From the Whims of a Nation

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From the Whims of a Nation

Post by overmind » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:22 pm

I recently had a discussion on facebook about patriotism, state sovereignty, world government and the end of war. I have a friend who is in the military and is very patriotic. He posted a reminder about Pearl Harbor, and I responded this paraphrased question: “Why do we not honor the dead of other countries?” Now, I very much want to start a separate discussion on why people honor the dead in the first place, but that is for a later time. This is strictly about nationalistic pride, as a barrier to peace. My friend had a hard time understanding how I could not favor any particular country, which has roots in my knowledge about the future government of all mankind. I am going to edit my responses so that the format better fits this forum, so that discussion will be possible. This will be rather long, so I will try to organize it into multiple posts.

A question arose out of the discussion. Was it right for us to use nuclear weapons on Japan? Would I make the same decisions as everyone else in the military?

I cannot say that using nukes was the right decision, even if more conventional bombings and an invasion would have cost more lives on both sides. Looking at our near destruction from the Cold War, it may have been better if nuclear weapons were not developed at all. Yet there is no guarantee that they would not be developed later in history, so I do not know what the best decision would have been. I may have made the same mistakes as others, but there is no way to tell for sure. Our view of history is biased, and it is hard to always judge how different the results could be if different actions were taken.

Even if I did decide to bomb Japan, that does not mean the same results would be created. For instance, if the bombings were scheduled for a different day, it is likely that Kokura would have been bombed instead of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, since Kokura was the secondary target on August 6th and the primary target on August 9th. Only God knows how history would unfold if such circumstances changed. But one possible solution would be to demonstrating the weapon in a more peaceful means. But I do not know all of the details, I wasn't there.

I believe things need to be put in perspective when you mentioned the 2,386 who died at Pearl Harbor. That's not much compared to the 150,000 - 246,000 who died from the nukes. And that number is little compared to the millions of Russians who died in the war (over 20 million I believe). Do Americans think about the sacrifice the Soviet Union made during the war? Do we honor their dead every year? Until people care about the lives of everyone, this planet will stay divided. Peace will remain a distant dream if societies do not possess the love or intent necessary to bring about its creation.

As I have stated before, I do not love this country any more than any other country (although geography is a different story). I try to love all peoples equally. We will not always have separate nations. There cannot be everlasting peace when humans are separated by borders. No matter how much you love a nation or those who serve it, it will not last forever. Though it may not be in our lifetime, this world will be organized under one government that exists to serve all people.

Throughout history, and even in the present, people have sought self-governance – independence. The US has gone through the same experience. It is not fun being controlled by a foreign power that does not respect your interests or rights. Self-governance is socially sustainable, but only if each community is in cooperation with all other communities. When a community threatens another through military, economic, or social means, there is a lack of sustainability. Inefficiencies arise and chaos is introduced. War reduces the resources being used to serve the people, which are then used to do harm. Economic rivalry creates even more waste and overconsumption, and produces greater market volatility along with a (possibly global) tragedy of the commons. The rejection of other communities and their people creates hatred and intolerance (among other complex social problems), which lead to economic disparity and violence. There has to be an overarching government that facilitates the healthy coordination and cooperation between all people, and this will only occur when humans can truly love their neighbors as themselves.

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Re: From the Whims of a Nation

Post by overmind » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:24 pm

Here is an excerpt from the Urantia Book, which I had to edit to be useful to the previous discussion. It is all from Section 5 of Paper 134.


Sovereignty is power and it grows by organization. This growth of the organization of political power is good and proper, for it tends to encompass ever-widening segments of the total of mankind. But this same growth of political organizations creates a problem at every intervening stage between the initial and natural organization of political power — the family — and the final consummation of political growth — the government of all mankind, by all mankind, and for all mankind.

Starting out with parental power in the family group, political sovereignty evolves by organization as families overlap into consanguineous clans which become united, for various reasons, into tribal units — super-consanguineous political groupings. And then, by trade, commerce, and conquest, tribes become unified as a nation, while nations themselves sometimes become unified by empire.

As sovereignty passes from smaller groups to larger groups, wars are lessened. That is, minor wars between smaller nations are lessened, but the potential for greater wars is increased as the nations wielding sovereignty become larger and larger. Presently, when all the world has been explored and occupied, when nations are few, strong, and powerful, when these great and supposedly sovereign nations come to touch borders, when only oceans separate them, then will the stage be set for major wars, worldwide conflicts. So-called sovereign nations cannot rub elbows without generating conflicts and eventuating wars.

The difficulty in the evolution of political sovereignty from the family to all mankind, lies in the inertia-resistance exhibited on all intervening levels. Families have, on occasion, defied their clan, while clans and tribes have often been subversive of the sovereignty of the territorial state. Each new and forward evolution of political sovereignty is (and has always been) embarrassed and hampered by the “scaffolding stages” of the previous developments in political organization. And this is true because human loyalties, once mobilized, are hard to change. The same loyalty which makes possible the evolution of the tribe, makes difficult the evolution of the supertribe — the territorial state. And the same loyalty (patriotism) which makes possible the evolution of the territorial state, vastly complicates the evolutionary development of the government of all mankind.

Political sovereignty is created out of the surrender of self-determination, first by the individual within the family and then by the families and clans in relation to the tribe and larger groupings. This progressive transfer of self-determination from the smaller to ever larger political organizations has generally proceeded unabated in the East since the establishment of the Ming and the Mogul dynasties. In the West it obtained for more than a thousand years right on down to the end of the World War, when an unfortunate retrograde movement temporarily reversed this normal trend by re-establishing the submerged political sovereignty of numerous small groups in Europe.

We will not enjoy lasting peace until the so-called sovereign nations intelligently and fully surrender their sovereign powers into the hands of the brotherhood of men — mankind government. Internationalism — Leagues of Nations — can never bring permanent peace to mankind. World-wide confederations of nations will effectively prevent minor wars and acceptably control the smaller nations, but they will not prevent world wars nor control the three, four, or five most powerful governments. In the face of real conflicts, one of these world powers will withdraw from the League and declare war. You cannot prevent nations going to war as long as they remain infected with the delusional virus of national sovereignty. Internationalism is a step in the right direction. An international police force will prevent many minor wars, but it will not be effective in preventing major wars, conflicts between the great military governments of earth.

As the number of truly sovereign nations (great powers) decreases, so do both opportunity and need for mankind government increase. When there are only a few really sovereign (great) powers, either they must embark on the life and death struggle for national (imperial) supremacy, or else, by voluntary surrender of certain prerogatives of sovereignty, they must create the essential nucleus of supernational power which will serve as the beginning of the real sovereignty of all mankind.

Peace will not come until every so-called sovereign nation surrenders its power to make war into the hands of a representative government of all mankind. Political sovereignty is innate with the peoples of the world. When all the peoples of earth create a world government, they have the right and the power to make such a government sovereign; and when such a representative or democratic world power controls the world’s land, air, and naval forces, peace on earth and good will among men can prevail — but not until then.

To use an important nineteenth- and twentieth-century illustration: The forty-eight states of the American Federal Union have long enjoyed peace. They have no more wars among themselves. They have surrendered their sovereignty to the federal government, and through the arbitrament of war, they have abandoned all claims to the delusions of self-determination. While each state regulates its internal affairs, it is not concerned with foreign relations, tariffs, immigration, military affairs, or interstate commerce. Neither do the individual states concern themselves with matters of citizenship. The forty-eight states suffer the ravages of war only when the federal government’s sovereignty is in some way jeopardized.

These forty-eight states, having abandoned the twin sophistries of sovereignty and self-determination, enjoy interstate peace and tranquility. So will the nations of the world begin to enjoy peace when they freely surrender their respective sovereignties into the hands of a global government — the sovereignty of the brotherhood of men. In this world state the small nations will be as powerful as the great, even as the small state of Rhode Island has its two senators in the American Congress just the same as the populous state of New York or the large state of Texas.

The limited (state) sovereignty of these forty-eight states was created by men and for men. The superstate (national) sovereignty of the American Federal Union was created by the original thirteen of these states for their own benefit and for the benefit of men. Sometime the supernational sovereignty of the planetary government of mankind will be similarly created by nations for their own benefit and for the benefit of all men.

Citizens are not born for the benefit of governments; governments are organizations created and devised for the benefit of men. There can be no end to the evolution of political sovereignty short of the appearance of the government of the sovereignty of all men. All other sovereignties are relative in value, intermediate in meaning, and subordinate in status.

With scientific progress, wars are going to become more and more devastating until they become almost racially suicidal. How many world wars must be fought and how many leagues of nations must fail before men will be willing to establish the government of mankind and begin to enjoy the blessings of permanent peace and thrive on the tranquility of good will — world-wide good will — among men?

