CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: OUR LAST BEST HOPE
Before proceeding with a discussion of possible solutions to this gigantic United Nations dilemma, it seems appropriate to examine the principle arguments so often used by sincere Americans to justify our continued support of the United Nations. These can be the equivalents of mental short circuits in an otherwise logical thinking process--a pre-conditioned substitute for rational thought. If repeated often enough without challenge, these clichés gradually seep their way into the subconscious where they can then command the emotions to their uncritical defense. For this reason, let us be sure that we clearly understand the basic flaws and fallacies that lurk behind the most typical clichés.
It is our last best hope for peace. This is, without a doubt, the most universal cliché used to defend the United Nations. It takes many forms and subtle variations. It is safe to say that over ninety percent of all pro-UN speeches, magazine articles and books hinge around this central theme. Unless we can spot the fallacies, we are completely at their mercy.
The first fallacy is clear to anyone who has taken the trouble to follow the UN's action to bring about peace in Katanga. There are two kinds of peace. One is the kind that most of us think about when we hear the word--a peace that includes freedom. But, if we define peace as merely the absence of war, then we could be talking about the peace that reigns in a Communist slave labor camp. One thing is certain, the wretched souls imprisoned there are not at war! But would they call it peace?
Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani expressed it well when he said:
The second fallacy, however, is far more important. How on earth can an organization promote peace in the world when strategically entrenched within it is the most aggressive peace-destroying force the world has ever seen? International Communism recognizes only the principle of brute force. When it was suggested at Teheran that the Pope request Hitler to guarantee the humane treatment of prisoners, Stalin remarked, "The Pope? How many divisions does he have?"2 Having the Communists sitting in key spots within a so-called peace-keeping force is as logical as having members of the Mafia on a police commissioner's board to prevent crime in Chicago!
It is curious to observe how so many people apparently grasp this fact when applied to Red China, but fail to apply the same principle to Soviet Russia. They become excited over the possibility of admitting Red China to the United Nations, but never advocate throwing out the other Communist countries. Former UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, as a typical example, once argued that Red China should not be admitted to the United Nations because the organization "is not a place where the virtuous and the criminal sit side by side."3 Yet, we do sit side by side with the Soviets. According to this kind of logic, either the U.S. is criminal or the Soviets are virtuous!
Obviously there can be no peace without order; there can be no order without justice; and there can be no justice when the criminal directs the police and judges his own trial. This is why, since the UN was created supposedly to prevent the rise of another world-grasping tyrannical power like Nazism, the equally ruthless and bloodthirsty regime of international Communism has spread at a fantastic pace and has massacred and enslaved more people, broken more families, destroyed more homes and conquered more land than Hitler even came close to doing. If that is our last best hope for peace, we have lost all semblance of sanity.
The UN must be hurting the Communists, otherwise why would they rant and rave against it so much? The answer to that one is very simple. They do not oppose the UN at all. The only time they appear to is when it is a public performance before news cameras or at press conferences. These dramatic performances are obviously for propaganda purposes only. What the Communists really think about the United Nations can be seen quite clearly from the glowing praise it receives in the Communist press which is aimed, not at the general public, but at the party members, themselves. But, to answer the question of why they pretend to oppose the UN, one of the best explanations was provided, unintentionally no doubt, by Adlai Stevenson when he said:
At least while we're talking we're not shooting. This is really only an extension of the peace cliché. But it is so widely used that it deserves special consideration. In addition to all the observations previously made, it should be further noted that this argument presumes an either-or situation that does not exist. It assumes that we either talk with the Communists or shoot them. Nothing could be further from reality. The best way to get yourself into a barroom brawl with a bunch of thugs is to go into the bar and start talking with them. The smart thing to do is to stay out and mind your own business!
The theory that as long as nations are talking over their problems there will not be war sounds fine. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Americans surely remember what happened on a December morning some years ago while Emperor Hiro Hito's envoys were in Washington--talking.
