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Mankind’s desire for peace can be realized only by the creation of a world government. With all my heart I believe that the world’s present system of sovereign nations can only lead to barbarism, war, and inhumanity. – Albert Einstein
God grant that the people of the world may be graciously aided to preserve the light of His loving counsels within the globe of wisdom. We cherish the hope that everyone may be adorned with the vesture of true wisdom, the basis of the government of the world. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 166.
The Baha’i Faith pivots around the concept of world unity. Baha’u’llah revealed that central Baha’i teaching in the mid-1800s, long before much of the world even had any sense of our planet as a single entity. Today, though, the economic and migratory forces of increasing globalization have made the concept of world unity a polarizing one:
The new world order that is in the making must focus on the creation of a world democracy, peace and prosperity for all. – Nelson Mandela
The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining supercapitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control. Do I mean a conspiracy? Yes, I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, incredibly evil in intent. – former U.S. Representative Larry P. MacDonald
As you can probably tell from the tone of that last quote, the phrase “new world order” or its abbreviation “NWO” has even turned into a full-blown conspiracy theory in some quarters. When you see “NWO” or “one-world government” in print or on a website, it often stands for some conspiratorial “end-times” vision of a totalitarian globalist state run by a secretive, evil, wealthy power elite, poised to take over the world at any moment—or maybe “they” have already taken it over. Some people believe these conspiracy theories; and often “prove” their NWO-based ideas by relating them to the very real forces of globalization now occurring in the world.
From a Baha’i perspective, though, the phrase “new world order” has an entirely different meaning. Instead of standing for authoritarianism or tyranny, it stands, in a Baha’i context, for freedom—freedom from hunger, poverty, war and oppression. In the Baha’i teachings, a new world order refers to the progressive, inevitable next stage in global governance—a worldwide spiritual democracy:
The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 136.
The day is approaching when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein, and spread out a new order in its stead. He, verily, is powerful over all things. – Ibid., p. 313.
This New World Order, whose promise is enshrined in the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, whose fundamental principles have been enunciated in the writings of the Center of His Covenant, involves no less than the complete unification of the entire human race. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 161.
Few people deny the inexorable forward march of the forces of globalization any longer. Characterized by movement, globalization moves ideas, products, funds, knowledge and people around the planet in a faster and more efficient way than ever before. Nations have become completely interdependent. Economies have intertwined. Trade has vastly increased. National borders and identities have become less and less important. Our newly-globalized international society has brought together a complex web of forces and factors that unite concepts, cultures, markets, beliefs, practices and people, bringing them ever closer to each other. The complete unification of the entire human race, as everyone can now see, is fast approaching.
But the forces of globalization aren’t all positive. Many say they tend to privilege corporate interests over the interests of the working classes, the poor and indigenous; that they promote the loss of jobs by allowing companies to outsource employment to lower-cost countries; that they harm the global environment by giving multinational corporations unlimited autonomy to pollute in unregulated countries; and that they increase the movement of migrants and refugees from the global East and South to the global North and West. For those reasons and others, globalization frightens many people, and has now begun to create a nativist, xenophobic backlash across much of the developed world. The UK’s exit from the European Union, just one example of that backlash, will undoubtedly exacerbate and magnify the problem—or give the world an object lesson about the perils of resisting unification.
Baha’is believe that only one thing can control, harness and direct the unstoppable forces of globalization: a new world order. That system of spiritual unity and global governance, democratic in its origins and world-embracing in its scope, forms the ultimate, “supreme mission” of the Baha’i Faith:
The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, whose supreme mission is none other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful to its implications, be regarded as signalizing through its advent the coming of age of the entire human race. It should be viewed not merely as yet another spiritual revival in the ever-changing fortunes of mankind, not only as a further stage in a chain of progressive Revelations, nor even as the culmination of one of a series of recurrent prophetic cycles, but rather as marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution of man’s collective life on this planet. The emergence of a world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding of a world civilization and culture… should, by their very nature, be regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the organization of human society, though man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and develop. – Ibid., p. 163.
Next: Going Global: Becoming Citizens of One City