You’re about to graduate into a complex and borderless world.
So said Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech at a university commencement ceremony recently.
As long ago as August 2, 2009, we posted an essay by Jillian Becker titled World government – the ultimate nightmare. (Find it under Pages in our margin.) It defended the nation state.
Now that Kerry is preaching a “borderless world” – apparently believing that it actually exists or will exist very soon – the virtues of the nation-state with guarded borders need to be recalled.
So we quote from the essay:
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. …
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. TheUnited States of America is the greatest development of that splendid idea.
And may continue to be – if it does not fall under another administration that delights in the dream of a “borderless world”. That’s what Communists dream of. And ISIS, and the Muslim Brotherhood – and Islam itself, since its inception.
No! No! Rather wake and scream: “Build that wall please, President Trump! “