The UN is merely doing between nations what we did so successfully with our thirteen colonies. This, in essence, is the plea for federalism, and is based on the idea that the mere act of joining separate political units together into a larger federal entity will somehow prevent those units from waging war with each other. The success of our own federal system is most often cited as proof that this theory is valid. But such an evaluation is a shallow one. First of all, the American Civil War, one of the most bloody in all history, illustrates conclusively that the mere federation of governments, even those culturally similar, as in America, does not automatically prevent war between them. Secondly, we find that true peace quite easily exists between nations which are not federated. As a matter of fact, members of the British Commonwealth of Nations seemed to get along far more peacefully after the political bonds between them had been relaxed. In other words, true peace has absolutely nothing to do with whether separate political units are joined together--except, perhaps, that such a union may create a common military defense sufficiently impressive to deter an aggressive attack. But that is peace between the union and outside powers; it has little effect on peace between the units, themselves, which is the substance of the UN argument.
Peace is the natural result of relationships between groups and cultures which are mutually satisfactory to both sides. These relationships are found with equal ease within or across federal lines. As a matter of fact, they are the same relationships that promote peaceful conditions within the community, the neighborhood, the family itself. What are they? Just stop and think for a moment; if you were marooned on an island with two other people, what relationships between you would be mutually satisfactory enough to prevent you from resorting to violence in your relationships? Or, to put it the other way around, what would cause you to break the peace and raise your hand against your partners?
Obviously, if one or both of the others attempted to seize your food and shelter, you would fight. Their reaction to similar efforts on your part would be the same. If they attempted to take away your freedom, to dictate how you should conduct your affairs, or tell you what moral and ethical standards you must follow, likewise, you would fight. And if they constantly ridiculed your attire, your manners and your speech, in time you might be sparked into a brawl. The best way to keep the peace on that island is for each one to mind his own business, to respect each other's right to his own property, to respect the other fellow's right to be different (even to act in a way that seems foolish or improper, if he wishes), to have compassion for each other's troubles and hardships--but to force each other to do nothing! And, to make sure that the others hold to their end of the bargain, each should keep physically strong enough to make any violation of this code unprofitable'
Now, suppose these three got together and decided to form a political union, to "federate," as it were. Would this really change anything? Suppose they declared themselves to be the United Persons, and wrote a charter, and held daily meetings, and passed resolutions. What then? These superficial ceremonies might be fun for a while, but the minute two of them out-voted the other, and started "legally " to take his food and shelter, limit his freedom, or force him to accept an unwanted standard of moral conduct, they would be right back where they all began. Charter or no charter they would fight.
Is it really different between nations? Not at all. The same simple code of conduct applies in all human relationships, large or small. Regardless of the size, be it international or three men on an island, the basic unit is still the human personality. Ignore this fact, and any plan is doomed to failure.
When the thirteen colonies formed our Federal Union, they had two very important factors in their favor, neither of which are present in the United Nations. First, the colonies themselves were all of a similar cultural background. They enjoyed similar legal systems, they spoke the same language, they shared the similar religious beliefs. They had much in common. The second advantage, and the most important of the two, was that they formed their union under a constitution which was designed to prevent any of them, or a majority of them, from forcefully intervening in the affairs of the others. The original federal government was authorized to provide mutual defense, run a post office, and that was about all. As previously mentioned, however, even though we had these powerful forces working in our favor, full scale war did break out at one tragic point in our history.
The peace that followed, of course, was no peace at all, but was only the smoldering resentment and hatred that falls in the wake of any armed conflict. Fortunately, the common ties between North and South, the cultural similarities and the common heritage, have proved through the intervening years to overbalance the differences. And with the gradual passing away of the (veneration that carried the battle scars, the Union has healed.
In the United Nations, there are precious few common bonds that could help overcome the clash of cross-purposes that inevitably must arise between groups with such divergent ethnic, linguistic, legal, religious, cultural and political environments. To add fuel to the fire, the UN concept is one of unlimited governmental power to impose by force a monolithic set of values and conduct on all groups and individuals whether they like it or not. Far from insuring peace, such conditions can only enhance the chances of war.
There is nothing wrong with the basic argument for a world society or a world union of nations. But not just any world federation will do. Otherwise, we should have let Hitler conquer us all; that is precisely what he was working toward. In order to work, such a one-world system will have to be based on the same rules of conduct, the same principles of limited government that we have just outlined. The system will have to be one which, instead of using the police-backed force of government decree to cram every human being into a single mold, will set out systematically to reduce even the existing government restrictions on man's freedom.
