Who Are the ‘Globalists’? Defining Globalism in an Age of Uproar

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 November 5, 2017|
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We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism.
Donald J Trump, April 27, 2016

In 1950 the American dream lived in Detroit: it was a magnet for talent, for hardworking hands and dreaming minds. The city was rich—fabulously rich, boasting enough classical art to satisfy a Medici—and it was growing richer still. Industry boomed in the wake of America’s post-war export surge. Everyone benefitted: Detroit was home to an affluent middle class, and even its poor were relatively comfortable—at least they had jobs. If you were willing to work, you could make it in Detroit.

How things have changed. Detroit today is derelict, it’s a war zone: its population has plunged by 63 percent since 1950, 78,000 buildings are empty, and the city is plagued by America’s highest violent crime rate. Many of its greatest monuments—reminders of its gilded past—lie abandoned. Rain dribbles down into the cavernous United Artists Theater, flooding the auditorium once crowded by low men with high aspirations: what used to be alive with costume and dance and song is now an archeological ruin.

Sadly, this story is not unique to Detroit. This is Pittsburgh. This is Buffalo. This is Flint. This is America’s heartland, where 5 million people lost their manufacturing jobs since 1979 and tens of thousands die of opioid addiction every year. These are the people who suffer under globalism, and they voted for President Trump. Many formerly blue states turned red in 2016, galvanized by Trump’s promise to end the bad trade deals that gutted American industry and impoverished American workers. In fact, some 12 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters voted for Trump, bringing him 47,000 extra votes in Michigan (he won by just 10,000) and 116,000 in Pennsylvania (where he won by 44,000).

The 2016 election was a referendum on globalism, but what does globalism really mean? Very few people seem to know, and too often the word simply is used to tar political opponents: disagree with me and you’re a globalist. It’s fast becoming the right’s racist—a word devoid of meaning through overuse. Not everyone who opposes illegal immigration is racist, and not every liberal is a globalist. It’s time we get specific: what is globalism? Who are the globalists?

What is Globalism? How is it Different from Globalization?

Pick up any political science textbook and flip to the glossary. There you’ll find a definition of “globalization” that reads something like this:

“Globalization” describes increasing connectivity between individuals, countries, and regions, throughout the world. These connections are generally thought of in economic terms (increased trade in goods, services, and ideas), but they also manifest themselves politically (through international bodies like the UN), and culturally (through global architectural styles and “pop culture”).

Globalization is a descriptive, objective term: it refers to the process of increasing global connectivity and makes no claim as to whether this is good or bad—it simply is. Globalism, on the other hand, is a prescriptive, subjective ideology that says globalization in all cases is good and more must be better. A globalist, then, is someone who believes globalism is a positive good and seeks to increase globalization whenever possible.

This is where the confusion starts. The fact is that almost everyone likes certain aspects of globalization. For example, most Americans are glad they can buy strawberries year-round, and they enjoy watching hundreds of countries compete in the Olympic games. And can you imagine how difficult scientific cooperation would be if every country used different weights and measures? Some elements of globalization are clearly good. Does recognizing this make us all globalists? Certainly not. It is possible to see that an ideology produces some salutary effects without subscribing to said ideology: Mahatma Gandhi vociferously opposed British colonialism in India, but he liked the law and order it brought.

The distinction, then, is more profound. It is a question of presumptions: globalists presume a priori that globalization is good and support policies that increase global connectivity even in the absence of evidence that such policies would be beneficial. They are a fundamentally hopeful (or, if you like, naïve) bunch. On the contrary, a more conservative presumption is skepticism: measures that increase globalization should not be taken unless there is good evidence that they will benefit us. So while a true globalist assumes globalization leads inexorably to good results, those called nationalists—or, at any rate, Americans of both parties who tend to be suspicious of opaque trade deals that have no obvious and immediate benefits for their communities or the country at large—want proof in each individual case.

Why We Need a Working Definition of Globalism

Why does any of this matter? Simply put, there can be no conversation without a shared language, and there can be no genuine debate without shared understanding—common ground is persuasion’s starting point. This is the main reason why we must agree on a definition of globalism.

