supposing that the mechanical drawing together of the peoples of the world into one economic and political unity is likely to cease—unless our civilization ceases. I see no signs that our present facilities for transport and communication are the ultimate possible facilities. Once we break away from current nationalist limitations in our political ideas, there is no reason and no advantage in contemplating any halfway house to a complete human unity.
Now after what I have been saying it is very easy to explain why I would have this idea of human unity put before people's minds in the form of a world state and not of a League of Nations.
Let me first admit the extraordinary educational value of the League of Nations' propaganda and of the attempt that has been made to create a League of Nations. It has brought before the general intelligence of the world the proposition of a world law and a world unity that could not perhaps have been broached in any other way.
But is it a League of Nations that is wanted?
I submit to you that the word "nations" is just the word that should have been avoided—that it admits and tends to stereotype just those conceptions of division and difference that we must at any cost minimize and obliterate if our species is to continue. And the phrase has a thin and legal and litigious flavor. What loyalty and what devotion can we expect this multiple association to command? It has no unity, no personality. It is like asking a man to love the average member of a woman's club instead of loving his wife.
Different Motives and Realize a Different Ideal. It Will be Primarily an Organ for Keeping the Peace
Foundations of a World State
FOR the idea of man, for human unity, for our common blood, for the one order of the world I can imagine men living and dying, but not for a miscellaneous assembly that will not mix—even in its name. It has no central idea, no heart to it, this League-of-Nations formula. It is weak and compromising just where it should be strong—in defining its antagonism to separate national sovereignty. For that is what it aims at if it means business. If it means business, it means at least a superstate overriding the autonomy of existing states; and if it does not mean business, then we have no use for it whatever.
It may seem a much greater undertaking to attack nationality and nationalism instead of patching up a compromise with these things, but along the line of independent nationality lies no hope of unity and peace and continuing progress for mankind. We cannot suffer these old concentrations of loyalty because we want that very loyalty which now concentrates upon them to cement and sustain the peace of all the world. Just as in the past provincial patriotisms have given place to national patriotisms, so now we need to oust these still too narrow devotions by a new unity and a new reigning idea—the idea of one state and one flag in all the earth.
The idea of the world state stands to the idea of the League of Nations much as the idea of the one God of earth and heaven stands to a divine committee composed of Woden and Baal and Jupiter and Amun Ra and Mumbo Jumbo and all the other national and tribal gods. There is no compromise possible in the one matter, as in the other. There is no way round. The task before mankind is to substitute the one idea of an overriding world commonweal for the multitudinous ideas of little commonweals that prevail everywhere to-day. We have already glanced at the near and current consequences of our failure to bring about that substitution.
Now this is an immense proposal. Is it a preposterous one? Let us not shirk the tremendous scale upon which the foundations of a world state of all mankind must be laid. But remember, however great that task before us may seem, however near it may come to the impossible, nevertheless, in the establishment of one world rule and one world law lies the only hope of escape from an increasing tangle of wars, from social overstrain, and at last a social dissolution so complete as to end forever the tale of mankind as we understand mankind.
Personally, I am appalled by the destruction already done in the world in the past seven years. I doubt if any untraveled American can realize how much of Europe is already broken up. I do not think many people realize how swiftly Europe is still sinking, how urgent it is to get European affairs put back upon a basis of the common good if civilization is to be saved.
And now as to the immensity of this project of substituting loyalty to a world commonweal for loyalty to a single egotistical belligerent nation. It is a project to invade hundreds to millions of minds, to attack certain ideas established in those minds, and either to efface those ideas altogether or to supplement and correct them profoundly by this new idea of a human commonweal. We have to get not only into the at present intensely patriotic minds of Frenchmen, Germans, English, Irish and Japanese, but into the remote and difficult minds of Arabs and Indians and into the minds of the countless millions of China. Is there any precedent to justify us in hoping that such a change in world ideas is possible?
