|Montreal, January 18, 2003 / No 117|
by Ralph Maddocks
Each year, in a different country, a secret meeting is held which is attended by a number of prominent politicians, government representatives, bankers, industrialists and academics. The conference, known as Bilderberg, is named after the Bilderberg Hotel in Osterbeek, Holland, where the original meeting was held in 1954 under the Chairmanship of HRH Bernard, Prince of the Netherlands. Many countries are represented at each meeting which publishes no proceedings, among them Canada which in 1967 for example sent four representatives: a banker, a Toronto University professor, a former Ambassador and the then Minister for External Affairs. At that time the post was held by none other than the late Paul Martin Sr. Along with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group is alleged to be among the prime movers in the creation of the New World Order, a collaborative effort to establish "World Government."
Thus it was not very surprising to read the speech by the late Paul Martin
Sr's son at the University of Toronto convocation address on Tuesday 17
December 2002. The younger Mr Martin, heir apparent to the Chrétien
legacy of governmental incompetence, believes that Canada is the only country
on the planet able to shape the future of global government. Many may have
found this surprising since we don't seem to be doing all that well when
it comes to governing ourselves as a nation-state, a form of government
which Mr Martin seems to believe is no longer adequate in a globalized
world. He admits that the USA is not interested in a new model of global
governance, the Europeans are too busy building Europe, the countries of
the Far East are too busy with old rivalries and Latin America is mired
"deep in economic problems" and "poverty and misery." Hence his view that
Canada is the one country with the capacity to understand the direction
in which the world must go. Mr Martin believes that immigration in Europe
and the US has not changed their "core identities" whereas in Canada the
immigrants "are in the process of changing and enriching fundamentally"
This brings me back to Transnational Progressivism about which I wrote in my last article. Among the lengthy list of points which John Fonte raised in his article, was one he described as the Demographic Imperative. This, he explained, means that the Tranzis require Americans to alter their value system because of the major demographic changes which are occurring there as massive immigration from non-Western countries takes place. The Tranzis claim that the global interdependence of the world's peoples and the transnational connections among them will increase and that these changes will make the traditional paradigm obsolete. In other words, a society based on individual rights, majority rule, national sovereignty, citizenship, and the assimilation of immigrants must be changed to a system promoting "diversity" or group proportionalism.
The Tranzis then would redefine democracy and "democratic ideals." The system of majority rule among equal citizens would yield to power sharing among ethnic groups composed of citizens and non-citizens. Fonte provides as an example, the words of the Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castenada who wrote that it is "undemocratic" for California to exclude non-citizens, specifically illegal aliens, from voting. A view which is supported by the former US Immigration and Naturalisation General Counsel, T. Alexander Aleinikoff, who declared that "[we] live in a post assimilationist age," adding that majority preferences simply "reflect the norms and cultures of dominant groups," (as opposed to the norms and cultures of "feminists and people of colour.") In effect what is being said is that American democracy is not authentic and that "real" democracy is yet to be created when the different "peoples" or groups within America "share power" as groups.
The Tranzis have been active in recent years busily deconstructing the symbols and traditions of the Western democratic nation-states. In the UK, a Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain chaired by the Labour life peer Lord Parekh denounced the concept of "Britishness" as having "systemic [...] racist connotations." The noble peer declared too that, instead of defining itself as a nation, the UK should be considered a "community of communities." The Commission found the concepts of "Britain" and "nation" troubling. Other pronouncements from this gathering of like-minded globalists sought to recognise Britain formally as a "multicultural society," whose history needs to be "revised, rethought, or jettisoned."
The USA has not escaped similar deconstructionist activity and the view is being advanced that the US civilisation is not a Western nation formed by European settlers, but a "convergence" of three civilisations, Amerindian, West African and European. A proposition which has become dominant in America's public schools.
Another concept which is being advanced, writes Fonte, is that citizenship should be "denationalised." In the name of "inclusion," "social justice," "democratic engagement" and "human rights" some theorists argue for "transnational citizenship," "postnational citizenship" or even "global citizenship" embedded in international human rights accords and "evolving" forms of transnational arrangements. To this end, a number of books have been published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, dealing with such matters as "challenging traditional understandings of belonging and membership" in nation-states and "rethinking the meaning of citizenship." These essays by authors from countries such as France, Germany, Britain and Canada argue for new and "evolving" transnational forms of citizenship as a normative good.
