21, 2000.


Actually I was thinking of some potential weapons far more deadly, but sure don't want to post them here.

There are alot of things that can be very effectively used as weapons, and yes,even against guns.

My personal favorite for my own protection is my shotgun,but if I was in the situation where I had no gun or shells,You best believe I would come up with alternatives.

Hubbie just said that it's not the weapon you have,but how you know to use it.He sez a pencil is a deadly weapon,if you know how to use it that way.

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), November 21, 2000.


To me it would depend on the situation. Why are we limited to only one? Is this an ideal world? or a post-apocalyptic one? In the ideal world I would choose A. for a better quality of life. In a post- apocalyptic world I would choose B. for survial. In our reality there is no reason not to have both. Iíll take both.

-- Storybook Farm (mumaw@socket.com), November 21, 2000.

So Little Bit, what you seem to suggest is that because I have a shotgun and a 22 I should rush out there a get me a couple of uzi's and maybe an ak47. If i've got some $ money left over a howitzer would be nice too. But my neighbor has a Bradley so I'd better start saving. Where does it end?

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), November 22, 2000.

I chose B, because biblically speaking, I have God's promise that Sun and rain will be bestowed on the good and the wicked in equal quantities. What is an assualt rifle ? Does it really matter if your killed by a single shot derringer or a 75 round Ak-47 ? It seems to me that if your killed with a stick or a gun--either way your dead.

Cain had only a weapon when he killed Abel. Was it an assualt rock, or an assualt stick ? Weapons do not kill people, people kill people !

I own an Ak-47 quite simply because it is the most versitile gun ever invented !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), November 22, 2000.


Debra it's a good thing that it is an'if' question. If we could have a choice of clean air,water and food,it would mean that we have achieve cooperation to solve the issue worldwide in order to have that choice. If that were to happen we would no longer have a need for guns because obviously we'd live in a world where people actually work together. As this is not going to happen till Jesus comes I would have to vote for B. I used to totally trust God for my protection, now I believe that God wants me to have some common sense and that makes me sad. Ada

-- Aagje Franken (Backyardy2k@aol.com), November 22, 2000.

I'm sorry, Debra, but I'm not going to play with this one. It reminds me too much of those incredibly awful exercises they had us do in high school where they gave us a scenario of a bunch of people in a life boat, and for the survival of the rest, you have to choose one to throw overboard, so which one will it be? They didn't give you the option of trusting God to provide, and trying to save everyone. (Basically I think those exercises were designed to break down our built-in taboos against killing innocent people, and to make us weigh human life in economic terms.)

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), November 22, 2000.

The answer of course is food, air, and water. there are so many ways to kill someone or set defences up that make a gun useless. You have to see what you are shooting at to score. There are chemicals, traps, and all sort of weapons that can be made from almost nothing. Try a gun against a pipe bomb. Gun has no chance simply from the noise and concuson area,not forgetting the nasty schrapnel. I worked in our prisons quite a few years and the weapons made were really quite nice and very letal. Part of my training showed that within 50 feet a knife was far more dangerous than a gun. Senerios were shown to prove this. A knife can be carried hidden almost anywhere without detection and can be made of material that a metal dectector can not find.Any military person can show how to do it or try your local library. By the way what is all this whining about the word liberal? I think some doth protest too much.

-- Nick (wildheart@ekyol.com), November 22, 2000.

John,

Since neither facts nor truth were ever your strong points, where would you like me to begin?

-- William in Wi (thetoebes@webtv.net), November 22, 2000.


