Re: "Lord of the Flies" analogy


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Posted by Brett Zamir (12.248.114.98) on May 04, 2002 at 20:32:21:

In Reply to: "Lord of the Flies" analogy posted by Vincent on May 04, 2002 at 00:54:21:

Dear Vincent,

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I wanted to address your question as to who the „parentš would be for humanity in the Lord of the Flies example. There are two ways to answer your question: one regarding world government and the other regarding Bahá‚u‚lláh.

As you state, in some sense, the members of any human institutions, are, when it comes down to it, no different from the rest of the children of humanity, and are thus subject to the same errors which the rest of humanity can make. As you point out, in human government, a division of power has helped to correct this tendency (though historically well-grounded, distrust of authority can, in the extreme, also be harmful, I would say). The Bahá‚í Faith does not advocate overcentralization of authority as another pointed out here in his postŲon the contrary, it warns against it. In fact, in its proposals to the United Nations, the Bahá‚í International Community has argued for several structural changes to provide greater justice and benefit for all (this is distinct from becoming entangled in advocating policies of any one nation) by reducing some domination of certain segments within the U.N. system See Turning Point for All Nations, available on-line at: http://www.bahai-library.org/published.uhj/turning.point.html

The Bahá‚í International Community in this document calls for a stronger World Court to balance the powers of the other branches (as your statement would seem to advocate), for gradually eliminating the centralized domination of permanent membership and veto power in the Security Council, for excluding countries from membership in the General Assembly which violate basic human rights and dominate their own people (and thus perhaps are easily given to doing the same in international policy), and redress the lack of representation had by countries large in population by making the General Assembly more proportional to population.

The Bahá‚í Writings also envision the representatives of a World Parliament being elected by the people (and confirmed by their governments). The future World Court is envisoned to have representatives proportional to population and elected and confirmed by various components each national government. Thus in these cases, power would be more in the hands of a more accountable authority.

In other words, the balance of power you advocate could be, more or less, achieved as it is within national governments.

And with the reluctance of who should be the proud initiator of the United Nations (the United States) to pay the price of one B-1 bomber for an entire world-wide institution dedicated not only to dealing with gross poverty and brutal conditions among the otherwise most helpless around the world but also for saving money and lives for future entanglements of our own citizens (as intervention in World War II proved necessary, despite isolationist resistance at first), the existence of an over-centralized government forcibly taking away beneficial (or unfortuantely negative) national sovereignty is HARDLY in danger of becoming a reality (at least from richer countries--poorer countries, may argue that they have lost their sovereignty due to the overcentralized decision-making of institutions such as the World Bank, which though highly praised in their sincere aims and execution, are recognized (along with some national governments) by the Bahá‚í International Community for their past history of bureaucratic overcentralization. (See above.) (See also http://www.un.org/News/facts/ for more on the U.N.‚s involvement in projects beneficial to the U.S. as well as other countries (as perhaps other countries might complain).)

Hopefully soon, as the U.N. gradually implements such changes as mentioned above, and as individuals and governments realize their vested interest in a stronger yet justly structured United Nations, common people will begin to realize that it is OUR United Nations. In fact, it may one day become mostly redundant to fly a flag of our own country (as it is now in most cases to fly a flag of our state along with our national flag--though of course we can maintain our lesser loyalties (as we do today) as long as they do not conflict with the ultimate interest of the whole).

Despite these adjustments that can be made to human institutions, when it comes down to it, as you seem to point out, even the achievements of great statesmen is subject to human error (we are all the „childrenš in the example). So, for a truly complete solution (a „parentš fully qualified to be free from the childishness of those under its care), it comes down to seeking a divine and infallible Authority which all can accept, for which all have some fear as well as love, and which is free from the same foibles of the children. But, since God is wholly inaccessible to mankind in His Essence, God sends us perfection Reflections of His Will, embodied in His Manifestations or Messengers. These Messengers, though human and material in form, express the divine Will. Accepting this, unlike processes of national (and ultimately world) government, is a more gradual and voluntary (though necessary) process. Bahá‚u‚lláh, in addressing the various religious systems, and in proving His ability to unite these disparate groups through timely laws, spiritual power, and divine institutions, can, we believe, achieve this eventual authority as a „Fatherš of mankind. Excepting its international authority, the divine institutions of the Bahá‚í Faith are subject to human error in their decisions (and all the individuals alive today serving on any Bahá‚í institutions are also subject to error); nevertheless, these divine institutions are more perfectly freed from the errors of human systems of government, both in a spiritual sense (they are guided by prayer), and a „materialš sense (the system is freed from campaigning and other partisan and self-aggrandizing methods).

Bahá‚u‚lláh, while offering a more perfect system of divine institutions (which currently govern the Bahá‚í community and which we believe, will, eventually be accepted by the whole world in a voluntary manner), has not sought to force this divine system of government foretold in past scriptures, but rather has, in His wisdom, called for humanity to at least accept the secular authority of uniting in a world government (though this has been spiritually inspired at His command). The voluntary nature of this, however, is so strict, that Bahá‚ís are to avoid politics (even to the extent of Bahá‚ís in knowing and flagrant violation of this losing their administrative rights as Bahá‚ís), and not ever try to impose our own system, or even support a world government in a public manner which would alarm the national authorities, for example (let alone, God forbid, try to push the Bahá‚í system on the people of a country--though some authorities have come to Bahá‚í institutions for guidance, and with constitutional means, countries may gradaully implement features of Bahá‚í governance).



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