ANDERSON: The fall of ideologies (Part Two)
By Scott Anderson
Image Credit: Contributed by author
October 11, 2016 - 12:00 PM
"OUR TRADITIONAL RIGHT-LEFT DICHOTOMY WOULD BE IRRELEVANT TO THE PROTEST AGAINST GLOBALISM"
CONTINUED FROM THE FALL OF IDEOLOGIES (Part One)
The topic of globalism has been bandied about for years without adequate definition, but lets assume, for the purposes of this article, that its end vision is a global political, economic, and social union of some sort... a one-world government, by whatever form it eventually takes. And I use the term "one world government" objectively, without the sinister conspiratorial overtones usually attached to it, be it the "Agenda 21" bogeyman of the right or the corporatist "Bilderberg/Illuminati" nonsense of the left. While conspiracy theories are explanatory on the surface by their very vagueness and the fact that they can't be explicitly disproved - rather like horoscopes - they almost without fail fall apart upon closer examination. And if eventual world government is a conspiracy at all it is a conspiracy hiding in plain sight. When is the last time you saw a science fiction film about folks zipping around the universe in which earth wasn't ruled by a single political/economic entity either explicitly (Star Trek) or implicitly (Hyperion Cantos)? The assumption that if all goes well we will eventually end up under a single (hopefully benevolent) global government pervades our culture as a socio-political subtext for late 20th and early 21st century notions of progress.
The globalist project is currently manifest as an economic phenomenon, prescribing trade without borders, tariffs, travel restrictions, or any other impediment to the free flow of goods across the globe. This economic aspect is the most advanced part of the globalist agenda, with its genesis in the European Coal and Steel Community of the immediate postwar period, even though it has shifted into high gear since 1992 in the form of ever-wider trade treaties, including but not limited to the TPP and TTIP.
Politically it's a slightly different story. No one is explicitly talking about a global political union at the moment except in the context of fiction or conspiracy theory, but there are identifiable movements in that direction. Justin Trudeau's assertion that Canada is the first "postnational state" testifies to its currency among left-leaning elites, and what Sohrab Ahmari refers to as Obama's "transnationalism" (and I prefer to call "legal institutionalism") heralds a distinct sea change from realist international politics toward a weakening of nationalism in favour of the United Nations and its matrix of pseudo-legal conventions and institutions in hopes of an eventual political coming together toward a common goal. As Ahmari explains, "transnationalism is a philosophy that says all states—strong or weak, free or unfree—must submit to “norms” drawn up by law professors and global organizations such as the U.N. and European Union." Notwithstanding its abject failure as an applied philosophy, the consequent degradation of the international system and a concurrent increase in armed conflict and strife, a belief in transnationalism/institutionalism persists among left-leaning elites, and is behind Obama's frequent railings against the more successful realist politics of Putin et. al. as being "on the wrong side of history."
Along with economic and political changes, a social transformation is taking place concurrently within western democracies involving the gradual erosion of negative freedoms upon which the US Constitution and most of the world’s democracies are based in favour of the positive freedoms of identity politics. A vast array of socially proscribed isms and phobias now dominate our institutions of higher learning and are spreading into greater society, all designed to break down cultural cohesiveness in favour of group identities that lie outside the concept of nation-state. Any deviance from these new norms is guaranteed to bring cries of “racism/Islamophobia/homophobia” etc. more reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials than of a free thinking society, but they are absolutely essential to the globalist project. After all, one can hardly have a united global society if traditionalism and nativism are allowed to flourish.
Globalism has had the unique distinction of uniting both mainstream progressives and mainstream conservatives in support of it, and uniting both the left and right fringe in opposition to it. But since the 1990s a strange thing has happened. The opposition once confined to the fringes is creeping slowly toward the mainstream of both left and right. In fact, if not for the different proposed remedies from either side of the spectrum, our traditional right-left political dichotomy would be irrelevant to the protest against globalism. Oddly enough, a Trump supporter has much in common with a Sanders supporter, even if those commonalities may not be readily apparent to either. Each identifies globalism as the enemy, even if their respective remedies are antithetical.
So how did we get here and where do we go from here?
— Scott Anderson is an educated redneck from Vernon. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Counterterrorism, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode. Not surprisingly, he is also an unashamed knuckle-dragging conservative, or so he's told all the time.
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