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Re: From the Whims of a Nation

Post by overmind » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:25 pm

(804.17) 71:4.17 Idealism can never survive on an evolving planet if the idealists in each generation permit themselves to be exterminated by the baser orders of humanity. And here is the great test of idealism: Can an advanced society maintain that military preparedness which renders it secure from all attack by its war-loving neighbors without yielding to the temptation to employ this military strength in offensive operations against other peoples for purposes of selfish gain or national aggrandizement? National survival demands preparedness, and religious idealism alone can prevent the prostitution of preparedness into aggression. Only love, brotherhood, can prevent the strong from oppressing the weak.

I vehemently despise totalitarianism. The best government coordinates most and governs least, but this is only sustainable when human behavior allows for it. Until then, such a government would not be established. Remember that this is not a case of one country taking over the world, but the world’s powers giving up individual sovereignty to create peace between nations. In most cases, local people would solve local problems. I am not a nationalist, and I do not value others based on where they were born or live. I value the principles supported by a country more than the country itself. That does not mean I hate the United States. I generally like living here, and I believe the founding fathers did a good job with the constitution. However, I am not going to hold everlasting allegiance to a temporal group of people.

One reason for nationalism is the feeling of belonging which comes from belonging to a group. But humans should be able to feel this through their connection with all others of their race. Separate nations only increase division between people. Instead of being accepted and loved by your countrymen, one should be loved by all. Social acceptance is a big motivational factor for behavior. People see themselves as being more valuable when others show that the individual is needed. Most are driven to be sociable. However, I know how much I am valued by God, so being accepted by my peers is not as important as it used to be. The value I hold for myself is more important than what others see in me, and this is because I know that these people cannot judge my potential. It’s nice to experience agreement and camaraderie, but it would not be impossible for me to live as a hermit either. Life on this planet is rather short, so I do not need to get worked up over short-term social woes. I believe I am patient enough to get through such problems.

I would say that it is generally true that war can drive positive change in society, as it has done in early human development, but the line will have to be drawn before humans destroy themselves. We are no longer at the point where war improves the cultural development of mankind. Ideas can now be shared globally with the click of a mouse.

Now what is it that we love most about the country we live in? Is it the people? The culture? The history? The laws? The geography? Or is it the founding principles? For the United States, it seems like those who join the military are especially attached to the values this country was founded on, and fight to uphold these values. And while any honorable person would defend the values they support, these principles exist to serve humans, not countries. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – this country was created to uphold these values (among other things). These values exist so that those living in this country can have a meaningful life. If you love others, you would want the laws of the nation to help the greatest number of people. It is the role of the government to uphold the values of its citizens, and a government that did this would be worth defending. But these values can be supported by other nations. If all countries agreed on a universal set of values, which granted equality and freedom to all, I cannot see how any particular country could remain special because of its founding principles. Only forward-looking and progressive attitudes are personally real. Ethics and morals become truly human when they are dynamic. Do you fight to protect these ethics, or do you fight to protect a country that is supposed to uphold these ethics? What happens when you no longer need to (or should) fight for that country? These are just general questions.

I have a theory that when people defend or work for an organization which exists for a cause they support, those people are likely to focus more on the said organization than the cause itself (I am currently calling this associated value). This would create a form of dependency, where people feel required to follow old constructs out of habit. They feel the need to stick with something, even to a problematic degree. My thought is that this is simply easier, there is less thinking involved. An example would be a non-profit that is not very productive, but is still supported because of its important goals and the loyalty of older donors. Another example would be a soldier protecting a country because it at one point supported the values the soldier still believes in. One more could simply be the Microsoft vs. Apple debate. Now, I know that human behavior is not so easily categorized (as I mentioned myself), but I would like to know how this form of loyalty forms in the human psyche and how prevalent it is. The problem is I don’t possess much loyalty myself, at least not to any country or business, so I have to analyze the behavior of others who do.

I have a good understanding regarding daily activities (the driving motives for most actions involving short-term goals), but it is hard to create a lasting idea involving fluctuating variables. In other words, since values (and human action relating to such) change with time, I haven’t reached any stable conclusions on my own. There are just so many possibilities regarding how people follow their code of ethics. If the code is different in each individual, and each individual follows that code differently because of personal circumstances, I simply do not possess the internal computing power necessary to understand all forms of behavior. True comprehension would require me to know the intent behind every human action in history. However, human needs and desires which are not directly related to social mores or ethics can be more easily organized and understood.

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