New World Order

The direction of history

The direction of history is towards a single integrated world order that is sometimes called the New World Order. Humanity is converging in three major ways, intellectually, economically and politically. The spread of religions and ideologies made it possible to unify different peoples under the same set of ideas. Trade and money enabled the cooperation between strangers all over the globe. And the increased cooperation between nation states is paving the way for a closer integration of governments.1

The world is now run by a global elite of business people, politicians, bureaucrats, engineers, journalists, scientists, opinion makers, writers and artists. No matter where they live, whether it is New York, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Dubai or Cape Town, these people increasingly have the same interests, the same viewpoints about the world, the same culture, and increasingly live similar lifestyles. The individuals in these elites have more in common with each other than with their fellow countrymen.1

The need for global cooperation

Global issues such as climate change, human rights, international crime and financial markets might require international agreement and cooperation. The Old World Order was based on the sovereignty of nation states, which means that there was no higher authority than the nation-state. All nation states were equally sovereign, at least in theory, and their power was only restricted by the treaties they signed voluntarily.

Nation states are increasingly under pressure to conform to global standards because actions of one nation affect other nations as well. The global elite makes decisions on these issues. But would an informed citizenry decide otherwise? The global elite may believe that it acts to the benefit of mankind and that we need more international cooperation or even a global government. This is reflected in the words of the British politician Denis Healey, who had been involved in Bilderberg Conferences in which members of the elite gathered in secrecy. He told the Guardian:

To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.2

It is hard to get a clear picture of the influence of meetings like Bilderberg. It seems that these meetings influence the issues that are on the political agenda. For instance the European Union has been discussed at Bilderberg and it is plausible that these meetings helped to create the European Union by making the elite agree on the idea. And as Europe had just been ravaged by two world wars, it might have seemed a good plan.

Neofeudalism

The New World Order is sometimes seen as a new form of feudalism. The share of the wealthy of global wealth and income has increased in recent decades. An Oxfam report from 2017 points out that the world’s eight wealthiest people own as much as the poorest 50%.3 Nation states are losing their grip on large corporations and billionaires. Until now there is no global government and there are no sufficiently binding international treaties, so nation states end up competing to please large corporations and billionaires.

Deep state

Politicians come and go but other government officials often remain within the governmental institutions for a long time. Most are not democratically elected. In most cases they believe they work in the best interest of their country. These people can yield significant influence. They can obstruct democratically elected officials.

On the other hand, democratically elected officials can press governmental institutions into forwarding their political agenda. The power of unelected officials, and most notably the intelligence agencies, is sometimes referred to as the deep state. As intelligence agencies operate in secrecy, they might be state within the state.

Conspiracy theory

The New World Order conspiracy theory claims that the elite has a secret plan to create a New World Order in which ordinary humans will be mere serfs. Rather than seeing the emerging oligarchy as a result of social and economic developments, the conspiracy theory alleges that this was deliberately planned by the elite in secret. The alleged plan is believed to be worked out in secretive meetings like Bilderberg.

In the United States corruption in politics is so pervasive that many people seek refuge in conspiracy theories. Politicians need to fund their campaigns. Those who don’t accept money from large corporations and wealthy individuals have less chance of being elected. Only around 10% of Americans believe that their Congress is doing a good job.

Conspiracy theorists tend to invent and mischaracterise facts and intentions in order to spin them into their twisted narrative. On the other hand, traditional media tend to underreport or ignore issues that can threaten the current social order. With the advent of internet and social media everyone can start a website and become a source of information and opinion. Traditional media are losing their grip on the public opinion.

Global government

Whether or not a global government is desirable is a matter of debate. The more power is concentrated, the more pervasive the corruption is likely to become. On the other hand, some issues can only be dealt with on a global level. The more people agree on what needs to be done and how differences must be settled, the less need there might be for a centralised government. That might require rational debates dominating politics and direct democracy standing at the basis of decision making.

Natural Economic Order

What the New World Order will look like is difficult to tell, even though many people think they already know. Perhaps the course of events will take an unexpected turn. In 1916 Silvio Gesell published his book The Natural Economic Order in which he proposed a tax on money. His idea would later produce Natural Money. His book was first published in German and named “Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung”. This can be abbreviated to NWO. If Natural Money is to become the money of the future, this would be a peculiar coincidence. And it may not be a coincidence but part of a plan as the license plate on Franz Ferdinand’s car suggests. Hence, there may be a secret plan for a New World Order the elite is unaware of.

Gesell was inspired by the principle of natural selection like many of his contemporaries. He viewed competition in the economy as beneficial to mankind. Effort and talent, and not money and privilege, should determine one’s economic rewards. He saw interest as the privilege of money, and believed that a tax on money would allow interest rates to go to zero. Gesell thought that this was more efficient. The natural economic order will not arise spontaneously as it requires people selecting a type of money that allows for negative interest rates. In the preface of The Natural Economic Order he wrote:

The economic order here discussed is a natural order only in the sense that it is adapted to the nature of man. It is not an order which arises spontaneously as a natural product. Such an order does not, indeed, exist, for the order which we impose upon ourselves is always an act, an act consciously willed.

The proof that an economic order is suited to the nature of man is furnished by observation of mankind’s development. The economic order under which men thrive is the most natural economic order. Whether an economic order which stands this test is at the same time technically the most efficient order, whether it provides the bureau of trade statistics with record figures is a matter of secondary importance. At the present day it is easy to imagine an economic system of high technical efficiency coupled with gradual exhaustion of the human material. It may, however, be taken for granted that an economic order under which mankind thrives will also prove its technical superiority. For human work can, ultimately, only advance with the advance of the human race. “Man is the measure of all things” including the economic system under which he lives.

The prosperity of mankind, as of all living beings, depends in the main upon whether selection takes place under natural laws. But these laws demand competition. Only through competition, chiefly competition in the economic sphere, is right evolution, eugenesis, possible. Those who wish to ensure the full miraculous effects of the laws of natural selection must base their economic order upon competition under the conditions really decreed by nature, that is, with the weapons furnished by nature after the exclusion of all privileges. Success in competition must be exclusively determined by inborn characteristics, for only so are the causes of the success transmitted to the offspring and added to the common characteristics of mankind. Children must owe their success, not to money, not to paper privileges, but to the ability, strength, love and wisdom of their parents. Only then shall we be justified in hoping that humanity may in time shake off the burden of inferior individuals imposed upon it by thousands of years of unnatural selection – selection vitiated by money and privileges. And we may also hope that in this way supremacy may pass from the hands of the privileged, and that mankind, led by the noblest sons of men, may resume its long-interrupted ascent towards divine aims.5

1. Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.
2. Who pulls the strings? (part 3). The Guardian (2001). [link]
3. Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world. Oxfam (2017). [link]
4. 10% of Americans like Congress: Are they nuts? Dean Obeidallah. CNN (2013) [link]
5. The Natural Economic Order. Silvio Gesell (1916).  [link]

one ring to rule them all

Multiculturalism

A very successful ideology

Perhaps the most successful ideology ever is multiculturalism. For thousands of years it has seen an endless sequence of victories. There were a lot of temporary setbacks, but the long-term historic trend is unmistakable. The world is gradually becoming one with the help of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism was initially thought of by kings who conquered an empire of different peoples and wanted to rule them all. These different peoples could keep their own customs and settle most of their own affairs as long as they didn’t pose a threat to the social order. This brought peace and stability, which improved trade and prosperity. For example, Cyrus the Great, who ruled around 550 BC, was one of the first to use multiculturalism to rule his vast empire. He respected the religions and traditions of the peoples he ruled. For instance, he helped the Jews to go back to Israel and rebuild their temple.

Multiculturalism has been imposed upon conquered peoples with force but the alternative was often more wars. If the empire lasted long enough, these peoples together began to form a common culture and became one. Over time smaller cultures became integrated into larger cultures. This happened, for example, in the Roman empire. Many Roman emperors came from the provinces such as France, Africa or Arabia. When the empire finally collapsed, the conquered peoples didn’t reappear as independent nations. They had become Romans.1 Roman culture was dominant. People in the rest of the empire took over many customs from the Romans while the Romans took over some customs from the provinces. The world is closely interconnected nowadays so a global culture may emerge without conquest.

Why do many people think multiculturalism is a failure? Most importantly, it is hard to believe that multiculturalism is great when foreigners come to your country in large numbers and remain loyal their tribe. This can threaten the social order. If large numbers of immigrants keep coming, and if they don’t adapt and get a lot of children, the nature of society can profoundly change over time. Many people in Europe and the United States fear that it will not be for the better. If Europe becomes like Africa or the Middle East, then hardly anyone currently living in Europe will consider this to be an improvement, not even the people who came from Africa and the Middle East. Similarly, many people in the United States fear that the their country can become like Latin America, and hardly anyone currently living in the United States would consider this to be progress either.

Proclaiming that multiculturalism is a failure when it is on the brink of final victory is a form of historical ignorance. It may seem hard to foresee how the future global culture will look like but if war can be avoided and human civilisation doesn’t collapse then all the peoples of the world are going to be integrated into a single global culture. There will still be differences but tribes will become less important. There will be a framework that allows for everyone to coexist relatively peacefully and gradually integrate into the global culture. This process may require a similar level of education, governance and democracy all over the globe, and a rational approach to matters of importance. Currently this seems a bit of a stretch to say the least, but the more people become educated and can be made to agree on using rational debates to revolve differences, the less need there will be for an elite to guide them, or for the use of force to maintain the social order.

multiculturalism

Setting matters straight

Many people believe that their own culture is superior. Every nation desires to have a sense of pride about its cultural heritage but it is hard to come up with valid arguments why this or that nation, tribe or religion is superior to others. Yet, there is something that can’t be ignored either. Many people desire to go to Europe or the United States, and not somewhere else. This has something to do with oppression and poor living conditions elsewhere. One can surmise from this that if the rest of the world becomes more like Europe or the United States, this would generally be seen as an improvement. Cultural superiority thinkers are eager to point out that this is because of the superiority of Western culture. But what is this so-called cultural superiority?

It can’t be moral superiority for sure. Huntington wrote that the West didn’t win the world by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organised violence. He believed that the West is still hated because of this.2 But is this really true? Most people in developing nations realise that they are shaping their own future. People in other parts of the world can’t blame their former colonisers until eternity. Most people in Indonesia don’t hate the Dutch for being their former coloniser, despite the oppression, exploitation and killings that took place during the colonial era. The Indonesians hardly think of the Dutch any more. And blaming the Dutch doesn’t help them.

Is there no superiority in ideas whatsoever? During the last 500 years science has completely altered the way we live. That happened because European scientists began to believe that when observed facts contradict religion and tradition, facts should take precedence. In other parts of the world tradition and religion held precedence. This made Europeans the masters of the world for a while until other countries followed the same path. Europeans were so successful in spreading their cultures that today billions of people have adopted significant parts of these cultures. Indians, Africans, Arabs, and Chinese learned French, English and Spanish. They began to believe in human rights and self-determination. They began to adopt Western ideologies such as liberalism, capitalism, communism, feminism, and nationalism that emerged in modern Europe.1

People in Europe weren’t more rational than others. There were rational people all over the world but they didn’t challenge existing wisdom and religion to the same extent Europeans did. Most Europeans remained religious, but when facts contradicted their religions, they learned to deal with it. People in Europe began to separate religion from worldly affairs so that these became different realms. This is reflected, for example, in the separation of church and state. As the search for new knowledge began to take off in Europe, Europeans used their new knowledge to conquer the world. But would things have been better if the Chinese or the Africans had developed science and conquered the world?

Reason overcame religion in Europe. Many social, economical and political experiments have been tried in Europe that have not taken place anywhere else. Europeans developed models for society called ideologies. Tens of millions of people were killed in wars of conquest and clashes of ideologies. The Europeans made more historical errors than anyone else, simply because they had so many ideas to try. And there have been two destructive world wars for the most part caused by errors made in Europe and for the most part fought in Europe. In this way the Europeans had more opportunity to learn from their mistakes than anyone else. You can call that cultural superiority if you like, but it might be better to call it experience. And it would be a waste of time and cause unnecessary suffering to go through all these historical processes including all the wars, again everywhere around the globe, only to discover what you could already have learnt from studying history. In this sense Europe can still be a guide to the world.