When speaking about the United Nations, however, we are not talking about a United Nations, or some United Nations, or the idea of a United Nations; we are talking about the existing United Nations. And any thought that the existing United Nations will bring peace and happiness to this earth is merely the temporary triumph of hope over reason.
We don't want to turn back the clock to a period of isolationism, do we? This is two clichés wrapped into one. The first assumes that all change is progress. In other words, today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today. That is implied in the phrase "turn back the clock." In the realm of material things--inventions, gadgets, consumer products, etc.--this is often a valid observation. But when it comes to human relationships, there can be no such presumption. Change may or may not be an improvement. Each case must stand on its own merits.
The word isolationism is the basis of the second cliché; it has become a scare word to intimidate all critics of the United Nations. The so-called isolationism of the United States in past years is basically a myth. We have never been totally isolated from the world, either in diplomatic affairs or commerce. On the contrary, American influence and trade have been felt in every region of the globe. Private groups and individuals spread knowledge, business, prosperity, religion and good will throughout every foreign continent. It was not necessary then for America to give up her independence to have contact with other countries. It is not necessary now. Yet, in the summer of 1963 a Gallup Poll asked the following question: "Would it be better for the U.S. to keep independent in world affairs, or to work closely with other nations?"
How many people saw through the intellectual deception of the presumption that in order to work closely with other nations, we cannot stay independent? Apparently not many, for eighty percent of the answers favored "working closely with other nations."5
With the use of such clichés and loaded phrases, many Americans have been led to believe that this country is so strong it can defend and subsidize half the world, while at the same time believing it is so weak and "interdependent" that it cannot survive without pooling its sovereignty and independence with those it must subsidize. If wanting no part of this kind of "logic" is isolationism, then it is indeed time that it was brought back into vogue.
The UN provides a valuable vehicle for contact between nations. This may be true, but is it necessary? What is wrong with the traditional method of maintaining contact between nations through the use of ambassadors, envoys and a diplomatic corps? The United States has such contacts in all the major capitals of the world. Why not use them? In fact the traditional approach is far more likely to produce results than the debating arena of the United Nations. Consider what would happen if every time a small spat arose between a husband and wife they called the entire neighborhood together and took turns airing their complaints in front of the whole group. Gone would be any chance of reconciliation. Instead of working out their problems, the ugly necessity of saving face, proving points, and winning popular sympathy would likely drive them further apart. Likewise, public debates in the UN intensify international tensions. By shouting their grievances at each other, countries allow their differences to assume a magnitude they would otherwise never have reached. Quiet diplomacy is always more conducive to progress than diplomacy on the stage.
Nationalism fosters jealousy, suspicion and hatred of other countries which in turn leads to war. Here again we are dealing with a problem of semantics and false logic. If we merely substitute the word "independence" for "nationalism," this cliché begins to fall apart right away. We should be desirous of not having men hate each other because they live in another country, but what kind of logic assumes that loving one's own country means hating all others? Why can't we be proud of America as an independent nation, and also have a feeling of brotherhood and respect for other peoples around the world' As a matter of fact, haven't Americans done just that for the past two hundred years? What country has poured out more treasure to other lands, opened its doors to more immigrants, and sent more of its citizens as missionaries, teachers and doctors than ours? Are we now to believe that love of our own country will cause us to hate the peoples of other lands?
In order for a man to be a good neighbor within his community, he does not have to love other men's wives and children as be does his own.
We must support the UN because it is working to eliminate the roots of war--ignorance, poverty, hunger, and disease. The fallacy in this argument is the assertion that ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease are the roots of war. Some of the bloodiest wars of history have been fought between nations that were highly educated, affluent and healthy. What country hovering on the brink of poverty and disease ever started a major war? How could it? To wage war requires armaments and large armies--hardly the products of destitute states. As for the thought that low educational standards and lack of international understanding (whatever the means) are the cause of war, consider the fact that Germany and England were enemies in two world wars. Yet both have extremely high educational standards, and it would be difficult to name two nations that had a more thorough understanding of each other.
There is no challenging the fact that the United Nations, through its specialized agencies, has done some good--perhaps much good in many areas. Food and clothing have been distributed to the needy; medical care has been provided for the sick and the lame. But for each child so fed and clothed, for each person relieved of suffering, the UN system is destined to condemn a hundred who can never be reached. When the United States stood for individual freedom rather than government subsidies, it spearheaded a century of life-saving and relief from famine and pestilence that far exceeded anything UNICEF or WHO can ever approach. What America gave was not primarily food, clothing and medicine (although it did give these things in large quantities), but rather it provided an example of what could be achieved through a system of economic freedom.
It is impossible to uplift the masses of the world through a redistribution of the existing wealth. If every man, woman and child in America gave everything he had but the shirt on his back, the poverty-stricken peoples of the world would hardly notice a change in their misery. There are so many of them and so few of us. But by providing the example, the encouragement and the assistance for these people to follow in our footsteps, they can build their own economies to the point where real and sustained progress is possible. The only way that the needy of the world will ever be helped, other than with sporadic and temporary measures, is for governments to abandon the futile paternalistic programs which are draining the economies of those countries to the point where they cannot flourish. Only when free enterprise is introduced will the full productive capacity of these areas be released so that their people will no longer have to worry about nutrition or health.
The cause of war is simply the use of force to require a nation or group to accept the dictates of another nation or group. Since the United Nations is committed to the use of force "if necessary, in the last resort" as the cornerstone of its approach to world problems, it can never get at the roots of war.
Instead of scrapping the whole thing, we should reorganize the UN and use it to our own advantage. The proponents of this idea never explain how we should go about revising an organization in which we have only one vote against 112 who do not want to revise it. This approach may be less controversial than the "get US out" school of thought, but it simply will not work.
With what would we replace the UN? This is, perhaps, the greatest cliché of the lot. The implication that it has to be replaced at all is very seldom challenged, even by critics of the UN who consequently begin to search for a NATO or a western alliance or organization of free states. This would be like a patient who, upon being told by his doctor that he has a cancer that must be removed, replies, "Just a minute, doctor. What would you replace it with?"
When something is evil and dangerous it is not necessary to find a replacement before getting rid of it. But, in the case of the UN, this is not an entirely superfluous idea. True, we must get out of the UN whether we replace it with anything or not. But, to be perfectly realistic, when the United States does withdraw, the UN will be replaced--but not by NATO.
When the UN finally topples, it will be the result of a ground swell of renewed patriotism and a rebirth of the American spirit of victory over tyranny--a return to the traditional American principles which made this country great.
Instead of looking to the rest of the world for collective security, we will rely on our own strength and vigilance.
Instead of trying to finance the expansion of socialism in every country around the world, we will encourage, by example, the spread of free enterprise capitalism.
Instead of coddling agents of our sworn enemy within the top echelons of our own government, we will replace them and their sympathizers with men who are loyal only to the United States. And unless this very important first step is taken we are not going to even come close to getting out of the UN. Until we disconnect this end of the Washington-Moscow "axis," our government will continue to support and promote the UN, as it has from the very beginning.
Instead of coexistence with the evil thing called Communism, we will direct our energies toward ultimate victory.
Instead of continuing to build a welfare-socialist system here at home, we will move once again in the direction of reducing government restrictions on our daily lives and, thus, in the direction of increasing personal freedom.
Instead of trying to buy friendship around the world, we will offer the sincere qualities of mutual respect and good will. American investment abroad by private citizens and business enterprises will create far more prosperity in foreign lands than foreign aid ever could; and the commerce that springs from such investment will do more to bring our peoples together than all the Peace Corps and other government programs put together.
In short, the United Nations will be replaced with freedom--freedom for all people, everywhere, to live as they please with no super-government directing them; freedom to succeed or to fail and to try again; freedom to make mistakes and even to be foolish in the eyes of others. Americans will, once again, be free to work where they please, employ whom they please, buy and sell what they please, and, in an infinite number of ways, do what they please-with only one government restriction upon them: that they not interfere with anyone else's access to the same freedom.
