I criticized populists and isolationists of various sorts over the past few days — but that shouldn’t be taken to mean (as some cosmopolitan globalist-establishment types are understandably inclined to think) that people with big visions involving the entire, interconnected world are necessarily less dangerous — nor even that they are any more sophisticated in their thinking. Take Al Gore, that heavy-handed, unscientific propagandist recently awarded a Nobel Prize (by one of the globe’s most politicized and elite political elites).
The unsubtle simplicity of Gore’s book titles makes me suspect that (admirably, I suppose) he actually chooses them himself: Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, Our Purpose, and coming in November: Our Choice — not to mention the less-than-nuanced titles on his coauthored books, such as Putting People First (with Bill Clinton). Maybe next he’ll do Hooray for Citizens, Stop Bad Things, or Making Life Good.
The pro-local, isolationist folks may limit our options in some very crippling ways, but they also have the advantage of inflicting any one nut’s ideas on a relatively small group of people. Better a village idiot than a global-village idiot.
(And perhaps our May 6 debate on animal welfare, come to think of it, will have some divergent opinions, even just in the pro-animal side of the crowd, on the relative virtues of local and global societies. The ideal, of course, is keeping the stupid ideas local and letting the good ones travel, even if that always risks making snooty people think they can sort the good from the bad with a simple local-is-stupid rubric. On balance, I favor letting markets sort it out.)