H/t to Instpundit for linking to Globalization: Bin Laden's vs. the West's by James Pethokoukis.
One of the concepts that is put forward in today's world is that globalization, the interlinking of economic interests that will help 'uplift everyone' will eliminate many of the social ills of the world. Poverty, hunger and terrorism are all caused by this 'gap' between the developed world and the third world. Globalization of culture, outlook and values, however, also play right to the concept of Transnationalism: removing cultures, societal outlooks and homogenizing humanity so that it can be easily ruled. What has yet to be spelled out by folks is *how* Globalization is different from Transnationalism.
That is a tough thing to do as the primary proponents for Globalization, the integration of economies and the free flow of capital, are also the leading proponents of Transnationalist Capitalism, or the Transnational Right. Supporting Globalization and the export of goods has overlooked that the cultural values, or lack of same, that gets promulgated by those very same goods deteriorate localized society and culture. To Transnationalism this is a key benefit as it removes differences *of* culture for the installation of a ruling class. The view of the benefits of Globalization are given by Thomas Barnett, and I have done some initial review of those ideas in three posts: One of force structure and forcing the issue of the role of the US Armed Forces in Globalization, a look at why the US does not adhere to using forces in that manner, a third look brings up the serious problem of slanted outlook that 'free trade frees people' while, in truth, it is freedom that frees people to have goods and have security of goods from government confiscation.
That version of Globalization is that of the Transnationalist Right, seeking to utilize the power of economic forces to remove cultural, ethnic and political barriers so as to engender trade at higher end profit. Such a goal is destructive of cultures, especially those that are ill-suited to the social capabilities that are brought with them. Saudi Arabia thought cellphones were a truly wonderful invention, right up to the picture phone... and then the decay of morals could be seen and they even tried to outlaw them. Forgetting, of course, that the same smuggling routes *out* of the Kingdom also came back *into* it. King Canute had better luck against the tide.
If this idea that Globalization will bring democracy and freedom were *true*, then China would be a prime example of it after 30 years of getting more capitalism into the Nation. Unfortunately, capitalism is utilized by the regime to reward some over others, put forward no reasonable workplace standards, no real human rights, and, instead of a flowering of democracy, we have seen political repression, political prisoners and the crushing of an attempt to gain voice at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Beyond that has come the slow liquidation of Chinese culture as its society now enforces a one-child policy and sees internal migration of anyone with any ability to get to industrialized cities to try and just live a little better. China, via corrupt crony capitalism, repression and unwillingness to expand human rights has, instead, gotten a form of weak Fascism without any popular assent at all to it. Remember, that the US opened up to China in 1972, and 35 years later there is very little to show for that, save that more 'markets' have been made available to the US and we get to help keep the regime in power by offering goods to the people there. A great job for China! Buy off the population with Western goods and still retain a hard grip on civil rights. Works so very well, doesn't it?
Even worse is the problem that faces the Globalists from the very start of the concept in which it was promulgated that *trade* was more important than *fighting* an enemy. That was first put out by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917, and the thesis was that the US did not need to attack Allies of Germany and that the benefits of trade would work wonders on the Ottoman Empire. Yes, good old American trade was going to change everything! Don't mind 2.5 million Armenians dead in the genocide there.... which President Wilson knew about before making his decision on how and where to fight in World War I. In 1915, to be exact.
No, trade would work wonders!
So, 90 years on from this lovely concept of *not* fighting someone who is allied with a foe, what has the Middle East gotten? It has gotten the predicted chaos, that Theodore Roosevelt warned about at the time. By not taking to fight the Ottomans, the US was not seen as a full Ally in the War and the, oh so nice, '14 points plan' by President Wilson was tossed out by the Adult Allies: Britain and France. Apparently they didn't think much of a Nation wanting to dictate Peace Terms when it had not taken part fully in a war. By not fighting, more would die in genocide and the major powers would wreck havoc in their slicing and dicing of the Middle East and then letting parts of *those* agreements go to hell.
But Globalization was served!
And this concept of commerce freeing folks? Giving them democracy, freedom and liberty?
The major problem that I, personally, have with this lovely deterministic outlook of the world... of it all marching to the 'unseen hand of the marketplace' towards a golden age of freedom... is that it does not work that way. There are no inevitable 'forces of history' that will, assuredly, move the population of Rock 3 from Star Sol in any given direction. Even if there were a trend towards democracy, that is no guarantee of Peace and Stability or of even achieving democracy on a Universal basis. While so many love to point to the fact that 'no democracies have ever declared war on each other', I somehow see Germany doing that *twice*. While the Reichstags may have been undermined and somewhat underpowered before both conflicts, that does not mean they were not democratic institutions, no matter how debased they were. Even better is that multiple democracies have been titular Empires, mostly in trade, but the British had some degree of large holdings overseas which the locals had to protest to GET their rights. Those only came in the post-WWII decolonization era, and then for the fact that India has done rather well, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Morocco, Algeria... well... a whole slew of places quickly deteriorated after the Empires dried up.
