giving it away

As much as I tend these days toward international interventionism, I see a real danger in the simple acceptance of the idea of international law. That, itself, is more of a threat to sovereignty than armies could ever be. It gives it up without a fight and without a thought. Opens the door to tyrants and invites them in.

The UN is a fabulous example but look at how many people just love it.

They LOVE the idea of being ruled by some genocidal despot from the third world who’s been appointed to sit judgment over them.

How messed up is that?

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11 Responses to “giving it away”

  1. on 12 Apr 2008 at 1:42 pm Ymarsakar

    About as messed up as the EU. Although I suppose it is a competition between the two to see who can enslave more of humanity.

  2. on 12 Apr 2008 at 2:16 pm Synova

    I know you watch Anime’ Ymar. I was watching an Appleseed movie (the one produced by John Woo?) and was struck by the notion that global rule was seen as an obvious and desirable path to global peace.

    I was nearly convinced that the “bad guys” were going to be the leadership of Olympus. But the bad guys really didn’t have a different plan… it was all about making everyone ‘one’. The difference being that the bad-guy’s plan would wipe out half of humanity. And the “good guys” provided the means by the global consolidation of authority over military communications. (I was yelling at the movie a bit from time to time.)

    But even so… the wisdom of a pan-global authority was never questioned.

  3. on 13 Apr 2008 at 7:22 am Ymarsakar

    and was struck by the notion that global rule was seen as an obvious and desirable path to global peace.

    Like all things, it really depends on who the heck is at the helm using the tools of “global peace” or govmint. It matters a whole heck of a lot concerning the system of global peace, say deus ex machina like AI-Gods, but it also matters who the heck is in positions of leadership in any system.

    Even if the EU and the Un were given utopia and everlasting peace, they would make war and suffering out of nothing. Because that is just what they do, that is what they are good at, and no system of peace or justice or global government will ever erase the evil in the hearts of the people at the EU and the UN.

    On my blog, I covered in depth the weird contortions and configurations that go into civilized and barbarian cultures.

    The short story is that there is an artificial and unnatural progress of human society and government based upon the fundamental human traits such as loyalty to blood, genes, life, and family. Self-preservation is encoded in our DNA and our spinal reflexes to protect number 1. Except nature defines Number 1 as “any number of combinations of DNA sequences that result in a successful and hardy species”. Which means you also feel emotion and compassion and care for your family members, people linked to you because they share some or most of the same DNA sequences. Then using this, we can progress to some advanced hunter-gatherer societies that form their government and system of rule over tribes. One tribe or simply many tribes working together, a tribe defined as a unit of human hierarchy composed of all blood related members.

    A person feels loyalty to his tribe because his tribe takes advantage of an individual’s self-preservation instincts and emotions towards close family. Protecting, killing for, and dying for the tribe also protects family.

    The city-state is close to the next progression in unified human development. You have a bunch of people living in the same city, in a close geographic proximity. Rome had many families in the beginning and acquired more when Italian city-states joined together in a republic, meaning a nation. The city-state is composed of many different families and tribes, but when an external threat hits them, tribal loyalties go under the hood and get replaced by loyalty to their city. Sparta and Athens are good examples of this kind of thing.

    The nation or the empire is the next stage of progression, where a person’s loyalty can now extend, justly, not just to themselves or their blood relations, but to total strangers that just happen to be living in their “nation”. They are bound by both geographic location, some ethnic blood ties, but most of all they are bound by a cultural and national identity which supplements the family loyalty relationship.

    All of this was designed to ensure that human beings could cooperate to a greater extent, and thus achieve greater chances of survival.

    The EU and the UN cannot unify the world in any kind of system, because they do not know how to progress from nationalism to globalism. The amount of effort and unity and wisdom required to launch a city-state like Rome to a Republic and then an expanding pseudo-Empire, is not within the grasp of the so called international institutions on this planet. They are not wise enough. They are not courageous enough. They are not strong enough. Europe only attained its present period of peace because of American strength and wisdom. The amount required to progress from nationalism to globalism as an identity which people hold, is at least an order of magnitude greater than the effort required to launch a city-state into a republic.

