Jonah Goldberg

We're all globalists now. In fact, we always were.

"Globalization," in layman's terms, means the growing interconnectedness of the world's societies through trade, treaties and culture. According to the media, the debate over globalization in Washington (and London, Paris, Beijing, etc.) is divided into pro and con camps. What this lazy shorthand overlooks is that almost everybody - on both sides of the issue - is a hypocrite.

Take the anti-globalization left. You know, the face-shrapnel-pocked kids who wear open-toed shoes and Che Guevara T-shirts as they fly from one corner of the globe to another to protest globalization. From the objective eyes of a Martian, this crowd would be the most cosmopolitan - which means, in the original Latin, "citizen of the world" - group of them all.

The anti-globalists use the World Wide Web and Japanese- or Finnish-made PDAs and cell phones to coordinate their protests with kids from Brazil, Japan, Germany and America. They listen to "world music," reggae and rap. They grew up on sushi; they love French films; and they get their news from the BBC and - perhaps - Al-Jazeera.

Even the political agenda of the anti-globalists is globalist. Their favorite organizations have global or universal names: the World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch. Anti-globalization activists will pound their recycled spoons on their recycled high-chairs all day about the need for the U.N. to replace the U.S. in almost every international crisis, be it political or environmental.

Every anti-globalist I've spoken to - and I've spoken to many - wants international laws to regulate global commerce, abolish the death penalty, curb racism and save rain forests and cuddly animals. They want American soldiers and statesmen to be eligible for trial by the International Criminal Court and even the arrogant courts of Belgium.

Now take the pro-globalization right. Yes, we favor the free movement of goods, services and capital. I myself have been, and remain, a passionate defender of Third World "sweatshops," McDonald's and other bogeymen of anti-globalization left.

Conservative consistency cracks up when favoring globalization means favoring increased immigration or the encroachment of international law on American sovereignty. Some on the libertarian-leaning and business-oriented right favor an open-border policy on immigration, while other conservatives don't mind exporting hamburgers and action movies but have deep reservations about importing Mexicans.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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