Ilana Mercer, February 19, 2003

The question of American national sovereignty vis-à-vis the U.N. is particularly timely as the calls to ignore the U.N. grow louder every day. The nattering about the threat the U.N. poses to American national sovereignty is coming mostly from the neoconservatives. The same neoconservatives, now heading the administration’s war effort, are not exactly dainty about the sovereignty and national boundaries of other nations.


If the people ought to govern, then it seems obvious that a centralized administration like the U.N. is a danger to the freedoms of all nations and their individual subjects. Thanks in no small part, however, to neoconservatives, the founding idea of a government deriving its power from the consent of the governed continues to be ignored. Forgive me then if I state the obvious: The Bush administration is far more concerned with international supremacy than with national sovereignty.


Had all that wonderful Jeffersonian stuff not been discarded, then indeed a “government of neighbors amenable to the will of neighbors” is one through which the people govern best. In other words, democratic principles or majority rule work best in a decentralized political arrangement, where most of the powers devolve to the locality and where the central government is severely constrained.


The smaller the political unit, the more likely it is to reflect the will of the people. The larger and more centralized a government, the less responsive it is to the people and the less it represents them. A forever-growing national central government is a danger to its people, and all the more so a steadily accreting global government.


A global government, moreover, constitutes the ultimate monopoly, since it straddles all nations. Once subject to global enforcement, inhabitants of nation-states have no escape routes. They cannot contest U.N. policies by upping and leaving. Once the same laws and regulations blanket all nations alike, citizens will be trapped.


That the U.N. is working diligently to homogenize laws the world over is, incidentally, a source of delight to national leaders. These leaders don’t want to have to stay competitive in order to keep productive people and their capital in their jurisdictions. The real U.S. sovereignty violators then are successive American governments. By becoming signatories to global wealth-distributing agreements and assorted schemes that place Americans under U.N. jurisdiction, our own governments continue to betray us.


For this they are rewarded with liberal love. To liberals, the U.N. is the embodiment of civil society. Liberals believe that change in society is achieved through the force of politics and that progressive leaders know best how to achieve the desired change. Not much can top the liberal wish list more than a global hegemony, working to implement an agenda that is as progressive as it is coercive.


The U.N. does this in spades. Through its many agencies, the U.N. works tirelessly to undermine traditional Western values of economic freedom and individual responsibility, and to consolidate a coercive global economic order.


Like all welfare programs, the U.N.’s programs compound the problems they are supposed to cure. As economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe points out, taking from original owners and producers and giving to non-owners and non-producers discourages ownership and production, and encourages non-ownership and non-production. In short, while overriding the rights of its unwitting funders, the U.N. underwrites and perpetuates bummery and parasitism on a global scale; its values are those of the counterculture, of the liberal.


Many liberals oppose the war on Iraq simply because the U.N. has not yet countenanced it. Once the U.N. folds on the war, liberals will likely relax their usually lax morals.


Like its predecessors, the Bush administration has an obvious stake in global government as a means to subjugate its own citizens. For instance, when global legislation cripples tax havens, the U.S. government is pleased – when it helps the U.S. government to corner and block off all the exits for its own overtaxed citizens, the administration is hog happy with the U.N.


So if neocons love a big busybody government just as much as the liberals do, and if they don’t exactly balk at the idea of a consolidated global administration, why are they so exercised about the U.N.’s impact on American national sovereignty?


So long as the global governor calling the shots is the United States of America, the Bush neocons have a spring in their step. Neocons are grumbling not about the U.N.’s obvious affront to U.S. sovereignty, but because the U.N. won’t, as yet, give the green light for an aggressive war on Iraq. The well-timed passion for national sovereignty is because the U.N. is standing between the administration and its grand designs for the Middle East.


Right now, the U.N. is merely performing a negative function. It is preventing the violation of rights; in this case the rights of Iraqis to be free of unprovoked aggression. Oddly enough, the only real duty of a government is to uphold the rights of people to be free of unprovoked violence. There are endless reasons to dismantle the U.N., but stalling the war on Iraq is not one of them.


February 19, 2003

CATEGORIES: Anti-War, Constitution, Federalism, Natural rights, Neoconservatism, States' Rights, UN, War