by E. Jeffrey Ludwig
After World War II ended, a group of individuals met under the auspices of the United World Federalists (UWF) in Montreux, Switzerland to draft a comprehensive plan for a world government. They stated unequivocally that they considered the United Nations "powerless ... to stop the drift of war." They believed that the establishment of a world federal government would be the only way to bring peace to our world. And many of that number believed that eventually, their six principles could and would be incorporated into the United Nations, which could morph into such a government. The UWF specifically determined to mobilize the peoples of the world "to transform the United Nations Organization into world federal government by increasing its authority and resources, and by amending its Charter."
The goal is clearly to provide an alternative to the nation-state ideal that holds sway throughout the world.
The UWF projected a three-branch government, the same as that proposed by Charles-Louis de Montesquieu in the 18th century – legislative, judicial, and executive – the same as implemented by the USA in its constitution. However, their three branches would be supranational and would be over the three branches of the USA, just as our federal government in various areas is over the three branches found in our states. The Montreux statement affirmed the "limitation of national sovereignty."
Too much goes unsaid in the Montreux statement. For example, it states that that its drafters have an executive branch, but they do not state how their "executive" is elected. There is no mention of a worldwide electoral college. Nor, at the other end of the spectrum, do they state that they hope to induct a dictator into that office. Likewise, there is no format suggested for electing the legislative branch. The world federalism principle supersedes the national self-government principle, but the three branches are retained as a sop to America. It's the "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" gambit. Thus, our world government accepts you at the same time as it dominates you.
Principle 4 of the drafters' vision is truly radical. Under this principle, a worldwide armed force would be established "guaranteeing the security of the world federal government and of its member states." The weasel word is "guaranteeing." The militaries of the member-nations would be eliminated, and they would be able to meet only "the level of their internal policing requirements." What then would prevent "guaranteeing" from morphing into "oppressing," "suppressing," or "enslaving"? A world monopoly of force would produce a worldwide Leviathan that would make even Thomas Hobbes tremble. It might be a power greater than that of the Roman Imperium or of the vaunted dictatorships of the proletariat implemented by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
Principle 6 shows clearly that a world government must have the ability to raise revenue to meet its expenses, and those revenues must be independent of the revenues raised by individual nation-states governed. This principle gives "power to raise ... revenues" to this world government entity. The student of history will immediately associate the assumption of this "power" with the exclusive military power depicted in Principle 4.
In the U.S. Supreme Court case of McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819, the unanimous (7-0) decision stated that "the power to tax is the power to destroy." The power to tax member-state nations would inherently imply the power to destroy those nation-states if there were resistance to that taxation. Thus, we have a formula for a double-whammy of oppression of the nations: the linked threat of military oppression and financial oppression of the peoples of the world. Like Hobbes, they are driven by an image of humankind with no appeal to a holy God and to God-given moral principles, but as a "war of all against all," that can be ameliorated only by a vast increase in worldwide centralized power, both militarily and financially.
Let us fast-forward 68 years to 2015. The U.N. published a document of almost 15,000 words entitled "Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." This document is a stream of consciousness of pious platitudes about meeting 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), and thereby meeting the most pressing needs of humanity. Worldwide rights are briefly mentioned in Article 19 of this 91-article agenda, but rights have been supplanted with needs to which men and women, rich and poor, and Western, African, Asian, European, and Latin American nations can subscribe. Classical divisions between haves and have-nots are pushed aside as inherently limiting. Five of the seventeen goals are about the environment, and environmental issues take center stage because the environment affects all – rich as well as poor, highly developed industrial cultures as well as subsistence, village, agricultural cultures.
Using a stream of repetitive platitudes (the repetitive language and lack of concrete examples are part of the siren song of the document), the language of the document attempts to project a unified world vision for governance. The 17 categories of needs provide "goals for cities, for women, for the poor, and even for life under the water. Absolutely no sphere of human activity is exempt from control by the UN." Stressing needs, one can see the Marxist influence upon the document and can recall his axiom: "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
This writer suggests that this is indeed an agenda for a new world government by 2030. It is a shrewd alternative to the Montreux document of 1947. Lacking a full-fledged taxation system and lacking a standing military, it might seem to fall short of the United World Federalist concept. However, I suggest that this is the "soft" first stage of government being enacted. Although its focus is on needs rather than "natural rights" and "upholding the moral law within a Christian context," nonetheless, its loose character reminds one of the government of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation. The states – formerly the 13 colonies – did not have a standing army or navy and did not have federal taxation. The Executive Branch was purposely weak, and the Articles could be amended only by a unanimous vote, and a two-thirds vote of the states – not a simple majority – was required to pass a national law. The states remained the epicenters of authority in the new nation.
The Articles were the first constitution of these United States from 1777 to 1789. We were held together by being against the Crown and by our sovereign authority as a people to define our own destiny economically and politically ("no taxation without representation"). The 2030 agenda of the U.N. is a parallel document. It is written with an understanding of the fear that would be engendered were it to conceptualize an exclusive military or direct taxation by a world body that the 1947 Montreux document endorsed. Yet its goal is clearly to provide an alternative to the nation-state ideal that holds sway throughout the world, to legitimize an alternative plan, and to implement that new government in its soft form. Once the soft form is accepted as progressive and helpful, the idea will be to move to arrangements more consistent with the Montreux statement.
E. Jeffrey Ludwig
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