It does not take much to trace the lineage of the global governance movement. Beginning with the very first work on international law, written by Herman Grotius in 1623, down through the philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant and Karl Krause and to the mid- 20th century novels of H.G. Wells, a line can be drawn threading together advocacy of intellectuals and political leaders for the establishment of some kind of global authority to be placed in charge of governing mankind’s work and activities.
The growth of this movement springs largely from utopian notions of the perfectibility of the world–that mankind’s tendency towards violent conflict, the inequitable distribution of wealth, and the degradation of the environment can only be cured by the pronouncements of a wise council of men who dictate how conflict is to be resolved and the methods by which the world’s assets are to be distributed.
The commonalities which bind together advocacy for global governance today are fairly clear:
- A belief that the nation state is either obsolete or in imminent decline
- A rejection of capitalist economies and the role of free enterprise
- A profound distrust of common forms of human organization, including democratic self-government and the nuclear family
- An acceptance of the idea that an international consensus exists that all nations and all peoples have common goals
- An abiding contempt for all forms of organized religion
- An unwillingness to brook opposition of any kind
Such a philosophy has brought the global governance movement into direct confrontation with constitutional democracy in this century. For constitutional democracy is founded not upon collectivist ideals but upon the virtues of individualism and the ability of human beings to resolve their conflicts in a just and equitable manner. Constitutional democracy is neither statist nor authoritarian. It trusts in human nature, rather than rejects it and has its roots planted deeply in the belief that humanity has an elevated purpose tied to the existence of a force beyond itself.
Global governance advocates paint a pretty picture of a world where human happiness would be assured once differences between peoples–whether they be of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability–were eradicated.
But let’s be frank. Differences between human beings cannot be eradicated. The collectivist experiments of the 20th Century in the U.S.S.R and its satellite communist regimes failed miserably to create happiness for anyone except an elite few and resulted only in the impoverishment of once robust economies, the imposition of heavy regulation, the imprisonment of “enemies of the State” and the mass murder of millions.
Given its provenance in the twisted notions of collectivism and the state control, it is little wonder to see Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the failed Soviet empire, become one of the leading lights of the modern global governance movement. His campaigns for a global environmental regime, based on the UN’s Earth Charter, disguise a more sinister agenda–the implicit overthrow of capitalist economies and the stripping of national sovereign rights.
No one should be surprised then when Gorbachev and his other environmental advocates call for the Earth Charter to replace the Ten Commandments as mankind’s governing moral code. Indeed, it is not beyond exaggeration to refer to Gorbachev’s environmentalism as a new form of religion in itself–but one naturally removed from any notion of the existence of a Supreme Being.
Gorbachev’s activism is only the tip of the iceberg of a movement which has won supporters in the highest echelons of West’s intelligentsia, media and political classes. The European Union, for example, today stands as a model of the transference of this ideal into practice. Today power in Europe has become largely centralized in Brussels, representative democracy is treated loosely as an afterthought, and the growth of a huge bureaucracy regulates everything from the price of tomatoes to day care for toddlers.
The United Nations has its own vital role to play in this growing movement and ideology. Its surreptitious program, Agenda 21, addressed extensively in AFA’s 2011 Big Footprint conference, calls for a range of changes to be made to human conduct and behavior by imposing strict regulation on everything from urban development to the exploitation of energy resources. It has been adopted, often without a whisper of objection, by thousands of city councils, public schools and public utilities throughout the West. Proudly promoting a ‘back to nature’ philosophy, it is as direct a threat to the independence of sovereign nation states as any other program or ideology.
Non-governmental organizations play significantly supportive roles in many of these developments. So called humanitarian organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, hide their profoundly anti-Western, anti-capitalist bias behind advocacy for the imposition of international humanitarian law on Western countries. Little known to most citizens in the West, is the way international humanitarian law conflicts directly with certain constitutional protections and how its adoption could significantly trammel the rights and constitutional protections enjoyed by millions around the world.
As this conference takes place, the battle against global governance is being fought most visibly in the struggle over who will regulate the Internet and who will control our seas. The United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has made a claim that, given the international scope of the Internet, it should be the one and only agency to monitor and control its access around the world. But little known is that the drive to harness the Internet is fueled largely by authoritarian governments such as China and Russia whose interests lie in curtailing information provided on the Internet and not increasing access to it.
In the current struggle over the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.S. is faced with intense international pressure to conform to certain international maritime standards which establish guidelines for businesses, the environment and the management of marine natural resources. This pure example of global governance in action would severely restrict most modern wealthy nation states from the development of resources close to their own shores in deference to Third World countries who are given a greater share of those resources and opportunities to harvest them.
Lawfare, the manipulation of domestic legal systems to secure political ends, is also becoming deployed as a key weapon in the global governance arsenal. The movement to establish a universal jurisdiction by which foreign nationals can be sued and brought to court in a country where they have had no prior dealings, provides a view of the kind of world that could exist under a globally governed regime. It would be a world where independent jurists and outraged citizens in one country would be free to interfere directly in the decision making of sovereign governments in another. This was brought to light most powerfully when following the Lebanon War of 2006, Israel’s prime minister, military chief of staff and other political and military leaders were issued with summonses in Brussels. There can be no greater example of the reach of global governance advocacy than this attempt to expand and impose a universal jurisdiction which eclipses the sovereign nation state’s right to self-defense.
While mentioning Israel it should be noted that underlying global governance advocacy is the determination to bring strong, independent nations to heel. This is no more so than in the way both the United Stares and Israel are targeted for both human rights violations and territorial aggression. While massacres take place in the Sudan, starvation overcomes the people of North Korea and death and destruction reign in the Congo, it remains these two democratic nations who are recipients of regular excoriation in the United Nations and in the reports of human rights organizations. This so because the exercise of the right of self-defense of these strong democratic nations stands as a significant obstacle to the imposition of a universal jurisdiction to monitor armed conflict. The demonization and diminishment of both has therefore become a key global governance strategy, often aided and abetted by academics and media personalities within those very same countries.
All of these threats combine to present the most significant challenges to western freedoms that we may have ever known. The threat is so because it is largely invisible and carries the imprimatur of an international consensus. But we should not be gulled. In truth there is no such thing as an “international consensus.” There are only nations who agree to cooperate, not for some greater global universal good but in their own self interest. We should be warned that those proposing that nation states surrender their own sovereign rights in the interests of universally agreed upon values and standards are not advancing your interest nor mine, but their own.
The battle to defend national sovereignty is a long and difficult one but the case can be made succinctly and is done so in brilliant works such as Jeremy Rabkin’s The Case for Sovereignty. This conference is an attempt to join political leaders, major thinkers and media personalities from around the world in an attempt to thwart the rise of this movement and expose its true orientation and motives. And it stands firm in the belief that democratic representative government and the sovereign rights that accrue to it remains the best system for the management of human affairs ever devised by the human mind.
Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the coordinator of the Global Governance vs. National Sovereignty Conference.