Beyond the State: The Sovereign Citizen and the Omega Point of Global Politics. By Jan Mortier
by Jan Mortier
A previous version of this article was first published by Jan Mortier in The Federalist Debate. Year XVI, Number 3, November 2003
There has been a gradual evolution in the history of international society. It has always strived toward the same Omega point. At times this evolution has accelerated at exponential rates caused by epoch changing bifurcation points that redefine and reorder the international system. We are witnessing the most recent reordering of this system at the beginning of the new millennium. The tragic events in New York and Washington (911) have propelled states toward each through a rediscovery of commonality in outlook and shared interest.
With government’s strengthened resolve and the galvanising of the common identity, the evolution of the international system will accelerate as a result. Although not yet entirely apparent, the evolution toward the Omega point of global politics, namely a new world order based on the philosophy of the brotherhood of man and the universality of the fundamental human rights, will be driven ever closer by society’s promotion of universal human rights values if that is the true virtuous purpose of civilisation.
These universal values must form the philosophical basis for a benign global society. Values that industrialised society has derived from the philosophical evolution of natural law and values that other societies also embrace through similarities that prove this universal rights ethic.
For instance murder and deceit are universally accepted as wrong. Likewise charity, honesty, altruism and compassion have a trans-societal universality as being desirable good values. A system of world governance based on a philosophy of the brotherhood of mankind and a universal rights ethic would be a Promethean catalyst that would enlighten citizens within all states and instigate a global renaissance of human rights by welcoming all humans to the Realm of Peace.
A movement for a global realm of rights consciousness would enable every individual to realise that they have rights derived from their personal and individual human sovereignty by way of their very existence as sovereign beings rather than by way of artificial rights conferred upon them by states or powers. Some states have already evolved to derive their just authority from the consent of the sovereign citizen and are coalescing to integrate into an international realm of peace. The question is how to expand and solidify this realm and which states will codify it? Moreover the question remains to be answered as to how to restore virtue to the modus operandi of national governance both in domestic politics and foreign policy.
Sovereignty is a mercurial social construct and has always necessitated some form of legitimation. Today sovereignty and the authority of the state are derived from the two pillars of legitimacy in the international system, the rightful authority to use force internally and the renunciation of using force externally except in self defence. The world mist return to a world of balanced order, respect for mutual coexistence and the protection of fundamental human rights. Sovereignty has become responsible authority and it must return to protecting the sovereign citizen.
However large sectors of the global public are ignorant of the rights that they possess by way of their own inherent individual sovereignty through the deliberative processes of right reason and jurisprudence. They, therefore are in some instances, unaware that their own rights are being abused by their communities in some states as these states attempt to restrict the advance of the globalization process of universal values and the march toward the the realm of peace.
The rise of human security issues and the concern of the global public for human rights protection offer unique opportunities for integrationist organisations to capture the imagination of the global public and argue the case for a system of governance that would protect all people from gross state sanctioned human rights abuses. Initially by regulating states through the rule of legal human rights norms, establishing preventative institutions and if need be enforcing human rights norms militarily where necessary. An empowered independent international peacemaking authority could end all atrocity, and in tandem with an authority responsible for universal jurisdiction could end impunity and ensure that the evil have no refuge.
In this system no state would any longer be able to justify the abuse of their own citizen’s rights as those residing within a particular state territory would be sovereign citizens first and state residents second. The citizenry will come to redefine the way they understand the concept of what it is to be a citizen. It is the task then of the Federalist to redefine the concept of what it means to be a citizen and ignite the spark in the global public of their own emancipation and draft the new international covenant, a new global social contract. In this process the state would be the interim guarantor of the sovereign citizen’s rights until such time as regional devolution and a global representative government is enabled in the form of the International Sovereignty once advocated by Lionel Curtis. A system of world goverance modelled on the European Union with the appropriate separation of powers and multi-dimensional layers of governance.
In today’s international politics a federalist future seems very far away despite encouraging advances like the International Criminal Court and the birth of the European Communites and Union. One could even argue that these last few years we have seen a return to Realpolitik and the resurgence of state power that seems to have stemmed the gradual salience of human rights norms over those of state sovereignty. With security justifiably so high on the agenda one would be forgiven for thinking that a global federation is unrealistic. However if the best way to deal with security threats from non-state actors is to pool our security efforts then wouldn’t this logically entail a pooling of sovereignty?
