Democracy dies in global governance

Anne Marie Slaughter was an official in the Obama State Department. Now, she’s a professor at Princeton and head of New America (formerly the New America Foundation), a liberal think tank.

Slaughter supports “global governance.” By this, she says she means that nations would cede sovereign authority to supranational institutions in cases requiring global solutions to global problems.

But who would decide whether a given problem requires a global solution? And who would decide what the global solution entails?

John Fonte takes up this matter in an article for American Greatness called “Who Makes the ‘Rules’ in a ‘Rules-Based’ Liberal Global Order?” He offers a hint in the subtitle: “Not necessarily people who’ve been elected to anything.”

Indeed, not. The answer to “who makes the rules” is, in Fonte’s words, “global experts in international law, human rights, the environment, [and] gender equity.” Not democratically elected leaders, but people like Anne Marie Slaughter. Those pushing for global governance even have a name for this elite cadre — “external epistemic actors.”

Advocates of global governance/the liberal global order are increasingly open about the loss of national sovereignty their project entails. Robert Kagan says the United States “should not oppose but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty.” And Barack Obama told the United Nations in 2016 that by “binding ourselves to international laws and institutions” and by “giving up freedom of action,” America would actually enhance its security.

But while proponents of the liberal global order are now willing to talk about ceding “sovereignty,” they are less forthcoming about the fact that ceding sovereignty means curtailing democracy. The left prattles on about democracy dying in darkness and about the supposed threat President Trump, working with Russia, poses to our democracy. At the same time, it favors turning over decisionmaking power on vital issues to “external epistemic actors” — to unelected foreigners.

It’s bad enough that, through the administrative state, the left has succeeded in turning decisionmaking power over portions of our lives to unelected domestic bureaucrats — let’s call them “internal epistemic actors.” It’s equally bad that identity politics threatens free speech in America, a cornerstone of any democracy.

Our democracy can probably survive these assaults because, by its nature, a democracy can fight back against non-violent internal encroachments. But if the “liberal global order” left empowers “external epistemic actors” to regulate America on any problem deemed to be “global” and in need of a “global solution,” our democracy might well be unable to fight back. It will probably die, not in darkness but in shackles.

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