This political season is seeing the end of the Cold War political blocks that have ruled the Democratic and Republican parties since the late 1960's. Prior to that the Post-WWII politicians, remembering the problems of that conflict and needing to sustain a front against International Communism, put many things aside to have that united front. That united front disappeared when the Democratic Party embraced socialistic ideals in the 1960's and then put forward blatant anti-American themes about Vietnam, capitalism, American culture and the attempted to re-interpret American history in a purely negative cast. The Republican Party faltered by not confronting those moves, as was done against the 'New Deal' programs of FDR, and embraced a stance that put American industries first ( 'If it is good for GM, it is good for America') in political policy along with adopting internationalist free trade policies that may be good for industry, but do little to help advance and secure human liberties anywhere.
The upshot of these views was something that would come to rest in the US political structure that would become: anti-Nationalist (that horrid word vilified by the Left and used to demean on the Right), anti-liberal (in the old 'using human liberty to make a better life for oneself') and anti-democracy as there was embracing of thugs on the Left and Right who were not running states that tending towards liberal, democratic or western values. Between 1968 and 2000 it was very hard to find a candidate that put forward the founding, traditional values of America that embraced citizenship as a duty to the Nation, that held the Nation's trade accountable to society to let other societies know we did not support anti-liberal systems, and that US friends and allies need the greatest openness of our society so that we can grow closer together in our forthright holding that liberty is the key value that upholds democracy and free exercise of rights within Nation states.
Many of these views had been started far before 1968, of course, and many dating back to the early 20th century 'progressive' movement to try and counter socialism by changing the structure of democracy and the government within America. That shift removed the idea that central government had little role to play in day-to-day life and would put, in its place, 'activist government' as a centerpiece of the 20th century. This conception would denigrate pre-20th century views as archaic and meaningless and yet put no firm foundation of structure for what these new views actually were. By the year 2000 the ability to even teach the fundamentals of American society and history had so declined that most citizens did not even know that this had been done. That inculcation of the 'progressive' views and towards activist government would lead to an era of great change, but no progress in the firm foundations of the Nation and even to retrograde movement in that realm.
From these things would come the Transnationalist set of views on the Left and Right that were in strict opposition to the idea of Nationalism, human liberty supported by Nations and that individuals had duties, obligations and accountability for their actions at all scales of human interaction from the interpersonal to the international. John Fonte would look first at Transnational Progressivism, and in some detail, before turning that view to the Transnational Right. In each of the two political parties these forms of outlook worked to erode away the traditional values of liberty, freedom and accountability, and start putting in place a larger view that would reduce the US and all other Nations to the fiat of Transnational controlling organizations. The foremost of these would be in the indoctrination area of trade and economics that would put two dogmatic schemas forward: international socialism and free trade capitalism.
While most on the Right point to the UN for the former, those on the Left will point to the WTO on the latter, but neither side will bring up that these are voluntary associations of the Nation via treaty: they are not set in stone and only have any force so long as those treaties last. The removal of that crucial concept and removing the actual foundations of the Nation state system from educational institutions, from grade school to university level, has made getting the basics of the Nation state system across nearly impossible.
Treaties are NOT set in stone for all time. Good ones last, poor ones fail and most fail due to changing circumstances of culture and society.
Treaties serve as a foundation for international law only to those Nations that actually SIGN such treaties.
These are VOLUNTARY acts of Nations and can be dissolved by each Nation involved without having ANY input from other Nations nor ANY veto power by other Nations. As Geoff Hill (h/t: Steven den Beste)looked at, International Law is not a 'top-down' authority structure, and I will take the liberty of putting most of his post here, since it is pertinent with some of my typical re-formatting:
Law, at least as it is defined in Merriam Webster, does not exist in the international community. MW defines the term as follows:The creation of Transnational structures, then, is wholly dependant upon Nation states. Any creation of a structure that could actually *enforce* any of its rulings would not only break the sovereignty of the Nations, but is wholly pre-supposing that there is some form of investment in that body by the People of Rock 3 from the Star Sol. And even if one were created, it would pander to the largest populations for support... that being China, India and then the mass of third world peoples many of them under dictatorships, failed state democracies, kleptocracies, authoritarian systems, despots, or just plain thugs. The 'advanced' Western societies, of which I count India amongst them, is outweighed by the mass of authoritarian and totalitarian Nations and the people under them and it is THEY who would guide what was and was not acceptable in the way of rights and liberties, not the West. Whenver you hear a Leftist asking 'why do we have to be different?' or 'why can't we be more like other Nations?' the answer is abundantly clear: we like our liberty as a people and these other peoples don't think overmuch of them nor of the freedoms and rights that go with them.1 a (1) : a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authorityBy this definition, true "international law" can not exist. Let me explain.