Us and them

Us and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men
Me and you

Humans are group animals. We divide humanity between us and them. Us is the good people and them is the evil others that act differently, look differently, have funny accents and wear peculiar outfits. Welcome to human nature. This is who we are. In modern times it becomes harder to identify who are us and who are them. People differ in skin colour, religion, political preference, or some other quality, so that it is still possible to make these distinctions. And that helps to feel good about yourself because us is the good part of humanity. Even if you think you’re open-minded you are likely to consider the narrow-minded others as the evil them. When you are an outsider, and subject to exclusion and regular bullying, life isn’t so great. The us and them question is often narrowed down to racism and discrimination.

There is no reasonable basis for racism but discrimination is a more difficult issue. People have the right to associate with the people they prefer. And most people prefer the company of their own kind. This often leads to exclusion and bullying and making certain groups and people feel inferior. Should that be allowed? And what about the problems caused by cultural differences? A lot of people from specific ethnic groups have difficulties in finding a place in society. These groups often dominate the crime statistics. Is it because they are discriminated or because they don’t adapt very well? The answer is often both. It helps when everyone agrees on that and that this issue should be resolved. There is a good chance that it will happen over time and it helps if everyone is willing to work on it. Multiculturalism has turned so many thems into usses in the past that this trend may continue until there’s no real them any more. That may be of little solace to those who are discriminated or suffer from the misconduct of people from certain ethnic groups, but we shouldn’t lose perspective.

To a hippie flowers and love can do wonders. Indeed, bringing people together can sometimes do miracles. A nationalist may think that everyone should stay in his or her own country. And indeed that could have saved us from trouble, but in the end nations will disappear and the world will become one, unless human civilisation fails, that is. Immigration can revitalise a nation but it can also destabilise it. Most immigrants seek a better life and want to work hard. They are on the move because they don’t see opportunities in their home countries.

But many immigrants aren’t successful and have trouble adapting or are not willing to contribute to society. Ignoring the facts or distorting them isn’t helpful. People from different cultural backgrounds have different views about what is acceptable conduct and what is not and this can lead to conflict. But these conflicts can be seen as historical processes that have to be resolved so that a common ground can be reached. Bigotry as well as political correctness don’t contribute to solutions. In a rational debate all genuine concerns are brought into the open. This requires both honesty and respect, which can be very difficult indeed as people tend to have very different ideas about honesty and respect to begin with.

Multiculturalism is on its way to final victory. It might help when people agree on some basic norms and values as well as the predominant culture. The modern world is shaped by Europe, and most notably scientific progress. A tacit acknowledgement of this, and acting accordingly, should suffice. There’s no reason to use these facts to offend or humiliate others. There should be room for an acknowledgement of the achievements and benefits of other cultures. It is also not helpful to think that European culture is evil because of all the bad things that happened in the past.

Civilisation is just a thin veneer that can easily disappear. If the world descends into chaos, no culture, religion or ideology can protect us from the beast that lives within us all. That is perhaps the most compelling reason for being a cultural relativist and for embracing multiculturalism and allowing a global culture to emerge. It is not an achievement to be born with a specific cultural heritage nor should it be a reason for blame. On the other hand, overcoming the limits of your own culture and contributing to a better future might be an achievement, and you could be faulted for failing to do so.

Featured image: One Ring to Rule Them All. Xander (2007). Public Domain.

1. A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.
2. The Clash of Civilizations And the Remaking of World Order. Samuel Huntington (1997). Simon & Schuster.

The flag of the Iroquois Confederacy

The Great Law Of Peace

What society might look like

Is it possible to have a more equal and free society? The road to tyranny is often paved with good intentions. So can this question be asked at all? Or do we lack a vision as to how things can be? Perhaps there is a society that can show us the way. In the year 1142 five North American tribes, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca, formed a league that came to known as the Haudenosaunee, Iroquois or Five Nations. In 1722 a sixth tribe, Tuscarora, joined and this league became known as Six Nations. The constitution of the league is known as The Great Law Of Peace.