Joel I agree. Why don't we get a coalition together to register ll the rocks in the nation? William I knew that was you before I came over here to see if I was right. I was wondering what your reaction would be when I saw John's post last night. John, your right it will never end as long as there are people like Hitler or Mussolini, or any number of despotic individuals. Unfortunately we cannot wish all people into peaceful loving individuals. It ain't gonna happen. It certainly was nice how Germany conveniently disarmed herself in the faith of the goodness of man wasn't it? What you don't seem to understand is that like it or not every armed person in America was intended to protect the Constitution, and this country from invaders. That is how the forefather's insured the blessings of liberty to all of us. The second amendment says, "the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If your neighbor one day knocks your fence down and moves it three feet into your property, he is infringing on your property rights. He has taken property that you previously enjoyed. If a government requires gun registation, background checks, two day waiting periods, bans assault rocks and so on they are infringing your right and are thus illegally trespassing the constitution. The government has then taken freedom that you previously enjoyed. This is infringement. The Constitution specifically says, " The enumeration in the Constituiton of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." (Article 9 Bill of rights). This means that the rights and priviledges held by the people in 1776 are the same ones they should hold today. If a person in 1776 didn't have a background check then neither should I. The only entity that can make a law otherwise is my individual state and even they cannot exceed the boundries set by the Constitution. So you see the federal government as it stands today is illegal according to it's foundational documents. When people talk about the second amendment being assaulted this is what they are speaking of. What Gore and other liberals are promoting is violating the law of the Land. To speak of it as if it is nothing and we should all just accept it, is highly appalling. If people don't like the laws of this nation then they should move to one where the laws are more acceptable to them. There are plenty of other nations in the world where you are free to be killed by the next dictator that comes along. To advocate otherwise is as near to treason as you can get without actually selling information to the enemy as it insures the future defeat of our children by those who seek to destroy us. So I say John get your Howitser!

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), November 22, 2000.


Rose Marie,

Bare arms? No wonder I get all those strange replies from my congressman. Ive been telling him that I wanted him to support my right to arm bears...

-- William in Wi (thetoebes@webtv.net), November 22, 2000.


Lil Bit, you sure know how to say it! I agree with you wholeheartedly, just wish I had your talent for telling it! Excuse me while I get back to my cooking and cleaning for tomorrow! Happy thanksgiving EVERYONE and don't forget why we are celebrating it!

-- bwilliams (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.

LittleBit & bwilliams,

This seems an appropriate place and time to relay a story about Thanksgiving and firearms. Everyone knows the story of the first Thanksgiving but not many know that the national recognition of Thanksgiving was to be a celebration of independance almost as important as Independance Day itself.

The first Thanksgiving, of course, was celebrated in November of 1621 when the pilgrims organized a deerhunting party to supplement the abundant crop of barley and corn. Governor Bradley and Chief Massasoit led a prayer to God and the Great Spirit thanking them for giving them the abundance that would allow them all to avoid the fate of so many the year before. This celebration continued on in some local areas for many years.

You already knew that, but did you know...

The first officially recognized national holiday that became our modern Thanksgiving was in 1777 to celebrate the surrender of British Major Burgoyne. The Continental Congress proclaimed, "...that with one heart and one voice, the good people may express the greatful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves, to the service of the Divine benefactor..."

Happy Thanksgiving all. Keep your gravy hot and your powder dry.

-- William in Wi (thetoebes@webtv.net), November 22, 2000.


William, Thank You for the story. Gravy is almost warm and my powder IS dry! God Bless! Wendy

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (wjl7@hotmail.com), November 22, 2000.

Personally, I celebrate thanksgiving to thank God for all he has given me and my family and I believe this is what the pilgrims were celebrating too.

-- bwilliams (bjconthefarm@yahoo.com), November 22, 2000.

Well William in WI, If what you say is true of me and even if its not I hardly think us "liberals" have an exclusive on truth twisting, truth omissions, and a capacity for self delusion as evidenced by the ability to have selective vision when it comes to seeing and validating anothers point of view, even if you don't agree with it..

The fact is that regardless of how many weapons you or anyone else may have, if the Government wants to "get you" they will without breaking a sweat. Your weapons will be a mere inconvenience to them as is the constitution now.

Like the bible it too is subject to the interpretation of the reader and in "legalland" it seems to be the exclusive purview of the courts and if the resources are available to pay the lawyers, a plausible sounding argument can be made in support of nearly any action.

