Abolishing the Nation-State: Liberal Democracy`s Final Hour?

When the

Soviet Union
collapsed a decade ago,
neoconservatives proclaimed

“the end of history
,” by which they meant the
emergence of an ecumenical world organized by liberal

Noting China`s ambitions and the

re-emergence of Islam,
skeptics regard the
neoconservative thesis as little more than an expression
of hope. China and Islam aside, powerful developments
within the West itself are leading away from liberal

These developments are both intellectual and
political. For example, multiculturalism and the
emergence of group rights based on victim status are
eroding equality in law, freedom of conscience and free
speech. As these are the historic achievements of
liberal democracy, how can the future belong to a system
that is undergoing meltdown at its core?

Both the


now have

crimes of opinion,
a defining feature of Oceania in
George Orwell`s

Americans and Europeans are subject to

arrest and imprisonment
for words judged offensive
by the

therapeutic state.
This frightening departure from
Western tradition is justified in the name of curtailing

and advancing

human rights.

While the Western identity is melting down
intellectually, it is being dissolved politically. The
historic identities of European nationalities are being
replaced by an

. Briton, Frenchman, German, Italian,
Swede, Czech, Greek, Austrian, Dane, Spaniard, and
Dutchman are to become “European” citizens of a

new bureaucratic state
created by edicts and without


These are not promising developments for liberal
democracy. Differences of opinion within homogeneous
nation states have often challenged consensual
government, with bitter divisions erupting in national
strikes and political violence. Imagine these
differences multiplied by aggregating many nationalities
into one state.

The politics of the European Union will have to deal
not only with the differences of opinion within the
separate nationalities but also with the differences
between the

different nationalities
that comprise the new

. Will not consent be more difficult to
obtain, thus enhancing the scope for coercion? Will
liberal democracy be the model, or will the model be
bureaucratic coercion ruling through the same
unaccountable edicts that are being used to create the
European Union?

Large scale immigration
of people from

different cultures
is turning the United States as
well into a multi-nationalities state. The political
emergence of disparate and

hyphenated identities
reduces the range of issues
that can be resolved by persuasion and consent. Coercive
regulations already exist to enforce

victim-group rights
and to regulate speech.

Other developments are eating away at the foundations
of liberal democracy. Having lost its national identity
to hyphenated populations, the U.S. can only respond to
terrorism with constitutionally suspect legislation,
which permits officials to set aside civil liberties,
and by empowering a

Department of Homeland Security
to keep a dossier on
every citizen. Only

illegal immigrants
will have privacy.

Multicultural populations do not possess the comity
among citizens that flows from a national identity.
Having discarded national identities, the U.S. and the
European Union are multicultural empires. Empires have
poor records of self-government and tend to rely on
coercion. Liberal democracy is a creation of the nation
state and is unlikely to persist in the emerging
multi-cultural empires.

It was America`s unique achievement to create a
national identity out of European ethnicities. When
immigration worked for America, all the incentives were
for an immigrant to make himself into an American.

Today the incentives are for immigrants to retain the
privileges of preferred minorityhood. A few states go so
far as to grant special advantages, such as

instate tuition
, to

illegal immigrants.

This is not a policy that promotes comity. What is the
meaning of citizenship when the rewards to the illegal
immigrant trump the penalties of his illegal presence
and give him financial advantages over citizens?

Western governments are undermining themselves by
creating populations of disparate peoples with disparate
rights. The resulting antagonisms are inconsistent with
liberal democracy. The clash of civilizations is upon us
from within our own borders. If China and Islam only
bide their time, the world is theirs. It is not the end
of history; it is the end of the West.

Craig Roberts is the author with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent
epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.