Among the many benefits the United Nations confers upon its members is something that international relations scholars call “lowering transaction costs.” In other words, international institutions like the UN streamline international cooperation by offering standard procedures by which individuals and countries can interact.  For example, the fact that we have a World Health Organization makes it easier to coordinate a global response to the H1N1 outbreak than if the WHO did not exist.

This is one of the great (though often unheralded) benefits of having a United Nations organization. You know who apparently agrees? Glenn Beck. That’s right. The hard-line television and radio personality filed a petition with the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against a Glenn Beck parody site, glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.com. Among other things, WIPO handles disputes arising from cyber-squatting and domain name abuse and Beck has appealed to the authority for arbitration through a procedure known as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Of course, most Americans would tell you that parodies like that are probably protected as free speech under the first amendment. Indeed, Beck himself has opined in the past in the utility of appealing to international law. Here he is with guest Jay Sekulow having a fit over the nomination of international law scholar Dean Harold Koh of Yale Law School to be the State Department Legal advisor.

SEKULOW: And we have to meet these systems from foreign countries and apply that to United States. And here’s the real danger on this and this is a danger. Now, here’s the danger. Dean Koh is a smart guy, don’t — listen, nobody should not question he’s an intelligent guy. But what he is proposing is to take the State Department — he is not going to be a senior lawyer at the State Department, he is going to be the lawyer at the State Department, the chief counsel, and he is basically saying, we take our American experience and if it doesn’t mesh with the rest of the world, the rest of the world wins.And that, frankly, is — I call — it’s — a lot of people are calling this “lawfare,” it’s utilizing the law as a weapon.

BECK: Oh, yes.

SEKULOW: And that’s where you got to be very, very concerned.

BECK: And, America, you know this. When they can’t get you to vote for something, they kick it up to the legal — into the legal system. If they can’t win in the legal system, they kick it up to the United Nations or to the E.U. or whatever. (emphasis mine)

 

“They” certainly do, don’t they.

 

 

(H/t http://twitter.com/evgenymorozov/)

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