The Financial Times, the strange colored newspaper you see at airports, is not known for its skepticism of modern global economics. Therefore, it was a bit of a shock to see the mouthpiece of global finance come out in favor of a radical rethinking of the economic order. They argued that all options must be on the table in order to address the tattered relationship between the people and their governments. In their words, the social contract must be restored after the virus panic ends.
The alleged sentiments behind the editorial are not wrong. The primary duty of any government is the welfare of the people. It’s why we have government. Sure, we assign it functions like protecting private property and enforcing contracts, but that’s not the reason we invented government. Similarly, the state defends the privileges of the rich at the expense of everyone else. This has been true since the dawn of man, but again, this is not why human societies have governments.
The point of government is the general welfare of the people. That means defending against attacks from abroad and attacks from within. The former is straight forward, but the latter is where things get complicated. Defending against internal threats is about a set of laws and customs for the purpose of maintaining order. The character and nature of the people will determine these internal structures. Good order in the lands of the Mohammedan is different than good order in the Orient.
This is not a concern in a world of nations and nation states. In a world of global capital and the free flow of goods and people across borders, it is nearly impossible. The state cannot enforce the customs of its people when its people change with each generation, maybe with each decade. When economics requires the people to yield their ancient customs and liberties, the point of government is no longer the welfare of the people, but as middle-man, facilitating conformity to economic necessity.
This is where the globalist on the Financial Times editorial board fail in their analysis of the current crisis. The social contract, if there is one, is not built around a set of economic policies. It is not a set of rules imposed by the keepers of the economy in order to make transactions as efficient as possible. The social contract is the invisible bonds between the people. It is this dedication to the shared welfare that necessitates the creation of the state in order to maintain those bonds.
Those invisible bonds are not the creation of the state, but the result of the mating decisions of our ancestors. The social contract between Finns is just the conceptualization of their shared history and ancestry. It is unique to them. What makes a Finn and Finn is not where he stands on the map or how he does business. What makes him a Finn is he is the fruit of the Finnish family tree. To be Finn means the ability to one day make more Finns. That’s biology, not economics.
The social contract can only exist among a people with a shared ancestry. If the goal is to restore the social contract, the first step is not a new round of economic fads, but a restoration of the ancient bonds among people. The West must first become a collection of nations again. Only in a world of nations can the governments of those nations preserve and defend the social contract. Safeguarding the welfare of the people can only happen when there is a people, rather than just people.
This is the fundamental flaw of the current order. Cosmopolitan globalism rests on the false notion of homo economicus. This is the assumption that humans are rational, self-interested, and pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally. More important, it assumes that people are defined internally, rather than by the untold number of invisible bonds and interactions with their society. Globalism assumes man lives in a particular society, because it benefits in some way to do so.
Not only is this false, but homo economicus is in direct contradiction with the concept of a social contract. Socrates could not flee Athens and avoid death, because to do so would mean he was no longer Socrates. Who he was as a person was defined by his membership in the polis called Athens. The social contract cannot exist in a world of atomized individuals. The social contract can only exist in a world where people are defined by their membership in a society of their people.
The editors of the Financial Times are not wrong in their observations. The great inequity in the West is a not only disruptive, it is fundamentally immoral. The strange blend of casual indifference and despotic intolerance by the state, the anarcho-tyranny, is intolerable and will lead to conflict. The heavy-handed abuse of power by the surveillance state will lead to conflict. These are not root causes, however. They are symptoms of an ideology at odds with human nature.
That is, of course, the radical idea that must be on the table along with crackpot ideas like universal basic income. The restoration of nations with governments dedicated to maintaining the welfare of their people. This means the end of mass immigration and the repatriation of as many foreigners as practical. It means the end of global institutions that supersede national sovereignty. It means the embrace of the great diversity of man and the value of good strong borders between people.
Of course, this revolution in thinking will not come voluntarily. This fact is made plain in that Financial Times editorial. The reason the great defenders of cosmopolitan globalism suddenly sound like Marxist undergrads is they want to preserve the current order at all cost. If it means embracing nutty ideas like universal income, that’s fine, just as long as the class of international pirates can ride the oceans of global capital. If that’s what it takes to keep homo economicus going, so be it.
It is another reminder that any reform effort that begins with economics is a fraud, intended to delay real change from being discussed. Tinkering about the mechanism of global capitalism is always an effort to maintain global capitalism. That gets to the heart of what must be done. The first step in restoring the social contract is to accept that the people at the top are irredeemable. The Cloud People hate the Dirt People. It is what defines them. Real reform comes when the Dirt People hate them back.
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