(2) : the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules. It also goes on to state the following: "LAW implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority .
I quote the following from Malcolm N. Shaw in his 'International Law, Fourth Edition' book:Having come to the conclusion that states do observe international law and will usually only violate it on an issue regarded as vital to their interests, the question arises as to the basis of this sense of obligation...In a broad sense, states accept or consent to the general system of international law, for in reality without that no such system could possibly operate.As Mr. Shaw writes quite clearly, no international law has anything to do with the imposition of authority or practice upon a body. All international laws are complied with by the signatories -as they see fit-, and can/have been broken if said signatories view the following of the laws as contrary to their vital interests.
Since there is no overriding sovereign authority who can impose any international laws on any signatories, since any signatories can [and have in cases] flouted certain international laws for their own reasons, and since the laws -only- apply to the signatories and not the world in general, they can't very well be considered laws. They should be more properly designated as non-binding contracts upon the parties involved.
This first and most major division in American political life is becoming clear:
1) Transnationalists and Nationalists. Open borders, free trade, international institutions, and putting forward that businesses and foreign nationals have the right to set Nation based foreign policy and immigration policy is the overall credo of Transnationalists. Further, Transnationalists seek to divide on basis of ethnicity, religion, 'victimhood', and any other thing that can be given a bland over-arching schema and refuse to want to deal with the main divisions amongst mankind being Nation states. Transnationalists don't think much of Nations nor that Nations are accountable to the people inside them and would prefer that people be held accountable to government and large institutions.
As this unites the Transnationalist Left and Right there is also some common accord between the Nationalist extremists on Left and Right. The anti-WTO activists and anti-G8 activists on the Left are joined by isolationists on the Right in America in forming the extremist in the Nationalist camp. They are both representative of the same thing, the main difference being the bomb throwers are real on the Left and linguistic on the Right. That said there are, within both those camps, individuals who see that Transnationalist institutions are the way to go in eliminating the problems of other Transnationalist institutions, and they are mainly on the Left in the current political schema. The main portion of the Nationalist camp adheres to those things that are self-evident in individuals: our responsiblities and rights in forming just societies. Government, to Nationalists, is held accountable to those inside the Nation and must be used to support the beliefs of it but not become the source of them.
Like the current political set-up, this is an inexact shakeout, but helps to understand the broad landscape coming into view. It should be noted that there are no political parties of note that fall into the Nationalist camp that could willingly embrace the extremes seen against Transnationalists. A party that adheres to the Westphalian treaty concept of religious freedom is necessary both to support Nationalism and stop attempts to remove religion from the public square and recognize that it is there and gives a majority, if not overwhelming majority, of the population guidance on their ethics and morality. On the Left those that adhere to Nationalist concepts would need to recognize this and cease efforts to remove religious speech from the public discourse, and those on the Right would need to understand that the Nation as a whole respects religious freedom and not pushing it on one's fellow neighbors via politics.
Those on the Transnationalist side actually have less to broker as both see the utility of intra-divisions within populations as a means to remove sovereignty and the major disagreement is over economic capability in this new global regime: socialist or capitalist? The Transnational Left, for all of their socialist and communist beginnings, are thawing on that issue and have been talking about the need for global trade regulation and against the anti-WTO bomb throwers. That is still a nascent concept, but if that is given accord within Transnationalist circles, it will deeply solidify them into a coherent anti-Nationalist block that plays group politics over individual freedoms and supports government handing out rights (and not many of them) over this messy idea of individual freedom.
As this splits within the current two parties it is hard to give exacting definition to the actual demographic sizes of these groups. Within the Democratic Party, the push towards the Transnational Left has been hard for the last four decades and a quick look at the Presidential candidates gives that break-out (using the RCP National Poll averages):
Transnationalist (Dodd, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Richardson) - 15.9%
Nationalist (Biden, Obama) - 27.9%
Transnational Organized Crime group (Clinton) - which is asymmetrical to this concept and splits pretty evenly into Transnational and National camps - 43.1%.
Overall, splitting the Hillary amount: Transnationalist - 37 %/ Nationalist - 49% with 14% off in the hinterland someplace.
