Tuesday 30 November 2021

The Simple Thing That’s Hard To Do.

What's Not To Like? There’s a reason why the self-evident benefits of a “one world government” arouse such visceral opposition from those with a vested interest in both the local and the global status quo. A world run for the benefit of all human-beings strikes at the very heart of the idea that there is something both admirable and efficient about an economic and social system which allows individuals and their families to accumulate and pass on great wealth – at the expense of others.

WHAT IS THE REASON people fear a united world in which solidarity, rather than greed, is the driving force? In such a world the Covid-19 Pandemic would have been handled collectively, without regard to either the narrow interests of nation states, or the hunger for corporate profit. In such a world the response to global warming would have been instantaneous, decisive, successful, and set in motion 50 years ago. In such a world no one would be permitted to remain in need, and obscene wealth would be unthinkable. That such a world would be the preference of just about every human-being seems indisputable – and yet it exists only in the imagination of utopian dreamers.

Why is that?

My question is prompted by some of the placards I saw being carried by participants in the recent anti-vaccination protests. Some of these referenced Agenda 21, others Agenda 30. According to Wikipedia, Agenda 21 is “a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.” Agenda 30 is another UN initiative which, similarly, offers a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people and the world by 2030.” What could possibly prompt people to object to these self-evidently beneficial goals?

The answer, of course, is Fear. Fear of in some way being made subordinate to foreigners. No, let’s be honest here. Fear of people with dark skins requiring people with white skins to share the world’s resources more equitably. Fear of losing the last remaining privilege still available to the poorest and most despised of white people: their supposed racial superiority. Fear of no longer belonging to the collectivity of masters. Fear of joining the collectivity of servants and slaves.

How else to explain the extraordinary reaction of the White World to the identification of the Omicron Variant of Covid-19 by South African scientists? Rather than thank the South Africans for alerting the world to this new potential threat to global health, the nations of Europe, North America and Australasia immediately banned all flights from the southern third of the African continent. Never mind that the Omicron Variant had already arrived in locations all over the planet, including Europe, the nations of the West reflexively, almost casually, delivered yet another devastating blow to the fragile economies of South Africa and her neighbours.

Not fair! Cry the governments of the West. We are only doing what is necessary to protect our people from this new Covid threat. Which is true, but which also brings us back to where we began.

In a solidaristic world: one without borders and self-protective nation states; the extraordinary, publicly resourced, scientific effort that created a plethora of Covid-19 vaccines in record time, could not have been privatised by vast pharmaceutical corporations and transformed into super-profits. On the contrary, the resources of the entire planet would have been mobilised to produce sufficient vaccine to inoculate the entire human population in the shortest possible time. The idea of leaving hundreds-of-millions of people unvaccinated – and, by doing so, allowing the virus to mutate at will – would have been dismissed as not only scientifically imbecilic, but also morally indefensible.

A similar regard for global well-being and justice, backed up by a global police force recruited from ethnic and linguistic communities from across the planet, would have brought a swift halt to the indefensible destruction of the Amazonian rain forest by Brazilian farming and mining interests.

That same international police force would long ago have indicted the major oil corporations for conspiring to keep hidden from the global public the deadly threat posed to the planet by rising fossil-fuel pollution. (Always assuming that such dangerous concentrations of private power would even be allowed to exist in a world committed to and driven by the obligations of global solidarity.)

It is here, of course, that we run headlong into the other reason why the self-evident benefits of a “one world government” arouse such visceral opposition from those with a vested interest in both the local and the global status quo. A world run for the benefit of all human-beings strikes at the very heart of the idea that there is something both admirable and efficient about an economic and social system which allows individuals and their families to accumulate and pass on great wealth – at the expense of others.

The very thought that this system might be superseded terrifies even those who do not possess great wealth. For these benighted souls, an indestructible aspiration to somehow join the ranks of the rich and powerful has lighted their way through all the dark vicissitudes of life. Selfish dreamers, their stunted existence at the bottom is made bearable by the (mistaken) assumption that there is always room at the top. Threaten this, their most precious dream, and their reaction will be as vigorous as it is vicious.

