Anti-Globalists Pave the Way for Globalization

The First World War was largely borne out of a weak international order with strong military alliances. The Second World War was largely the failure to strengthen the international order after World War I. And the pattern continues, with refugees fleeing from crises that are caused in part by a weak order, and the migrations are made worse by not having a world community prepared to deal with displaced peoples at scale.

People like Donald Trump that believe we can shut our borders and ignore the world are missing the fact that doing so invites crises that will inevitably result in either the destruction of civilization (unlikely, but possible and therefore stupid in its own right) or a stronger international order.

Why is this the case? Because the pain caused by bad policies is eventually redressed by learning from the mistake and adding more controls against it. (As bad as MAD is, it’s better than world war. The unfortunate trade-off is a low likelihood of total annihilation for a high likelihood of avoiding world war.) We have plans in place to deal with domestic crises (even if they’re poorly implemented and subject to endless sabotage by politicians that deny reality). After the 2001 attacks, the USA stepped up its efforts on all fronts to avoid vulnerability to a similar or different attack. We tend to fail to fix problems until they’ve already happened, but once they’ve happened we at least make plausible efforts to prevent a recurrence. At least for awhile.

So the efforts by dictators and leader-fools to thwart a stronger international order will leave the door open to crisis, and crisis will provoke a stronger order. That will entail a diminished sovereignty and increased spending for preparedness, and in turn a higher tax rate, particularly on the wealthy libertarians that claim to have studied history and claim to know better.

The balance between big government and liberty is not solved by picking one. The synthesis is to enshrine rights at the highest tier of government and devolve the administration of government, within the boundaries of rights, to the lowest reasonable level.

(Take healthcare as an example. The main reason the federal government involves itself in healthcare is that some of the states have historically bungled it, attempted to deny it on the basis of race, etc. That failure and those like it, at the lower tiers, to respect and enshrine rights, drives the enlargement of the federal government, for good and ill.)

It is not a simple task, to find this new balance, but it is achievable. And with the complexity of the modern world, it becomes necessary. It requires proponents of small government to agree that it’s better to have these rights recognized while pushing functions down the chain (and privatizing where possible) rather than leaning on racism and gluttony to try to drive a wedge between the people and their rights.

Ten days. There is an election in ten days. Check with your state election authorities for details. You should have registered by now (unless you live in a state with same-day registration)—if you missed the deadline, go ahead and register for next time.


Globalism and Global Warming

The world continues to globalize, particularly information. One of the results of this is that when we hear news of global warming we confront not just our role in pollution, but our place as global citizens with all the implications.

This is heavy stuff. By analogy, software often must be recompiled to handle new data sources. The worldview, similarly, must be reworked. It requires a reintegration of the umwelt (Wikipedia: “Umwelt”)—the mental environment. It is the sort of psychological upheaval that requires a remooring in the new, emerging culture, but it’s occurring to broad swaths of man on a random, ongoing basis.

Major changes are challenging, and doubly so when the people are in denial. Job losses, relationship turmoil, financial ruin. Sudden awareness of being a member of not just your community, state, or country, but part of a broader order that includes people who don’t watch football.

While Republicans may have other, prurient interests in denying climate change, those may coincide with an aversion to this reintegration. The conservative mind is generally uncomfortable with the foreign (which is recognizable in the right’s zeal for war—the attack on and taming of the foreign). With each report of islands being subsumed by the tide, of glacial melt, of flooding and drought, all in places unpronouncable and unknown to their tongues, the conservative mind is reminded that the world exists beyond its borders and beyond its control.

Like global warming, globalization has real consequences that denial will make worse. Indeed, in many ways they will be one crisis of one cause. And at this late date, both are inevitable, but the harms can be mitigated. But not with current leadership. There are Republicans who have left office who suggest carbon pricing of one form or another. The Republican bloc rejects that, as they reject programs to protect workers from globalization while allowing it to occur.

By carefully using globalization, greater autonomy on some issues can be sent to the local level while strengthening the rights of the universal declaration. Energy consumption and production can be balanced and carbon pollution reduced and eliminated. But it takes the desire to see done, which serving Republicans lack as a bloc.

But change will come. Younger Republicans know climate change is a real threat. Educated Republicans know that global trading is not going away, and that it is a net-positive. The question remains, will change come soon enough?

The 2018 midterms are in about seven weeks.