Derek Dey’s comment on my prior post, Updated: Thoughts on a Cheon Il Guk Constitution, is very astute. Understanding systems analysis in political theory fills an extremely important void in modern thought, within and without the Unification Movement. Derek’s discussion further supports the idea that a constitution should reflect the principles of the “ideal world” as explained in Divine Principle, Chapter 1. He noted that “Americans believe their constitution defines all,” that other people view the ideal society in the image of their own.
His comment raises the basic point of whether members actually believe their own political system is ideal. I don’t think anyone would join the Movement if they thought their own system was the ideal. They join because they realize they live in a fallen world and changes are necessary. Members in various countries are, nonetheless, aware of virtues in their own societies they would like to retain. Sometimes those things we consider good actually aren’t so good. Other times those things we want to retain are principled.
For example, if we have a society that says “each person has a right to a fair trial,” this is consistent with the Divine Principle, because it affirms the idea that each human being is an individual truth body of infinite value and worth. On the other hand, the idea of “one person, one vote,” might be inconsistent with the Principle because it denies the concept of qualification for citizenship based on having passed the growth stage to become a responsible adult.
What to transform and why
The real challenge in designing a constitution for an “ideal world,” is (1) to learn what has to change and why, and (2) how to implement the change without causing unnecessary pain and death.
I am concerned when people say a political system is not the ideal, and that we should discard and “reboot” the entire social system with a new constitution. This is like developing an entirely new operating system for a computer, and none of the old software will work. Rather, we reform and transcend the existing system, getting rid of “viruses” and malware, so the existing software will work.
Our governments, whether American, Chinese, or Korean in form, should be reformed to eliminate corruption and allow citizens to pursue the three blessings. Lenin in Russia and Mao in China sought to “reboot” their political and economic systems and millions of people died. In my view, the rebooting of a social system is akin to the flood judgment in Noah’s time. Millions or billions of people could die. This is an unacceptable approach that, in the Bible, God never wanted to see again.
Rather, we work to gradually transform each existing system, so that it can turn into a better, more ideal, society. This is analogous to changing a bad person into a better one; if you kill him or her, you cannot make them a better person. Principled behavior should be derived from a view that God’s love for everyone is unlimited. Therefore, humankind should work to transform communities, states, and the world without eliminating some groups through a genocide and starting a new society based on the ideology of the conquerors. That is just a repeat of fallen history.
England has a right to claim things in its history that made it a better society. For example, the Magna Carta served the purpose of decentralizing power, allowing more people — though not all — to pursue their own happiness and come closer to experiencing the “three blessings.” Did it lead to an ideal society? No. Was it something positive? Yes. Therefore, British members of the Unification Church have good reason to react against the extreme centralization of state power advocated in the CIG Constitution. Unfortunately, many of the reactions are simply that –“reactions.” They are growth stage responses to a formation or growth stage document: they point out a problem, but don’t advocate a solution.
“Democracy” is not the ideal
Derek said he thought many Westerners think democracy is an ideal form of government. However, Westerners who think so don’t know their own civilizational history. Democracy is not an ideal form of governance. In the Republic, Plato gave nine reasons why democracies don’t work. Those reasons are as valid today as in his time, because they address fundamental aspects of human nature.
Democracy is a powerful concept because it reflects the human quest for the first blessing. But the idea that each person should have a vote, simply by virtue of being a person, is questionable. Having a “vote” isn’t helpful unless it is a responsible vote. The forms of government that have emerged under the name “democracy,” especially those extant today, fail to link the “right” to vote with social responsibility. From the viewpoint of the Principle, people can vote with a destructive formation or growth stage consciousness, unable to consider others of equal worth and also part of a system greater than oneself. Such votes are destructive and unprincipled.
The American system was not designed as a democracy in the basic sense; it was a republican form of democracy that included checks and balances on abuses of power and an element of “aristocracy” in the method of voting. A voting citizen was a propertied male. Today, with universal voter enfranchisement, the United States can more properly be called a “democracy.” However, for reasons Plato explained, such a democracy can’t last and inevitably turns into a plutocracy with great disparities of wealth and a bankrupt treasury. I know of no democracy today with a positive net worth.
The authors of the U.S. Constitution improved on what the Greeks, Romans, and British had learned. They sought to further constrain the fallen nature that seeks to centralize political power. While it was superior to its predecessors, it failed to adequately constrain the centralization of economic power, and the power of political parties that today trump individual votes and lead to plutocracy.
World’s states by form of government as of 2011 (click to enlarge).
Map legend (source: Wikipedia)
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as an ideal
When I studied the transformation needed in the U.S. political system in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I looked at the historical lessons and determined which principles (a) cause the system to fail, and (b) which are inconsistent with the type of society we want to create.
The American founders designed their system of governance on principles of an ideal stated in the Declaration of Independence: the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of individuals. A CIG constitution should reflect principles that support a world in which all people can receive the “three blessings.” While these two ideals are not identical, one needs a system in which individuals can pursue life, liberty and happiness as a prerequisite for attaining the three blessings. In this respect, the idea of creating a system in which some people are not oppressed and exploited by others was important. The U.S. Constitution, except for the components related to slavery, focused on this. The intention of civil rights legislation is an example of trying to transform the existing system into a more ideal one. This might be why Rev. Moon, in his interview with Frederick Sontag, considered Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to be the most important American in U.S. history.
Problems with an unqualified general vote and good leadership
Voting is for the purpose of choosing leaders and representatives. In an ideal society, leaders should be capable, incorrupt, and trusted by the people. Simple voting processes fail to produce the types of qualified leaders society requires. In a comment on the 1992 presidential elections in Korea, Rev. Moon promoted a type of election reform that would correct this problem with a three-stage process: first, a requirement for a candidate to have basic competency, for example, passing a civil service exam; second, having a vote among qualified candidates to move forward those applicants who have the legitimate support of the people; and, third, there would be a lottery among the top candidates to prevent any economic interest from controlling the outcome, reducing corruption.
Another problem for Unificationists is how to build a political community on the foundation of the family, not the individual. The U.S. founders, following the ancient Greeks and Romans, advocated one vote per “household.” That was implemented by giving votes only to property-owning males. This concept is a misdirected step towards the second blessing idea that society is built on the foundation of self-sustaining family units. The problem with the U.S. system was that (1) in the industrial age women became able to earn an income like men, and (2) there was no assurance that male voters were genuinely responsible people.
However, the concept of one vote per self-sufficient household essentially means the creation of society based on the family. This is a qualification based on their ability to manage themselves as a self-sufficient economic unit. Such voters are better suited to (1) determine how public money could best be put to use, and (2) have natural incentives to protect the territory because their ownership is a personal stake. Most important, a law prohibiting heads of households from voting for any use of public money from which they would personally benefit would be necessary. Heads of households would need to be recused from such a vote, or there would be the type of legalized corruption that exists in the U.S. today.
Unificationists can use the ideals described in the “Principle of Creation” similar to the way the American founders viewed the Declaration of Independence as they develop a constitution. The founders were designing principles for a complex social system, many of which would apply to a genuine CIG society, and others that do not. I illustrate problems in democratic voting processes that enable individuals to have control over the society in which they live, but fail to prevent irresponsible leadership and corruption. Reform of the voting process is just an example of how current liberal societies can be reshaped to facilitate a better society.
Whether a CIG society would be called a “democracy” depends on one’s definition. Certain elements of past democracies that were modified along republican lines might be employed, so mob rule or plutocracy do not result. However, insofar as democracy refers to the right of every “perfected individual” to have a say in their household, for every contributing household to have a say in the community in which they live, and for every community to have a say in state governance, this might be construed as a restored definition of democracy.♦
Dr. Gordon Anderson (UTS Class of 1978) is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on World Peace and President, Paragon House Publishers. He is author of many articles and books, including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0.
One can debate endlessly about what is the ideal political system, but stick a normal functioning human being in any system (e.g., dictatorship, monarchy, theocracy, etc.) other than a properly functioning democracy and they will rebel against it in one way or another. Why? Because all people like to have say in how they are governed and how public assets are used. And why exactly is that? Because we are meant to be the Lords of Creation, perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, not to order followers or be a lesser cog in a one-way system. This is why the whole world (still) is envious of our nation and wants us to help solve their problems. The rest of the world seems to know this but us. Interesting.
