United Earth? No Thanks.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by ZapBrannigan, May 8, 2013.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How many conflicts are about different political factions, self determination, desire for a independent homeland, local control, things that would not be effected by "post-scarcity?"


    :)
     
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    that's a hard question to answer, because the true purposes or origins of a conflict are often masked behind convenient ideological slogans. I tend to think that the origins of most conflicts are economic, and that class differences matter more than ethnic, religious, or cultural ones. So I personally would answer your question with "very few," as I think that "post-scarcity" would fundamentally transform society in ways that would make conflict between arbitrary social groups much less likely.

    Unlike some here apparently though, I don't think it would disappear entirely. I may be left-wing, but I'm no utopian. No matter how much you change society for the better, conflict will still be there. However, I don't think conflicts like those between the Federation and the Maquis would be very likely though, since I don't think "territory" would be seen as very important given Federation economics.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Where did the idea there would be no police force come from? A military is not a police force. The trend towards militarizing police forces has nothing to do with crime. Small dissident groups engage in terror today, and police forces should be handling that problem. Instead, whole nations are laid waste.

    Kellogg-Briand merely stated what T'Girl and other political conservatives today deny, that war is an evil that should be treated as a crime, averring instead that war is a necessity, hence a good. The world state must have the police to enforce the law against local governments resorting to war. That power to compel is what makes it a world state! Kellogg-Briand was the equivalent of decreeing murder to be illegal, yet neglecting to authorize a government to enforce that law.

    The real issue in something like Kellogg-Briand is the sneaking assumption that any war to overthrow the Empires of the day were immoral and illegal. And when the Emperor rules, all good Christians are pacifists. And after Ashoka conquers Kalinga, then Buddha teaches war is an abomination. A world state limited to police would not be physically capable of widespread, prolonged oppression. National states only need armies to oppress the evil hordes within and attack enemies without (yes, upon occasion actually defend the nation, but this is rarely true.) For all their idle chatter about freedom, political conservatives reject revolutionary violence, the necessary tool in taking freedom. Yes, revolutions are terrible, but not having a revolution is worse.

    What is utopian is the idea that "we" can indulge the joy of mass murder endlessly. What is utopian is the ever increasing invasion of daily life by an ever more dense network of firms and financiers unpoliced by any government.

    And what is downright evil is the tacit assumption that the US government has the right to keep targeting one nation after another in endless war while no one else on the planet has any rights at all.
     
  4. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, I guess I misunderstood the language of that post, then. Seeing the need for a police force seems less utopian. What's your position on peaceful secession from such a world government, though?
     
  5. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Claiming the right to wage war may not be imminent aggression, but it is not peaceful. Plus, the divvying of territory and property and the creation of economic borders? Peaceful secession is a term that really does smack of the utopian. The example that comes to mind for a US national of course is the Confederacy, where a minority wished for peaceful secession to continue oppressing the majority of its population. (Yes, the slaves plus poor whites constituted a majority, and, yes, the poor whites were also oppressed to a lesser degree than the slaves.) After that example, the notion of peaceful secession leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    But this is probably meant to posit a local area where the majority is persistently oppressed by a the (world) government. The simplest examples I can think of would be a resource rich area that wants to exert monopoly rights over the resource (oil, maybe.) Or a local area where a dissident cultural tradition, maybe an established church, wants secular power.

    For the first, I think it is comparable to Texas insisting it can cut off oil to the rest of the US when it wants. Some people hold that's freedom, I don't. For the second, I think that universal human rights are part of ordinary life. Barring the chaos of revolution where courts and prisons cannot deter criminality, or genuine wars for survival, that is the cause for all humanity, not a matter needing a sovereign state that can wage war. Violence to correct the abuses may be needed. But then, the alleged abuses may be self serving libels by forces grasping for power over their fellows.
     
  6. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If a world government was legitimate, no one should want to secede from it. That's my position. ;)

    I mean, the United States surely isn't perfect by any means, but you don't see any of our states trying to secede, do ya? Well, maybe Rick Perry made noises to that effect, but nobody took him seriously.
     
  7. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wouldn't be surprised if most of the fear for a united earth comes from the example of the Republic in Star wars.

    One huge government composed of a huge number of different planets, aliens and cultures.

    Supposedly, like Trek these people considered themselves brothers just because they belong to the same government, even if their planets were light years away from each other.

    In the end the government was shown to be bloated, and ineffectual, and ended up becoming an empire--by its own decision ..
     
