As I think I’ve mentioned before on here, I don’t have cable TV. I just get the major networks, PBS, a few local channels and a bunch of Christian channels. The last are mostly devoted to people on elaborate stages giving speeches and asking for money. However, the other day on one of these channels, I saw a different sort of program.
I don’t know the name of the show or the channel, otherwise I’d tell you. All I know is that it was some older fellow standing in the middle of the desert on the outskirts of Jerusalem, reading from a bunch of papers he was holding and trying to keep from blowing away. The production values were, to say the least, horrifying. If any of you readers can guess what show this may be, feel free to tell me.
What the guy had to say, however, was somewhat… interesting. He was talking about how many intellectuals, especially in the atomic age, desired a “one world government”. He dated this impulse back all the way to Nebuchadnezzar II, and said that they [the intellectuals] did not believe you could have many strong countries, you could only have one government. (I’m paraphrasing.) I got the impression he was getting towards the point that these intellectuals were wrong, and one world government was a very bad idea, and that the Bible had predicted all of this. He was taking his time about it though, and I had work in the morning, so I didn’t get to hear how it all ended up.
(The politics on these religious shows are always interesting. One day, while channel surfing I saw a show claiming that people were now placing their faith in government instead of God. What we need, according to the Bible, so they said, was less government. Smaller government. In fact, watching some of these shows, you get the impression that they feel the Republican Party platform is the word of the Almighty.)
“One World Government” is a phrase conspiracy theorists throw around a lot to mean all sorts of wild things. But I think it is true that many people would like to see more international cooperation and conflict resolution by some means other than wars between nations. I think this train of thought really started because of World War I, which showed a lot of the problems that can arise with multiple competing nations.
In Europe, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, you had lots of strong, independent nations–strong empires, even–such as Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Germany and so on. The peace among these nations, such as it was, was kept by treaties the countries made with each other. Unfortunately, this system of treaties proved to be unstable in the face of rebellious nationalist agitators and military build-ups between competing nations, and thus, through a complicated series of events, the treaties dictated that a massive war broke out.
In the aftermath, people looked around and said, quite logically, “how can we make sure that this doesn’t happen again?” That very intellectual President, Woodrow Wilson, even proposed the League of Nations, though ironically the U.S. did not join it. Of course, the League failed to prevent ultra-nationalist sentiment in Germany from igniting another, even more terrible war.
The League was replaced with the United Nations after World War II. And ever since, nationalist sentiment has opposed the U.N., fearing that it will destroy all of the country’s traditions and create a one world government. As some readers know, I am fascinated by conspiracy theories, even though I do not believe in any of them. And, as I said, there are a lot of conspiracy theories about the “one world government”, and I think the root reason for all of them is the nationalist elements’ fear of being governed by cosmopolitan intellectuals.
Having said all that, I think really all most people actually want is some international way of resolving conflicts without having to go to war. People, both nowadays and especially in the immediate aftermath of the World Wars, just don’t want to see a repeat of that. Seems hard to blame them, really.