There are several elements in this piece that I find both insightful and helpful. One, this discussion looks at the topic while focusing on certain micro, tangible elements (i.e., voting). This lends definition and illustrates the author’s perspective in a concrete way. Two, the paper also focuses on macro issues, such as how transition might be achieved, and the impact of different approaches. This hints at a wider vision that ties the reality of our current world with a possible future one. Through these two elements, the article points the way and provides a brief example of how Unificationists might seriously work on the task of developing a body of Unificationist political thought which would obviously be a prerequisite to any serious constitutional development and implementation that might lead the transition towards an ideal (CIG) system. In particular, I found the comparison of the US Declaration-to-Constitution relationship with a potential Unificationist PoC (Principle of Creation)-to-Constitution approach illuminating. Lots of punch. Thanks.
You’re still lost in the wrong paradigm. We are not trying to constitute a social system. Nor should we. The American founders did not design a constitution for a “complex social system.” They designed a constitution to constitute a limited government that would stay out of the way of the social system that human beings naturally spawn. That our government ignores its mandate and seeks to assert itself into every nook and cranny of our lives is not a constitutional failure, but a corruption of it, made possible by fallen nature and the failure of Christianity, religion in general and philosophy — which is exactly what occurred in the Garden with God’s very creation. It was not at fault by design. Humanity corrupted its principles through the Fall. We live in a mirror image of God’s creation. We live in a mirror image of our Founders’ creation.
Our church appears obsessed with social engineering, blithely claiming it won’t make the same mistakes like everybody else in human history. If you are trying to engineer a social system, you will spark civil war amongst people, as every social engineering project ever undertaken has done. Society is organic, and proceeds from the heart of its people.
The only true and proper role of a constitution is to constitute a government for the purpose of ensuring that large numbers of human beings can live together peaceably and collectively support their infrastructural and related needs. The American Constitution focused this duty through individual liberty, justice in crime, defense from enemies, and the general welfare. Beyond that, it maintained that human beings are and of a right ought to be free and unfettered to pursue their lives, their liberty and their happiness as they see fit…so long as they did not at the same time impose themselves on others pursuing the same.
It is religion and philosophy’s job to educate people so that they pursue these things in accordance with God’s standard of love. The CIG constitution has yet to figure this out.
Christopher, as soon as you set up a bureaucracy, like a highway department, you have a complex society. And, in the example of a highway system, if you wait for drivers to naturally treat other drivers according to God’s love, without establishing any rule of law, you will find the biggest trucks, government convoys, or mafia convoys will rule the road — as has been the case in Iraq. Without some type of good governance that ensures all drivers are equally allowed access to the roads, it quickly becomes impossible for all people with cars to reach their desired destinations unless they hire protection services or pay bribes.
Divine Principle, Part II, Chapter 5, Section 3.1 (“Democracy”) ends stating that the Abel-type democracy was established to provide the freedom of faith necessary for the restoration of society. This is because in the Kingdom of Heaven, all people have to freely choose “God’s Will.” In this way, Abel-type governance is required. You can choose to call this social engineering or not — by that definition the U.S. Founders are social engineers also. This is largely what I mean by good governance for a CIG society. But, society is more than “religion.” Economic freedom is also vital, and without restraining large centralized economic power, individuals cannot pursue their own economic well-being, but end up becoming a serf of some giant government or economic entity — they will be assigned jobs and training that suit the rulers. The way things are going in the U.S., we are headed toward industrial feudalism. The highways are an example of another area that requires good governance, and I bring them up because in the U.S. they work in a rather “Abel-type” way, enabling people to freely reach their destination. Water infrastructure, also, should be designed so that all are allowed equal access, without those bribing officials getting the most water.
I can imagine that you are concerned about “social engineering” because, in the Marxian or Keynesian sense, we know this term is used as a cover for the government theft of one person’s wealth to redistribute to others. I agree that this is repulsive. It is not the type of governance I am advocating above. If you read carefully what I wrote, you will see that I am advocating the form of governance the American Founders were advocating, only applying some of their core principles, and additional ones to other aspects of modern society unknown to them when the U.S. Constitution was written. I am applying them in ways that treat all citizens equally, and enable all to pursue their desired ends within each subsystem of complex society as freely as possible.
