by David Brown
It is a strange time to be a citizen in a Western democracy. Our society is based on exchange -- we transact in the free market, we share ideas online, and most significantly we give up some of our natural liberty in exchange for a civil society and a vote.
But increasingly, the freedoms supposed to be protected by civil society are being eroded away. At the level of the individual, our freedom of speech is under attack. Criticism of migration is apparently about to become "hate speech" and a prosecutable offence.
When the authority of the nation state is ceded to a supra-national body, such as the United Nations, our power as citizens is diluted.
Based on the contractual theory of society and the works of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau from the 17th and 18th century, real power is supposed to sit with the people; in order to retain moral character, government must thus rest on the consent of the governed, or the volonté générale ("general will"):
What happens if you start to interfere with this contract? What happens, for instance if clauses within this contract are removed, or the contract ripped up altogether?
In the United Kingdom, the people were asked to decide between Leaving or Remaining in the European Union. 17.4 million people voted to Leave -- 52% of the total votes cast and a clear majority. The general will of the people was Leave.
It appears increasingly likely, however, that this vote is being frustrated, either by legal obfuscation, a potential second referendum or other political manoeuvring. The possibility of a leadership contest in the U.K. over the coming weeks adds further uncertainty for Brexit supporters.
The powerful elite made it clear their preferred outcome was to remain in the EU.
Boris Johnson correctly called thwarting the results of a vote "treasonous".
"... when the government fails to secure their natural rights (Locke) or satisfy the best interests of society (called the 'general will' in Rousseau), citizens can withdraw their obligation to obey or change the leadership, through elections or other means including, when necessary, violence".
Perhaps this helps explain the recent protests by the "Yellow Vests" (Gilets Jaunes) in Paris. Many had voted for Macron based on his promises to improve the lives of the ordinary French. They were outraged by his subsequent cut to the "wealth tax", while increasing taxes for fuel.
Macron's message seems: Global before national, wealthy before poor. But his dismissal of nationalism as "selfish" and a "betrayal of patriotism" is at odds with strengthening populist movements sweeping across Italy, Germany and mostly recently Spain.
Today, dissatisfaction with Macron's Quixotic globalist aspirations -- concerning the seriously disputed policies of "climate change" rather than with the economic and other concerns of the people who elected him -- is increasingly widespread.
The assertiveness of supra-national organisations with a focus on global policy-making is a direct threat to the sovereignty of the nation state, and a dilution of the power of the individuals within it.
A useful example is the United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was "adopted in Marrakech on 10 December by 164 Member States." The word "regular" should jar.
The United Nations intends to make it easier for migrants to relocate to new countries -- with safeguarded routes, medical and financial assistance, and open access to public services and a means of income on arrival.
The document includes details on the "harmonization" of borders, rejects the right to detain illegals, and the options for facilitating the transfer of welfare payments back to the migrants' country of origin.
Many countries with strong national political parties did not attend the meeting or sign the agreement; including Australia, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Latvia, Slovakia, Estonia and Italy. And for good reason. The US has made clear its opposition to the document:
This censorship of dissenting views appears to go hand in hand with insanely expensive power grabs by supra-nationals. If opposition cannot he expressed, acceptance can be asserted. Acceptance must be made mandatory. This method was used to create the EU itself. Many in Europe were obliged to keep voting until they "got it right" -- the way the elites wished.
At what point have we left all pretext of democracy and moved into the sphere of dictatorship, manifest at a supranational level?
If we know we are to be censored at the supranational level, to what extent does that awareness coerce self-censorship at the individual level? Given the disappearance of so many voices from Twitter, together with the vitriol of the on-line mob who demand that those with opposing views be "de-platformed" or forced from their jobs, many in Western Europe now fear to express an opinion outside of their own homes.
The governments that signed the UN's Global Compact appear to be acting in direct opposition to the general will of the people.
James Delingpole writes:
"It's very simple: the globalist political elite doesn't respect nation-states, nor does it give a damn about the views of ordinary people. Indeed, it despises them so much that it would much rather make their views illegal than listen to what they have to say."
The real question, is for how much longer will the people continue to respect the social contract when the political elites do not?
Just how much power will be ceded to supra-nationals, how censored will our voices be by law, how meaningless will the "general will" become before we exercise Jefferson's Right of the People to rip it all up and start again?