Millennium ‘Manifesto’ Calls for Shift Toward Global Governance

An international group of 121 philosophers, scientists and others
including well-known figures is calling for a new planetary ethic
that embraces science and technology to solve global problems in
the 21st century.

The ‘Humanist Manifesto 2000’ calls for a shift from what it
considers the narrow thinking of nation-states and toward global
institutions, such as a World Parliament, where representatives
would be elected on the basis of population rather than national

‘We are a global economy but have no planetary effort to cope
with this,’ said Paul Kurtz, principal author of the manifesto and
president of the International Academy of Humanism, based in
Amherst, N.Y. ‘We need to develop a new consciousness that
transcends the national, ethnic and parochial interests of the

The manifesto is published in the Sept. 15 issue of Free
Inquiry, a humanist magazine edited by Kurtz, who is a professor
emeritus at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Signers of the 14,000-word document include former U.S. senator
from California Alan Cranston, entertainer Steve Allen and 10 Nobel
Prize winners including chemistry Nobel laureate Herbert

The manifesto echoes traditional, secular humanist beliefs. It
says religious doctrines developed in nomadic, agricultural
societies are not useful in the information age. Instead, ‘new
moral principles based on modern science and reason’ should guide
our understanding of human behavior to solve world problems.

Providing adequate food, health care and shelter to everyone on
earth is one of the provisions of a proposed Planetary Bill of
Rights and Responsibilities. This could be accomplished through an
international income tax on corporations and countries, the
Manifesto suggests.

Acknowledging that conservative politicians may balk at the idea
of lessened national sovereignty, Kurtz nevertheless endorses an
end to the veto power of U.N. Security Council members, a global
environmental monitoring agency ‘with teeth,’ and a strengthened
World Court.

Whether the manifesto will resonate with ordinary people is left
to be seen. Jim Haught signed it and edits the Charleston Gazette
in West Virginia. He said he has espoused a similar worldview in
his editorials for years -? without much obvious success.

Readers of his 52,000-circulation paper more likely embrace the
rhetoric of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, he said, but he isn’t

‘I’m the crazy misfit in the Bible Belt,’ said Haught. ‘Humanity
has got to save itself. You’re not going to get any help from
heaven and angels.’

Contact: Paul Kurtz, president, International Academy of
Humanism, Amherst, N.Y., 716-636-7571. Jim Haught, editor, the
Charleston Gazette, Charleston, W. Va., 304-348-5140.

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