Beyond that, however, are the differences in views between a Globalized world as so many in the West see it, and that of someone like Osama bin Laden. It is all very well and good to point to such things as the Global GDP and show how it is, indeed, rising. Very nice and methodical, that, and shows the 'march of history' and gives one a feeling of nice triumphalism and that this will overcome anything. From what we have seen, in recent days, is that the jihadi attacks are NOT coming from the poor, destitute and less well off in the world. Instead we are seeing doctors, engineers and those that would be considered to be middle class instituting these attacks. Yes, they have crossed the economic GAP!
They brought with them an authoritarian view of the world and now wish to institute it using the very basis OF the highly technical Western society as their basis.
What Globalization has done, for these folks, is gotten a cheap and easily utilized communications system together in which to run a highly, globally distributed organization, spread out cash flow so as to be nearly anonymous and/or restricted to person-to-person contacts and also found that explosives, weapons and other things can be purchased cheaply and delivered nearly anywhere on the planet. Globalism *helps* Islamofascistic views, and any other terrorist concept that wants to follow that game plan. In crossing the GAP they now seek to bring the affluent side of it to heel using their own disdain for the cultures they see as the reason to attack it and utilize the means of that hated culture to do so.
So that leaves us with Globalization *only* working if it removes cultural differences. Yes, it leaves one with Transnationalism. The idea that those wishing for authoritarian control will just 'go away' if you give them a good life is nonsense. It doesn't work to those committed to a religious or ideological outlook that sees the destruction of innocents as a pathway to power. Closing this vaunted GAP means more individuals that are disaffected with Western culture being given the tools to attack it and cheaply. That is the power of Globalization that those wishing to close the GAP from the Western side are blind to: it is not about trade, nor money, nor freedom. The fight against terrorism is the fight against the concept that a rule by an Elite for any reason whatsoever is *preferable* to self-rule and individualism.
Putting forward that democracy and liberty will win out 'in the long run' is a form of predestinationism. No matter what you do, you still get there as it is 'the better way' and must win out over every other concept. That means that no matter how bad the death toll *is*, you really shouldn't do a damned thing about it... because the freedom and liberty concept will 'always win'. That is an attitude that will get one killed in the short run as those who don't believe that and would prefer that their ideals be put forth as authoritarian ones will remove that decision from you.
If, however, you see that freedom and liberty for oneself is worth fighting *for*, then reaching out to others seeking that, no matter what their economic system or capabilities are, is a winning concept. Reciprocity and agreeing to common goals means working towards them *together*, even if the societies are different, those differences are recognized and acknowledged, and then that which is common to both put forth as a means of achievement. There is no GAP in that: there is compatibility of outlook and mutual association for same and sustainment of that outlook. A booming global economy is an interesting artifact, but the question of the utility of that power is one that cannot be put forward as 'predestined to win'. And because the link of prosperity to democracy is a weak associational one, in which democracy can be strong but prosperity low as well, in the case of China, prosperity relatively high and democracy low, there is no causality between the two. They can work together mutually, but the trade and commerce between individuals and Nations is an artifact of the human condition, not the cause of it.
We control trade and put it to use to sustain liberty and freedom.
Not the other way around.
That was the rallying cry, wasn't it?
"No taxation without representation"
Remember that? We as citizens of a Nation should have say over the taxes that we pay so that we can have common government. And that taxation, be it on income or on sales, comes *from* the value of our work and investment. Yes, from the trade of work or the goods of work. We agree, as a people, to support that common overhead for government amongst us and between Nations so that our Nation can be sustained by it. There is no predestination in that as it is decided upon by a People what is and is not fair, which does not necessarily mean 'free trade'. Free People decide upon what is fair in trade and taxation, and their viewpoints are as varied as their cultures and their outlooks on life. When we freely associate to create that common weal amongst us, we grow society and, soon, Nation amongst us. It was with deep distraught that dissolving those binding pieces of culture to form something new was so hard to do. Thomas Jefferson with the help of Benjamin Franklin wrote on that:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.By right of being a People we create a New Nation amongst us, so that this separation can be recognized as important. From that comes the idea of Nation and the best way to have a Nation that is honorable for all involved:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.We come together by commonness to form something different for ourselves. Our ideals are Universal, but it can only be built among the willing. To do that a Government is created between us, on this mortal plane, so that we can have common governance to uphold rights, not hand them out to us. The Globalists do not like this idea, as it puts forth that we, as a People, have the right to determine our own course, set it as we will, stick to it and implement it in any way we see fit.
