Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by ZapBrannigan, May 8, 2013.
Then Britain Ireland and Russia have the most potential than the rest of the world combined!
that's a fair point. You could just as much have an Earth united under tyranny as under progressive government. Actually, had the Nazis won WWII or the Communists won the Cold War, that might have been close to what happened.
The whole point of having national governments with the power to wage war (aka sovereign states) is to defend property for a particular local group of owners. Consider how many nations with oil have been attacked in recent years, for instance. Domestically too, states are the machinery of oppression on behalf of privilege.
How can abolishing the right of states to war with one another contribute to the fall of privilege? In the same way abolishing the right of local gunmen to collect tolls under threat of death can abolish their local privilege.
Thus the objection was not a "fair point," but a disguised way of insisting that the world should be a place where some people are worth more than others, and some people should suffer the Scourge of God, the semidivine hypostatization of God's Will, the sovereign state that can slay whom it will. (Or at least whom it can successfully get away with.)
The unfair point that is really being made is a la-la land revision of reality, a daydream from the wingnut utopia, the smuggled in pretense that national states actually exist to defend "us" against tyranny. Well, the only unified Earth that can stably exist would be one which earns the support of the human majority. This would be a legitimate democratic majority, not a tyranny.
But suppose an unjust world authority temporarily arose? Revolution against such an unjust government is the obvious remedy. The idea is no problem for me. Civil wars and the stray war of liberation are the only wars worth fighting! The idolators of the sovereign state worship it precisely because it upholds privilege and cannot abide the thought of revolutionary violence. But really that is a self-imposed "problem" that is strictly consequential to a fatuous ideology.
What lies beneath this so-called "fair point" of course is still the apparently invincible distaste for the idea of democracy. If you believe that democracy demands a virtue that some kinds of people cannot exercose, because they aren't good enough, then I suppose you must claim the moral right to murder the kinds of people you don't like. But don't expect everyone to agree with this dogma of hate and greed.
In some respects the US' is de facto claiming world government on behalf of capitalism. It effectively claims, as the world sovereign, to be the only state with the legitimate right to exercise force. Yet the moral, intellectual, financial and economic bankruptcy of capitalism means that the US cannot even exercise the most basic function of a state, keeping the peace. This is a standard of performance the Caesars and the Han emperors could achieve!
In this situation, the insistence that a unified Earth is not even an ideal, is to insist on the endless rule of capital, which means the mad anarchy of capitalism, even if it means cycling over the edge into global ecological collapse.
The funny thing is that there is a conservative argument in favor of government, that does by majority rule what private individuals cannot do. We know that individual national states cannot address global ecological crises. Thus there must be a unified world government to make the effort to save humanity. And it is well-established that a government that is not sovereign is not a government, a point acknowledged even by political conservatives.
Yet the political conservatives must steadfastly ignore what they themselves know to be true. National sovereign states exist to defend privilege for the ruling class. It is indeed true that a unified world government cannot simultaneously defend the privileges of the few from all the nations. The two reasons are the inability to compromise over privileges, as the privileged are so rarely capable of giving up any. The other of course is that without an external threat, it just becomes just the one government of privilege against the many worldwide. A world of states is a world of divide and rule by the few.
Are you saying that any state prevents the privileges of its constituents ? Are the states' privileges prevented by the federal government ?
I understand the argument about why myriad national governments may lead to continual war for competition for resources/markets, etc. and why world government could remedy that. I mostly agree with your arguments, but I maintain that, whatever the motives of the poster bringing it up, it IS a fair objection that "world government" is NOT synonymous with progressive or democratic government.
Not to Godwin the thread, but Hitler had an idea for world government that meant triumph and domination for the "Aryan master race" over the rest, and the Communist blueprint for world government was one-party elite rule by them.
Progressive, democratic world government can be a noble ideal, but you'd need a lot of safeguards in place and a fair amount of decentralization. But in a utopian post-scarcity society, you'd have less sources of conflict anyway.
