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Western governments are on a collision course with history. Most of
mankind assumes that the future will be much like the past, altered by
the progress of the present. This is especially true of the governing
class. They have learned to reward carefully crafted constituencies,
plunder disorganized ones, and win elections to renew their power. If a
little government is good, more is better still; that government which
governs least is not doing its job.

In the end, the outcome of such a policy is supra-national
government: government to govern governments. World government has been
the dream of mankind’s bureaucrats since the Tower of Babel. The same
mentality driving European bureaucrats to turn over their duties to the
European Union is moving President Clinton to turn over more and more of
his responsibilities to the United Nations. But it was President Bush
who in this country first spoke openly of the “new world order.”

The sea is frequently used as an analogy for life. It is a good one
for history. Those of us on the surface see the storms approaching, we
feel battered by the waves. But what we miss are the great, unseen
rivers of human hopes and fears, flowing just underneath. In the
physical oceans, the Gulf Stream and El Nino move vast rivers of water
along well-defined paths. Small deviations of their ancient meanderings
produce unexpected consequences on the earth’s surface: floods,
droughts, famine and human misery. While great ships use sophisticated
tools to scan
the horizon for impending storms, it is the currents upon which they
float that silently produce the storms.

So it is with the ships of state. Great, unseen currents also flow
throughout history, just below the surface of world events. The choppy
surface of the nightly news gives few clues as to what lies
below. Trends unobserved by the bulk of mankind control its destiny. Two
are especially important today: national identity and technology.

Technology is nothing more than a fancy word for mankind’s penchant
for making tools. The trend of technology to make things smaller,
cheaper, and more powerful seems benign enough when one is shopping for
the latest household electronic gadget. It is quite another story when
the same electronics, their circuitry rearranged, make possible
shoulder-launched Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. It used to require a
well-equipped military to shoot down a jet fighter; now a man crouching
on a rock path in the Afghan mountains can do so. The Soviets moved out
of Afghanistan shortly after the CIA furnished Stinger missiles to the
Afghanistan rebels. The British navy thought it would not be difficult
to project its massive fire-power into a string of tiny islands off the
coast of Argentina; yet a single Excocet missile sunk a major British
warship.

Technology erodes the centralized powers of governments everywhere.
What the Afghan rebel can do on the mountain footpath the Islamic
terrorist can do in a parking garage near Heathrow Airport. Technology
puts greater and greater power in the hands of ever-smaller groups, and
finally individuals.

The second great historical current is toward national, cultural,
racial and religious identity. While governments use ever more of their
resources to impose “multicultural diversity and tolerance” upon their
populations, they are sowing the seeds of disagreement, hatred, and
violence as the backlash builds. The wars being fought today are to
establish identities; not to erode them. Yugoslavia is the most
tragically visible example; Rwanda another. Small
groups of like-minded people, supported by technology. The currents have
carried us here before: Greece, Rome, and finally the Dark Ages; as
civilization dissolved into feudal groups, each with its own lord.

Governments that ignore these trends are doomed to failure, but at
great cost to their citizens. Switzerland is the most democratic nation
on earth. Any Swiss citizen can force a referendum on any piece of
government legislation, merely by collecting 50,000 signatures of
opposition. During the past several years, the Swiss electorate has
rejected membership in the European Economic Area (a prelude to the
European Union), defeated a proposal to join in international
peace-keeping operations (Switzerland is not a member of the United
Nations), and scrapped a proposal for free transit for foreign trucks
across the Alps.

All of these actions were in direct opposition to the actions of the
Swiss Government. At every turn, elected representatives sought to
please not their voters, but their fellow lawmakers in
the European Union. Indeed, the ban on foreign trucks crossing the Alps
produced these comments: “In a continent with many small countries and
many borders a country cannot just do what it wants like that” (an
anonymous European diplomat quoted by an international wire service).
“This is a European problem. Purely national solutions are not
acceptable” (German government spokesman). “No single country’s
commercial traffic should be conditioned by ‘autonomous and
discretionary initiatives’” (Italian Transport Minister Rafaelle Costa).

Intelligence Digest reports, “The loss of Swiss public confidence in
the government is now said to be greater than at any time since the
foundation of the modern Swiss state in 1848. Many Swiss voters consider
the government’s repeated attempts to surrender Swiss independence to
supra-national organizations such as the European Union as little better
than treachery.”

In the United States, the response to increasing federal demands has
been a revival of the Tenth Amendment at the state level. The last
amendment in the Bill of Rights, it makes crystal clear the
intent of the Constitution and the limits of federal powers. It reads:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
or to the people.”

The western states’ legislatures are moving as fast as they can to
put the Tenth Amendment into resolution form, passing it, and sending
signed copies stamped “cease and desist” to the federal
government’s officers. Colorado State Representative Charles Duke, one
of the movement’s early leaders says,

    When a state passes this resolution proclaiming its sovereignty,
    that state may then claim exemption to most federal mandates. … This
    was what happened with New York v. United States (112 S. Ct. 2408
    1992). The federal government was attempting to mandate that the State
    of New York accept radioactive waste for disposal. New York pleaded they
    were exempt from the mandate under the Tenth Amendment and the court
    affirmed the Tenth Amendment protection.

    Thus, by having proclaimed sovereignty, a state is in the position to
    select those mandates they will follow, now by choice, not by
    edict.

The Colorado lawmaker goes on to explain how states can protect
themselves from federal bullying by collecting the federal taxes in
their state and making distributions only for
constitutionally-sanctioned activities.

Like all tragic accidents, the scene of impact when western
governments collide with history will be no place for the squeamish. The
welfare state is due to implode under the weight of its own questionable
success. The wreckage will affect all of us. We are all actors in the
play; the part we play not necessarily of our choosing. The hero and the
villain may not become clear until
nearer the end, but the curtain is drawing down upon the current act.

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