The Lawlessness of Globalism

Before commenting on the link between globalism and the ongoing, broad-based assault against police officers and against law enforcement in general, a clarification is required: political globalism is distinct and radically different from the global economic integration we are used to calling “globalization.”

The aftermath of the Brexit referendum has made this radical difference clear and even obvious to any fair and unbiased observer. The United Kingdom’s rejection of the political tyranny of Brussels’ political globalism has in fact improved its prospects of further integration in the global economy outside the protectionist confines of the EU. (See my earlier posts: here and here)

Political globalism is the agenda of promoting global government at the expense of national sovereignty. Political globalism exploits economic globalization as an alibi and an excuse behind which to conceal its true aims. As a political aspiration – namely the destruction of the nation-state – it has an ancient pedigree that long predates the emergence of the recent, post-1992 wave of economic globalization.

Political globalism has as its primary aim the destruction of the legal writ of the sovereign state. The current wave of violent mob attacks against law enforcement personnel and the coordination of those mob attacks with academic and journalistic propaganda against the institutions of law enforcement represent a high point in globalism’s long-standing campaign against the legal writ of the nation state – a campaign that in, effect, is a campaign of lawlessness.

For nearly three decades there has been a proliferation of specialized legal regimes that gobble up legal authority from sovereign states and administer international treaty-based public law in areas formerly covered by the writ of sovereign states such as trade law, environmental law, human rights, etc. Pressured by powerful lobbies and on advice of administrative and academic experts, national legislatures time and again have surrendered their lawmaking function to unelected supranational bureaucracies. They do so by voting vague administrative laws and assigning accompanying rule making and legal interpretation to the “experts” of these bureaucracies.

Unaccountable, globalist rulemaking has thereby replaced large swaths of law that used to be made by national legislators held accountable to the constituencies that voted them into office. The process has been gradual enough to escape the attention of the general public over the last nearly three decades. But the cumulative effects that are being felt today leave little doubt in the mind of the general public that significant portions of public life operate in lawlessness disguised as administrative rulemaking.

Administrative rulemaking is fine and good if the administrators are incorruptible public servants. But when powerful special interests and lobbies take over the administrators and carry out what is technically called “regulatory capture,” then we have a failure of government. Regulatory capture is followed by generalized corruption of public life which, if not reversed, eventually leads to failed states.

If those failed states happen to be former sovereign nation-states, so much the better for our political globalists.

This perspective gives some context to Hillary Clinton’s non-indictment and to the virulent anti-police rhetoric and street-violence of recent days. But, more to the point, it calls for a fresh look at what happened during and after the 2008 financial crisis and the twin doctrines of “too big to fail” and “too big to prosecute” that protected (and keep protecting) the major global banks responsible for that crisis. The first doctrine was promulgated by President Bush’s Treasury Secretary; the second by President Obama’s Attorney General.

The current wave of lawlessness targeting police officers today takes aim at the heart of the legal writ of the sovereign nation state in exactly the same way that Hank Paulson’s “too big to fail” and Eric Holder’s “too big to prosecute” damaged law and order in 2008 and in 2013.

But neither the volatile street rioters nor the more cerebral Paulson and Holder realize that their behavior is defeating their own purported intentions. Without the legal writ of the sovereign nation state there is no rule of law. And without the rule of law there is only tyranny – the tyranny of supranational corporate lobbyists and their administrative experts operating under “regulatory capture.” Neither “social justice” – the purported objective of the street rioters – nor well-regulated markets – the purported objective of Paulson and Holder – are possible in a globalist tyranny.

Murdering cops and shredding banking and securities laws are equally violations of the law. Murder of individual law enforcers is more heinous than financial crime but financial crime on the scale perpetrated destroyed millions of lives, many of them irreparably.

