April 23, 2005

Sovereignty Contraditictions

Fareed Zakharia spots a problem with conservative defenses of sovereignty. They are generally political in nature and ignore the economic sovereignty compromises that an awful lot of international institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, et al.

Zakharia ignores two things. First, economic sovereignty is simply not on most conservatives' agendas. Free market liberalism, a tremendously powerful current in american conservatism, is ultimately an internationalist current. It's not surprising that economic internationalism is OK in most conservatives' eyes. Ultimately, economic internationalism is a system of voluntary arrangements.

The same is not true for political internationalism. Since governments are inherently institutions that make rules backed by force, political sovereignty has a distinct character that is unique. In the ideal westphalian system, each state has a monopoly on violence. When you give up sovereignty, you risk tyranny. There must be feedback loops for the control of the highest political class so that ultimately the people are in charge, not some micro-elite accountable to nobody.

The feedback loops for international political organizations are horribly inadequate. Pedophiles in the military extorting child sex for food, sexual slavery rings that feed into prostitution houses across the first world, graft, theft, extraordinary fiscal malfeasance on top of a willingness for too much of the world to sell their UN vote and you have a mess that would trigger Thomas Jefferson's right of rebellion if these world government wannabees were actually in charge.

Jefferson affirmed that individuals have a right to rebel against tyranny. His motto was "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." From the Declaration of Independence: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown 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 [the people] 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." Later in 1776 he declared: "The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations are removed."

Under stress, conservatives return to first principles. President Bush is replaying the Radical Republicans present at the founding of the Republican party. The world clearly is discomfited by this. If we were ever to come under rule by the jokers who staff the political internationalist elite, the UN crew and company, we'd go back to Jefferson and the world would tremble.

Instinctively all conservatives know this and they know that political sovereignty must be maintained so long as the replacement is inferior. There is absolutely zero prospect of a superior political system emerging out of the international system as it is currently constituted. We're going to go through at least one more major upheaval in the system, on the order of replacing the League of Nations with the United Nations, before we have a realistic chance of getting something sufficiently good to consider political sovereignty as even on the table for discussion. To be honest, I don't think just one round will be enough.

Posted by TMLutas at April 23, 2005 06:08 PM