A brief discourse on sovereignty.

Hans Christian Ørstedi : Coming soon to an internet-enable device near you. https://archive.is/ZPa8a ["Tech giants band together to fight terrorist content online"]

Anders Sandøe Ørsted : is this a #bad thing? are they coming for our guns next?

Hans : A firewall is a lot easier to enforce than gun control. But is a firewall a bad thing? Depends where you’re standing. It’s arguably a necessary thing if you’re going to pretend like countries are things in the digital age.ii

Anders : well is this not less of a firewall against specific countries – and more the mass deletion of “terrorist” material?

Hans : Nah, see it’s a firewall for specific countries, not against. To the extent that countries want to pretend like they’re things (ie. that their geography and their national interests are superior to those of others aka nationalism), they must protect their interests and control their message. So the ‘other’ is a ‘terrorist‘ and unflattering news is ‘fake news‘ that ‘never happened‘.

Anders : i dont see where it makes mention of specific “nations” – but rather the content that exists on the various social media platforms, and how to prevent their spread from one platform to another. not from one “nation” to another

Hans : The EU thinks itself a nation and “this partnership was a direct result of the companies’ regular meetings with European Union officials”

Anders : the EU is a supranational body – not a nation. each member state have their own independent judiciary, legislature and executive. and just because EU officials were part of these discussions, does not mean that this firewalls will be placed on specific member states, or other “nations” around the world. again, it is about the content being flagged – and preventing it from being further disseminated on other platforms.iii

Hans : By that same measure, the United States is a supranational body – not a nation, y’know ? The only difference is the force with which they were each created, and by extension their sustainability and durability.iv

Anders : law that is passed by the US supreme court is binding throughout the US with direct effect. state courts must abide by it. EU law requires each individual member state to adopt domestic legislation to enact the legislation and they are allowed to derogate on specific matters relating to their national interests.v the US is a federalist nation state, while the EU is a supranational body that has an internal single market, allows for free movement of goods, but is not a “nation state” or “country”.

Hans : Until they can both protect their borders, neither is anything at all. Switzerland is a nation, Israel idem, but anything the size and scope of US/EU is a belief system first and foremost. The EU is evidently the weaker construct, particularly given brexit, italexit, etc., but the legal structures of both have little to do with their shared pretenses to relevance. It matters less what the Supreme Court or Bruxellian bureaucrats say so much as the height they can build their walls.

Anders : so ability to protect borders is the only valid defining characteristic of a “country”? and you started this by saying that the EU is a wannabe country and the fact that their officials were part of meetings with tech companies makes it such that these regulations will be imposed on “nations”. so which is it? the EU is a country because they kinda act like they are? or they are not because they can’t protect their borders?

Hans : Acting and being are two separate qualities. Look no further than the stage for proof. Is Patrick Stewart really Macbeth? No, he’s an actor and Macbeth is his theatrical character. In the same way and arguably for the same reasons (i.e. money), the EU pretends that it’s a country and passes laws that few subscribe to and even fewer adhere to. Since Day 1, the EU has tried this “fake it ’till you make it” approach with little to show for its efforts aside from being gang-raped by some dark-skinned fellahs. But maybe that was its objective all along. I mean, why else sing and dance about if not to signal a come-hither-willingness to be bent over and fucked ? As to a country being solely defined by its ability to protect its borders – no, it’s necessary but hardly sufficient. But make no mistake, it is sine qua non. No borders == no country.vi

Anders : the EU does not pretend to be a country. they are a sui generis supranational organization that allows for the free movement of workers, an internal single market and the maintenance of common policies on agriculture to name a few features. the laws they enact are in fact binding on all members states as signatories to the TEU and TFEU, so not sure what you mean by no one abides by their laws. members states can be found liable and forced to pay damages for non-compliance. look up the Factortame case. no one considers the EU a country and the member states as provinces or subsidiary federal regions. they oversee the actions of all the signatories, but the member states maintain their independence and borders. just because there is the ability to move freely within the shengen area does not make the EU somehow into a country unto itself. but alas – still no sign that these tech companies are implementing anything within any definition of “countries”. they consulted with EU officials and that is all.

