The Record of Human Rulership
HAS there been any form of government conceivable to the mind of man that he has not tried? Our modern-day governments are to a great extent the product of “political science.” This is a serious study of the trial-and-error experiences of man’s efforts at ruling himself, with a view to incorporating the most successful methods into government.
Accordingly, we should have governments—at least some governments—that fill the people’s needs, that provide what people want from government. Do we have any? What does the modern-day record of human rulership reveal?
AN APPEAL FOR WORLD GOVERNMENT
The New York Times of Sunday, May 21, 1972, carried a full-page declaration by a group of well-known citizens of thirty-two countries signing themselves as the “First Planetary Citizens.” Entitled “A HUMAN MANIFESTO,” this declaration was an indictment of the efforts of man’s rulership up to the present time to bring the things most desired. It made the following strong assertions:
“Human life on our planet is in jeopardy.
“It is in jeopardy from war that could pulverize the human habitat.
“It is in jeopardy from preparations for war that destroy or diminish the prospects of decent existence.
“It is in jeopardy because of the denial of human rights.
“It is in jeopardy because the air is being fouled and the waters and soil are being poisoned.
“It is in jeopardy because of the uncontrolled increase in population.”
What, then, was the conclusion of the declaration? It was expressed in an appeal to enlist further human effort in support of the United Nations.
But does the record of human rulership justify the placing of trust in the United Nations?
What does the record show as to “jeopardy from war”? Has human rulership made progress toward ensuring peace?
As reported in the Western Producer, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences made a calculation of the frequency and severity of wars as far back as history would permit. They discovered that, “since 650 B.C. there have been 1656 arms races, only 16 of which did not end in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries concerned.”
After the first twenty-five years of the United Nations’ history, a review of its record was made. The Philadelphia Sunday Bulletin of October 18, 1970, quoted U Thant, then United Nations secretary-general, as saying:
“I am very much afraid that although we have been able to reach the moon, we often show incredibly shortsighted selfishness, complacency and indifference when it comes to meeting the great challenges we face here on earth.”
And Lester P. Pearson, then prime minister of Canada, summed up the results of the United Nations’ peace efforts in these words: “Peace rests uneasily on hydrogen bombs. It is sad that the United Nations has found no better resting place for it.”
Realistically, then, does human rulership have anything to offer to justify hope that it will ever bring peace?
Another threat as serious as war is the pollution situation. As one mere sample of the mountainous problems in every phase of the fight against pollution, consider the garbage predicament. Reader’s Digest, in a condensation from National Civic Review of March 1972, cites the answer of more than a score of the United States’ leading authorities on solid-waste management, to the question “Just how serious is the trash problem?” They revealed:
“The volume of solid wastes we pile up every year is stupendous—80 billion cans, 38 billion bottles, 40 million tons of paper and cartons, 180 million old tires, 21 million major household appliances, seven million junked automobiles. Disposal currently costs us $4.5 billion a year—a figure that could double in the next generation.”
Probably the most dangerous of all are the wastes dumped into our waters. “By 1980,” warns the National Academy of Sciences, “we will be producing enough waterborne wastes to consume all the oxygen in all 22 river basins of the United States.”
Is the problem merely that of one nation? Editorial Research Reports of December 1, 1971, warns:
“The big question for the U.N. conference [held in Stockholm in June 1972], and for all subsequent attempts to stop worldwide pollution, is whether the concern about the environment has come too late to do much good. Has man, in fact, gone too far to turn back? Can the nations make the hard political decisions that are necessary to establish worldwide cooperation in the face of the present crisis? Anything less than a full-scale international effort seems futile. The world’s ecosystem is one; it is such that no nation alone can clean up its environment. The atmosphere carries industrial pollutants and pesticides all over the earth. Virtually every international waterway is polluted.”
Do you find this record encouraging or inspiring confidence in human rule?
Crime is another destructive factor that no government has been able to stop. In fact, this cancerous infection is spreading at an alarming rate world wide. In some nations crime is almost like a rival underground government. Crime has been called “a worldwide epidemic,” an “international tragedy.”
In the world’s most affluent country, the United States, crime seems to be most rampant. The national cost is now 51.1 billion (51.1 thousand million) dollars a year, equal to more than 5 percent of the gross national product of one trillion dollars. And crime is not confined to the “gangster” element. An enormous amount (eight billion dollars a year) is stolen by executives and trusted employees.
But really fear inspiring are the crimes of violence and crimes against property. It is increasingly unsafe to walk the streets of U.S. cities, and a survey reveals that such danger from crime is increasing almost everywhere.
In the United States, F.B.I. figures reveal, crime increased eleven times as fast as the population. Serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, larceny [of fifty dollars and over]) went up 148 percent, from 2,014,600 in 1960 to 4,989,700 in 1969.
In London, which has long been known for its freedom from street violence, Britishers are becoming alarmed as assaults, robberies and muggings have increased. A special police squad has been assigned to the Underground (railroad subway system) because of the crime menace. “It is not safe at night in Birmingham,” said a police official. Violent crimes in Great Britain went up from 26,000 in 1966 to 41,000 in 1970. And a similar situation confronts other countries.
What signs of remedy from human rule do you see for these problems?