Paradoxically, the only effective evolutionary responses to a global pandemic – collectivism and solidarity – are also the most effective means of inspiring ferocious resistance to all the measures required to give them practical effect. The same is true of the economic, social and political policies required to eliminate poverty, racism and sexism. Indeed, all the evils which beset human societies may ultimately be traced to a common hatred of anything and everything that draws people together in freely-given love and trust.

Nowhere is the natural inclination of human-beings to come together in friendship and confidence illustrated more vividly than in the story about the first Christmas of World War I. How the German and English soldiers, hearing the carol-singing of their enemies drifting across no-man’s land, climbed cautiously out of their trenches and met them halfway. Alcohol, cigarettes and Christmas rations were exchanged, along with the soldiers’ low opinion of the war. Shocked and alarmed, their officers soon put an end to this unauthorised fraternisation. Within hours, these ordinary Germans and Englishmen were back in their trenches and doing their best to kill one another. It was the one and only “Christmas Truce” of the war.

How close those soldiers came to the essential truth of the tragedy in which they were all submerged: that it simply didn’t have to be that way. Abandon the mythologies of race and nationality, and embrace the reality of our common humanity, and war is only one of the evils that will disappear.

As the German poet, playwright, and communist, Bertolt Brecht, put it:

It is reasonable. You can grasp it. It’s simple.
You’re no exploiter, so you’ll understand.
It is good for you. Look into it.
Stupid men call it stupid, and the dirty call it dirty.
It is against dirt and against stupidity.
The exploiters call it a crime.
But we know:
It is the end of all crime.
It is not madness but
The end of madness.
It is not chaos,
But order.
It is the simple thing
That’s hard to do.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 30 November 2021.


Paul Dunmore said...

Wonderful theory. Wrong species.
- Biologist E O Wilson.

Odysseus said...

My grandfather was a regular soldier and a member of the British Expeditionary Force who took part in the Christmas miracle, fraternizing with the Germans on the opposing lines. He told us it was a reasonably easy thing to do because the soldiers they were facing were from a Saxon regiment and the British soldiers felt much in common with them, unlike many of the other German formations.

As for the UN and its various "agenda", you would have to go a long way to find a more corrupt and self serving organization these days. I say that after 20 years of involvement with UN matters. Long live the Nation State.

Kat said...

Imagine, it isn't hard to do......


Barry said...

Ive been watching a series of lectures about the English Reformation recently. That period of around 100 years started in a very similar way to the things that are happening in the world today. Superstition, deep adherence to occult beliefs (and they werent by any means all religious), extreme factions, political adherence, general ignorance and the taking down of statues, etc.
And this was all because someone wanted his own way. Henry VIII was a particularly nasty character and could well have been the Stalin of his day.
Logic played no part in what eventually happened, and I dont think anything has changed much since then.
This morning the WHO came out against restricting travel in the face of the Omicron variant. If only they had proposed travel restrictions on China when the virus was first detected in Wuhan we might not have the current situation. Instead they suggest that world vaccination is the only answer and sort of blamed the West for being selfish. That doesnt explain the fact that S.Africa has vaccines going 'out-of-date' due to vaccine hesitancy.
WHO and the UN are perfect examples of why "One World Government" would be a disaster from day 1.
The history of Europe also is a good example of the stupidity of trying to exterminate nationalism and culture.
The Hapsburg Empire survived as long as it did because it DIDNT try to eradicate these cultures and ethnic groups - and they all got on together quite satisfactorily - until WW1 after which the effective world government at the time (Britain, France and the USA) decided to divide up Europe - and they couldnt have made a bigger mess of it.

Its knowing that whoever is running a World Government will definitely screw up that is the reason why most dont want it. It would develop into a UN or EU type bureaucracy that is beyond any vote.
No thanks. The current lot in control here maybe as bad as any world government but we can throw the buggers out from time to time. We couldnt do that to a EU or UN type bureaucracy.

The only person wanting world government would be an international socialist - and unfortunately we do have one such person in NZ - but we can throw her out.

