World government – the ultimate nightmare 5

Barack Obama declared himself, in Berlin, to be a ‘citizen of the world’. It was not a mere rhetorical flourish. He has a globalist agenda under which the US will enter into a series of treaties that would subject America to foreign rule over its wealth (redistributing it world-wide), its trade, its laws, its use of energy, and even its defense.

The United Nations, that ghastly powerhouse of corruption, hypocrisy, and injustice, is envisaged as the nascent institution of world government.

Liberal left opinion tends to be against the nation state. It is the opinion of approximately half the voters in the Western world. Half the people of the free West apparently want to destroy their nations, and are literally doing so. They may explain their hatred of the nation state by reference to ‘colonialism’, as if in many cases colonies were not more prosperous, just, and free than the independent tyrannies they have become. Or they may say that the wars and massacres in the last century resulted from ‘nationalism’ so the nation must go; but their thinking would not be right, because the wars and massacres were the work of dictators, not democratic states of which the strongest opposed and defeated the aggressors.

Whatever their explanations, they have launched a movement for the suicide of Western nations.

All over the Western world men and women in national and international assemblies, ministries, academies, councils and committees devote themselves to the business of putting an end to their national identities. Patriotism to them is utterly absurd. Any manifestation of pride in their nation’s history, culture, traditions, institutions, even law, embarrasses if it doesn’t outrage them. In all the countries of Europe, and now under Obama’s leadership in the United States, they work towards their goal.

The very idea of the nation state they consider to be an anachronism; a nasty thing of the past much to be regretted. The more powerful and glorious the past, the more regretful they are. Filled with remorse for what their forefathers achieved, they will apologize to any foreigner who’ll listen to them. However hard their independence as a nation was won, their system of government developed, their individual freedom wrested from the fist of tyranny, they count it all worth nothing. Obama, whose ignorance of history should but doesn’t embarrass him, routinely apologizes for America to appalling little despotisms, and to countries that have survived as comparatively free nations only because America saved them from conquest by tyrannical powers.

National borders between European countries are already as good as gone. The EU plans to have ‘regions’ which will cross the borders of those outdated old nation states and replace them for the convenience of the central administration. American liberals – how many nobody knows – apparently look to this development across the Atlantic as a model to be emulated.

What will be lost if the nation state is lost?

For the most part, our countries have been identical with our nationalities. Our nationalities give us the inestimable gifts of an historical significance and a hopeful destiny beyond our individual lives; a meaning, a kind of immortality, a role in a drama, which, whether we are leading or bit-part players, involves us all. Just by existing as people of this or that country we may feel ourselves to be part of an endless story. Our nation is our greater self, the ‘we’ that is a greatness for every ‘I’, whether the ‘I’ be small or grand in personal achievement.  For many it is worth fighting and dying for. But now the story may end after all. For though it is possible for a nation to live on after its state is destroyed (the Jews did), the likelihood is that it will not. How many nations have disappeared from history with the loss of their settled, coherent, self-protected territory?  Top of the head guess – too many to count.

What else can endow us by birthright or adoption with that powerful plural identity which we seem to need and glory in? How will we fare as individuals without the nation state?  It places us in the scheme of things. It gives us a ‘local habitation and a name’. It defines us for ourselves and for others, clothing us in connotations derived from a certain history to intimate a special character. We inherit its language, which shapes our thoughts. It sets many of our goals, provides the chances for achieving them, holds a place for us, notes and records our existence. It protects us from foreign enemies and domestic assailants. It makes demands of us that we can fulfill with pride and delight, or chafe against. It provides the causes we may strive for or oppose. It is our home, our stage, our shelter, our fortress, our field, our base. Personified, it is our guardian, our teacher, our judge, and our avenger.

The nation state makes and enforces the rules that, at their best, allow us to live in freedom. It was one of the great steps forward of mankind when the city-states of ancient Greece embraced as citizens all those who would live in them not because they sprang from that particular soil but because they would accept a common law. The tribe was superseded by the state. (The great Spanish conservative Ortega y Gasset called it citizenship by virtue of  ius rather than rus – a commonality of law rather than of native soil.)  The citizens could have been born elsewhere, and could remain individual in their tastes and choices, but owed a common duty and allegiance to the state.  The United States of America is the greatest development of that splendid idea.

The European Union may have been intended by some of its enthusiastic founders to be a bigger nation-state itself in which people could live their individual lives as they chose provided only that they obeyed the laws that they themselves would have a hand in making through the democratic process. But it hasn’t worked out like that, and there is cause to doubt that it was ever really meant to. There were other purposes in the minds of its creators: Germany needed to dissolve its guilt for the Holocaust in the ocean of Europe; France hoped to be the hegemonic power in a union populous and rich enough to rival the United States.