Fonte believes that the theory of transnationalism will be the next stage of the multicultural ideology and he expects it to be for the first decade of the 21st century what multiculturalism was during the last decade of the 20th century. A kind of multiculturalism with a human face, a concept that gives the elites an empirical tool (a plausible analysis of what is) and an ideological framework (a vision of what should be). My dictionary defines plausible as being "apparently right, using specious (pleasing to the eye) arguments." Those who argue in favour of transnationalism believe that globalization requires some form of transnational "global governance" because, like our Mr Martin, they think that the nation-state and the concept of national citizenship are not suited to dealing with the global problems we may expect in the future.
We can expect to be bombarded with all kinds of combinations of terms preceded by the word transnational such as "t-citizenship," "t-actors," "t-organisation," "t-migrants,"and "t-jurisprudence." Academics at public policy conferences will be spouting these words, just as during the last decade they wittered on about multiculturalism and education, law, literature and citizenship. A distinguished anthropologist from the University of Chicago has opined that the USA is in transition from being a "land of immigrants" to "one node in a post-national network of diasporas."
According to Fonte, the arguments about globalization which will dominate public debate during the early part of this century will use transnationalism to shape it. Those who believe in the concept of the nation-state will be castigated as backward looking anti-globalists, and those who espouse transnationalism will be praised as forward-looking globalists. Those who believe in internationalism and free market economics will have to insist that the argument is not between the globalists and the anti-globalists but over the form that Western global engagement should take in the future: transnationalist or internationalist.
Mr Fonte defines the social base of global progressivism as a "rising post-national intelligentsia," loosely defined as including three elements; the producers of ideas and concepts, the popularisers of ideas and values and the practitioners who implement ideas and values at all levels. He says that to belong to this group intelligence is not particularly required and could include anyone from a Western government official to a kindergarten teacher pushing the crudest form of multiculturalism. He cites as examples, John O'Sullivan's "... lumpenintelligentsia of teachers, librarians, researchers, small-town-newspaper "liberals," clergymen, and assorted ancillary brainworkers," first posited in his article in the October 15, 2001, issue of National Review.
The leaders in this post-national intelligentsia, according to Fonte, will include law professors at prestigious Western universities, activists in the NGOs, UN and EU bureaucrats and administrators, corporate executives and politicians throughout the West. Fonte cites such luminaries as Anthony Giddens, the "Third Way" theorist who has said already that he is "in favour of pioneering some quasi-utopian trans-national forms of democracy." Others include Martha Nussbaum, the Chicago University Professor of Philosophy, who calls for reinvigorating the concept of "global citizenship" denouncing patriotism as "indistinguishable from jingoism."
In addition, we have the Italian Marxist theorist – a jailed former associate of Italy's Red Brigade – Toni Negri, and Duke University Literature Professor, Michael Hardt – a former student of his – whose best-selling book Empire has been praised by the New York Times as the next big idea. Empire used Marxist concepts such as the "multitudes" (read "the masses") versus the Empire, attacking the power of the global corporations and called for a new form of "global" or transnational democracy.
On the other side he quotes Strobe Talbot – of whom we heard in QL no 115 (see SOCIAL GLOBALIZATION) – and the late Carl Gerstacker, Chairman of Dow Chermical in the 1960s and 1970s, who expressed the libertarian thread of transnationalism when he declared "I have long dreamed of buying an island owned by no nation and of establishing the World Headquarters of the Dow Company on the truly neutral ground of such an island, beholden to no nation or society."
While some of this may seem diffuse and uncoordinated it should not be forgotten that many of the NGOs spend a great deal of their time trying to bring about transnationalism. These social movements with their ideologies of "global governance" and "transnationalism" imply that there is some kind of inevitability about it all because it is the result of social forces or the movement of history. It isn't. If it happens at all it will be like all the previous movements such as the Bolshevik Revolution, the New Deal, the European Union and the National Socialist Revolution. It will be because of the exercise of political will by elites who mobilised their strengths and conquered all their opponents. Just like "diversity" and "multiculturalism," transnationalism and global governance are not the forces of history but simply ideological tools advocated by the activist elites.
