The Words of the Carlson Family

The Fate of Nations

David Carlson
June, 2000

This month we’ll take a look at the future of America and other nations. We’ll trace some major trends toward unity or division. Finally, we’ll compare the ideas of secular futurists with those of Unificationist thinkers. This is the final article in a series of four with a ‘national’ theme.

The world stands at a crossroads. Technological, economic, and ideological forces are moving forward in thousands of currents. Some are roaring torrents, others quiet infusions, altering every aspect of our surroundings. They’re so numerous no mortal could comprehend them all, much less direct them with any assurance.

That doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Regarding technology and culture, anyone who gains some degree of mastery finds nearly limitless potential.

There are precedents. In the 19th century, America built mighty railroads. The Industrial Age got rolling, and several men became the world’s first billionaires.

Others worried that, by making travel so easy, trains would ruin society. In the event, physical separation has brought about the emotional distancing of millions of families.

Politically, elections make a big difference. As Burke pointed out, the bad guys win if the good folks become couch potatoes. Even so, anyone who invests much hope in a political party—much less, in some individual politician—is certain to be disappointed.

In politics, it is said that America has a "stupid party" and an "evil party," and this description seems truer by the month. If the reader isn’t sure which is which, this author refers you to certain headline photos taken before dawn on the day before Easter, in a humble residence in Miami. This is how the Federal "village" cares for its children . . . (Read John 3:19)

That horrifying, lawless raid was a snapshot of humanism’s conceit reaching fruition. On a larger scale, it’s a perfect distillation of government itself. Without a SWAT team waiting in the background, laws and edicts become nothing more than requests.

Ultimately, politics will improve when the populace does.

The Status Quo

Revolutions occur not when a people are in the depths of misery, but in the midst of change, when their expectations have been raised. Those who perceive themselves as "on the outs" will agitate for a larger share of the pie.

Modern society has upped the ante. People focus on external rewards; a never-ending quest to "keep up with the Joneses." But when they do, that raises the social average! America’s poor are wealthier than the Pharaohs of old—yet they won’t rest until they too have a DVD player. Goodies and social perks now stand in for a more basic sort of human dignity.

An old definition of "conservative" and "liberal" refers to acceptance of the status quo. Scholar Lawrence Chickering describes two major social factions, "core" and "marginal" people. These are primarily self-selected groups, having as much to do with attitude as ideology.

Core people, confident and satisfied, aren’t easily ruffled; but marginal people react strongly, always seeking to be different. When the core accepts a marginal style (music or whatever), the margin soon comes up with something even "edgier."

Intellectuals, as society’s questioners, are the natural leaders of the marginal faction. From the anarchists of the early 1900s to the hippies of the 60s, marginal people have expected The Revolution to occur at any moment. In reality, The System has tremendous momentum.

Whatever their ideals, millions expect dramatic change.


In many parts of the world, ethnic divisions remain severe enough to spark war and national breakups. At the extreme, one commentator thinks that Mecca will be nuked within twenty years, claiming that "Muslims have gotten too good at pissing people off."

Americana maven Ben Wattenberg’s tomes, published every ten years, are relentlessly optimistic. The world beats a path to our door, for political, educational, and economic reasons. Also, "bad news" gets exaggerated. In fact, he points out, our society is steadily improving.

However, Wattenberg’s analysis is statistical. A foreign student may love this nation, or use it to advance his own prospects. A dip in crime might last, or a whole new crop of sociopaths may soon come of age.

Joel Garreau wrote The Nine Nations of North America twenty years ago, and it’s proved remarkably prescient. The regional mindsets he describes are as prominent as ever. From the rustic South, to the industrial Great Lakes, to the sunny West Coast, America’s regions have many distinguishing characteristics.

Americans haven’t worried about a breakup since the Civil War, yet many Science Fiction stories depict an America that has split along regional lines, often following a devastating war. No one can say whether this will ever really happen, but in history, only a few nations have kept their integrity for more than a couple hundred years.

Others assert it will never happen, because history itself isn’t the same anymore. Francis Fukuyama made a splash with his thesis "The End of History." Our own Divine Principle forecasts a wholly unified future, one that takes spiritual factors into account.

America accepts more immigrants each year than every other nation combined. Is this, and its follow-on, multiculturalism, good or bad? Even the Sierra Club, very liberal and about 90% white, has debated limiting immigration.

Will the world’s population grow unchecked? Is doomsayer Paul Erlich right after all—after being wrong a dozen times? Or will increasing prosperity defuse the Population Bomb, as it seems to be doing in most nations? There are no simple answers.


How will the world’s nations approach the Ideal? Should humanity "vote with its feet" on whether to live in fundamentalist Afghanistan, easygoing California, school-marm-ish Singapore, or Sweden’s cradle-to-grave socialism? Certainly all peoples should be able to vote, period. When compared to an emerging, genuine Heavenly culture (based in any nation), all of these may find themselves outvoted!

With a growing world culture, the very issue of national sovereignty will decline in importance. However, as Paul Harvey says, "the world is not one place." Every day Harvey recounts bizarre and terrible happenings in less advanced nations. Wounds must be cleansed before they can be stitched together.

America remains the closest Earthly approximation of an ideal society. In the past fifty years we’ve strayed far from our traditions, and millions understand that we must return. Will gradual movement be enough, or (to quote Jefferson) will "the tree of Liberty" have to be "watered with the blood of patriots?"

The Ideal

Beyond all this comes the genuine Heavenly Ideal. There are many visions of Heaven, perhaps as many as there are people to imagine it. Of course the traditional religions have had their say, as have the philosophers.

The cultures of East and West produced numerous religions and heresies; also several varieties of freedom, and many of slavery. Our perceptions of the Ideal are influenced by our cultures, even within the Unificationist community. We all foresee an Earth that interacts freely with the Saints and Angels—but what sort of influence would they have?

There is a spiritual version of the split between the forces of freedom and order. (Discussed last month in "National Freedom.") Western belief, as explained by C.S. Lewis and others, emphasizes freedom and conscience. He looked to a Heaven on Earth where people have spotless character, and don’t want to sin.

Asians, as exemplified by our own Chungpyung lecturers, foresee a Heaven on Earth with strict, Principle-based rules. Where a pervasive spirit world (followed up by human law) deals swift and severe penalties to all sinners. Theirs is a Heaven where people had better not sin.

Each side, this author suspects, would feel rather uncomfortable living in the other’s version.

True Father says that America, as the Elder Son nation, should blend East and West to establish a true Heavenly culture. Somehow, each culture and vision must be harmonized. Then every dweller in Heaven will rejoice.


This is a brief reading list for the four ‘national’ articles:

An overview of economics and idealism: The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner

An overview of American government: Parliament of Whores by P.J. O’Rourke. (Funny and insightful despite his potty mouth.)

America’s recent military involvements: Code of Honor by Col. David Hackworth

Potential future conflicts: The Next War by Caspar Weinberger

Crime and safety: More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott

The concepts of Freedom and Order, Core and Margin: Beyond Left and Right by Lawrence Chickering

America’s varying regions: The Nine Nations of North America by Joel Garreau

America’s bright future: The First Universal Nation by Ben Wattenberg

Hegelian futurism: The End of History and The Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

An atheist’s version of Heaven: Voyage from Yesteryear by James Hogan

Depictions of the Ideal: Unificationist Hoon Dok Hae study materials

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