An excerpt from Fareed Zakaria’s new book is in Newsweek. Zakaria posits that the world is experiencing another dramatic shift in power. In the 15th century it was the rise of Western Europe, more recently the rise of America, and now the rise of the rest. He has some impressive numbers to back that up. And I can agree with many of his prescriptions – for instance, that America should try to retain many of the world’s best engineers. However, the attitude Zakaria encourages actually supports mass immigration of low-skilled workers. If that continues, America will indeed look more like the rest of the world.
But then there is this:
Only three countries in the world don’t use the metric system—Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States. For America to continue to lead the world, we will have to first join it.
No thank you. Our inches, gallons, and miles are just fine with me. If my preference for them is economically irrational, I don’t care. So is my preference for poetry, so is my preference for large families. Zakaria trots out this metric system stuff all the time. I’m sure he thinks it’s an accessible example of his point- one that readers can understand. It’s condescending. It’s gratuitous, and he knows it. The enthusiasts for the metric system (which is based on incorrect calculations anyway) remind me of the enthusiasts for Esperanto. George Soros speaks Esperanto.
But Zakaria’s conclusion is even worse:
Generations from now, when historians write about these times, they might note that by the turn of the 21st century, the United States had succeeded in its great, historical mission—globalizing the world. We don’t want them to write that along the way, we forgot to globalize ourselves.
There is a lot to get into here. First, the surest way of making sure that “generations from now” people will laugh at you is to declare what the history books of the future will say. Second, exactly when did the United States get a great, historical mission? Was this something the Pilgrims came up with? George Washington? Henry Clay? Jimmy Carter even? I find the whole idea that our nation has a purpose chilling. Exactly who and what is going to be mobilized to achieve this purpose? Third, what does globalizing the world even mean? I’m sure it has something to do with free-trade, managed capitalism, social safety nets. But in reality “globalize” is a nonsense verb. Seventy years ago, he would have said we need to “proletarianize” the globe. For Zakaria, “globalization” is a word that in one context has a discreet meaning related to policymaking, but in this context has another purpose: to tell the readers that the future belongs to people who think like him, and that ruin will come to those who stand in the way.
Globalization, as Zakaria puts it, means one thing: the rule of people who call themselves globalists (or cosmopolitans, or post-nationalists). Just as socialism meant the rule of people who called themselves socialists. Poverty, misery, and alienation will, as a matter of course, disappear. We just have to eliminate
bourgeois parochial attitudes in the masses. Zakaria is just here to inform the morons who subscribe to Newsweek that the future is inevitable, so they’d better get with the program. This is intellectual thuggery. His warm smile and dulcet voice cannot hide it.