The impact of the league on world history is considerable. The Haudenosaunee came up with the idea of equality and liberty for all. They may not have been the first but they influenced the European colonists settling in the United States as well as important 18th century European thinkers. As a consequence freedom, equality and brotherhood became the motto of the French Revolution. Freedom and equality are still amongst the most important values people believe that societies should be based.1

The formation of the league

According to legend three people made this happen. They were Dekanawida, known as the Great Peacemaker, Ayenwatha also known as Hiawatha, and Jigonhsasee, known as the Mother of Nations, whose home was open to everyone. The league was proposed to make an end to the constant warfare between the neighbouring tribes. The warrior leader Tododaho of the Onondaga kept on opposing the idea.

Deganawidah then took a single arrow and asked Tododaho to break it, which he did easily. Then he bundled together five arrows and asked Tododaho to break them too. He couldn’t. In the same way, Deganawidah prophesied, the Five Nations, each weak on its own, would fall unless they joined forces. Soon after Deganawidah’s warning, a solar eclipse occurred. The shaken Tododaho then agreed to the alliance.

The Haudenosaunee absorbed other peoples into their cultures as a result of warfare, adoption of captives and offering shelter to displaced peoples. During the American Revolution two tribes sided with the revolutionaries while the others remained loyal to Great Britain. The tribes were forced to take sides. They needed the favours of the winning party for disease had reduced their populations. After the war, the league was re-established.

The principles of the league

The Great Law Of Peace consists of 117 codicils that deal with the affairs between the Six Nations. The league is based on the consent of the peoples that are part of the league. When issues come up that need to be decided upon, the male chiefs or sachems of the clans are summoned to gather at the council fire in the territory of Onondaga.

The league aims for consensus. Decisions require large majorities of both the clan mothers and the sachems. This puts pressure on individual members of both groups not to impede decision making with insignificant objections or frivolous considerations. Referendums are held on matters of great importance.

Women have considerable influence. They are entitled to the land and its produce. The clan mothers deal with the internal affairs of their tribe. The clan mothers elect the sachems of their tribe and can remove them from office. Hence, the sachems heed the advice of their female relatives.

Influence

Compared to the despotic European societies of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Haudenosaunee was a liberal form of government. In the first two centuries of European colonisation there was no clear border between natives and newcomers. The two societies mingled and Europeans could see from close by how the natives lived. The North American natives had a level of personal freedom unknown in Europe.1

As for the Haudenosaunee, the colonial administrator Cadwallader Colden declared in 1749 that they had such absolute notions of liberty that they allow no kind of superiority of one over another and banish all servitude from their territories. Colden had been an adoptee of the Mohawks. Other Europeans complained that the natives do not know what it is to obey and think that everyone has the right to his own opinion.

Social equality was as important as personal liberty to the North American natives. They were appalled by the European division into social classes. The French adventurer Louis Armand de Lom d’Arce, Baron of Lahontan, lived in French Canada between 1683 and 1694, noted that the natives he visited could not understand why one man should have more than another and why the rich should have more respect than the poor.

Some early colonists preferred to live with the natives. The leaders of Jamestown tried to persuade natives to become like Europeans. That didn’t happen. Many English joined the locals despite threats of dire punishment. The same thing happened in New England. Puritan leaders were horrified when some members of a rival English settlement began living with the local tribes. As Franklin lamented in 1753:

When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return. [But] when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, though ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life … and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods, when there is no reclaiming them.

usseal
United States Seal

The European colonists had to adapt or they stood to lose their people to the native tribes. And so American society became more free and equal than societies in Europe. The European philosophers of the 18th century took their ideas of freedom from the native Americans and this eventually led to the French Revolution. Freedom and equality have now become the basic principles of democratic nations.

The ideals of liberty and limited government influenced the United States Constitution. The ideals of equality and consensus however did not. The US Seal features a bald eagle holding thirteen arrows bound together representing the thirteen founding states reminiscent of the bald eagle and the five arrows from the legend of the Five Nations.

Featured image: The flag of the Iroquois Confederacy. Mont Clair State University website (Montclair.edu).

1. New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (2005). Charles C. Mann. Knopf. [link]