Aware that I have selected a deliberately provocative title, I will need to lay the foundations for the seemingly outrageous claim that Barack Obama has recently expressed his support for modern-day slavery. Please bear with me, therefore, as I explain my reasons for making such a claim.
In the broadest sense, there are three types of government. There is government of the people, which embraces all forms of government, tyrannical and otherwise; there is government for the people, which embraces all forms of government which claim to work for the good of those governed; and there is government by the people, in which the people have real power to govern themselves. Since even tyrants like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin claimed to be governing for the good of their people, we can see that government of the people and government for the people have nothing whatsoever to do with genuine freedom unless these two forms of government are subject to a genuine government by the people.
The problem, as Plato foresaw, is that government by the people can easily become mob rule, leading to the anarchy which presages tyranny. This inherent instability in the form of government usually known as democracy, as highlighted by Plato, was summarized by Oscar Wilde when he described anarchy as “freedom’s own Judas.” Thus, in taking liberties in the name of liberty, we take liberty from others, enslaving them to our own desires and demands. When such a situation arises, government by the people is lost, leading to the people being governed by a privileged few who claim to be working “for the people” while pursuing their own elitist self-interest. This is the situation in which we find ourselves today, in which political structures continue to get bigger and bigger and further and further away from the people.
The trajectory on which we find ourselves is one in which bigger and bigger government works hand-in-glove with bigger and bigger business to bring about globalized political structures that are so vast in domain and so distant from ordinary people, that all genuine government by the people is utterly lost. If globalism triumphs, we, as individuals, will be like ants before the juggernaut of gigantism.
So what has this to do with Barack Obama and my claim that he has come out in support of slavery?
I refer to the speech he gave during his recent visit to the United Kingdom in which he urged the British people to remain in the inherently undemocratic and egregiously corrupt tyranny of the European Union. If the British people voted to leave the EU, President Obama said, they would be pulling back from the world. On the contrary, Mr. Obama, they would be pulling back from the prospect of world government of which the burgeoning imperialism of the European Union is a building block.
President Obama also claimed that remaining in the European Union would be a victory for “diversity,” the employment of which, in this context, is tantamount to Orwellian double-think. Diversity is only possible with the conservation of distinct national cultures. Once these are wiped off the map by globalism, we will have nothing but the monoculture of globalized branding in which we all wear the same type of mass-produced clothes and all listen to the same type of mass-produced music on the same type of mass-produced listening devices, eating the same mass-produced unhealthy food while chained to the same chains that serve it. The world-citizen, utterly lacking authentic culture, will be as bland as the global brands with which he is branded. Compare this view of the globalist and globalized monoculture with the vision of the world as a patchwork quilt of national and regional cultures, all thriving because they are free from the globalist mania for homogenization. It is the difference between a garden full of biodiversity with multifarious flowers and fruits, on the one hand, and the flat prairie of monocultured monotony, on the other.
The sort of world envisaged by the globalists is one in which small nations are swallowed by big nations, which are swallowed by multinational unions, which are swallowed ultimately, presumably, by a global union. It is, therefore, the sort of world in which small governments are swallowed by big governments, which are swallowed by political empires, which are swallowed by larger political empires. It is also a world in which small businesses are swallowed by big businesses, which are swallowed by global corporations. In each case the power of the ordinary man on the street is diminished as the forces of cultural, political and economic inclusiveness and empowerment are progressively eroded. It is a world in which his cultural identity, political liberty and entrepreneurial opportunity are stripped from him. Such a system of government of the people but not by the people can be likened to a Russian nesting doll (or matryoshka doll), in which each larger doll consumes each smaller one.
The alternative to such a system of progressive enslavement is the matryoshka doll in reverse, in which each of the smaller dolls is cocooned and protected from its bigger sisters by its own inherent dignity and being. Thus the smallest doll, the one at the centre, is the individual human person, whose inherent dignity cannot be violated by any political structure; the next smallest doll, the one that protects the inherent dignity of each human person contained within it, is the family; next is local government, the only true and effective government by the people, which is close to the family and therefore responsive to its needs; then there is regional or state government; then national government; and finally, insofar as it is needed at all, there is trans-national government. According to this model, the larger entity has no political right to violate the inherent dignity of the smaller body. This understanding of the role and limits of government goes by the technical name of subsidiarity, which is the only guarantor of freedom in our progressively centralist age.
If we will not do what is necessary to preserve and protect the smaller political entities in our world, each of which serves as a layer of protection against the power of the all-consuming appetite of the giants of globalism, we will be at the mercy of forces way beyond any control by the people. Such a system of progressive centralization, which the European Union represents and which Barack Obama defends, is nothing less than slavery.
Books by Joseph Pearce may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.