I’m not finding the right language to make my point, methinks. I’m just trying to say that a constitution has nothing to do with a good society, or a right society, or a godly one, or anything else. It is just a blueprint by which a government is created to operate. It sets out duties and limitations, defines rights and obligations for government behavior. However complex a highway dept. is, or the “complex society” it creates by existing, just isn’t related to the point I’m trying to make. A government may be created and infused with the societal mores of the time, as the American one was infused with Christian mores and ideals, but that’s just a veneer. It’s not a part of the constitution, nor was intended to make government operate according to those ideals, except insofar as individuals in government are honest in their duty and faithful to its governing document. The one reference to God is that our rights are natural and inalienable, hence God-given, not government-given. Not society-given. Not even religion-given.
Anything regarding the ideal world, the restored world, divine principle, “perfected” individuals, or any such thing, thus has no place in a CIG constitution. That’s all irrelevant, in fact. Those are issues for religion and philosophy to handle. Government just keeps the peace and operates the infrastructure and leaves individuals alone to walk their path. How alone government actually leaves people to walk their path is a function of what’s in the constitution and how faithful civil servants are to it. As everyone’s path increasingly heads toward God, then government will operate better, and society will function with less legal restraint. Eventually, police won’t be needed…armies won’t be needed…justice departments and SEC’s and EPA’s won’t be needed because people, closer to God, will make the right choices. But all those things are societal issues, not government issues, except insofar as harm is done by one to another. And that’s the only proper nexus between the two: in law. When societal issues and religious ideals become government issues, chaos and rebellion ensue — like today in the USA. Our modern world conflates society with government, and that’s a mistake, in my opinion. They are vastly different concepts and entities and have different missions.
Don’t know if I clarified anything I’m trying to say, though.
Christopher, this is the type of dialogue that’s important to foster understanding. To the extent that you are saying culture is in the subject position, and government and the economy in the object position, I’m in agreement with you. Any constitution is guided by a purpose, either implicitly or explicitly, and that purpose either comes from rulers, an elite, or the culture. The U.S. Constitution reflects the statement “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” applied to a society in 1790. Its legitimacy is based on an appeal to Nature. In my view, we should appeal to “principles” that are both understood by science and the culture as a whole. If governments only acted when people were outside the realm of known principles — leading to harm — there should not be rebellion. The problem in a fallen world is that governments themselves act outside the realm of principle.
I do not think you can have the total separation of government and society that you are advocating, but, at the state level in the West we would be advised to have much less. Bureaucracies cannot love, raise, educate, or make people good. Today, laws are passed expecting governments to do these things and they waste money, foster corruption, and hamstring the economy. However, there will be, even in an ideal world, people who have not passed the growth stage who are out in public, and I think you will need some kind of police if their parents aren’t with them. You probably will not see all mental illnesses pass away overnight either, so even if police are reduced to two policemen for every 100,000 people, there will still need to be some. Your view reminds me a bit of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, where you never have children or the elderly, but every person is a fully-functioning adult. Even in an unfallen world, there need to be some social structures to help people who are dependent — generally the family — but if parent’s die, the society needs to find a way to care for dependents even in an ideal world. But I would agree with you that this type of care should not be the role of a state.
Very theoretical and other than some semantics, at this point, I would not really argue with any of the varied (both the vague and clear) points already made. Grateful for the link, particularly for the translation of the newspaper ad from those relatively few years ago in that hallowed land of the morning calm, few truly know:
DRIVING OUT ELECTION CORRUPTION BY USING A DIRECT‑INDIRECT‑DRAW SYSTEM FOR ELECTIONS
Sounds like O-D-U action and “process Unificationism” to me.
This remains an era of capitalism and cruelty, with the only winners being those who survive to tell the tale of how they survived, and sometimes also, how they found (genuine) meaning.
May history and actual results find us finally – as One.
