Two referenda were held in New Brunswick on whether or not it should become part of Canada. The people voted not to join. A third referendum was held in which a slim majority finally voted to join. After the third referendum, a newly elected New Brunswick legislature passed a law withdrawing from Canada. The law is still on the books. Is New Brunswick part of Canada? If so, according to whom? If a separatist movement sweeps New Brunswick, what then?
Quebec has held two referenda on separating from Canada. The last was only narrowly defeated. The other provinces maintain that the Canadian Constitution of 1982, which Quebec never ratified, prohibits such separation unless the other provinces agree to it. If the separatists win the next referendum, what power will decide the issue?
In the United States Civil War, the southern states wanted to withdraw from the Union. They maintained that inasmuch as they had freely joined the nation as sovereign states, they retained the right to freely leave it. The northern states disagreed. In joining the Union, though they did not know it at the time, all the states surrendered their sovereignty to the nation. The outcome of the war put an end to the theoretical questions.
Once upon a time, the people were sovereign. Unknowingly, they surrendered their sovereignty to the states through a fictitious social contract. The states, or provinces, were later likewise deceived, and lost their sovereignty in joining the nation. The different nations of the world will also find out, after the fact, that in joining an international organization of nations, or even in not joining, they too have lost their sovereignty.
This progressive, hierarchical loss cannot be reconciled with any theoretical conception of sovereignty. Big fish eat little fish. That is a law of nature.
Hobbes believed that peace exists only when men have "a common Power to keep them all in awe." If that is so, then world peace requires a world power which all men fear.
No nation is free of the influence of others. If there is a Sovereign in the world, there can only be one, one whose will is almighty, incontrovertible law. We have already seen that no man nor assembly of men qualifies, but those who have grasped political power have legislated a fiction. They have commanded all men to believe that there can be human sovereignty. The purpose of the theory is to justify the practice.
How do we get from many nations to one world government? It is not so hard.
The modern state is secular and the source of its own laws. When the state becomes the lawgiver, those who control it can set it free from all legal restraint. If it is the sovereign, then by definition there can be no legal restraint. Whatever the Sovereign wills is just, for it is his will that defines justice.
Secularism, sometimes called humanism, is the religion of the modern state, having its own definition of good and evil, its own tenets of faith, its own priesthood, and its own vision of the world to come. "This secularism chalks out an area in public life where [another] religion is not admitted. One can have [another] religion in one's private life; one can be a good Hindu or a good Muslim within one's home or at one's place of worship. But when one enters public life, one is expected to leave one's faith behind....Implicit in the ideology is the belief that managing the public realm is a science which is essentially universal and that religion, to the extent it is opposed to the Baconian world-image of science, is an open or potential threat to any modern polity." 106 (The word in brackets is added to this observation of Ashis Nandy.)
Nandy further points out that "while the modern state builds up pressures on citizens to give up their faith in public, it guarantees no protection to them against the sufferings inflicted by the state itself in the name of its ideology....The role of secularism in many societies today is no different from the crusading and inquisitorial role of religious ideologies. In such societies, the citizens have less protection against the ideology of the state than against religious ideologies or theocratic forces." 107
In a world experiencing powerful revivals in all major religions, the power elite continues to seek to disenfranchise all who take their non-secular beliefs seriously. Why? Those beliefs prevent people from recognizing the secular state as the supreme authority in their lives.
This reluctance is woven into the fabric of all cultures. It is in fact difficult to even imagine the existence of a culture without an integral, non-secular faith system. On the other hand, we have very few secular societies, bereft of culture, to examine - primarily the French and Communist Reigns of Terror.
"Secularism has little to say about cultures - it is definitionally ethnophobic and frequently ethnocidal, unless of course cultures and those living by cultures are willing to show total subservience to the modern nation-state and become ornaments or adjuncts to modern living - and the orthodox secularists have no clue to the way a religion can link up different faiths or ways of life according to its own configurative principles." 108
The orthodox secularists are not looking for clues. Secularism is a blind faith, mistaking power for life. "As the modern nation-state system and the modern thought machine enter the interstices of even the most traditional societies, those in power or those who hope to be in power in these societies begin to view statecraft in full secular, scientific, amoral and dispassionate terms....These elites then begin to see all religions and all forms of ethnicity as a hurdle to nation-building and state-formation and as a danger to the technology of statecraft and political management." 109
What does it mean to say that statecraft is "secular, scientific, amoral and dispassionate"? Secular? Its foundation is Nietzsche's belief that God is dead, and so are His values. Scientific? The latest material explanation is all there is.