The merits of a world government would have to depend upon how it comes into being. If you're talking about every nation in the world willingly surrendering it's sovereignty, I just don't see it happening in this day and age. The fact of the matter is people across the world have varying values and can't and won't agree on a common system of government.
If you're talking about a group of people who advocate a "world government" regardless of ideology, who would seek to force their values on everyone else regardless if they agree with it or not, then I would resist that notion with every fiber of my being. That is the exact opposite of freedom and liberty.
The past 20 years of US foreign policy in the Middle East should make it clear you cannot force democracy(which seems to have replaced the world republic in common usage somehow) on people. A world government is a romantic notion and maybe one day mankind will be ready for it. But that's not today. Show me the United Nations can be more than just a speaking platform for totalitarian regimes, or that the European Union can function competently and perhaps I'll consider it. Advocating a world government today, while certainly sounds good in theory, would be a disaster and is just plain naive. We're not ready.
Gould would be more convincing if his The Mismeasure of Man would manage to have even 5 consecutive pages without factual errors on them. As it is, scientific impartiality is not one of his qualities.
See (for example) Chapter 3 of John L. Casti's Paradigms Lost (ISBN 0-380-71165-6). Or see J. Philippe Rushton's review of "Mismeasure", or Arthur Jensen's review ("The Debunking of Scientific Fossils and Straw Persons"), both of which you can find on the Web.
For Gould - and for you, Sci - it most definitely is not about being objective or about the truth, but about being "P.C" and throwing the facts in the garbage bin when they don't suit you (resorting, instead, to pretty but unsupported rhetoric and ad personams).
You have discovered the distinction between a necessary condition and a sufficient condition.
I agree -- democracy has to be a choice, including an acceptance of opposition parties and a set of civil rights and liberties protections. You cannot force democracy upon a culture which has not accepted the values democracy is based upon.
(Where I would disagree is whether or not I think the major Western nations have always internalized democratic values. I would argue that in many cases, they have powerful cultural values that are in direct opposition to democratic values, too, and that thus the history of many Western powers is driven by tension between contradictory internal value systems -- e.g., the United States and its apartheid system, or the United Kingdom and its rigid class system.)
And "democracy" has replaced the word "republic" in popular discussion about ideal systems of governance, probably because most people support, quite literally, democracy over simple republicanism. A republic, after all, can still be tyrannical, and the classical republicanism of the late 18th Century was built as much on distrust of the ability of the people to rule themselves and trust in the right of wealthy, white male elites to run society as it was in ideas like liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
UNICEF, for one.
But mind you, it's important to remember that the U.N. provides a platform for even totalitarian regimes because we designed it that way.
The United States was the driving force behind the creation of the U.N., and we designed it to be a platform for the peaceful interaction -- and, yes, the non-violent political competition -- of all nations. Because we didn't want it to be a government, but to be a system that all governments -- democratic, monarchic, communistic, totalitarian, republican, whatever -- could use in their conduct of international relations. And while the price of doing business that way is that, yeah, sometimes you have to let the Gaddafis and Stalins and Bushes of the world have their say, I for one think that's an acceptable price.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The European Union is going to have to shit or get off the pot. It will either have to yield back the powers of sovereignty it has been delegated, or it is going to have to become a sovereign state in its own right. Only then will it become truly competent.
Agreed -- but mind you, when I say "we," I mean literally every nation. My own included.
The diversity of multitudes of culturals, governments, and religions is what allows for breakthroughs to occur in our species as a whole. There is no inherent benefit from becoming one united group. Working together and being under one ruling body are two different things. There is in fact quite a lot of danger from turning it over to a singular government.
Quoting this because it is often lost on many. I've heard many complaints about the UN being a "stage for dictators", and being ineffective at "policing the world" (which was never its purpose). Usually the same people would scream at the top of their lungs if the UN tried to meddle with their own affairs.
In today's world you have the Zapastista Movement which emerged on January 1st, 1994 and is still going on today.
