Thursday, December 14, 2006

Age of Empire

In the beginning, there was the Family. Families formed Tribes, and Tribes formed Clans, and men settled into towns and City-states formed. The City-states retained from their prehistory, or soon developed, loyalties based on ethnic and cultural commonalities. For example Athenians and the Spartans were prone to think of themselves as Greeks. City-states gave way to nations, and nations to Empires.


Without a way to meld the Empires into cohesive cultural, economic, and political units, those conquering their neighboring lands, and eventually lands reached only by long sea voyage, were unable to perpetuate their dominance. Local hostility to foreign rule eventually overcame even close cultural and economic ties, and the empire was unable to respond quickly enough to preserve its power.


The empires broke down for many reasons: cultural stagnation in the center, loss of national will to expand, dwindling natural resources, and changing competitive conditions with the other empires.


The United States, which began its nationhood as a collection of States, has increasingly become a land ruled from its capitol. Europe has finally formed the Union which neither Charlemagne, the Habsburgs, nor Napoleon could achieve. We see concerted attempts to form a new Caliphate in the Middle East and to treat trading partners as vassals in South America. New Empires are coalescing as technology shrinks the planet.


And in contemporary American politics a large part of the pro-immigration coalition is a belief in the New World Order. Call it internationalism, planetarianism, transnationalism, or what you will, it's the belief that nations, as a unit of political governance, are an anachronism.


I do not reject planetarianism out of fear of change, or nostalgia; I reject it out of fear of its consequences. When there is no nation, but only a world full of States with all law and rule common among them, to where does a refugee flee? It is utter naivete to assume that, contrary to all of human history, a despot would not arise to rule. Competing nations are needed to keep one another in check.


International trade both spotlights, and forms the impetus for, the shift away from nationalism. As a proponent of free trade, I am irked whentransnationalists conflate my principled nationalism with protectionism. I am generally for free trade, but that doesn't mean that the trading partners need to yield their sovereignty.

Some transnationalists want a world government as a check against the influence of multinational corporations. Perhaps a world government would be an effective remedy to cure the malignant profitosis of the multinationals, but we do not know that. In any case, even if a world government were the only way to cure the multinational disease, the side effects of the cure are sure to be worse than the effects of the malady for which it is prescribed.


Similarly, that there are despots ruling in the far corners of the world is no reason to empower some ruling body with political hegemony of the entire planet. To the extent that such a body does anything, it would be as likely to do harm as good. Far better to limit evil to its hiding places. Even as regional power blocs become more important in geopolitics, the amorphous benefits of a world government grow hazier still.


We stand at the crossroads. Will we watch in apathetic wistfulness as the historical trend consolidates power over the most by the few, or will we insist that sovereign nations retain their place, and their corresponding ability to shield mankind from itself?


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2 comments:

HinzSight Team said...

The empires broke down for many reasons: cultural stagnation in the center, loss of national will to expand, dwindling natural resources, and changing competitive conditions with the other empires.

So they do break down, so they do. The Roman empire stood for what, 400 years and was defeated by barbarians, as histoy would tell us.

I do not reject planetarianism out of fear of change, or nostalgia; I reject it out of fear of its consequences.

Well put and exactly right. The consquences may well spell the end of man kind as we know it.

Anonymous said...

The solution is to relocalise.

Rebuild your community and its economic autonomy.

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