Watching the World
Can the U.N. Give Direction?
◆ U.N. Secretary-General K. Waldheim, in introducing his annual report on the organization’s work, says that, because of mankind’s pressing problems, “the necessity for global cooperation has never been so great or so urgent.” Yet he charged member governments with unwillingness to cooperate on problems. Waldheim says they want the U.N. to be little more than “a forum for the pursuit of national policies.”
◆ Four years ago the then U.N. Secretary-General U Thant said the nations had perhaps ten years left to solve their problems. Now, World magazine editor N. Cousins asks, Are conditions better? He notes that military expenses earth wide are 20 percent higher, “the largest single item of human activity.” While population soars, the amount of food-growing land diminishes. Pollution of air and water continues. Says Cousins: “In the large, the world’s leaders have not taken U Thant’s warning seriously. If the next four years show no greater progress than has occurred during the past four years, then the ominous predictions of the Club of Rome [that man will destroy himself] may eventuate ahead of schedule.”
African Witnesses Lead the Way
● The work of Jehovah’s witnesses is banned in several African nations. Bryan Wilson of Oxford University says this may be because some African leaders consider them ‘easy targets.’ But at what cost to these nations? Wilson, writes in a recent issue of New Society: “The banning . . . may cost more than it looks, however. Witnesses . . . have been uniquely successful in getting their following to keep high standards of moral rigour and self-discipline. They instill the values of hard work, punctuality, sobriety and self-respect. Their members reach a quality of family relationships that is highly exceptional in East Africa. Their techniques of instruction and indoctrination are extremely effective in moral as well as in doctrinal matters . . . The stock rhetoric of African politicians is the condemnation of tribalism. Paradoxically, the Witnesses are perhaps more successful than any other group in the speed with which they eliminate tribal discrimination among their own recruits.”
◆ There are no large wars currently being fought by the major powers. But is there peace? Says the Hamilton, Ontario, Spectator: “The world is essentially a lawless place. There can no longer be a war between the major powers, for that inevitably means nuclear weapons and annihilation. It is not virtue and love of peace that makes mankind avoid a major war, it is the certainty of oblivion. But smaller wars up to the ‘conventional’ limits of violence and destruction may still be waged, Failing these, the pent-up poisons of international hatred and frustration can find release in terrorism with its frequent concomitants of killing and destruction.”
◆ “America’s cities are smothering in garbage, and 46.5 percent will run out of places to dump their trash within five years,” says a major study on the subject. Solid waste disposal from cities has doubled in 20 years. Complicating the problem is the public’s “fascination with packaging,” 90 percent of which is trashed. Federal laws favoring the use of virgin materials and transportation rates that discourage scrap shipment are cited as the reason for “only 1 percent of municipal wastes [being] recycled.”
Premarital Sex Favored
◆ A recent Gallup Poll shows that less than half the Americans interviewed believe that premarital sex is wrong. Four years ago two out of three persons held that view. The Sunday Oklahoman calls this “dramatic evidence that the United States is undergoing a ‘sexual revolution.’”
But Not Politics
◆ Another Gallup Poll reveals that less than one adult American in four (23 percent) would like to have his son enter politics. The figure was 36 percent in 1965. The main reason given for opposing such a career is that politics is “too corrupt.”
A Rabbi Views Homosexuality
◆ Jews are also condoning homosexuality. Rabbi Phillip Horowitz in Cleveland, Ohio, says: “The modern homosexual would resent the fact that his behavior is considered immoral.” A Plain Dealer editor who interviewed the rabbi observes: “His own view is that what happens in privacy between two consenting adults is nobody’s business.” The rabbi claims that Hebrew law (as at Leviticus 18) condemns homosexuality because Bible writers connected it with pagan idolatry. But the same law also forbade sexual intimacy with one’s sister. Is that, too, only because of pagan idolatry?
◆ A recent edition of the Bulletin of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, describes 1972 weather as peculiar all over the world. Ireland had the coldest June in a hundred years. Moscow had the hottest summer, but only after ice stayed on Soviet rivers a month longer than normal. In Spain there was more rain than at any time since 1859. Unusually strong winds and rain killed people and smashed homes, ships and trees in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland and Japan, Extreme heat killed 750 in India. Hong Kong had hard rains and disastrous landslides. Australia suffered both severe drought and flooding.
◆ How much leisure time do you have? A recent report by Andresen and Company, a New York security research company, says: “The average working adult American spends approximately one-third of his (her) life sleeping. Of his 113 waking hours per week, he spends about 38 hours working and 25 hours eating, dressing, and commuting to and from work. This leaves 50 hours for leisure.” And how is that leisure time used? The report shows that forty hours go for watching television or listening to the radio!