The nation state is still the only large scale functional unit of social cohesion that can provide citizens with both rights and freedoms in a manageable manner.
The USA has struggled, mostly successfully, to balance what could have been small nation states as states within a larger federal state. The EU wants to go the same way, but, just as many in the US oppose federal government power, so in the EU some of the nation states (Brexit) object to the lack of accountability of the federalists and the loss of self determination of the individual states.
Globalism, of any kind, is currently worse. There is no functional world democratic government (UN?🤣) so all the global power is in the hands of global corporations and powerful individuals and groups. While Soros may not be the monster he’s portrayed to be, I didn’t get the chance to vote him in as a mover and shaker of EU affairs. Meanwhile, we all know of Putin’s dabbling in the affairs of nation states. Or indeed of nation states interfering with other nation states, of which the US, UK and others have vast experience.
Then we have the dreamers … the anarchists, the socialists, that have some crazy idea that humans can form Goldilocks societies that just happen to work .. in their heads … but which take no account of the variety of human political opinions that are out there. The Utopians look mystified when you tell them you don’t want their particular Utopia. Well, I suppose they think “There’s only one true Utopia!” I’m sure I’ve heard that sentiment in another context.
Even the nation state has its troubles. Who in their right mind thinks Pakistan is a good functioning state? Yet they just had elections. And, good luck bringing socialism to Afghanistan … or secular freedom of belief to anywhere dominated by religion.
Let’s be realistic, and call western states ‘nearly’ functioning, ‘reasonably’ representative of the wishes of the people. Trump and Brexit have exposed the visceral hatred that the nice socialists are capable of towards their fellow citizens. Then there’s the ‘far right’ (the real, not the imagined). The right will grow in response to the craziness of the left. Extremes sustain each other.
Many on the left have shown their colours. Democracy, as long as they win. Secularism, as long as you don’t offend their pet religion.
It’s difficult enough to hold a nation state together. Europeans have been trying to do it in one form or another since Ancient Greece, slowly, often too slowly, extending the franchise to all citizens. Trial and error. Two steps forward one step back. It’s been hard and often bloody work. But nation state democracy is about the best these evolved apes with partially functional brains are capable of.
Thinking you can wreck it and start over, or that revolution *against* a democratic system is even a rational idea, pretty much sums up the capabilities of some human brains. Haven’t we tried ‘day zero’ scenarios a few times and watched the genocide unfold to know that’s probably the worst of all worlds. Isn’t revolution the last desperate attempt to get rid of an oppressive state?
There is no western government that cannot be voted out of office, no matter how bad you currently think they are. None. And while many in the west are looking at destroying democracy, other parts of the world are struggling to implement it.
But, the first sign of a democratic system going down the pan is a loss of free speech. If you can be locked up for speaking on any political matter, then your freedom is on the way out. The ECHR has just approved the protection of Europe’s pet religion. You can go to jail in European states for expressing an opinion … and I don’t mean incitement to violence dressed up as opinion. I mean opinion dressed up as incitement to violence. If you point out the capacity of Islam to be used to incite violence in terms that upset the violent among the Islamic religion, and they threaten or enact violence against you, you are in danger of becoming their victim, or, a victim of the state that is busy eroding your free speech. Madness.
The shock to many liberals has not been the bunch of actual far right loons, or the stupid alt right that think ethnic separation is even a possibility, or the oppressive nature of a conservative, actual far right, political judicial religious ideology. No, the shock has been the willingness of the supposedly secular left to go along with Islam’s far right political agenda while mouthing off about a much smaller fractured far right of perceived fascism. They can spot a good old Nazi, but can’t see an Islamofascist cheer leading them on.
Islam, anarchism, socialism, big business … these contain a variety of globalist agendas that will subvert individual freedom in order to gain ground. Sometimes they are temporary allies in localised regions. Each contains ideologues that think their way will inevitably win. If they could only stop pesky individuals getting in the way with their damned freedoms, they could set everyone free to live in their Utopia on their terms.