They control an area in Chiapas, Mexico that has no central authority and is divided into 5 autonomous municipalities that have maintained both their solidarity and seperate autonomy. The Zapatistas have developed an advance form of direct or participatory democracy.
The idea of Federalism (in the Proudhonian sense) is the unity of free equals. No componet dominates the other, yet they maintain their cohesiveness. So a nation or international institution can exist without a dominant hierarchy or central authority. Power from the periphery to the center. Not the inverse.
"Another key element of the Zapatista ideology is their aspiration to do politics in a new, participatory way, from the "bottom-up" instead of "top-down." The Zapatistas consider the contemporary political system of Mexico inherently flawed due to what they consider its purely representative nature and obvious disconnection from the people and their needs. Instead, the EZLN claims to reinforce the idea of participatory or radical democracy by limiting public servants' terms to only two weeks, not using visible organization leaders, and constantly referring to the people they are governing for major decisions, strategies and conceptual visions. As Marcos has reiterated, "my real commander is the people". In accordance with this principle, the Zapatistas are not a political party: they do not seek office throughout the state, because that would perpetuate the political system by attempting to gain power within its ranks. Instead, they wish to reconceptualize the entire system."
Again, a decentralized federation can facilitate rather than negate the concept of a United Earth, but without a central world government. Authority comes from the bottom up, by participating members, not the top down.
With only a few exceptions, the wars we see around the world today are mostly internal conflicts and civil wars. Wars of ideological rebellions, or ethnic rebellions, or secessionist movements, or insurgency for state control. While two or more nations fighting each other are not completely unknown, they very much are the exception.
So, if the world is one day formed into a single nation, how would that (again, in of itself) prevent wars? It isn't remotely necessary for there to be multiple states, for there to be wars.
But you must realize that the opposite can also happen. A civil war can just as easily replace a fair and just authority with it's opposite. And with a single nation world it would not be a portion of the Human population then being condemned to live under tyranny, but all of Humanity.
And there wouldn't be the possibility of outside help from other Earth nations (diplomatic - embargoes - financial restrictions - military action) because now there aren't any other nations.
Yes, but "liberation" according to whose cause? Your ideas as to what constitutes liberty might be in conflict with other peoples concept of the term liberty. And those other people wouldn't alway agree with each other.
As I mention above, even with the relative small sizes of current nations we still see civil wars, so when the world is a single nation, how many different points of view are going to be held within that one nation's "borders?"
In the future, if there is already a planet wide co-operative community of Humanity, a overarching single world state to bring them together would no longer serve a purpose, because it would already have happen without the single government.
In the world today there are 2.2 billion Christians, it isn't necessary for us all to be in one country.
The Hispanidad are in over 22 countries, it isn't necessary for us to be in one.
Should one day all of Humanity become a community in various ways, that community could exist with one nation, hundreds of nations, or even if Earth's nations existing in the thousands. Having a international organization for governing international and interstellar relations is fine, but not to govern the planet.
Where are you getting this?
UNICEF is trying to bring international adoptions to a halt, a horrible idea. And for every dollar UNICEF brings in, only five cents goes to needy. All charities absorb some money for internal operations, but 95 percent is ridiculous.
UNICEF's position on inter-country adoption may be found here.
Forbes.com says otherwise. According to them, for every dollar UNICEF brings in, 91 cents go to charitable services, based on filings to the IRS.
I think the makers of Star Trek just assumed a "World Government" would be basically the UN. Each country has a representative (in this case, say the president instead of the normal representative like today), and then the World President. We see it as an over-simplification today, but after World War III and the "Post Atomic Horrors", maybe people went for the idea in a big way?
As to money, Trek has never been consistent.
Kirk said in Star Trek IV that they didn't use money, but didn't he also say in Generations that he sold his house years ago?
His first statement of course could be interpreted to mean that either they do not use currency at all, or that all their monetary transactions are electronic, like a modern debit/charge-card. You have "money" in the bank, but no physical paper or coins.
In one word T'Girl: FEDERALISM
We almost, somewhat agree on this one.