But not everyone is interested in a fruitful discussion: some are content to insult one another for political gain—globalist is a useful slur. And so is nationalist, depending on who is slinging the term. Yet by speaking without specificity, these people harm the American cause.

Fact is, diffuse goals produce diffuse results. The “Year of Revolutions” (1848) is known to historians as the year Europe failed to turn. In the decades prior, Europe’s expanding bourgeois class grew increasingly liberal, embracing the notions of free speech, equality before the law, and universal suffrage—in stark contrast to the reactionary cliques who ran Europe’s governments. Tensions boiled over in 1848 when sporadic revolts occurred in Europe’s greatest cities: idealists from Budapest to Berlin rose in the name of liberalism.

But when it came time to translate their utopian visions into reality, many of the revolutionaries lost their tongue: what did they actually want? What did liberalism mean in practice? In the end, this lack of specificity, combined with government repression smothered the revolutions. Little changed—if anything, Europe became more hidebound. The moral: vague causes have vague effects. We would do well to remember this: if we cannot agree on what globalism is, we have little chance of effecting meaningful reform in Washington. We need a clear purpose.

Summing up: globalism is an ideology that rejects national boundaries. If we’re serious about preserving and building upon the gains made in 2016, we need to start speaking in specific terms and acting for specific purposes. The risks are simply too great to let “globalist” become a meaningless slur.

About the Author:

Spencer P. Morrison
Spencer P. Morrison is a law student, writer, and author of Bobbins, Not Gold. He is the editor-in-chief of the National Economics Editorial. Follow him on Twitter @SPMorrison_.
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13 Comments

  1. TAE54 November 6, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Well said. One clarification: globalism is not merely “naive”, it is one species in the broader ideological phylum of modern Western secular messianism, along with socialism, egalitarianism, etc., etc. The only coherent Western messianism is religious, Jewish or Christian; the various secular versions, through their application of a concept to an arena where it necessarily cannot belong, are at best deeply misguided and at worst quite dangerous.

    • JohnInFlorida November 6, 2017 at 6:59 am

      “modern Western secular messianic utopianism”
      “… the various secular versions, … are at best deeply misguided and at worst quite dangerous.”

      The practice of which has led to the precipice upon which the Republic precariously now stands.
      Heaven help us!

      • TAE54 November 6, 2017 at 10:03 am

        Yes, we dodged a bullet in avoiding President Hillary–we might have been too far gone to save after that. But, just maybe, Providence isn’t quite done with USA.

  2. John Milton November 6, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Debates about “meaningless slurs” tend to accompany disagreements between allies about what exactly should be done. For example, whether “tax reform” is a priority.

  3. QET November 6, 2017 at 8:39 am

    A decent attempt, but defining one vacuous term by another doesn’t advance understanding. “Globalization” is as plastic as “globalism.” Defining it with the term “connectivity” just transfers the question onto that word. Connectivity is an absurd word. That a Chinese man is watching (his pirated copy of) Star Wars does not connect him to me. After all, he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like I do, yet no one would imagine that to be a “connection” between us. Perhaps it is better defined as the reality brought on by technical advances in transportation and communication. More people physically travel/emigrate to distant places on the globe than ever before, and more people experience bits of the cultures of distant lands via television and now the Internet.

    As for “globalism,” that is an ideology only for the very rich, the Davos crowd. L’argent fait tout, as the French say, and the Davos billionaires can more easily deceive themselves that the entire planet is just one big global village than can the rest of us.

    Here is the problem with “globalism.” It requires that I not only want to see France but that I want also to be French or, rather, that I not want to be American. It is more than a mere rejection of national boundaries (which boundaries already don’t exist for the Billionaires so they stupidly imagine they don’t, or shouldn’t, exist period); it is a rejection of all history, tradition and culture. At least, that is true for the Western Davoisie. Their identities are formed by their billions and hence they have no need of history, tradition or culture which they have allowed themselves to accept as morally bad anyway. But non-Westerners are still quite keen on national boundaries and national histories, traditions and cultures. They are quite happy to urge “globalism” on the West in order to further erode and undermine Western culture but they embrace their own quite closely. The only “globalists” are disaffected Western billionaires and the ignorant media writers that ape them.

