Here is a message Pickens County Resident Johnnelle Raines delivered to The Pickens County Council during the December 2010 Public Forum:
I am a 7 year citizen of Pickens County living on property that has been in my husband’s family for 4 generations.
I am here tonight to express my strong objections to this Comprehensive Plan.
The major objection I have is...This plan is NOT representative of the goals and visions of the majority of Pickens County citizens. Pickens County citizens treasure their life, liberty, and property rights. This plan has come as a result of an un-elected group forming committees that had a pre-determined goal. The goal was sustainable development. Sustainable Development that is based on the 3 E’s ... Equity, Economy, and Rnvironment. Equity meaning social justice NOT personal rights. Economy meaning public/private partnerships, NOT free enterprise...and Environment meaning plants, animals and even inanimate objects are valued greater than the human being and his God given rights.
The people who support this plan of Sustainable Development, or so called “Smart growth” must believe that land can NOT be treated as an ordinary asset controlled by the individual. They must believe that private land ownership is an instrument of wealth accumulation and therefore contributes to social injustice. They must also believe that social justice, urban renewal, and providing decent dwellings and health conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the best interest of society as a whole. They must believe in Collectivism not Individualism and therefore they must be Marxists.
In the introduction to this Comprehensive Plan, it becomes obvious this “consensus” they claim that a broad base of citizen participation was achieved in developing these visions is a lie. All one has to do is look over the visions and goals and one can quickly ascertain that these visions and goals are not from the majority voters in Pickens County. Because in the last mid-term election, 75.16% voted a straight Conservative Republican ticket. Conservatives believe in private property rights, less government intervention, less taxes, and capitalism! And this plan "as is" does not reflect those core beliefs. I am pleased that some changes were made in the original version as a direct result of Conservatives of the Upstate’s input. However, more changes are needed. There are still socialistic elements that need to be changed.
Where this plan fails is that it is based on a pre-determined outcome. I have researched many Comprehensive Plans from various other counties across the United States and they all have the same vocabulary in them. They all have extremely similar goals and visions. This is NOT a coincedence! How could all these Comprehensive Plans be so similar? I will tell you why. They are all a result of technique that is being used called the Delphi Technique. This is how that works. First a facilitator is hired. While his job is supposedly neutral and non-judgemental, the opposite is actually true. The facilitator is there to direct the meeting to a preset conclusion... say for example sustainable development. The facilitator comes across as the good guy in a good-guy /bad guy scenario. Anyone disagreeing with the facilitator must be made to appear as the bad guy. To accomplish this, the facilitator seeks out those he knows disagree with the pre-conceived agenda (namely Sustainable Development) and he makes them look foolish, or inept - which sends a clear message to the rest that if they don’t want that same treatment, they must keep quiet. When the opposition has been identified and alienated, the facilitator becomes the good guy and the agenda and direction of the meetings are established without the citizens ever realizing what has just happened. Next, the citizens are broken up into smaller groups of 6 or 7 and each group has its own facilitator who agrees with the preset conclusion to be achieved. The group facilitators steer the citizens to discuss those preset issues employing the same tactics of the lead facilitator. Participants are encouraged to put their ideas and disagreements on paper, with the results to be compiled later. And guess what, guess who does that compiling? Those running the meeting of course...the ones with the already preconceived outcomes in mind they are the ones who compile those results. OOOoh! How do those committee members know that what they suggested was even incorporated into the final outcome? They don’t! That’s the beauty of this Delphi Technique, they only notice that their ideas were not reflected so they assume their views were in the minority and you better keep quiet for fear of ridicule from the rest. This is the crux of our situation with this citizen survey that was offered on the internet to get feedback from our citizens. If 100 citizens fill out surveys that were all ready pre-determined to get the outcome the agenda wants to be compiled later into a final outcome, no one really knows what anyone else has said on their survey except for those who compile the results which of course are those who support sustainable development. I mean really...that the final outcome of those surveys really reflects anyone’s input at all is highly questionable. Did anyone even check to make sure that those 100 surveys taken on the internet from Pickens County citizens were actually citizens of Pickens County?
You may ask why such meetings and surveys are held if the outcomes are already pre-established. The answer is because it is imperative for the ordinary citizens to assume ownership of this outcome and accept it as good for the citizens. If the citizens believe they had input in to making the visions and goals they will support it. The sad truth is they were fooled into believing they did have input but in actuality the plan was pre-conceived with little input from them. I noticed in the plan there were no pictures of citizens actually showing up at the open houses or pictures of people actually visiting the Public Reference Room in the county administration building.
This Delphi Technique is being used quite effectively all over the United States. It has been effective in changing our government from a representative form in which individuals represent the people, to a participatory democracy in which citizens selected at large are blindly led into ownership of pre-set outcomes and they claim a “consensus” has been reached. These citizens believe that their input was important to the result, whereas the reality is that the outcome was already established by the “elite” who think they know what’s best for everyone. I mean people begin to say what could possibly be wrong with preserving resouces? Why not limit consumption and reduce energy? Why not abolish poverty and establish a welfare system? Why not save the planet by trading cars for bicycles. Why not get rid of the free market system for a self-sustaining community? Why not get rid of rural private properties and opt for land settlements located on transit lines where everyone can be equal, live in stack em pack em houses and live happily ever after?
I’ll tell you why not! It ‘s called Socialism! And Socialism produces poverty and not prosperity. Collectivism, which is at the core of Socialism, creates oppression not freedom!
We are all being lured into these ridiculous visions, rules, and regulations for a utopia that will never exist. Utopia is not obtainable. Utopia only exists in heaven.
And how is the government luring us? By promise of funding if we follow along like sheep to the slaughter with these sustainable, smart growth utopian ideas. It’s always all about the money! Our local governments are eager to get those government funds (which are really our hard earned tax dollars)... I have heard it stated at meetings that we need to adopt that plan cause there’s free money out there we need to take advantage of. We need to quit looking at spending money without looking at what the final product is going to be. We need to be looking at Europe and what socialism has gotten them. Is the funding really worth what will happen as a result?
We are sacrificing our freedoms as we know them for a sustainable community that wants our growth only to occur in the center cities and avoid urban sprawl, that wants us to get rid of our use of cars and herd us into mass transit and live in walkable, bicycle friendly communities with private land ownership being highly restricted.
Wake up!!! This is not at all about “saving” the Planet! It’s all about control. Government control! Is that what we want?
And if this Council adopts this plan "as is" and does not recognize that this Comprehensive Plan is a tool for putting us on the path of Socialism you are truly NOT as smart as your constiutents who voted for you think you are, and you are not putting your 75.16% Republican straight ticket voters beliefs first. And I for one will not re-elect a single one of you. I suggest you look at the Conservatives of the Upstate’s Comprehensive Plan because it truly is reflective of what Pickens County citizens believe and want for our future.