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Why Homeschoolers Should Care about Global Governance

December 28, 2015–January 1, 2016   |   Vol. 125, Week 10

Global governance is trying to fix the world’s problems—but it’s creating an even bigger mess, and it could affect your family’s freedom. Find out how on this week’s Homeschool Heartbeat, with host Mike Farris and HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly.

“We want to make sure that Americans make the law for America.”—Mike Farris

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You may have never heard of “global governance,” but that doesn’t stop its advocates from encroaching on your freedom. Learn more about this threat to self-government on today’s Homeschool Heartbeat. Now here’s your host, Mike Farris.

Mike Farris: Our guest today is Mike Donnelly. Mike is the Director of Global Outreach for Home School Legal Defense Association. He’s also one of our staff attorneys. Mike, welcome to the program.

Mike Donnelly: Good to be with you, Mike.

Mike F: Mike, you and I have worked together on international issues concerning homeschooling. On the one hand, we have worked to try to bring freedom to the German homeschooling families, the families in Sweden, and other places—Switzerland—other places that have had issues with homeschooling.

And at the same time, we are concerned about the UN entering into the United States and taking away our sovereignty, and so we’ve worked together to stop the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. And there’s a lot of concern about the general concept of global governance. Tell me about just your background in working in this issue first.

Mike D: Well Mike, as you know, we’ve traveled around the world doing this, and I’ve been working as HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach for about six years now. I’m working on an LLM in international human rights law at the London School of Economics, where I’ve had the opportunity to engage with some of these issues and learn from some of the experts on this who are in Europe, who are involved in this issue of global governance, and who are teaching about it, as well, and writing about it. 

Mike F: Mike, I want talk to you about a theory called global governance, and what kind of a threat does that pose to homeschooling freedom. So, start off by telling us, what is global governance?

Mike D: Mike, global governance is a growing and complex web of international and non-governmental institutions that have been created by international governing elites. It’s a network of international systems being constructed to manage what these advocates would call the “global commons.” They would say it’s a system for collective management of the planet. They would talk about solving problems like global climate change, global economic instability, cybersecurity, global health, and global justice. The idea is basically that there are these global issues that need to be solved by independent global institutions who have enforcement authority, rather than independent, sovereign nations amongst themselves.

Mike F: Now, is this the United Nations, or who are these people?

Mike D: Well, so this is an academic concept that’s being developed. It’s kind of a new concept that’s been talked about in the last six to eight years that I’ve come across—this idea of global governance.

You’ve got institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations, you know, Federal Society, who are studying this issue. They are looking at these issues and looking at the, you know, climate change—these things that I talked about before—and sort of analyzing how those issues are being dealt with, and how these institutions—like the WTO, like the IMF, like the UN, and all the sub-agencies in the UN—are beginning to kind of coordinate and are working more closely together, and how more of these institutions are being created. You’ve got the World Climate Organization and people are calling for creation of these new things—you know, global constitution, a world court of human rights.

Most who support global governance are those who feel that nations have essentially become obsolete, and that global problems need to be addressed with these global institutions that have power to enforce global solutions. There are those who see a need to transform the current way the world operates—with sovereign nation states—to a world government with a global constitution. These are elites who believe that they know what’s best, and would rather centralize power and authority than to decentralize and diffuse power so that citizens can self-govern. 

And these are things that academics are talking about seriously. They’re writing in journal articles, they’re making speeches at the UN, they’re writing pieces and publishing them. 

Mike F: Now, there’s been a lot of talk about a world government for a long time, but especially since the advent of the United Nations. The way would explain the issue is that we have a world government—it’s just a pretty weak government right now.

The UN exists and has courts, it has a legislative body, it has a budget, it’s got military operations. There is a level of world government, but it’s very weak. It’s kind of like the United States was under the Articles of Confederation. They exist, but it’s very weak. And there’s no doubt that people in the international community would like to make it even stronger. And you have come across a growing concept, called global governance, that is one aspect of this desire for a world government.

Tell us a little bit about how the global governance theory has arisen, and where it’s going. 

Mike D: Well, there are those who are studying this concept of global governance, and they’re observing all these international institutions. And the United Nations is a very big one, as you pointed out, but there are others, like the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization. Frankly, there are whole lot [in] other areas.

And they are moving to seek greater enforcement authority, greater authority to impose rules and regulations on, you know, sovereign entities like the United States, which is one of the reasons that, as you mentioned before, we’ve tried to oppose the imposition of, particularly, human rights treaties on our own nation which would potentially have the force of law—subservient only to the Constitution—because of Article VI of the Constitution which makes treaties, along with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

Mike F: Now, in our prior conversations you’ve told me about a number of journal articles you’re reading from international law professors and people of that sort. Describe what you’re seeing in the trend of articles which has both a predictive value, and there’s also a lawmaking value that I want to turn to just after you describe what’s going on there.

Mike D: Mike, there’s a lot of academic interest in things like a global constitution and a world court of human rights. There are academics who are writing seriously about these subjects. There is a proposed statute that would create a court of human rights that would purport to be the overseer for all human rights treaties in the world. So these are some of the institutions that I’m seeing academics writing about, talking about, that are of concern.