Gordon, I agree for the most part. I think our Constitution’s legitimacy was not just founded on an appeal to nature, but on an appeal to nature’s God. Our rights are inalienable because they come from God, though are present and identifiable in nature. And that was the Founders’ understanding. Government and society will always be affected and influenced by each other. But in terms of setting up the structure of how a government functions, that’s pretty neutral. Obviously, as DP notes, the U.S. system mimics the human body, and in other ways demonstrates the Principle. Law is really how society is expressed thru government. Law reflects the mores and sensibility of society, that collection of individuals. Government must be neutral so law can function, because otherwise, as laws change in keeping with society’s values, government won’t be able to adjust due to rigidity in its constitution. And society will change…even if you just think of going from a fallen to a restored society. Anywhere along that spectrum, society will be in flux, and so will its laws. But governmental structure remains the same in terms of how society is represented by government, how justice is performed, how law is administered, how infrastructure is maintained, etc.
My real concern is that all religion, philosophy and such are kept out of any constitution except insofar as those things influence what is considered the best structure that will allow and ensure a government to fulfill its assigned duties without deviating into madness. For early American,s their Christian values, knowledge of particularly Greco-Roman history, and an understanding of human nature influenced their structuring of government. But it influenced them only in terms of how to structure it so as to avoid the pitfalls of those that went before. Of all these things, understanding human nature is truly the key to structuring a government that can last and be least susceptible to systemic corruption. For Unificationists, our DP values, knowledge of history, including how the American government is now rent with systemic corruption, and especially understanding fallen human nature and how it resists restoration, must all work together to show a government structure that’s superior to what America built…which, for me, is the very best system ever devised by humans to date. Our challenge, as Unificationists, is to understand how to raise that to the next level, rather than fall back a step or more by adopting something problematic.
Regardless, if people in society are not honest, forthright, duty-bound, honorable, empathetic, no system of government will function as intended…not the American government, as we are seeing, or some highfalutin CIG DP- and Church-saturated government. And you can’t put that stuff in a constitution, because they only emanate from the human heart — which has been God’s problem since the Fall.
I have found the exchange between Gordon and Christopher as enlightening and informative as the article itself.
The final paragraph by Christopher conveys my life experience of this situation. I have been the owner of a business managing employees, payroll, customers, suppliers and cash flow. I have worked with and for companies in Europe, America and Japan, living and working in each of those locations. On top of all this, I have helped set up and been involved in the formation and governance of a non-profit organization. Now add into the mix my life of attempting to attend Rev. and Mrs. Moon and all the varied things that has entailed.
What has become fundamentally clear to me is: It is the heart/character of the people involved that will decide the goodness/value of a collective effort in the end. Any and all “systems” can and have been corrupted by fallen nature and Satan. Many look for an “ideal” system/government that will overcome the fallen nature that resides in the human race. Unfortunately, no matter how hard people may try or believe, it does not exist. The reason an ideal system will never be found that cures the fallen nature of humankind is that the problem is not the system, but the fallen heart and minds of individuals. No system/government can change (fix) those.
If you rid the individual of that fallen nature, they still must grow and fulfill the three blessings in order to be fully capable of expressing God’s ideal completely. The purpose of the physical world in an ideal sense is where growth (co-creation) can take place. As such even when restoration has taken place and fallen nature is removed, there will still be a process of growth, which means things change, since you cannot have growth without change.
Where I differ with many is I do not see the governments, or institutions of this physical realm as being clearly predefined. I perceive more an organic development of these systems just as a seed has a purpose but also responds to the environment it is in to best accomplish its growth. Also what I sense about an ideal world is that there will be a natural death to these governments and systems as their time passes and new ones emerge naturally and without much travail and drama.
This is much more a bottoms-up creation based on an ideal (goal), not an imposed top down, “This is the ideal, and this is how you do it.” I know in my heart which one Rev. Moon and God are for.
Dr. Anderson is correct in his assessment of “rebooting” a governmental, political, economic, and social system.
However, are we heading toward a repeat of historical failures that resulted in dissolution of sovereignties, governments, systems, and even populations? What caused the Marxist revolutions in the first place? It was a system of failed economics and resentment by those shouldering the brunt of the burdens of maintaining the lifestyles of the rich and famous, i.e., the bourgeoisie. Consider the plight of the ruling family in Czarist Russia in the early 1900’s, or the Nationalist rulers of China. They were chased either right off the planet or backed into an unknown corner of their country, or as refugees right out of their countries.
Kim Il Sung played on this resentment to garner support from farmers and miners in the Northern zone of Korea to deploy his pseudo-Marxist system of lies and false guarantees to the lower classes seeking “liberation” from no voice, no vote, and perceived absolue repression by the Japanese. However, these denials of rights (as pointed out by Dr. Anderson and by all those responding) had been a serious problem well before the Japanese “occupation” of the Korean government and society (culturally, religiously, financially, philosophically, even familially) by ruling classes (yangban) for centuries.
What I am bringing up is the result of misapplication of the powers of the U.S. Constitution and the corruption of those in power to serve self interests. In fact, American self-interest was a major aspect of the Bush Doctrine in the years before Obama-ism. Dr. Anderson starts down this path. This aspect of fallen nature of those in power, whether in the U.S. or otherwise, is the gravitas that God is so fervently and feverishly addressing in restoration of a corrupted system. Rev. Dr. Moon said in a sermon in 1976 that he could not find anyone in Congress who was not unselfishly serving in their elected positions. All were serving under the guise of self-interest for themselves or their constituents. This is one of the problems Dr. Anderson (and others) have been bringing to light.
This selfish fallen nature that dominates the mindset of politicians creates blocks and resentment among those who are not taken care of by governmental policies. It includes resentment by other nations in their relations with the United States. It is not the original Constitution, rather, the corrupted implementation by self-serving politicians (including all three branches of government) that is not contributing to social and spiritual growth and progress of not only the U.S. but has affected other nations. If the U.S. gives to its citizens but demands something in return, such as higher taxes, especially on higher wage earners, the resentment spreads from the lowest to the highest. If the U.S. gives to another nation but does it in the form of a contract or demands something in return, this locks the other nation into being beholden to the U.S. which could be construed as a form of slavery in some cases. Consider the U.S.’s track record in Africa.
So, what does all this have to do with a CIG Constitution? The framework of words on a document may be like an architectural blueprint, but without selfless service a billion laws written to try to protect the integrity of that document will not work. Selfishness will creep back like water through a crack. Democracy tried to create this framework on paper, but just as there are hundreds of denominations in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and even Marxism, there will be selfish viewpoints with uncontrollable desire to dominate others that will corrupt any “fool-proof” constitution. It will require an unselfishness in each and every person, from lowest to highest, to make a Cheon Il Guk constitution work properly, as a design mirrored on the form of society in God’s Kingdom.
After all, isn’t that what we are trying to do? Let us look at the main problem with human history as we are debating and designing this blueprint for Cheon Il Guk, and when everyone under the sovereignty of Cheon Il Guk recognizes the negative result of selfishness and resentment, this constitution will have a chance to survive and flourish.
Thank you, Randall. These are very good and constructive remarks, to which I basically agree. When we start thinking about a Cheon Il Guk Constitution, the first thing is to ask what level of governance is it for? An individual, a family, a local church, a national group, or a state? Each of these levels needs its own particular form of governance because different principles operate at different levels.
I would particularly agree that, regardless the level of governance, a primary goal should be checks and balances to thwart the negative effects of selfishness and corruption, and a maximum allowance for freedom for people to contribute to something good, without being taxed, punished, or prevented from running for office because they will contribute to the betterment of society. This is why you often see politicians who will milk the system for their contributors, rather than the best-qualified persons, running for office.
The U.S. Founders had a pretty decent understanding of human nature and sought to create a constitution that moved in this direction. It was a good start, but it was clearly inadequate in the long run, as selfishness largely runs the U.S. government today.
It is also important for governments not to demand confessions of faith or belief from people as “faith” is what people believe about things where universal or definitive knowledge is not present. Therefore, we must be allowed to continually be able to search for principles that correspond to our faith. However, collective human experience can, and does, reveal some universal principles — like the law of gravity, and the law of supply and demand, that can gain wide-enough acceptance to guide good legislation. As much as possible, constitutions ought to be designed to function within the parameters of these principles so they do not fall off the track, as did the Czarist family in Russia that lived in a way that encouraged the collapse of the monarchy, or today’s two major political parties in the U.S. which basically serve as vehicles of group human selfishness that are leading the U.S. to the edge of economic collapse.