No peacenik: Tom Hayden

As we saw yesterday, Sixties radical Tom Hayden, who died on October 23 and was remembered in one obituary after another as a champion of peace, was, in fact, the very opposite of a peacenik.

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1968 Chicago riots

Here are a few more highlights. In a 1967 article in the New York Review of Books, he served up detailed prescriptions for organized urban bloodshed. That same year, contemporaneous observers blamed his incendiary rhetoric for “causing nearly a week of rioting” in Newark. During the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, he encouraged civil disruption in the form of “spreading nails on a highway” and firebombing police cars. At Berkeley in 1969, he led a “training center” where would-be revolutionaries were taught to use firearms and explosives. Also in 1969, he took part in a “war council” in Flint, Michigan, at which he and some of his comrades officially declared war against America and called for “violent, armed struggle.”

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Hayden the politician

To be sure, after the madness of the 1960s dissipated, Hayden shifted gears. In the 1980s and 90s, he got himself elected to the California legislature, taught courses at Harvard, UCLA, and elsewhere (despite having no degree beyond a B.A.), and gave speeches at innumerable universities.

gospelBut he remained a radical rabble-rouser. In 1996, quick as ever to embrace a trendy left-wing cause, he wrote his own book on environmentalism, The Lost Gospel of the Earth, even though he had no expertise whatsoever in the field and absolutely nothing original to say about it. Echoing Kirkpatrick Sale’s vapid, ultra-PC Conquest of Paradise (1990) and other recent contributions to the genre, Hayden drew an embarrassingly crude contrast between the perfectly saintly American Indians and the unwaveringly evil Europeans. “His descriptions of Indian virtue and wisdom,” wrote Vincent Carroll in a review for the Weekly Standard, “are no less monochromatic than his most gullible exhortations on behalf of the Viet Cong – if anything, they are more so.”

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Seattle riots, 1999

And so it went. In 1999, Hayden encouraged street riots to protest World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle. In 2001, he blamed the 9/11 attacks on American imperialism. In 2005, ever eager to socialize with America’s enemies, he met in London with Iraqi terrorist leaders; afterwards, his naivete as intact as it had been decades earlier, he wrote an article painting these ruthless jihadists as gentle, peace-loving patriots. When Hugo Chávez died in 2013, Hayden wrote: “As time passes, I predict the name of Hugo Chávez will be revered among millions.” In 2014, he declared in an op-ed that the Cuban Revolution had “achieved its aim: recognition of the sovereign right of its people to revolt against the Yankee Goliath and survive as a state in a sea of global solidarity.”

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Older, but not wiser

How to sum up the life of a man who combined moral depravity with sheer doltishness? Carroll made a couple of good points in his review of The Lost Gospel. Citing Hayden’s “dreadful sanctimony and self-absorption” and air of “moral superiority,” Carroll wrote: “one continuously marvels that a man of Hayden’s superficiality has played such a prominent role in left-wing political thought for more than 30 years.” But we can’t say we’re too surprised: after all, Hayden was far from the only narcissistic, barricade-charging ideologue of the 1960s who was treated as a cultural hero in the decades that followed and whose fatuity, ferocity, and malice were transformed, in his obituaries, into wisdom, peacefulness, and love.

Maurice Strong, dealmaker for China

We’ve been spending the last couple of days remembering Maurice Strong, the “godfather of global warning,” who died on November 27. We’ve seen that Strong was something of a New Age wacko and a champion of world government by himself and other UN elites.

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Maurice Strong

But there’s more. As John Izzard noted at the Australian website Quadrant, Strong “was caught with his hand in the till.” Here’s the story:

Investigations into the UN’s Oil-for-Food-Program found that Strong had endorsed a cheque for $988,885 made out to M. Strong — issued by a Jordanian bank. The man who gave the cheque, South Korean business man Tongsun Park[,] was convicted in 2006 in a US Federal court of conspiring to bribe UN officials. Strong resigned and fled to Canada and thence to China where he has been living ever since.

Why China? Apparently Strong enjoyed a special protected status in that country because of his relative Anne Louise Strong (1885-1970), an American author and journalist who was a prolific propagandist for Communism and a friend of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. (According to Izzard, she actually spent two years in an intimate relationship with Mao.)

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Claudia Rosett

Claudia Rosett, a first-rate journalist and longtime UN expert, wrote in 2007 that any effort to clean up the UN after a rash of recent scandals – not just the Oil-for-Food scandal, but also scandals involving procurement fraud” and “peacekeeper rape” – must involve “a look at the long and murky career of Maurice Strong, the man who may have had the most to do with what the U.N. has become today.” In all of the darker chapters of recent UN history, stated Rosett, “Maurice Strong appears as a shadowy and often critically important figure.” Above all, she suggested, Strong’s story “illustrates the way in which the U.N., with its bureaucratic culture of secrecy, its diplomatic immunities, and its global reach, lends itself to manipulation by a small circle of those who best know its back corridors.”

As for Strong’s relocation to China, Rosett noted that the country was “a special place for Strong, a self-declared, life-long socialist.” How special? Well, consider this: although it’s “one of the world’s biggest producers of industrial pollution,” China had been profiting handsomely “from the trading of carbon emissions credits – thanks to heavily politicized U.N.-backed environmental deals.” And who arranged those deals? Who else? Maurice Strong.

FILE - In a Jan. 22, 2003 file photo, Maurice Strong, special advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on North Korea, responds to a question outside the Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York. The head of the U.N.'s environmental agency says Strong, whose work helped lead to the landmark climate summit that begins in Paris on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, has died. He was 86. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Rosett painted a vivid picture of the expertise with which Strong used – and, it appears, continually magnified – his power:

Strong has developed a distinctive pattern over the years of helping to set up taxpayer-funded public bureaucracies, both outside and within the U.N., which he then taps for funding and contacts when he moves on to other projects….Through his maneuvers, Strong has nurtured the U.N.’s natural tendencies to grow like kudzu into a system that now extends far beyond its own organizational chart. In this jungle, it is not only tough to track how the money is spent, but almost impossible to tally how much really rolls in – or flows through — and from where, and for what.

One example: through a UN-created outfit called the University for Peace, Strong poured UN funds into North Korea. Of course, the purported ends were humanitarian; but in reality much of that money likely found its way into the Hermit Kingdom’s munitions programs. Rosett noted that at Tongsun Park’s trial, “it emerged in court testimony that a few years after Strong accepted from Park the check for almost $1 million funded by Baghdad, the two men had set up yet another business arrangement.”

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Tongsun Park

And now he’s gone. But his work is finished; the mischief is done. Thanks in extremely large part to Strong, climate change has become a rallying cry for power-hungry elites everywhere, routinely cited by them as a legitimate reason to curb individual liberties and economic freedoms and to transfer political authority in democratic states from those countries’ citizens to the leaders of the UN and other world organizations (which are dominated, in all too many cases, by unfree and partly free nations). Not only was Strong himself a useful stooge in many respects – a champion of Chinese Communism, a tireless agitator for the UN superstate. He was also, as hundreds of adoring obituaries attest, the cause of useful stoogery in blinkered admirers around the world, who, rather than recognizing him as a singular threat to human freedom, celebrated him as a noble savior of the planet. 

Maurice Strong and “World Governance”

Yesterday we started looking at the career of the late Maurice Strong, a Canadian business magnate and top-level UN bureaucrat who – supposedly to save the environment – sought to enhance UN power and weaken national sovereignty.

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Maurice Strong after winning one of his many awards

As James Delingpole noted in his obit in Breitbart News,  Strong “was the main instigator of the blueprint for arguably the most sinister and insidious assault on liberty and free markets: Agenda 21.” What is Agenda 21? Well, let’s put it this way: for decades, people who view the UN as a nefarious plot to establish a world government were mercilessly mocked as far-right lunatics. Strong’s Agenda 21, an action plan that emerged from the Rio Conference, is exactly what those people feared: as Delingpole described it, “a blueprint for one-world government by an unelected bureaucracy of technocrats, enabled by diehard progressive activists.” Here’s Strong’s own summing-up:

The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental co-operation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states, however powerful. The global community must be assured of global environmental security.

But what was Strong’s real motive? Was he really passionate about the environment? Did he sincerely think the planet’s climate was imperiled? Or was “environmental security” merely a convenient excuse for trying to impose UN domination?

maurice-strongJohn Izzard, writing at the Australian website Quadrant, forcefully argues that it was the latter. Strong, as Izzard recounts, “was the driving force behind the idea of world governance by the United Nations,” one of his ideas being “a world tax on monetary transactions of 0.5% which would have given the UN an annual income of $1.5 trillion.” Strong made this proposal, note well, at a time when that sum represented the gross income of the entire United States of America (!). When he wasn’t able to push this idea through because of the veto power of the Security Council, Strong actually tried to get the Security Council eliminated. According to Izzard, it was only after that effort failed that Strong conceived of “the idea that global warming might just be the device to get his World Governance proposal up and running.” It would appear, in other words, that Strong’s prime objective was not to preserve the environment – it was to institute “World Governance” by himself and his pals at the UN.

