Tea-partiers take a stand against Nicolae Carpathia

Tea-partiers take a stand against Nicolae Carpathia February 8, 2012

This week slipped away a bit, so Monday’s post on the Tribulation Force movie will be postponed until Friday. Sorry about that.

In the meantime, here’s Leslie Kaufman and Kate Zernike of The New York Times, reporting on how tea-party activists have come to think of themselves as a real-life Tribulation Force battling against the evil forces of Nicolae Carpathia and the Antichrist-bureaucracy of the United Nations:

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.

They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.

… In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom a high-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions.

… The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power and belief that man-made global warming is a hoax.

In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November.

… At a Board of Supervisors meeting in Roanoke in late January, Cher McCoy, a Tea Party member from nearby Lexington, Va., generated sustained applause when she warned: “They get you hooked, and then Agenda 21 takes over. Your rights are stripped one by one.”

Echoing other protesters, Ms. McCoy identified smart meters, devices being installed by utility companies to collect information on energy use, as part of the conspiracy. “The real job of smart meters is to spy on you and control you — when you can and cannot use electrical appliances,” she said.

Curse you, Nicolae, and your nefarious smart meters and bike lanes!

This is darkly hilarious, but not surprising. Tim LaHaye is an old John Bircher. His Left Behind series is the most popular propaganda the John Birch Society has ever had for disseminating its paranoia.

Ryan Lenz at Hatewatch traces the promotion and spread of this anti-Agenda 21 nonsense, and sees the Birchers as a driving force behind it:

How such an arcane UN document that defines the concept of “smart growth” and environmental sustainability became so controversial, even though it gives the UN no enforcement powers, has a lot to do with the work of a tight cadre of antigovernment “Patriot” activists whose fears are rooted in right-wing lore about a New World Order, a kind of authoritarian one-world government. Figures such as Tom DeWeese, head of the American Policy Center, Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the anti-feminist Eagle Forum, and John Bush, with Texans for Accountable Government, have in recent years crisscrossed the country to put on seminars and conferences that strike terror into those inclined to believe conspiracy theories about powerful global elites plotting to install a socialistic global government. The John Birch Society, an archconservative group formed during the Red Scare of the 1950s, regularly assails Agenda 21 with the fervor it once reserved for communists.

… Just as it did with communism, the John Birch Society has done as much or more than any other group on the radical right to drum up panic and outrage. It has held more than a dozen conferences across of the nation in the last six months to sound the alarm.

Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones was on this story years ago (via), “Tea partiers’ latest fear: a secret UN plan to herd us all into urban ‘human habitation zones’“:

… While the UN conspiracy talk makes it easy to dismiss the tea partiers as nutters, that doesn’t mean they won’t derail local development projects. Take what transpired recently in Tampa, Florida, where tea party activists helped defeat a widely supported measure that would have funded light rail and road improvements in Hillsborough County. In the lead-up to a ballot initiative on the penny-per-dollar sales tax increase to fund the project, the local conservative paper, the Tampa Bay Examiner, ran a series on Agenda 21 plus commentary suggesting that the “smart growth” principles underlying the light rail proposal were simply “cover for an agenda to transfer American sovereignty to various tentacles of the United Nations.”

Light rail and road improvements are “tentacles of the United Nations” and its plans for Antichrist one-world government.

We have discussed many, many reasons why the Left Behind novels are loathesome and awful. Here we can add one more: They promote traffic congestion. If you’re ever stuck in traffic near Tampa Bay, remember to send Tim LaHaye a thank-you card.

Elsewhere in Tribulation Force politics, Charlie Pierce notes that the sponsor of Virginia’s troubled and troubling voter suppression law is Republican Mark Cole of Fredericksburg.

Remember that name? Mark Cole was also the sponsor of Virginia’s proposal to forbid employers from implanting microchips in their workers:

A laudable goal, surely, if not an entirely sane one. However, in this matter, Delegate Cole was not moved solely by his concern for the privacy rights of his fellow Virginians. Oh, no. He was also worried that, by implanting the microchips, the employers would be applying to their employees the Mark of the Beast, which would not serve said employees well when Jesus comes back for some serious disemboweling in and around the plains of Meggido. …

Which leads Pierce to ask this very reasonable question: “How is Delegate Cole, now and forever, not simply The Microchip Antichrist Guy? How do people not chuckle behind his back when he walks down the corridors of the state capitol building?”

It’s a frustrating question. I understand how the nutters and the whackjobs can sneak their way into office. I don’t understand how they manage to stay in office — to get re-elected — after they expose themselves as nutters and whackjobs. Why isn’t the Virginia Republican Party embarrassed to be associated with this guy? Why is Fredericksburg not mortified at being represented by him?


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