The postmodern notion of sustainable development (“SD”) currently articulated by the United Nations seeks for all nations to secure international peace and security by means of government provision of adequate healthcare, housing, food, heat, education, and other social entitlements which have been categorized as ‘human rights’. The protection of these human rights, in turn, calls for governments’ development of regulations that transform every aspect of modern society, and thereby, each citizen’s economic, political and social lives.
The difficulty with postmodern SD is that it presupposes the role of government in this enterprise, and theprocess of governing, and thus, bypasses the following essential questions that each nation and their citizens must ask and answer for themselves, inter alia:
1. What role should government play in pursuing postmodern SD to achieve international peace and security?
2. Where does that role begin and end?
3. What are the costs and benefits associated with pursuing postmodern SD?
4. To what extent will the People have a ‘say’, directly or indirectly through their legislative representatives, in defining the scope of government’s role and the nature and type of government ‘deliverables’ that will be pursued?
5. To what administrative processes and procedures will federal, state and municipal executive agencies be required to adhere, in preservation of individuals’ constitutional right to ‘due process of law’, before they can enact transformative regulations that aim to achieve postmodern SD?
6. To what extent will government’s pursuit of postmodern SD result in the reinterpretation, circumvention and/or subordination of national constitutions (e.g., the U.S. Constitution) to international laws and regulations?
7. To what extent will the pursuit of postmodern SD result in the compromise or diminution of the People’s natural and inherent rights as recognized by their national constitutions and other founding documents (e.g., the U.S. Constitution, its accompanying Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence)?
Surely, government’s primary role is to preserve international peace and national security. However, if government’s preservation of international peace and national security demands that it pursue postmodern SD, which, by definition, engenders a substantial transformation of the People’s economic, political and social lives, then government is obliged to inform the People of these necessary changes and to comprehensively address their questions, including those above, in the ‘public square’ at the local, regional and national levels. And, if the fulfillment of government’s primary role necessitates the pursuit of postmodern SD at the international level via ‘international regulatory cooperation/harmonization’, then government must first persuade the People of the wisdom of doing so, by engaging them in an open, inclusive and transparent dialogue that explores the legal, economic, political and social costs and benefits of such endeavors.