Jonah Goldberg

And yet, whenever a resolution makes it through the greasy sluices of the United Nations -- often as a result of some cynical compromise with undemocratic, corrupt or grasping regimes -- people talk about it as if it's a moral triumph of some kind. That's because when it comes to international affairs, the rule is that it's better to be wrong in a big group than to be right alone.

This is not to say that the U.N. doesn't do anything worthwhile. Irrigation projects and vaccination programs are great, but they don't need the U.N. to exist. Just because some things need to be -- or should be -- done, it doesn't mean that the U.N. needs to do them.

I understand that abolishing or quitting the U.N. is a lost cause. The idea of a world without a club that any nation can join is too horrifying for transnational elites and the pundits who hobnob with them. And the childish dream of a Parliament of Man will never die, even though an institution that meaningfully lived up that idea would spell the doom of the United States of America.

But the existence of one club with low or no standards does not preclude the creation of another with higher standards.

So I return again to an old hobby horse of mine (and many others). Let us set about to create a new League of Democracies. The standards for entry wouldn't have anything to do with race or geography or even wealth (though wealthy countries tend to be democratic countries so long as the wealth is derived from broad prosperity and not merely natural resources exploited by oligarchs). The standards would be simple: democracy, the rule of law and respect for individual liberty. A formal consensus among such countries would actually have the moral authority the U.N. only pretends to have.

Such an organization might inspire nations to better themselves on the grounds that it would be an honor to be a member rather than an entitlement that comes with mere existence.


Jonah Goldberg

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