HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

 
Nation states will destroy the world

by David Atkins

In the wake of my posts about liberalism and human nature, many commentators from Greenwald to Stoller to lesser lights have accused me of being a warmongering imperialist and apologist for America's wars of choice. But their misguided attacks completely miss the gist of the points I have been trying to make and grossly mischaracterize my views while demonstrating the critics' own limited imagination of the capacity of human civilization.

I have been trying to explain for some time now that the world needs a new model of human organization if it is to survive. The current one is failing badly.

Consider just one pressing example: climate change. David Roberts at Grist puts it clearly in his TED Talk: if the nations of the world don't get together to do something about climate change and fast, humanity is screwed.



I'd like to be an optimist about this, but the notion that the nation-states of the world currently bluffing one another over allowing the Syrian regime a shipload of attack helicopters are going to come to a mutual set of treaties that seriously tackle the problem of climate change is simply delusional. It's not going to happen.

The notion that an ever-increasing number of nation-states can develop nuclear weapons uninterrupted without engaging in full nuclear war at some point over the next century is similarly delusional. If climate change doesn't decimate or destroy this species over the next two centuries, nuclear winter almost certainly will. And that's just assuming the actions of nation-state actors, ignoring the very real possibility of non-state actors taking possession of these weapons.

The notion that the nuclear-armed nation-states of the world will simply adapt to peak oil without resorting to a third world war is improbable at best.

The notion that the world's governments will somehow adapt with mutually effective treaties and internal domestic laws to deal with the increasing power of multinational corporations is delusional. In a world of global labor arbitrage wherein the top multinational corporations collude to buy off governments, the only competition that occurs is between governments themselves to sell themselves to the Fortune 100 in exchange for "investment." That is why austerity is so powerful in Europe and the American government is so easily bought. Global corporate power is beyond the power of any individual nation-state to stop, even networked by (toothless) treaties.

I could mention many other examples ranging from environmental challenges to human rights issues. We have, in short, reached a point at which global challenges have breached the limitations of current political structures to control them.

Many on the left would like to pretend that these problems can be resolved through more diplomacy, or that the nation-states themselves can create a patchwork of domestic laws to adequately tackle these problems. They would like to pretend that people are basically good, ignoring millennia of constant warfare and greed throughout global human history amply demonstrating otherwise. They would like to believe that the nation-state is the pinnacle of human political organization, and that if nation-states would simply leave one another alone, setting up trade barriers and reducing military spending, the world would see lasting peace and prosperity. It's not surprising, but it's wishful thinking and not helpful in solving the real structural challenges the world faces.

Human history is in many ways the story of the power of civilization and complexification to mitigate the worst tendencies of human nature while expanding universal rights and unlocking the secrets of the universe. Reversals are commonplace, perhaps even cyclical in nature. But the overall trend is clear. Increasingly large and complex societies collaborate to solve increasingly large problems while creating better quality of life and guaranteeing increasing protections for their citizens through the process of government of consensus and consent, enforced by mutually-agreed-upon mechanisms. It's how tribes grew into villages, how villages grew into city-states, city-states became kingdoms, and kingdoms became empires. It's how empires fell of their own weight, how dark ages grew into feudalism, feudalism centralized into nation-states, and how nation-states gradually adopted democratic reforms through fits, starts and revolutions.

There is no reason to believe that that process of societal complexification has ended with our current global political structures. In fact, there is every reason to believe that without a metamorphosis of some kind toward greater complexity and universality, humanity itself stands at the precipice of its own destruction.

.