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3own citizens in order to serveprivate, rather than public, interests or to serve the interests ofanother nationis not legitimate and is merely violent oppression. The latter distinctionisclear to Westernerswhen observing, for example, the shootings ofnonviolent protestersin countries like Iran or Syria,but isless obvious when observing police violence against nonviolent protesters in Spain or Greece.
Globalization and Government Legitimacy
Human social structures, such as those offamilies, clans, tribes,villages,etc.,naturallyhave elders or other leaders that, in theory, haveanunderstanding of the structure of thecollective and of what isnecessary for or harmful to its survival.Throughout human history, the relationships ofhumancollectives and their leaders have been based on various combinations of force,rational or irrational beliefs,socialclassstructures, economic factors,andonthe will of the collective. For example,oligarchies aretypicallybased on beliefs, e.g., religious beliefs,oronmaterial wealth,e.g., landownership. Military dictatorships are based onforce;whiledemocracy, at least in theory,is based on thewill of the collective,and so forth.Globalizationcorrodesthelegitimacy of national governments.Setting aside leadership based purely onforce, e.g.,militarydictatorship,legitimate leadershipdepends ontheassent of the collective.The assentof the collectiveislost when leaders failtounderstand the structure of the collective or what is necessaryfor or harmful to its survival. Just asindividual behaviors that are injurious to the collective are nottolerated, leaders that are injurious to the collective can be rejected by the collective, sometimes violently,i.e., revolution.Of course, revolutions are relatively uncommon and, throughout history, the vastmajority of human beings have lived as subjects.The American Declaration of Independencestates that “…governments long established should not bechanged for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are moredisposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to whichthey are accustomed.”Thus,loss of legitimacy on the part of a government is a necessary condition for revolutionbut it is not sufficient.Generally,subjects thatreceive benefits from their rulers or thatfeelthey have something to lose, e.g., their livelihood or property, will not revolt unless they stand to losemore by failing to act,i.e., whena long train of abusesand usurpationsevinces a design to reduce themunder absolutedespotism.However, when economic mismanagementthreatens the survival of individuals,the probability of revolt greatly increases.
Globalization and Political Disenfranchisement
As the collective encompassed byagovernment grows wider in scope, the constraints onindividual behavior, and on therights of individuals, grow accordingly. In a family, clan, tribe or village, leadersaremore or lessdirectly accessible and accountable and individuals have direct input on decisions affectingthe collective. As the scope of the collectivegrows, individuals areincreasingly subordinated, eventuallyhaving nomeaningfulinput on decisions, nosignificantaccesstoleadersand no influenceover the policies of the collective. Political disenfranchisement, therefore, follows globalization in lock step.The European Union, forexample,hasarguablydevolved intoan autocracywere unelected bureaucratsdictate fiscal, monetary and trade policies based substantially on the requirements of the largest European banks. In other words, national governments and democratic electionsin Europehave become largelyirrelevant.While democracy ensures that leaders have the assent of the collective, given sufficient resources,elections can beinfluenced, e.g.,through the news media. Theoretically, in a republic, theficklemajorityis constrained by principles enshrined in fundamental laws, but, for better or worse, laws can be changed.Roman Senator Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (AD 56– AD 117) wrote “the more corrupt the state, the more