[saymaListserv] Re: [Quaker-P] A historical analysis of the current crisis

Larry Ingle lingle at bellsouth.net
Sat Oct 13 18:10:25 JEST 2001

Universalism is the assumption of Woodrow Wilson, picked up by literally all
of his successors, that the way to achieve peace and security in the world
is to create one that has a set of rules--his Fourteen Points--that will be
accepted by or enforced by a super-national body on every nation in the
world.  Any nation that refuses to accept or prevent enforcement of these
rules would be considered an outlaw nation and subjected to international
discipline, up to and including military force.

(I would suggest that anyone interested review Wilson's Points, in any
encyclopedia, for a fuller discussion of this way of looking at the world.)

At the time Wilson announced his Fourteen Points the other approach was one
that diplomatic historians refer to as "balance of power" or "spheres of
influence."  This method would see the major powers in the world balanced
fairly evenly against each other and surrounded by friendly and weaker
nations.  If one major nation go out of line, then it would be brought back
into conformity with the system by another power.

The question of an alternative is a difficult one, and as a historian I am
uncomfortable in recommending one.  I can say that in the 19th century, from
1815 to 1914, there were no European-wide or world conflicts and the balance
of power approach was predominant.  It was only with the rise of liberalism,
coupled with nationalism, that this approach was ended, and World War I
ensued.  It was the greatest conflict in the history of mankind up to that
point.  Need I mention that the 20th century was the most violent in the
history of human beings, a fact that suggests that liberalism and
nationalism failed to achieve its goals if they be a world of peace and

I hope this helps.

For what it's worth.

Larry Ingle
Chattanooga Meeting (SAYMA)

>From: Arthur Rifkin MD <rifkin at lij.edu>
>To: "'Larry Ingle'" <lingle at bellsouth.net>, <quaker-p at yang.earlham.edu>
>Cc: <quaker-spectrum at world.std.com>, <sayma at kitenet.net>
>Subject: RE: [Quaker-P] A historical analysis of the current crisis
>Date: Sat, Oct 13, 2001, 11:58 AM

> I would appreciate hearing more from Larry Ingle about what he means by
> "universalism" and its alternative that he thinks desirable.
> Arthur Rifkin
> Manhasset MM

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