Glen T. Martin
- Personal self-determination and the role of government
Since the 1970s social psychologists have been developing “self-determination theory.” While the theory has been elaborated and refined in a number of directions since that time, in general the theory has maintained that there are innate needs within human beings for autonomy, competence, and personal relatedness.[i] Autonomy, in general, appears to mean something like self-motivated behavior directed toward meaningful goals. Competence, in general, to mean something like a person’s feeling of effectiveness in achieving such goals. And personal relatedness to mean the feeling that others care personally about who one is and what one is doing.
The self-determination of individual persons generally assumes some principles that are not explicitly found in self-determination theory. The theory recognizes that situations in which there is external control over an individual’s behavior tends to diminish the sense of self-determination and hence the self-satisfaction of such persons. The flourishing of self-determination for individuals, therefore, requires a democratic framework in which persons enjoy a range of basic rights and opportunities that maximize the possibilities for self-determinative kinds of behavior.
To speak in terms of traditional social contract theory that developed among the 18th century theorists of democracy, the social contract creating government over all citizens in which the power of government is limited by the contract and the rights and freedoms to personal autonomy are protected by the contract creates the optimum framework for personal autonomy. Prior to the social contract, theorists such as Immanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbes argued that people without the framework of government supplying universal laws applicable to all (that is people in the “state of nature”) exist in a condition of “war” with one another. Without the framework of coherent government the stronger or more unscrupulous can oppress or dominate the weaker, destroying the possibility of self-determination for all but the few who dominate.[ii]
Since all persons exist within communities, and communities require some ways of regulating themselves and providing social order, the question of self-determination for individuals amounts to the kinds of order structuring the communities of which one is a part. In social contract theory, what Kant calls “republican government,” government ensuring the freedom, equality and independence of each citizen before the law, is fundamental to empowering the citizens for self-determination.[iii] Individuals who live within a social framework that is not democratic do not experience much capacity for self-determination. And individuals who live in a social framework in which there is little or no order (i.e., in a state of nature), similarly experience little capacity for self-determination unless they are the stronger or more unscrupulous who can take what they want (within this state of “war”) and dominate others as they please.
It should be clear, therefore, that a democratic social framework in which individual rights are protected and respected constitutes a fundamental precondition for individual self-determination. Alan Gewirth, an American philosopher who specialized in human rights, takes a similar perspective on rights. Rights, for Gewirth, are not something added to human life continently but form the logically necessary precondition for the possibility of human action.
…Human rights are of supreme importance, and are central to all other moral considerations, because they are rights of every human being to the necessary conditions of human action, i.e., those conditions that must be fulfilled if human action is to be possible either at all or with general chances of success in achieving the purposes for which humans act. Because they are such rights, they must be respected by every human being, and the primary justification of governments is that they serve to secure these rights.[iv]
As with the social contract theorists of the 18th century, governments exist, not to impose structures on persons that limit their rights to freedom and well-being, but to make these possible. Gewirth makes it clear that the function of governments in protecting human rights is that self-determination that is the “basis of human dignity.”
All the human rights, those of well-being as well as those of freedom, have as their aim that each person have rational autonomy in the sense of being a self-controlling, self-developing agent who can relate to other persons on a basis of mutual respect and cooperation, in contrast to being a dependent, passive recipient of the agency of others. In this way, agency is both the metaphysical and moral basis of human dignity.[v]
A democratic social framework protects and empowers individuals so that they may lead lives of self-determination. Gewirth includes two generic types of human rights, those of freedom and those of well-being. The later recognizes, he says, that people who are hungry or destitute or without economic security cannot actualize their potential to be self-determining agents of their own lives. The purpose and justification of governments, therefore, is that they provide the conditions necessary for people to actualize their potential for self-determination. This is why governments must be democratic or ‘republican’ in Kant’s sense of this word. A non-democratic government denies people the conditions necessary for self-determination and uses the power and authority of government in the interests of the dominating group. Democratic government is an a priori requirement that makes self-determination possible.
The Constitution for the Federation of Earth provides a global social contract for the people of Earth. Like democratic social contract theorists of the 18th century such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, the Earth Constitution provides the framework for the self-determination of all persons subject to the Earth Federation government. It recognizes that the primary subject of human rights and responsibilities is the human person. As we shall see below, the assignment of rights to groups (including nations) raises immense difficulties that must be examined very closely and dealt with carefully, because the concept of group rights appears to generate antinomies in conflict with the human rights of the individuals who compose these groups.
The Constitution establishes as “inalienable” the range of democratic political rights such as freedom of thought, speech, assembly, religion, press, travel, etc., under the heading of “equal rights for all citizens of the Federation of Earth, with no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, caste, nationality, sex, religion, political affiliation, property or social status” (12.1). As we saw above, such civil protections under democratic government do not impose something alien on the citizens who are bearers of these rights but rather make possible their self-determination. “Freedom” is not the right or ability to do whatever one likes regardless of the framework provided by society, nor is it license within a condition of anarchy. Freedom is engendered, established, activated, only through the social contract provided by democratic government.
Article 13 of the Earth Constitution establishes the conditions for personal self-determination with great power and insight: equal opportunity for everyone (13.1), freedom of choice in work or profession (13.2), full access to the accumulated knowledge of the human race (13.3), free and adequate public education for everyone (13.4), free and adequate medical care for everyone (13.5), assurance for everyone of adequate housing, food, and safe water supplies (13.11), and social security for everyone (13.13). As Gewirth asserts, the rights to political freedom (Article 12 of the Constitution) must necessarily be complemented by the rights to well-being (Article 13). The cumulative effect of this social contract protecting the a priori right of people to self-determination is identified as “assure to each child the right to the full realization of his or her potential” (13.12). In other words, the conditions for self-determination must be there a priori in an effective social contract before self-determination of persons becomes possible. It is what makes such self-determination possible.
2. Self-determination of peoples
The UN Charter states as one of the fundamental purposes of the UN: “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace” (Chapter 1, Article 1, number 2). In the light of the history of colonialism, imperial domination, and international economic exploitation, this concept was certainly an important one within the UN Charter. Yet this important mission of the UN has not been very successful, perhaps for two basic reasons: (1) the concept of the “self-determination of peoples” raises a host of very complicated and somewhat irresolvable issues, and (2) the UN never effectively ended colonialism, imperial domination, and international economic exploitation. It did not establish the global social contract that would be necessary to effectively end these worldwide forces robbing the wealth and preventing the self-determination from peoples everywhere on Earth.
This principle of the self-determination of peoples has been pursued vigorously by some forces with the UN so that it has become recognized in the early 21st century as a fundamental initiative of continuing significance. However, it appears to have led to an ever-increasing degree of conflict within today’s nations. Minorities, sub-groups, and dissenters seek self-determination in ways independent of the larger nations of which they are a part. Some groups have pushed for secession and have turned to violence to pursue their “self-determination.”
In international law, self-determination is the idea that nations have the right to remain “sovereign” in the sense of determining their own internal affairs and independence in their foreign affairs without external interference. There is no principle of international law that states what such self-determination means, except the broad prohibitions against military or economic aggression against other nations. International law does not define what constitutes a nation, and there are conflicting ideas about what constitutes a nation or a people and about the criteria for determining what groups may legally claim the right to self-determination.
Under international law, self-determination is applied to nation-states but the historical conditions and criteria under which nation-states have been created (and many new ones have been created in the past 50 years) cover a multitude of stipulations of which “self-determination” is merely one. This is one of the reasons why discontented sub groups have turned to the option of succession through violence in order to establish a separate territorial state that then might be recognized as a new “nation” by the UN. International law does not recognize language, ethnicity, indigenous communities, cultural heritage, or religious identify as qualifying groups for the right of self-determination, even though some UN agencies try to promote or protect these things. Groups wishing greater autonomy are tempted to try to form their own territorial nation-state through violence or other means to secession.
