The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 70: The Evolution of Human Government
Government evolves by trial and error. On an evolutionary world, peace is secured only by the development of a system to regulate social behavior. The natural antagonisms between tribes, clans, families, and individuals call for regulation and coordination. The development of industry demands law and order; private property requires government.
War, an animalistic reaction to misunderstandings and irritations, is the natural state of evolving man.
Though costly and dangerous, war contributes many benefits to society. It fosters discipline, cooperation, and courage, and accelerates social changes. But war, like slavery, must be abandoned as civilization advances. War will continue until people create adequate substitutes for the benefits that war provides.
Industrialism can triumph over militarism if we avoid the dangers of the worship of wealth, indolence, biologic deterioration, and industrial slavery. Peace will be promoted more efficiently by international trade organizations than by visionary planning. Trade relations improve through advances in language, communication, and transportation.
The first peaceful group was the family, then the clan, the tribe, and the nation. The first government was a council of distinguished elders. During wartime, the efficiency of having a single leader led to having one ruler of the tribe acting as chief executive. Councils of elders became the legislative and judicial branches of government. Effective state rule came when chiefs or kings were given full executive authority.
The inequality of human beings insures that social classes will appear. The only worlds without social strata are the most primitive and the most advanced. Flexible social classes are indispensable to an evolving civilization, but when class becomes caste, it curtails individual development. Classes will persist until people obliterate them through education, by eliminating inferior human strains, and through religious awareness of human brotherhood.
Nature conferred no rights on humans, only life and a world in which to live. So-called human rights are social concepts that change from age to age. During the European middle ages every man belonged to someone else; rights were favors granted to individuals by the church or state. The revolt from this error led to the equally erroneous belief that all men are born equal. The weak may insist that the state compel the strong to make up for their deficiencies, but this equality is not found in nature.
Justice as conceived by humans has been a matter of progressive evolution. Early administration of justice included trial by ordeal. Society early adopted the attitude of "an eye for an eye." Suicide was a common form of retaliation, because people believed that as a ghost they could return and visit wrath on their enemies. Justice was first meted out by the family, then the clan, and later the tribe. True justice appears when revenge is taken from private hands and is administered by the state. When society fails to punish crimes, group resentment may assert itself through lynch law. The thoroughness and equity of the courts and the integrity of judges accurately determine the status of a civilization.
Law in advancing civilization becomes increasingly positive and directive. The ideal government for evolutionary people is a representative system where leadership is based on ability and where a proper balance of power is maintained between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
If people are to maintain their freedom, their government must prevent the following pitfalls: usurpation of unwarranted power by any one branch of government; machinations of ignorant agitators; retardation of scientific progress; the dominance of mediocrity; domination by vicious minorities; control by would-be dictators; taxation enslavement of the citizenry by the state; social and economic unfairness; union of church and state; and loss of personal liberty.