On Human Identity & Global Governance
The current global framework of development – the MDGs and the UN conferences that preceded them - is ambivalent at its core.
How can anyone be against “freeing a major portion of humanity from the shackles of extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease” (MDG report 2009)? Against a global partnership for development, global cooperation and solidarity, a greater protection of the environment, combating malaria, tuberculosis, measles and AIDS, providing universal access to education and safe drinking water, helping expectant mothers to deliver safely, newborn care and so on?
But who, apart from corrupted minorities, can support “eradicating poverty” by eradicating the poor themselves, deconstructing their cherished cultures and traditions, their sense of community and of the family, their faith in God? Yet it is no exaggeration to affirm that acceptance of the western contraceptive and abortive mentality by the recipient community conditions development aid in a majority of cases.
In other words, genuinely consensual, common sense objectives have been hijacked by a decadent western minority, for whom maternal health is understood primarily as access to contraception, for whom giving girls access to education comes along with the deconstruction of “gender stereotypes”, for whom development means a very secular notion of “quality of life”, for whom environmental protection goes through population control, as human beings would be the main “predator” of “Mother Earth”. This social engineering western agenda is all the more dangerous than it is hidden in development programs that appear externally acceptable and are therefore broadly consensual. This agenda is hidden: it is hardly perceptible.
A deep malaise about the MDGs ensues. Is one ever securely out of the sphere of influence of lobbies pursuing ideological interests, since they have integrated their agenda in the interpretation of all MDGs? How can development agents and aid recipients escape contamination? Is the MDGs framework politically usable? Is it possible to disentangle consensual goals from radical agendas while remaining within the MDG/UN framework? Or does disentanglement necessitate operating from without the framework? What is the way out of healthy ambivalence?
A hard look at the reality of global governance can help answer those complex questions. Realistically, the ethic underpinning the MDGs cannot but be that of the West, which holds the rudder of global governance. This ethic mixes humanitarianism and idealistic altruism with a secular, immanent worldview which absolutizes “quality of life” and individual well-being. The donor community, the UN, western governments, western NGOs pull the strings in the MDG process. A majority of these actors have shown their explicit or implicit support of reproductive health and gender equality - the Cairo and Beijing platforms.
The reproductive health and gender equality lobby has demonstrated how politically powerful it was in the MDG process, and its determination to obtain priority funding.
Ambivalence is not sustainable. The situation urgently calls for self-respect and self-determination. For a different development path to be traced, disentangled from special interests and genuinely open in its search for what is good for humanity, independence of thought is critical. Non-western cultures cannot allow themselves to be mentally framed by the agenda of minority western lobbies through the UN.
© Marguerite A. Peeters 2010 – Permission needed for any public or semi-public use of this module.