On the Republican side things are a bit harder as one needs to look at free trade, immigration and military involvement, the first two of which has been shifted to try and include Nationalism while supporting Transnational goals, but also have the Big Government Conservative problem which also shifts towards Transnationalist goals. Thus the breakout is not clearcut, as it is with the Democrats and watch words for creating a Big Government that adheres to Free Trade along with utilizing some 'pathway to citizenship' for illegal immigration become a two out of three or three out of five sort of Chinese menu on good and bad. One thing can be said about overall support for the Republican party - the sudden 40% drop in contributions during the illegal immigration amnesty talk this year puts that 40% generally on the Nationalist side of things.
Those not registered to political parties, and who are less than enamored with them and show that by not voting, are becoming a solid plurality in America and, during Congressional elections, a majority. Given the Republican 60% T and 40% N (very roughly as donations is an imperfect measurement of viewpoint) and the Democratic ~40-45%T and ~50-55% N, we can say that this breakout of political views is not enthusing to that plurality that will not come out and vote. As the two parties, roughly, have a 60% enrollment this puts the overall Transnational segment (Left and Right) at 25-30% of the overall population and the Nationalist (Left and Right) at 25-30%.
When 40% of the population refuses to find good and solid support in that sort of break-out in a two party system, something is decidedly wrong with the system itself. In a democracy NO political party or set of same can afford to so turn off voters that they will not vote as that begins to invalidate the very concept of representative democracy.
This dichotomy will see some bedfellows that are strange *now* but become a bit more apparent due to underlying views of government's role in the lives of citizens. Currently the religious right, or conservative, area has two parts to it: the Westphalians and the 'Compassionate Conservatives'. Note that this does not break along a line of religion, but of the role of government in sustaining religion. The Westphalians stick to that and letting each individual choose their own means and method of worship and of having no government sanction or support wanted or needed. 'Compassionate Conservatives' see a positive role for government in sustaining religious groups and have few qualms about government programs and funds in support of such work. Westphalians, by and large, tend to be Nationalists, while those in the 'Compassionate Conservative' mode tend to endorse more role and scope for government in tune with Transnationalist means and ends.
On the religious left, this split is not apparent, as there are few divisions between wanting more government support for social programs and more scope for government in peoples lives, and the idea that this can be extended towards religion as well. That is not to say that there has been pushback, however, with a scattering of urban churches realizing that government handouts have eroded self-sufficiency and the ability of individuals to actually succeed on their own. Those institutions stood up for the welfare reform of the 1990's and were able to give just enough cover for that to be pushed through on a National level. It is because of those viewpoints that such churches, while still preaching to the universal salvation, may also find themselves more in agreement with Nationalists and individualism than with Transnationalism and Statist views.
The second breakdown has a high degree of dependance on the first:
2) International Exceptionalism and International Acceptionalism
Nationalism and a free play between Nations and their peoples is a risky business, and there are some World Wars to demonstrate that to the tune of millions dead due to them. That era of International Exceptionalism, of letting capability and ability rise with Nationalist support has been replaced with International Acceptionalism and the blandifying of cultures and achievements, as well as dangers. Anyone listening to a litany of ills of America or the West from a Leftist will hear about: Nationalism, Imperialism and cultural chauvanism. A lovely 'one world' doctrine will remove all of those and offer... well, that is where things get murky as it is usually an end to 'wars' and 'strife' and 'raising up the poor'. These are messianic messages at their base and this is the New Religion that goes with Economics Religion of the Transnationalist Left and Right. Just remove all these Nationalist 'things' and things will be peachy!
Unfortunately, between point A and point Z there are a number of intermediary points that are left out, the first of which is the loss of individual and cultural identity to this new, global entity. And as rights and freedoms become a 'lowest common denominator' so as to NOT put anyone at peril of having been discriminated upon by someone else who has a better idea of what they are doing, that means not only a blandifying of culture but a removal of key aspects of competition that allow better worlds to be built. Indeed it would be wonderful if everyone 'just got along' and 'worked together' and the Lord was sitting in Jerusalem and all cultures were 'equal' and any sort of 'discrimination' was absent and the Holy Gospel of Mao/Lenin/Trotsky/Stalin/Khomeini were the source of all that was good.
To which the Nationalist traditionally supplies: 'Yeah, you and *what* army?'
