Tennyson said “Locksley Hall” expresses “…young life, its good side, its deficiencies, and its yearnings.” I’m inclined to believe him, partly because I was young when I first read the poem. A half-century later, these are still among my favorite lines of poetry:
“…For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
“Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;…
“…Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the battle-flags were furl’d
“In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.
“There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
“And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law….”
(“Locksley Hall,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson)
I still think building something like Tennyson’s “Federation of the world” is a good idea. I’m quite certain that it will be a long, hard, process.
But we’re already making some headway.
It’s not just the technology. Norway runs the vault, but it is part of an international effort. So far, 71 sovereign states signed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,”
We’ve had leagues, alliances, and treaties for longer than we’ve had nations.
Sargon of Akkad achieved a measure of stability by conquering his neighbors.
Sargon’s empire, established about 6,300 years ago, lasted just shy of two centuries.
Ur-Nammu was the first of many folks following Sargon’s example. The empire-collapse-recovery cycle continued for about six millennia.
Making a serious effort to unite all nations as almost-but-not-entirely-equal members of a global entity: That is new.
The United Nations is no more perfect than America’s Congress.
But for all their faults, they’re what we have to work with. Today.
Some Americans still seem uneasy about ‘foreigners:’ or other Americans who don’t look and act pretty much like them.
I’ve talked about Roman history, Icarus, and getting a grip, before. (May 26, 2017)
On the whole, I like being an American. I think my nation has much to offer the world.
But humanity has tried maintaining stability and security with empires. They don’t last. Not more than a few centuries. It’s time to try something else.
The UN has fallen far short of my hopes. However, as an alternative to another global war: I think it’s the more reasonable option. (October 30, 2016)
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”
“Murphy was an optimist.”
(Otoole’s commentary on Murphy’s law)
I think seeing this as the best of all possible worlds, or a hopeless and doomed one, are both — incomplete perceptions. And that’s a metaphysical can of worms I’ll leave for another day.
Seeing the future as bleak is something I understand. Feeling hopeless was my default state for decades, thanks to undiagnosed depression. (October 14, 2016)
I’m not cautiously optimistic because I feel hopeful. I occasionally feel hopeful because I think there is reason for cautious optimism. (October 30, 2016)
As I said Friday, I think the Svalbard seed vault is a good idea.
I also think building Pope St. John Paul II’s “civilization of love” makes sense.
I’m sure that at least until there’s a “sufficiently powerful authority at the international level,” some of us must be ready to defend innocent lives.
“…As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted….”
(“Gaudium et Spes,” Pope Bl. Paul VI (December 7, 1965))
“…The answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty….”
(“To the United Nations Organization,”5 Pope St. John Paul II (October 5, 1995))
If we keep working with all people of good will, I think we can develop a close approximation of Tennyson’s “Parliament of man … Federation of the world.” Eventually.
It won’t be easy. There’s an enormous backlog of unresolved issues. But I think we can succeed. I am certain that we must try: