Nationalism is on the march, and not only in America. Britain wants to leave the EU, and Scotland wants to leave Britain. Across Europe, nation states are erecting barriers as they come to disagree with immigrations policy made in Brussels.
It’s nice to see the nationalists have their day, if only because the globalists have been on top since the Clinton administration. To be honest, nationalism has a poor record. It is associated with ugly tendencies like xenophobia and war. On the other hand, globalism is the enemy of democracy.
The larger any government’s span of control, the less responsive it is … and the sums available for graft are larger.
You can see undemocratic processes at work today in Brussels and Washington. Now imagine if the whole world were ruled out of Davos. The policies go by different names, but globalism is a coherent movement with its own leaders and institutions. The Council on Foreign Relations thinks that Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. should be a single administrative unit. That’s no secret. They published a white paper, and then we got NAFTA.
It is important to understand the tension between globalism and nationalism. President Obama is on the record as a globalist. This is why he recently visited London and advocated for Britain to stay in the European Union. It is also why The Economist always, always labels nationalist parties in Europe as “racist,” “neo-Nazi,” or at least “far right extreme.”
Jeremiah, as you know, eschews labels and generalizations. There is a balance to be achieved between national sovereignty and global institutions. Free trade, for example, has lifted millions out of poverty. Even as Americans have lost jobs and earning power, we have gained access to cheap foreign goods. The right balance is one struck by negotiation among self-interested leaders of sovereign states.
Democracy works better at smaller scales. British voters can be reasonably confident of influencing policy in London. In Brussels, not so much. Not only immigrations policy, but monetary policy, environmental and trade regulation, and foreign policy are made there, “one size fits all,” for Europe.
The larger any government’s span of control, the less responsive it is. Leaders are physically more distant, and the sums available for graft are larger. The right solution is smaller units of government, delegating strictly limited responsibilities to a federal system – kind of like our Constitution. Does anybody still read that?