Amoral? The moral values of all other religions are taboo. They are prohibited in the areas where the state determines the major boundaries of people's lives, the very areas in which most people find such values most appropriate and most needed. Dispassionate? Arrogant and deaf.

Uber Alles

Everyone who believes in some kind of Natural Law, with or without a lawgiver, believes that there is a set of laws applicable to all people. Everyone who believes in human rights or international law does also.
Belief in an essential world unity above and beyond cultural, religious, and national differences is a form of monism, the belief that reality is a unified whole. If the rights and higher laws for all people are or should be the same, then there is or should be one power over all. For secularists, that can only be a human ruler.
It took centuries for the advocates of the nation-state to entrench it as the residence of that supreme power, i.e. the sovereign. That battle, as the current fragmentation of numerous former nation-states attests, has not been settled once and for all. Laski reminds us that, "We must ceaselessly remember that the monistic theory of the state was born in an age of crisis and that each period of its revivification has synchronized with some momentous event which has signalized a change in the distribution of political power." 110
Competing claims of sovereignty abound. The clamor to rule over people, wealth, and territory has not diminished in scope or intensity. It has not retreated from any of the areas of life, and there is still no shortage of those who want to rule over others. The power is simply being redistributed, both to smaller and larger loci or foci.
For centuries, the international system of nation-states has served in different ways to strengthen the sovereignty claims of individual states. "First, it is clear that states have always colluded, coordinated, or cooperated in controlling individuals. They have a common interest in suppressing nonstate threats to the authority of the state. Second, these efforts can be quite opaque. The state's implementation of new authority claims over the people within its territorial jurisdiction is often legitimated in terms of interstate relations....The international system poses not simply a set of constraints and opportunities but a source of state power." 111
Wars, disasters, alliances, and collusion have all served as opportunities to consolidate state power. Crises create uncertainty and fear, both of which make people more willing to have a strong someone else make decisions for them. The state is a developed means through which wealth, property, and people are controlled.
The state is neither a living thing nor an end in itself. It is merely the means to an end. It is not really the master of all, but rather the servant of those who want to master all.
Even as the international system is a source of state power, so states are a source of power for the international system. The current international system is built upon the presupposition of the state. The system facilitates the interaction of states, not of people. State rulers legitimize one another.
There are many different international organizations and alliances, but there is one more equal than all the others. "There is nowadays one obvious existential community of sovereign states. The year 1945 marks not only the end of a devastating world war but also the founding of a new universal collectivity of states defined by an explicit set of rules. That collectivity is, of course, the United Nations, and the rules are stated in its Charter, particularly and centrally in Article 2, which specifies the fundamental conduct requirements of the organization: equal sovereignty of all member states, forbearance from initiating the use of armed force to settle disputes among members, and nonintervention in the domestic jurisdiction of members. Article 2 also contains several related principles and requirements, including good faith, peaceful settlement of disputes, willingness of members to assist the United Nations in its actions, and compliance of nonmembers with its principles." 112
The UN is a club for state rulers, but it is making greater and greater claims of authority over those states and the people in them. Inis Claude has pointed out that, "the restriction on the United Nations (under Article 2[:7]) not to intervene in matters that are essentially under the domestic jurisdiction of member states means 'almost nothing' because ratification of the Charter by a state puts 'practically every conceivable subject...into the international domain, so that there is precious little domestic jurisdiction left to infringe upon.' ...Claude emphasized, correctly, that the central question concerned the relationship between international society and its member states, and that over the years, the nature of that relationship had been determined politically." 113
In other words, the charter neither hinders the powerful nor protects the weak. It is a tool to use or ignore. "At the global level, the only formal decision process that is exempted from the rule of noninterference is the authority of the Security Council under the enforcement provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Yet it is here that the five permanent members retain the right of veto, which they are unlikely to use against their own interests." 114
The great powers do what they want to do, though it sometimes creates some interesting posturing. "On the second day of celebrations for the United Nations 50th birthday, French President Jacques Chirac led criticism of Washington for pushing the world body to the verge of bankruptcy by withholding $1.25 billion in contributions. 'It is not acceptable that many countries, and notably the first among them, by allowing arrears to accumulate, are driving to bankruptcy an organization that the heads of state and government of the entire world have come here to reaffirm is irreplaceable,' he told the General Assembly." 115
The U.S. was withholding the money from the UN because Congress, saying it was in the best interests of the American people, had voted to do so. Chirac's attack on the U.S. government was widely seen as an attempt to deflect criticism of the French nuclear weapons testing which had just taken place. The French government conducted nuclear weapons testing because they thought it was in their best interest to do so.