Mike F: Now, the word “statute” in our law has one meaning, but in international law it’s a particular kind of a treaty. And the statutes for the Court of International Justice are a treaty, and we’re a party to that treaty, and that’s exactly where I wanted to go to my next question, is the Court of International Justice’s statutes on what are the elements—where did we get international law from? And one of the elements of the source of international law is the opinion of the most highly qualified publicist—which, being translated, means what law professors say. 

So tell us what the connection is. Law professors write these ideas about global governance; how does that translate into becoming actual international law?

Mike D: Well, Mike, you pointed out, these jurists, they sit on a committee. And, for example, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child—there’s a committee of these 18 law jurists, as you’ve written about, they may have called them “the law professors in tweed,” who are running and making determinations about how the UNCRC should be implemented. So they are writing authoritative opinions that countries are obligated to take into consideration when they are interpreting their own obligations under the treaty.

And I can tell you, what we’re seeing is that UNCRC and other treaties are actually having an impact in countries in terms of changing the actual legislation in those countries passed by their own democratic institutions. So this is something that is of concern. 

Mike F: So there is a growing body of people, partly governmental, partly outside of government, that wants to advance the idea of a world government—current phrasing: “global governance.” What’s their attitude toward homeschooling?

Mike D: Mike, people who are talking about global governance aren’t specifically talking about homeschooling—at least not yet. But they do talk about education.

Institutions such as the United Nations are very interested in education in countries both trying to advance educational opportunities for those who are poor and don’t have access to it, but also the content of that education. And the UN has numerous initiatives—one is called the Global Education Citizens First initiative—where they talk about how important it is for education in the nations to include certain values, including values of tolerance and, you know, these kinds of ideas that they want to require, or try to influence nations to include in their own education systems.

Common Core would be an example of a national system of education that the UN would want to try to influence to get these kinds of content into national education systems. 

Mike F: Okay, so let’s bear down on the tolerance question. We’ve seen a lot of issues arising in our country where Christian businesses, Christian court clerks, a judge out in Oregon, and others, are being forced to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. And if they refuse to do so, they are going to lose their job, they’re heavily fined, they’ll lose their business. This is the kind of tolerance efforts that will be infused into education if the UN gets its way. Have I read that correctly?

Mike D: You have read it correctly. And in fact, when you look at what’s happening in Europe, you can see numerous places where governing entities—in particular, England—the prime minister there recently was quoted as saying he feels that even private schools should be required to teach that same-sex marriage is normal, normative, and he doesn’t care that these are private schools. They should be required by the government to teach these values, because that’s what tolerance requires. 

It’s a small step from there to requiring parents who homeschool to do the same thing, and to check up on them to make sure they’re doing it. 

Mike F: Now, you’ve mentioned to me in our prior conversations about an old nemesis named Howard Davidson, who works for the American Bar Association. Is he still working for the ABA?

Mike D: He actually just retired as the director for the Children and Law Center. 

Mike F: A division of the American Bar Association.

Mike D: That’s correct. 

Mike F: Okay. And he wrote a book on the Convention on the Rights of the Child years ago, and in that book he said that children that are taught that Jesus is the only way to God and that the UN is an improper one-world organization, and other things, are being taught things that violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Is Howard still up to these kind of tricks?

Mike D: He sure is. In fact he wrote a law review article just last year in the Michigan State Law Review calling for the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And he says we need to do that so we can exercise leadership and use a bully pulpit to encourage other nations and be involved in the conversation about the right to education, which is one of the rights that’s contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Mike F: Mike, what do we do in response to all this? If we want to retain American self-government both for our nation and our families, how do we act?

Mike D: Well, Mike global governance is, kind of, the antithesis of self-governance. And that’s why it’s something that we should be concerned about and aware of. So I think people need to be informed about this idea of global governance. And they can find information about that from a lot of different places. If they just go to Google and type in “global governance.” The Federalist Society has a website that’s covering this issue.

On the ground, we need to continue to resist the imposition of international human rights treaties—and other treaties—that would purport to impose laws and regulations on our populace. These are things that you’ve been leading the fight against—and successfully—and we need to continue to do that.

Mike F: And, if it’s okay, I’ll plug another effort that I’m involved in: the Convention of the States. We’re trying to see that the Constitution has a change on this particular point so that treaties can no longer become supreme over the domestic law of the United States. We want to make sure that Americans make the law for America. And I know that you agree with that and that you’ve been helpful to us in your state of West Virginia. Thanks so much Mike!

Mike D: It’s been a pleasure, Mike. Thank you.

Mike DonnellyMike Donnelly

Mike serves HSLDA as Director of Global Outreach and as Staff Attorney for members in the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. As Director of Global Outreach he coordinates HSLDA’s support of homeschooling freedom all over the world. Mike is also an adjunct professor of government at Patrick Henry College where he teaches constitutional law. He received a juris doctorate from the Boston University School of Law with honors as a Paul J. Liacos Scholar. He is a member of the bars of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mike’s previous experience includes combat service during the first Persian Gulf War as a United States Army cavalry officer, private legal practice and the founding of a nationally ranked internet marketing firm. Mike is an internationally published writer and frequent conference and media spokesperson on the subjects of homeschooling, educational freedom, parental and human rights. His most recent publications include the first-ever chapter on homeschooling included in the four-volume global education policy series Balancing Freedom, Autonomy, and Accountability in EducationReligious Freedom in Education, appearing in the International Journal of Religious Freedom and Creature of the State, appearing in Homeschooling in America and Europe: A Litmus Test of Democracy. He and his wife homeschool their seven children.

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