Page:Saturdayeveningp1935unse.djvu/546

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40
April 2, 1921
THE SATURDAY EVENING POST

THE SALVAGING OF CIVILIZATION

(Continued from Page 13)

These are very natural questions at the first onset. But are they sound questions? May they not be a little affected by false analogies? The governing of the whole of the world may turn out to be not a magnified version of governing a part of the world, but a different sort of job altogether. These analogies that people draw so readily from national states may not really work in a world state.

And first with regard to this question of a king or president. Let us ask whether it is probable that the world state will have any single personal head at all.

Is the world state likely to be a monarchy—either an elective, short-term, limited monarchy such as is the United States, or an inherited limited monarchy like the British Empire?

Many people will say you must have a head of the state. But must you? Is not this idea a legacy from the days when states were small communities needing a leader in war and diplomacy?

In the world state we must remember there will be no war—and no diplomacy as such.

I would even question whether in such a great modern state as the United States of America the idea and the functions of the President may not be made too important. Indeed, I believe that question has been asked by many people in the States lately, and has been answered in the affirmative.


The Headship of the World State

The broad lines of the United States Constitution were drawn in a period of almost universal monarchy. American affairs were overshadowed by the personality of George Washington, and, as you know, monarchist ideas were so rife that there was a project during the years of doubt and division that followed the War of Independence for importing a German king, a Prussian prince, in imitation of the British Monarchy. But if the United States were beginning again to-day on its present scale, would it put so much power and importance upon a single individual as it put upon George Washington and his successors in the White House? I doubt it very much.

There may be a limit, I suggest, to the size and complexity of a community that can be directed by a single personal head. Perhaps that limit may have been passed by both the United States and by the British Empire at the present time. It may be possible for one person to be leader, and to have an effect of directing personality in a community of millions or even of tens of millions. But is it possible for one small, short-lived individual to get over and affect and make any sort of contact with hundreds of millions in thousands of towns and cities?

Recently we have watched with admiration and sympathy the heroic efforts of the Prince of Wales to shake hands with and get his smile well home into the hearts of the entire population of the British Empire, of which he is destined to become the "golden link." After tremendous exertions a very large amount of the ground still remains to be covered.

I will confess I cannot see any single individual human head in my vision of the world state.

The linking reality of the world state is much more likely to be not an individual but an idea—such an idea as that of a human commonweal under the God of all mankind.

If at any time, for any purpose, some one individual had to step out and act for the world state as a whole, then I suppose the senior judges of the supreme court, or the speaker of the council, or the head of the associated scientific societies, or some such person, could step out and do what had to be done.

But if there is to be no single head person, there must be at least some sort of assembly or council. That seems to be necessary. But will it be a gathering at all like Congress or the British Parliament, with a government side and an opposition ruled by party traditions and party ideas?

There again I think we may be too easily misled by existing but temporary conditions. I do not think it is necessary to assume that the council of the world state will be an assembly of party politicians. I believe it will be possible to have it a real gathering of representatives, a fair sample of the thought and will of mankind at large, and to avoid a party development by a more scientific method of voting than the barbaric devices used for electing representatives to Congress or the British Parliament, devices that play directly into the hands of the party organizer, who trades upon the defects of political method.

Will this council be directly elected? That, I think, may be found to be essential. And upon a very broad franchise. Because, firstly, it is before all things essential that every adult in the world should feel a direct and personal contact between himself and the world state, and that he is an assenting and participating citizen of the world; and, secondly, because if your council is appointed by any intermediate body all sorts of local and national considerations, essential in the business of the subordinate body, will get in the way of a simple and direct regard for the world commonweal.

And as to this council: Will it have great debates and wonderful scenes and crises and so forth—the sort of thing that looks well in a large historic painting? There again we may be easily misled by analogy. One consideration that bars the way to anything of that sort is that its members will have no common language which they will be all able to speak with the facility necessary for eloquence. Eloquence is far more adapted to the conditions of a Red Indian powwow than to the ordering of large and complicated affairs. The world council may be a very taciturn assembly. It may even meet infrequently. Its members may communicate their views largely by notes which may have to be very clear and explicit—because they will have to stand translation—and short to escape neglect.

And what will be the chief organs and organizations and works and methods with which this council of the world state will be concerned?

There will be a supreme court, determining not international law, but world law.

There will be a growing code of world law.

There will be a world currency.

There will be a ministry of posts, transport and communications generally.

There will be a ministry of trade in staple products and for the conservation and development of the natural resources of the earth.

There will be a ministry of social and labor conditions.

There will be a ministry of world health.

There will be a ministry—the most important ministry of all—watching and supplementing national educational work and taking up the care and stimulation of backward communities.


Factors That Make for Simplicity

And instead of a war office and naval and military departments, there will be a peace ministry, studying the belligerent possibilities of every new invention, watching for armed disturbances everywhere, and having complete control of every armed force that remains in the world. All these world ministries will be working in coöperation with local authorities, who will apply worldwide general principles to local conditions.

These items probably comprehend everything that the government of a world state would have to do. Much of its activity would be merely the coördination and adjustment of activities already very thoroughly discussed and prepared for it by local and national discussions. I think it will be a mistake for us to assume that the work of a world government will be vaster and more complex than that of such governments as those of the United States or the British Empire. In many respects it will have an enormously simplified task. There will be no foreign enemy, no foreign competition, no tariffs, so far as it is concerned, or tariff wars. It will be keeping order; it will not be carrying on a contest. There will be no necessity for secrecy; it will not be necessary to have a cabinet plotting and planning behind closed doors; there will be no general policy except a steady attention to the common welfare. Even the primary origin of a world council must necessarily be different from that of any national government. Every existing government owes its beginnings to force, and is in its fundamental nature militant. It is an offensive-defensive organ. This fact saturates our legal and social tradition more than one realizes at first. There is, about civil law everywhere, a faint flavor of a relaxed state of siege. But a world government will arise out of different motives and realize a different ideal. It will be primarily an organ for keeping the peace.

And now perhaps we may look at this project of a world state mirrored in the circumstances of the life of one individual citizen. Let us consider very briefly the life of an ordinary young man living in a world state, and consider how it would differ from a commonplace life to-day.

He will have been born in some one of the united states of the world—in New York, or California, or Ontario, or New Zealand, or Portugal, or France, or Bengal, or Shansi; but wherever his lot may fall the first history he will learn will be the wonderful history of mankind, from its nearly animal beginnings a few score thousand years ago, with no tools but implements of chipped stone and hacked wood, up to the power and knowledge of our own time. His education will trace for him the beginnings of speech or writing, of cultivation and settlement.

He will learn of the peoples and nations of the past, and how each one has brought its peculiar gifts and its distinctive contribution to the accumulating inheritance of our race.

He will know, perhaps, less of wars, battles, conquests, massacres, kings, and the like unpleasant invasions of human dignity and welfare, and he will know more of explorers, discoverers and stout, outspoken men than our contemporary citizen.

While he is still a little boy he will have all the great outlines of the human adventure brought home to his mind by all sorts of vivid methods of presentation, such as the poor, poverty-stricken schools of our own time cannot dream of employing.


Citizens of the World by Education

And on this broad foundation he will build up his knowledge of his own particular state and nation and people, learning not tales of ancient grievances and triumphs and revenges, but what his particular race and countryside have given, and what they give, and may be expected to give to the common welfare of the world. On such foundations his social consciousness will be built.

He will learn an outline of all that mankind knows and of the fascinating realms of half knowledge in which man is still struggling to know. His curiosity and his imagination will be roused and developed.

He will probably be educated continuously at least until he is eighteen or nineteen, and perhaps until he is two or three and twenty. For a world that wastes none of its resources upon armaments or soldiering, and which produces whatever it wants in the regions best adapted to that production, and delivers them to the consumer by the directest route, will be rich enough not only to spare the first quarter of everybody's life for education entirely, but to keep on with some education throughout one's entire lifetime.

Of course the school to which our young citizen of the world will go will be very different from the rough-and-tumble schools of to-day, understaffed, with underpaid assistants, and bare walls. It will have benefited by some of the intelligence and wealth we lavish to-day on range finders and submarines.

Even a village school will be in a beautiful little building, costing as much, perhaps, even as a big naval gun or a bombing aëroplane costs to-day. I know this will sound like shocking extravagance to many contemporary hearers, but in the world state the standards will be different.

I don't know whether any of us really grasp what we are saying when we talk of greater educational efficiency in the future. That means, if it means anything, teaching more with much less trouble. It will mean, for instance, that most people will have three or four languages properly learned; that they will think about things mathematical with quickness and clearness that puzzle us; that about all sorts of things their minds will move in daylight where ours move in a haze of ignorance or in an emotional fog.

This clear-headed, broad-thinking young citizen of the world state will not be given

(Concluded on Page 42)