Thursday, January 25, 2007

Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum

CONSPIRACY THEORISTS LIKE TO tell tales of dangerous cabals who secretly take over society.

However, in our day, the worldly powers-that-be conspire openly. And it is televised.

The Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is going on now in Davos, Switzerland. Politicians, businessmen, and celebrities from the very highest levels of society attend this elite conference, to discuss — and shape — the future of the world.

Now, prudence and justice demand that leaders responsibly cooperate with each other, so meetings such as these are in principle good and desirable. However, these global leaders perhaps don't think like we do, and they apparently don't share our view of the greatest good of man.

We tend to politically separate these powers into "conservatives" and "socialists": the former being pro-business and the latter being pro-government; however, at the rarefied heights of society, as represented by the Davos conference, there is little difference between the two. Power, after all, is power, no matter how you get it. Close cooperation between business and government — which as a matter of justice is morally required and good — can be perverted into extortionate money-making schemes backed up the power and force of the State. Likewise, governments can milk business to pay for immoral activities. Most likely, all involved must think of this as just a coordinated get-rich-quick, power-grabbing scheme.

The great majority of leaders at Davos may be called most correctly "Liberals", in the classical sense, despite what political labels they may claim. Enlightenment Liberalism in general tends to likes both big impersonal business and big impersonal government, as well as moral subjectivism. This Liberalism is also quite influenced by the religion of the Reformation, especially Calvinism: this is the view of an elite, who are free and saved, who must rule over the masses who are necessarily servile and damned. This is not good.

Compare this with the traditional Catholic model of society, where things are small, local, political relationships are personal, and everything is guided by tradition and the moral law. Clearly, you can't get really rich in this type of society; even kings had to beg from their nobility. Even though the tradition had its elites, they had real responsibilities to maintain their position as well as restrictions to their power.

A major issue being discussed at Davos is global warming, and this particular conference is notable in that global warming doubters do not have a voice. Global warming is assumed to be a fact and big business and government will coordinate with each other to deal with this supposed problem. It will be very, very expensive, and many people will get rich and more powerful over the supposed solution to global warming. Now if global warming actually does exist, then clearly it is these same players who are responsible for it. Sadly, a common ploy is to create some problem with technology, which forces even greater spending and new technologies to combat the problems created earlier; its good for the economy. Or rather more accurately, these groups try to create the perception of problems, whether real or not. Even war is considered by these folks to be good for the same reason: blow things up, and then you have to spend (and make) money fixing them.

Another issue at Davos is globalization. The participants see this as absolutely necessary and non-negotiable, and even if it causes problems, since this creates an opportunity to fix these problems. Now of course goods and people, within reason, ought to be able to freely move across borders; but globalization encourages, or rather even demands that goods (and people) must flow between countries, whether we like it or not. There is a huge difference between allowing and demanding.

Multiculturalism is another non-negotiable idea at Davos. Now their definition of 'multicultural' is not a polyglot mix of peoples with radically different customs and cultures, but rather a mix of people of various races and countries who agree with Davos that power must be centralized at as high of a level as possible.

Davos is notorious for being highly elitist, but Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are also prominent. Among the NGOs are some Catholic groups, but these are mainly of the heterodox, socialistic variety that are Catholic in name only. In general, the NGOs support the novel policies being discussed at Davos: albeit in an extremist, noisy, rabble-rousing fashion. The NGOs give the appearance of the "voice of the people" at Davos, but it should be noted that many of these groups get grants and government support from the very people they are purportedly opposing. You don't have pro-life traditional "throne and altar" conservative Catholic NGOs at Davos! The global leaders at Davos can have it both ways: they can appear to support the "people" as represented by the NGOs, but they can also appear to be forces of moderation and reason, by rejecting the NGO's extremism.

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