Sunday, November 19, 2017

Separate Yet United, A Dialogue

by Andreas B. Olsson

A core goal of federalism is to unite and not divide. Therefore, it would seem that a good federalist should be against secession. But federalism is also about subsidiarity and limited Lockean government. Greater unity is not the only decisive factor in whether to be for or against secession. If a local population has been wronged – and their right to decide matters that affect only them overridden egregiously and repeatedly – then a federalist ought to support secession. On the other hand, like most theories of good governance federalism has as its end goal peace – not peace at any cost but peace nonetheless. So if secession risks plunging a relatively productive and prosperous region into destructive conflict, then a federalist ought to take this as a negative in their considerations on whether to lend support.

In light of these multiple considerations, should we support current global trends towards secession? I would argue that each secessionist cause would need to be considered somewhat sui generis. With other words, there is no one simple answer to all cases. Kurdistan is not Scotland and, though closer in case, Scotland is not Catalonia. What they all do share, however, is that they are all part of a nation state. They are not seceding from what is clearly a union of separate semi-independent states but from a singular nationalist entity.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Dual Motion of the Spirit that World Federalism Requires

by Ira Straus

Lord Lothian
British Ambassador to the US
In a 1935 Oxford lecture that is often regarded as the ablest exposition ever of world federalism, a renowned British diplomat, Lord Lothian, outlined the complex motions of the human spirit that are needed for arriving at a viable world federation. His very title -- “Pacifism is not enough, nor patriotism either” -- indicated the two opposite motions of commitment that every spirit needs to go through, in order to arrive at the foundations for a viable world federalism. And he indicated above all a third motion of the spirit, for reconciling the first two.

The first motion of the spirit was: to imbibe the virtues of national citizenship. 

The second: to rise above national loyalties with a sense of global citizenship.

The third motion: to return to the actuality of national citizenship and all its responsibilities, realizing that global citizenship is as yet only aspirational as there is no global government of which to be a citizen, but modifying the national citizenship with the aspiration to creating a global citizenship.  

Believing in Peace

by Galen D. Kirkland

If humankind is to survive, we need to believe that peace is possible. We need to believe that we can prevent organized violence by nation states or non-state aggressors that inflict violence upon populations. While most people would assert that they want peace, they also do not think that it is attainable. We must identify the impediments to peace and decide how they can be overcome.  Violent conflicts between nations, religious groups, and different ethnic groups dominate world history because of repeated failures to accept differences in race, ideology, and faith. Very significant obstacles to achieving peace include conflicts related to nationalism, land claims and natural resources; the arms industry; historical grievances; and aggression stemming from the will to dominate. Most people are observers to the ravages of war that are visited upon other people. Because our world remains vulnerable to nuclear annihilation, we must act as if our lives and the lives of those we love are also at stake.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


by Galen D. Kirkland

The most important question facing us today is how we can make the transition to a greater global civilization before we destroy the planet and ourselves. At this critical juncture in history, we need to take our responsibility for world governance more seriously than ever. International systems for managing global problems and resolving conflicts have broken down. The United Nations failed to address the conflict in Syria while over 400,000 people were killed by the Syrian government and millions became migrants; Russia is conducting a cyberwar against the United States, France, the Ukraine and other nations in an attempt to undermine democracies; China is aggressively claiming islands in the South China Sea despite the ruling by arbitrators under international law that such actions are illegal; the NATO Treaty is being undermined by the Trump administration of the United States; the Venezuelan people are being denied food and medical care by a repressive government; millions of people are threatened by drought in Sub-Saharan Africa;  North Korea threatens other nations with nuclear war, and the destruction of the Islamic Caliphate established by ISIS is leading that organization to increase terrorist attacks in various nations.