Democracy and Representative Government
Democracy, while an ideal, is a product of civilization, not of evolution. Go slowly! select carefully! for the dangers of democracy are:
- Glorification of mediocrity.
- Choice of base and ignorant rulers.
- Failure to recognize the basic facts of social evolution.
- Danger of universal suffrage in the hands of uneducated and indolent majorities.
- Slavery to public opinion; the majority is not always right.
Public opinion, common opinion, has always delayed society; nevertheless, it is valuable, for, while retarding social evolution, it does preserve civilization. Education of public opinion is the only safe and true method of accelerating civilization; force is only a temporary expedient, and cultural growth will increasingly accelerate as bullets give way to ballots. Public opinion, the mores, is the basic and elemental energy in social evolution and state development, but to be of state value it must be nonviolent in expression.
The measure of the advance of society is directly determined by the degree to which public opinion can control personal behavior and state regulation through nonviolent expression. The really civilized government had arrived when public opinion was clothed with the powers of personal franchise. Popular elections may not always decide things rightly, but they represent the right way even to do a wrong thing. Evolution does not at once produce superlative perfection but rather comparative and advancing practical adjustment.
There are ten steps, or stages, to the evolution of a practical and efficient form of representative government, and these are:
- Freedom of the person. Slavery, serfdom, and all forms of human bondage must disappear.
- Freedom of the mind. Unless a free people are educated—taught to think intelligently and plan wisely—freedom usually does more harm than good.
- The reign of law. Liberty can be enjoyed only when the will and whims of human rulers are replaced by legislative enactments in accordance with accepted fundamental law.
- Freedom of speech. Representative government is unthinkable without freedom of all forms of expression for human aspirations and opinions.
- Security of property. No government can long endure if it fails to provide for the right to enjoy personal property in some form. Man craves the right to use, control, bestow, sell, lease, and bequeath his personal property.
- The right of petition. Representative government assumes the right of citizens to be heard. The privilege of petition is inherent in free citizenship.
- The right to rule. It is not enough to be heard; the power of petition must progress to the actual management of the government.
- Universal suffrage. Representative government presupposes an intelligent, efficient, and universal electorate. The character of such a government will ever be determined by the character and caliber of those who compose it. As civilization progresses, suffrage, while remaining universal for both sexes, will be effectively modified, regrouped, and otherwise differentiated.
- Control of public servants. No civil government will be serviceable and effective unless the citizenry possess and use wise techniques of guiding and controlling officeholders and public servants.
- Intelligent and trained representation. The survival of democracy is dependent on successful representative government; and that is conditioned upon the practice of electing to public offices only those individuals who are technically trained, intellectually competent, socially loyal, and morally fit. Only by such provisions can government of the people, by the people, and for the people be preserved. ~ The Urantia Book, (71:2.1)
The Eternal Son is the spiritual center and the divine administrator of the spiritual government of the universe of universes. The Universal Father is first a creator and then a controller; the Eternal Son is first a cocreator and then a spiritual administrator. "God is spirit," and the Son is a personal revelation of that spirit. ~ The Urantia Book, (6:1.2)
The Eternal Son possesses all the Father's character of divinity and attributes of spirituality. The Son is the fullness of God's absoluteness in personality and spirit, and these qualities the Son reveals in his personal management of the spiritual government of the universe of universes. ~ The Urantia Book, (6:2.5)
Concerning the government of the central universe, there is none. Havona is so exquisitely perfect that no intellectual system of government is required. There are no regularly constituted courts, neither are there legislative assemblies; Havona requires only administrative direction. Here may be observed the height of the ideals of true self-government.