  8. TheGoodNews

    TheGoodNews Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    No, in the U.S. it comes mostly from nativism and right-wing populist agit prop. Fear of the UN or internationalism or One World Order claptrap.
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    er, well, there's a reason why secession movements aren't taken very seriously in the U.S. The precedent suggests that such movements would be violently suppressed if they were tried.
     
  10. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I'm sure that if a US state entertained serious talk of secession, it wouldn't be put down in a military sense. I don't know how they would go about doing it, but I highly doubt there would be another Civil War.

    That being said, whatever problems that get so serious that it gets people talking secession can (I should hope) be resolved without actually resorting to secession. The USA has its share of problems, but none are so serious that it would make states want to secede. Same goes for a world government - any such organization that could survive and prosper, would not deserve to be seceded from, I should think.
     
  11. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    All these are mere rationalisations so that you avoid facing the problem sonak articulated.
    Most likely because, on some level, you know you have no satisfactory answer.
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Once again perhaps we need to look at the EU, like most organisatons it has it's pros and cons, yet if a referendum was held today in the UK, it would likely vote to withdraw from the EU. I'm not wanting to turn this into a debate on the EU, I'm merely highlighting the fact that you could potentially have countries that want to leave a World Government for whatever reason.
     
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The EU is not a state in the key sense that it has sovereignty. Each member state can and does go to war when it wants. As for the EU as a state in the sense of the highest form of polity governing economic life, the EU is deliberately set up on nondemocratic line. It is aimed at semiprivate control of finance. Representatives of sovereign states hammer out details behind closed doors on issues based on principles set forth by private but privileged groups. Limitations on government debt, for instance.

    The EU can break up relatively peacefully because it does not exercise sovereignty. But in practice there might be issues with NATO. But then, NATO is not a purely European institution. One of the more utopian ideas is the notion (you can't really call it an idea) that the verdicts of WWII will be undone without violence. The US calls the shots, as in Yugoslavia.

    Edit_XYZ, it is unclear what the objection is. The formal legitimacy (as a body that carries out the general will) of a world state is irrelevant in a sense. There are no constitutional guarantees that can't be subverted. But a corrupted world state should be revolutionized, however great the sacrifice. The non sequitur is the conclusion that freedom would be served by the revival of sovereign states and war.

    Secession talk in the US, whether in Texas or Vermont, is aimed at local majorities or pluralities frustrated that the US constitutional system removes so much of our daily lives from popular control. The constitutional inequities and the gerrymandering of political life by the state governments are the foundation of an elaborate system that renders the government free from the population at large.

    Political conservatives like to imagine that they are the silent majority frustrated by those infamous centers of power, the universities, the labor unions and the inner city. Political liberals pretty much died with Lyndon Johnson so what any alleged survivors think is irrelevant. Social liberals are probably the plurality and social conservatives are hopelessly divided on who the good people worth more than the others really are. But the ideal of social tolerance is not a major government policy, so that tends to be irrelevant too.

    The slave power made sure that the federal government was weak and that in practice it had a multitude of social bonds tying it to the army, as well as its own private army. It is common to degrade Hamilton for wanting to establish a standing army, even though the US suffered terribly in the war of 1812 without one. But when Jackson bluffed South Carolina in the Nullification crisis, it was not an accident that he did not have the force to win outright. Nor was it an accident that one of the sequelae was the imposition of postal censorship in the slave power. The US today has a gigantic military establishment. Secession is inconceivable.
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Are you saying that any problems with the world government would be handled successfully by "people power" revolutions? But you also acknowledge that the reason why secession in the US is "inconceivable" is precisely BECAUSE of its gigantic military establishment. That issue would still be there with a world government, because they'd have the monopoly on force. I'm not clear what your solution to the issue of peaceful secession is.

    Is it:


    A) Yes, it'd be allowed

    B) it'd be suppressed with the necessary amount of force

    C) there'd be no need for secession

    D) it depends on various factors, such as popular support

    C) strikes me as a cop-out, because you can easily imagine any small group in any society, even a happy, prosperous one, wanting to establish their own government
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Brings into question how it would be done. The decision could be made solely and independently by a majority of the people in the area to secede, by a majority of the world's population (a planet-wide plebiscite), or by the world government itself.

    It would be easy to imagine some people wanting for the world government to strip the former sovereign nations of all their military armaments, basically from day one. Perhaps accompanied by elimination of the right for private citizens to legally possess firearms. This would make suppression of the populace quite easy.

    Even if no group avails themselves of the possibility, the ability to secede should exist.

    If (when) China joined the world state, would say Tibet then separately have the ability to make their own choice on the matter? And if Tibet was initially swept in by China's decision, could Tibet as a people/territory subsequently, politely and peacefully decline to remain with the world state?