I do not want to minimize or ignore the great deal of excellent conflict resolution work and promotion of diversity that goes on under the auspices of the UN and some other organizations around the world. Countless individuals and numerous groups have been empowered through this work (truth and reconciliation commissions, etc.). Nevertheless, really effective and lasting self-determination cannot succeed within the framework of the present world order as we now know it.
The world is full of unhappy groups that would like what they call self-determination. Should the Tamils of Sri Lanka be allowed to form an independent nation or be given privileged status within the legal system of that country? Should Kashmir be made a separate nation? Should southern Sudan be allowed to succeed and become an independent nation? Should Palestine become an independent nation? Both the Palestinian people and Israel claim the right of self-determination within that conflict. With the breakup of Yugoslavia, what determined the division of those peoples into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo etc., given that each of these smaller units still included a great religious and ethnic diversity? Should Puerto Rico become a nation? Should the Basques in southern France and northern Spain be allowed to secede from these countries and form their own nation? Should Quebec be allowed to secede from Canada? Should Chechnya be able to secede from Russia? Should Cyprus be divided into two countries, one Turkish and one Greek? The list goes on and on.
Under democratic theory, a social contract is created over a territory in which the majority rules while the rights of all individuals (and hence their freedom as dissenting minorities) are protected by a Constitution that cannot easily be changed by any majority. Minorities are protected insofar as their individual members are guaranteed inalienable rights but minorities may not be protected in their cultural, linguistic, or ethnic traditions. Such minorities may demand legal exceptions from what the law of the majority requires of citizens. Minorities may wish to have specific practices required of their group that would not apply to others. Nevertheless, under much democratic theory, the self-determination of individuals is the basis for legitimate government and minorities do not have the right to impose practices on their members that violate the democratic rights of the individuals within their group.
How can one group require that all its members, or members of a certain gender, learn a certain language, belong to a certain religion, or wear certain clothing (like a burka)? The concept of the right to self-determination of groups appears to conflict with the centrality of human persons within democratic theory. What are the criteria for a group demanding self-determination? Perhaps unanimity among every member? This would be extremely unlikely. Perhaps majority vote? In such a case a majority may be demanding the right to impose group practices or identity on its members in violation of their individual human rights. Some authors have claimed the criterion for special treatment of a minority is persecution by the larger state or community that has power over the minority. How can such minorities be protected from persecution? How to protect the Baha’is of Iran? How to protect Chechnya from Russian domination, Shiites from Sunnis, Tutsis from Hutus, Tamils from Sinhalese? Under international law, they would have to form a separate nation-state. However, such protection, if it were to occur, should not serve as a carte blanche for the group to impose undemocratic conformity on its own members in violation of their individual rights. Individual rights, if we are to have a free and democratic world system, must trump group rights.
Some nations have created “autonomous” zones within which the local residents have a significant degree of autonomy over their internal affairs. Creating any federal system could do something similar. The Federation of Earth might emphasize and work to empower local government with respect to towns, regions, or nations. However, the central reality on which democratic government is founded – the rights of individual persons to self-determination and the conditions that make this possible – cannot be violated if such efforts to empower peoples are to be legitimate. An autonomous region, therefore, would have to respect the rights of individual citizens to self-determination and not have the power to impose religious, cultural, or other practices on citizens against their will.
Under the present world system of sovereign nation-states, whose sovereignty is supposed to be protected and respected by the UN, protection of one group from another is extremely difficult and perhaps well-neigh impossible. Under the current world system of globalized economics operated in the service of giant banks and corporations, the citizens in most countries cannot be protected from brutal forms of economic exploitation, with the corporations and banks bribing officials and colonizing governments and police to protect their plunder. Supposing we could find ways to protect the rights of groups and enhance their self-determination? Since no people lives free of the global economic system, how would we protect their self-determination from the corporate predators who have colonized their livelihood systems? Suppose the people of southern Sudan were made independent? Would the big oil companies lusting after their untapped oil fields be prevented from colonizing their government and exploiting the people?
