British PM Gordon Brown discusses what he considers the necessity of putting a “global ethic” over national interests as he addresses these questions:
Can the interests of an individual nation be reconciled with humanity’s greater good? Can a patriotic, nationally elected politician really give people in other countries equal consideration?
Don’t get me wrong: individuals are more important than any government, local, national, or global; and universal principles of human rights to life, liberty, and property are of paramount importance.
But when Brown speaks of governments being for all people instead of just their own and working together on “global goals” like stopping climate change and protecting human rights, his language is ever so deceptive. He’s not tossing out the idea of sovereign nations because he cares about people; this isn’t about people at all. The “global ethic” he speaks of is an ethic of more government, not less government, and not more benevolent government. It is an ethic of invasive and immoral international economic regulations and all kinds of “humanitarian” interventions which often as not do more harm than good.
As good as some of Brown’s rhetoric sounds, especially his disapproval of protectionism, with which I certainly agree, his main point here is not at all about helping people. It’s about nothing more than expanding government, albeit a slightly different sort.