The internet was tickled by this yesterday–a video interview with Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal editorial board member. When asked about the city’s new bike-share program, Rabinowitz delivered an impassioned diatribe about “the totalitarians running this city” implementing “this dreadful program” in the interest of “this ideology, this forward-lookingness.”
“It is shocking to walk around the city to see how much of this they have sneaked under the radar in the interest of the environment,” Rabinowitz said. “The bike-lobby is an all powerful enterprise,” she later added.
But Rabinowitz isn’t the only person to argue that environmental initiatives like bike-shares are part of an agenda to control the free will of the American people. In other states, Tea Partiers have been pointing to Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations sustainable development plan from 1992, for years–arguing that pretty much any environmentally minded public good is part of a secret totalitarian plot.
Perhaps the most famous example of the Agenda 21 conspiracy that concerned bikes was when Dan Maes, a 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate in Denver, argued that the city’s bike-share program was dictated to the mayor by the U.N..
“This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms,” Maes said.
Agenda 21 conspiracy theories persist, even after the Tea Party lost some of its steam. In early May, the Missouri legislature tried to ban Agenda 21 from influencing state policy, and an Ohio school district is considering adding a new, “controversial issues” curriculum that would ask students to think critically about Agenda 21 and other topics like sex ed, abortion, and evolution vs. creationism.
Rabinowitz may have taken a beating from the all-powerful Twitter lobby, but when it comes to preaching the evils of bike-shares, she ain’t alone.