This is the meaning of a republic; a limited government. This is what we Americans once had until the socialists, Communists and other collectivists turned back the clock to the ideas that dominated the political systems of the Dark Ages. Many Americans today, thinking that collectivist ideas are new, argue that we must place more and more power into the hands of the Federal Government so that it will be strong enough to cope with the challenges of the modern world. But, as Thomas Jefferson stated in 1801:
As for peace in the world, until all nations follow the concept of limited Government, it is unlikely that universal peace will ever be attained. Unlimited, power-grasping governments will always resort to force if they think they can get away with it. But there is no doubt that there can be peace for America. As long as we maintain our military preparedness, the world's petty despots will leave us alone.7
To make sure that we do not get caught up in the middle of the endless squabbles between the countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, we must put an end to the insane practice of trying to entwine our economic and political affairs with those of the rest of the world.
Let us, then, move the clock forward to that point where we were when this great nation was infused with the only really new political concept the world has seen in thousands of years. Let us throw off these Old World ideas and heed the sage advice of that true "modernist," George Washington, who told his countrymen:
The next time you hear someone speak lightly about sovereignty or national independence, remember that this was the one single accomplishment of the American Revolution. Our present involvement in the United Nations has put us right back where the shooting began in 1775.
The Declaration of Independence states:
It then lists the causes. It is stunning that this bill of grievances and complaints can be justly applied to the present encroaching tyranny of the United Nations and, to some extent, our own expanding Federal Government. It speaks of a "multitude of new offices" and "swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance" (taxes); it complains about being subject to "a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws" (supremacy of the World Court); it deplores "transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous acres and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation" (Katanga).
The men who put their signatures to the bottom of the Declaration of Independence were signing their own potential death warrants. Most of them were prosperous and comfortably situated with every reason to go along with the existing bureaucracy. Besides, what chance did inexperienced farmers have against the British Army, at that time the most invincible fighting force in the whole world? If the colonies had been overpowered, as it appeared more than likely they would be, these men who signed the Declaration would have all been banged or shot as traitors. Yet, without hesitation they stood up for what they believed to be right and declared: ". . . and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
In signing the Declaration of Independence, John Adams turned to his colleagues and spoke these words:
Can it be that modem Americans are not equal to their ancestors? Are we not willing, if necessary, to make sacrifices in the cause of freedom? Is it more important to enjoy the temporary comforts of the "good life," the security of a non-controversial social status, than to pass on to our children the cherished liberty we ourselves inherited? As Patrick Henry would have replied, "Forbid it, Almighty God!"
As you read these final words, you must come to a decision as to your own reply to these questions. Each man and woman will soon be called upon for his answer. The rapidity of world events will no longer permit us to remain aloof and unaffected by them. Disinterest will no longer purchase a ticket for escape. Tyranny demands unqualified allegiance: We are either for it or against it. There is no middle around.
Which will it be, America?
1. Rev. Richard Ginder, "Key to Your House," syndicated column Right or Wrong, Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Ind., 1961).
2. As quoted by Lie, p. 242.
3. As quoted by Manly, p. 82.
4. United Nations Guardian of Peace, Department of State publication #7225 (September 1961), p. 24.
5. Los Angeles Times (July 3. 1963), sec. 1, p. 8.
6. American Historical Documents, p. 151.
7. A perfect illustration of this
was provided at Pearl Harbor. The United States was not militarily prepared to
defend itself against foreign aggression. As a matter of fact, we had even gone
so far as to deliberately bottle up our fleet within Pearl Harbor so that it was
vulnerable to surprise attack. For the complete and shocking story of how high
officials in Washington clearly knew well in advance of the so-called
"surprise" attack at Pearl Harbor and did nothing to prevent it--even
going so far as to keep this information from naval commanders of the fleet so
they could not deploy their ships to less vulnerable locations, see The Final
Secret of Pearl Harbor by Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobold with forewords by
Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Fleet Admiral William H. Halsey (New York,
The Devin-Adair Company, 1954). The military and political policies which led to
Pearl Harbor have a shocking parallel in our times. This nation is following a
deliberate program of increasing military vulnerability. Reversal of this policy
is imperative. We must follow a policy of military preparedness and vigilance if
we are to prevent another Pearl Harbor.
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