There is no need of government among such perfect and near-perfect intelligences. They stand in no need of regulation, for they are beings of native perfection interspersed with evolutionary creatures who have long since passed the scrutiny of the supreme tribunals of the superuniverses. ~ The Urantia Book, (14:3.1)
Early in the materialization of the universal creation the sevenfold scheme of the superuniverse organization and government was formulated. The first post-Havona creation was divided into seven stupendous segments, and the headquarters worlds of these superuniverse governments were designed and constructed. The present scheme of administration has existed from near eternity, and the rulers of these seven superuniverses are rightly called Ancients of Days. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:0.2)
One hundred local universes (about 1,000,000,000 inhabitable planets) constitute a minor sector of the superuniverse government; it has a wonderful headquarters world, wherefrom its rulers, the Recents of Days, administer the affairs of the minor sector. There are three Recents of Days, Supreme Trinity Personalities, on each minor sector headquarters. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:2.6)
Architectural Worlds. These are the worlds which are built according to plans and specifications for some special purpose, such as Salvington, the headquarters of your local universe, and Uversa, the seat of government of our superuniverse. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:5.13)
While each superuniverse government presides near the center of the evolutionary universes of its space segment, it occupies a world made to order and is peopled by accredited personalities. These headquarters worlds are architectural spheres, space bodies specifically constructed for their special purpose. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:7.1)
The headquarters of the superuniverses are the seats of the high spiritual government of the time-space domains. ~ The Urantia Book, (15:10.1)
It is written, "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask. " On Uversa, when it becomes necessary to arrive at the decisions of wisdom in the perplexing situations of the complex affairs of the superuniverse government, when both the wisdom of perfection and of practicability must be forthcoming, then do the Perfectors of Wisdom summon a battery of the Voices of Wisdom and, by the consummate skill of their order, so attune and directionize these living receivers of the enminded and circulating wisdom of the universe of universes that presently, from these secoraphic voices, there ensues a stream of the wisdom of divinity from the universe above and a flood of the wisdom of practicality from the higher minds of the universes below. ~ The Urantia Book, (28:5.8)
The various subadministrations of the universe have assigned to them certain special domains of responsibility. While, in general, a system government looks after the welfare of its planets, it is more particularly concerned with the physical status of living beings, with biologic problems. In turn, the constellation rulers pay especial attention to the social and governmental conditions prevailing on the different planets and systems. A constellation government is chiefly exercised over unification and stabilization. Still higher up, the universe rulers are more occupied with the spiritual status of the realms. ~ The Urantia Book, (33:6.3)
Constellations thus function as the legislative or lawmaking units, while the local systems serve as the executive or enforcement units. The Salvington government is the supreme judicial and co-ordinating authority. ~ The Urantia Book, (43:2.2)
The Melchizedek Sons conduct upward of thirty different educational centers on Jerusem. These training schools begin with the college of self-evaluation and end with the schools of Jerusem citizenship, wherein the Material Sons and Daughters join with the Melchizedeks and others in their supreme effort to qualify the mortal survivors for the assumption of the high responsibilities of representative government. The entire is organized and administered on the representative plan. Representative government is the divine ideal of self-government among nonperfect beings. ~ The Urantia Book, (45:7.3)
Evolving Human Government
Government is an unconscious development; it evolves by trial and error. It does have survival value; therefore it becomes traditional. Anarchy augmented misery; therefore government, comparative law and order, slowly emerged or is emerging. The coercive demands of the struggle for existence literally drove the human race along the progressive road to civilization. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:0.3)
Every human institution had a beginning, and civil government is a product of progressive evolution just as much as are marriage, industry, and religion. From the early clans and primitive tribes there gradually developed the successive orders of human government which have come and gone right on down to those forms of social and civil regulation that characterize the second third of the twentieth century. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:5.1)
While primitive authority was based on strength, physical power, the ideal government is the representative system wherein leadership is based on ability, but in the days of barbarism there was entirely too much war to permit representative government to function effectively. In the long struggle between division of authority and unity of command, the dictator won. The early and diffuse powers of the primitive council of elders were gradually concentrated in the person of the absolute monarch. After the arrival of real kings the groups of elders persisted as quasi-legislative-judicial advisory bodies; later on, legislatures of co-ordinate status made their appearance, and eventually supreme courts of adjudication were established separate from the legislatures. ~ The Urantia Book, (70:12.2)
The political or administrative form of a government is of little consequence provided it affords the essentials of civil progress—liberty, security, education, and social co-ordination. It is not what a state is but what it does that determines the course of social evolution. And after all, no state can transcend the moral values of its citizenry as exemplified in their chosen leaders. Ignorance and selfishness will insure the downfall of even the highest type of government. ~ The Urantia Book, (71:3.1)
The only sacred feature of any human government is the division of statehood into the three domains of executive, legislative, and judicial functions. The universe is administered in accordance with such a plan of segregation of functions and authority. Aside from this divine concept of effective social regulation or civil government, it matters little what form of state a people may elect to have provided the citizenry is ever progressing toward the goal of augmented self-control and increased social service. The intellectual keenness, economic wisdom, social cleverness, and moral stamina of a people are all faithfully reflected in statehood. ~ The Urantia Book, (71:8.1)
Might does not make right, but it does enforce the commonly recognized rights of each succeeding generation. The prime mission of government is the definition of the right, the just and fair regulation of class differences, and the enforcement of equality of opportunity under the rules of law. Every human right is associated with a social duty; group privilege is an insurance mechanism which unfailingly demands the full payment of the exacting premiums of group service. And group rights, as well as those of the individual, must be protected, including the regulation of the sex propensity. ~ The Urantia Book, (81:5.6)
Meeting a poor man who had been falsely accused, Jesus went with him before the magistrate and, having been granted special permission to appear in his behalf, made that superb address in the course of which he said: "Justice makes a nation great, and the greater a nation the more solicitous will it be to see that injustice shall not befall even its most humble citizen. Woe upon any nation when only those who possess money and influence can secure ready justice before its courts! It is the sacred duty of a magistrate to acquit the innocent as well as to punish the guilty. Upon the impartiality, fairness, and integrity of its courts the endurance of a nation depends. Civil government is founded on justice, even as true religion is founded on mercy. " The judge reopened the case, and when the evidence had been sifted, he discharged the prisoner. Of all Jesus' activities during these days of personal ministry, this came the nearest to being a public appearance. ~ The Urantia Book, (132:4.8)
What Fully Evolved Human Government Looks Like
True self-government is beginning to function; fewer and fewer restrictive laws are necessary. The military branches of national resistance are passing away; the era of international harmony is really arriving. There are many nations, mostly determined by land distribution, but only one race, one language, and one religion. Mortal affairs are almost, but not quite, utopian. This truly is a great and glorious age! ~ The Urantia Book, (52:5.10)
Life during this era … is pleasant and profitable. Degeneracy and the antisocial end products of the long evolutionary struggle have been virtually obliterated. The length of life approaches five hundred Urantia years, and the reproductive rate of racial increase is intelligently controlled. An entirely new order of society has arrived. There are still great differences among mortals, but the state of society more nearly approaches the ideals of social brotherhood and spiritual equality. Representative government is vanishing, and the world is passing under the rule of individual self-control. The function of government is chiefly directed to collective tasks of social administration and economic co-ordination. The golden age is coming on apace; the temporal goal of the long and intense planetary evolutionary struggle is in sight. The reward of the ages is soon to be realized; the wisdom of the Gods is about to be manifested. ~ The Urantia Book, (52:7.5)
War has become a matter of history, and there are no more armies or police forces. Government is gradually disappearing. Self-control is slowly rendering laws of human enactment obsolete. The extent of civil government and statutory regulation, in an intermediate state of advancing civilization, is in inverse proportion to the morality and spirituality of the citizenship. ~ The Urantia Book, (55:5.4)
When an entire system becomes settled in life, a new order of government is inaugurated. The Planetary Sovereigns become members of the system conclave, and this new administrative body, subject to the veto of the Constellation Fathers, is supreme in authority. Such a system of inhabited worlds becomes virtually self-governing. The system legislative assembly is constituted on the headquarters world, and each planet sends its ten representatives thereto. Courts are now established on the system capitals, and only appeals are taken to the universe headquarters. ~ The Urantia Book, (55:8.1)
Government On A Neighboring Planet
The school government is a replica of the national government with its three correlated branches, the teaching staff functioning as the third or advisory legislative division. The chief object of education on this continent is to make every pupil a self-supporting citizen. ~ The Urantia Book, (72:4.5)
The federal government is paternalistic only in the administration of old-age pensions and in the fostering of genius and creative originality; the state governments are slightly more concerned with the individual citizen, while the local governments are much more paternalistic or socialistic. The city (or some subdivision thereof) concerns itself with such matters as health, sanitation, building regulations, beautification, water supply, lighting, heating, recreation, music, and communication. ~ The Urantia Book, (72:7.1)
Income to support the federal government is derived from the following five sources:
- Import duties. All imports are subject to a tariff designed to protect the standard of living on this continent, which is far above that of any other nation on the planet. These tariffs are set by the highest industrial court after both houses of the industrial congress have ratified the recommendations of the chief executive of economic affairs, who is the joint appointee of these two legislative bodies. The upper industrial house is elected by labor, the lower by capital.
- Royalties. The federal government encourages invention and original creations in the ten regional laboratories, assisting all types of geniuses—artists, authors, and scientists—and protecting their patents. In return the government takes one half the profits realized from all such inventions and creations, whether pertaining to machines, books, artistry, plants, or animals.
- Inheritance tax. The federal government levies a graduated inheritance tax ranging from one to fifty per cent, depending on the size of an estate as well as on other conditions.
- Military equipment. The government earns a considerable sum from the leasing of military and naval equipment for commercial and recreational usages.
- Natural resources. The income from natural resources, when not fully required for the specific purposes designated in the charter of federal statehood, is turned into the national treasury. ~ The Urantia Book, (72:7.8)
Just now this superior government is planning to establish ambassadorial relations with the inferior peoples, and for the first time a great religious leader has arisen who advocates the sending of missionaries to these surrounding nations. We fear they are about to make the mistake that so many others have made when they have endeavored to force a superior culture and religion upon other races. What a wonderful thing could be done on this world if this continental nation of advanced culture would only go out and bring to itself the best of the neighboring peoples and then, after educating them, send them back as emissaries of culture to their benighted brethren! Of course, if a Magisterial Son should soon come to this advanced nation, great things could quickly happen on this world. ~ The Urantia Book, (72:12.2)
Three of Jesus' discourses on Government: "Sovereignty - Divine and Human," "Political Sovereignty," and "Law, Liberty, and Sovereignty". These discourses have been adapted and restated by the Midwayers for relevance to our modern times.
See also Jesus' Discourse on Sonship and Citizenship.