“The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation-states or countries, it’s a world order that is based on empires,”said former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the current leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament, in a barn-storming speech in the Liberal-Democrat conference in London.
“China is not a nation, it’s a civilization. … The U.S. is also an empire, more than a nation — maybe tomorrow they will speak more Spanish than English, I don’t know what will happen. And then finally, the Russian Federation,” he continued. “The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together in a European framework and a European Union.”
Interestingly, he is right in his own way, and I at least respect his sense of history and unabashed imperialism, although I am confused why, according to him, the British should join a European empire and not an American empire, since Brits are culturally and historically more compatible with the Anglosphere than with continental Europe. But at least he is not a fraud and is refreshingly honest about the ultimate endgame of global governance and “perpetual peace,” to borrow from Immanuel Kant.
Liberal Honesty and a Realignment of Politics
I respect a liberal who’s open and honest about his intentions, more than a stealthy internationalist. In that sense, Verhofstadt is better than the cultural commentators, journalists, and academics who think the common people are too stupid to see and understand what’s happening right in front of their eyes. His daily rants are doing a public service, pointing out the ultimate aim of internationalism. The honest and open ones are always better than the hidden ones pretending to be something else.
The current realignment in British politics, and to some extent in American politics, reflects that change. In the same conference where Verhofstadt spoke, another former Conservative member of Parliament joined the Liberal Democrats. Britain has forever been a Tory-Whig country, the Tories being the conservatives and the liberals being the Whigs. That balance was lost in the recent years of the Blair-Cameron tandem, where both major parties were led by either center-left or center-right broad churches, with all the tenets of liberalism — from lax law and order, to transgender overdrive, to broader trends such as global institutionalism and borderless technocratic governance — as the norms.
One of the results of Brexit is that the closet liberals of both the Conservative and Labour Party are now joining the historic Whigs, the Liberal Democrats, with Conservatives turning back to historic conservatism and Labour reduced to a Marxist rump. This trend is equally observable in the United States and broader Anglosphere (Australia, India, etc.) as well. With the neoconservatives and libertarians moving back to the liberal-internationalist side, the Republican Party is slowly morphing to a historic social conservative force, with social conservatism rising from the ashes to form a reaction.
The Religion of Liberalism and Libertarianism
As one of the finest living British philosophers, John Gray, once wrote, modern liberalism is like Marxism, a faith, almost verging toward a religion. It has sinners and saints, its own holy month where the flags and symbolism are displayed from every building, and a providential end of history. More importantly, the metric in the current political landscape isn’t between left and right anymore, but between the practitioners of a global internationalist faith and the ones who refuse to accept it. View it from that lens, and it all makes sense.
Modern liberalism and libertarianism, like Marxism, are progressive faiths and beliefs in an ultimate end of history, a stateless society, global peace, and rule by the enlightened few. The only things that stop the fulfillment of that predicament are the old-fashioned conservative units of society: the faith, the flag, and the family. Sooner or later, every progressive faith will come into conflict with those three units.
Internationalists in this planet are opposed to the idea of nation-states and borders — which, to them, are a detriment to progress under a small technocratic elite. Liberals, for all their talks of diversity, would rather see a homogeneous world, where there’s no coexistence with any other forms of governance, ideology, religion, or culture. This is why Barack Obama signed up for climate treaties under the auspices of the United Nations, why Google refuses to work with the Pentagon, and why the only visible flags in BBC Proms during Jerusalem and Rule Britannia are rainbow flags and EU flags, not the British Union Jack.
Dealing with the EU Empire
To return therefore to the problem at hand, the European Union is shaping into an empire, and sooner or later the United States, as a maritime great power, will come into conflict with it. That is a structural issue, and it is inevitable. Any power consolidating the European landmass would have so much material, financial, and demographic power, it would be a threat to other land and maritime powers around, including the United States, United Kingdom, or even Russia.
As I have repeatedly said, the EU as one single empire under one flag, one liberal faith, and one fiscal and military union will never coexist with an American-led world. Sooner or later, due to their difference of interests, Washington and Brussels will be on opposing ends.
The EU won’t need to match toe to toe with U.S. military might. It can simply have a separate currency to the dollar’s domination and take away the U.S.’s financial coercive power of sanctions, or even worse, throw its weight behind China or even Russia against U.S. companies.
The U.S. policymakers who still think geopolitically will have to think of “divide and rule” for EU sooner or later. And the U.K. will have to decide whether to side with the EU empire or American empire.
All of that is true and inevitable, and someone should remember this column when that comes to pass. But more importantly, any Brit and American who values sovereignty needs to realize that, more than the EU, the issue at hand is internationalists within, working tirelessly to capture the institutions to promote their stateless and genderless egalitarian utopia.