Brexit could wreck EU law across the EU

Following the meeting of the EU’s European Council (heads of state) last night, EU President Donald Tusk confirmed that “there will be no negotiations of any kind until the UK formally notifies its intention to withdraw.” He was referring to Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which London has indicated will not be invoked until October when a new Prime Minister comes in to replace David Cameron. Article 50 is supposed to regulate negotiation for withdrawal. Continue reading

Economic Vs. Political Globalization

The following was published in the current issue (Spring 2016) of the journal The International Economy as my response to a symposium of views on the question Brexit: The Unintended Consequences:

The Brexit referendum will test the veracity of the claim that international economic integration is impossible without supranational governance. This is what the opponents of Brexit claim, while the Brexit proponents argue that international economic integration will be better served with a reassertion of national sovereignty over supranational governance.

Indeed, the EU insists that if a country wants to have access to its markets it must accept the entire body of acquis communautaire, i.e., the entire body of EU legal acts, court rulings and bureaucratic regulations that have nothing to do with free trade and touch on matters ranging from sports team uniform designs and barmaids’ cleavage regulation to speech code, cultural/ education policy and immigration, and politically correct law enforcement. Most if not all of this acquis communautaire serves no purpose other than the assertion of supranational governance and subversion of traditional national sovereignty.

If Britain votes to exit the EU, it will be voting to get rid of the 13,000-plus acts, rules and regulation of the acquis communautaire, but otherwise to continue Britain’s economic relations with the Continent.

One unintended consequence will show up in the reaction of the European Union leadership to a probable British vote to exit the EU. A lengthy period of UK-EU negotiations will follow Brexit, whose purpose will be to redefine UK-EU relations. The European negotiators will have a choice between preserving the mutually beneficial economic relations  (the EU maintains a healthy trade surplus with the UK) even after Britain has rejected the rest of the acquis communautaire, or terminating/curtailing those economic relations in order to punish Britain for its rejection of the EU’s oppressive legal scaffolding.

If the European leadership chooses to preserve UK-EU economic relations, they will be signaling to the other members of the EU that it is not necessary to accept the comprehensive supranational overlordship of Brussels in order to enjoy the benefits of international economic integration and free trade. But if, in order to whip into line the remaining EU members, the leadership decides to destroy the hitherto beneficial UK-EU economic relations, the EU leaders will be signaling that their true institutional interest is not international economic integration but the political power of supranational governance arrayed against national sovereignty and the democratic institutions that underlie that sovereignty.

In opposing Brexit, the ideologues of political Europeanism argued to the British public that their Europeanism is motivated by their solicitous concern to preserve the benefits of international economic integration. If Brexit wins the referendum, these ideologues must either accept that international economic integration can also be served by strengthened national sovereignty without supranational governance, or they must resort to the unintended consequence of demolishing economic integration in order to preserve supranational rule.

Myths of free trade and protectionism

In October 1913, the United States broke with a solid 124-year-old protectionist tradition and enacted the Underwood-Simmons Tariff Reduction Act, lowering import tariffs by an average 5.1 percentage points.  Eight months later, in June 1914, World War One was triggered; but nobody ever thought of blaming America’s flirtation with “free trade” for the Great War.

In June 1930, the United States enacted the Smoot-Hawley Act that raised import tariffs by an average 3.6 percentage points.  The stock market had already crashed eight months earlier, in October 1929, triggering the Great Depression.  Yet there are people who to this day blame the Great Depression on the “protectionism” of the supposedly protectionist Smoot-Hawley Act that took effect long after the Great Depression had begun.

Raising tariffs does not cause depressions, any more than lowering tariffs causes war. Continue reading

Debt, Trade and the Trump Insurgency

May 4, 2016

Donald Trump was propelled to the GOP nomination by the soaring tide of voter opposition to our national bipartisan policies on trade and immigration. Most likely he will be propelled to the presidency of the United States by the same relentless, popular (both Republican and Democratic) opposition to those same policies.

These bipartisan policies, in force without interruption since the 1989 inauguration of President George H.W. Bush, unleashed unilateral free access to US markets for foreign goods, services and workers, while simultaneously permitting our trading partners to preserve and augment their protectionism against US goods and services and to engage in wholesale theft of intellectual property and industrial espionage. Continue reading