"Federalism is based upon the free and voluntary liaison of all autonomies, from the independence of the individual, the unit of society par excellence, up to that of natural or sympathetic regions, via the free municipality." Jose Peirats - The CNT in the Spanish Revolution.
For the record, Trek novels of the past ten years or so have assumed a parliamentary republican model, whereby United Earth has a Parliament (Enterprise: To Brave the Storm), a President (Enterprise: To Brave the Storm), and a Prime Minister who is the real executive leader (Enterprise: The Good That Men Do; Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru). The United Earth government is depicted as continuing to exist under the Federation after its founding (Tales of the Dominion War: "Eleven Hours Out;" TNG: A Time for War, A Time for Peace).
^Well that's ahrdly unexpected. Given the very limited information we have on the UE government. Which is that the title of Minister was used in the mid 22nd cenutry, which suggested that the UE Government was some sort of Parliamentary based system.
Actually, the first piece of Treklit to feature a United Earth Prime Minister was the short story "Eleven Hours Out," published in the anthology Tales of the Dominion War in 2004 -- about a year or so before "Demons/Terra Prime," the ENT episodes that established the existence of U.E. Ministers in the canon.
It is possible that the writers of those episodes read that story and kept consistent with it -- Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens got their start in the Trek world writing Trek novels. But it's more likely that it was just a case of unintended synchronicity.
This is crazy, using false "facts" and illogic. First, there are practically no wars which are not arenas for conflict between nations. Second, consequent to the first, if there were not sovereign states promoting violence for their political ends, practically none of these wars would continue.
The primary function of these states sovereign power is to maintain the privileges of the rulers against their own populations, not to defend the whole nation against existential threats. Sovereignty is not a necessary part of democracy. In practice, the military that embodies sovereignty is the prime threat to democracy. The claimed right to morally kill contradicts the very idea of democracy. This is obvious in a revolution or civil war. To insist that the world of sovereign states is the ideal is to reject the concept of democracy for humanity, reserved only for the privileged members of a few states (likely enough, tacitly, those with white enough populations.)
You don't have wars without armies. The point to a world state is to disarm the ruling class, which is clearly why you are against the very idea. The notion that "we" have to be "defended" against the evil Other is merely racist BS.
It is crazy to claim it's just as easy for a minority to defeat a majority. In practice that requires a standing army, disciplined to defend the property of the ruling class. A world government does not need a massive military apparatus to defend its sovereignty because there is no opponent with an army claiming the right to wage war. A tyrannical world government without a massive military is in no position to pursue its tyranny.
The hidden assumption is that any government must have a powerful military to suppress internal dissent, but a world government would not be "our" powerful military to suppress "our" enemies. Life is not a war. War is not the way to life.
It's the central government that is not going to be able to get any outside help. A central government with a gigantic military establishment that suppresses the "local" governments, which is what you keep presupposing, is in fact very similar to what the US is trying to do today. It is indeed tyrannical. The point is that nobody should have this kind of military because it is aimed solely at oppression, no matter what the professed excuses.
In other words, your concept of liberty means a powerful government that can oppress the population on behalf of the ruling class property, and attack other nations for their material benefit as well. It is perfectly true that a world government must address issues of common economic life. If this is done in accordance to the interests of the majority of humanity, this is a good thing, not oppression. It does not require a massive army to defend the material interests of the majority.
The only reason for sovereignty is to exercise mass violence in defense of certain people's property.
a "non-sovereign," world government with no military, police force, and no need for violent enforcement of rights sounds absurdly utopian to me.
What happens when a small dissenting group decides to rebel against the status quo? Have you heard of Mr. Kellogg and Mr. Briand? How did "outlawing violence as a means of resolving disputes" work out? I can buy that you'd have much LESS conflict under a post-scarcity, progressive government, but ZERO violence, and NO forces to actually enforce the government's laws?
Sorry, but I can't buy that. A certain amount of conflict is inherent to Human nature, even under relatively comfortable conditions.
Separate names with a comma.