Idealism is a wonderful thing, but the nasty world of dirt and detritus and fallible humans obviates every utopian vision from the moment it is stated: you need something absolutely perfect without any question by every single individual on the planet to work together on. Excepting an alien invasion of some sort, that is not going to be happening any time soon and the lack of Halos around the Annointed points out tha these utopian visions are just as relevant to us as those of the Shakers. We got some nice furniture from that, but they aren't a real going concern and nirvana has not descended upon us. The problem with all this 'getting along together in perfect harmony' is that unless a few Coke manufacturing plants are spiked with some real nice drug, it is not going to happen. We are human and we each have differences of experience, outlook and opinion even *within* the same organization. Just look at all the problems one man caused by his very realistic questions to an organization that was considered to be perfect and a monobloc: Martin Luther not only gave birth to the idea of individual religious interpretation but also ushered in some of the most deadly wars this planet has ever seen.
Imagine *that* on a global scale.
International Exceptionalists accommodate for differences and appreciate them, while in no way making an excuse for their abilities as individuals and Nations.
International Acceptionalists want to have excuses and caveats on everything so that some cave dwelling mud spattering is *exactly* equal to the Mona Lisa as they both represent 'equal effort' and we should not judge 'outcome' because of 'cultural biases'.
Consider this to be like a local ethnic deli, of which we have a few around here. A wonderful one featuring Peruvian food also does Greek, Italian, and some of the American basics. Quality varies and there is a bias in what they create, but the food is hearty and they give homage to the cultures that created such good ideas for food when they do their version of it. That is International Exceptionalism.
Go to McDonalds. Take something original, squeeze the taste from it, try to get to its 'essential essence', duplicate that, mix that up, deep-fry it and there you have it just like the original, but homogenized so as to be multi-culti acceptable. That is PC-talk, homogenized culture so that no roughness exists, that everything is just 'equal' no matter how bad it is, and that nothing is anything better than anything else and it is all 'relative' culturally. When one bar-b-que afficianado was interviewed about the McRib he said that when he was handed it he would shake his head and say: 'Faux 'que'.
That is International Acceptionalism.
Nationalism is to Transnationalism as the ethnic deli is to McDonalds, the multi-cultis say they prefer the deli, but end up serving you with a 'faux 'que'.
Yes, a very flip comparison, but this does point out that Americans, unlike portrayed by the Left, are open to people from different cultures that come here to be Americans. We do not, particularly, want to be like 'everyone else' nor do we want to be unbiased. That has been the American viewpoint since the founding when America was the newest weakest of all powers all the way to today as the sole Superpower.
The move to multi-culti, know no borders work is not just a Leftist phenomena, and there is a hard move by the Transnationalist Right to create a borderless 'open market' for skills and services that will discriminate not by Nationality but by living standard, so that those with a lower standard of living will guide the market for labor. That is a great help to business as it can then lower labor cost by bringing in foreign labor that has no Nationality invested in working for them and can be sent back to such conditions once they become more expensive than entry level personnel. While the Left works hard to discriminate culturally and blandify it through multicultural equivalence, the Right works hard to remove the basis for exceptionalism by making skills a commodity and at the lowest marginal cost, and thus the lowest overhead, as the only concern so that if your cultural actually tries to enforce a view that working conditions should be 'good' or 'reasonable' or 'safe' for that cultural ethos and there is a cost to that, you are priced out of that market by holding to higher standards.
Transnationalism, then, is not only a move towards cultural equivalence, so that the worse treatment of individuals is accepted as the norm, but also one of economic minimilization, so that the lowest cost overhead per skill then drives the 'labor market' which is homogenized across borders. By removing Nationalist differences Transnationalism also seeks to remove societal support within Nations so that all Nations are equally obedient and impoverished to Transnational institutions.
Much of Transnationalism sounds like early Internationalist Socialism idealism for the fact that it *is* Internationalist Socialism of the First and Second International varieties. The very idealistic idea that capitalism was just about to give up the ghost and that the proletariat was going to arise into a new International Order all on its lonesome. Transnationalism lifts many of those ideals of that International and 'fair' order of the working class directly from International Socialism, but has slowly mutated its basis from replacing capitalism to replacing Nations only. The Transnational Right brings in economic ideals of absolute free trade being a boon to mankind if only mankind lived in perfect economic order and perfect economic markets. The free trade would boost mankind into an economic nirvana where all needs would be met at the best cost to individuals at all times and everyone would have spare time to be be free.
