Story belonged on Opinion page |

Story belonged on Opinion page

I don’t understand why The Union allows itself to be a mouthpiece for conspiracy nuts such as Henry Lamb, Alan Scholl and Nick Jesson. A journalistic piece (unless it is on the editorial page) is supposed to at least make a nod toward objectivity by presenting both sides of an issue, but all we get in the May 1 story “Some warn of U.N. land-use plans” is the ranting of the property rights people.

But on second thought, maybe this story doesn’t need opposing views, since the argument presented by Lamb, Scholl, and Jesson falls apart from the weight of its own absurdity. Any reasonable person can see that there can’t possibly be some international, U.N.-led conspiracy to take away private land. The U.N. has no power to “mandate” anything.

And well-informed people will know that the environmental movement has been working under the principle that conservation and private property go together just fine. All over the country, conservation groups work with private landowners to devise arrangements that allow the landowners to be effective stewards of the land. For example, the land can be taxed at a low rate (not based on its potential, developed value) in exchange for keeping the land, or most of it, undeveloped or in agricultural use.

The enemy that the property-rights people are fighting simply doesn’t exist. There aren’t a bunch of environmentalists out there trying to take away their land or control how they use it. There are just regular, community-minded people who believe that it’s important to save some of our country’s natural beauty for future generations. I trust that most readers who waded through this sorry piece of journalism will see how squarely the property-rights movement rests on paranoia and misinformation.

Eric W. Engles

Grass Valley

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