Now, one reason it’s hard to argue against this, is that part of it is actually true. While the idea of the nation as a cultural force is still perfectly viable, as is the idea of patriotism (love for the land and people of a particular area), the political aspect of nationalism – that is, the national state – has, indeed, failed. Democracy, too, has failed; as I discussed earlier.
But beyond nationalism and globalism, there is a third possible vision of the future, which most people don’t even know about yet. One of its names is cosmopolitanism. The original of this approach was stated by Tom Paine: “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” It does not seek any global political or cultural unity. Instead, it seeks to allow people to associate with whoever they choose, whether from the same or from different backgrounds.
Cosmopolitanism, of course, comes in many different flavours. But my own maxim of: “It doesn’t matter who you are, only what you do” is, very much, one of them. Such an approach, I think, can help to point a way towards a world of, to coin a phrase: “Economics global, politics local.” There will be no centralized political Leviathan, and no élite to control it. Governance may remain at the national level in some places, or may be de-centralized into smaller units. And it will be one of my purposes, when I turn to Cure, to sketch out some possibilities. Despite all the storm clouds, there’s hope for humanity yet!