2strongThis doesn’t mean he had no interest in the environment. Izzard tells a bizarre story about Strong’s purchase of 200,000 acres in Colorado where he wanted to pump out and sell the water “but was stopped by the locals as they feared it would destroy the delicate environment.” There’s more: according to Izzard, Strong bought that tract not just because he wanted to monetize the H2O but because he’d bought into the nonsense served up by some “mystic” who told him that that particular patch of Colorado land “would become the centre for a new planetary order which would evolve from the economic collapse and environmental catastrophes that would sweep the globe in the years to come.” In accordance with this inane augury, Strong established something called the Manitou Foundation, a “New Age institution” whose headquarters were constructed directly “above the sacred waters that Strong had been denied permission to pump out.” As if that weren’t enough, he then founded something called the Conservation Fund, whose assigned task was  “to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain,” and built “a circular temple devoted to the world’s mystical and religious movements.”

To sum up, then, so far: Maurice Strong was a dangerous fanatic for World Governance and a far-out New Age nut. Oh, and one more little detail: he was also a big-time crook. We’ll get around to that tomorrow.

Who was Maurice Strong?

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Maurice Strong

When Maurice Strong died on November 27, mainstream news media, global-warming activists, and international bureaucratic types around the world began churning out the superlatives. In his own home country, for instance, the Toronto Star, beneath a headline extolling him as “a model of vision and persistence,” called him “remarkable” and “legendary” while praising his “extraordinary insight and persistence” and “extraordinary far-sightedness.”

Who was Maurice Strong? Here’s a brief bio. Born into a poor Alberta family in 1929, he went into business and enjoyed early success, striking it rich in the oil and gas game and being named, in 1976, by Pierre Trudeau, as head of Petro-Canada, that country’s newly established national oil company.

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At the UN Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 1972

Strong went on to serve as an executive or board member at major firms around the world. He also became one of the top-level UN bureaucrats of all time. His CV consists largely of a mind-bogglingly long list of commissions, conferences, councils, forums. He was the first head of the UN Environmental Programme. He served on the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development. He co-chaired the Earth Charter Commission, chaired the World Resources Institute, was a director at the World Economic Forum, and was a senior advisor to the president of the World Bank. His shining hour – about which more presently – was perhaps his role as Secretary General of the 1992 UN Earth Summit, aka the Rio Conference.

For some observers, as we’ve seen, Strong was a hero – specifically, an environmental hero. The New York Times called him “the planet’s prime custodian”; the Toronto Globe and Mail, in its obituary, celebrated him as “the last of the mythic founders of the international environmental movement”; the Guardian hailed him as “the founding father of international cooperation on the environment and sustainable development.”

strong3When you scratch the surface of the man’s career, however, the picture becomes more problematic – a lot more problematic. James Delingpole, remembering Strong’s life at Breitbart News, said he was “[o]ne of the most dangerous men of the Twentieth Century.” Why dangerous? Well, for one thing, as Delingpole put it, Strong probably did more than anyone else in our time to make the world “more expensive, inconvenient, overregulated, hectored, bullied, lied-to, sclerotic, undemocratic.” And he did all this in the name of “climate change,” which, thanks to him, notes Delingpole, “is now so heavily embedded within our system of global governance that it is now almost literally impossible for any politician or anyone else whose career depends on the state to admit that’s it not a problem.” 

strong4And Strong did all this from his various perches at the UN – an institution that Delingpole described as Strong’s “perfect playground,” a place “where, he quickly realized, he could achieve his dream of a world of global governance by a self-appointed elite. And the best way to go about this, Strong understood, was by manipulating and exploiting international concern about the environment.” Delingpole wasn’t making this up; Strong himself argued explicitly that if we wanted to save the planet, the inhabitants of the affluent West would have to make radical lifestyle changes – changes that most of those people would not be willing to make unless forced to do so by international organizations vested with the power to force them. 

But was Strong really devoted to the environment? Or was something else going on here? We’ll get around to these questions next time.