Liberty Expose: Globalism, and Other Buzzwords
Lately, I have been thinking about the essays of George Orwell – specifically his piece titled Politics and the English Language. In this essay, Orwell argues that terms are losing their meaning because of their expansive utilization for political means (the term “fascist” is his most notable example). Any observer of American politics knows that the abuse of language has saturated into our own age, as terms such as racist, war-monger, xenophobe, and the various “-isms” are taken out of context for political means. However, one of the most abused words of the American political lexicon is the term “globalism.”
There is no set definition for globalism. Merriam-Webster defines globalism as “a national policy as treating the whole world as a proper sphere of political influence.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes globalism as “the idea that events in one country cannot be separated from those in another and that economic and foreign policy should be planned in an international way.” Dictionary.com describes it as “the attitude or policy of placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations.” To quote Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory “nobody knows what it means, but it’s provocative…it gets people going.”
Among the mainstream factions of American politics; the conservatives, the center-right, and the center-left, globalism is a non-issue. They recognize globalism as a buzzword or just a stage in economic development – which it is. Globalism is the international system that appeared after the Cold War. With the fall of the communist states of the Eastern bloc, the global economy began to integrate and otherwise unfavorable economy’s became available to the developed economies of the developed world – that of the West and East Asia.
The proliferation of the free market that has defined globalism has resulted in the greatest wave of prosperity the world has ever seen. Some people do not take such a positive view of globalism however. Those on the paleo nationalist right, a group does not take the pro-free market position of conservatives, and the far-left, those whom are openly warms towards socialism, see globalism as a nefarious force in the world.
Each of the fringe ideological groups have their own “alternative fact” of what globalism is and isn’t. The paleo nationalist right sees globalism as a leftist ploy for world dominance. According to the inaccurately named Conservapedia, the self-described “trustworthy encyclopedia,” globalism is a “liberal authoritarian” system that does not respect national sovereignty and calls for a “one world” government. This is the typical view from the paleo nationalist fringes of right. These are the people who subscribe to the ramblings of Pat Buchannan and the ravings of Alex Jones.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a major source of resentment of these people. They see external influences such as immigration and free trade as the source of economic despair effecting non-skilled workers; they believe that global competitions for products such as automobiles has run factories out of the United States, they also cite immigration as pulling down wages in certain blue-collar fields of work. What separates them from the far left is their belief in American cultural superiority, and its vulnerability to corruption from outside sources. As one can expect, paleo-nationalists were strongly on the Trump train.
Ironically enough, those on the far-left that oppose globalism do so for many of the same reasons that those on the paleo nationalist right do. These are the people who protested the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the so-called “Battle of Seattle” and whose intellectual decadents spend their time bettering the world by occupying Wall Street. They see globalism as the proliferation of capitalism, which in the worldview of the far-left, means the impoverishment of millions while resources are exploited in favor of a small group of people – the nameless 1%.
Unlike the cultural views of the paleo nationalist right, the far-left do not view themselves as the protectors of American culture and values, but instead they view themselves as the defenders of foreign cultures from the insidious influence of American and Western culture. The left face of the anti-globalist movement also see globalism as the next stage in the evolution of Western imperialism. They see corporations as destroying local cultures in all parts of the world, and remaking those cultures in a Wester image – which to them is of course problematic because the West, in their eyes, is a nefarious force in the world. Of the mainstream candidates, these people were feeling the Bern in the 2016 election.
The irony is that both factions blame the other for the proliferation of globalism. The paleo-nationalist right believe the left to be responsible for an international government conspiracy, and the far-left believe the pro-westerners to be using imperialism and cultural conquest of foreign peoples. Of course both factions of anti-globalists are as wrong as they are extreme. Globalism is not an ideology pushed by the bureaucrats of the European Union, nor is globalism a strategy pursued by corporate oligarchs who want to spread imperialism all across the world.
Both groups are reactionaries who fear economic development, which does not make them unique in world history. Often in politics as in life, people manipulate specificity of language in order to make it abstract. Abstractions are vague and moldable, and thus can be applicable to whatever or whoever is targeted. When language is specific, as it is meant to be, it must e addressed in narrow terms, and thus it must be faced.
When language is made abstract, it loses it meaning and becomes subject to relativism. When this happens, language no longer becomes truth, and thus language loses its meaning. The only antidote for this is a more responsible political rhetoric – no matter how naïve that aspiration may be. When people begin to use language in the pursuit of truth, and not for the goal of power, language will recover its meaning. Until then, language will only deteriorate because of the fringes of the American political spectrum.