I think there is. I would suggest that the general tendency of thought about these things to-day is altogether too skeptical of what teaching and propaganda can do in these matters. In the past there have been very great changes in human thought. I need scarcely remind you of the spread of Christianity in Western Europe. In a few centuries the whole of Western Europe was changed from the wild confusion of warring tribes that succeeded the breakdown of the Roman Empire, into the unity of Christendom, into a community with such an idea of unity that it could be roused from end to end by the common idea of the Crusades.
Still more remarkable was the swift transformation in less than a century of all the nations and peoples to the south and east of the Mediterranean, from Spain to Central Asia, into the unity of Islam, a unity which has lasted to this day. In both these cases, what I may call the mental turnover was immense.
I think if you will consider the spread of these very complex and difficult religions, and compare the means at the disposal of their promoters with the means at the disposal of intelligent people to-day, you will find many reasons for believing that a recasting of people's ideas into the framework of a universal state by no means an impossible project.
Those great teachings of the past were spread largely by word of mouth. Their teachers had to travel slowly and dangerously. People were gathered together to hear with great difficulty, except in a few crowded towns. Books could be used only sparingly. Few people could read, fewer still could translate, and manuscripts were copied with extreme slowness upon parchment. There was no printing, no paper, no post. And except for a very few people there were no schools. Both Christendom and Islam had to create their common schools in order to preserve even a minimum of their doctrine intact from generation to generation. All this was done in the teeth of much bitter opposition and persecution.
Now to-day we have means of putting ideas and arguments swiftly and effectively before people all over the world at the same time, such as no one could have dreamed of a hundred years ago. We have not only books and papers, but in the cinema we have a means of rapid, vivid presentation still hardly used. We have schools nearly everywhere. And here, in the need for an overruling world state, and the idea of world service replacing combative patriotism, we have an urgent, a commanding human need. We have an invincible case for this world state and an unanswerable objection to the nationalisms and patriotisms that would oppose it.
Is it not almost inevitable that some of us should get together and begin a propaganda upon modern lines of this organized world peace, without which our race must perish?
The world perishes for the want of a common political idea. It is still quite possible to give the world this common political idea, the idea of a federal world state. We cannot help but set about doing it.
So I put it to you that the most important work before men and women to-day is the preaching and teaching, the elaboration, and then, at last, the realization of this project of the world state. We have to create a vision of it, to make it seem first a possibility and then an approaching reality. This is a work that demands the work and thought of thousands of minds. We have to spread the idea of a federal world state, as an approaching reality, throughout the world. We can do this nowadays through a hundred various channels. We can do it through the press, through all sorts of literary expression, in our schools, colleges and universities, through political mouthpieces, by special organizations, and last, but not least, through the teaching of the churches. For remember that all the great religions of the world are in theory universalist; they may tolerate the divisions of men but they cannot sanction them. We propose no religious revolution, but at most a religious revival. We can spread ideas and suggestions now with a hundred times the utmost rapidity of a century ago.
Heir to All the Empires
THIS movement need not at once intervene in politics. It is a prospective movement, and its special concern will be with young and still-growing minds. But as it spreads it will inevitably change politics. The nations, states and kingdoms of to-day, which fight and scheme against each other as though they had to go on lighting and scheming forever, will become more and more openly and manifestly merely guardian governments—governments playing a waiting part in the world while the world state comes of age. For this world state, for which the world is waiting, must necessarily be a fusion of all governments and heir to all the empires.
So far I have been occupied by establishing a case for the world state. It has been, I fear, rather an abstract discussion. I have kept closely to the bare, hard logic of the present human situation.
But now let me attempt very briefly, in the barest, outline, some concrete realization of what a world state would mean. Let us try to conceive for ourselves the form a world state would take. I do not care to leave this discussion with nothing to it but a phrase which is really hardly more than a negative phrase until we put some body to it. As it stands, "world state" means simply a politically undivided world. Let us try to carry that over to the idea of a unified organized state throughout, the world.
Let us try to imagine what a world government, would be like. I find that when one speaks of a world state people think at once of some exist ing government, and magnify it to world proportions. They ask, for example, "Where will the world congress meet, and how will you elect your world president? Won't your world president," they say, "be rather a tremendous personage? How are we to choose him? Or will there be a world king?"
(Continued on Page 40)