    If the initial entry was illegitimate, that might form a reason to wish to secede.


    :)
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If there was an alleged world state in which there was a gigantic military establishment, with forces recruited from a single nation, distributed in a global archipelago of states, overseen by an elaborate network of satellites, electronic eavesdropping and drone murders, what you have is simply a new-fashioned empire.

    On the other hand, if a world state were a genuine world state responsive to the majority, it could not recruit from a particular element of the population, meaning it could not create an military that viewed itself as different from the rest of the population. Since there would be no other armies to defeat, it is doubtful that it could manage to assemble the massive forces needed to oppress large populations. It could not even easily place military bases. Nor can it ignore civil rights in the name of national security.

    But, the real question is not how to peacefully secede from a corrupted world state no longer responsive to the majority. The real question is how a local population reclaiming the right to wage war is going to help. I don't know the best way to revise local government boundaries and what kinds of autonomous powers to grant subdivisions of the world state. There are great tasks for posterity to achieve. But it is not at all clear that for a local population to arm itself and claim the legal and moral right to kill massive numbers of supposed enemies is in any way a practical or moral solution to any political problems.

    Why would their happiness and prosperity make them want to pay for an army? Except to be able to defy the majority of humanity, that is?

    Again, whatever system of local, regional, continental (?) governments and whatever distribution of powers amongst the branches of the state, they must be amenable to democratic revision, according to the will of the majority. The majority includes all humanity, especially when it comes to issues of war. There is no sane definition of democracy that ascribes a veto to a plurality in a particular region.

    Thinking that a particular nation must have its supposed rights unchallenged is bizarrely metaphysical (no matter how common it is!) It is just the prettified version of the political conservative principle that some people have more rights than other.


    More craziness. Just a couple of points to illustrate.

    Disarming the population does not make their suppression quite easy. Antilabor laws make suppression of the people quite easy, which is why political conservatives are universally antilabor. In revolutions, the people, even when arms are not prohibited, for the rather practical reason that they generally can't afford many weapons, end up acquiring their weapons by force from the military, which collapses in a revolution.

    (The days when weaponry was relatively cheap and really meant that the private citizen could meaningfully participate in a militia that could kill Indians or hunt runaway slaves are long gone. In ancient Rome, when weaponry was dear, ownership of arms meant you were higher-class, with special political privileges. In mediaeval Europe, owenership of arms meant you were a knight, not a serf. Armaments are not the foundation of freedom, they are the instruments of oppression. That is why the very ideal of a peaceful world is anathema to political conservatives.)

    The Tibet/China example highlights precisely the moral advantage of a genuine world state. The people of Africa, the Americas, Europe, etc. have no interest in exerting force on Tibetans to keep them in a particular political arrangement with China. The logistical requirements imposed by differences in language alone would tend to make it more convenient to have a separate district government. It's China that would need to secede from a world state to continue to exercise undue influence in Tibet! And there would be absolutely no benefit to the Tibetans to devote themselves to paying for a military that would threaten their own freedoms, especially one that would have to be ready to attack the entire world!

    The political conservative opposition to a world state, even as an ideal (the thread topic or have some of us forgotten?) is similar to the slavers' opposition to Hamilton's standing army: A world state might interfere with the local rulers' privileges.
     
  17. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    there are left-wing ideologies or movements that wouldn't necessarily be pro-world government. It was those that I was thinking of when I brought up the potential of peaceful secession.

    Left-libertarians, anarcho-syndicalists, social liberals, and some "religious progressive" types might all potentially be suspicious of the type of concentrated power that a world state would represent. I could see various groups getting together through the use of the internet and other technologies, and wanting to experiment with different types of societies.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, a decent world state should be able to accommodate such collective enterprises, in some fashion. I don't know any of them would need an army, though, and I can't regard it as oppression to deny them the legal and moral right to wage war.

    Technically, the barest minimum of a world state could be a Kellog-Briand style pact with a really existing enforcement mechanism. I can't imagine even the barest sketch of how such a sovereign authority can exist in a world of contemporary states merely divested of a legal and moral right to wage war. But if some one could give us a clue? The real point of this thread is the OP's claim that such a state would be a Bad Thing and shouldn't even be an ideal to aspire to. Despite all the posts and asides I haven't seen the barest hint of an argument besides, basically, "because!"
     
  19. newtontomato539

    newtontomato539 Commander Red Shirt

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    "elites" is my first clue.

    "United Earth would be oppressive and the elites would rule!" :scream:

    is the mantra of marxists, socialists, anarchists, tea partyers and libertarians.
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    that's a pretty disparate group that includes just about everyone across the spectrum.