In her 2008 book The Shock Doctrine – The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein describes her interviews with African National Congress (ANC) activists ten years after the black majority won “self-determination” from the white ruling class:
After a decade of ANC rule, millions of people had been cut off from the newly connected water and electricity because they couldn’t pay their bills. At least 40 percent of the new phone lines were no longer in service by 2003. As for the “banks, mines, and monopoly industry” that Mandela had pledged to nationalize, they remained firmly in the hands of the same four white-owned mega-conglomerates that also control 80 percent of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. In 2005, only 4 percent of the companies listed on the exchange were owned or controlled by blacks. Seventy percent of South Africa’s land, in 2006, was still monopolized by whites, who are just 10 percent of the population.[vi]
The globalized economic system controls the economy of every part of the world; what would “self-determination” of peoples mean under such as system? We saw above that an essential feature of self-determination for persons is a system in which both freedom and “well-being” are fundamental. Without “well-being” self-determination is a sham, for both individuals and persons.
Under the present world system of militarized sovereign nation-states (recognizing no effective law above themselves), the powerful imperial nations routinely dominate and manipulate the majority of weaker nations in the service of national self-interests, and (as Klein and many others have pointed out) in the interests of the economic domination of the imperial centers. Under this system of military domination of the weaker nations by the powerful imperial nations, protection and self-determination are equally impossible. When Guatemala attempted a mild form of economic self-determination, the U.S. overthrew the democratically elected President and instituted a military dictatorship subordinate to US economic interests. The same thing took place that year in Iran, the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown by the CIA and replaced by the brutal Shah of Iran who opened the wealth of the country to multinational corporations. In 1973, the US arranged the overthrow of the democratically elected President of Chile and placed General Pinochet as dictator who opened the country to US economic interests. During the 1980s the US sponsored Contra terrorists within Nicaragua with the goal of destroying the independent economic path the Nicaraguan government had taken.
The story goes on and on, as scholars like Michael Parenti have pointed out, amounting to the overthrow or subversion of dozens of countries worldwide, actively preventing the self-determination of nations everywhere on the planet.[vii] The first thing the US did after its invasion of Iraq in 2003 was abolish nationalized industries and open up all the wealth and business of the country to uncontrolled foreign investment. The self-determination of the people of Iraq was eliminated across the board. Their government was destroyed and their economic independence was destroyed. Such dual domination is perhaps the most fundamental feature of today’s world system. How can the self-determination of peoples occur within such a global framework?
3. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth
The Earth Constitution is founded in its prologue, both morally and philosophically, on the principle of unity in diversity. There is no real unity (of the human race within the Earth Federation) without real diversity (inclusion of all the world’s multiplicity of races, cultures, nations, traditions, and religions) and there is no real diversity (protection of the vast multiplicity of groups and persons) without true unity (a moral, civic, and legal framework binding all together). In the world of the early 21st century, even within the so-called democratic nations, this principle of unity in diversity is ignored or subverted for parochial ends. Worldwide, it is practically non-existent because the UN is not a government and does not have the authority, nor the ability, to overcome the fragmentation of an anarchic world disorder.
Today’s world, both between and within nations, fragmentation is the rule, not unity in diversity. Fragmentation arises from a number of sources, but one central source of fragmentation is the perception of incommensurability among religions, cultures, traditions, ethnicities, and nations. The concept of the “sovereign” nation itself legalizes incommensurability in the form of international law: the absolute control of sovereign governments over their internal affairs and absolute independence in foreign policy. One result of this incommensurability is the need to militarize each nation for defense against possible attack from all the other nations within an anarchic world of fragments. What of universal human civilization or universal human rights? What of the common global problems we all share concerning the environment, global poverty, or militarism? Fragmentation prevents our joining together in unity to solve our common problems, one of which is how to empower diversity through the power of a common unity affirming the rights and freedoms of all.