Chirac's characterization of the UN is instructive. He calls the UN an organization that is irreplaceable for the heads of state and government of the entire world. The heads of state need it. Other people do not find it quite so indispensable, but the organization is well on its way to becoming the one world sovereign which will affect everyone's life.
In a July 26, 1995 New York Times News Service article, Marlisle Simons reported that, "The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted the Bosnian Serb leader, Rodovan Karadzic...for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, a ruling that could complicate efforts to bring peace to the war-torn region....The indictments by the U.N. court place the organization in the position of both prosecuting the Bosnian Serbs and negotiating with them.
"...The indictments also raise the unexplored issue of whether U.N. troops may arrest anyone indicted by a U.N. court. Officials close to the tribunal said the legal implications had not yet been clarified." The UN is to be the arresting officer, the prosecutor, and the judge. What possible legal implications could need to be clarified? The implications are clear enough. [On January 29, 1997, President Clinton expressed his view that it would be a good idea to make the International Criminal Tribunal permanent and not limited to Bosnia.]
The same article continued: "Western governments have long said that the majority of the Serbian atrocities were committed as part of an orchestrated campaign to drive away Muslims at a time when they were largely defenseless." 116 The Muslims were largely defenseless at that time because Western governments, led by the Clinton administration, had demanded an international arms embargo. The same administration, at the same time that it was publicly insisting on that arms embargo, was secretly breaking that embargo. What if a lesser nation had done the same?
During the early months of campaigning for the Russian presidency, Boris Yeltsin was very far behind in all the polls of Russian voters. I asked a Russian friend who used to move in influential circles there, "Whom do you think will be elected president?" Without any hesitation or doubt, he replied, "Yeltsin will be elected president. Americans don't understand, he owns the country." Events proved him to be correct.
Yet granting his analysis of the way Russia operates, my unexpressed response was, "Yes, he controls enough of the country to ensure his own election, but he doesn't own it. Time, and death, will demonstrate that." Despite all the maps, deeds, fences, and guns, human ownership is a very tenuous, temporary, and limited enterprise.
Still, in lesser countries, the UN monitors elections and declares them acceptable or unacceptable. In the eyes of the UN, a government which wins an unacceptable election is illegitimate. Yeltsin's election was acceptable.
When it comes to China, where there are no elections in either Tianenmen Square, Tibet, or anywhere else, there is no need for monitors. Northern Ireland is currently off-limits to the UN, because it is part of Britain. What if Ireland claimed that North Ireland was part of Ireland? [Or what if Argentina claimed that the Malvina Islands were part of Argentina?] We would again see that the five permanent members of the Security Council, for the moment at least, are considered sovereign, while other nations are not.
Other governments which don't measure up to UN standards, whatever they might be, may also find themselves declared illegitimate. Robert Jackson reminds us of the case of South Africa: "I believe that this case sets a precedent for the imposition of isolation and sanctions on grounds of illegitimacy rather than illegality..." 117 Which governments will be deemed legitimate, and which illegitimate? and on what grounds?
What are the standards of the UN? Does it have a moral base and standard for determining what is legitimate and what is illegitmate, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil? Or does it not need one?
The UN has rejected every traditional standard. More than that, as Richard Falk points out, "the most prevalent patterns of 'suprastatism' often jeopardize some of the most desirable features of national identity that are preserved when states operate on a secure basis of legitimacy (that is, when they provide their people with human rights, political democracy, and overall security)." 118
States, of course, do not need to provide anything for their people. UN member states are often no more than facades for gangs of murderers and thieves who rule by terror over populations and territories. This is not a new development. It has been that way since the founding of the United Nations.
It is necessary to question the foundational morality of an organization in which Stalin was a founding member in good standing. Not only was he in good standing, he was given a permanent Security Council veto. Laski's remark is to the point: "The social interests which are translated into legal rights are almost always the rights of a limited group of men." 119 That limited group of men consists of those who have grasped power.
The purposes of the UN are expressed in Article 1 of its charter. "The first purpose is to maintain international peace and security. Though other provisions of the Charter empower the Security Council to intervene, massively and forcibly if necessary, against members and nonmembers alike, to achieve this end, for decades the Security Council was unable to agree on such measures." 120 In this decade, the Security Council has been able to agree.
Global peace and security sound wonderful, but they need to be defined. Hobbes would have called the Soviet Union under Stalin and Germany under Hitler, excepting the world war which they started, nations at peace. Within each there was a power that the people all feared. The peace this gave brought more horror and death than any war ever has. Control may bring peace for the rulers, while bringing destruction for the ruled.
Article 2 of the UN Charter stipulates the fundamental conduct requirements of "equal sovereignty of all member states, forbearance from initiating the use of armed force to settle disputes among members, and nonintervention in the domestic jurisdiction of members." Equal sovereignty has never been recognized in practice or in structure. The initiated use of armed force by member states has occurred hundreds of times. And ever since the announcement of the new world order, the UN has been almost eager to engage in intervention.
We are brought back to the question of human rights. Where do they come from? If the Creator endows all men with these inalienable rights, then government cannot take them away, though it can certainly violate them. If a human sovereign is the source of human rights, then the one who gives the rights can also take them away.
Which violations of what rights will call for UN intervention? Every nation can be challenged in terms of treatment of minorities, form of government, or territory. Will there be intervention for the Uighurs in China? the Ossetians in Russia? the Basques in Spain and France? or the native Americans/First Nations in Canada and the U.S.? Will UN military forces be sent to Teheran or Cairo, San Salvador or Lima, Moscow or Beijing, or Jerusalem?
The end of the Cold War has catalysed innumerable crises over sovereignty. Crisis presents the opportunity for the consolidation of power. "All crises are unfavorable to liberty; and it was only through the medium of external attack that the state could shake itself free from the fetters that remained." 121
The police power of the state convinces individuals to obey the decrees of the state. The police power of the international community will persuade state rulers to obey its decrees. Those who don't obey will be forced to obey.
My reading of human nature, history, and contemporary chaos does not convince me that human rights are secure when in the hands of the powerful. Those who want power want power. "[I]t is not without importance that the experience of mankind has, at every period of public excitement, denied the equation of law with morals." 122 The law always embodies the will, i.e. morality, of the sovereign. That will is often immoral by any other standard.
If it is one world, then ultimately there can be only one sovereign. "The maxime unum, so Dante thought, is the maxime bonum; and it was in shrinking from the infamous notion of a dual universe that Boniface VIII could issue his Unam Sanctam. One law and one government were the necessary corollary of its single, dominating purpose. That is why the medieval state is a church..." 123
That is why the developing world government is also a church, the unchallengeable repository of Truth and Good. The world sovereign is the standard by which all must be judged. That precludes any outside determination of whether or not the sovereign itself is true or good, or legitimate.
Lester Ruiz maintains that, "Legitimacy rests ultimately on the existence of a political community with commonly held values. The question of political authority cannot be abstracted from the reality and concept of a tradition...the sources for norms and values within the political community....Here, jurisprudence, religion, culture - the cumulative historical experience of peoples - become the critical sources of authority." 124
It is precisely these critical sources of authority that are taboo to the secular creators of the world government. If Ruiz is correct, then there is no legitimacy for rulers who do not share the commonly held values of those they rule.
Nevertheless, they will make decisions according to realpolitik morality. The basis for the decisions will have nothing to do with traditional or impartial concepts of justice and human rights. It will have everything to do with the lust for power and control which Hobbes saw as characteristic of all people.
Socrates was right when he said that the people who want to rule are the least qualified to rule. Beyond the best of motives, there is something wrong with wanting to control other people. About dark and hidden motives, what needs to be said?
Jesus corrrectly characterized the human dilemma as: "Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil." Sometimes it is necessary to question the most accepted assumptions. Of course, Socrates and Jesus were both killed by those who wanted to rule.
For the great power brokers of today, sovereignty is not under attack. The concept of the supreme authority of political government is still intact. The locus of sovereignty is shifting. It is being realigned. It is triumphantly following its historical logic to the inexorable conclusion. One world, one sovereign. A Mortall God.
The modern secular state was formed as "small groups of power-hungry men fought off numerous rivals and great popular resistance in the pursuit of their own ends..." The appetite of the power-hungry does not diminish. Control of the world has long been the supreme goal. Why else did Alexander, Napoleon, and Hitler die where they did?
Having rejected absolute moral laws and values, they are their own standard, eager to establish for the world a government in their own image, for their own profit. Their authority comes from themselves, as Nietzsche's madman said it must.
As Austin said, "every supreme government is largely despotic. In the words of the Massachusetts Proclamation of January 1, 1776 there must be "an absolute and uncontrollable power." There was once a political axiom which said, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." It seems that we are witnessing the formation of Hobbes' Leviathan, a tyrant without restraint, accountable to no one.

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(go back)
What is National Sovereignty?
Where Does Sovereignty Come From?

Hobbes Reconsidered
Realpolitik Morality

One World, One Sovereign
Notes & Bibliography