Case in point: Recently the FLA supreme court ruled that the counties in question should have additional time to count the ballots rejected by the machines. Of course the republicans started whining immediately, citing law as their argument and accusing the court as being an activist court. It seems to me however the court was protecting the "spirit" of the law rather than the mere "letter" of the law.

In my mind the spirit of the law is far more important than the letter of the law because it is the root of the law and it is out of the spirit that the letter flows. The spirit is that which seeks to insure that all citizens have a right to vote and to have their vote (voice and intent) counted.

An apt comparison can be made in St Pauls letter to the Corinthians when he says something like Its better to live in and have the spirit of Christ(love) than merely obey the law (which seeks to (albeit imperfectly) codify it) Of course such a view is inconvenient to those who would have it otherwise.

I remember hearing somewhere the law(constitution?) is the last refuge of scoundrels. It cuts both ways.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), November 22, 2000.


Cool! They didn't have driver's licenses in 1776 either! What an idiot I have been for getting it renewed every year. Thanks! If I get pulled over and ticketed, I'll just tell the judge that I learned about law from the Countryside Forum! ;)

Happy T-day, folks! Go easy on the turkey.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), November 22, 2000.


I choose A. I don't have guns now. I do want a clean environment.

I also want to comment that those who say if they have guns, they can just TAKE whatever they want, may think they are making a joke. But it is uncertainty of whether it really IS a joke that makes many of the gunless fear those with guns.

-- Joy Froelich (dragnfly@chorus.net), November 22, 2000.


I also choose A. Guns will not stop the people who want to dump cyanide into the waterways so they can mine for gold, nor the clear- cutting of timber, unless you want to be the dictators yourselves. You cannot trade a gun for something that no longer exists. I personally will trade $500 cash (since I don't believe in handing out guns willy-nilly), for every living Passenger Pigeon that anyone on this board will trade me. Or a DoDo bird, or a Carolina Parakeet. Any takers?

I think that if you asked the parents in Littleton Colorado whether they would have nice clean air and water to nourish their children rather than unlimited guns used to splatter their brains all over the school walls, that they would choose A. Of course, we could allow all those children to carry concealed weapons to school with them -- that should get right merry and I'm glad I'm not a teacher anymore.

-- Julie Froelich (firefly1@nnex.net), November 23, 2000.


This is the kind of question to which Samuel Adams could have responded with his most remembered quote.

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Also, if it were a perfect world there would be no need for defense of any sort. That perfect world will only arrive when Christ comes back and then you can have both my guns and this destroyed planet. Until then this is a silly question and it reminds me of our choices for President in the two major parties. How can you choose when you have no choice?

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@excite.com), November 23, 2000.


I could choose either one and provided that I still had my head, human nature and "homestead perspective" would maximize the available resources to achieve a suitable environment to achieve overall success.

-- Jay Blair (jayblair678@yahoo.com), November 23, 2000.

John the problem with your spirit of the law deal is that then the law changes according to the percieved spirit. Your point is based on perception. Given that perception can be flawed does it not make more sense to follow the letter instead of that smoky haze rising up out of every law called it's spirit. In following the supposed spirit does it not ffollow that perhaps we should consider the thoughts behind those who wrote it. Does it not mean that we should read their words and understand their intent, or does every law have it' own spirit that any dictator can change at his whim. I suppose someday a murderer could find that the etherial spirit justifies his crime. It just plain doesn't wash John. We either have laws that are immutable or we have anarchy. If we choose anarchy then we need to let the prisoners go to rape, murder and kill some more. If we chose law then they need to mean something.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), November 25, 2000.


For all you "watermelons",

Global Governance Erupts at the Hague
By Henry Lamb
(November 20 2000)

Jacques Chirac, President of France, told (English Real Audio available: Pt. 1 Pt. 2 Pt. 3) the delegates negotiating the Kyoto Protocol in The Hague, that the Protocol is an important step toward global governance. Most of the 8,000 delegates and observers enthusiastically embrace the idea of a United Nations agency mandating energy policy for 38 developed nations. There are a few notable exceptions.