Within today’s fragmented civilization, self-determination of peoples is largely an illusory ideal. If Kashmir were to become an independent state, it would take its place within the struggle of fragmented nation states, politically, economically, and militarily. It would take its place within a fragmented global economic order dominating its economy from outside and resulting in absolute winners (the banks and corporations) and absolute losers (the majority of its own people). It would take its place within global perceptions of the incommensurability of its religions and cultures with those of its neighbors to the north (Pakistan) and south (India). The same fate awaits attempts at self-determination by groupings within nations. Self-determination for Baha’is in Iran is perceived within Iran as incommensurable with their dominant religion.
The only real solution to the problem of self-determination again shows itself as an a priori framework that establishes the moral and legal relationships for human civilization as a whole under the principle of unity in diversity, now enshrined in an Earth Constitution that applies this principle to all groups and persons. That is why a paradigm shift is needed if we are to really affirm the self-determination of peoples. Under the present dominant global paradigm, fragmentation and incommensurability reign, preventing diversity from flourishing. The new paradigm binds all together within a Constitutional framework recognizing unity in diversity as an essential feature of civilization on the Earth. The self-determination of peoples arises from a new planetary paradigm and global legal order that makes this possible.
Nevertheless, we have seen that the concept of self-determination of peoples is not a simple one, but one that will challenge even the representatives of a transformed planetary paradigm. There are several issues that plague the concept of self-determination when this is applied to peoples. How do we define the people for whom self-determination is demanded? Do all the members of a group needing self-determination need to have some feature, such as religion, in common? But what other features might members of such a group have in common that would lead to other groupings? Further, does the group have among them a diversity (nearly inevitable in today’s world) that would become a new minority to be negated and oppressed by the self-determination accorded to the larger group?
How are the rights to self-determination of the group to be reconciled with the rights of individual persons within every group to self-determination? Under international law, we saw, the only mechanism for affirming the self-determination of peoples is the secession or establishment of a separate nation-state. Yet we also saw that the creation of separate nations within the present world system will not bring self-determination. The global economic system prevents self-determination among the majority of nations and peoples of the world, and the global system of militarized imperial nations similarly prevents all smaller or weaker nations from determining their own destiny.
Effectively speaking, therefore, in today’s world self-determination for groups is nearly impossible. Within an unliberated and oppressive world disorder, no part will be able to liberate itself. Self-determination for most groups and most persons is an illusion without the a priori framework that makes this possible – a social contract establishing freedom and well-being. The parts require a whole to allow them to function as legitimate and genuine parts. These immense difficulties of the self-determination of peoples under the present world system can only be addressed with some significant degree of success through democratic world law under the Earth Constitution. Such law first and foremost guarantees self-determination to every individual person, and this must be the framework and criterion for addressing the issue of group self-determination. Groups cannot be empowered in ways that violate the human rights of their members (or others outside the group). Nevertheless, there is much that can be done at the level of global government to protect and enhance the self-determination of groups.
Ratifying the Earth Constitution requires that the peoples of Earth (in every nation or locality) democratically vote on whether they wish to ratify and hence become bound by that social contract. Once ratified it provides the planetary framework for the self-determination of nations, peoples, and persons everywhere. Traditional social contract theory characterizes the establishment of the social contract through ratification of a constitution as the “explicit consent” of the founders. Subsequent generations who benefit from the freedom and well-being established by the contract are said to give “tacit consent” to the contract.[viii] The African-American minority in the United States struggled for self-determination by appealing to the original social contract and the tacit consent that all Americans had given to this. They understood that their liberation depended upon the strength of that social contract. They did not demand to secede and establish their own social contract. The present generation of the world is in the position of the original framers: it is up to us to give the initial “explicit consent” to a global social contract so that all persons and peoples everywhere can enjoy the freedom and well-being that make possible self-determination.
First and foremost, the Earth Constitution begins the process of disarming the nations of the world and concomitantly establishing the means for the peaceful resolutions of disputes through the World Court system, the World Parliament, the World Police (with its department of Conflict Resolution), the World Ombudsmus, and a multiplicity of programs and agencies aimed at establishing economic, political, and social equality among the peoples of Earth. Article 4.4 grants as one of the specific powers of the Earth Federation to “provide the means for peaceful and just solution of disputes and conflicts among or between nations, peoples, and/or other components within the Federation of Earth.” A world in which militarized imperialism disempowers nations and peoples will be abolished in favor of conflict resolution programs empowering mutual understanding and cooperation among nations and peoples. For the first time in history there is an a priori framework for all persons mandated to end war and establish the mechanisms of non-violent conflict resolution for all groups and individuals. Such cooperation empowers the self-determination of all.
Secondly, the Earth Constitution establishes a new global economic system predicated on the well-being of all rather than the exploitation of the many by the few. Corporate personhood is abolished, public banking is established in the service of all people, and government created money, debt-free, is used to activate and empower people out of poverty in every corner of the globe. Peoples and groups experiencing well-being for the first time in recorded history will be immeasurably empowered. They will have the resources to promote, preserve, and activate their cultures, religions, traditions, etc.
The second bill of rights within the Constitution (which emphasizes rights to well-being), requires of the Earth Federation “encouragement of cultural diversity; encouragement for decentralized administration.” (13.16) These can be encouraged by the Earth Federation in a variety of ways, the first of which is by bringing peoples and individuals out of poverty. Programs promoting cultures and traditions will then empower people to be proud of their diverse heritages rather than competitive against others with differing heritages. When the stakes are transformed: when the stakes are no longer my wealth at the expense of your poverty, or my culture (e.g. Sinhalese versus Tamil, Greek versus Turkish, Tutsi versus Hutu) in competition with your culture, or my power at the expense of your power, then groups, like persons, can flourish without fear and anger against what is different from themselves.
It is the a priori framework itself that removes the perceived incommensurability of groups, cultures, and traditions characteristic of a world of naked power relations and economic scarcity. Most groups and peoples who see themselves as oppressed believe that the dominant system within their nations has marginalized them both economically and politically. Dominant groups, on the other hand (e.g., Israel over Palestine) see the economic necessity in exploiting or denying marginal groups their fair share. In a world of scarcity and naked power relationships (which is inevitable without a global social contract), such marginalization or domination will necessarily follow. The global social contract under the Earth Constitution distributes political power equitably throughout the Earth and provides an equitable well-being for all that ends economic marginalization. Liberation from these perceived “necessities” then comes to all. Either all are free for self-determination or none are free.
The Constitution specifies that the Earth Federation provide “freedom for peaceful self-determination for minorities, refugees and dissenters” (13.17). The principle of peaceful “self-determination” of groups is hereby constitutionally grounded. Like encouragement for diversity, the peaceful self-determination of groups will be mandated by the global social contract. The Constitution provides for “the right of asylum “for persons who may seek refuge from countries or nations which are not yet included within the federation of earth” (14.1.3). Groups or persons outside the Federation will naturally be clamoring to become part of the Federation since only this framework of a global social contract will be able to end their marginalization.
For new nations joining the Federation (which will rapidly grow to include the entire Earth for the reasons outlined above), the Constitution guarantees “full faith and credit” to their public acts, records, legislation and judicial proceedings as consistent with the Constitution” (14.1.1). It guarantees “freedom of choice” for member nations for their own “political, economic, and social systems” consistent with the Constitution (14.1.2) and, once the federation includes 90% of the territory of Earth, it guarantees the right of individuals and groups to peacefully leave the hegemony of the Federation and live peacefully apart if they so choose. All of these conditions of the global social contract empower nations and peoples. Small nations (the majority of the world) will be able to live with freedom, pride, and dignity without a false submission to the great powers, and the now disarmed larger nations will be freed from the perceived necessities to dominate and exploit for resources, hegemony, and control of potential enemies.
