Disambiguation

Glenn Beck’s Best-Selling Novel, “Agenda 21,” Carries the Same Title as the Report of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) 

A couple of our volunteers went to the State Capitol last week to distribute copies of a 1-page fact sheet to our State Senators. It was part of our chapter’s efforts to educate about Senate Bill 23, the proposed new law that would restrict the ability of Oklahomans to learn from global experts.

In our message to the senators, we described the difference between “Agenda 21” (the 1992 UNCED report) and “Agenda 21” (the 2012 novel by radio and television commentator Glenn Beck).

We wrote:

What is Senate Bill 23?
It is a proposed new state law that was first introduced in Alabama in 2012. It can be traced to “Agenda 21,” a best-selling novel by Glenn Beck. The book is classified as a work of speculative fiction. Proponents of SB23 believe the new law is needed to prevent global domination by an emerging new world government.
“Agenda 21” is also the title of the final report of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Over 300 pages in length, the UNCED report (pdf) is used as a reference work by urban and regional planners, public health professionals, development specialists, and others. It is a comprehensive set of non-binding recommendations on topics ranging from drought control to pest management to efforts to fight infectious diseases like West Nile Virus, etc. These topics are important to people around the world — including people right here in Oklahoma. 

The connection between Glenn Beck and SB23 goes back to June of 2011 when Mr. Beck was fulminating against the United Nations on his old Fox News television program. Here is a sampling of his invective against the 1992 UNCED report:

“Some people now have begun questioning and standing up to what, on the surface, seems like a harmless initiative just to save the environment. But it is not. Be awake. Spread the word. Watch your local community. The answer will be found with the individual. The answers and the solutions will be found in the local communities. But once they put their fangs into our communities, they’ll suck all the blood out of it, and we will not be able to survive. Watch out.”

You can read more of his fiery commentary here.

The latest manifestation of Mr. Beck’s conspiracy theory is “Agenda 21,” his fanciful novel. It has been a best seller for many weeks. By now, many more readers have cast their vision upon Beck’s fictional work than have ever laid an eye on the 1992 UNCED report.

As a result, it is now necessary to draw a sharp distinction between “Agenda 21” the novel and “Agenda 21” the 1992 UNCED report. When we hear someone say they have read “Agenda 21,” we must now assume they’re talking about Mr. Beck’s work of fiction — unless they explicitly inform us otherwise.

After Mr. Beck’s 2011 warning about the “fangs” of the UN vampire, Senate Bill 23 appeared — or, rather, the first version of SB23 appeared. It was introduced in the 2012 session of the Alabama Legislature. It had the designation of Senate Bill 477.

Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 23 is taken from Alabama’s SB477, virtually word for word.

That’s why we say that SB23 can be “traced to” Glenn Beck’s fictional novel. The common connection is the wild conspiracy theory promulgated by Mr. Beck on his Fox News television program in 2011.

Even the language of SB23 reflects Mr. Beck’s fearful vision of the 1992 UNCED report — describing it as a “plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States….”

To be clear: We don’t oppose SB23 because it shares the bad suppositions first pronounced by Glenn Beck the radio and TV commentator. Mr. Beck is free to espouse any kind of nutty theory he can imagine. 

Rather, our opposition to SB23 stems from the bad aspects of the proposed new law that would result in limits on our intellectual freedom and suppression of the people’s access to valuable information resources. And, we believe that good public policy should be based on solid facts rather than sloppy speculation.

That’s the gist of our argument against SB23. Meanwhile, we will bear in mind that the term “Agenda 21” refers to a work of fiction (Beck’s) as well as a work of non-fiction (the UNCED report).

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