What is being attempted is the achievement by the NGOs of political ends that cannot be achieved by democratic means. It is done by going outside the democratic framework and is exemplified by such issues as the International Criminal Court, the UN Convention on Women's Rights, the Kyoto Treaty on global warming, etc. The latter being particularly pertinent in Canada where we have just seen the Kyoto Treaty rubber stamped by a parliament whose elected Liberal majority feared the political consequences of opposing their discredited leader in his quest for a so-called legacy. In an Ipsos-Reid poll, almost half of Canadians (45%) said that the Government of Canada "should withdraw from the Kyoto protocol and develop a made-in-Canada plan for reducing greenhouse gasses." Essentially the same number (44%) said that Canada should "ratify the Kyoto Protocol," but, one in ten (9%) said they "don't know" what the federal government should do.
Dissent was even greater in the West, but objections by the Western Provinces were completely ignored and cosy deals are alleged to have been cut with industry groups located in heavily Liberal voting provinces. The electorate at large was never consulted at all of course. Perhaps not all that surprising, given that few, if any, of our elected representatives understand the treaty's implications or the economic fallout to be expected from its implementation.
The recent UN Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia in Durban is a perfect example of the NGOs at work. Some fifty of them, including the Mexican-American Legal Defense (sic) and Educational Fund, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, the NAACP, the International Human Rights Law Group and many more, called upon Mary Robinson, then UN Human Rights Commissioner, to hold the USA "accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination that men and women of color (sic) face at the hands of the US criminal justice system." The result of this exercise in chicanery was the passing of a number of resolutions demanding reparations for the Trans-Atlantic slave trade of the 17th to 19th centuries, ignoring of course the 14 million African slaves who were sent to Islamic lands during that same period. Demands that the USA "publicly acknowledge the breadth and pervasiveness of institutional racism" which "permeates every institution at every level," accompanied calls for a declaration that "racial bias corrupts every stage of the US criminal justice process from suspicion to investigation, arrest, prosecution, trial and sentencing."
The NGOs denounce free market capitalism as "a fundamentally flawed system" and insist that the US ratify all major UN "human rights" treaties. Although, in 1994, the USA ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) it refused to accept the restriction of certain types of speech and political activity permitted by the First Amendment
For the US to agree to these terms would mean the abandonment of constitutional guarantees of free speech, federalism, and majority rule – all the concepts upon which the US is based. What is interesting is that the language used in almost all UN conventions, such as the Convention on Women's Rights and the International Criminal Court – which ignore the guarantees of the US Constitution – was written by Western NGOs and Americans.
Many of the international law professors and NGOs advocate the elimination of the distinctions between citizens and non-citizens, vigorously opposing assimilation of immigrants into what they see as the "dominant Anglo culture." They attack what they call "archaic notions of sovereignty" and call for the elimination of the differences between the citizens and non-citizens in all federal laws. They propose dropping the hyphenated American in favour of the "ampersand" individual and suggest that those who are say, "Mexican & American" should be allowed to vote in both countries. One can imagine the damage this might do, where large numbers of people living outside their native country could destroy the policies of the government in their country of origin without suffering the consequences.
The consequences of transnational progressivism can be seen vividly in the European Union where they are moving to absorb the component nation states into a supranational post-democratic structure. The resulting denial of the authority of the nation state, as well as the transfer of policymaking authority from the governed and their elected representatives to a professional bureaucracy, is a marked change from the idea of popular sovereignty once present in Europe's democracies. That countries such as those from the former communist bloc raise little fuss about the prospect is perhaps understandable, they see little change; but that the populations of democracies such as those of France and especially England seem to be rushing willingly into this bureaucratic maelstrom is beyond this chronicler's comprehension.
Fonte ends his paper by suggesting that a fourth dimension be added to the conceptual framework of international politics. The three present dimensions are the competition and conflict between and among nation states (and supranational ones like the EU), the competition between civilisations and thirdly, the division (and conflict) between the democratic world and the undemocratic world. Fonte's proposed fourth dimension is the conflict between the forces of liberal democracy and the forces of transnational progressivism. He sees the conflicts and tensions within these dimensions as occurring simultaneously and being affected by each other, believing that they must be incorporated into any understanding of the world in the 21st century.
He concludes that Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" theory – wherein Fukuyama suggested that liberal democracy is the final form of political governance – is wrong.
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