Monday, February 27, 2012

Extraterrestrial Contact: Unity versus Globalism

If you have read this blog for a while you know that I make frequent references to the need for the United Nations to take the lead diplomatic role in extraterrestrial First Contact. I don’t believe that First Contact has occurred and I don’t know when, or if, it might ever occur. I do think we need to contemplate the matter, so that if it does occur, we at least have a general framework for response.

Part of my argument has been that humanity is moving into a new era, with or without First Contact. The era is one of global interdependence and unity. Technology is bringing nations and blocs of nations closer together. It is drawing us closer in many different ways and those ties grow stronger every day. Ultimately, this is an important concept for the consideration of First Contact. Global unity means that perhaps, humans could speak with one voice in a First Contact situation. Global unity provides focus for moving forward After First Contact.

I’m not saying that we are there yet, but we seem to be moving in the direction of global unity. Recent economic challenges have highlighted global interdependence and perhaps brought world economic systems closer together. I heard an analyst on CNN calling for Europe to welcome Asian investment in the same way that many Asian nations have been welcoming Western investment for decades. Calls for China to step in and help to prop up the fragile European Union would have been rare even just a few years ago. There is a realization that countries as different as China and France have common bonds that can be strengthened, providing benefits to both nations.

There are those who would call global unity another name for globalism. Globalism is the term most often used by conservative thinkers who are worried about the rise of international government. They see global unity as potentially harmful to the United States, as it would leave us as one nation in many, rather than the global superpower leading the way. Fear of an international government is an extension of fear of big government. If big government on a national scale is bad, the size and weight of an international government would be very bad, or so the thinking goes. I don’t disagree. Big government can at times be stupid and oppressive. It can diminish human endeavor and bind us in ever-growing bureaucracy. It can take away the power of individuals to join together at the most basic level: neighborhoods, churches and community associations. Does this sound like an extreme view on my part? Take a look at China, where entire neighborhoods are bulldozed to make way for business development. Local community organizations in China are viewed as a threat unless they are controlled by and connected to the government. American conservatives see this and wonder what will happen to our democracy. Would an international government wield such enormous power that it would negate cultural individualism and community choice? Would the scale of world government exasperate all of the worst aspects of big government? Perhaps. It’s a reasonable and understandable concern.

The fear of globalism is lead by fringe groups in the United States, often tied to Christian ministry groups. It is interesting because it’s an area where the right and left come full circle, as do many libertarian views. Many anti-globalists believe that big government and big business are working together to take control on an international level. Probe Ministries is just one of the many Christian groups taking this stance
If you then check out the group Conservative Action Alerts and you can see the slow movement towards the mainstream. Then view this statement on CNN by Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul and listen to the audience reaction to his concerns.

Fear of globalism is creeping its way into mainstream conservative thought. Anyone who thinks it will not be a significant American issue in coming years, with or without extraterrestrial contact, is naïve.

I would argue that there is a significant difference between global unity and globalism as perceived by libertarians. Global unity merely means that we are able to make decisions as one civilization and respond to the challenges that need a global response. A national response, or in reality many national responses, to extraterrestrial First Contact would be ridiculous. It would be disjointed, confusing and perhaps even dangerous. Extraterrestrial diplomacy would need to be carried out by one world body with the involvement of all nations. The only group currently capable of doing such is the United Nations. Giving the United Nations the power to handle diplomatic relations with extraterrestrials is not the first step toward world government. It is a logical reaction to a significant challenge.

There will be those who are afraid that extraterrestrial First Contact will lead humanity to a place where cultures and national identities are lost in a rising tide of universalism. This does not have to be the case. There is no reason why humans can’t have global unity for the challenges that require a global response, while still maintaining national governments and cultural identities. I think we have seen a renewed emphasis on localism in the world. People realize that some of the best things in life happen at the local level and economies of scale are not always the best for human quality of life.

This may sound like an esoteric discussion now. In the wake of First Contact, I would imagine it will be one of the concerns in human reaction. It’s important to be able to separate genuine worries about the impact of a massive world government with what would be the realities of First Contact. Global unity is the only possible answer to the challenges presented by First Contact. Thoughtful conservative voices would need to lead the charge in the effort to separate global unity and global response from the fear of globalism.

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