Jack Scrivano said...

Chris, we are not going to get people ‘sharing what little we have’ while the MSM is telling us, on an almost daily basis, that we all need a freehold house and about a million unencumbered dollars for our retirement.

sumsuch said...

My only overseas holiday was in Vanuatu. A very poor country but supposedly the happiest country on Earth. I remember telling the motel cleaner how I was a gardener. Maybe I imagined it but I thought I saw her thinking how no gardener from Vanuatu could ever afford an overseas holiday. We with the goods want to keep them as the start point. Politics will kill us yet.

But with the retention of the post WW ll social democracies we could have addressed our global challenges as soon as they appeared. Instead we addressed the 'medium term', the discomfit of the elite at being circumscribed. The main message is we only address problems when we can't avoid them. Despite the soap-box orators of the Depression it was about a crisis that effected most people that brought Labour to power.

Looking at the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa it was a close run thing between violence and peace. Intelligent leadership and speaking has a vital role, and now that we don't get three chances at every opponent (Rome's wars), I think leaders and speakers are pivotal now when we are cruising 'upward' -- to a cliff.

manfred said...

Jacinda was a member of the International Union of Socialist Youth, the youth wing of the Socialist International.

It is the international grouping of social democratic parties including Blair's Labour, Jospin's PS. They are a thoroughly capitalist institution. Nothing Marxist about them.

This is very basic stuff. If you're going to try and single Jacinda out you should be consistent and implicate people like Phil Goff and Mike Moore, who were also grouped under the same international federation.

Philip said...

Chris, I think you have a mistaken picture of what a one world government might look like. Anywhere where all power is concentrated becomes a corrupt, inefficient morass that stomps on peoples liberties and makes judgements on behalf of others about what is good for them whether they want it or not. Isn't that what we complain about with regards to colonisation for instance? Some people in power at the time decide it is better for "natives" to speak only English, it is better for them to live in their own house and to have their own income, instead of letting them find their own path. It is always someone who knows best that decides these things and if there is push back, it turns to violence pretty quickly to suppress the elements that don't do as they are told for the good of "everyone".

In my opinion it is far better to have diversified leadership of much smaller areas of the Globe so that at any one point in time there are examples of good leadership and bad leadership (those under bad leadership can aspire to having better leaders and use the good example as a model for change), the biggest advantage being that we are not oppressed under a single bad leader which is how it will eventually end up with a one world Government. Just look at how Communism has turned out globally - no one Government/person can have all the good ideas - a mix is needed as well as the flexibility to change to match new circumstances.

It is not a fear of "people of colour", or a different culture taking our power, it is a fear of us all being dragged down to the lowest common denominator through a single global government of complete and utter ineptitude, rather than being able to rise on a diverse set of skills, capabilities and aspirations that wax and wane from nation to nation.

sumsuch said...

This covid nonsense, not that it's not entirely understandable, strengthens the muscle of Labour's war socialism for the next far greater challenge. Except it, unlike WW ll, needs to be 'sold' vociferously, and to the materially comfortable by the apparently spiritually comfortable. Though events will now push things along, which is too late. Yes, it's more or less hopeless but we must throw ourselves into the fire for our younger generation.

I adjudge capitalism as a furnace of different colours, pleasure and pain, like a fireworks display. Cicero's great legal opponent's daughter, Hortensia, was a founder of feminism with her leadership of a request for a fair compensation for a wrong to Augustus. Right and wrong rise on the same upstream of power and riches.

Unlike my socialist great grandfather I understand everything I know from experience, he found a system. I feel myself weak for not having a direct comprehension of the great ideas.

God help us, says an atheist.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

There seem to be two opposing forces working in opposite directions at the same time at the moment. Globalisation, which has resulted in organisations like the EEC, and localisation, which is causing the separatism in places like Wales and Scotland. We'll have to see how it plays out I guess, but a world government doesn't necessarily mean re-education camps and black helicopters, neither does it necessarily mean inefficiency and confusion. Particularly if there is a lot of local autonomy which seems to be coming to the fore in many places.