And so does any other People who put forth that THEY are the Nation, not the Government.
This is a horror and abomination to Transnationalists, that a grouping of People dare, DARE, to declare that their outlook as a group is self-determining and cannot be dictated to by outside forces. Globalists like this not, as it puts the very heart of trade at the mercy of Peoples who will do as they wish with the fruits of their labor, tax it or not as the case may be for whatever they see as fair for themselves.
What both the Globalists and Transnationalists adore is that only a People willing to take on the burden of governing themselves may do this: the rest of humanity is left open for dictators, tyrants and despots of all stripes and kinds. Hide the despotism behind a cloak of trade or 'cultural equality' and it is then seen as no different from democracy. And to those in a democracy they will use the simple expedient of making up excuses or flat out lying about the state of the world to get their way.
Those that wish to demean the Nation called America, use any thing they can to do so. America is claimed as an 'Empire' although it holds no foreign territory, save after war and then the Nation works hard to get a competent government of locals together because we do believe that they should be able to express their differences and form a government for themselves. Where are the grand swaths of land that the United States has kept after war? All of Japan, mayhap? A quarter of Germany divided amongst the victors? Half of Italy? The Philippines? A very, very strange 'Empire' that has no holdings of its own.
But then the lovely 'Empire of Trade' comes to the forefront and how foreign folks are somehow *forced* to purchase our goods. But only if they want to.... yes, strange is this 'Empire of Trade' that has ceded vast industries to other Nations for them to utilize and expand their capabilities. So dictatorial of the US to force Sony and Volvo and Airbus to do these things... something seems a bit askew there, on this entire 'Empire of Trade' concept. Folks picking up things from us, for a price (taxes included!) and then complaining about it. What a strange world it is when giving people choices is seen as 'Imperial'!
Or the euphonious GAP between the 'integrated Core' and the unintegrated periphery. Perhaps if they all just had Fascistic governments, very much like China and Russia, we could trade with them much, much more, their Governments would put them to work, deprive them of rights and they would be so much better off with more material goods! That DOES WORK in that paradigm, because trade, donchyaknow, will transform them magically into democracies, given time. Given generations.... how about China? Free yet?
Or the Middle East? Basking in the glory of human rights and democracy, is it?
Apparently this idea of a People claiming their rights together, but as individuals, to have Government amongst them. It does not take a rich society to do that: the 13 colonies were no where near as rich as Britain was. And yet through determination and a death toll of 10%, with 15% fled, these colonies *won* to be a Nation. One does not need to be rich to be free, and even those in the most desperate of situations under tyrannical government see that such government, after mere survival, is the *problem* not themselves as a People. Those governments work to make such impoverishment so deep that there is no time for rebellion... for revolution... for freedom to exist.
Because they do not see themselves as Free People *first* and, thusly, as he actual Nation, their impoverishment by evil government limits these People. That is not something that trade can do much about, but that education and outreach can help and greatly. That cannot come *from* Government: only a Free People can demonstrate their freedom by being unafraid to practice it constantly. Give that to Government and it will be ill-done, ill-thought out and poorly overseen. Do it yourself and you have absolute control over your actions and your liberty to build with as you see fit. Helping others out of their poverty is important, trade helps, but the greatest trade is the exchange of the notion that Freedom emanates from oneself. The grinding poverty of tyrannical and despotic government is not in the body, but in the mind and soul. Helping others find a pathway to understand that is critical, far more than bodily sustainment, and doing that is necessary to allow others to come together as Free People.
That is known as: building freedom.
One dare not depend upon Government for that or anything that determines what it means to be free, or else that freedom will slowly erode as a concept in yourself and society. To be free requires the greatest leeway for one's own freedom and the assurance that those laws held in common to protect yourself will also apply to you so as to protect society from you. When Government goes beyond that and is seen as a source of *good*, then there is no end of what will be handed to it, and all those things will be the rights of individuals diminished by less competent, less fair and, ultimately, less able bureaucracy.
We fought a Revolution over that, and it remains, to this day, as Revolutionary as it was in 1776.
And it is that which Osama bin Laden is fighting against, and the GAP between authoritarianism and democracy is vast and deep because it is a bitter struggle and fight to retain democracy until the last free person on this planet dies for it. As the alternative is true poverty of the spirit and soul, and final slavery and an end to freedom.