Suzerain- Main Entry: su·zer·ain
Pronunciation: ˈsü-zə-rən, -ˌrân; ˈsüz-rən
1 : a superior feudal lord to whom fealty is due: overlord;
2 : a dominant state controlling the foreign relations of a vassal state but allowing it sovereign authority in its internal affairs.
Jeremy Rabkin, a professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, recently authored an article published in Imprimis called “The Constitution and American Sovereignty”. In the article, Rabkin explains how the concept of national sovereignty, as we understand it today, developed during the Seventeenth century along with nationalism.
Abraham Lincoln defined sovereignty as “a political community without a political superior”. Thus, sovereignty isn’t so much about power as it is about authority and legitimacy. Rabkin notes that:
“… in medieval Europe… the defining character of that period was overlapping authority and a lot of confusion about which authority had primary claims. No one had to think about defining national boundaries. This became an issue only in the modern era, when interaction between different peoples increased.”
In the course of arguing that the King of France did not owe allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire, Jean Bodin, a French jurist of the late 16th century, also advocated religious toleration, protection for personal property, rule of law and representative government. According to Rabkin, Bodin was in favor of free trade and his natural law theories recognized God as the source of legal authority.
Not coincidentally, the law of nations (i.e., international law) also began to develop at this time as a result of expanded commercial activities, maritime pursuits and the pursuit of war by European monarchs and princes.
Rabkin discusses how the U.S. Constitution provides that treaties will be “the supreme Law of the Land”. Treaties are binding on the states; nevertheless, to be valid, a treaty must be consistent with the Constitution. Thus, the Constitution preempts and supersedes treaties. As Alexander Hamilton explained, “A treaty cannot change the frame of the government” because it is the Constitution that authorizes the government to make treaties in the first place. The historical consensus, now under attack, has been that a treaty violating the Constitution violates the authority which provides legitimacy for the treaty in the first place:
Today there is no longer a consensus regarding the principle that legislative and legal authority cannot be delegated to international tribunals or commissions and this has become a contentious issue. There is strong legal precedent, however, prohibiting Congress from delegating its power to legislate to an international body.
Delegation of judicial power is also a point of contention. Can the rights of American citizens in the U.S. be determined by foreign courts? Such delegation of the judicial power violates Article 3 of the Constitution. Judicial power “shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”
In the case of Medellin v. Texas, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court considered an International Court of Justice ruling. A Mexican national that violently raped and murdered two girls in Texas had the right to receive counsel from the Mexican consulate under the 1963 Vienna Convention. Despite a ruling that Texas could not execute a convicted murderer, the U.S. Supreme Court held that treaty provisions were diplomatic in nature and did not bind the sovereign State of Texas.
Rabkin points to the European Union and its European Court of Justice, originally established to interpret disputes about treaty provisions between sovereign European nations, in order to illustrate how rapidly loyalties can shift to supra-national bodies. Wasn’t the dissension about the war in Iraq largely a national schism over whether the Bush Administration or the United Nations was to decide international policy relating to Iraq? In the 1970s, the Court of Justice held that conflicts between treaty provisions and national constitutions would be resolved in favor of the treaty provisions and EU members accepted the idea that a treaty takes precedence over national constitutions.
A proposed UN Climate Change Treaty waiting in Copenhagen for the President to sign in December may soon test whether the Court will hold to its previous ruling in favor of non-delegation of legislative power.
This week the NRA, Second Amendment Foundation and others filed suit against the City of Seattle for violating the Washington state firearms preemption law. Dave Workman describes how this local gun battle is a part of a larger war looming, as the campaign to subject the American people to a UN gun treaty gets under way:
“As former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr writes today on his blog, there is an international battle over gun rights unfolding in the United Nations, and one in Seattle that has been well-covered….
International gun prohibitionists have been pushing the United States to sign an arms trade agreement for several years. With Barack Obama in the White House and Hilary Clinton at State, this could happen. Barr’s column is a “must read” for anyone interested in that controversy. He calls it the “Perfect Storm” for the UN gun control agenda.”