These two utopian idealistic system views both fail when applied to humanity as a whole as humans are neither 'workers' nor 'economic animals' alone: humans are much more complex than that as our societies point out. PC multiculturalism tries to deal with that by leveling all playing fields to moral and ethical equivalence, so that the worst mass murderer is exactly equal to the greatest philanthropist. Build or destroy those are both 'cultural' values and both are absolutely equal.
Nationalism, instead of doling out your rights and cash, instead, puts forth that Nations serves as a representative for the people of a Nation and have the greatest possible leeway inside a Nation, and are held accountable by other Nations for agreements. That is sparse fare, compared to the 'feel good' pap of Transnationalism, and tough stuff to chew on, and requires actual commitment and hard work for personal achievement instead of personal indolence and praise for same that becomes the heart of Transnationalism. Instead of a reward of infinite impoverished leisure, with guaranteed health care so long as everyone doesn't take the month off for vacation, Nationalists put forward that individuals are more suited to guiding themselves and their Nation and if they want to be poor and sick they can choose that, just don't try to make it out as a better choice than what other citizens choose to have inside a different Nation.
That basis for sovereignty, of Nations being accountable to each other and having such internal differences, is a recognition of the diversity of mankind, not a suppression of it. Of all the misrepresentations of Nationalism, that is by far the worse: that Nationalism is a form of suppression of cultural expression. That gets 'cultural imperialism' tacked on to it in various ways, but those expressing that have a difficulty in explaining 'cultural imperialism' without real Imperialism. Instead we get demonstrations about 'diverse' languages and cultures that 'die out' because those utilizing those differences are either assimilated into larger cultures, or they give up their cultural practices in preference to newer ones that better suit their lives. The first is a measure of cultural vitality or lack or same, and the second, oddly enough, is people just trying to do well within their means.
Keeping a culture that is dying out due to lack of those adhering to it is a problem, and there is a richness and depth in cultures that disappears when they are no longer living cultures. Examples include some of the last purely oral cultures that have no written traditions and that still exist on stories and the songs of bards. Those that volunteer to keep such traditions going and absorb that work are highly laudible, as are incentives by larger cultures to keep such traditions living. That is a part of humanity's heritage and the world loses some brightness when such dies out as a living set of ethics and morality. When one gives up ancient practices, there is also a loss, but if modern means, say woven clothing, replaces older means of skin or crude plant based clothing due to a lower cost basis, then the only way to maintain the ancient way is to also incentivize it so as to keep it a living tradition of the manual arts. That is a much harder thing to do as the shift over to mass manufactured goods is cheap and simple as those are the exact needs that mass production was set up to meet: cheap and simple.
Part of the reason for keeping cultures as a living venue, is that different viewpoints on how to live life often yield unique formulations on what problems are and what sort of solutions can be applied to them. The Navajo 'Code Talkers' of WWII derived, as they were, from an ethnic background of an entirely oral cultural that was not associated with Indo-European language roots became a valuable resource to the US military enterprises in the Pacific Theater. Without that different formulation of language and cultural outlook many messages that would need to be secured would have to go through a cumbersome coding and de-coding process, while the 'Code Talkers' could quickly and easily transmit messages 'in the clear' that were meaningless to non-cultural listeners. Similarly scholars trying to decypher the Linear B language recorded around the Aegean had been stuck for years on doing so before a cryptologist addressed himself to it and finally decyphered the syllable based language as an ancient form of Greek. No one could have predicted the utility of two sub-groups of culture, the Navajo and cryptographers, playing a large part in other cultural endeavors, passing messages and decyphering 'dead' scripts. Similarly the concept of using cryptography to enhance archaeology was not seen as a possibility before WWII, but became a high art during the war and those artisans applied themselves to several 'lost languages' with the result being the decyphering of Linear B and an infusion of logic and math into a regime of study that had not had that beyond engineering. Applying math to dead cultures and languages suddenly gave those fields new life and increased our understanding of how languages work they way they do.
While many tout the impact of science and technology on culture it has generally been in the diffractive and negative mode: creating a 'sound bite' world and the troubling aspect of technology closing distances even as it opened cultural gulfs. Each wave of technology and media has changed the world and decreased the time between event and distribution of it from mere hours at the beginning of the 20th century to 0.5 seconds by the end of it with that last being the time it takes light to cross the diameter of the planet via sattelites or via fiber optic cable. This last has been touted as the new 'divide' amongst peoples, but the actual engineering and price points guiding this 'divide' are unlike any other in the history of mankind. This effect is best described by Ray Kurzweil and will have an impact across standard political boundaries and even across the Nationalist and Transnationalist groups as it is asymmetrical to both and oblique in its approach. The underpinnings of it, however, are described by Gordon E. Moore in Moore's Law, and by Robert Metcalfe in Metcalfe's Law.
