ENVISIONING A UNITED WORLD
"A federation of all humanity together with a sufficient measure of social justice to insure health, education and a rough equality of opportunity would mean such a release and increase of human energy as to open a new phase in human history."
- HG Wells
Eli: If you were able to look into the future and see what our coming one world will look like, it would blow you away.
Lars: Wait a minute! You're talking like this future is as certain as the sun rising tomorrow morning.
Eli: Let's just say that it's far more likely living in this united world than it is living in in the one we have today. Can you imagine how absurd it would sound if I told you 150 years from now that the same U.N. Security Council will still be governed by the five winners of the Second World War? Or imagine another 150 years of arms races where even Guatemala acquires nuclear weapons. Another century of continued balances of power or preemptive strikes against the nations ruled by Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's great grandchildren would be ludicrous. This sounds much more implausible than the completion of the next several steps in our social evolution.
Lars: Hold it! Not only do you sound sure that we won't blow ourselves to bits in the next 150 years but you also speak of this coming one world as if it's part of our evolution.
Eli: At a young age, I once attended a religious school where we were taught the world would be destroyed if it wasn't for divine help. Humanity was considered too corrupt to avoid self-destruction, so folks in my church had hope that Jesus would eventually come back and save us. Although I don't share their sense of hopelessness in human affairs, I can see where they were coming from. It's easy to feel pessimistic about humanity when you turn on the news and see all the escalating conflicts and environmental problems in the world. There are reasons to be optimistic though, especially with the birth of the internet. In the first time in our history we can instantaneously unite like-minded people at great distances all over the globe and combat ignorance like never before. If you are a student of history, it isn't difficult to see our growth and that this natural progression of our past and present is leading us towards the coming one world.
Lars: What about all the folks who only think of evil when they hear the words "world government"?
Eli: There is always resistance along the way for any social movement. Look how difficult it was for the notion of a round earth to eventually overcome the belief of a flat one. We have come to a point in history where we can clearly see there is no turning back. Once people are confronted with truth, the days for the old way of thinking are numbered. A good example is how in the 1960's, millions of people around the world were confronted with the reality of our world beyond borders in seeing the famous photo of Earth from space. Since then, millions of people have begun to see the dangers of nationalism while embracing a more humane planetary patriotism.
Lars: You've got to admit though that there is a huge gulf between the way things are now and your utopian fantasy.
Eli: As Victor Hugo once said, "No army can withstand the strength of an idea who's time has come." Global government is just such an idea whose time draws near. This is really the story of every other major social leap within our history. If you went back in time to the 19th century and tried to tell the racist power elite in America that women would soon be granted the right to vote and slaves given their freedom, they'd probably laugh in your face. Or imagine telling an early colonist that the state they lived in would soon join with many others to form a great nation spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Seeing how movements take time to progress and form a critical mass, it becomes more understandable how people today can find it hard to imagine all the nations of the world joining together and forming a world federation.
Lars: You have to admit, if it ever happens it's going to be one big bloody mess like the American Civil War but on a larger global scale.
Eli: Actually, violence in this case will hurt rather than help the cause. But this discussion should be reserved for the How We Might Get There section. What we want to focus on here is what it might look like.
Lars: Then why don't you tell me. What would a united world look like?
Eli: First let's take a look at what many world federalists consider as the closest model available for a united world -- the United States of America. Few would argue with the assertion that the 20th century will be remembered in history books as the American Century. In the course of a hundred years, the United States has made incredible contributions in every category of human advancement. Whether it was in art, medicine, agriculture, or space exploration, all these explosions in creativity are great examples of what can happen when war between a vast community of people is outlawed while they also agree to work together for a sufficient measure of social justice to insure health, education and a rough equality of opportunity for their population. Astronaut Kathryn Sullivan said, "For 225 years, we've been the one place on earth where you can get a taste of what life might be like if the things people have in common mattered more than the things that make them different; if people lived without lines." When this happens you get such a release of energy and an explosion of creativity that you see a glimpse into what humanity is truly capable of.
Lars: Yeah, but what about the negative side of America? All our consumerism, military excess and environmental recklessness?
Eli: There is a dark side to America we can't deny but the good that has come out of this democratic experiment is an excellent preview of the next great leap in our social evolution. We must also see that much of America's dark side has come about through our enemies and threats of war with them. Think how much of our nation's energies have been committed to creating weapons and fighting real and theoretical wars against outside threats. Can you imagine how different the state of California would be today if in its past, it had fought several modern wars against Nevada and Arizona while being engaged with Oregon in a nuclear arms race? It certainly wouldn't have the prosperity it has enjoyed in the last fifty years or the creative explosion of art that has entertained the world for over a century.
Lars: So what you're saying is that when you don't have to fight enemies, it frees up most of your energy for constructive activities.
Eli: Exactly! Take a look at Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban. The shape that their society was in will clearly show the effects that decades of perpetual war have on a population. Now if you can imagine a world stage where all the nations become states in a united global society of perpetual peace, a new human Renaissance would flourish on Earth. It would feel something like how Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned in his I Have a Dream Speech, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Lars: You're a dreamer!
Yeah, well, I'm not the only one!
Eli Williamson-Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a writer/student, and co-founder of World Beyond Borders.
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