Hans : 1.1) Free movement = Unified country, ipso facto.
1.2) Maintenance of own borders != Free movement
1.3) Therefore, the EU ensures that its members are not free to maintain their own borders lest the idealistic shengen zone and with it the entire raison d’etre of the EU be critically compromised.
2.1) Independence = Only God / Allah / Ba’al above you, ipso facto.
2.2) EU above you overseeing compliance != Independence
2.3) Therefore, the EU ensures that its member states are not independent lest the idealistic shengen zone and with it the entire raison d’etre of the EU be critically compromised. So it is that the EU postures and pretends to have the interest of its member states in their combined War Against Terror. In doing so it works with tech companies to define wtf a terrorist even is in the first place. Politically incorrect speech ? TERRORIST! Using a computer for something other than facebook, twitter, or instagram ? TERRORIST! Etc. etc. This isn’t what the EU wants to do necessarily, it’s merely the only lever of control at its disposal. It doesn’t have an army, it doesn’t have physical walls, and it doesn’t even have that much money with which to buy mercenaries. All it has is consensus, so consensus it will manufaktur come hell or high water. All the EU has are words on little bits of paper. And the number of laws it now has on the books and the 1 bn+ citizens it aims to corral mean that enforcement is impossibly expensive and therefore quite impossible in practical terms. That guy jaywalked, that guy said “nigger”, and that other guy sold uninspected fish out of the back of his boat. What could the EU possibly do about any of this ?

Anders : free movement in no way implies that it is a “unified country”. a term of the TEU is the free movement of people within member states. this alone does not create a country. as signatories, the member states give up a level of sovereignty for the ability to operate with the structure of the EU. not complete sovereignty, as they still have their own judiciary, legislatures and executive branches of govt that are independent from the EU. the CJEUvii and ECHRviii are bodies with binding legal power over all member states. any citizenix of any member state can bring a claim to the ECHR and the CJEU ensures compliance of all member states in accordance with EU law. damages can be awarded if non-compliance is found, and not nominal damages either. that is what the EU could possibly do.

Hans : The free movement of persons within a geographical area might not create a country per se, but it sure as fuck dissolves them. As such, member states of the EU can make no claims to sovereignty for as long as they maintain free and open borders,x to say nothing of currency control. Last I checked Poland and Hungary (among others?) were the closest things to nations in the EU given that they’ve shunned the downpours of darkies and the Euro as well. Furthermore, there is not nor can there be such a thing as partial sovereignty. It’s like being a partial slave. “Oh I’m only a slave at work when I’m earning my wage but in the evenings I’m free as a bird just so long as I live within commuting distance and ask politely for vacations on several months of notice.” This is not freedom, it’s not independence, and it sure as hell isn’t anything resembling sovereignty. I don’t doubt that the EU courts can award damages, but that soi-disant sovereign nations can’t award damages in the other direction tells you all you need to know about which foot the shoe is on.

Anders : so first the EU has laws that no one listens to. now it’s of course the EU can enforce their laws on member states – but it doesn’t go both ways! well of course it doesn’t go both ways. the EU is obviously the one that the member states have signed on with and agreed to the treaty terms under. and sovereignty takes many forms and is not a catch all term. a nation can have sovereignty over its internal policies and politics while agreeing to sacrifice other aspects of it in return for whatever supranational treaties they sign on to. westphalian sovereignty is a prime example of this

Hans :

[sov-rin-tee, suhv-] noun, plural sovereignties.
1. the quality or state of being sovereign, or of having supreme power or authority.
2. the status, dominion, power, or authority of a sovereign;royal rank or position; royalty.
3. supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.
4. rightful status, independence, or prerogative.
5. a sovereign or independent state, community, or political unit.

