Steven Den Beste wrote a provocative item about transnational progressivism yesterday (and followed up on it today). He also pointed to an article that looks interesting, but that I haven’t yet read. The item is worth reading, even if you don’t agree with it. This might surprise some people, but I agree with a pretty good sized chunk of it. The bottom line is that I don’t blindly trust anybody, especially anybody that’s invested with power. I don’t trust the politicians in the US, even the ones that I vote for. I don’t trust the management and directors at big companies, even the ones that I work for. I hope that they’ll do the right thing, but I watch them like a hawk to make sure that they’re doing the right thing.
The thing that generally freaks me out about international law is that it invests power in people that are not accountable to me, or really to anybody. If you read Den Beste’s writings, this is his strongest point. If there’s no feedback loop for the governed, then they’re pretty much screwed. Regardless of the fact that in many cases I agree with the technocrats, I don’t want them to be in a position to run things in a top down fashion, at least to a greater degree than they already are.
The thing is, I can certainly see the temptation of transnational progressivism. All too often national governments (like their citizens) are belligerent, myopic, and hypocritical. Nations often define their national interest in a way that’s bad for their own citizens, and certainly disastrous for other countries around them. There’s also a tendency to compromise the long term in favor of the short term. Every thinking person sits and thinks that things could be better if they were more carefully planned and thought out. I think though that if you give in to that temptation, you just end up mucking things up worse than you ever would have thought. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think that Yasser Arafat, Jonas Savimbi, and most other bad dictators throughout history would claim that they had the best interests of their people at heart.
I confess that I’m really just getting started thinking about this issue, and I’m not in favor of nationalism, per se. I am, however, in favor of transparency and accountability, and am strongly biased toward systems that favor those qualities.