THE DRUG PROBLEM
Drug abuse has been called “the worst sickness in American history,” and is rapidly becoming such in other nations. It has been a major factor in the skyrocketing crime rate. Art Linkletter, radio and television personality, whose own daughter was a victim of drugs, in a speech before a special United Nations audience in New York city, September 14, 1971, made a strong plea for action on the part of government. His speech made very clear that human rulership had failed in some way to provide people’s needs, hopes and desires. Linkletter asked:
“If an empty, agonizing life drives people to drugs, how do we change that life? Why are there so many suicides in the world? Why do so many arrive at a personal crisis unable to face it, resolve it, overcome it? Why is drug abuse so often a part of the tragic picture?”
In his concluding appeal Linkletter implied that human rulership had pointed its aims in the wrong direction. He said:
“For the sake of the human family, the United Nations must reach out to those in trouble. Our world is torn by great debate, but the outcome will not matter if our children are wasted. Our scientists chart our course in the heavens, but we need not make the trip if we leave behind a world in pain.”
Robert S. McNamara, President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, paints a world picture of malnutrition that should awaken one to the inability of human rulership to bring mankind the essentials for happiness. In a speech delivered in Washington, D.C., before the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group, September 27, 1971, he said that in the less advantaged countries malnutrition is widespread, is a major cause of high mortality among young children and is therefore a major barrier to human development.
“And yet,” McNamara observes, “despite the evidence that with a relatively small per capita expenditure of resources major gains can be achieved, there is scarcely a nation in the developing world where a concerted attack on the problem is underway.”
Mr. McNamara went on to point out that the number of childhood deaths is enormous in the poorer countries. For example, in India there are large areas where deaths in the first year of life number as many as 150 to 200 per thousand live births.
In the United Arab Republic, the proportion of children between the ages of one and two who die is more than 100 times as high as in Sweden.—Vital Speeches of the Day, Oct. 15, 1971.
Even earlier in Reader’s Digest, February 1969, a noted scientist commented: “It is shockingly apparent that, in the battle to feed humanity, our side has been routed. . . . it is already too late to prevent a drastic rise in the death rate through starvation.”
POVERTY AND WELFARE
Fundamentally a basic cause of malnutrition is poverty, a problem so far insurmountable and unsolvable, even in the most affluent countries. Dr. John E. Reilly, Senior Fellow of the Overseas Development Council, reports:
“According to the World Bank, income levels per year in developing continents as of 1968 were as follows: Asia $110; Africa $130; Latin America $370; Middle East $330. This compares with the average per capita income in the United States of $4,000; Canada—$2,500; Germany $1,900; United Kingdom $1,800.
Dr. Reilly goes on to say that in the low-income countries there are literally millions living on half of the average. Are the efforts of world rulership, even with the help of the United Nations, overcoming this sad condition? No, for Dr. Reilly says: “There is fear that the actual standard of living of millions of people is lower in 1971 than it was in 1960.” He continues:
“This gives a brief sketch of the conditions of the developing countries, one that does not adequately convey the total picture of widespread hunger, deprivation, absence of educational opportunity, unequal distribution of wealth, the prevalence of disease, not to mention political repression.”
Even in the world’s richest country, the United States, entire cities are facing a financial crisis, due to the avalanche of welfare costs. In 1970, $12.8 billion dollars was the cost of welfare.
The situation is one from which economists see no escape, as illustrated by economist Procter Thomson of Claremont Men’s College in California. He points out that, in an affluent society, as more and more money is supplied for welfare, those receiving help make demands that build up to the supply. Therefore, he says, “poverty pursues society like a shadow following a running man.”
THE POPULATION EXPLOSION
With the population at its present level, the governments are near the breaking point, with problems on every hand and what appears to be a dead end in each avenue. That is bad enough, but now the added population growth throws an aura of doom over their plans for the future. In a report of the Victor-Bostrom Fund for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Rudolph Peterson, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program, commented:
“The staggering growth of world population casts a dark shadow over all our efforts to promote international development. To improve living conditions in countries where the population doubles every 20 years is like the labour of Sisyphus, eternally pushing a rock uphill only to see it roll down again.”
And A. H. Boerma, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization, makes a very urgent appeal:
“I do not need to dwell on the fact that the present unrestrained upsurge in the number of people on this planet is driving the world’s major problems—hunger, poverty and unemployment—toward the brink. I do not need to describe the horrors which would result and it is not for me to go into the details of what should be done. . . . But from this rostrum I should like to make an appeal to all concerned to accept the need for population control.”
What, then, can be said for the record of human rulership? Has it actually solved even one of mankind’s basic problems of living together in peace, freedom from want, fear, hunger, deprivation and crime? Has it given mankind what they really desire from government?
What, then, is ahead for continued man-rule of earth? Every problem—pollution, war, hunger, drugs, or any one of several others—has in itself the potential to bring global catastrophe. Together they constitute a complex situation that human wisdom and efforts have utterly failed to minimize, much less solve.
Is it not time for man to look for higher counsel, yes, time to listen to the Divine Ruler of the universe? What he says and what he purposes as to earth’s rulership is a matter of life or extinction, as will be discussed in the following article.
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Serious crime in U.S.A. increased eleven times as fast as the population, 1960-1969.
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WAR History’s record shows arms races have ended either in war or economic collapse.
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POLLUTION “The big question . . . is whether the concern about the environment has come too late to do much good.”
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DRUGS Drug abuse is a “sickness” that is a major factor in the skyrocketing crime rate.
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POVERTY “Poverty pursues society like a shadow following a running man.” Yearly welfare cost in U.S.A.—$12,800,000,000