The John Birch Society, a nativist organization founded in the 1950s, is famous for opposing the Civil Rights movement and espousing other far-right views, including that President Eisenhower was a communist infiltrator and Nelson Mandela is “a communist terrorist thug.” The John Birch Society’s views are so far right, in fact, that even conservative icon William F. Buckley denounced the group as “idiotic” and “paranoid.”
Their longtime foe, the United Nations, in 1992 passed a series of non-binding recommendations related to developing resources in a way that can be sustained across generations. The phrase that these documents created — sustainable development — has become a code-word for right-wing black helicopter conspiracies.
By targeting these recommendations, the sinister sounding “Agenda 21,” the Birchers have found a way to promote their views under the guise of protecting the American people from the United Nations stealing away their property. Missouri became the latest state to pass just such a law on Wednesday, sending SB265 to Gov. Jay Nixon (D) for his signature. Under the provisions of SB265, the Missouri government is banned from passing any future laws that would fall under the scope of Agenda:
Neither the state of Missouri nor any political subdivision shall adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Missouri Constitution.
The Missouri draft closely mirrors draft anti-Agenda 21 legislation in Oklahoma that was pulled following a local scandal. ThinkProgress contacted the office of State Sen. Patrick Anderson (R) who sponsored the Oklahoma bill and was told that the language was based almost entirely on a law passed in Alabama. Jerry Bassett, the Director of the Alabama Legislative Reference Service, told ThinkProgress that while he could not tell us who the original drafter of the bill was, the member who brought it forward had the bill completely typed and ready when he did. Bassett also told ThinkProgress the original copy of the bill, still in the LRS’ files, has the words “Tea Party bill” written on it.