Sunday, April 11, 2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Truth

Comenian World Governance
More from the fourth draft of the introduction to People without Borders

The Cosmopolitan Condition

By John Taylor; 2010 April 12, Jalal 04, 167 BE

Leaders of science, faith and politics are utterly unwilling to face up to what matters for human survival, much less join in a union to save the planet. For example, in his acceptance speech for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, U.S. President Barak Obama said,

"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflicts in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified."

I know that the American president was only articulating what is normally left unsaid in international relations. Still, it gives a chill to hear this "hard" truth stated so baldly, especially in this venue. The Nobel laureate and most powerful man in the world drew a line in the sand, over which none may cross. National states will cling to their sovereignty indefinitely, permanently determined to block out the prospect of a permanent world peace backed up by a government devoted to the interests of the entire human race, and the planet that sustains us.

Unthinkable as it may seem to "hard" thinkers, this line must be crossed as soon as possible. Every headline urges one conclusion: until we form a single union of the human race, every plan on the international level will remain an inadequate half-measure.

This book is dedicated to the proposition that there is the only way forward. A world government, properly designed, could immediately end poverty, violence, war and the pollution and degradation of earth, air and ocean once and for all.

The more we think about the benefits of such a union, the easier it will be to give up old loyalties and erase the borders that divide us. We can start by taking thought and discussion beyond present boundaries. Once we all realize that borders and nationalities exist only in the human imagination, we will be able to go beyond half-hearted negotiations between states, beyond mere international agreements and start to explore ways and means to unify the whole human race.


World government has been put off centuries beyond its due date. In his last book, Panorthosia or Universal Reform, John Amos Comenius drew up the first detailed plan and proposal for an enduring world peace based on a democratic world government. Here he demonstrated -- in 1670! -- that human oneness is the ultimate goal not only of Abrahamic religion and scripture, but of philosophy as well, going as far back as Pythagoras.

"It is not enough that Man should merely be set beside God by bringing him to his everlasting blessedness; we must have him likened unto God even here on earth. Pythagoras was quite correct in defining philosophy as likeness unto God, but he went too far in giving philosophy the whole credit for a result which it cannot wholly achieve by itself alone. Politics and religion must come to its assistance, playing their part in such a way that philosophy likens Man unto God through the light of his mind, religion through the purity of his heart, and politics through control of his actions. This will come to pass if Man has knowledge of good and evil, and wishes only the good and not the evil, and controls himself in his choice of the good and rejection of the evil with all possible zeal." (Comenius, Panorthosia II, Ch. 10, para 40, pp. 168-169)

Furthermore, Comenius held, every educator has a moral duty to prepare students for this event. There is an underlying unity behind all branches of human knowledge that is not being recognized, what Comenius called a "parallelism of Philosophy, Politics, and Religion..." (Panorthosia, Ch. 13, para 12, p. 204) Properly prepared by their teachers, leaders of science, religion and politics could harmonize their expertise and work together for the good of all. Until they take on this perspective, their thought will be flawed, inconsistent and ultimately contradictory. The good they do will be negated by regressive conflict. Comenius wrote,

"Any reforms in philosophy, religion and politics must fall short of perfection, unless they bring peace and lasting happiness to the minds, consciences and societies of mankind." (Comenius, Panorthosia, Ch. 1, para 4, pp. 48-49)

It is impossible to overestimate how momentous this event will be. The formation of a world government based on the Comenian model would surely mark the first time that the human race has a heart as well as a brain. It will be the inauguration of the first truly universal institution, the consummation of history, childhood's end, philosophically, religiously and politically.


In his latter works, Immanuel Kant arrived at the same conclusion as Comenius, though his journey had crossed over territory that was less religious and more scientific and philosophical. However, he agreed that all of nature urges the human race to one, inescapable conclusion.

"Although this government at present exists only as a rough outline, nevertheless in all the members there is rising a feeling which each has for the preservation of the whole. This gives hope finally that after many reformative revolutions, a universal cosmopolitan condition, which Nature has as her ultimate purpose, will come into being as the womb wherein all the original capacities of the human race can develop." (Cosmopolitan History, Eighth Thesis, in Immanuel Kant, Philosophical Writings, Ernst Behler, Ed., Continuum, New York, 1986, p. 260)

People without Borders is my attempt to imagine what will come out of the "womb" of this "universal cosmopolitan condition."


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