Approaches To A Just World Order

I was at Columbia the same time that Barack Obama was there-- he was a senior when I was a freshman-- and although I never met him, I would guess that we have a formative experience in common: Saul Mendlovitz's "Approaches To A Just World Order" class.

Some upperclassmen pals whom I sang with clued me into this class, which had a cult following on campus. It was a huge lecture course out of the Political Science department, but people from all majors took it-- and that's how Professor Mendlovitz wanted it. The class was basically about solving great problems on a global scale, formulating optimal world governance-- in other words, Saving The World. Mendlovitz openly described his class as indoctrination, and he often repeated this point: You young people, sitting in this room, are the leaders of tomorrow. You will inherit the world some day, and you will be able to change it and make it better. So aim high-- agree that this is what you want to do, know that you can, conspire to make it happen, and stay true to your vision.

It was an absolute thrill for me to hear this message, and it has stayed with me ever since. Star professor Mendlovitz, on 5-year loan from the University of Chicago, was also a great lecturer. He combined tall, grey gravitas with idealistic zeal and a great sense of humor. He obviously loved being around young people.

The poli sci majors who dug deeper became involved with the World Order Models Project, co-founded by Mendlovitz and Princeton professor Richard Falk. I remember looking through the WOMP books and seeing things like diagrams of what the layout and seating scheme should be for a world governance chamber-- like the UN's General Assembly chamber, but presumably better. Things like this seemed a little wanky, but they didn't put me off from the underlying ideals.

Around the same time, I was also immersing myself in the ideas of Fundamentalist zinester Jack Chick (and others) who viewed world government as the great plot of the Anti-Christ, signaling the End Times. But this didn't seem like a good thing to bring up in class.

Anyway, it was a wonderful, inspiring class. I have not lost the hope that it instilled in me, and listening to Obama's words has several times made me think, "Wow-- he must have taken Mendlovitz, too! Mendlovitz was right!"



  1. if all nations were under one government, what is the proposed form of government. and what of those who do not want this form of government?

  2. Well, I’m glad Obama took an idealist lecture class. That’s promising and clear through his rhetoric. Maybe not so clear through his business partners… Just World Orders don’t have to include global government—simply global mandates that governments, if they want to included in the new sovereignty, must enact. The first, and most powerful, decree in my plan is thus: PAY YOUR F—ING EMPLOYEES MORE. YOU DON’T NEED THAT MUCH MONEY. YOUR JOB IS NOT THAT HARD. That is all.

  3. Some upperclassmen pals whom I sang with clued me into this class,..”

    Obviously, the class was not about grammar.

  4. Although a world government could be a minimalist government, I sincerely doubt that it would turn out that way.

    It’s great to have an energetic prof who really wants to make a positive impact on students’ ideals, and it helps to balance out the other ones who brow beat you by making everything seem impossibly and unnecessarily complex. The ‘o course, sir, pragmatism is always worth teaching as well.

  5. How long until Redstate or the Freepers translate this post into evidence that “ZOMG Obama is pursuing one-world socialistfascistcommunistNewWorldOrder!!1!!” ?

  6. Hear ya go Zippy…

    I. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

    II. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.

    III. Unite humanity with a living new language.

    IV. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.

    V. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

    VI. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

    VII. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

    VIII. Balance personal rights with social duties.

    IX. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.

    X. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

    1. #1 -> Genocide.
      #2 -> Eugenics.

      I stopped paying real attention at this point. The rest is all sunshine and flowers (they do use “rule” a bit too much IMHO), but those first two are the biggest sticking points in the history of the universe. Who decides who the 500 million people who survive are? Who decides who gets to breed? Are the people who don’t get to have kids forcibly sterilized? Do you get your vas deferens back when you graduate college? Serve a tour of duty in the One World Army? I’m not sure how you guide reproduction fairly without succumbing to petty laws. How do you reform this system? What checks the power of the One World Court that rules with sovereignty over all national courts? Whose model is used for the court? American, British, Saudi, Chinese?

      That list has enough poison in it to be completely terrifying.

    2. IX. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.

      Now there’s a rallying cry for the illiterate starving millions of the developing world! Not.

      Reconcile yourself instead to a few frenzied centuries more of “I am the LORD: kill those mofos which oppose ye.” And after that, God willing, a long silence.

  7. I kinda wish the leaders of tomorrow spent more time taking math and science. Perhaps an Econ 101 class, but that is asking a lot…

  8. “True Believers” of any stripe bother me. They are so focused on achieving their goal, they ignore any contradictory evidence or opinion. This was true of George Bush and it’s true of anyone who proclaims to have “the solution.”

