Common Sense

Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

Micah Zenko over at the CFR has struck again … and it was cool. I replied to this article and have copied that reply below.

Common Sense …

Thank you for another great article. For all the readers out there who are still not convinced about where this author is taking us, please read on  …

“These pledges are voluntary and nonbinding, and there are no enforcement measures to compel compliance”

Right, just like the 13 colonies – operating under that Glorious Articles of Confederation – promised all manner of support in men and materiel for the Revolutionary War. Ask General Washington how that worked out for him.

Global rule of law is the only sane, realistic means to control the nuclear nightmare, in my opinion. And even then it wont’ be perfect. But it will be far, far more effective than that half-hearted efforts in effect now.

I will have much more to say soon about the Slaughter Fallacy and how “global rule of law” exercised through existing international relations by bureaucrats and sycophants is a dangerous pipe dream that will pave humanity’s way straight to hell. Only explicit, codified and institutionalized global rule of law is going to solve the nuclear proliferation problem, imo. It’s time we stopped kidding ourselves.

“Government Networks”, “minitreaties” and other such horrors to be characterized as such in future history books, are one of the most dangerous and disastrous ideas posed since Hitler penned Mein Kampf. Listen to me now, hear me later. Nothing could be more conducive to nuclear weapons proliferation than a world run yet more tightly and oppressively than today’s system of “out of law” rule by the unaccountable cabal Slaughter collectively calls the “disaggregated state”.

Somebody check our brain.

It’s time we learn from history for once, apply some common sense and stop fantasizing.

Cheers all – kk

    • Hi – sorry, this is a reference to one of the “global rule of law” groupies Anne-Marie Slaughter and the book she wrote about the subject called “A New World Order”. Her view is the “mainstream” view amongst supporters of global rule of law, although my general view is a sizable minority view.

      She thinks that the world can be governed by unelected bureaucrats, basically. I think this is a diastrous idea. Like many others, she wants the easy way out: rule behind the scenes since we can’t seem to get enough public support to do it transparently and openly. I believe that any government must have strong public support in order to be legitimate and durable. That remains the biggest task and the biggest hurdle for world government advocates; that is, explaining to the public why global government is not necessarily a bad thing.

      – kk

      • archaeopteryx1 said:

        In essence then, she means appointments, rather than elections.

        You know that I respect your intellect Kir, but my problem with this entire issue – and the US stands as a corroded example – is that no matter what form of government this country, or this world chooses, there will be those who will immediately begin searching for loopholes with which to subvert it.

        Hate to be a pessimist, but I’ve simply seen to much to have any faith in the oligarchy that rules the world – and I don’t mean the system you propose, I mean the shadow oligarchy in place as we speak.

        Not a conspiracy theorist, just a realist.

        pax vobiscum,

        • Hey – Yea, she means appointments. What worries me is how sly and clever she is about concealing that fact.

          It is that human tendency to subvert and identify loopholes that makes law and economics such a fun enterprise. That elusive system that adequately contains this human avarice is the greatest mystery of all of history (oh, okay, perhaps a full characterization of all the forces of nature is the greatest, but you get the idea). It has never been solved. Yea, I’m an idealist I suppose because I believe that it can. I believe that we have been making small perturbations in theories of law and economics and in their application over the last few hundred years that now avail a solution.

          As for pessimism, I don’t think that is pessimism. I think it is really just realism. And I think it is mostly accurate to refer to the ruling class of the globe as a shadow oligarchy because that is essentially what they are. Having said that, I have heard this sentiment enough times to begin to think that, at least in some cases, it might be regarded as a cliche. Is it really impossible to create a system that is relatively immune to the human avarices you describe (though I realize you are not saying that it is “impossible”, only that you don’t have any historical examples of such a system)? I doubt it. I think that there are numerous reasons why such a system has never been implemented, lack of originality being but one reason.

          Your reference to the United States is a sad testament to the fact that the problem is enormously complex and that we have not yet solved it. General Federalism is an attempt at doing so.

          – kk

  1. archaeopteryx1 said:

    And yes, you needn’t remind me – I know that all that is required for evil to flourish, is for good men to do nothing, so despite my comments above, give it all you’ve got, and I’ll hope for the best.


  2. archaeopteryx1 said:

    Again, I’ll stress that I’m neither arguing nor debating with you or your concept, simply shedding light on issues which could conceivably become flaws.

    Take an authoritarian government – I’ll throw out Nazi Germany, but consider the space blank, to be filled in with whatever name one finds more suitable. During the Nazi years in Germany, no one rose to counter Hitler and his cohorts, as it wouldn’t have been tolerated.

    Granted,the US didn’t enter the war to end Germany’s abuses, it did so primarily because its own self interests would be jeopardized if England fell. But if there were a global government, and it were, over time, to be subverted by a totalitarian regime, who would there be to confront that force?

    As it stands now, nations can group and confront, but if all is one, and the one holds all of the power of the military, who can oppose it?


    • Hi,
      You wrote:

      “But if there were a global government, and it were, over time, to be subverted by a totalitarian regime, who would there be to confront that force?

      As it stands now, nations can group and confront, but if all is one, and the one holds all of the power of the military, who can oppose it?”

      You’ve made a great point … and one of the strongest arguments against global rule of law. Sadly, too many advocates of global rule of law do not appreciate the seriousness of the scenario you describe. This problem represents one of the greatest challenges to global rule of law. It is an objection usually raised by political conservatives; but it is a valid objection regardless of its ideological association.

      My position on this has consistently been to put this very argument forward as one of the primary reasons why global rule of law; and concomittantly, global constitutionalism, must be taken very seriously if it is to have any chance of success. Too often issues of fundamental law and institutional theory are ignored or given too little attention. Your question is one of the reasons why I have argued that any global constitution would be the most sophisticated achievement in law and economics in the history of humanity.

      But to answer your question, the mechanisms for delegating power from the people to the professional politicians – specifically – must be very sophisticated. The question, and the conundrum faced for so many centuries in the theory of social contracts, has been how does one grant sufficient authority via delegation while still retaining full and continuous power of revocation?

      This question has bedeviled social theorists for a long time; to include the likes of Madison and Hamilton. The answer lies in the Constitution for a General Federation in the section on the structure of the Senate. I would encourage you to read it.

      In this section a mechanism for delegating authority as directly as possible from the general population to an insulated group of professional politicians is honed and refined as a result of the special attention given to that problem. Within it, the general population, via a “very” popular agency called the “Senate”, can delegate authority but, and this is key, can also revoke it at its will – by force if necessary. The Senate, being closely beholden to the general population, retains control over all the means of so-called “Right of Conquest”. This provision allows for a controlled method of violent revolution; at the whim and will of the people. It is perhaps the most novel aspect of General Federalism.

      The effect of this is to discourage usurpation by professionals and to promote virtue in the execution of the social contract. Accretions of power in a global government are checked “in deed” by the direct, physical control the general population retains over the professionals. To be fair, and to be balanced, the means by which the public revokes power is controlled, but it is there. This has never before been proposed … until now.

      Don’t worry about disagreeing or challenging ideas; that is the only way the conversation is advanced.

      – kk

      As a primer to this conversation, see the sections of the Constitution for a General Federation indicated by the code sections below:

      § 7.3.3 The Senate shall have exclusive power, as in and limited by Section 4 of this Article of this Constitution, to exercise Right of Conquest. The right to overthrow an existing Official Family by force is a right unto which all Individuals are entitled under this Constitution if, before any action to dissolve, impede or remove any Official Family from power, it is executed upon the conditions provided in Section 4 of this Article of this Constitution.

      § 7.3.4 The Senate shall have exclusive power to exercise Right of Arms. The Senate shall retain exclusive powers to regulate, define, classify or otherwise create Law pertaining to Individual, combat arms – to include all such arms which the Federation may obtain by purchase or other means and which the Federation may employ, military or civilian. Any Bill exercising these powers shall be enacted and obtain in Law by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate, any other organ or House of the Federation or any other authority in the jurisdiction of the Federation notwithstanding.

      § 7.3.5 In any case, the Senate shall pass no Law, nor shall any lawful delegate of the Federation take any action of commission or omission, infringing upon the right of any Individual to keep and bear Individual, combat arms of a kind and type appropriate for Right of Conquest; and which shall, at the Individual’s discretion, be of precisely the same make, type and lot as the arms in common combatant use, or in use by the Federal Militia defined in § 7.4.12 of this Constitution, or would likely be in common combatant use, by the real or hypothetical Armed Forces of the Federation.

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