Rabkin asks whether being an American will mean just being part of some abstract humanity. Should we put our faith in words? “What about the idea that as long as we say nice things about humanity, everyone will feel better and we’ll all be safe?” Many states, anticipating the UN push to ban our guns, are already enacting firearms sovereignty provisions in order to erect a fence between a new federal-internationalist tyranny and the people’s right to keep and bear firepower. Meanwhile, Mayor Nickels defies state law and acts like a soon to be deposed satrap in his own feudal principality of Seattle.
In February, 2007, before most of us thought candidate Obama would be the next President, J.R. Dunn suggested in an American Thinker article that a global religious creed may be the only chance for world governance to overcome U.S. resistance to any variety of global suzerainty. The key to promoting such schemes (floating around since before the founding of the ill-fated League of Nations) is a messianic figure that can usher such a secular religious crusade into institutional existence:
In the Fifties and Sixties, Huxley and the CIA were experimenting with LSD, while Aldous’ uncle, Julian Huxley, was busy promulgating a social agenda that sounded vaguely like the utopian, mushroom-eating societies favored by his nephew, Aldous. Julian’s counter-intelligence, propaganda apparatus was headquartered at UNESCO, where he was head of the UN religious mission. In “Religion Without Revelation”, Julian Huxley identified the sense of the numinous (feelings of awe and religiosity) and announced that a universal world religion was needed in order to incorporate such profound feelings….
He advocated enlistment of the media outlets as the best method for converting masses of humanity in every nation to the new secular religion. Thus, by making spiritual feelings (i.e., numinosity) available to everyone without the need to look to higher authority (i.e., Biblical revelation) the world can dispense with feelings of guilt or other negative reactions resulting from moral degradation, loss of human life and diminished expectations of human dignity that have been washing to shore since Huxley began his mission in the 1940s. Now we see all this along with an evangelical-style face in a neo-Progressive wave being financed by George Soros, a billionaire intelligence operative who works at levels that are apparently deeper than most folks realize.
According to one description of Rudolf Otto’s thinking (the German scholar who popularized the concept of numinosity):
Otto describes the numinous as an awe-filled encounter with ultimate reality (UR). UR is designated by Otto as a mysterium tremendum and a majestus as it is experienced as a powerful sentient force, worthy of utmost respect. It inspires not only awe, but also fear. While the subject is urgently attracted to this ineffable source of creation, it may in some instances frighten, humble and ‘purify.’ Otto also notes subjects may perceive some sense of creaturely wretchedness and unworthiness, standing naked, as it were, in the face of a great and powerful, “wholly other”(16) UR-Creator-God.
See C. G. Jung and Numinosity
This definition of numinosity is fairly close to the way in which C. G. Jung defined it and the context in which Julian Huxley used the term in “Religion Without Revelation”. Huxley, the founder of UNESCO, envisioned a future synthesis of Communism with Capitalism.
Finally, notwithstanding our digressions into the semantics of numinosity we are back to Rabkin’s most startling thesis:
Where does this trend away from the sovereignty of national constitutions lead? I do not think the danger is a world tyranny. I think that idea is fantastical. Rather what it will lead to, I think, is an undermining of the idea that national governments can protect people, with the result that people will start looking for defense elsewhere. We saw this in an extreme way in Iraq when it collapsed into chaos before the surge, and people looked for protection to various ethnic or sectarian militias. A similar phenomenon can be seen today in Europe with the formation of various separatist movements. We’re even hearing loud claims for Scottish independence. And it’s not surprising, because to the extent that Britain has surrendered its sovereignty, Britain doesn’t count for as much as it used to. So why not have your own Scotland? Why not have your own Wales? Why not have your own Catalonia in Spain? And of course the greatest example of this devolution in Europe is the movement toward Muslim separatism. While this is certainly driven to a large extent by trends in Islam, it also reflects the fact that it doesn’t mean as much to be British or to be French any more. These governments are cheerfully giving away their authority to the EU. So why should immigrants or children of immigrants take them seriously?
If the world ever looks to supra-national insitutions for protection, I am convinced there will be a recognizable world religious movement with new religious symbolism representing the power and authority of the new “majestus“. Some Bible teachers have predicted a synthesis of Catholicism and Islam may occur. As events in the religious world shift before your eyes, ask yourself- in what will your grandchildren grow up believing and whom will they serve?