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  • Writer's pictureThe Political Forum

Globalization, Part I

Updated: Mar 13, 2018

Last week, when Gary Cohn resigned as head of the National Economic Council, President Trump light-heartedly described him as a “globalist.” The Washington Post, in turn, charged that this term is “arguably an anti-Semitic dog whistle . . . harking back to days when some in Europe spoke of Jews as ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ and enemies of the national interest.”

That may be so…in Europe. But here in the good ol’ U. S. of A., it’s nonsense. Conservative animosity toward “globalism” dates back a hundred years to President Wilson’s efforts to get congressional approval for U.S. membership in the League of Nations. The idea was that the “Council” of the League would “advise upon the means” to be taken in the case of aggression against the territorial integrity and existing political independence of any member of the league. Conservatives, led by Henry Cabot Lodge, objected to any proposal that would oblige the country “to employ the military or naval forces of the United States under any article of the treaty for any purpose, unless in any particular case the Congress, which, under the Constitution, has the sole power to declare war or authorize the employment of the military or naval forces of the United States, shall by act or joint resolution so provide.”

Wilson failed to convince Congress to surrender U.S. sovereignty. But the issue did not die. It smoldered on among the denizens of the Left until World War II provided a new and wonderful opportunity to bring all of the nations of the world together under one flag of peace and plenty.

And so it came to pass that in December 1941, while Hitler’s Luftwaffe was targeting civilians in massive, nighttime bombing raids over London, the left-wing Federal Council of Churches formed a “Commission for a Just and Durable Peace,” to make “plans for peace.” The Council was led by John Foster Dulles, a lawyer whose involvement in foreign policy matters dated back to his appointment by Wilson as a legal counsel to the U.S. delegation at Versailles. The Council consisted of over a hundred representatives from the various Protestant communities that made up the Federal Council of Churches. Among the will-o’-the-wisp proposals advanced by this group were the following:

* Ultimately, "a world government of delegated powers."
* Complete abandonment of U.S. isolationism.
* Strong immediate limitations on national sovereignty.
* International control of all armies and navies.
* "A universal system of money . . . so planned as to prevent inflation and deflation."
* Worldwide freedom of immigration.
* Progressive elimination of all tariff and quota restrictions on world trade.
* "Autonomy for all subject and colonial peoples" (with much better treatment for Negroes in the U.S.).
* "No punitive reparations, no humiliating decrees of war guilt, no arbitrary dismemberment of nations."
* A "democratically controlled" international bank "to make development capital available in all parts of the world without the predatory and imperialistic after-math so characteristic of large-scale private and governmental loans."
* Strong immediate limitations on national sovereignty.
* International control of all armies and navies.
* Ultimately, a world government of delegated powers.
* A universal system of money.
* A “democratically controlled” international bank. 27

These proposals were accompanied by a lengthy declaration, which included the following.

For at least a generation we have held preponderant economic power in the world, and with it the capacity to influence decisively the shaping of world events. It should be a matter of shame and humiliation to us that actually the influences shaping the world have largely been irresponsible forces. Our own positive influence has been impaired because of concentration on self and on our short-range material gains . . . If the future is to be other than a repetition of the past, the United States must accept the responsibility for constructive action commensurate with its power and opportunity.

An article from the March 16, 1942, issue of Time Magazine said this about the group’s proposal.

Among the 375 delegates who drafted the program were 15 bishops of five denominations, seven seminary heads (including Yale, Chicago, Princeton, Colgate-Rochester), eight college and university presidents (including Princeton's Harold W. Dodds), practically all the ranking officials of the Federal Council and a group of well-known laymen, including John R. Mott, Irving Fisher and Harvey S. Firestone Jr. "Intellectually," said Methodist Bishop Ivan Lee Holt of Texas, "this is the most distinguished American church gathering I have seen in 30 years of conference-going."
The meeting showed its temper early by passing a set of 13 "requisite principles for peace" submitted by Chairman Foster Dulles and his inter-church Commission to Study the Bases of a Just and Durable Peace. These principles, far from putting all the onus on Germany or Japan bade the U.S. give thought to the shortsighted selfishness of its own policies after World War I, declared that the U.S. would have to turn over a new leaf if the world is to enjoy lasting peace [emphasis added].

Now, as any schoolboy knows, Dulles’ plan for the aftermath of the war did not produce a just and durable peace. But that wasn’t for lack of trying. Indeed, the United States happily joined the United Nations and began immediately to use the organization to inculcate the coming generation of Americans to the glories of globalization.

On November 16, 1945, less than a month after the United Nations was founded, it an established an agency called the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Known as UNESCO, the agency was formally charged with “advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication.” William Benton, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, was among its leading boosters. He put it this way:

We are at the beginning of a long process of breaking down the walls of national sovereignty. UNESCO must be the pioneer . . . As long as a child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can produce only precarious results. As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism. The school should, therefore, combat family attitudes that favor jingoism . . .

Needless to say, UNESCO’S coming out party was a celebration of similar righteous words and phrases, including but not limited to justice, liberty, peace, sacred duty, the “dignity of man,” and the “moral solidarity of man.” In actuality, UNESCO was the largest and most elaborate engine of left-wing propaganda that the world had ever seen. Ellen McClay put it this way in her exhaustive and heavily footnoted exploration of the origins and operations of UNESCO, which was entitled In the Presence of Our Enemies. The charter of the agency amounts to a “blank check to cover the country through every media of propaganda with the fallacies of left-wing philosophy which had already been going on, but was now to escalate, dominate, and penetrate every avenue of communications and every school room in the country.”

Truman loved the organization, of course, and gave it his blessing in the 1947 report of his Commission on Higher Education, which, among other things, said:

The role which education will play officially must be conditioned essentially by policies established in the State Department of this country and by the ministries of foreign affairs in other countries. Higher education must play a very important part in carrying out in this country the program developed by UNESCO. The United States Office of Education must be prepared to work with the State Department and with UNESCO. [emphasis added]

Lest there be any doubt about McClay’s characterization of UNESCO’s agenda, we would note an article in the November 11, 1946 issue of Time magazine concerning the first organizational meeting of UNESCO. The meeting took place in Paris and included five delegates from each member country. The United States, Time said, has “picked a team of first-stringers,” headed by Assistance Secretary of State William Benton, who are supported by a “90-man U.S. commission of educators, scientists and cultural leaders who help map out strategy.” Among other things, Time noted that this team will press for: “A conference to rewrite the world’s textbooks, so that old, ultranationalistic misunderstandings would not be passed on to school kids.”

And how, you ask, did these “first stringers” hope to go about keeping America’s “school kids” from nurturing patriotic feelings toward their country, or should we say “ultranationalistic misunderstanding?” Well, the answer is contained in a document identified as “Publication 356” and entitled, “In the Classroom with Children Under 13 Years of Age – Toward World Understanding – V.” It was published in 1949, in anticipation, one supposes, of the entrance into kindergarten of the first of the baby boom generation two years hence.

Before the child enters school, his mind has already been profoundly marked and often injuriously by earlier influences . . . he has first gained, however dimly, in the home.
The kindergarten, or infant school, has a significant part to play in a child’s education. Not only can it correct many of the errors of home training, but it can also prepare the child for membership at about age seven in a group of his own age and habits -- the first of many such social identifications that he must achieve on his way to membership in the world society.

As we have pointed out, it is frequently the family that infects the child with extreme nationalism. The school should therefore use the means described earlier to combat family attitudes that favor jingoism.

In our view, history and geography should be taught at this stage as universal history and geography. Of the two, only geography lends itself well to study in the years prescribed at this present survey. The study of history, on the other hand, raises problems of value which are better postponed until the pupil is freed from the nationalist prejudices which, at present, surround the teaching of history.

Now it could be that President Trump was wrong when he called Cohn a “globalist.” We don’t know the man. But we have long believed that a new iteration of globalists has entered the scene, for whom “world peace” is seen not as a final goal but a necessary precondition for the type of global commerce envisioned by Woodrow Wilson more than 100 years ago.

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