On One-World Government

One of the recurring fantasies of Christian end-times believers is that, after the Rapture, the world will be united into a single government which will be presided over by the Antichrist. As such, these believers view any sign of increased global peace or cooperation as an ominous sign of growing Satanic influence. (Oddly, increased war is also taken to be a sign of the approaching Rapture – go figure.) Hence, Rapture Ready’s Rapture Index tracks “Globalism” as one component of its prophetic stock market. The European Union was initially thought to be the first bellwether of one-world government (a different page explains, “Many prophecy students see the European Union as the prophesied kingdom of the Antichrist”), but most paranoid speculation has now shifted to the United Nations.

End-times Christians typically believe that this global hegemony, when it arrives, will be enthusiastically accepted by everyone except the believers who recognize its danger. Slacktivist, in one installment of his ongoing deconstruction of the Left Behind series, quotes how the characters in that book respond to this event:

“There is no guarantee, of course, that even member nations will unanimously go along with the move to destroy 90 percent of their military strength and turn over the remaining 10 percent to the U.N. But several ambassadors expressed their confidence ‘in equipping and arming an international peacekeeping body with a thoroughgoing pacifist and committed disarmament activist as its head.’”

Another added, “…We’re supposed to be objective and cynical, but how can you not like this? It’ll take years to effect all this stuff, but someday, somewhere down the line, we’re going to see world peace. No more weapons, no more wars, no more border disputes or bigotry based on language or religion. Whew! Who’d have believed it would come to this?”

As Slacktivist notes, the characters in LB are “Imaginary Liberals”, downright eager to surrender their sovereignty at the first sign of a global dictatorship. End-times believers seem to think all us non-Christians are just itching for this to happen.

I’d like to disabuse them of this notion. To all theists who believe this, I say: Are you insane? A one-world government would be a horrible idea.

Until it was abolished in 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights included such well-known violators of human rights as Sudan and Saudi Arabia. Its replacement, the United Nations Human Rights Council, still counts as members rogue states and repressive dictatorships such as Cuba and Saudi Arabia (again), and still has refused to take even symbolic action against many brutal regimes worldwide.

This deplorable situation showcases a basic problem: there are still far too many places around the world that lack fundamental protection for human rights, and far too many people willing to accede to such. As long as situations like this persist, a global government would be a horrendous idea – it would simply allow devotees of tyranny and autocracy to outvote and overrule the defenders of liberty.

Granted, democracy is spreading. Between the Americas, Europe and India, we citizens of democracies certainly constitute a plurality, if not a majority, of the world’s population. This bodes well for global cooperation in the future. But democracy alone is not a guarantee of human rights. Unless democracy is backed by strong legal protections for the rights of minorities – and more importantly, widespread understanding by the majority of why such protections are needed – then it can simply become tyranny of another form.

Examples abound. In countries like Canada and many European nations, free speech is still a conditional right, often contingent on the speaker’s not offending any powerful identity group. Even the progressive, First World democracy of Australia has recently announced plans to censor the Internet. The U.S., too, has gotten in on the act. Even in these “advanced” nations, we have a long way to go.

I grant that it does seem irrational for human beings to be forever divided by artificial political boundaries. They correspond to nothing intrinsic about us, and perhaps in the far future we’ll be able to safely remove them. But for the moment, they are necessary. While people’s attitudes still exhibit such disturbing variation on basic issues of human rights and morality, we need separate nations to ensure that freedom thrives in at least some places. Trying to persuade the whole world at once to adopt a rational ethics would be an impossible task. By splitting the world up into distinct societies, we have the easier task of establishing human rights in some places to begin with, so that they can serve as examples for – and, where need be, redoubts against – the rest.

Once all human societies are brought up to a comparable level of stability, prosperity, and most importantly moral development and outlook, then it may be time to start thinking about dissolving political boundaries. But until that day, the question is scarcely worth contemplating. Are we ready for a one-world government now? Absolutely not! Will we ever be? It depends – ask me again in a few hundred years…

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Arc of Fire, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.


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