A good part of the energy for transnational progressivism is provided by human rights activists, who consistently evoke "evolving norms of international law." The main legal conflict between traditional American liberal democrats and transnational progressives is ultimately the question of whether the U. S. Constitution trumps international law or vice versa.
Dan Riehl posted on his blog something that made me think about this situation. He provided some of the exchange that went on at the GOP Iowa debate between the candidates and the moderator. Here is the part, especially the boldfaced, that seemed to me like an exposure of this phenomena.
I want to take on a new issue. I would like to see a show of hands. How many of you believe global climate change is a serious threat and caused by human activity?
THOMPSON: You want to give me a minute to answer that?
WASHBURN: No, I don't.
THOMPSON: Well, then I'm not going to answer it.
THOMPSON: You want a show of hands. I'm not giving it to you.
WASHBURN: We're going to follow up on that, but what I need to know is: Who believes global climate change is serious and caused by human activity? And then we'll talk in more detail about it.
MCCAIN: I think that climate change is real and I...
WASHBURN: I'm going to start with Senator McCain and come back to Mayor Giuliani.
MCCAIN: I've been involved in this issue since the year 2000. I have had hearings. I've traveled the world. I know that climate change is real.
But let me put it to you this way: Suppose that climate change is not real and all we do is adopt green technologies, which our economy and our technology is perfectly capable of. Then all we've done is given our kids a cleaner world.
But suppose they are wrong. Suppose they are wrong and climate change is real and we've done nothing. What kind of a planet are we going to pass on to the next generation of Americans?
It's real, we've got to address it, we can do it with technology, with cap and trade, with capitalist and free enterprise motivation. And I'm confident that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren a cleaner, better world.
WASHBURN: Mayor Giuliani?
GIULIANI: I agree with John. Climate change is real. It's happening. I believe human beings are contributing to it.
I think the best way to deal with it is through energy independence. And I...
WASHBURN: Who doesn't...
GIULIANI: And I think energy independence is...
WASHBURN: Who doesn't agree?
HUNTER: He said contributing, but not totally.
GIULIANI: Yes. Yes.
GIULIANI: And I think that all parties should embrace this as an issue for us and our...
WASHBURN: Let me come at it this way. Let me come at it this way.
What impact on the economy would be acceptable in order to reverse global warming and greenhouse gas emissions?
ROMNEY: Well, it's going to help our economy because we're going to invest in new technologies to get ourselves off of foreign oil. And as we get ourselves off of foreign oil, we also dramatically reduce our CO2 emissions.
That's good for the environment. It's also good for our economy. Because buying $300 billion or $400 billion worth of oil a year from other people who use it against us, that's bad for our economy. It's also bad for the environment.
We can do these things in a way that help both the environment and the economy and national security. That's the beauty of what we're talking about here.
Is global warming an issue for the world? Absolutely.
Is it something we can deal with by becoming energy independent and energy secure? We sure can.
But at the same time, we call it global warming, not America warming. So let's not put a burden on us alone and have the rest of the world skate by without having to participate in this effort. It's a global effort.
But our independence is something we can do unilaterally.
WASHBURN: Mr. Keyes, what do you think about this?
KEYES: Well, what I think is that a lot of folks out there ought to understand that what you're watching represents the situation in our country. Ask yourself who represents the people they don't let you hear from. And you'll know who you should vote for in the Iowa Caucuses.
Who represents the voice that they're absolutely determined to overlook in the discussion of our sovereignty and the betrayal of this people's sovereignty, on the border, on our moral principles, on the major export overseas -- which is our jobs?
These folks represent the very elite who year, after year, after year, have destroyed our Constitution, betrayed our rights and undermined our strength created by our people in the world.
KEYES: And yet the one person willing to talk about that is overlooked, time and time again. That person...
THOMPSON: I agree with Alan Keyes' position on global warming.
WASHBURN: Let me come to...
KEYES: I'm in favor of reducing global warming, because I think the most important emission we need to control is the hot air emission of politicians who pretend one thing and don't deliver.
So, does the international AGW movement trump the U.S. Constitution or vice versa? If our system is based not on individual rights (as defined by the U. S. Constitution) but on group consciousness (as defined by international law); not on constitutional law, but on transnational law; then the regime will cease to be "constitutional," "liberal," "democratic," and "American," in the understood sense of those terms, but will become in reality a new hybrid system that is "post-constitutional," "post-liberal," "post-democratic," and "post-American."