Saturday, February 04, 2006

What will the New World Order look like?

Friends and family know I'm as on-guard as anyone when it comes to parsing the signs of the apocalypse on various websites (note: that first link is particularly useful, as it will set up an email account for you to autosend emails to your damned loved ones in case of Rapture. Bookmark it). Recently, my attention has turned to a vexing and critical question in the field of Rapture Studies: what will be the likely legal structure of the New World Order?

Let's turn to already existing bodies to see if any are fitting or otherwise provide a model for the NWO*:

First, we have the WTO. The WTO, like other international bodies, is purely voluntary. If a country wants out, it can leave the group. Now, I have a hard time imagining that there will ever be a transnational body that will govern through coercion, the way national governments do vis-a-vis their citizenries. I mean, what country would voluntarily give up their sovereignty?

At any rate, the WTO won't be the situs of a future one-world government or New World Order for two reasons: first, since all of its rules and by-laws require consensus (meaning some country like Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, or America can derail any proposed human rights-based rules), its body politic is too weak and decentralized to pass rules over the objections of its members. Second, its rules are trade-related. One could argue that some of the decisions are in a gray zone between trade and social policy, but its one thing to, say, restrict certain shrimp nets and a whole other thing to require free speech rights.

I think I could see international government(s) being formed on the model of the EU, in which economic benefits are conditioned on acceptance of non-economic intranational rules. Turkey's troubled attempt at accession to EU membership is a perfect example: in order for Turkey to reap the economic benefits of EU membership, it has had to adopt European laws on things like civil liberties and human rights. Additionally, the EU isn't quite as consensus-based (I think. This summary made my head hurt, so I just guessed about the consensus thing).

The EU provides at least one thing we'd want our NWO to possess: the ability to bootstrap non-economic law into economic law. Two more things we still need: (1) majoritarian, rather than consensus, governance. Whether this be straight one-nation-one-vote or a weighted system (ala the IMF, where votes are weighted in proportion to capital donated) will be up to the Morning Star to decide. (2) the coercive power of the State. It could be argued that our NWO will have to be coercive, like a national state re: its citizenry, rather than voluntary. And, since no country will voluntarily give up its sovereignty, the NWO is just a figment of the Wacky Religious Right.

I have two responses to this latter objection. First: Get behind me, Satan!

Second, I think this argument relies on oversimplified notions of coercion and consent. It could be argued that I freely choose to abide US laws. Hey, I could always choose not to, but I'd just have to deal with the consequences. That, of course, is ridiculous: something is coercive if it doesn't allow any other reasonable choices. Jail isn't a reasonable choice. Similarly, if our economic regime provides enough benefits such that non-participation is not a reasonable choice, it will carry the force of coercion. (I'd argue the WTO carries this force).

So if the WTO couldn't become such a body, and the EU couldn't (being geographically limited), what body could be the seed of a future New World Order?

Interestingly, there's been talk among conservatives to start a WTO-like body that would link economic advantage to democratic institutions and civil rights. Such a body would have the non-economic bootstrapping; a problem is that Americans are notoriously (or famously) weary of strong transnational bodies, perhaps because they don't want to quicken the Second Coming. It's possible that the isolationist tendencies in conservatism could be assuaged by a weighted voting system (guess who'd get that weight?), but that remains to be seen. At any rate, if the NWO is on its way, I think Babylon will best be birthed in an Democratic Trade Bloc.

* The UN is absent, as Satan won't be able to utilize it until his emissary John Bolton has reformed it and made it a competent authority.