Downeast Coastal Press
October 28, 2003

Letter to the Editor

McCabe Guest Column Illustrates Environmentalists' Assault on Rights

By Erich Veyhl


The guest column by Mike McCabe of Whiting (DCP, October 21, 2003) attempting to defend the controversial and highly political Beginning with Habitat program once again illustrates the outright assault on individualism and property rights by environmentalism. McCabe attempted to refute Herb Cleaves' previous column (DCP, October 14, 2003) that correctly identified “Habitat” as yet another land grab scheme promulgated by the usual collaboration of environmental pressure groups and activist government agencies. Entirely omitted from McCabe's response was the principal focus of Herb's original column: the property rights of the owners of the land they want to take over.

Herb made the commonsense observation that an owner saving his back 40 for his grandchildren to do as they want with it – including building on it to live there – loses control of his own property when it is designated as “habitat,” which by law cannot be built on. He further observed that while the owner has had the economic value of his own land taken from him, clearly an injustice, he continues to pay taxes on it, another injustice.

Incredibly, McCabe argues that land designated as undevelopable “habitat” hasn't lost its value because it still may be of value to others: “home” for animals, birds and bugs, and “access” for others who want to go there – completely ignoring the issue of “value to whom,” as if the owner doesn't matter. The proposed theft of your property rights is to be regarded as irrelevant when seized for a wilderness preserve or communal park because environmentalists “value” it that way.

If you object to the eco “nature above your rights as excuse for land grab” line, McCabe trots out the usual eco-cliches: you must want “to pollute our rivers and lakes,” want us “to swim or kayak in water that will burn,” advocate turning the County into the “industrialized Jersey flats” and other irrelevant absurdities. “Habitat” is even offered as the miraculous cure for “legalized casinos and houses of prostitution everywhere.”

The explicit collectivism in McCabe's column is rampant. He repeatedly refers to “our forests,” “our grasslands,” “our brushy areas” – “our,” “our,” “our” – as if there were no such thing as private property. The “townspeople,” i.e., a local collective – not the owners of the land targeted – “can decide which habitats ... are most important to preserve,” he informs us.

Hence the term “eco-socialism.”

“Our”, however, will also not include local recreationists when the viros go after regulations banning public snowmobile and ATV trails declared to be “habitat” as they are now doing across the country. The viro conception of “the public” consists of its own political pressure groups.

The bogus, pseudo-scientific eco “designations” such as “critical habitat” or “national significance” – usually based on politically motivated “studies” of private property without permission – are a political smokescreen for trampling other people's rights under the new state eco religion. In the end they only hurt people while giving legitimate science (and land conservation) a bad name.

Incredibly, McCabe attempts to deflect the controversy over eco-sponsored government coercion by pronouncing that the “Habitat” program has “no authority” to “force planning boards ... to kowtow to state dictates regarding the use of private land.” “Habitat” itself needs no such authority because other government agencies already do or will have it: Environmental pressure groups have been pushing for, and are incrementally getting, sweeping authority to control and prohibit private land use. The “Habitat” designations, as well as other such pseudo-scientific “designation” schemes, are hit lists intended to rationalize and promote the use of such authority. But McCabe isn't waiting even for that. “The [Whiting] Comprehensive Planning Committee,” he wrote, “will use the information to help us determine the recommendations about future land use we make to our fellow residents and property owners. Our entire community will use the information to help us make recommendations to our officials about future land use within the town ...we can choose, if we want, to steer development away from those areas... if we want to keep moose and bald eagles ... we know that these creatures usually require blocks of land of 500 – 2,500 acres in size; black bears require more land..."

Bear in mind that “steering development away" is an eco euphemism for forcibly preventing the use of land by its owner. The immediate agenda, openly acknowledged by McCabe is, in the name of local zoning powers, to attempt to get enough town votes to gang up on private owners and seize control of land up to 2,500 acres and “more" under the moral authority of “we want". Such is the nature of ecosocialism, a peculiar position for the president of a local chamber of commerce.

Anyone who does not immediately recognize that such a power grab is blatantly unethical and unconstitutional is unqualified to be on a planning board or in any other official position. Sophisticated environmentalists know that and typically seek other legal excuses for their agenda, such as contrived over-restrictions on utilities, denial of access, exclusionary large-lot zoning, or extreme Greenline land use restrictions and prohibitions coupled with government acquisition and eminent domain condemnation to get around the legal takings law suits, if not their lack of ethics.

With or without the proper legal trappings, with or without the excuses of “home for bugs" and the rest, anyone on a planning board coveting his neighbors' property should resign under the obvious conflict of interest – or better, think before swallowing viro propaganda like that from the latest travelling circus from southern Maine.

“We value our natural environment“, McCabe solemnly pronounces. So do most of the rest of us, very much so, especially on our own property, but we will decide that, and what it means, for ourselves. We can discuss conserving land if and when the intrusive, eco power seekers learn to acknowledge and respect our right as individuals not to. It's not for Mike McCabe or the eco collective to decide or impose on someone else's property.

Erich Veyhl

Copyright © 2003 Erich Veyhl, All Rights Reserved

More on the “habitat” land control agenda for Maine:

More on the “habitat” land control agenda for Maine: