Thoughts of an Old Man

Watching and reading the news disturbs me.  There is so much strife in our world, so many ongoing disasters, so much cruelty.  We live in a world which cries out for statesmanship, for wisdom, and we find little of each at the top level of world leadership or within the governing bodies of countries represented in the United Nations.  Knowledge, experience, and wisdom abound within the populations of those countries, but the quality of wisdom seems rarely to rise to the leadership level.

Wisdom doesn’t seem to do well in highly charged political environments.  A wise decision is not easy or quick because it is only made after an analysis of its future implications, and reaching its goal usually requires personal or collective struggle.  Leaders, especially elected leaders who have frequent re-election intervals, want to deliver on their campaign promises and are reluctant to ask much of their constituency, and autocrats, even those with absolute power, must still keep the populous generally satisfied or face rebellion.  This typifies how humans manage themselves within certain parameters worldwide.

I’ve been wondering whether the future of our species can any longer be assured by the existing governmental structures around the world.  Self-governing nation states which evolved more than a thousand years ago now seem to have no rational basis in a 21st century cybernetic, world population mass which is interconnected and dependent on global trade.  Sovereign countries working in their self interest with little or no external restraint except the threat of trade wars or wars of physical conquest are the norm we have adjusted to and accept as a given.  This is not sustainable.  We need evolutionary thinking about governance on a global scale.

The League of Nations, created at the end of the world’s first war, was a good start toward world unification, and most of the leading nations joined and supported its principles.  But our own U. S  President, Woodrow Wilson, the father of the League idea, could not get his own nation to join, though he died trying.  Without the United States, the League had no credible power and could not overcome rising nationalism and aggression which led to the world’s second and most destructive world war.

The United Nations, our second attempt at developing a peaceful, united world, is seemingly powerless to overcome international strife.  With a membership of nearly 200 nations, only one of the five permanent nation members of the U.N. Security Council can veto a course of action.  Such power to those five permanent member states might have made political sense during the 1940s, but no longer.

Now is time for evolutionary thought.  Perhaps the United Nations is a good place to start.  A small international cadre of noted thinkers and scholars could be identified and nominated and supported for the purpose of creating a study document which analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the existing way our world lurches from crisis to crisis and suggests prototypes of how a rational, deliberately planned new world governing structure might work.

This is not a radical idea.  The political evolution which led to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution was started because of problems with the existing Articles of Confederation.  It was our own Alexander Hamilton who said “Uncontrollable sovereignty in each state…will…make our Union feeble and precarious….”  John Marshall, speculating on the future, said, “I fear…that they have truth on their side who say that man is incapable of governing himself…. we may live to see another revolution.”  Today, it is more serious than that.  Hamilton and Marshall were talking about thirteen states on the coast of a continent.  It’s the world that is of concern now and our place in the universe tomorrow if we don’t destroy ourselves.

We have many world ventures today, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum, and others.  An International Governing Structure think tank, which is what I’m suggesting, could produce some very provocative and possible scenarios which, if adopted, could lead to a permanent life gift for all future generations.  Idealistic?  Yes.  Too idealistic? No.  Striving for an ideal is part of what makes life worth living.


1 thought on “Thoughts of an Old Man

  1. Ken, my husband love d your book. He said it was very real and from the heart. thank you.


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