Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What’s the Difference?

Internationalism vs. globalization; is that a tag-team match that requires we turn off the TV for a few minutes and actually consider the ramifications? I believe it is. It will be the struggle which will be ascendant in the political discussion and insider efforts for the near future. We can’t tell the players without a score card so let’s take a look at each.

Internationalism places the emphasis on the interrelationship of sovereign powers. By definition it acknowledges that each country has, for good or ill, its own canon of law and tradition for its own individual citizens. It tolerates the existence of variable moral outlooks and behavior based on history and local experience as well as a distinct national interest. The United Nations, in the beginning, was touted as a forum to act as referee to enable differences between states be ironed out for the mutual good. For the UN to be effective, it must first recognize that each player has national sovereignty.

In the United States, we present a microcosm of this internationalism. We have been assembled from the widest disparity of peoples on the face of the earth. We are not tied to any specific ethnic origin, religious practice, caste system, or other certain identifier. We are at liberty to pursue that which we believe to be true. We are also at liberty to discuss the differences openly and demonstrate to the world that it is possible for people of widely varied backgrounds to live in peace and prosperity, yet still keep in touch with those peculiarities which form our background. Yes, we have conflicts but they are largely a result of efforts to force opinions and behavior from one group on another. By the grace of God we also enjoy the protection of the Constitution which maintains our individual rights from an oppressive government.

Thus internationalism is an extension of individualism. Men of faith recognize that when they confront God for the final judgment, they will be held accountable as individuals and not as part of a group. The causes for those associations may well play into that judgment but it seems unlikely that we will be judged in wholesale lots.

As the face of internationalism, the United Nations is constantly subject to criticism not because of its ideals but rather because of its behavior. That criticism is duly deserved when the organization becomes bullying and ignores the individual interests and traditions of the member nations. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for men to assert their own self-interest in world forums and ignore the altruistic goals which were present at the foundation.

Globalization does not share these fantasies. This concept envisions one world transcending national borders, traditions, local laws and people’s individualism in favor of some sort of planetary dominance and direction. The opportunities for mischief and suppression of peoples here are too easily accomplished for my taste. The concept relies on the integrity of those in charge to insure the freedoms and guarantees of liberty essential to a fulfilling life. We have seen too often the result of ambitious men who have turned into despots when given the chance to manage the lives of others.

It is reasonable to assume that a world of law is vastly superior to the judgment of men. The temptation to perversion by men is too strong. Obviously there are those who would clearly benefit from globalization. The benefit, however, would unlikely benefit those whose clear direction is to accomplish on their own their heartfelt wishes and desires. It might more easily cloud the agendas of those who seek individual gains upon the backs of others. As unpleasant as they may sometimes seem, there is a reason for the rules and regulations which govern our daily lives. They provide the fabric of peace and tranquility which is so desired by most men everywhere.

In a world of international accord, laws which are thought to be unfair may eventually be altered to achieve fairness for all. Baring that structure we become dependent upon the caprices of men. As we review the histories of those who sought domination on a global scale, we see Hitler, Stalin, Marx, Lenin, and others who fought to destroy national identities in their gradual acquisition of territory and wealth. They chose to inflict their insidious misplaced idealism instead of the sensible law and order doctrines of their conquered neighbors. They generally used roughly the same template to rise to power. First, they appeal to the baser nature of their people with popular programs—generally unsustainable—of benefits, power identities, and propagandized superiority. Once they gain the support required they may then proceed to gradually abridge the freedoms once enjoyed by the people. The wolf, in this case, comes completely disguised as a sheep.. In this case, it’s a sheep with the organization and firepower to maintain the controls necessary for conquest.

I firmly believe that it is absolutely essential that each one of us has a clear understanding of the difference between these two doctrines. Lacking that understanding may lead to embracing policies (illegal immigration, government give-a-ways, deeper socialization of health care and other programs) and international associations which are harmful to us as a nation. The true test of any offering from our government has to be first and foremost; consistency with our constitutional imperatives. Personalities aside, every proposal needs to be evaluated, tested, and tempered by that consideration. It is no accident that the acceptance of any responsible position in the government (from Private to President) requires a pledge before God that we “uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.” Most of you have recited that pledge.

I believe it is the personal responsibility of each American, no matter how humble our circumstance, to be aware of the forces at work in our country and the world to deprive us of our liberties. It is absolutely necessary that we examine each and every proposal, no matter how apparently benign, with a skeptic's eye and react firmly, each to our maximum ability. The great civilizations of history have clearly demonstrated their individual ability to become failures. They did so, not because of their leadership but, by the permission of their citizens. Liberty is worth fighting for.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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