The U.S. Congressional delegation was on hand today, to hear the French President link the Protocol to the U.N.'s global governance agenda. In private conversations after the day's business was concluded, Senator Chuck Hagel had sharp words of disapproval of attempts to transform the U.N. into a world government.

The Protocol, as conceived, though not yet fully negotiated, would give the U.N. body a double-whammy club to beat up on 38 developed nations. First, by setting emissions targets, the U.N. body would be able to effectively dictate the fossil fuel energy that a developed nation might use.

Second, the U.N. would have the authority to "enforce" compliance, using procedures, sanctions, and penalties that have not yet been defined.

Americans would not likely stand for an international law that openly gives the U.N. the power to set energy use limits. So instead of attacking the input end of the energy pipe, the politically astute U.N. machinery is attacking the output end of the energy pipe. "Controlling emissions" is said to be the goal, and is presented as necessary to save the planet. Controlling energy use is the actual goal, and is necessary for the redistribution wealth of, with little or no impact on the planet.

The penalty for non-compliance has presented a particularly thorny problem, because most of the 38 developed nations will be unable to meet their agreed targets. This means that most of the affected nations will have to pay the costs - whatever they are - once the decision is taken. Consequently, compliance negotiations go on behind closed doors, with periodic reports that "some progress has been made." These negotiations have been on-going for three years - since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997.

Chirac's global governance announcement could be the straw that breaks the back of the entire Protocol. After eight days of intense negotiations, there has been little movement on three major issues that must be resolved: emissions trading; carbon sinks; and penalties for non-compliance.

Add to these unresolved issues, the implications of global governance, and the entire process could easily unravel.

Perhaps this would be the best possible outcome of COP 6: admission by the delegates that the Protocol they pieced together in Kyoto is simply unworkable.

One of the many problems with this fatally flawed Protocol is that it attempts to do two things at once: (1) reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere, and (2) empower the United Nations to enforce those reductions. Either of these two objectives is a formidable undertaking.

As the delegates have struggled over the last six years, it has become increasingly apparent that empowering the U.N. has become more important than reducing emissions.

Having heard Jacques Chirac say, not once, but twice, during his presentation, that global governance is the larger objective, the Congressional delegations will have a new dimension to report to their colleagues when they return to Washington.

Regardless of the decisions that are taken - or not taken- during this two-week session, the delegates will find some way to save face. One scenario being discussed in the halls is the "Kyoto scenario." This is a situation - as occurred in Kyoto - in which no agreement was reached until the last day, several hours after the scheduled adjournment. Delegates could again go into closed session late in the week, and stay in session until the last minute, and then simply announce that agreement has been reached on some of the important issues.

Credence was attached to this scenario when rumors spread through the halls that the U.S. would cave-in on up to 60% of the outstanding questions about carbon sinks. The European Union and the U.S. have been at odds on this issue since Kyoto. Environmental extremists have been lobbying heavily for the delegates to reject the U.S. position.

Adding to the uncertainty here, is the uncertainty in the U.S. Presidential race. Some speculation has emerged that should George Bush be declared the winner, the U.S. delegation might withdraw resistance to all outstanding issues in order to advance the Protocol as far as possible before a new slate of delegates is appointed by a new administration.

Publicly, the U.S. delegation says that the present administration will be in place until January 20, and the elections struggle has no effect on their negotiating positions. Traditionally, the rumors in the halls tend to be very accurate.

By the end of the week, the delegates will prove or disprove the rumors, and some kind of face-saving document will be applauded as progress. It will not likely repeat Jacques Chirac's reference to global governance. But like a stone once thrown, his words cannot be recalled, and his words will have an impact wherever they land. His words will land in the U.S. Congress, and they will land across America.

Those skeptics who have been unwilling to believe that the U.N. is, indeed, contriving a world government need only to listen to the President of France.

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-- William in Wi (thetoebes@webtv.net), November 27, 2000.


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