Saturday, November 29, 2014
Maybe it's my impatience with the spiraling decline of modern man as it descends into a netherworld lacking education. Or maybe it's because pop culture has elevated it to religious status. I know this much, though: This whole "globalism" thing makes no sense as we know it.
Oh, I know that young people with no real concept of human nature or world history will argue the point. They like the idea of the whole world holding hands while doing nothing other than watching meaningless music videos promoted to end world hunger. It's a fine idea to have the whole world get along. In fact, it's been a fine idea for a few thousand years now.
Newsflash: The "one world" myth isn't happening any time soon. And that's probably a good thing.
The main reason why globalism is such a foolhardy myth is that everyone has his own view of what globalism really is. To an American, globalism means a market-based democracy with lots of freedom to open WalMarts and McDonalds anywhere at any time. The American notion of globalism is, like just about every other culture, simply a replication of its own society on a planetary level.
Americans want everyone to vote democratically. They want women to be equal to men. They want you to love Jesus and personal freedom, because, you know, if everyone on the planet did that, we'd all get along just fine. And it could work, except for the fact that just about every other culture has pretty much the same type of agenda with different specifics. The Taliban, for example, doesn't want women to be equal to men, doesn't want you to love Jesus and has no place for personal freedom. By now, it should be pretty obvious that the two sides won't ever converge.
Oddly, one of the few global constants throughout human beings (besides classifying incest as taboo), is people's chafing at being told what to do -- especially by a foreigner. Oh, the masses love shifting personal accountability off their backs and onto the shoulders of their regional leaders who tell them what to do, but that's because those leaders pretty much share the masses' own views and tastes. On a day to day level, though, people want to be left alone to tend to their own affairs. It doesn't matter if you're a native in Nairobi or a muslim in Morocco: people hate any authority demanding they shift their customs to a foreigner's arbitrary dictates.
The funniest part about the myth of globalism is asking proponents to accept a global culture that isn't their own. For example, Americans have no problem imagining a Sunni muslim shaving his beard, donning a business suit and working on Fridays, but I highly doubt they'd consider growing beards, not working on Fridays while wearing veils and burqas.
At one level, it's all pretty amusing. But the same arguments get a little hotter when you move the cultural, social and political dials accordingly. In America, nobody likes the idea of strongmen and thugs using oppressive -- or even murderous -- tactics in order to keep their populations under control. Most Americans view the brutal treatment of women in those same foreign cultures as backward and primitive. Yet year after year, century after century, those populations perpetuate those customs and practices without much internal opposition. Which means as distasteful as American might find them, maybe those cultures -- and the people who observe them -- are actually just fine with what they have. Maybe Americans should simply start accepting each culture for what it is, as it is.
After all, if self-determination is a paramount American virtue, shouldn't that virtue apply to every global citizen?
Globalism, as it turns out, isn't about uniformity. It's about acceptance and accessibility. It's about understanding differences and navigating them according to one's self interests. If the world's economy has become internationalized, that's fine by me. But that's about internationalizing commerce, not culture.
So maybe instead of sending soldiers to foreign lands to sell the American Way, we should simply send our salesmen and buyers to the edge of foreign borders, where foreign buyers and sellers can meet and exchange goods and services, each one restricting his duties to commercial interests while leaving his moralistic laundry list at home -- where it belongs.
I'm not talking about helping to defend an ally under attack. That's a wholly different story. I'm talking about basic acceptance of other people and other cultures, regardless of how different or distasteful we find them to be.
I know. It's never going to happen. But I can dream, can't I?