  4. James W. Bravos,J.D. November 6, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Absolutely false and misleading article or totally ignorant. Rockefeller’s biography reveals the plan to implement one global economy, government, and religion headed up by self described supra national intellectual elites as himself. He thanks MSM for not reporting on the efforts for the last fifty years and came out with the admission now when “it’s too late to stop it.” Using the CFR, TRI LATERAL COMMISSION, BILDABERG GROUP, and other secret societies democracies such as the U.S. and Europe yielded to an oligarchy. The world is to be divided into sectors implementing an all powerful totalitarian fascist rule over a weakened faceless population that will be systematically reduced by 95%.

    • Peonie November 6, 2017 at 9:58 am

      There’s only one problem with your analysis. If the population is reduced by 95%, the oligarchs will lose that heady feeling of ruling the masses and the ability to accumulate more wealth. Power and money is what they’re all about.

      • James W. Bravos,J.D. November 6, 2017 at 10:32 am

        I didn’t make this stuff up. Reading occult literature from the past few centuries revealed it. THE GEORGIA GUIDE STONES state that population is to be limited to 500 million.
        This is a Luciferian plan, no rhyme or reason, domination, sadism, death and suffering is what motivates.

    • zoomie November 6, 2017 at 10:39 am

      If they really are that smart to be able to plan and execute decades in advance, then perhaps they are quailified to rule.

      I don’t think they are, on either account.

      • James W. Bravos,J.D. November 6, 2017 at 11:04 am

        Hi, this is generational throughout the centuries. It’s a matter of controlling the money supply, extending credit, gaining control of world leaders via threats and blackmail.
        The top thirteen families view themselves as superhuman, or, gods, and are treated that way. It entails an ancient religion worshipping Baphomet among other pagan gods.

        • zoomie November 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm

          Didn’t work out too good in France in the 1790’s.

  5. zoomie November 6, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Typical debating point from an accomplished scribbler. Platitudes are primary. Specifics are less than tertiary.

    Something to keep in mind. After more than two generations of flooding the country with welfare enabled ” immigrants ” and sending wealth producing jobs to asia what is left of the American middle class has been asking for quite some time, What’s in it for me ?

    Along comes a guy who simply acknowledges this, says make America great again, and gets his less than ( any descriptor of your choice ) hind side elected President while running against the most knowingly corrupt presidential candidate in American history.

    No wonder the intelligentsia can’t figure out what the problem is. It is too obvious.

  6. Bad Wolf November 8, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Article raises a question but does not answer it – what is globalism? From my point of view the globalism is part of a larger political attitude of transnational progressivism, AKA Marxism re-branded as transnational progressivism – the idea that an all-powerful bureaucratic transnational state can successfully control, reshape and reform human beings to act in conformity with the dictates of that state in a two-class system – a large majority of egalitarian workers with thick state benefits as support and a small minority of elite bureaucrats, academicians, and crony capitalists who live the high life and guide those lowly workers. We see this most pronounced in the EU where Brussels and Brussels cronies in the national capitals see themselves as having the right to dictate in detail every aspect of life for the people of the EU countries. As part of this, the EU elites carry on their fantasy beliefs that culture does not matter (if you bring in Mohammed to Germany he will become a docile little Hans working to support the welfare state threatened by demographic decline), that national defense no longer matters and defense expenditures can dwindle to near nothing (a delusion made possible by the willingness of the US to protect the EU at our expense), that those pesky capitalists whose products and ideas constantly drive change can be suppressed by hyper-regulation so that the stability that benefits the elites is maintained and that this will not make them competitively irrelevant in the global competition, and that men can be feminized to the point of being raised to be weak, fearful, obedient and cowardly with no bad outcomes resulting for the state or the population. The enemies of this transnational progressivism are the classical liberal concepts of limited government, competitive capitalism, low taxation, freedom of thought, speech and belief, empowerment of the individual not the state (AKA the American way). Other enemies, not as highly prioritized are Islam (who the transnational progressives think they can subvert and bribe) and the emerging Chinese way of socialism with Chinese Characteristics (AKA Chinese economic dominance of the world).

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