    So like most people who can’t get what they want by earning it, they cheat. Human beings can be united by more than loyalty to family. They can be united by terror, by force, by indoctrination, and by any number of other dark age, medieval, and totalitarian methods from our history.

    In point of fact, global government can only come with the minimum of effort and wisdom if there is an external enemy to worry about. No external enemy means no incentive for individual nations to unify. Just like without Persia, there was no incentive for the city-states of Greece to unify. It takes wars to unify people, because it is only in war that people of different faiths, backgrounds, families, and cultures can learn to trust one another. You can learn this in peace, but most people in peace are too busy living their life to worry about some foreigner 20k miles away. In war, everyone is suddenly now interested in the enemy. This has often led to meaningless waste of resources, until the nation of America came about and solved the problem of waste in warfare. Not waste in manpower, not waste in time and effort, but the waste in human progress. America found a way to progress human civilization, culture, and government further with every war America was involved in. Up until Vietnam, that is. No other nation in human history may be said to have achieved this. Even Rome was only ever able to dominate conquered territory, they could never quite get to the point where they could improve their defeated enemies except through dominating and enslaving them. Compare this with the US Civil War, in which the Union, the predecessor of the current United States, fought not to enslave and dominate, but to free and to uplift people and cultures so that they could determine, for themselves, what was in their best interests. The people of the South deserved more than slavemasters and Democrat power politicians disenfranchising poor whites and black freed slaves. Reagan finally brought redemption to the South, not the Democrats that “redeemed” the south by terrorizing blacks and toppling Republican governments after the Civil War. A redeemed region produces very good and loyal soldiers and warriors, just like the South in which the honor code finally found some cause honorable enough to follow. A nation that has failed to be redeemed by America, looks like South Vietnam.

    In conclusion, global peace as being a derivative or function of global government is an illusion. A human manufactured illusion at that. Global peace, as defined by the refusal of the globe to fight each other, is only ever functionally feasible when there is an external enemy to fight. Meaning, another world or a threat in space, since any external threat has to come from outside this globe.

    For people to make illusions about how it can be otherwise, those people are talking about requiring a fundamental change in human nature. And the only people that ever wanted to change human nature permanently, one way or another, were Nazi eugenic believers, slavemasters, and human rights commission wannabes. Not exactly a coalition a good person would want to be part of, since good people can earn progress towards a better future, they don’t need to cheat and change basic human nature.

  4. on 15 Apr 2008 at 11:29 pm Joshua Foust

    I just saw this, and I’m confused. How can you be all about international interventionism but all against international law? Why is law (in its current form negotiated treaties ratified by the Senate and adopted into US law) an intolerable violation of sovereignty, but the invasion of another country for some reason or another is not? And how is law a much more severe violation of sovereignty than the violent occupation of a foreign army?

    I’m missing something.

    You’ll also find little love of tyrants amongst those outside the UN advocating more legal structures to limit tyrants. When I made an argument similar to your own at, over the UNHCHR’s tour of Central Asia, I was rather viciously attacked by an executive in the International Crisis Group. He made the argument that their activities (which he distinguished from the excretable Human Rights Council) actually do limit atrocities and foster openness.

    I have my doubts about his faith in the efficacy of tours and meetings. But I don’t doubt or disparage his motives. That might be worth considering too.

  5. on 16 Apr 2008 at 1:11 am Synova

    I’m still struggling with a way to define the conceptual ‘thing’ in a way that makes sense.

    The best I can come up with now is…  If I intervene with my neighbor by either helping with the kids or bringing a casserole or lending my lawn mower… or if I see a burglar and call others to help or go over and take action myself (invited or not)… or if her boyfriend beats her and I bring my baseball bat and help run him off (invited or not)… any of those things are intervention.   *None* of those things is me or anyone else claiming authority or being coerced.   Though I suppose some people don’t want to be rescued from abusive boyfriends and will be mad in which case it’s between me and my neighbor and she can tell me to shove off.

    Intervention doesn’t necessarily require a third party authority to exist over those involved.

    Granted, there are laws between me and my neighbor, but the fact that I favor involvement and intervention is something different than those laws.     Separate issues.



  6. on 16 Apr 2008 at 3:39 pm Lance

    “I’m missing something.”

    Yep. Totally different issues.

  7. on 17 Apr 2008 at 5:12 pm Joshua Foust

    Again, I don’t get it. Sovereignty exists, until we decide a moral line has been crossed, then we assert the right to intervene, but because we’re right it’s not coercion? What if (and realize I am intentionally exaggerating) Canada were to decide our denial of universal healthcare was a serious human rights violation and chose to overthrow our government to replace it with a theoretically more compassionate one?

    Should we invade and topple China because they brutalize hundreds of millions of people? How can other conflicts compare? Is is scale, immediacy, media coverage, trendiness, ethno-centric considerations, or some other measurement that makes us right all the time and everyone else wrong? In a world with limited resources, how do you prioritize which intervention must take place, under which circumstances?

    The problem with playing God is that we are not God. I don’t want to start a fight here because I am honestly trying to figure out the concept you’re advancing, Synova, but this strikes me as incredibly hypocritical.

  8. on 17 Apr 2008 at 6:37 pm Lance

    “but because we’re right it’s not coercion?”

    You must not get it because that is a non sequiter. We were discussing intervention versus International law, which are different topics. Whether intervention is coercion or not (and it certainly is coercive of someone, though some in the place intervened might call it a lifting of coercion) has no bearing on that.

    Your questions on the merits of intervention and what factors go into the decision are fair ones, but they apply to intervention, not to international law.

    To answer your question, there is no good answer. There is also no good answer to why we shouldn’t intervene. In the end, whether we do or do not intervene it will be due to a number of factors which cannot be formulated ahead of time, or made generally applicable, or avoid some measure of hypocrisy. There are too many grey areas.

    Nor does Synova posit anywhere in that that we are right all the time. First of all, that is an impossibility, whether we do or do not intervene. Even if we had the moral and intellectual intelligence to be so right, and we do not, we lack the information to make such a decision. We are left muddling through.


  9. on 17 Apr 2008 at 6:38 pm Lance

    In fact, we lack the information to do it after the fact.

  10. on 17 Apr 2008 at 6:56 pm Joshua Foust

    Lance, I know the question was a non-sequitur — that’s why I asked it, because that’s what she seemed to be saying. I get that you’re both saying the idea of interventionism and int’l law are different things, but in the original post, she places them in contrast with each other, claiming interventionism is less destructive of sovereignty than int’l law. And I don’t get that. Hence my other questions, which were meant to highlight that interventionism — no matter its occasional moral motivations — is in fact far more sovereignty-destructive than a set of laws which limit eggregious behavior amongst its (uncoerced, coincidentally) signatories. The international laws we obey do not happen by accident, and they are not forced upon us: no one is able to force us to sign the Kyoto Protocols, for example. We choose to adopt these laws into our own domestic code of laws.

    That’s what I am still not getting. How is declaring the right to invade countries as you see fit (again: regardless of the circumstances) less coercive or less destructive of sovereignty than a legislative body like the Senate choosing to ratify a treaty?

  11. on 17 Apr 2008 at 8:47 pm Synova

    It’s not less coercive.    It’s more honest.   There’s no pretending it’s *not* coercive.

    “…no one is able to force us to sign the Kyoto Protocols, for example.”

    No one but ourselves, which is where I get to “giving it away”.   What I see is people who feel that they *ought* to go along with things like the Kyoto Protocols simply *because* the international community or whatever wants us to do so.   Majority rule, or something.  The deference to the UN and the idea of the UN is an example.   Sure, they can’t force anything on us.   Frankly, no one in the world can *force* something on the United States, not even with actual *force*.    And we do have that Security Council veto so I suppose they can’t really force something on us with the UN either.

    But our citizens can give away, easily, what other people couldn’t take if they tried.

    The acceptance of the idea of international law, to me, doesn’t imply treaties entered into according to our interests and our authority to do so, or refuse to do so, so much as an attitude among our own people that it’s actually wrong for us to go it alone.   That it’s wrong for us to refuse to submit to international opinion and authority.

    Since no one could actually force that sort of loss of sovereignty  on us, it can only happen with our approval… if we give it up for free.

    And certainly the US these days is something of a unique example.    But if people do not view international law or the idea of international government as coercive and destructive of sovereignty for us, what about smaller nations?





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