Pray tell, which part of that definition appears open to exception, degrees, or domain dependence ? I tell you I don’t see it. But ftr, Westphalian sovereignty was possible due to both political structure (ie. monarchy) and population size (ie. less than a tenth of current), which makes such arrangements entirely untenable between European powers today. Communication and transportation technologies were also positively barbaric by comparison, greatly limiting movement of both peoples and ideas, even if their art and architecture seemingly paradoxically trumped ours. That Merkel et al. are trying to regain their sovereignty by unwinding the last three-and-a-half centuries of progress by curbing transportation and now communications is frankly amusing, and very much closing the barn doors after the horses have left. Anyways, EU can enforce some of their laws some of the time, but like any other state with more laws than men to enforce them, they’re largely unable to justify their existence and so make all sorts of noises about TERRORISTS in the vain hope that someone, somewhere gives a shit.

Anders : there is legal sovereignty which is different than domestic sovereignty which is different than judicial sovereignty. it is not an absolute term. a nation can have one and not others

Hans : Ok, I’ll play ball. Where do you make the cuts ?

Anders : make what cuts? they are independent terms relating to independent matters.

Hans : Where do you make the cuts between domestic, judicial, and legal sovereignties ?

Anders : judicial sovereignty is the courts in a country being free of oversight and executive influence. complete domestic sovereignty is not being signatories to supranational treaties that give up any element of law making or domestic affairs. legal sovereignty is the executive and legislative branches being free to make laws without third party or outside influence, or opinion of the judiciary impacting the laws that are made

Hans : Aha. So which of these do EU member states maintain ? Because to me it seems like Factortame repudiates the first, EU membership ipso facto repudiates the second, and the third is repudiated by the entire history of humanity, which has not yet experienced such a completely utopian construction. What am I missing ?

Anders : they retain the ability to have their own defence policies and armed forces – just because one member state invades a country does but force the others to follow suit. they can implement whatever tax structure that they see fit. they can allow as many immigrants as they want or don’t want. they can elect their own parliament and executive without direct influence

Hans : I guess that’s something eh.

___ ___ ___

  1. It’s an obviously flattering parallel, reproachfully self-aggrandising even, but it’s rather dispositionally accurate. So we’ll stick with it. []
  2. In the digital age, we ought take a moment to remember our dearly departed Geography, now deceased but always in our hearts. Fiat states are still in the stage of, well, [insert that river in Egypt joke]. So it is that they aim to turn back the clock, return the Robin Williams-voiced genie to his bottle, and put Pandora back into her shattered box. All because globalism, once the economic salvation of the unipolar world, turned out to be so frighteningly expensive.  []
  3. FTR the only was to prevent the dissemination of doubleplusungood text/pics/vids from one sandbox to another is through that old mechanism from immunology class, viz. herd immunity, which functions by increasing the distance that the pathogen has to “leap” from one susceptible host to the next. This obviously requires >80% immunisation against a given pathogen, which in social terms necessitates that >80% of the population be hemmed in within the borders of the sandboxes. If you’ve already forsaken your desktop for a laptop and your laptop for a smartphone and a smartphone for a smartwatch, whether you know it or not, you’ve already had your shot in the arm!

    I gotta ask though, does it hurt ? []

  4. Forging by fire is an altogether more rigorous and productive process than forging by pen and ink. Bloodshed is only too necessary for sustainability and durability. I mean, who the hell ever learned that a stovetop was hot from reading it in a book ?   []
  5. “Mein herr, yoo mahst fallow all ze protokols deskribed by owar treetee… ekzept foah ze vuns yoo dont agree viz, ov korss.” Not the strongest pact, y’know ?  []
  6. Ben has a tidy little piece, a similar sort of discourse in fact, on the subject of borders – do read it. []
  7. Court of Justice of the European Union. []
  8. European Court of Human Rights. []
  9. So the theory goes. But can Ali bin Ali bin Ali bin Ali the kebap shop in Barcelona owner really file a claim with the CJEU or ECHR that public health regulations relating to his delicious meat-on-stick (eg. minimum internal cooking temperatures of 62C) are a violation of his inborn freedoms as a dirty gypsy ? I think not. But who knows, maybe such obvious inequities are being addressed in Bruxelles as we speak.   []
  10. Or for as long as Bitcoin exists, but… ya. That’s a whole other can of discursive worms innit. []