BECK index

A PLEA FOR LOVE

by Sanderson Beck

This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.

Love
Global Democracy
Human Rights
General Disarmament
Economic Justice
Universal Education
Health Care
Environmental Responsibility
Cultural Diversity
Spiritual Transformation

LOVE

O Love, come to us and fill our hearts with joy,
for we are suffering terribly in this world below.
More than five billion of us humans are struggling
to survive here on this fragile planet called Earth.
Deep within our true being is the love we often forget
as our clever minds hide and deceive with tricks
the knowledge of what we truly are in our souls.

Yet our every action is based on love of something,
and what we love defines our purpose for doing.
Surely we all do love ourselves first and most
even if we cover over our motives with the dust
of time's worn-out reasons and justifications.
Inside we are a dynamic consciousness always choosing
between the values we sort out as good and bad.
When we finally find the divine soul inside us,
then we can recognize the same Spirit in others.

Nevertheless day to day we often choose lesser goals
than this eternal truth of intangible well-being.
We love comfort and the temporary pleasures of the body
and the many ways people strive for those pursuits.
We each seek our own interests and disregard the rest;
we compete and strive for more of those material things
which never last long nor truly satisfy our souls.
Thus we come into conflict with others on this planet,
and our convoluted problems become more complicated
as our minds spin out their endless schemes of conquest.

Now I ask you, dear friends, (for to me all are friends)
to imagine what the world could be like quite soon
if we practiced loving the good of the whole Earth
and all the creatures living on this sacred planet.
Will you for a time put aside your fears and doubts
and envision with me how we can save the human race
from its impending tendencies of mutual destruction?
Is there any greater challenge than learning now
how to live here in peace and harmony with all?

Let us expand our love to include every person
and consider what we can do to make life better.
Actually, what we need to do most is to learn
how to stop making miserable conditions worse.
We must study the consequences of all our actions
in order to discover how the effects may be harmful.
This planet is becoming much more crowded, and,
if we're not more sensitive to everyone's needs,
we may interfere with each other without realizing it.
This occurs especially in large, collective patterns
where the accumulated results of many people's actions
impact adversely on the lives of others in the future.
It takes special insight to see the greater picture
and understand the far-reaching results of simple deeds.

But first we must care about doing what's best for all
and open our hearts to the cries of people everywhere.
How then do we awaken this compassionate love within?
Why do some people feel it more than others do?
Why do some want to share with those who are in need,
while others with much want to take even more?
How can we give love to those who take advantage
without making the wrongs they perpetrate even worse?
How can we distribute our love more equally
so that everyone may prosper instead of just a few?

Surely love and freedom go together with respect
for each person's integrity and individual dignity.
Violence and force lack this love and dehumanize
those who have been turned into objects for power.
Brutality and hate can't help but violate living love.
Though all history is fraught with wars and fighting,
we now must learn a better way of resolving conflict
if the human species and the planet are to survive.

True love is based on faith in goodness and cooperation,
trusting that others will behave as we would ourselves.
The examples of those loving and relating better may teach
those who have not yet learned about the greater good.
I believe the time has come in our human evolution when
the loving ones will take the power away from the brutal.
This may be done gently and without malice for any
so that the gradual transition from a violent society
into a loving world community may be smooth and peaceful.

Naturally we each must begin by loving ourselves,
for how could we ever love others as ourselves
if we don't first love and take care of ourselves?
To love ourselves we must learn who and what we truly are.
How can we integrate all in one the complexity
of our physical bodies, emotions, minds and souls?
Knowing ourselves can be more than a lifetime job.
Yet if we are eternal beings we have forever to do it.
The exploration of how we create our lives never ceases,
and inevitably we must always end where we began,
for the life of the divine soul is an eternal truth
beyond the changing circumstances of birth and death.

Not everyone is ready to accept their divine origin,
but those who are may then realize that divine love
is our natural birthright and true calling from on high.
Yet in realizing the spiritual quality of the soul
we come to understand that every soul is equally divine.
In the light of this unity we transcend our individuality
even as we recognize that we are gods and goddesses.
The power of the divine creativity and responsibility
is shared by all souls inhabiting this testing planet.
Thus we must learn to work together for the good of all,
because we are sharing the same time and space here below.

To love wisely then, we must know what we are loving.
Although our souls may be divine and perfect beings,
our consciousness is limited and subject to errors.
To minimize our mistakes and the consequent suffering
we can open our minds by learning from our experience
as well as from the wisdom of those who have gone before.
We must be humble enough to admit and correct our errors
and courageous enough to act on our very best insights.
Always though I believe that love should be our guide,
and the best principle to follow is to never do harm.

To know ourselves we must be honest with ourselves
by examining daily our thoughts, feelings and actions
without deceiving ourselves with comforting illusions.
It follows then that we must also be honest with others,
or else we separate ourselves from the reality that is;
for in dark falsehoods ignorance and error multiply.
But the light of honesty helps us to see as best we can
and enables us to work together in shared awareness.
Thus loving is helped by good and clear communication,
this interaction of consciousness enhancing cooperation.

