THE LAMBS WHO TRACK THE WOLVES
By Floy Lilley
When Edward R. Murrow opined that „A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves,š and when democracy is defined as „two wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu,š it becomes clear that sheep and lamb are not the same animal. Not when the lamb‚s first name is Henry.
Two shakes of a lamb‚s tail tell it all. In the mid-1970s when the Corps of Engineers began claiming jurisdiction over private property under a soggy and muddled theory of wetlands, Henry Lamb began to wonder just how and why government thought it had such overweening authority.
Henry‚s construction company, specializing in erosion control and water management structures, combined voice with a 5,000-member trade association in Chicago to seek answers, only to find that they did not have enough clout to challenge the swamp monster. So, the lamb began to shepherd a flock of some 17 organizations to see this wetland issue clearly. National cattlemen, farm bureau, realtors, homebuilders and other natural resource organizations gathered together in February of 1988 to share experiences. Their meeting launched the Environmental Conservation Organization, an outgrowth of the Land Improvement Contractors Association, as a strategy to protect private property rights from erosion by excessive environmental regulations.
Seeking deeper understanding, Lamb attended a Minnkota Power meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., and had his attention shifted to the role of the United Nations behind land use in the United States. Dr. Sherwood Idso‚s active research into the benefits of enhanced carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, Dr. Fred Singer‚s monitoring of atmospheric gases, and Dr. Dixy Lee Ray‚s cool-headed responses to environmental hysteria and junk science made reasoned and lasting impressions. Later, Dr. Ray‚s personal report from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit included her conversation with the leading figure of that meeting, Gro Harlem Brundtland, in which Brundtland proudly acknowledged that Agenda 21 was the International Socialist Party‚s agenda for the 21st century. When Tom McDonnell of the American Sheep Industry in 1994 sent Lamb the alarming Global Biodiversity Assessment, Henry read it through the night.
Learning more about the United Nations became Henry‚s mission. Although this author had been attending U.N. meetings since 1991 as a registered member of various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Henry‚s first on-site immersion into the collectivist thinking of global central planners did not occur until he attended the 1996 Climate Change Conference in Geneva. He was working as press for World Net Daily (WND), the on-line news organization that prints his weekly commentary. To Henry, Geneva revealed the monstrosity that the international body and its 76,000 employees had become. Absent and uninvited from the U.N. selective and sheltered process were any of the resource users whose productive lives in Western civilization were to be caught in the vise of a programmed, wrenching transformation.
After Geneva, Henry couldn‚t move fast enough to gather Tom McDonnell, Bob Voight, Mike Coffman and this author in Kansas City, Mo., to turn our fledgling Sustainable Freedom Coalition into our full-fledged Sovereignty International, whose belief is that a world of nations in which all governments are empowered only by the consent of those who are governed, offers the best hope of advancing the health, happiness, and prosperity of all mankind. The bedrocks of such human action are individual freedom, private property ownership, free markets and national sovereignty. Sovereignty International seeks to emulate the reasoning of F.A. Hayek, who wrote that: „The system of private property is the most important guarantee to freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.őIt is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that no one has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what we do for ourselves‚.š
There is no room for appointed central planners in Henry‚s or Sovereignty‚s worldview. From Kyoto in 1997 forward, activists such as Tom DeWeese, David Rothbard, Phyllis Schlafly, Dan Byfield and Sovereignty‚s own creators worked hard. Their work was unveiled in St. Louis, Missouri in 2000 as the strategy of offense that is now showcased worldwide as Freedom 21. Back in St. Louis for the Second Annual Freedom 21 Conference, Henry Lamb became a Year 2001 Friend-of-Freedom Award winner, presented by the Gielow Family Foundation.
Both longtime warriors and new acquaintances honor Henry with awardsųeven if they are just verbal garlands. Ocie Mills, one of those old heroes who has known Henry for 30 years, praises him for his „sticking strength.š Madeleine Cosman, one of those new heroes who has known Henry for three days, praises him for „seeing the reality, speaking with clarity, and charting the action that is so difficult that no one would dare it alone, but is so necessary that everyone who understands will risk it with confidence.š Because Henry‚s columns are frequently translated into Spanish and published throughout Central and South America, Spain, Portugal and Italy, no one should be surprised to see Henry receiving awards from foreign places. Canada, Israel and the Philippines have each had Web sites broadcast articles of Henry‚s.
Despite being a world traveler, for Henry advancing the principles of freedom begins at home. Lamb‚s family chooses to create flourishing lives together on a spot of Tennessee that Henry calls, „as close as acreage can get to God.š Son Mark, who displayed natural gifts with computers at age 8, is now the ensconced computer guru for the Lamb flock. Mark, called Adam by the family, has created the only known searchable database of federal assistance awards data, and created a bulk e-mail alert system for notifications to go to 250,000 subscribers each month. Son Merritt with his wife Karen publishes the tens of thousands of print materials needed for eco-logic Powerhouse for Paragon Foundation and several other organizations. Henry‚s wife Irene edits and administrates. Friend KayLynn is HTML master. This family team is just one part of putting a younger face on Henry‚s 20-year individual effort to fight the erosion of principles of freedom articulated in the U.S. Constitution. Others have stepped up, spoken clearly and are being counted.
In Reno, Nev., 2004, the Fifth Annual Freedom 21 Conference was, by far, the best attended and most productive of all Freedom 21 conferences to date. Plans are already underway for next year, with more than a dozen cities proposed to host the conference. Tom DeWeese, selected to chair the program committee for next year, will certainly be showcasing the more youthful energies of such participants as G.B. Oliver III, David Rothbard, Niger Innis, Paul Driessen, Jim Burling, Craig Rucker, Michael Chapman, Michael Shaw, and Lori Waters. As DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, sees it: „A Freedom 21 conference is for those who want to invigorate constitutional principles, including property rights activists, Second Amendment defenders, back-to-basics education proponents, free market advocates, tax opponents, family autonomy champions, personal privacy protectors, guardians of American independence and sovereignty, libertarians, and those who share a Judeo-Christian understanding of the value of individual human life. At Freedom 21, single-issue advocates discover the threads that connect their concerns to all the others.š
The old-timers, the warhorses of the fights to keep the factors of production in private hands, the heroes of Henry‚s, like Henry himself, will keep applauding the fresh efforts and nodding encouragement. Henry remains optimistic and inspired. No sacrificial lamb, Henry firmly believes that: „In another century or two, when the inherent flaws of socialism once again bring oppression to the people enslaved by it, another John Locke or Thomas Jefferson may arise, and dust off the history books and rediscover what Americans forgot during the last half of the 20th century. Although never easy, human freedom will ultimately prevail.š
Floy Lilley is a land use attorney with Shroads & Lilley, P.L., Amelia Island, Fla., and is vice-chair of Sovereignty International. She is the most recent recipient of the coveted Veritas Award from American Agri-Women.