Currently, the only safeguard against these varied globalists is secular liberal democratic nation states, cooperating on security, law and policing, but also ensuring the individual freedoms of their citizens as a primary principle … especially freedom of speech.
So, when you hear that nationalists are racist xenophobes, you’ll realise that the target isn’t just the actual real live racist xenophobes. It’s the nation state and its capacity to thwart the various globalist agendas.
We can’t have versions of democracy where every single person gets a say on every single topic – someone always has to compromise. So, representative democracies of one sort or another are the way to go, as the least worse option. They could be improved, with some variety of proportional representation … but even then, someone always fails to get what they want – compromise is inevitable. There is no perfect democratic system.
And to work on local, regional, state, global scales, we need representational democratic systems that are seen to be democratic.
So, I don’t have a problem with federalism in principle, as one of those levels. That includes, in my local case, a federal EU. I’d even back a world federation, if its members were also democratic states (the UN fails in the respect).
The problem with the EU, and one of the reasons Brexit has come about, is that the EU federalisation project has not been democratic, and is still subject to the whims of dominant states like Germany, or rather to dominant parties within the dominant states. And, this made Brexit appeal in another respect: the 2016 UK EURef vote that came after 2014/5 unilateral action by Merkel to not only open the EU’s external borders with no vetting, but to go on to bully other EU states into complying and taking ‘refugees’ (i.e. economic migrants).
Even ex-Muslims and fanatic for ‘open doors’, Maryam Namazie doesn’t want to avoid proper vetting:
And, just to clarify the related issues of ‘xenophobia’, ‘racism’, ‘Islamophobia’ that raise their ugly heads any time one objects when some SJW suggests un-vetted immigration is OK and “There are no illegals, they are all humans” …
- Protecting a democracy with law and order and applying it to all citizens, avoiding an undocumented underground that’s rife with black markets and people trafficking seems a pretty rational perspective … and opposing those things seems insane.
- The term ‘Islamophobia’ is an irrational fear of Islam – and the only true Islamophobes are those press, politicians and police that go out of their way to make excuses for Islam … which is, by the definition of its own texts, an ultra-conservative (i.e. far right) political judicial ideology dressed up as a religion, with strong misogynistic and homophobic tendencies written in, and a mechanism for threatening death for any Muslim that chooses to leave. It’s not compatible with secular liberal democracy, except in so far as many Muslims explicitly (Reformers) or implicitly (“Not MY Islam”) fail to follow the prescriptions in the supposedly ‘inerrant’ Quran. And, just to be clear, Christian lunacy has its own problems, not least in the USA.
- Actual racism and xenophobia exists, and it doesn’t help the cause against them if everyone that dares talk about immigration is labelled a far right racist xenophobic Nazi from the outset.
Clear up those mostly left wing misrepresentations of reality and we might see some normality and rationality return to western politics.
And so, if we want effective global governance that supports genuine secular liberal freedom, we need a system that looks democratic, behaves democratically, and is respected enough to hold in check the excesses of rogue states … or even our own democracies that get it wrong so often. The UN has been referred to prior to a number of actions (Iraq War), but in the end, western states felt they had sufficient authority to go to war without the full backing of the UN.
And now Trump has shown his disdain for the UN, and a large number of Brits have done the same for the EU. Those organisations are not fit for purpose. Who the heck thinks the UN is up to scratch if Saudi Arabia is on the UN Human Rights Council? Who the heck thinks the European Court of Human Rights is up to scratch if it endorses jailing someone for disrespecting some cult’s fake war mongering child marrying prophet?
In an effort to be ‘nice’, and in order to protect a ‘minority’ (second larges and most violent religion in the world), the left has sold out secular liberal freedoms, and ordinary people can see that. Hence, Trump and Brexit.
Liberal democratic secular nation states are currently the only protection against chaos and corruption – as imperfect as they are, with their own corrupt elements. In fact, if we can’t get nation states right, what chance have we with larger organisations? Nation states will remain valuable until and if similar global systems can be set in place. Tearing them down in some ‘Year Zero’ fantasy will not help. Destroying them slowly by a thousand cuts of erosion to personal freedom and free speech will only make the demise apparent when its too late.