Moore's Law is as follows from the 1965 Electronics Age magazine:
The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year ... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer.This concept has been one that was knocked around for awhile and used as a sort of quote that would allow one to smile afterwards as if to say 'this is a wonderful conjecture but no one really expects things to work out like that...' That smile began to disappear in the 1980's as Moore's Law continued onwards and would be adjusted to a fixed price point per given wafer size and would become an industry driving concept for personal computers that continues to this day. The hard limits of working with atoms gives Moore's Law an end point as the atom is not subdivisable for information processing... well... a bit on that in a moment.
The next part is more complex and involved and is an important statement on human interactivity and value added to society and that is in the realm of telecommunications networking which would open that entire conceptual field up for analysis. I will paraphrase Metcalfe's Law a bit as follows: The value of communication in a network goes up to the square of those nodes that have the potential to interact expressed as - n * (n-1)/2 where (n) is the number of nodes.
Each node must have some value and capability to interact and interconnect and the internet brought that about in spades. There has been criticism of this in many realms, but those have been on theoretical basis of 'pure actors', while the internetwork concept bridges between disparate networks with translation nodes which would be multilingual individuals on the internet. So while there is talk of the Anglosphere internet, Francophone internet and Arabic net, they all interconnect through multi-language fluent individuals and now automated translation services. The reason that this transformative technology is oblique to Nationalism and Transnationalism is that it does not properly adhere to either, even while the various nodes (being individuals) do so. This is a neutral communicative technology that brings higher information value and things like 'fact checking' with more users coming online that have potential to interact that turns into real-time interaction.
This combines with Moore's Law in increasing the availability of low cost connective devices that are easy to make with high amounts of capability. As that increases over time, so that next year's model has significant increases in capabilities over this year's, the greater extent to which more of humanity can share information with each other. Combined as power laws, or laws that have functions which increase with the square of a given variable, they have a synergistic effect in closing distance, time and, paradoxically, demonstrating cultural gulfs between Nations and even within Nations.
Saudi Arabia was very happy to utilize cell phone technology and smuggle such into other Nations that restricted them. The Nation was less happy when low cost camera integrated picture phones became cheap and high resolution the government quickly and attempted to ban them as they increased the number of dirty pictures being exchanged amongst young people. No matter what technical fix was put in place, the younger folks having more time on their hands and skill with technology, circumvented those. Banning the phones just caused them to be smuggled INTO Saudi Arabia and widely distributed through the already known smuggling channels that normally head outwards. Together Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law are attacking Wahhabism obliquely and asymmetrically in ways that it cannot easily adapt to or counter because such picture phones, and now video phones, become cheaper and more widely available over time.
Iraq, contrarily, having no puritanical religious streak and having had secular rulers (although horrifically brutal) quickly adapted to and adopted this technology to the point where cell phones outnumbered land-line phones and terrorists had to stop blowing up cell phone towers as they needed that communications channel to run their operations. Of course that played to the technical strengths of the US Armed Forces and SIGINT groups, and started a longer term mapping out of both terrorist and organized crime structures inside Iraq. And since there is no prohibition on such devices, and the capability of each Iraqi to store dirty stories, jokes, pictures, web sites, etc. on their cell phones and multiple SIM cards is becoming near legendary, Saudi Arabia would face the fact that one of the main supply areas for their problem with same was their neighbor recovering from warfare and decades of tyrannical rule.
[This next section is highly speculative, but not unwarranted nor baseless due to the technologies involved]
Due to National cultures which are highly different for all the fact these two Nations are geographic neighbors, their cultures and religion are either deeply affected or not affected at all by such technology. National cultures, then, being the relative norm on a global scale are a guiding influence as to how these means of communication will be used. One of the uses, however, is the formation of virtual communities that are international in scope and Transnational in flavor. Digital worlds actually allow for utopian societies to gather which has been the case of both game oriented communities ( ex. Everquest, Ultima Online, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft) and virtual worlds (ex. The Sims Online, Second Life).