Nationhood, therefore, will come to mean something entirely new. Once the system of sovereign nations is transformed from its present condition of an inherent war system to a peace system (and from a scarcity system to a prosperity system) established by the social contract, it will no longer matter very much where the borders of a nation are drawn. There will no longer be vital economic, political, or security reasons for borders in one place rather than another. The fate of Kashmir between India and Pakistan will no longer matter to India and Pakistan and its citizens may decide to become a nation (with the approval of the World Parliament). The autonomy of Palestine will no longer be seen as a threat to Israel and nationhood is assured. Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus can become separate nations at peace with one another. It will not matter to Canada if Quebec is enfranchised within the Federation, nor to the US if Puerto Rico becomes a nation.
Procedures for the empowerment and self-determination of peoples will necessarily become part of the legislation before the World Parliament (already representing all peoples and nations equitably). The procedures for becoming a new nation will have no more consequence than electoral redistricting that now takes place within democratic nations, only the stakes will probably be smaller, since political power itself within the Federation will no longer be a means to economic power within a system of scarcity. The Basque people between France and Spain may or may not wish to be recognized as a nation represented with one vote in the House of Nations within the World Parliament. France and Spain, both still fully represented within the House of Nations, are not likely to object.
The Earth Constitution provides, for the first time in history, a world peace system, a world freedom system, a world sustainability system, a world justice system, and a world prosperity system.[ix] These are all part of the inherent rights (and therefore the inherent destiny) of humanity. Implicit in our humanity is the demand for a global social contract providing the a priori conditions for human self-determination (and therefore for human liberation). This implies, therefore, that the complement of the idea presented in the preceding paragraph will also be true. Just as there will be little or no reason why groups that are now nations would object to having subgroups within their borders become nations within the Earth Federation so there will be few reasons why subgroups will want to become independent nations. The framework of a peace, freedom, and prosperity system will likely make subgroups happy with their protection and liberation as groups living within the Earth Federation, where everybody is protected and the self-determination of everyone is empowered. Prosperity, like cultural diversity and religious freedom, will be assured already and it will not be necessary to secede from larger groups to enjoy these aspects of self-determination.
Given the difficulties described above in which self-determination for groups or peoples cannot be allowed to violate the self-determination of the persons within these groups, the Earth Constitution will provide the conditions, as far as practically possible, the self-determination of all peoples on Earth. There is no self-determination for anyone without a social contract that makes this possible, and the only social contract that can make self-determination possible for all groups and persons is the planetary one. Ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, giving the explicit consent to the framework that makes peace, freedom, prosperity (and hence self-determination) possible, is the task of the present generation.
All peoples everywhere must see that we are linked together by the unbreakable bonds of our humanity and that there is no self-determination for some without a framework making possible the self-determination of all. The task of future generations, who will be immeasurably grateful to we the founders of the system ensuring their freedom and dignity, will be to give tacit consent through maintaining and protecting the framework bequeathed to them – making possible genuine self-determination for all the peoples and persons who live upon the Earth.
[ii] See my account of these thinkers in Chapters 5 and 6 of Assent to Freedom. Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law. Pamplin, VA: Institute for Democracy Press, 2008.
[iii] Kant, Immanuel (1957). Perpetual Peace. Louis White Beck, trans. New York: Macmillan.
[iv] Gewirth, Alan (1982). Human Rights: Essays on Justification and Applications. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 3.
[v] Ibid., p. 5.
[vi] Klein, Naomi (2007). The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Henry Holt and Company, p. 206.
[vii] Parenti, Michael (1995). Against Empire. San Francisco: City Lights Books, p. 38.
[viii] Locke, John (1965). John Locke: Two Treatises of Government. Revised Edition. Peter Laslett, ed. New York: Mentor Books.
[ix] See the “Conceptual Model of the Earth Federation” passed by the 12th session of the Provisional World Parliament. This is included in Glen T. Martin, The Earth Federation Movement. Founding a Social Contract for the People of Earth. Pamplin, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2011, pp. 118-147.