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The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?

How Could We Govern a Peaceful World?

David Langness | Sep 13, 2015

PART 15 IN SERIES Building a Community

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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David Langness | Sep 13, 2015

PART 15 IN SERIES Building a Community

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

The wise man belongs to all countries, for the home of a great soul is the whole world.
– Democritus

Our civilization is now in the transition stage between the age of warring empires and a new age of world unity and peace. – John Boyd Orr

As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world. – Virginia Woolf

There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity. – Isaac Asimov

If the learned and wise men of goodwill were to impart guidance unto the people, the whole earth would be regarded as one country. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 172.

OK, close your eyes and just let yourself dream for a minute or two: try to imagine a peaceful, unified world, the Earth as one country.

Not an easy task, right? The deep divisions, fractious politics and constant conflict of our contemporary world make it hard to conceptualize. But if you think hard enough, and allow your mind to see such a promising future, you can do it. Imagine a world without war; without heavily-militarized borders; without the hatred we see and feel now. Imagine our weapons slowly rusting away from disuse. Imagine the enormous progress we could make without constantly manufacturing new weapons and fighting new wars; the building of schools, the progress in medicine, the new discoveries and technological developments we could achieve, the love we could spread around the globe, the growing unity between the races and religions. Imagine children growing up without fear and trauma and displacement.

Now, let’s think a little further: How would you recommend we run this newly peaceful, unified world? Could we utilize the system we have now—a planet full of sovereign, competing nations? Or could we possibly conceive of another, more advanced and less inherently conflicted system—a united federation of independent countries organized as a commonwealth of nations?

That’s the Baha’i model you’re visualizing:

This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. A world executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth. A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may arise between the various elements constituting this universal system. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 202.

A world legislature; a world executive and a world tribunal: those three elements make up the Baha’i model for the world government of the future. This kind of tripartite governance, often referred to as the separation of powers, comes originally from ancient Greece, and now represents the basic structure of most of the world’s democratic and parliamentary republics. First called a “mixed government” by Aristotle, it separates the powers of government so they cannot be consolidated into authoritarian rule. Composed of a legislative body or bodies; an executive function normally held by a prime minister, a monarch or president; and a judiciary system with local, regional and national courts; this three-way separation of powers avoids excessive centralization, protects against tyranny and despotism, and maintains a system of checks and balances designed to limit the consolidation of too much power in any one sector:

It is very evident that in the future there shall be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be held up as the example of future government — that is to say, each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of international peace. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 167.

Baha’is believe that a new, peaceful era in human affairs now approaches, when we will finally apply the age-old wisdom of a democratically-elected, tripartite system of governance to the whole world:

…there must needs be established the parliament of man or court of last appeals for international questions. The members of this arbitral court of justice will be representatives of all the nations. In each nation the members must be ratified by the government and the king or ruler, and this international parliament will be under the protection of the world of humanity. In it all international difficulties will be settled. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 3, p. 6.

What can we do to reach this promising, progressive goal? What has to happen first? According to the Baha’i teachings, we need to increase our intelligence, our unity and our love of peace:

Now, praise be to God, the signs of intelligence are becoming manifest among the people in some parts of the world. This is the dawning of the dayspring of the Most Great Peace. This is our hope: to spread the oneness of the realm of man, to destroy the foundation of hatred and animosity from among the people, to make manifest the Greatest Peace, so that the nations of the world may affiliate with each other and all the governments may strengthen between themselves the bonds of love and unity, the International Court of Arbitration may be established and all the world-wide problems and difficulties which arise between the nations may be adjudicated in that Universal Court.

The solving of these international problems depend upon the increase of the number of the lovers of Peace, and those who are devoted to the greater friendship of nations may add their power to the public opinion which revolves around the Peace of the World. Then, through the powerful demonstration of the people of peace and reconciliation, all the nations will be forced to accept the doctrine of Peace. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 2, pp. 4-5.

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  • George Wang
    Dec 10, 2017
    The subject of the peace of the world should be a required course in every level of students globally. The solution may be realized through all the spiritual teachings. Power and money & other similar elements cause this turmoil world. George Wang
  • Sep 15, 2015
    Powerfully written. Moving and inspiring. Beautifull and perfectly informative.
  • Sep 14, 2015
    Excellent! Concise and straight forward. Thank you.
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