Preface to People Without Borders
Note: this was inspired by an obit of Tsutomu Yamaguchi in the Economist Magazine, January 16, 2010, p. 85; the poem is printed there. More information on this poor fellow who, along with several dozen other poor souls, witnessed both nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from below, can be seen at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsutomu_Yamaguchi and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/07/world/asia/07yamaguchi.html
By John Taylor; 2010 April 16, Jalal 08, 167 BE
If there exists a GOD who protects
nuclear-free eternal peace
the blue earth won't perish
-Tsutomu Yamaguchi, double nuclear bomb survivor
This book I dedicate to the God of this tanka poem, the God concerned with the survival of all humanity and the whole earth. I am not going to talk at all about my God or your God or any individual's God. I am going to restrict myself to what we all can see, to the God of all, the Deity that every human can believe in, even many atheists. This Deity we all must perceive and recognize if we are ever to make a "nuclear-free eternal peace."
Many ideas in this book, People Without Borders, were influenced by Immanuel Kant's drafts for a world history and a world constitution. Others were inspired by more recent visionaries, such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Buckminster Fuller. However, more than anything, this is my response to history's first serious proposal for a world government, "Panorthosia, or Universal Reform," the last book by the prolific 17th Century Czech educator, reformer, diplomat and religious leader, John Amos Comenius.
Like Yamaguchi, the author of the above poem, Comenius was driven by great affliction to reach out for a world where war is forever banished from the earth. He was a victim of religious persecution, exiled by war and made twice a widower by the Black Death. His master peace plan was completed on his deathbed. The only copy languished in an obscure library for centuries and was only fully translated into English in two volumes in the early 1990's. It is the most insightful and appealing plan for a world government ever devised.
Undoubtedly, sooner or later war, disease, climate instability, ethnic conflict or some other crisis or combination of crises will force us to renounce war and warlike thinking forever. National governments will give up their precious dogma of absolute sovereignty once and for all. The wealthy will let go of their vast fortunes, ideologies and privilege and help form a democratic union of the entire human race. Leaders of science, religion and politics will cease their struggles for hearts and minds and join together so that "the blue earth won't perish."
As soon as this happens the questions of the hour will be: "What kind of union should this be?" "What should this new leadership lead us all to do?" No universal government has ever existed before. Should a world government look like a national government, except that it rules over a billion citizens? Or is there something else that we should use as a model? If so, what model might be appropriate for such a planetary government?
The model that Comenius suggested was a counsel of sages, elected, chosen and ratified by all levels of government and representing the continents of the world. These would in turn organize a group of experts tasked with devising a world language. They would also set up a permanent world government based on three semi-independent institutions, one each for science and education, the College of Light, for politics, the Dicastery of Peace, and one representing all the united religions of the world, the Consistory of Holiness.
"These will serve as three universal antidotes to the plagues which have afflicted us in the past... For the college of light will purify the light of understanding ... The holy consistory with intent to maintain the zeal for piety will salt ... against elements of moral corruption (such as impiety and hypocrisy). Lastly, the dicastery of peace will keep the whole political world in order, so that no power either succumbs in face of danger to its possessions or degenerates into tyranny by destroying the possessions of others." (Panorthosia, Chapter 25, p. 142)