Encrusting the UN main body, a parasitic subculture emerged
NEW YORK – It should come to no one’s surprise that imperial Rome was also the magnet for nutcase preachers, sly moneylenders, and the circus people. And while today’s movers and shakers (more isolated from the common people than ever before) gather at the United Nations (UN) in New York to discuss the future plans for us lesser 7 billion human beings, hundreds of mini-symposiums, conferences, and lecture halls throughout the city and region are being filled with second- and third-tier super-egos, new-age pundits, and shady activists.
There’s a great concerted effort by various powerful interest groups, NGOs, and business lobbyists to obtain association with the UN central body, usually to stay ahead of the competition back in peripheries of the empire. In fact, many political gurus, culture makers, and public intellectuals of all color and creed see the ‘United Nations’ as the ultimate brand, superior in prestige, and the single-most important “proof of legitimacy” for their own doctrine and personality cult.
Their obsession is comparable to celebrities and up-and-coming actors being drawn to the annual Golden Globes, or CEOs and bankers being drawn to Davos (the forum for economists). In fact, sailing in the trail of the United Nations is probably more rewarding and PR effective than giving talks at Harvard, TED, and Big Think, if that. Moreover, scholars from the Ivy League are all-too-familiar with our “little dictators” –deans and dons- who pull names and brag about “having been invited” to some UN-related think tank (as sure as beauty pageants insist it was the contest who called). Of course, they’ll use the UN branding to hail their own theories and sabotage the opposition.
The core UN crowds are made of bureaucrats and elected officials (and their entourage). The majority of them hopefully do not strive for personal gain or ideological motives. But most other seasoned predators or Big Boys who pilgrim to New York evidently do have a personal or corporate agenda. There you find corrupt academicians lecturing about global ethics; press soldiers preaching about moral journalism; reckless cult leaders advocating more pseudo-sciences; and crazy feminazis accusing all men of sexism. It’s an ideal world, just completely inverted: Tyrants get to advocate equality; disrupters get to advocate peace, bullies get to claim victimhood.
There rumors a discussion from east to west that the UN doesn’t reflect the global reality of the 21st Century. That’s like saying the Lord of the Rings saga isn’t historical accurate. There’re f*****g elves and wizards in New York!
And while most readers will probably have read a lot in the media of matters, say, about Pope Francis in the US media of matters (“Pray for me, people!”), or about the reincarnated His Holiness the Dalai Lama (“Sorry, I couldn’t attend!”), the editors struggle hard to censor the numerous mini-popes, charlatans, and frauds who are cruising the venues and look for that one missing promi-selfie with UN secretary Ban Ki-Moon. Major Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Confucian, even new age “religions” such as Scientology or the Soka Gakkai, generously hand in annual ‘peace proposals” to the United Nations, calling for more love, tolerance, or environmental protection; only to shamelessly exploit this for self-promotion of course.
Some organizations even send ‘seasonal greetings’ cards to UN offices that virtually cry: “See me!” That is because the UN has cunningly disenfranchised the global humanities; for example with its programs for the Dialogue among Civilizations, World Ethics, Gender, Democracy, Human Rights, Education, or Climate Change, to name but a few. Without proper representation at the UN, some causes might as well not exist. “If I don’t go, I’ll be a nobody.”
The current US-led world order, its planetary hierarchy, and everyone’s search for highest recognition and validation in the realms of the humanities make sense, of course: Why should globalization be any less dramatic and cut-throat than, say, Hollywood, the mafia, or Wall Street? And who are we to judge our resourceful bosses and directors, those restless seekers and grand visionaries, for their nifty opportunism and grand personal scheming; for if they struggle so hard over the few entitled slots on that most visible of all global stages that enables them to give orders to the world, how much more pressure and distress the legions of subordinates must endure to keep their masters rich and cheerful?
As the Crown Princess of Prussia once remarked about Bismarck and the German Empire: “Live in Berlin is almost intolerable if one does not want to be his abject slave. One might think that we have no cause for complaint and ought to be grateful. But if only people knew the price of all this.” Of course, 144 years later we can tell: That empire is no more. But the leaders who’d run and ruined it boy did they have a blast at life.
Thorsten J. Pattberg is a German writer and cultural critic. He is the author of The East-West Dichotomy, Shengren, and Inside Peking University.