Yet these also depend on being open and trusting.
It's easier to relate to people who are friendly,
to those who listen and share their knowledge also.
It takes courageous faith to trust the universe enough
to open our consciousness to everyone and everything.
Of course this does not mean that we must agree with all,
but by first accepting what is occurring as reality,
then we can begin to understand how it all fits together.
To solve the problems of the world we must personally
engage ourselves in the struggle by our daily activities.
Our thoughts, our feelings, and our inner prayers
affect the universe as well as our physical actions.

Opening our consciousness to our sisters and brothers
in every social setting across this diverse planet
enables us to be more aware of the life of Earth,
and the imbalances we caused we can help correct.
None of us can do much alone to effect real change,
but working together we can shape future conditions.
Love not only increases our willingness to do this,
but it also gives us patience and persistence to endure
all the little sufferings we must each withstand
on the way to a life of peace and harmony with all.

Love always has infinitely many faces and expressions,
and words can never describe even simple human kindness
let alone the entire process of global transformation
from a world of violence, oppression, poverty and hunger
to one where all are cared for and encouraged to be free.
How much good comes from the tender touching of lovers
which enables them to feel happiness and contentment!
Can we extend our spirits and touch the hearts of people
across the seas as well as next door and down the street
by considering how our actions may affect their lives?
Can we with intelligence sensitize and magnify our love
so that our hearts expand to encompass this great globe?

So this is a plea for all of us to love more deeply
and more fully than we ever have before in our lives
so that we can help to bring about a new era of peace,
harmony and justice through cooperation and understanding.
As all the great spiritual leaders have taught before,
the reward of this compassion is growing enlightenment
and inner peace subtly experienced in the divine soul.

To focus intently on the good of all and act accordingly
brings us lessons even if we err from what is truly good;
for the process will teach us how to become better people,
and eventually in this way we'll learn to be responsible.
As we become the sum total of everything we experience,
we carry all this with us wherever we go in our lives.
Thus the more we are able to focus on the good of all
the better we become as people and the more capable we are
of acting for the betterment of humanity and the Earth.

I ask you then, my dear friends, to consider carefully
what you can do to expand your awareness and helpfulness
in this magnificent challenge of transforming ourselves
and our society into a paradise never seen here before
except in myths and parables and legends of olden times,
for we are on the brink of a new stage in evolution;
but first we must pass the hard tests of these crises
which actually threaten the survival of life on Earth.
Somehow this planet was set up with a delicate balance
so that we could learn to be responsible creators
and transcend the level of our individual concerns
into higher realizations of our oneness with all life.
Countless choices of ours individually and collectively
will determine what will be the fate of this planet.
Let us join our souls and minds in the spirit of love
and learn to work together as one whole organism,
for in this integration life will be better for everyone.

GLOBAL DEMOCRACY

People have invented many ways of making the decisions
that affect each other's lives as to who does what.
Social relations have expanded from tribes to nations,
and now a global society cries out for world order.
Though equality and democracy are taught as ideals,
in practice power has rarely been evenly distributed.
Yet the age of kings and emperors is definitely past,
and now almost every country claims it is democratic.
Rhetoric universally proclaims the "good of the people,"
but how much influence people actually exercise depends
on how well they utilize their abilities to communicate
and organize effective groups for governing themselves.
Democratic institutions with regular free elections
have proven to be the most responsive and flexible
to the various needs of society's changing conditions.

Even when tyrannies have arisen to oppress the people,
eventually their own mistakes undo the tyrants themselves,
and the will of the people takes control of the power.
Nevertheless in modern times representatives are elected
to make decisions on behalf of those who voted for them.
This republican form of government enables a ruling class
to dominate society as long as they can persuade voters
to keep electing them again without reforming the system.

In many countries one or two parties remain dominant
so that dissenting voices cannot adequately be heard.
In capitalist nations money enables financial interests
to shape the candidates and their political positions,
because they cannot run for office without contributions.
Thus the wealthy exercise a disproportionate influence
on deciding how governments shall be financed and work,
though if the many poor are too oppressed and neglected,
danger of revolution may emerge in strikes and violence.

What we need are democratic processes and institutions
that empower everyone so that justice can be attained.
Primarily it's up to the people in each state or nation
to insist on their own democratic rights by participating
in the social processes of determining how power works.
Modern history is filled with examples of how people
have risen up to overthrow a regime or class of leaders
from the various American movements for independence
from the colonial European powers two centuries ago
to the recent transformation of Communist nations
in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to democracies.
Even though China has resisted its democratic movement,
in the long run liberation of the people is inevitable.

More people are realizing that even military forces
cannot stop people from exercising their democratic rights
to express their views, organize and govern themselves.
By nonviolent methods people in the Philippines in 1986
and in the old Soviet Union in 1991 were able to throw off
attempted coups by entrenched leaders and military forces.
Once a certain level of public awareness is attained,
then as Hugo said, "One may resist the invasion of armies,
but not the power of an idea whose time has come."
So the power of love expressed through nonviolent actions
can enable people to gain their democratic freedoms.

We still have far to go to establish real democracy
so that national governments will no longer be allowed to
oppress their people or go to war against other nations.
The tremendous buildup of military forces in the world
and the overwhelming imbalances between various nations
indicate the great need for world institutions to resolve
conflicts between nations by nonviolent judicial processes.
When nation states are armed with such powerful forces,
rights of individuals and other nations are easily abused.
Diplomacy tries to negotiate the settlement of differences,
but lacking an unbiased judicial process based on laws
and a recognized world authority to decide democratically,
often more powerful nations end up exploiting weaker ones.

Since world public opinion now favors democratic means,
I believe the time has come for the people of the world
to unite in establishing institutions of global democracy.
The evolution of education and the ability to communicate
almost instantly with technology anywhere on the Earth
enables us to organize ourselves in this global village.
So many problems which the nations have failed to solve
cry out for responsible decisions from global institutions
that can represent the interests of all the people on Earth
as well as those who will come after us in the future.

First, humanity demands that human rights be protected
in every country of the world regardless of social system.

Second, military disarmament will probably not be secure
until there is a world authority that people and nations
can respect and rely on to act in the best interests of all
without allowing favoritism to any ethnic group or nation.

Third, economic relationships need to be based on justice
rather than military power and exploitation by the wealthy.

Fourth, big decreases in military spending will enable
every society to provide better education and health care
for all their people in the best way they see fit locally.

Fifth, the environmental crises require world cooperation
so that comprehensive solutions can be implemented globally.
Also the prevention of wars will help humanity and nature.

Sixth, at the same time world institutions can protect
and allow various social groups to express themselves freely
so that the rich cultural diversity of peoples can flourish.

Seventh, when such global peace and harmony is nurtured,
when everyone works together in a fair and just economy
so that all are relatively well educated and healthy,
and the creatures of the Earth are respected and sustained,
giving future generations a safe home environment,
then personal and social enlightenment will bloom everywhere
and bear much fruit in the arts, humanities and sciences
that a great spiritual renaissance as never seen before
will turn this planet into a paradise with knowledge
and a marvelous school for souls to learn more about
the nature of creation in relative comfort and ease.

The United Nations has been a step in the right direction,
but the Security Council veto given to the governments
of the powerful nations which won World War II has enabled
any of them to block efforts for world peace and justice.
Even international law judged by the World Court of Justice
has not had compulsory jurisdiction on every nation state.
The General Assembly made up of nations' representatives
has not been given the power the make laws for the world
but only to pass resolutions to help shape public opinion.

National governments have not been willing to give up
their national sovereignty even on international issues.
Thus the United Nations is not an effective world government
but only a forum for diplomatic discussion, commissions,
and various voluntary social and charitable organizations.
Yet much progress has been made toward world cooperation,
and with the cold-war superpower confrontation ending
now is the time for new initiatives on world organization.

Either the United Nations could be radically reformed,
or a world constitutional convention could be planned
to discuss and design an entirely new world organization.
Some progress on disarmament will probably have to be made
before people and governments would be willing to trust
an entirely new process of constitutional world government.
Major reforms of the United Nations could be a transition
to a more completely democratic federal world government.
As national governments become more democratic internally
so that people feel empowered as their rights are respected,
and nonviolent means of change are seen as most effective,
the world can be slowly demilitarized as it becomes freer.
For the threat and use of military force is the opposite
of freedom and the respect for human life and well-being.

Because of fears a world government could be oppressive,
we must exercise great caution in designing and implementing
its constitution and political institutions of governing.
The principles of constitutional government and rule by law
have been found to give objective standards for judging
the conduct of the individuals participating in government.
As long as the people vigilantly monitor their leaders,
those who abuse their privileges may be held to account.
Also distributing power to different levels of government
by means of a federal system which limits their functions
and by the system of checks and balances in the branches
so that one group makes the laws by democratic legislation,
other independent judges and juries decide on actual cases,
and a third group of civil servants administer the agencies
all helps to prevent individuals or self-appointed groups
from having so much power that they can abuse the people.

The constitution would give the federal world government
authority in specified areas of international relations
and provide methods for protecting human rights everywhere
and for cooperatively solving problems of global concern.
All other powers would be reserved to the nations or states.
The world government would not have the authority to censor,
propagandize or interfere in nations' internal affairs,
except to bring to justice individuals in those nations
who might violate international laws or abuse human rights.
In interactions with other nations countries would need
to cooperate with international regulations and practices,
but people may act locally in their own internal affairs-
social, economic, political, educational or health issues,
and as long as they are not violating international laws
they would have the right to live and act as they please.

As a structure for a democratic federal world government
I would suggest as a possible example the following model:
The legislators in the world parliament could be elected
directly by the people through universal suffrage
in districts of ten million people for two-year terms.
Nations with less than ten million people would elect
one representative who would have a vote equal to
the portion of ten million in their nation's population.
Thus all people would have equivalent voting weight,
and every nation would have at least one voice to speak.

The administrative branch and enforcement decisions
could be headed by an executive council of nine presidents
elected for one six-year term, three every two years,
representing North America, South America, Africa, Europe,
west Asia, north Asia, east Asia, India, and China.
Decisions authorizing the use of any military force
in enforcing world laws would require a two-thirds vote.

The judiciary of the democratic federal world government
could consist of a supreme world court of nine judges
appointed by the presidents and confirmed by the parliament,
and of a grand jury of eighteen experts in international law
who would be appointed to determine which individuals
would be indicted for crimes against international laws.
Those indicted would be arrested by unarmed world police
to stand trial in a world court before a jury of twelve.
Convictions could be appealed to the supreme world court.

If any individuals refused to submit to a just trial
or violently attempted to resist arrest by unarmed police,
the executive council of presidents would meet to decide
what enforcement is needed to bring violators to justice.
Authorization to use force might require an affirmative vote
by two-thirds of the presidents and of the parliament.
Any individuals who refuse to submit to unarmed arrest
after already having been indicted by the grand jury
would receive an additional charge as would other violators.

Thus world law could enforce the Nuremberg Principles,
which state, "The fact that a person committed an act
which constitutes a crime under international law
acted as Head of State or responsible governmental official
does not relieve him (or her) from responsibility
under international law," and "the fact that a person
acted pursuant to an order of his (or her) Government
or of a superior does not relieve him (or her)
from responsibility under international law, provided that
a moral choice was in fact possible to him (or her)."

In this way the people of the world would have a way
to prevent the great crimes of wars that have plagued
human civilization throughout its turbulent history so far.
No individual or group of people would be allowed to use
the brutal power of military forces to oppress others.
With intelligent and rational means of settling disputes
so that justice and not economic, social or technical power
is the determining factor in the resulting decision,
many human and social resources would be liberated
from the darkness of fear, terrorism and violence
and turned to humanitarian and productive activities.
For this to happen the people must express their will
by engaging in democratic efforts and organizations
locally, nationally and even in global solidarity.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Our first instinct in life is to protect ourselves,
but we soon learn that we are equally obligated
to protect others we care for who are like us,
as mothers and fathers protect their children.
We all want to be free, but there is no God-given right
to be free to do anything if it takes away others' rights.
We may be free to wrong others or do harmful things,
but that doesn't make doing those things right.
In human society we must learn how to recognize justice;
and if we wish to have our own rights protected,
then we must respect others' rights as equal to ours.
Thus all human rights have two sides we must practice-
the freedom to exercise our own rights as we wish
and the obligation not to violate the rights of others.
If we believe in the dignity of individual rights,
we each have the responsibility to protect those rights
for everyone and anyone who is in danger of losing them.

Benjamin Franklin once asked God to grant that
not only the love of liberty but a thorough respect
for human rights should so pervade the Earth
that a philosopher might travel anywhere on her surface
and say, "This too is my country."
For if human dignity is abused and violated anywhere,
we are all injured and in danger of suffering too.

Another advantage of a democratic world constitution
is that it could include a bill of rights for all people.
Already widespread public opinion in the world holds that
everyone has basic rights which should not be violated.
How can the most essential human rights be protected?
Laws and systems of jurisprudence have been instituted
so that injustices can be deterred and prevented.
Thus governments have been established by people
in order to find ways to resolve social conflicts.
Although often in history small groups of powerful people
have dominated such governments and exploited others,
the development of written constitutions and laws
devised, enforced and judged by democratic consent
has provided a process whereby justice is more likely.

Clearly some government is needed to protect people
from being wronged by other private individuals or groups.
The more difficult task is how to protect individuals
from violations by government and public officials.
Even democracies can use a majority to oppress minorities,
and representatives elected in democratic republics
may be corrupted by power, money or other influences.
Governments need to be devised so that power is distributed
and not concentrated in too few hands without a check.
Constitutions must protect the rights of individuals
against the unwarranted interference by governments,
and methods for the redress of grievances must be equally
available and accessible to every citizen in the world.

Study of the last five thousand years of human history
indicates that more people have been murdered, robbed,
enslaved and imprisoned by official acts of governments
than by all the private crimes added up together.
Certainly this is even more true in the last century
since major wars alone have killed so many millions.
The challenge of reversing this tendency is not easy,
but simultaneously with increased destructive power,
education and social institutions have been evolving
which can provide us with more intelligent processes
for settling disputes in rational and humane ways.

Naturally not everyone will agree on which rights
are to be universally protected in every country,
but we can start with the most obvious and basic rights
such as life, liberty, and the security of one's person.
Thus no individual or state should be allowed to kill,
torture or deprive anyone of their basic freedoms
of movement, speech, religion, artistic expression
unless one is being restrained by due process of law.

All human beings are born free and equal in rights
and shall be judged as individual persons before the law
regardless of their race, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or any other status whatsoever.
No one should be arbitrarily arrested, detained or exiled.
Everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty
in a fair and public trial by an independent judge or jury.

Everyone has the right of privacy with regard to
their own body, marriage, family, home or correspondence.
Everyone has the right to move freely within their country,
to leave any country and to return to their own country.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, belief,
opinion, conscience and religion and their expressions,
and the freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Everyone has the right to participate in elections,
public service and the open processes of government.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
details the rights listed above but also adds other
social and economic rights which should be protected.
These include: the right to work under decent conditions
with equal pay for equal work, fair remuneration,
protection against unemployment, paid holidays,
rest and leisure, and the right to join a union;
the right to own property, the right to a basic living
including food, clothing, housing and medical care
and social services needed in case of unemployment,
sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, lack of work,
or for any other circumstances beyond one's control;
the right to free education in the elementary stages
and to equal access to higher education based on merit,
and parents have a prior right to choose
the kind of education they want for their children;
the right to participate in the cultural life of society,
to enjoy the arts and share in scientific advancements.

Many people may consider some of these rights ideals,
for clearly they're not all guaranteed in the world today.
Yet we should also be able to realize that
they are within the reach of the global human community.
How these rights are protected and fulfilled is determined
by the people, whether locally, nationally or globally.

Probably at first only the most basic civil rights
can be universally protected by a world authority.
Yet the people in each nation and locality can work
to see that all their people's social and economic rights
are guaranteed as well by national and local governments.
Also the wealthier nations may voluntarily assist
developing countries to raise their standards of living,
especially when so many human and technical resources
may be saved once general disarmament has been completed.

Furthermore greater economic justice internationally
and taxes on those nations which use global resources
or cause global pollution problems can also be distributed
to help develop the economies of the poorer nations.
As people realize more the interdependence of all people
they will ensure that everyone's rights are protected
so that the whole human community can be healthy,
happy, prosperous, and environmentally sustainable.

GENERAL DISARMAMENT

For too long the human race has brutalized itself in wars
and wasted its human, technical and economic resources
in building and maintaining weapons and destructive forces.
The catastrophic potential of atomic and hydrogen bombs
should have taught us the time has come to solve conflicts
in ways that do not threaten to destroy all life on Earth.
Yet for forty years the intensely ideological struggle
between the American and Soviet empires had civilization
on the brink of a possibly omnicidal nuclear holocaust.

Ironically the competition of this nuclear arms race
has greatly hampered the economies of both superpowers
such that the Soviet Communist system has collapsed,
and the United States is awash in a sea of debt
with people treading water in an economic recession
which could slide into a full-scale world depression.

I believe that the most correctable cause of suffering
in the world today is this wasteful military activity.
The world has been wasting about a trillion dollars
each year on these fearful and destructive pursuits.
With the end of the cold war the time has clearly come
for more humane policies by national governments.
Already the USA and what used to be the Soviet Union
are beginning to cut back their nuclear arsenals.

Will the people of the world demand that their nations
stop this military competition and violent strife
so that we can all live in peace and global justice?
Or will fearful and ambitious leaders be allowed
to continue threatening each other with armed forces?
Now that democratic principles are generally accepted
in every major country, and imperialism is discredited,
will nation states be able to live within their borders
without these massive and sophisticated military forces?

A rational analysis of our economies makes it obvious
that we all would be better off if no one had militaries,
but people's fears and habits are difficult to change.
The interests vested in the military-industrial complex
are tremendous and very well connected politically.
Like the revolutionary changes in the late Soviet Union,
the impetus for nonviolent reform must come from people.

Because the United States has the greatest military,
its people have a special responsibility to initiate
the largest reductions in nuclear and conventional forces.
As the superpowers learn how to reduce their arms
and convert their personnel to constructive purposes,
the practicality of disarmament will be more apparent.

The next step will be multi-lateral nuclear disarmament.
For this to work everyone will have to be assured
that no one will be allowed to hold out or cheat.
Thus nuclear disarmament must be agreed on internationally
by a treaty with the United Nations or a world authority.
The U. N. or a new democratic federal world government
could establish a process of step-by-step disarmament
with careful inspection and thorough enforcement
by international teams of experts and technicians;
then world laws could be passed banning such weapons
as well as the sale or transfer of arms between nations.
As long as nuclear power plants still exist anywhere,
all nuclear materials would have to be monitored
and regularly inspected by the international teams.

When people see that these procedures are working,
the next step would be to reduce conventional forces.
This could also be done gradually by a similar process.
As people come to realize that the rest of the world
would make sure that any violators would be prosecuted,
all national armed forces in the world could be eliminated.
During disarmament the U. N. or world authority could use
whatever forces are needed to make sure everyone complies.

If necessary, forces from various complying nations
could be lent to the world authority to put down
any violent resistance to the disarmament procedures.
Once all forces had been disarmed down to local police,
the world authority would require only nonviolent police.
Only if a group attempted to resist international law
would the world authority need to use any military forces.
Thus the world authority's military forces would be small
unless an emergency crisis called for a larger response.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

As the world demilitarizes and converts defense work
into constructive and productive enterprises for human use,
the overall standard of living will be able to rise again
with the many technical and modern improvements of science.
However, the reactionary tendencies of recent years
in which the rich got richer and poverty increased
will have to be reformed toward a more progressive
and fairer distribution of society's economic benefits.

Although totalitarian Communism has proved a failure,
unfettered capitalism has also shown glaring weaknesses
which have led progressive nations to balance themselves
with a combination of social programs and free markets.
The former Soviet republics and eastern European nations
are discovering that dismantling socialist controls
can result in much unemployment, inflation, and crime.

Stable societies in western Europe and the Pacific rim
have found that the competition of free enterprise
needs to be moderated by a sharing of social benefits
organized by democratic national and local governments
in education, health care, highways and transportation,
postal systems, and other philanthropic agencies
that are fair to all by vigilant public administration.
The nations of Europe are also overcoming many barriers
by joining together in the European Economic Community.

Yet the great disparities between rich and poor nations
as well as between social classes within countries
call for progressive reforms and better distribution.
Let us take the United States of America as an example.
Because of the enormous increases in U.S. collective debt,
both in international trade and of the federal government,
the U. S. is beginning to have problems resembling those
of the debt-ridden nations of the developing world,
even though poverty in North America is not nearly as bad
as that of so many in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

I have some suggestions for solving these problems
which could also be implemented in other countries.
First, the value of demilitarizing the economy should be
clear to all from the examples of Japan and West Germany
who, having been restrained from military competition
because of their aggressive pasts and defeat in war,
have now surpassed the U.S. as the wealthiest nations.
Thus as long as the U.S. wants to continue its role
as a police force for the world it will bear the burden
of the nonproductive waste of its various resources.
However, if the U.S. and Russia will both demilitarize,
they will be able to reap the fruits of a peace economy.

Yet the disparity in wealth and opportunity in the U.S.
will be in even greater need of reform to find employment
for the millions of defense workers and military personnel
who will need to make transitions into productive work.
U.S. society and its government need to develop ways
to use these human resources so that all will benefit.
That government which paid them trillions of dollars
surely can be used to help them find useful things to do.

The U.S. Government can eliminate its large deficits
and increase its productive spending in two ways:
first, by greatly reducing the military budget
and second, by gradually paying off its national debt
so that the interest payments are reduced over time.
The Social Security program pays for itself with its taxes,
and by making income taxes more progressive again,
more funds will become available for investing
in productive activities that benefit all of society.

The "trickle down" economic policies of the 1980s,
like those of the 1920s, caused greed to expand feverishly
into speculative investments enabling a few to get richer,
while most people ended up suffering from the depression
which followed when the speculative bubble burst.
In the eighties and nineties this maldistribution
has been greatly worsened by the enormous borrowing
of the federal government to pay for a war economy.
The result is that the wealthy are collecting interest
on the rest of society while the money is not productive.
Such irresponsible borrowing allows the wealthy to profit
from the promised labor of future generations' taxes.

To correct this injustice and ameliorate the situation
I suggest that the national debt should be paid off soon
by those who have been benefiting from such bonds.
This could be done in a few years with a progressive tax
on the excessive assets of the top one or two percent.
Most people have few assets of accumulated wealth;
yet they have to pay income tax on their earnings,
while those who are hoarding enormous amounts of wealth
pay little or no tax except on additional income.
The top one-half of one percent owns more wealth
than ninety percent of the rest of the population.
Yet these same wealthy people are collecting interest
on the money the federal government borrows each year.

By an annual one percent tax on assets over $100,000
and two percent on assets over one million dollars,
or perhaps more if people decide that is best,
the national debt could be paid off over a few years.
Mostly the same people would be paying and receiving.
If individuals avoided the tax by giving assets away,
that would help to redistribute the wealth more fairly
and increase the circulation of those resources.
This tax could cover the assets of all U.S. citizens,
no matter where they are, plus all assets in the U.S.
If other nations did the same to pay their debts,
the entire world economy could be brought into balance,
for the huge loans of recent years to developing nations
went mostly to the capitalist class in those countries,
since the conditions of the poor are no better now;
in fact the poor are burdened by pressures put on them
by the financial interests to export for profit
instead of being able to work to meet their own needs.
Such reforms are needed to stop the capitalist exploitation
of the poor and the world's natural resources by the rich.

People have the right to use their elected governments
to regulate the economic exchanges of the marketplace
to prevent their degeneration into a jungle of competition
where the powerful unjustly take advantage of the weak.
The entire society benefits when everyone receives
education, health care, environmental protection,
and equality before laws that prevent injustices.

Society also benefits when freedom and incentives
are promoted so long as rights are not violated.
Private business initiatives can be encouraged to prosper
so long as they are not allowed to do anyone harm.
Progressive income taxes only moderately affect incentives
to strive for excellence and rise in one's profession,
because greed for excessive wealth is not the only motive
for such attainment and probably not the best one either.
When society does a better job of making sure that
the basic needs of its poorest citizens are met,
then the moderate limits on the richest can be extended.
Thus all can prosper and rise together in fulfillment,
even though everyone will never be equal in all things.

As technology advances with computers and robotics,
there is the danger that unemployment will increase
and the disparity in incomes will grow greater.
To prevent society from being destabilized by this split,
everyone needs to be educated and trained for good jobs,
while weekly working hours can be gradually reduced
so that labor and income can be distributed more evenly.
Greater fairness will reduce envy, resentment and crime.

Everyone will be able to earn their daily bread,
and no one will be denied the benefits of society.
As people feel less insecure about material things
and have more leisure time to enjoy in other pursuits
that are social, educational, religious, and cultural,
the quality of life and human happiness will flourish.

UNIVERSAL EDUCATION

Our greatest resource as humans is our intelligence.
We transcend the instinctive adaptation of animals,
because we're able to learn from our environment
and teach our children the better ways we discover.
For just a few thousand years of civilization humans
have passed on benefits through cultural transmission.
The more we know the more choices we have available;
thus by education everyone becomes more free and able.

Education teaches self-reliance and responsibility
so that each of us can be autonomous and self-directing.
The most prosperous and stable societies are those
in which education is most widely available to all.
Since we all benefit when people are more educated,
it is in our interest as a society to make sure
that everyone has the proper opportunity to learn.
Pooling our resources to provide good schools for all
is the best way to ensure that the future will be bright.

Clearly we're efficient enough now in providing for life
that we're capable of giving all children good education.
We can improve the quality of future generations
by employing more and better people in our schools.
With more teachers the learning experience is better
both for students who get more attention devoted to them
and for teachers who are less burdened and more focused.

Egalitarian societies give greater opportunities
for those of different social classes and ethnic groups
to obtain higher education than their parents did.
Open and free education gives all children hope
that they can rise to achieve their full potential
and choose their own destinies based on knowledge.
Society can through government ensure that everyone
who is capable of learning can attend universities
while those choosing otherwise can get needed training,
for what is sown in education will be reaped productively.

The people in every country benefit in many ways
when those in other nations are well educated.
Take population control for example: statistic show
that better educated people tend to have fewer children.
Awareness limits pollution and environmental degradation.
Though it hasn't always been so, ultimately by education
people will learn to be less violent and less warlike.
Universal education teaches people to be more tolerant
of ethnic, cultural, social and religious differences.

Thus education should be global and universal in scope
rather than strictly sectarian or nationalistic.
Although some specialization may inevitably occur,
everyone should be able to study the best contributions
from all the cultural and social groups in the world.
While still learning their own native languages,
a universal language could eventually be agreed upon,
probably either an improved form of English or Esperanto,
and taught in schools as the language of the educated
so that everyone could communicate with this language.

As we become more efficient in our technology
and less obsessed with the insecurity of destructiveness,
increased leisure will make education more valuable
and much more greatly appreciated by all than ever before.
For most people learning will become a lifelong pastime.

HEALTH CARE

In this age can anyone justify not giving health care
to people in need of it, simply because they are poor?
Our humanitarian instincts tell us that basic health care
should be readily available to every person on Earth,
although very expensive and extremely intrusive measures
for prolonging life need not be applied in all cases.
A main problem for modern society is organizing how to pay
for all these medical procedures and treatments
so that everyone will get the medical care they need,
and medical workers will be fairly compensated.

Though some procedures, which may be considered cosmetic
or optional, could be excepted and paid for privately,
it seems to me that a free market system is not needed
to reduce people's desires to receive basic services.
Doctors and nurses would know who needs basic treatment,
and other services related to prevention or psychology,
which might become excessively popular in a free system,
could be balanced by cost sharing with patient payment.

By society taking on the responsibility for insuring
all its people by their governments' guarantee of care,
a tremendous amount of bureaucracy and financial paperwork
in both the private and public sectors can be eliminated.
By making basic health care universally available
any person could simply go to a doctor whenever necessary
without having to worry about buying and paying insurance
or paying for needed treatments and medical services.
Again, optional services would be available to anyone
in a free market system or through private insurance.
Thus no one could complain that universal health care
is rationing care or taking away their right to buy
whatever medical or health care services they wish.

People through their governmental representatives
would decide how taxes would pay for these programs
and which levels of government would administer them.
Products and activities which are harmful to health,
such as tobacco, alcohol, and other dangerous drugs,
plus activities which pollute the air or land or water
or cause diseases over prolonged periods of time,
could be highly taxed to pay for the medical treatments
that in the end they cost both individuals and society.
This would also serve as a deterrent to unhealthy things,
yet at the same time allow people their freedom of choice.

For example, instead of giving land and water subsidies
for livestock production that wastes productive land
which could be used for healthy fruits and vegetables,
meat, which has been found to be unhealthy for humans,
and land used for livestock could be taxed more highly.
Such funds could be used for treatment and research
on cancers, heart disease, strokes, and other illnesses,
while at the same time discouraging the eating of meat.
When one examines the agricultural picture of Earth,
one must conclude that humans need to use less land
for livestock in order to cultivate more healthy food
so that enough land will be available to feed everyone.

Governments have aggravated the addictive drug problem
into a huge crime issue with their "war on drugs."
This has greatly escalated violence on the streets,
just as alcohol prohibition did in the U.S. in the 1920s.
By decriminalizing drugs for those over 18 years of age
and putting the emphasis on education and treatment,
overburdened judicial and penal systems would be relieved,
criminal violence would be reduced, drugs could be taxed,
and users could be rehabilitated instead of punished.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

We all live on and share this same planet Earth,
and we must learn how to take good care of her,
or else we will leave a poor legacy to our children.
Already the radioactive materials that have been created
in the last fifty years have become a difficult problem
that people will have to live with for thousands of years.
The Earth is a living system, a great organic being,
and if humans significantly alter her homeostatic balance
her adaptations could become dangerous to people's lives.

With all our scientific advances we need to apply wisdom
in learning how to be in harmony with the nature of Earth.
Even though we are merely parasites on this planet,
because we are able to alter our environment so much,
we're capable of ruining it as well as improving it.
We need to think globally as a whole society together
even as we act locally to cooperate with the greater good.
One of the most practical ways to assure good cooperation
is to use our democratic governments to pass laws
that make sure the violations of some are not allowed
to ruin a healthy and productive life for the rest of us.

The most harmful actions can be made criminal offenses,
while more moderate changes in behavior can be shaped
through the incentives and deterrence of the tax systems.
For example, dumping toxic waste should be illegal,
while efforts to reduce other waste can be encouraged
by placing taxes on all products and services which
create various forms of trash, such as in packaging.
Recycling materials can be promoted so that ultimately
all our handling of materials may be made more efficient.

Tax incentives can be given to encourage the development
of sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind,
while nonrenewable polluters such as oil and coal
can be highly taxed for their bad effect on the atmosphere
and since they are non-replenishable diminishing resources.
Eventually advanced developments in electronic services
should be able to help us to reduce the use of paper.
Scientific research can be encouraged, and perhaps some day
we'll learn how to produce safe fusion energy like the sun.
New transportation systems can benefit everyone,
and better communication brings us all closer together.
The goal of each generation should be to pass on
a better world than we inherited from our parents.

CULTURAL DIVERSITY

In working for global consciousness and responsibility
it's important that we tolerate and respect individual
and cultural differences among the peoples of the Earth.
As we value our own independence and freedom of expression
we should also respect the choices and styles of others.
As long as people are not violent or harmful to others,
why should they not be allowed to live as they please?
Through education and cultural activities we can learn
to appreciate the various contributions of social groups.

The individual choices in life we make for ourselves
should not be imposed on the behavior of others.
For the sake of our own peace of mind we're better off
if we don't expect others to have the same beliefs.
Usually it's those who are insecure in what they believe
who feel the need to have others agreeing with them.
Therefore let us all learn how to live and let live.

SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

Every soul is equally divine and as sacred as the next.
People who have authentic spiritual experiences themselves
will learn how to transcend the differences of traditions.
As individuals become aware of living spiritual principles,
they will love everyone and care about all humanity
and will act for the highest good of all concerned.
Intolerance and narrow-minded fundamentalist dogmas
will decrease as more people think for themselves.
Every tradition will be respected, but people will be able
to follow their own hearts and make their own decisions.
As humanity evolves, teachings of great spiritual leaders
will not just be theory from scriptures preached about,
but many will be practicing and teaching these principles.
It's within our power to bring about a society on Earth
that will actualize true brotherhood and sisterhood
with the justice and mercy that all the holy ones know.

This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.

Copyright 1996, 2008 by Sanderson Beck

A PLEA FOR LOVE
Love
Global Democracy
Human Rights
General Disarmament
Economic Justice
Universal Education
Health Care
Environmental Responsibility
Cultural Diversity
Spiritual Transformation

BEST FOR ALL: How We Can Save the World
HISTORY OF PEACE Contents
WORLD PEACE MOVEMENT Principles, Purposes, and Methods

BECK index