A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Citizen Sandor, Part I

There is a BBS called BookTalk that I used to post to quite often (there is even a link to the site on my sidebar). I was unable to keep up the frequency of my posts after I started working on another degree, and now I have this blog on top of that, so my presence over there has been virtually non-existent. I’m sure few tears will be shed over my absence; BookTalk has a liberal – even socialist – majority and I was a thorn in many sides when I posted. There is, however, one thread from BookTalk that I always meant to get back to, a response that I wanted to give but never got a chance. Now that I have a few months away from school my opportunity has arrived – and I figured it would also make a good blog post, too – so Niall is finally going to get his answer.

He asked me why I disliked the UN and why I saw myself as a citizen of The United States of America and not as a "citizen of the world".

First of all, we have to look at two definitions of "citizen of the world". There is a denotative meaning to the phrase that simply implies one is a thinking being of the planet Earth. Along with this comes the idea that we all essentially share the same air, water, and sunlight, and that anything that threatens the world as a whole threatens all who dwell here; a meteor impact in the pacific is everyone’s problem. I can agree with this idea, as it is a simple truism. However, there is also a connotative meaning to "citizen of the world" and it was this meaning to which Niall referred. It is the meaning that implies "I reject the idea of citizenship in a particular group or nation, because I am a citizen only of my species as a whole". It has a solid post modernist ring to it, and like other post modernisms it sounds smart and enlightened and revolutionary. This type of world-citizenship supports the UN as a world government and is espoused by a paradigm called Transnational Progressivism. I dislike the concept for many reasons both practical and ideological.

The first and most obvious practical problem with such an idea is that there is no unified world or species in which one can have citizenship. Since the beginning of the Paleolithic age mankind has grouped itself into successively larger communities: First clans, then tribes, then city-states, and now nation-states and international alliances. It has taken us at least 50,000 years to reach our present level of organization, and as little as 150 years ago the concept of a nation-state was very difficult for many inhabitants of Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Asia. There are still places in all of those areas where people think of themselves as belonging to a certain tribe or family or religion, and not as Indonesians or Syrians or Nigerians. A full third of our species is still trying to digest the concept of nation-state, and yet the transnational progressivists are busily trying to force-feed everyone world-state.

Steven den Beste has written extensively on this and is of the opinion that the Transnationalists are not only pushing an agenda, but are trying to convince everyone that we already live in a world-state. I’m not sure if I’d go so far, but the idea is as intriguing as it is worrisome.

My second practical objection to a world government under the UN is that the UN is an abject failure. It has never brought a lasting peace to any part of the world. It has let opportunities to head off ethnic cleansings and pogroms slip by. It is marked by corruption at the highest levels and makes absurd decisions regarding its raison d’etre, human rights. A body that puts Sudan in charge of making sure other nations play nice has simply lost its marbles (and its credibility).

Furthermore, it is inherently undemocratic; I am not represented by an elected official in the UN, therefore I will not subjugate myself to its laws. In Europe, where support for Transnational Progressivism (and for the UN) is stronger than in the states, one can already see the erosion of Democracy. Many leaders in that part of the world view the voters as an obstruction and a burden, not as the people to whom they are ultimately responsible. It is inherent to a Democracy that its leaders serve, not rule. They’re not ruling in Europe yet, but the trend towards scorn for the will of the citizens might indicate that things are once again headed that way.

I am willing to obey the laws of America and to pay taxes to America. I’m willing to fight for America, and if the stakes are high enough I’m even willing to kill or die for America. There are many reasons I’m willing to do all of those things, but the biggest is that I feel I’m fairly represented in matters of government. I feel that I have a say. As a student of history I understand how rare that is for the human race, so I’m ready to go pretty far in order to protect it.

The UN, on the other hand, offers me no such franchise. I am therefore unwilling to empower it to make decisions on my behalf.

This post has now gone much longer than I intended, so I’ll continue it next week. Part II will outline my ideological disagreements with the UN and its Transnational supporters, and afterwards I’ll speak further on the subject of world governments ... if they are possible, necessary, or even desirable.