    If America’s founding fathers should be remembered for anything, it’s founding our government on the principal that governments are run by people and people are jerks. So they attempted to channel our base instincts in a productive manner. Any system aiming for the betterment of man but based on people behaving rationally (either by internal thought processes or someones external definition of ‘rational’ forced upon them) is doomed to tyranny and failure.

    So give my a system founded on cynicism over idealism any day.

  9. If there is ever to be a unified world government (which I think is inevitable, unless we destroy ourselves, simply because without that level of cooperation we will never be able to achieve some very important goals) it will be a long time from now. It will need to happen gradually, as we settle our cultural, historical, technological, and political differences. In time, as we both become more alike and embrace our differences, the meaning of national boundaries will become less clear, more artificial. But unity can not be forced or coerced.

    The professor is right about one thing- we should aim high. Aim for democracy, aim for freedom, aim for the spread of prosperity and education, and the world can;t help but become a better place.

  10. This makes me think of the Calvin and Hobbes strip where his mother is saying “How can a kid who’s so smart be so damned stupid?”

    Here’s the reality: governments are prone to corruption. The larger the government is, the more juicy a target it creates for those who would corrupt it. The job is made much easier for those ultra rich who want to co-opt government for their own greedy ends when we concentrate a great deal of power in central hands.

    Look at the present state of America, a country specifically designed to be resistant to the concentration of power.

    Thus, any sort of global government would be a nightmare. It would go alright for a little while, till those devious bastards managed to corrupt the whole thing.

    The key to honest government is two things: 1) Small enough that people can know each other personally and discuss things in person. 2)Fragmented enough that it is possible to physically leave it if it goes sour.

    If a global government went rotten, where could you flee to? It’s really the worst idea imaginable.

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

    P.S. n f th strngst thngs bt bm s th bslt lck f ppr trl n hs lf. Spcfclly t Clmb, h lft n grds, hs snr thss ws lst, tc. dn’t knw wht t mk f t – bt try t fnd ny ppr trl f bm’s lf thr thn hs tw bks nd s wht y fnd. t’s strng.

  11. “If America’s founding fathers should be remembered for anything, it’s founding our government on the principal that governments are run by people and people are jerks.”

    Precisely why they formed a Constitution granting the federal government few powers. They would no doubt marvel that the incremental assimilation of unauthorized power by the federal government has gone unanswered by “the people” the government was formed to serve. The only true “just” government is one that doesn’t exist and therefore can not oppress the “governed”.

  12. Mr. Spinrad, in your byline/mini CV; Catholic, as in you are interested in matters affecting the Catholic Church or catholic, as in vast and all encompassing?

  13. wmburke… that sounds awful. Number one, the population is set unnecessarily low and would cause undue suffering as the population shrunk (just look at how well the one child policy is working out for China). Number 2 takes away reproductive freedom (which, I suppose, in the states you have little for anyway, if you’re a woman, but that’s another gripe for another time). Number 3 means we lose all the benefits of the interactions of other languages and the cultural diversity they maintain. I’m all for fixing the world, but I think a little more thought would have to go into it than this.

    I mean heck, you want the population to shrink? Educate everyone. Eventually it’ll go down, because educated people seem to breed less. Want everyone to understand one another? Educate people in each others’ languages. The secret here is education, not laws.

  14. So what you’re saying is that this Mendlovitz fellow never read any Hayek, I guess. Among the relevant things that he said is “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

  15. e-reading this story with the money-laundering one fresh in mind-

    -I can’t help but think that the only way out of this chaos is some kind of direct democracy.

    I know, the technology for such a thing is only recently become available, and the politics of getting from here to there look pretty grim. Anything less than that, though, is an open invitation for bigger and better funded horse-thieves.

    The only other option I can think of, is to start caring less.

  16. Let’s get a couple things straight…

    Firstly, I do NOT endorse ANY of the “Commandments” posted. The object was to demonstrate to the prior poster “Zippy” (and anyone else interested) that there really ARE powerful people out there that presume to present their own version of how they propose to run things.

    They are quite serious about this…

    Secondly, I posted a URL to the documentation behind the “Commandments” to give proof and background about the Guide Stones that the above “Commandments” are written on.

  17. Not to be “Mr. Factual Buzzkill” here, but I just heard from Prof. Mendlovitz, after having sent him this blog post, thinking that he’d like to see it. He replied that “barack did not take the course, albeit our students are now rumoring it.”

    So if you hear any Freepers posting this story as “evidence that “ZOMG Obama is pursuing one-world socialistfascistcommunistNewWorldOrder!!1!!” ?” … then you’ll know that they are, as ususal, full of hoary fecal matter … at least, according to the guy who taught the class.

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