In fact the EU is not a democracy. Representatives are elected to a European parliament, but that body is not a legislature and has little power to affect its laws. Tasked with homogenizing peoples who have different histories, languages, traditions, tastes and temperaments, an unelected bureaucracy rules. It is an authoritarian Kafkaesque Castle. Already a police-state-lite, the EU is on the road to totalitarianism.

True, it may not survive long enough to become as bad as the late Soviet Union because a Muslim majority will in all probability turn it in another direction. But there’s little comfort in that thought for those who have always preferred the old national independence to the new Europe with its Babel of tongues, its shameless corruption, its politically correct restrictions on freedom. If a Caliphate should be established by the emerging Muslim majority, freedom will not be merely restricted, it will be destroyed, erased from the book.

Politically correct opinion may like the prospect of the Caliphate because Islam aims to dominate the whole world and will wage jihad until it does, and then the dream of World Government will be realized.

But where, without the protection of the nation state, will the rest of us find shelter?

Jillian Becker   August 2, 2009

  • aeschines

    Roger –

    You might be right about China, but I doubt it. The Muslim population in China is growing in leaps and bounds. Their numbers have grown, according to the BBC, from 2% of the population to 7% – and steadily climbing. More and more of them enter government positions each day.

    • roger in florida – thank you for your appreciation and your comments and information. I like the story about Robert E. Lee which I haven't heard before.

      I think it is NATO rather than the EU which has kept Europe peaceful since WW2.

      A future conflict between Islam and China – yes. It is more than possible. I hadn't thought of it. I too would have bet on China, but I take the point aeschines makes about islam growing within China itself.

  • roger in florida

    A very thought provoking article, thank you. But is the “trans-national” state really incompatible with liberty, or is something else happening. Before the American Civil War most Americans regarded themselves as citizens, even nationals, of their respective states, most famously Robert E. Lee was offered the command of Union forces, but declined as he said he had to follow the orders of his nation; Virginia.
    Is the EU concept really incompatible with liberty? I would say not necessarily, it really depends on whether there is the political will and education in the populace to demand that the state respects individual rights. Of course the two major founders of the EU; France and Germany, had very little history of individual freedom.
    As for the UN and the perceived need for such an institution, we need to understand the context of 1944-45. A second great catastrophe had followed the first, a third would almost certainly be fought with nuclear weapons. That prospect was to be avoided at all costs and if the concept of the nation state was to be trashed in the process, perhaps that would be worth it.
    I don't disagree with any of your conclusions, this is such a huge subject. What is certain is that we are going to see the result of ending the nation state. It is quite likely that the result will be less freedom and more tyranny, or it may not. As for islam, while the decadent West may succumb, the Chinese won't, and in a conflict between all the nations of islam against China, I would bet on China.

  • aeschines

    An excellent and well-thought-out article. This is why I enjoy coming again and again to the atheist conservative: the full-blown articles you write are always splendid. Please, more if you can.

    You are very right on so many points here. Foremost that colonies aren't all bad. They're sometimes very good, but their existence seems so hateful to any left-leaning person. Take Rhodesia – the once profitable and beautiful star of Africa. Rhodesia was not only able to feed itself with it's white-owned farms and ranches, but also most of its neighbors. Now, under a new name and management (Zimbabwe, and Robert Mugabe), it cannot even provide enough food for its major cities. The name of Rhodesia (and South Africa) is like a hideous curse to the ears of any true-blue leftist. They were representative of what could happen anywhere with the sons of the West in any territory – true and utter success in any enviornment.

    Europe's insistence on carving up Europe like a holiday turkey is just another symptom of European malfunction and arrogance. Look how they carved up Africa – a bloody mess of arbitrarily-drawn countries and areas with no respect for traditional boundaries or cultures. Unification and alliances aren't how war is stopped. They're how it's started.

    Tell a bunch of people who hate each other that they can't leave the room they're in – then see if a fight doesn't break out.

    I think in a 100 years, when (if) we realize that we were oh-so-wrong to globalize the world, we'll ask when it happened. And the answer will elude us until we realize that globalization happened so subtly we could hardly perceive it before it was upon us. It happened when these United States became the United States. It happened with the founding of the League of Nations.

    Of course, this is all dependent on Muslims not taking over the entire world.

    • aeschines – many thanks for your appreciation and encouragement. It means a lot to me.

      Rhodesia is indeed a tragedy.

      'Unification and alliances aren't how war is stopped. They're how it's started.' Right! I have posted another version of this article on the site of The Freedom Association (under Blogs) where I make this same point with specific examples.