It is sometimes
necessary to think of the United Nations as an invention of
Evelyn Waugh in one of his more perverse moods. I can remember
the exalted hopes expressed for this organization after the
San Francisco meetings which brought it into being. The victors
of World War II sought to form an organization insuring world
peace. Later one learned that a Russian spy was a member of
the American delegation and it soon became clear that the
main threat to peace arose from the antagonisms among the
founders of the UN. The UN involvement in Korea was only possible
because the USSR was temporarily boycotting the organization.
But of course it remains the fundamental hope of many that
nations will fade away (like the state in Marxist fantasy)
and there will remain what might be called the dictatorship
of the common good.
of the United Nations is the lure of the abstract. Consider.
The good of the individual is subordinated to the common good
of the family, the common good of the family to that of the
city, that of the city to the nation, so why not the subordination
of all these to the good common to all nations? Isnít this
merely a logical progression so that resistance to the final
step is explainable only as a culpable fault? One could counter
this by pointing to the hilarious ineptitude of the UN as
well as to the many immoral policies of which it has become
the champion and chief agent. But to this it could be replied
that such flaws are eliminable and the ideal realizable.
In Catholic social
thinking the principle of subsidiarity is stressed. Subsidiarity
dictates that issues should be dealt with by the government
or societal arm closest to it. Only in this way will a solution
be proportionate to the particular problem. Underlying the
principle is celebration of diversity, not in the current
sense of issuing licences to the perverse, but in the profound
sense that individuals, family, cities, countries differ and
that this is a good intended by providence. To seek to eliminate
these layers and hierarchical goods by homogenizing the human
race is to destroy the only true vehicle of the common good
properly understood. Thomas Aquinas asked why God made things
many. It remains a good question.