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Globalism versus Globalization

22 Jul 2016

President Obama has shown his true colors again.  In a speech to a group of ambassadors gathered at the White House (July 15) he said this:

“I think we have to step back [from the Nice attack] and reflect on what we are doing to eliminate this kind of chronic violence. It’s been a difficult several weeks in the United States.  But the divide … is between people who recognize the common humanity of all people and are willing to build [international] institutions that promote that common humanity, and those who do not — those who would suggest that somebody is less than them because of their tribe, or their ethnicity, or their faith, or their color.  And those impulses [for solidarity] exist in all our countries.  And those impulses, when we do not speak out against them and build strong institutions to protect people from those impulses, they can take over, they can be unleashed — so that all of us [international leaders] have responsibilities.”

Clearly terrorism is one of the issues in mind, as are the recent police shootings in the United States.  What I find interesting however is the president’s language distinguishing two groups of people.  The one, he says, “recognize[s] the common humanity of all people and are willing to build [international] institutions that promote that common humanity”  The other are those not willing to build such institutions.  The former appears to refer to the advocates of globalism, which the president has consistently favored.  The latter he labels as “those who would suggest that somebody is less than them because of their tribe, …ethnicity,…or faith,…or color.”  That is a pretty stark contrast.  If you are a globalist (which I will define in a moment) you are enlightened.  If you are one who believes in national sovereignty, you are narrow-minded.

Globalism as a kind of ideology has been studied more in recent years.  I recommend a book by Mark Mazower entitled Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present.  Globalism is not new, but it also received little attention until the 1980s, except to praise its goals.  Nor do I define Globalism as the same thing as globalization (an economic concept for the most part).  I liken Globalism to the Progressive movement in America between 1890 and 1925.  Progressivism was a microcosm of Globalism.  It was predicated on the idea of elites who “knew better” than ordinary people what was best for them.  The state then takes over many more functions previously left to individuals or civil society.  And the governmental functions are centralized at the national level for Progressivists, who then would seek to establish large bureaucratic agencies consisting of “unbiased experts.”  It is true that Progressives also advocated democracy, but of a limited kind.  The “people” would elect their representatives but then their representatives exercised pretty much unlimited power.  Globalism then is about political and legal authority and power, not so much about free trade.

Globalism simply extends Progressivism to a worldwide scale, with international government as an ideal, and suppression of national sovereignty.  Globalists go beyond mere cooperation.   Their goal is to essentially (in practice if not in reality) to eliminate national boundaries and place all humanity under a single government, ruled from who knows where and by who knows—I suppose from Brussels and ruled mainly by professional politicians and bureaucrats.  Please don’t misunderstand.  There is a time for international cooperation to address trans-national issues.  I think Obama is a true believer in Globalism, if he could achieve it.  Ordinary people cannot be trusted, but elites can.  In this case the global elites will know what is best for all of us, just as the European Union now operates on behalf of the citizens of Europe, or the national government of the United States operates on citizens.  In those latter two cases we see large bureaucratic agencies cranking out new rules and regulations ate a dizzying pace, all in the name of our “common good.”  We also see, in both cases, courts making rulings that facilitate those agencies at the expense of national sovereignty and also real freedom in markets and for individuals.

Some so-called conservatives also advocate a kind of Globalism, mainly of the economic variety.  They are generally less dangerous to national sovereignty, except where they would allow unlimited immigration with little screening, and where they would want trade agreements that really don’t promote free trade, but rather cronyism.  But at least for them, national boundaries remain intact in reality and in practice.

Globalism as a political ideology is something to be concerned about.  Globalism as an idea about trade and exchange of ideas is generally something to embrace.  It is really what I called globalization above. We need to discern the difference and resist the kind of Globalism that President Obama and most of the world’s ambassadors (his audience) would welcome at a huge cost to us as a nation.  But globalization can, if we aren’t vigilant, turn into globalism that economically amounts to cronyism.

But before I stop it is also worth emphasizing the potential cost to religion of ideological Globalism.  To begin with, Globalists generally disdain religion, or at best, barely tolerate it.  If they actually had a world government, they might well attempt to suppress all religion, including Christianity, as divisive.  Yes, here in America we face the danger of conflating Christianity with nationalism or patriotism.  But at least, for now, we can relatively freely express our religious beliefs and practices.  Globalism, by its very nature would seek a uniformity that would reduce all religion to some common denominator, some minimal civil religion, or nothing at all.  On this, they do differ from the Progressives, who used a deviant (theologically liberal) version of Christianity to suit their aims.  This is another reason to be very suspicious of Globalism.

I might be accused of being a conspiracy theorist here.  I am not.  But there are many individuals who make common cause to promote a Globalist agenda that would certainly benefit them and would comport with their own ideological leanings.  They tend to “flock together like birds of a feather.”