WORLD GOVERNMENT OR WORLD WAR?
HUMANIST SOCIETY of METROPOLITAN NEW YORK
777 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017
21 October 1985
Mr. President, Dr. Manson, fellow terrestrials, ladies and gentlemen, brother and sister humanists:
I approach this podium with mixed feeling. I am, of course, highly conscious of the honor bestowed upon me in addressing this distinguished forum. But I am concerned that, under the constrictions of time, I must fail to do justice to my subject - possibly the most controversial of our century: how to make world peace.
Also, there is the delicate question of my credentials. No university diploma adorns my wall citing me as a doctor of world dissidence. The pecuniary awards of that dubious profession, judging by my current account, are meager indeed. Of course, I am a former actor. While that may qualify me to be president of the United States does it justify my present title of "World Coordinator" or my presence here before you?
Another source of trepidation is that my subject is, in many ways, already your own very credo. I mean, talking to declared humanist about how to make peace is rather like telling Pete Rose how to hold his bat.
Nevertheless, in the name of over 250,000 fellow humans throughout the world who have made peace between themselves by declaring their primal allegiance to humanity as world citizens, I am delighted to greet you and thank you for this opportunity to share a few thoughts.
In a somewhat more mundane vein, I must confess another cause for trepidation. When Jesse Gordon asked me whether I would address you this evening I replied I would be happy to and what was the honorarium.
After recovering from his initial shock, Jesse said to me, "oh, we don't pay our speakers. We have no money; we even lose on the dinner."
"But my fee for a hour's talk is $1,250 minimum, " I told him.
"You only have to talk for a half hour," he replied, "but we still can't pay you." I considered the importance of the occasion, "All right," I told him. "I'll do it under two conditions...one, that I get a vegetarian meal, and two, that I don't have to be polite."
"You got it. We'll only give you vegetables and you can say what you want."
"Oh, no," I told him. "Rice and vegetables."
"I'll see what I can do," he said. I must have looked disappointed because he added, "maybe you'll sell a few books."
So here I am, a $1250 speaker for a rice vegetable dinner and no holds barred. Who knows, maybe as your president suggests I'll sell a few books. You appreciate, however that under these draconian circumstances, in keeping with the subject and the agreed upon second condition, I am obliged to propose to you a concrete act of economic humanism.
I have brought with me 2% of the entire treasury of the World Government, that is ,one hundred bills of ten World Dollars each. I am offering each of you the exchange of your ten dollar bills of nationalist war currency for our first edition $10 bills of world peace currency. Now before you rush up to the podium to take advantage of their unprecedented offer, let me explain its true significance. First, this is real, honest to god money, it is not counterfeit.
We could just as well have used shark's teeth, round stones with square holes, or even gold dust - which is literally useless for any normal human purpose - for a global medium of exchange. But we took the easy way out and used paper just like any other government. It is good for all but between citizens of our world government, which, as I said, number over two hundred and fifty thousand. What backs it, you ask. Well, world trust for starters. Also, the World Government Treasury Department Account is open at the national Bank in Washington. This account is maintained at 50% liquidity which is a lot healthier than Citibank, Chase and Bank of America. It will reimburse all incoming World Dollars at par value for U.S. dollars minus 1% for exchange.
Why is this exchange a concrete act of economic humanism? Because this is the only world peace currency issued from a declared government. Since it is above or beyond all national currency, in cybernetic language, it is meta-money. More on that later. It cannot be used for war preparations or war fighting. So when you exchange World Dollars for national dollars, francs, rubles, kroner, mark, yen, rupees or whatever, you are taking money from a war economy and placing it in a peace or world law economy, in other word a human economy. You are also accepting a peace currency which cannot be taxed by any national government for war purposes. Because for the moment no national government can or will recognize it as money.
Now I am not claiming that you can walk into a New York Delicatessen and buy a pastrami sandwich with these World Dollars, at least not yet. Your landlord, grocery clerk or stock broker might insist on green bills with George Washington or Ben Franklin's picture on them instead of blue bills with a mere human figure on them. Surely your bank at present might not credit them to your account. If they ever got to David Rockefeller's desk, however, he just might pocket them to show his Trilateral Commission buddies later who their real competition was.
But I will be frank with you, just like the first federal dollars, which to many people in 1787 seemed as worthless and as absurd as these bills may seem to you, this offering is to help finance our World Government. Keep in mind, this first run number only five thousand bills. Each bill is numbered ; they are dry-sealed with the World Government seal and finally , each bill is laminated so as to preserve its form and as a security measure. When subsequent bills are issued by the World Government, these first will appreciate in value. Though you may not be able to buy an IBM share with them today, I will prophecy that in ten years, if the human world is still here, which means that the World Government will be fully functioning - you may be even be able to pass the acid test for money convertibility: buying blue chips at the Last Hurrah in Atlantic City with them. Please, only five to a member.
There is, of course, another less humorous, even grim, aspect to this whole economic question. Nation, big and small, West or East, North or South, Communist or Capitalist, white or black, are debt ridden, some to the point of total bankruptcy. Chile, Brazil, Mexico together owe $150 billion to outside banks. The entire foreign debt of capital importing, that is, developing countries, according to the International Monetary Fund, is eight hundred sixty-five billion dollars for 1985. No figures exist, to my knowledge, of the total national debt, but we can safely say that, with the United States added, it is in the many trillions, an incomprehensible sum. The business world suffers daily from the lack of a stable currency unit with which to make contracts on a global basis. The international money market is floating on a sea of inconsistency and therefore uncertainty. The major New York, London, Zurich and other world banks are dangerously near illiquidity. If major investors, or indeed the general public, make a "run" on these banks today - the nightmare of all governments - they would have to close for lack of ready cash. In brief, the national economic world is ready for total collapse. As our forbearers discovered in 1787, a higher government over the lower debt ridden governments is not only the cheapest but the only way out.
Survival would not be the only benefit. As Buckminster Fuller pointed out in Utopia or Oblivion, "It is scientifically clear that we have the ability to make all of humanity physically successful."
In Jesse's letter of invitation I am enjoined to talk on a government of world citizens and how it is to come into existence. This is misleading. In 1947, after recognizing that my exclusive national citizenship was inadequate to protect me from war, I naively looked high and low for a world government to give my allegiance to, but couldn't find it any where. The very notion of world government was considered utopian, crackpot or subversive. Only dreamers like Einstein, Ghandi, E.B. White, Buckie Fuller, Willkie and Harold Stassen were touting it. The organizations working for it - like the world federalists - were pitifully inadequate both in concept, commitment and numbers. Indeed, they still are.
They all assume, incorrectly, that war as an institution, is subordinate to the social system it is believed to serve. What few understood then or even now is that war itself is the basic social system of the nation and that the elimination of war implied the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state. Looking back throughout history, we could say that war is the system which has governed most human societies of record.
A daily and topical example of that misconception is taking place right now at the United Nations. Sixty heads of state will address the General Assembly this week. One hundred, sixty-eight national leaders have already spoken at this 40th anniversary. Not one has nor will address the question of war itself. Why? Because war is the governing political and social dynamic of their nations and nationalism.
A little known report, commissioned by the U.S. government, on the possibility and desirability of peace called Report from Iron Mountain, published in 1987 by Delta had some startling conclusion:
"Wars are not 'caused' by international conflicts of interest. Proper logical sequence would make it more often accurate to say that war making societies require - and thus bring about - such conflicts.
"The war system not only has been essential to the existence of nations as independent political entities, but has been equally indispensable to their stable internal political structure. Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence in its 'legitimacy,' or right to rule its society. The possibility of war provide the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power."
These are dire and shocking accusations. If true, Mr. Reagan Mr. Gorbachev and their fellow heads of state as well as all national parliamentarians and congresspersons are really allies in this monstrous game. Ask yourselves if any one of them, least of all the two superpower leaders, has ever advocated the elimination of war through a world government as a social imperative? The upcoming Geneva conference, for example, is scheduled to discuss the possible reduction of nuclear weapons. As such, it is a mere smokescreen behind which the US and USSR continue their war game...now directed against us.
I concluded that when peace organizations begin from within the national system to advocate a world public order, they are unwittingly colluding with and vitiated by the very system they seek to replace. I realized in late 1947 that no one still attached to the nation knew how to or could start a world government, least of all the United Nations' diplomats. No ghost of Tom Paine echoed in those sterile halls much less on Capitol Hill; and the Cold War was heating up fast.
Then I read Anatomy of Peace by Emery Reves. He wrote that we think "nation-centrically" whereas, if we want a peaceful world we must think and act globally. That was new and challenging. But how does one act globally? E.B. White finally clued me in. In The Wild Flag, he wrote,
"Whether we wish it or not, we may soon have to make a clear choice between the special nation to which we pledge our allegiance and the broad humanity of which we are born a part."
In 1948, therefore, figuring that if one hundred sixty-one years previously, Ben Franklin, Tom Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams and company had declared their United States citizenship above their state allegiances, and by so doing created an new nation, faced with World War III, I had to declare a world citizenship over national allegiance. This citizenship alone would relate me socially and therefore peacefully to my fellow humans throughout my world. It was that simple.
Here was the missing element, I felt, of all so-called peace organizations. The positive affirmation of world sovereignty of and by the individual and his or her dynamic political connection with humanity, not as an abstract theory but as a pragmatic fact. But I first had to renounce my national allegiance which I new couldn't protect me anyway, being part of the world system itself. It hadn't protected those who died under my boots in World War II; it hadn't protected my brother Bud who died at Salerno. To put it bluntly, it was to me a suicide pact.
Well, many others, especially in Europe, followed suit between 1948 and '50. We registered over seven hundred fifty thousand demands for world citizenship in this period. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fresh in people's minds, especially Europeans whose countries had become battlefields in World War II as in World War I.
But we self proclaimed world citizens still had no government to call our own until 1953. By that time I had seen the inside of sixteen jails just because I didn't have a piece of paper saying who I was; I wasn't alone. There are still twenty million people out there with no identity documents. Nations call them refugees; I call them de facto world citizens.
On September fourth of that year, following the astute advice of Arthur Garfield Hayes, the great humanist civil rights lawyer, and mandated by my own need and that of my fellow world citizens, I declared at Ellsworth, Maine, a world government with full legal powers based on the three prime world laws: ethical, social and biological. The first defined our value system; the second, our interdependent world community; and the third, our indivisible human race.
My first book, My Country Is The World, recounts the history of that legitimate if primitive beginning. So you see, the world government has existed for over a quarter of a century and is functioning today. Since it is based on the proposition that humanity is indivisible and sovereign in itself while each human, also sovereign, is the microcosm of that microcosm, I call it political humanism.
Now what is the form of this embryonic world government and how does it function? It has no constitution, as yet. Its operational mandate is the Universal Declaration of Human rights. To implement the articles of this Declaration, it has set up an executive and administrative office, a global "city hall" in Washington, D.C. under the corporate name of the World Service Authority. The WSA registers throughout the world issuing to them a world citizen registration card. The office issues other world civic documents including world passports, world birth certificates, a world ID card. Each registered citizen is a functioning microcosmic world government; as such, we are all world peacemakers.
To represent key areas of interest affecting the world community, our government is evolving world commissions. Leading expert head these budding commissions: Isaac Asimov for Space, Stafford Beer for Cybernetics, Syd Cassyd, founder of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, for Economics, Michio Kushi, founder of the Macrobiotic Movement, for health, Badi Lenz, founder of the World Tree Trust, for forestry, Amory Lovins, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, for energy conservation, Yehudi Menuhin, for culture, Wm. Peck, Buckminster Fuller's former associate, for Design Science, John Steinbruck, for global political asylum, Theodore Wells, founder of Oceanus, for oceans, Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati, founder of the East-West University, for education.
Does our world government have territory? The answer is unequivocally yes! Where is it? Strangely enough, I am standing on it! Both actually and legally. In reality the entire planet is world territory.The original declaration of World Government claimed earth as its proper bailiwick. But incredibly, there is legal world territory outside of all nations, belonging to none, yet recognized by all! It is the physical line, a "no man's land," which separates them from each other! We call it the "frontier" or "border." But we conveniently forget that it is both actual and global. A strange phenomenon of our times is that literally of our fellow humans are living legally on that line, that "no man's land." Everyone not yet admitted to a particular nation, according to national law, is still legally outside it. But he or she is not in another nation. So "outside" must be the line separating two nations. Your speaker, incidentally, fits the novel prescription. Well those lines are continuous, traversing the world. They are actual and legal world territory. For how could nations exist without them? If a nation is legal then obviously the lines defining it are likewise legal. Our World Government then claims those lines which legally define all nations. If there are any international lawyers here , you might toy with this breakthrough in your spare time.
The World Passport issued by our World Government represents this actual and legal world territory. It is in seven languages as are all our documents. Over one hundred thousand have been issued to date. All nations have received samples of it; over eighty nations have recognized it. It is a concrete symbol of one frontierless world and our right to travel on it. Besides, being a world Passport, one shouldn't leave the planet without it.
Now for the key question: how does World Government work? I am aware at this point that when one adds "world" to "government," enormous misconceptions occur, both mentally and emotionally. One thinks fearfully of the final Big Brother scenario or a vast bureaucratic machine crushing all personal initiative and spirit.
But there is another way to think of government. A human service authority, or again, in cybernetics, a meta-system. I will give you a prosaic example. When you enter a post office to buy a stamp or mail a letter you do not think of yourself as being in the local office of a postal world govern-ment. Nevertheless, you are. Just think of the service you get for the few coins you pay: ships, airplanes, carriers going to every city, town, hamlet or post office box throughout the world. The Universal Postal Union was founded in 1875, the first global "meta-system." Or to get fancy, "The systemic organization of proliferating complexity for the sovereign individual."
The principles of any meta-system are two: universality and sovereignty of the unit to be served by it. In other words, the UPU recognizes the world community as a whole, a given, a priori. Only from that vantage point can it organize the complexity of that whole which is, by definition, beyond the scope of any one nation or group of nations.
Once organized the entire system then operates for the benefit of each and every individual as a service to be used as each individual freely decides. In other words, it accepts the individual as the fundamental operative unit.
I daresay no one in this room knows the name of the present Secretary-General of the Universal Postal Union. Most of us would not know where it is headquartered. Certainly his or her nationality or salary are matters of total indifference when you mail that card to Aunt Lizzie or receive your social security or dividend check. Yet the complexity of the meta-system was understood, controlled and made into a systemic organization by world civic engineers for our benefit, both as individuals and as a worldly people. Their jobs depend only on their competence.
Many examples of global metasystems are available. When you pick up the telephone, you become a world citizen communicant. When you turn on the tube, you enter the world government meta-system of information. The same for the daily big business newspaper. When you network with another computer or fly in a plane or buy from a department or grocery store, you are operating a global meta-system which you take for granted. What about international sports competition? Or when you turn up the ramp marked "I-95" from a city full of traffic lights, you can drive 6,000 miles without hitting a light. Another example of a meta-system serving every city, town, hamlet and every driver. The little realized fact in the use of these meta-systems is that each of us is in a tacit global contractual agreement with all other equally served by and and operating the same system. They are all operative world human service "governments." We are indeed the world!
So here is the definition of world government: a global political meta-system or organization designed scientifically to systemize the proliferating complexity brought about by structural changes in human society in the twentieth century and giving political sanction to all existing meta-systems for the benefit of humanity and each human.
Now contrast these already operating inclusive systems with your present political allegiance to your nation. But first realize that allegiance was proclaimed before all the present meta-systems were evolved, in the horse and buggy era of the 18th century. That allegiance was absurdly exclusive. It rejects both universality and you as the sovereign. Needless to say , it rejects your credo as humanists. The state claims absolute and eternal sovereignty; its very existence dominates and surpasses the law. It arrogates to itself the right to defend itself through war with other equally sovereign states. It uses our natural resources for this so called defense. The global national war budget for 1985 is estimated as nine hundred forty billion dollars, up from $810 billion in 1984, roughly 10% of the world's gross national product. In a world where 1/3rd goes to bed hungry and millions starve, this is not only obscene it is insane. It uses our young as cannon fodder and our cities as battlegrounds. Ironically, it taxes you directly for your own national suicide. But world society itself is now nationalism's principal target. The greatest irony is that only our allegiance to the state perpetuates it because it is but a political fiction, a deadly surrogate for the real world.
Thomas Paine wrote in 1778 that "These are the times that try men's souls." He turned timid men into revolutionaries with his essay, "Common Sense." Our times try more than souls, they try our reason and our bodies as well. That our species itself is in mortal danger through nuclear holocaust is no longer in doubt. Since 1945, we have been bombarded with prophecies about Armageddon; its terror is lost in repetition. We all know the armament figures, how much megatonnage is available for war now. We know that the quantity far surpasses the amount required for humanities total destruction. We have the shocked dismay of "Nuclear Winter." But the most frightening truth is that should humanity perish, not only will each one of us perish also but we will be individually responsible for that terminal event. Whatever must be done to save humanity therefore, no matter the risk or sacrifice, must be done now before it is too late. It must be done by you and me.
Some hard questions, then, pose for humanists. With humanity itself in mortal danger, must not the humanist's credo be extended to the whole species as a truth to be denied or ignored at our personal peril? In other word, must not a true humanist today profess an allegiance to humanity itself, bypassing lesser allegiances? The answer it seems to me must be an unqualified yes. Herein lies the challenge and the solution.
The mindset required for allegiance to humanity, happily enough, is already highly developed. Technology, science, engineering, administration, communications, travel, commerce and in lesser degrees law all have transcended national boundaries and operate in the global arena. In recognizing your world citizenship, then, you simply affirm your sovereign allegiance to humanity; further, you declare politically all men and women your human cousins with whom you contract for a peaceful society; you individually make world peace. Can you afford anything else?
Before concluding, I must briefly touch on my case against Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev. War and its preparations have been declared illegal by the Nuremberg Decisions of 1945. This was not the first time, but these Decisions spelled out an international penal code which held individuals responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Nuclear weapons have now added an absolute dimension to destructive power. Thus the use of nuclear weapons becomes, not war, but holocaust, genocide. The threat and preparation of genocide by these two national leaders is not only a crime against humanity, according to the Nuremberg Decisions, but an outrageous and intolerable abuse of political office
The crime of omnicide cannot be tried after the fact. As one human who will die if the nuclear trigger is pulled, as a stateless person, as a world citizen, as the founder of our only world government in our global village, as a father of four, on March 15th of this year I sued Reagan and Gorbachev in the International Court of Justice as war criminals according to the Nuremberg Decisions. The Court's registrar replied July 22nd that I could not petition the Court as an individual. Only nations had access to its jurisdiction according to its statute. But the same nations could claim the Court had no jurisdiction even if charged by other nations. That's like the Mafia families condemning drug running as a crime, claiming that only individuals committed the crime, then setting up their own court to which individuals are excluded and only families themselves are litigants all the while continuing to run drugs untroubled with legalities.
The crime of war, however, is still on the international law books and both President Reagan and President Gorbachev still have their fingers on the Big Trigger which is pointing at me. So now as an aggrieved individual I have exhausted all my legal remedied on planet earth. As absurd as it may sound, I must take the law into my own hands.
I have informed the respondent by registered letter of the Clerk's rejection on purely technical grounds; that the substantive issues the petition provide still prevail and that if they do not end the arms race and implement article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which provides for an international and social order - by November 19th when they meet in Geneva, then I will issue a world citizen's warrant for their collective arrest. Please support this action by registering with the World Government and contributing to the World Citizen Legal Fund.
Again in The Wild Flag, the late and beloved E.B.White wrote:
"World government is an appalling prospect. Many people have not comprehended it or distinguished it from world organization. Many others,who have comprehended it, find it preposterous or unattainable in a turbulent and illiterate world where nations and economies conflict daily in many ways. Certainly the world is not ready for government on a planetary scale. In our opinion, it never will be ready. The test is whether people will chance it anyway like children who hear the familiar cry, 'Coming, ready or not.'"
Horace Mann said "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." Today, alone victory for humanity like victory for each human is world peace through government of, by and for the people for the world
Let's claim it. Now.