Indeed, this pooling of sovereignty for security, economic and other reasons is occurring and will continue to do so exponentially in certain regions. These ‘zones of peace’ are regions of cooperative states that do not wage war on each other but rather look for lawful settlement of dispute. They are relatively well integrated through trade while exhibiting shared values and systems of governance. Herein lays the answer to global peace and prosperity and the establishment of the Universal Realm of Peace.
A pooling of sovereignty is necessary with many other issues that affect all states and their citizens that none in isolation can resolve. Issues such as; the environment, resource management, energy production, legislative oversight of corporate governance, world heritage protection, human rights protection, good governance, pollution, disease, poverty, economic growth, wealth creation and even classical security will all require states to pool their sovereignty to deal effectively with these issues or at least manage them more effectively.
For supra-national issues affecting and concerning the global public, the public needs to be co-opted into the integrationist process or current international organisations and those of the future based on state authority of variant legitimacy risk losing the confidence of the global public and in turn the legitimacy derived by its assent.
World unity cannot be sustainably achieved by the current interstate treaty system. Nor can the mere drafting of a constitution as has been tried in the past, achieve this, as it would cause a backlash driven by misconceptions of disenfranchisement by the global public. We need to reroute this discourse and change people’s perceptions of what certain terminology means; sovereignty as responsibility, authority as legitimacy, and community as shared consciousness. Likewise new systems of representation in all international organisations need to be devised that will still allow for an affirmation of state power but also for the representation of the global public that will legitimate the integrationist process. An interim system of integrated and representational global governance needs to be constructed before states ratify a constitution and union. A World Parliament.
Such a system of representation could take the form of a global parliament based on a mathematical representative index that accrues a points value to the power of a state economically at a given time, and likewise accrues a points value to population size of a state of comparable significance. This would produce a system of workable interim global governance that will both address the concerns of the developing world while still providing an incentive to currently powerful states to remain involved. With this World Parliament Index it would be possible for an affluent state to have an equal say and votes in a legislature as that of a populous but poor state. Such a chamber could then elect or by way of ‘aggregate state index value’ appoint states to be the executive of the legislature. This system could be based on the current framework of the UN General Assembly and Security Council and would facilitate further global integration. Developing states within regions that have little or no say in a global legislature or in other International Organizations may see regional political integration with neighbouring states as advantageous to increasing the ‘population points value’ and therefore the ‘aggregate state Index value’ by amalgamating states into regional unions.
Likewise affluent states with small populations may see regional political / economic integration as advantages to increasing combined ‘aggregate Index value’ by amalgamating ‘economic points value’. States holding an even balance of economic points and population points would gain the highest aggregate index value in this system and form the core group of the executive. According to this theory the United States of America, Russia and China should retain the dominant position in the international system and thus their roles as guarantors of the international balance.
This will ensure any governing executive does not become a threat to the established order of the great powers. Such a system of governance based on this Index would keep states onboard in the process of integration while allowing democratization of the international architecture. It would be a large step on the way to the realisation of the Omega point. We are more likely to see regional unions sooner than we are a world federation simply because states in regions comprising comparable trading systems and shared commonalities, human rights values and systems of governance are likely to see the benefits of regional unification before they see those of global unification.
This is not to say global unity is not possible in the foreseeable future. Possible and desirable it is. But rather it will come about as the formation of zones of peace that will enlarge and eventually coalesce to include all likeminded states and encourage others to reform and seek to join in the prosperity and security afforded by thier system of unity. At this point states will be willing to take the next step toward the Omega point and ratify a Treaty of Global Union and a World Constitution. Regional integration projects based on the values of free trade and globalism and governed by the eternal quest for virtue offer the best hope of attaining the Omega Point.
Civilised society and federalists should lead the way and set the standard of this project and continue to advocate the universalism of the individual’s sovereign inviolable rights under a system governed by the rule of law. If this remains the primary purpose of the endeavour then the prospects for the realisation of the Omega point remain bright. For once the International Sovereignty is realised the history of mankind can begin.
Jan Mortier, Civitatis
(1.) The Phenomenon of Man (Le Phénomène Humain, 1955) by the paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin