Charity in Truth: The Pope Calls for One World Government
(This is a story that I might have missed had I not read Brenda Bower’s blog.)
On June 29th, Pope Benedict XVI issued an encyclical letter entitled, “CARITAS IN VERITATE,” (latin for “Charity in Truth.”) In this epistle, the pontiff spells out his views on the global economy, politics, charity, and social justice. I must confess the document was tedious to read (they say it’s 144 pages but in html who counts pages – it has 79 numbered points.) It would be easy to simply draw conclusions from others who are likely drawing conclusions from others who may or may not have read the document. But alas I refuse to do that. In preface of this review, I must say, I found myself agreeing with the Pope’s analysis of the global economy, the condition of those in underdeveloped countries, and his views on social justice. He seems to have the Christian social perspective however I found myself at odds with his suggestions on how positive change should be achieved.
Apparently, the Pope, like the Obama administration, does not like to see a good crisis go to waste. He proposes the global economic crisis is “an opportunity for discernment, in which to shape a new vision for the future,” (Point 21. Hereafter referred by number only.) His vision includes elements that should make one pause while responding to the shiver running up their spine. The Pope is clearly troubled by the social conditions in underdeveloped and developing nations. He sees the extreme poverty, high food prices, exploitation of labor, and how little aggregate populations in these nations have benefited from globalization and it pains him.
Reading the letter my impression is that the Pope must feel there is futility in calling on individual governments around the world to fix their problems, to pass local laws to enhance their quality of life, and mandate laborers to be paid a living wage. Instead the Pope says “there is urgent need of a true world political authority… such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights.” (67) There is no ambiguity, the Pope is calling for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT. He goes on to say, “it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums…They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres, and to the link between politics and the economic and civil spheres, as envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations.”
He assumes such a global government would be fair and charitable. I have limited personal knowledge about the inner workings of the U.N. but I do have a cousin who headed up an African relief project in the late 1970s. He was young and naive at the time and tried to efficiently use the funds granted him by the U.N. When his project was completed he attempted to return the excess funds (amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.) An astounded administrator of third world origins, instructed him to open a bank account in the Caribbean and deposit the money for use in his retirement years. I don’t know what he eventually did with the money but he was unable to return it to the U.N. My point is third world corruption and greed from underdeveloped and developing nations would see a global government as an efficient method to transfer wealth from developed nations – not to their impoverished populations but to the third world elite.
However, Pope Benedict XVI does make many observations I agree with. His call for freer labor unions (25) is laudable; – not in developed nations but in developing nations. (I heard that gasp, Reed.) In first world nations labor unions, for the most part, serve only to drag corporations down by demanding benefits in excess of productivity generated. In the third world, employees are abused, paid less than what is required to purchase necessities, and denied the right to ask for more. No American would submit to these conditions, yet we close our eyes when Indian children are enslaved and workers across the third world are denied basic human rights. (After all, we wouldn’t want to pay more for that pair of jeans.)
While making his case for the pitiful condition of peoples in exploited nations, the Pontiff touched on an issue near and dear to my heart, the syphoning of jobs and wealth. He writes, “The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market.” (25) His point is that as third world nations compete for first world money; workers in those nations pay the price through reduced rights. These workers do not benefit as Free Trade proponents have suggested they would. The money benefits the ruling classes and those businesses exploiting the labor. The point he does not make is that first world nations also suffers as jobs there are lost, the manufacturing base is compromised, and wealth is simply moved from the lower class to the upper. The benefit to industrialized nations is, of coarse, lower prices but the costs include not only lower wages for the lower classes and higher unemployment, but a smaller aggregate income tax base, (forcing greater taxes on the wealthy and business,) and greater entitlement payouts by first world governments.
He goes on to call for social justice in various areas and much of it I agree with. He suggests governments take long-term approaches to solving food scarcity, “The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed within a long-term perspective, eliminating the structural causes that give rise to it and promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries. This can be done by investing in rural infrastructures, irrigation systems, transport, organization of markets, and in the development and dissemination of agricultural technology that can make the best use of the human, natural and socio-economic resources that are more readily available at the local level, while guaranteeing their sustainability over the long term as well.” (27) All great ideas but I believe these are changes local governments, individuals, and businesses should be making, not a mandated redistribution of wealth from a global government.
One could write a book arguing against a single global government. But the Pope himself makes a case against it that many liberals might agree with even though he is actually talking about globalization of the economy. The Pontiff writes, “[the] danger exists, that of cultural levelling and indiscriminate acceptance of types of conduct and life-styles. In this way one loses sight of the profound significance of the culture of different nations, of the traditions of the various peoples, by which the individual defines himself in relation to life’s fundamental questions.” (26) A single world government would find itself in a constant cultural conflict as the interests of one region or culture would be in direct conflict with the interests or needs of another. Cultures would compete for dominance as well as resources. So a cultural leveling would by necessity have to occur.
In the early days of the United States cultures were blended and a uniquely American culture emerged. Today multiculturalism teaches that we should separate these cultures out, celebrating the uniqueness of our various constituencies. While it is laudable to accept the differences between cultures no society can exist as united if communities are culturally divided. Such cultural divides always result in social conflict.
Christian Prophetic Teaching
The Pope is the head of the largest Christian denomination on the planet. He is obviously an intelligent and compassionate man. He seems to have a good grasp of the global socio-economic times. However, I am experiencing an intellectual enigma in trying to understand his call for a global government. My biggest problem is not as much his extreme globalist view or his socialist leaning, rather it is his apparent ignorance of Christian prophetic teaching. Perhaps I missed his explanation, but isn’t it a central Christian belief that the Anti-Christ will create and dominate a one-world government in the last days? So why would the world’s leading Christian suggest we need a global government? Is he wanting to help fulfill prophecy? Is he somehow an evil pawn in a grand Satanic plot? Is he ignorant concerning Christian prophetic teaching? Or is he not really a true believer? I throw the questions out, but I have no answer.
In conclusion, the world today is certainly not a perfect place. The Pope is correct in urging governments to improve the status and conditions for their peoples, but he was completely off-base in calling for a one-world government. To even entertain the idea of a benevolent, just global government one must suspend all understanding of human nature. The same evil tendencies of man that created this imperfect world of ours would in turn distort, corrupt, and abuse a government as vast and powerful as a global one would, by necessity, be.