Gigantism is the handmaiden of modernity, or so
we have been led to believe. In literature, future utopias are almost
always characterized by a world government, on the grounds that presumably
the people of earth have evolved beyond the narrow confines of nationalism and
ethno-cultural particularities. Everybody wears a white tunic or body-stocking
and flies around on jet-packs. Conversely, literary dystopias habitually depict
a world riven by savagery and decentralized politico-economic units, e.g., The
Shape of Things to Come, by H.G. Wells, in which an aspiring world government
of technocrats battles the medieval remnants of local warlords. "We are
the world"-ism is rife in liberal circles, and World
Federalism has long been a cult, albeit a very small and uninfluential one,
on the Left.
However, the world government idea is – I predict – going to gain new traction
in the coming years, and this is especially on account of the economic
crisis currently roiling world markets. The problem, they'll tell us, is
global: world markets need to be regulated (for our own good, of course), and
therefore what we need is "global
governance," the catch phrase that has been coined by the policy wonks
pushing this project. Indeed, we are already hearing calls for One World from
such august publications as the Financial Times, whose foreign affairs
columnist, Gideon Rachman, starts out his
"I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot
to take over the U.S. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky
above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of
some sort of world government is plausible."
Disarmed in advance – skeptics of globalism are, after all, lunatics who see
helicopters" in the sky (over Montana, no less!) – we are invited
to entertain the idea of a world government that "would involve much more
than cooperation between nations. It would be," exults Rachman,
"An entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws.
The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries,
which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of
pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.
"So could the European model go global? There are three reasons for
thinking that it might."
Number one is the globalization of the "crisis" mentality that our
international elites have seized on as a rationale for extending their power,
and not just over the economic
meltdown, but also over global
warming and "a
global war on terror." The quote marks are Rachman's, but I doubt he
intends any irony here: it's clear that, at first, the strategy is to emphasize
non-military "soft" issues, like the global warming craze,
to mask the real issue, which is that all states claim a
monopoly of force over a given geographical area. What's different about
this "global governance" business, however, is that the new state
aborning would claim jurisdiction over the
whole earth. There would be no place to hide, either for criminals or dissidents;
no Coventry where the long hand of the state could not reach to grasp you by
the collar. At first, such a world state would have to tolerate a fair degree
of autonomy, but in the end, there's no competition allowed in the business
of state-construction: either you have a monopoly over the use of force, or
The military component would start out small. A report issued by something
calling itself the "Managing Global Insecurity project," whose membership
includes such Obama administration insiders as John
Podesta and Brookings Institution head honcho Strobe
Talbott, has some definite
ideas. As Rachman approvingly reports:
"The MGI report argues for the creation of a UN high commissioner
for counter-terrorist activity, a legally binding climate-change agreement
negotiated under the auspices of the UN and the creation of a 50,000-strong
UN peacekeeping force. Once countries had pledged troops to this reserve army,
the UN would have first call upon them."
Fortunately, avers Rachman, the only real opponents of such advanced thinking
are those poor ignorant
slobs over in "America's talk-radio heartland" – the sort who,
upon hearing the euphemism "global government," grit what's left of
their teeth and
go "reaching for their guns." Unfortunately, these hicks have
to be appeased, and "aware of the political sensitivity of its ideas, the
MGI report opts for soothing language."
The common folk just don't
understand, but our smug elites, who have brought us to the brink of economic
and cultural ruination, know what's best. The untutored masses still cling to
their national mythologies, "stubbornly," as Rachman puts it. So the
MGI report makes certain concessions to "American leadership" and
"uses the term 'responsible sovereignty' … rather than the more radical-sounding
phrase favored in Europe, 'shared sovereignty.' It also talks about 'global
governance' rather than world government."
Ah, but the European component of this team of would-be world-managers is
– naturally – far more sophisticated than that. Rachman cites an aide to French
president Nicolas Sarkozy: "'Global governance is just a euphemism for
global government.' As far as he is concerned, some form of global government
cannot come too soon. Mr. [Jacques] Attali believes that the 'core of the international
financial crisis is that we have global financial markets and no global rule
If Messieurs Sarkozy and Attali have anything to say about it, American taxpayers
can look forward to the day when they're called on to bail out French banks
and save their sclerotic economy where no
one can ever be fired. Rachman forgets to mention, of course, that this
emerging world state will have to have some means of income, and will naturally
turn to the only possible means – taxation. Ah, but no need to throw fodder
to the "black helicopter" crowd: all that will
For now, however, they're going to play it on the down low, as one of us commoners
might put it. The Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey says we've reached the
point where world government is possible, perhaps within the next two centuries
or so. Yet Rachman believes it may come sooner, due to "a change in the
political atmosphere," i.e., the election results in the United States
and the receptivity to these ideas within the new administration – particularly
Rice, formerly of Brookings and now U.S. representative to the UN-designate.
Unfortunately, there are several obstacles in the way of this Great Leap Forward
into "shared sovereignty," and Rachman describes two major ones: first
of all, "a lack of will" by our leaders, who know
what's best but are more concerned about getting reelected at home than
building a world super-state:
"But this 'problem' also hints at a more welcome reason why making
progress on global governance will be slow sledding. Even in the EU – the heartland
of law-based international government – the idea remains unpopular. The EU
has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in referendums, when plans for
'ever closer union' have been referred to the voters. In general, the Union
has progressed fastest when far-reaching deals have been agreed by technocrats
and politicians – and then pushed through without direct reference to the voters.
International governance tends to be effective, only when it is anti-democratic."
A more honest explanation of the meaning of world government has rarely been
expressed. The EU has held referenda several
times in the same countries, a process that continues until they get the
correct result. A more effective means is to go over the heads of voters and
add on new commitments to existing international structures, such as the
UN and NATO.
This is the motivating factor behind the new multilateralism that will energize
the foreign policy of the Obama administration, the sort of internationalism
that is routinely described by its advocates as "robust."
So what if the majority oppose, say, a war waged by this world state against
a rebellious province (say, Montana)? What if the richer countries resist the
imposition of a world
income tax? It all depends on whether that rather skimpy international "peacekeeping"
force of 50,000 is beefed up to proper size. One way to do it would be global
military conscription. Think how they'd sell it: Service!
Shared sacrifice! Send the kids overseas for a broadening experience of
instead of an
expensive college, which will soon be unaffordable to all but a very few. For
the more adventurous, those Somali
pirates need taming – along with anybody else with delusions of "sovereignty"
over and above the all-embracing
In such a world – which is, as its advocates say, now for the first time quite
possible – the only remaining spaces of human freedom, those outside the state,
are local entities that naturally
resist the inherently anti-democratic and authoritarian structures of the world
state. In the eternal struggle between liberty and power, the former is to be
found in local particularities, in the cultural and political structures that
come closest to the individual. Nationalism is often mistaken for militarism
and utilized in the name of centralizing political authority, but the real nations,
as opposed to the territories marked out on official maps, are the ethnic, religious,
and geographical allegiances that form natural bonds between people. The emerging
world state is naturally hostile to these. It prefers to deal with a homogenized
mass culture and does everything to discourage – and, if necessary, suppress
– all regionalism.
The frontiers of freedom, in this globalist future, will be pioneered by the
regionalists, the secessionists,
the campaigners for Cascadia,
of Vermont, and the right of Trans-Dniester
to go its own way. Gigantism is a conceit, and a fatal one, as the rulers of
the old Soviet empire learned
and we are just beginning to fathom.
The Old Right activist and author Rose
Wilder Lane told a
story about a trip to Russia, in her days as a dedicated Communist, when
she confronted a peasant who didn't support the Communist government. Rose was
bewildered. How could he not see that the Revolution was his revolution? She
argued with him, but he wasn't having any of it:
"He shook his head sadly. 'It is too big,' he said. 'Too big. At the
top, it is too small. It will not work. In Moscow, they are only men, and man
is not God. A man has only a man's head, and one hundred heads together do
not make one great head. No. Only God can know Russia.'"
My answer to the globalists – who are now saying that only world economic
planning can save us from the heat
death of the financial universe – is that only God can know the world.
By the time we learn that lesson, however, who knows how much needless suffering
will have been endured by the hapless victims of this "noble" experiment?
Socialist and Keynesian economists have long dreamed of a world
central bank that could inflate a global
currency at will and effectively regulate the world economy. As the Greenspan
Bubble bursts and the effects ripple outward, expect such proposals to take
on a more concrete character, especially with many in the incoming Obama administration
so amenable to internationalist perspectives. This will form the real solid
core of the world state, if such is to emerge, and the rest – a standing
army, the "democratic" institutions masking its intrinsic authoritarianism
– will naturally follow.