Just like only total seclusion will provide the environment in which an individual can exercise 100% of their personal freedoms, countries/nation-states must also find ways to ‘get along’ with its neighbours and the all the other ‘countries’ out there. Therefore, countries must develop rules: treaties, agreements, etc. to govern their interactions.
This is kind of like the matryoshka dolls!
Families have ‘rules’ which govern how individual members interact, villages/towns/cities have by-laws that govern how people and families in that municipality behave and interact, provinces/states have the next level of rules that govern how all the people in the municipalities that form that province/state behave and interact…. and so on, and so on…
Through this very process – through agreeing to rules how ‘communities’ at each ‘level’ interact with each other, we are necessarily building the governance framework of government at the ‘next higher level’. The treaties and agreements governments enter into become binding rules which their industries and citizens must abide by.
And THAT is where a very great danger to the ability to exercise our individual rights and freedoms is coming!
We have, to a better or worse degree, worked out rules about what rights we can exercise, and to what degree. This we have done within our borders, all the citizens agree (or, at least, respect) in the form of constitutions and the body of our national laws. Right?
But, our countries do not exist in seclusion. We need to trade and interact in all kinds of ways with ‘other’ countries.
To do that in as peaceful and amicable way as possible, we enter into international agreements about ‘things’. All kinds of things. But, the primary focus of most international treaties is ‘trade’.
When our legislators propose laws, we examine them publicly for all kinds of ‘things’ – including any infringements on the ability of us, the citizens, to exercise our freedoms. And so it should be. But, when countries enter into binding, international agreements with other countries, there is nowhere this level of scrutiny!
These agreements and treaties are negotiated by a limited number of representatives (all bureaucrats) from each side, usually in secret, giving in here to get an advantage there… And the aim of these treaties is usually one form of economic interaction or another: ‘freedoms’ are not usually even ‘on the radars’ of those doing the negotiating.
Please, do not misunderstand – I have nothing against international treaties and agreements in principle. They are necessary. All I am trying to do is highlight something many people do not consider very seriously: whenever our government signs a treaty or similar international agreement, its rules are just as binding on us as the laws our government passes, but do not undergo anything like the scrutiny…
A recent example relevant to Canadians is the EU-Canada Trade Agreement…
To make this work, some of our laws – and even attitudes – would have to change.
For example, our ideas about our ‘property rights’ might need a serious adjustment…
Right now, if we purchase a painting – or another other piece of art – most of us think that we own it. That we can hang it on our wall, store it in the attic or even use it as kindling… Or, perhaps, that if we wish, we can sell it.
That might be just one of the laws and attitudes we would have to change: according to a leaked chapter of the EU-Canada Trade Agreement now under negotiations, the EU is pushing for a royalty to be paid to the artists EVERY TIME their work is re-sold, FOR EVER!
This post is not about that particular trade agreement.
It’s about the fact that so many of the people who are valiantly and tirelessly fighting to preserve our freedoms are focusing only on ‘government policy’ and on the laws which our governments are passing. And that is important!
But, our rights and freedoms can be lost ‘through the back door’, so to speak, when our governments enter into binding international agreements which are very large ‘packaged deals’ which our countries may be forced to enter into in order to remain a member of the international community…
And THAT is something we should be thinking and talking about!