These worlds, while virtual, have trade goods in them, be it 'discovered' treasure from the game oriented worlds to the created materials by the residents of Second Life. This was first described by Edward Castronova for Everquest and allowed for a valuation of objects in-world to gain real world valuation. With the first virtual economy would come the concept that the standard tools of measuring economies could be brought to bear on this virtual world set of systems. While hackers would attempt to undermine or inflate the economies of various virtual worlds, this would also put tools to use that would serve for economic analysis of similar crime types in the real world. Within a few years the first virtual world economic exchange systems would be created that would allow market valuation to set the exchange of currencies between worlds and for real world valuation.
As penetration of these worlds became global, the concept of a global Transnational voluntary community has been developed and is a work in progress in many worlds. Because these are voluntary associations, there is no real ability to create enforcement mechanisms for PC speech beyond that of disassociating with individuals. Those who harass others, however, can be banned by the virtual world maintainers. The status of intellectual property law in such Transnational virtual worlds is also an ongoing area, as well as ensuring the security of monetary transactions.
By combining two power laws the ability to create such worlds has developed and continues onwards with better simulation capabilities, newer ways to address in-world physics and increasing complexity for replicating real world developments in virtual worlds. The impact of these places, however, will remain strictly limited to those that seek them out but their internal internetworking ability gains external contacts with those individuals that are both in VWs and net surfers: a form of multiculturalism that is not one that levels cultures, but valuates the contribution of individuals to each culture. While VWs, such as Second Life, has seen real world politics enter into them via campaigns setting up outreach centers in them, that is only one aspect of real world politics that does so.
Out of all the transformative technologies that can be shuffled out of the deck, from nanotechnology to carbon nanotubes to robotics to self-replicating machines, the one that poses the greatest possibilities as the exact way to use it has not been fully explored is that of quantum computing. By basing computing on a non-linear system the paradigm of creating programs moves from the step-wise type of modern computers to that of quantum states being utilized to reveal answers that have a high mathematical slope to them for linear computing. Any problem that increases as a factorial of a number or via higher power states where the number of possibilies increases logarithmically to the increase in a number, the more time it takes a linear computer to solve such a problem.
Quantum computers offer, in theory, a method to bypass the linear, step-wise analysis and do decomposition of a problem based on its quantum states and possibilities. In cryptology this offers the ability to crack any linear cryptography system that uses large prime numbers in a fraction of the time it would take a linear system to do so. Such things as the 'traveling salesman problem' of figuring out the shortest, no crossing, non-repeat route between a series of destinations, become typical of the type of problems that are not amenable to linear analysis, but highly amenable to non-linear analysis. Further, such systems offer possibilities of remotely interacting system to do analysis due to such things as quantum entanglement, characterized by Einstein as 'spooky action at a distance'. Currently there are multiple companies and government agencies working hard to get QC technology for its obvious benefits, and when that is done the circuitry in them (unless started at the absolute limit of what the technology is able to do in the realm of physics and engineering) will become captive of Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law.
The ubiquity of computing that is expected by Kurzweil and others will act as a global system of pressure having a transformative change on how we view ourselves and the world around us. That is not one that naturally pressures for or against Nationalist or Transnationalist views, politically, and will offer advances in medicine and home based devices for creating things that is more like the home crafting of the early mercantalist systems than of advanced post-industrial manufacturing. What happens to drug laws and organized crime, say, if a sub-$1000 device allows crafting of the molecules necessary at home for such things? That becomes a very different world, and quickly, than is either expected by the Nationalist conception or the Transnationalist conceptions of society, although the Nationalist concept of citizenship as duty and obligation becomes one that will keep those societies that adhere to that together as coherent entities longer than those without it.
Just as the printing press would forever change religion, societies and Nations, so, too, will this new suite of technologies do that to Nations, societies and the concept of the rights and responsiblities of individuals. For the next decade or so, the end result of the progressive era of the early 20th century will play out, but that will be overshadowed by the oblique technology that will wrench that world away from the real world as the real world changes in ways that neither socialism nor capitalism have properly addressed. Where the US and other Nations fall in the final ending of the old paradigm of industrial age society may very well determine the future course of liberty and freedom for generations onwards as the digital equivalent of the 95 Theses gets nailed up to every door of every Nation, Statehouse and Transnational institution's door globally and near simultaneously.
No matter what happens, our rights and responsibilities are and always will be, self-evident. Meaning that how we cope and change with this may very well determine not only our survival as individuals, but as an ongoing concern as a species.