From a levels of selection perspective, we're currently operating at a nation state level polity. The US is obviously overly-stretched by this. Is this due to its 300M+ size, geographical separation, or untenable diversity with low social coherence capital levels?
A levels of selection frame suggests looking for US and other stable nation states to start experimenting with larger unions. The EU experiment is one case. NAFTA can be seen as a nascent step down this path.
The level down from the current US nation state level is pre-civil war state polities united by weak federal bonds.
Of course it never makes sense to view progressivism as a simple case of anti-federalism. That is just ludicrous.
But imagine if instead of simply going up or down a level of selection, you bifurcate between both.... (if you've been following my draft work on Quasi-factual Metaphorical Truths, you'll obviously see where this muse came from)
I now believe many versions of progressivism are after chiefdom dynamic polities operating under a pan national opened bordered cosmopolitanism. Here is how I imagine this odd solution to look.
You would have first nation reservations operating as fairly autonomous units. They can certainly partner up in multi-tribal groups (say all Assiniboine), but such interactions would be largely due to convenience rather than via formal governance agreements. Similarly you would have a rise of city states. For instance greater Vancouver might be one polity. Hope and maybe Abbotsford would be different polities. After all, the politics of large urban centres are VERY different from more rural areas. There might even be non-geographically constrained units self-selected by ideology.
The key feature of these units is their responsive governance. The people remain a very real unit of control (sort of how Iceland is so responsive). Politicians have direct contact with their constituents and people are able to exert extremely strong social control over them. Ideological homogeneity would be pretty strong (or at least it is imagined that it would be)
These polities are subsumed by a legislatively weak pan federal entity. This would likely handle all the "human rights" concerns. Of course "human rights" would be broadly construed - right to travel (road maintenance, etc), right to work (whatever that might entail, etc.), etc.
Like most people I probably would have scoffed at this idea some time ago. I certainly think there are huge issues with operationalization. However, when understanding social systems, especially those highly influenced by Utopian thinking, it is never wise to reject things because of logistical concerns.
Whether or not this could work, I believe many people think it could. Not only that, I suspect many people think it is the only way things might work.
The critiques of this system of governance are clear and obvious. My point isn't to evaluate this idea. Rather, it is to suggest that this multi-level frame might make it easier to understand how various progressive ideologies may view these issues.
For instance, the reading I've been doing lately on Indigenous epistemologies really makes me think this perspective is an accurate reading. If you were to try and decolonize indigenous perspectives on tribal society based upon taken-for-granted levels of intra-group sociality, what would you get?
You would also get an assumption that power in the hands of a government actor is just a continuation of colonialism. The only way to get rid of this structure is to get rid of nationalism itself. Pan nationalism then would focus on what people need, not what is needed to govern them.
All in all, a very interesting thought experiment to pursue. All it really takes is an ability to discount the ability of individuals to re-create internal nation states and an ability to discount the chance external nation states will attack and colonize. These are pretty easy assumptions to make from within this world view.
2min decolonization video