MARCH 9, 1998
The real threat to freedom
© 1998

Incrementalism has slowly, but surely, been eroding our liberty. It has often been noted, but seldom appreciated, that those who would undermine and abrogate our Constitution and Bill of Rights don't and won't use guns or weapons of mass destruction. The principal weapon of choice by the warlords of collectivism is treaties. We have been and will be distracted by annoying battles over this piece of legislation or that piece of legislation. Pshaw! The real threat to our way of life has been, and continues to be, insidious, monumentally complex international agreements and treaties. This issue is not left or right, conservative or liberal. This is a fight for liberty, sovereignty, and what was America. First, there was NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement), then came its bastard child on steroids, GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). Now, although most of you probably haven't heard about it yet, we have MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment). MAI is a new international economic pact designed to "ease" the movement of capital, both money and production facilities, across international borders. This would require restricting laws in participating countries that are viewed as impediments (or annoyances) to capital flows. It is based on the noxious NAFTA, but MAI expands certain elements, and unlike NAFTA which only affected the U.S., Canada and Mexico, MAI would apply worldwide. Reportedly, the MAI negotiators are considering rules that would "go well beyond the ... provisions of other international agreements" and would "provide path-breaking disciplines on areas of major interest to foreign investors." This is the latest globalist finesse. There are two observable trends: increasing economic integration, and growing inequality. A reasonable person would conclude they are related. In the last ten years almost all the national economic growth was seen by the top 5%. Most U.S. workers have actually realized a decline in real wages since the 1970's. Globally, for three decades, the richest 20% of the world's population have increased their share of world income. It has increased 15% (for them) to 85%. Meanwhile the poorest 20% have declined from 2.3% to 1.4%. Yeah, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer .... The increasing mobility of transnational corporations (the "Corporatzi") allows them to play countries and localities off against one another. They can, and do, bid down wages and other labor standards in a global "race to the bottom." Environmental standards, workplace safety rules and similar safeguards are also attrited (the parallel to the dumbing down of our schools to the lowest common factor is chilling). Governments come under increasing pressure to roll over to the demands of highly mobile corporations. They had better ... or else. If the governments don't play ball, the corporations pack up and move to more 'friendly' environs. Basically, the power to make critical economic decisions is moving from elected officials to the corporate boardroom. The lack of responsibility and testosterone exhibited by our elected officials has resulted in key policy decisions being made by un-elected, unaccountable entities whose role has grown symbiotically with the increasing power of the transnational corporations. There are a half dozen bureaucracies running amok (NAFTA, GATT, WTO, IMF, World Bank), some of which have the power (and authority?) to review the decisions of national governments and demand they be altered under penalty of economic sanctions. Both NAFTA and the WTO were gifted by our Congress with the ability to compel the U.S. to comply with their decision or face punitive action. You can't appeal adverse decisions to the courts, or to Congress. Why? Because your Congress has already sold you out. Now, as MAI rolls merrily along, they intend to drive another nail in the coffin of freedom and liberty. That great American philosopher/prophet, Pogo announced the epiphany: "We have met the enemy, and he is us ...."