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Unitive Socialism

Unitive Socialism
Great Unraveling | Upsetting the World’s  Equilibrium | Global Warming | Survival
Speculations | Wealth and Poverty | Unitive Socialism | Liberalism | Conclusion

Part I. Purification
Great Unraveling

O Glory of the All-Glorious!

Whensoever thou dost examine, through a microscope, the water man drinketh, the air he doth breathe, thou wilt see that with every breath of air, man taketh in an abundance of animal life, and with every draught of water, he also swalloweth down a great variety of animals. How could it ever be possible to put a stop to this process? For all creatures are eaters and eaten, and the very fabric of life is reared upon this fact. Were it not so, the ties that interlace all created things within the universe would be unravelled.
And further, whensoever a thing is destroyed, and decayeth, and is cut off from life, it is promoted into a world that is greater than the world it knew before.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 157.

Please bear in mind that I am only speculating. My advice is to always be highly critical regarding human ideas and conclusions. Far-fetched, unsupportable, and absolute statements deserve extreme skepticism. Ultimately, my objective is to share certain unauthoritative personal reflections on texts through Heartfulness Inquiry. Since I try not to take my views too seriously, neither should anyone else:

I feel that regarding such interpretations (of verses from the Scriptures) no one has the right to impose his view or opinion and require his listeners to believe in his particular interpretation of the sacred and prophetic writings. I have no objection to your interpretations and inferences so long as they are represented as your own personal observations and reflections. It would be unnecessary and confusing to state authoritatively and officially a dogmatic Baháʾí interpretation to be universally accepted and taught by believers. Such matters I feel should be left to the personal judgement and insight of individual teachers.
Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baháʾí Community. April 6, 1928. Page 423.

Part I of the book focuses upon the inevitable calamities which, according to my understanding, humanity will continue to undergo on its pathway to unity. The current Dispensation includes, within its scope, not just the Day of Resurrection. It also includes the Day of Judgment. Although the general thrust of the Baháʾí texts remains substantially optimistic, numerous struggles and difficult times might lie immediately ahead. The world, according to dear Baháʾuʾlláh, has sustained multiple cataclysms:

And now regarding thy question, “How is it that no records are to be found concerning the Prophets that have preceded Adam, the Father of Mankind, or of the kings that lived in the days of those Prophets?” Know thou that the absence of any reference to them is no proof that they did not actually exist. That no records concerning them are now available, should be attributed to their extreme remoteness, as well as to the vast changes which the earth hath undergone since their time....
Witness, therefore, how numerous and far-reaching have been the changes in language, speech, and writing since the days of Adam. How much greater must have been the changes before Him!
... the Manifestations of His Divine glory and the Day Springs of eternal holiness have been sent down from time immemorial .... That the names of some of them are forgotten and the records of their lives lost is to be attributed to the disturbances and changes that have overtaken the world.
Mention hath been made in certain books of a deluge which caused all that existed on earth, historical records as well as other things, to be destroyed. Moreover, many cataclysms have occurred which have effaced the traces of many events....
Please God thou wilt turn thine eyes towards the Most Great Revelation, and entirely disregard these conflicting tales and traditions.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 172-175.

The Great Unraveling, the purification, of this time is, I believe, the passageway to global unity. In the near future, our collective birth pangs may become even more severe. Cultures, as we have seen throughout history, have risen, declined, and, ultimately, fallen. My own gut tells me that Western civilization, along with its materialistic ideologies (shared oppressive belief systems), will, in the not too distant future, go the way of the Ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Aztecs, Romans, Athenians, and others. Fortunately, the world, as we have known it, could now be ending. There is no need for catastrophobia:

... the signs of an impending catastrophe, strangely reminiscent of the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, which threatens to engulf the whole structure of present-day civilization—all witness to the tumult which the birth of this mighty Organ of the Religion of Baháʾuʾlláh has cast into the world—a tumult which will grow in scope and in intensity as the implications of this constantly evolving Scheme are more fully understood and its ramifications more widely extended over the surface of the globe.
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 156.
For reasons which are only too obvious the Baháʾí philosophy of social and political organization cannot be fully reconciled with the political doctrines and conceptions that are current and much in vogue to-day. The wave of nationalism, so aggressive and so contagious in its effects, which has swept not only over Europe but over a large part of mankind is, indeed, the very negation of the gospel of peace and of brotherhood proclaimed by Baháʾuʾlláh. The actual trend in the political world is, indeed, far from being in the direction of the Bahá'í teachings. The world is drawing nearer and nearer to a universal catastrophe which will mark the end of a bankrupt and of a fundamentally defective civilization.
From a letter, dated February 11, 1934, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1456.
Many of us are afflicted with catastrophobia, an intense fear of catastrophes. This causes individuals and societies to think of the future in terms of a coming, potential disaster; thus, most people do not care for Earth and its inhabitants, which includes themselves and their families.
Barbara Hand Clow, Catastrophobia: The Truth Behind Earth Changes. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions Bear & Company. 2001. Kindle edition.

Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Cause of God, announced the end of nation-building. Subsequent attempts at forming nations have resulted from disunity, not from unity:

Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 202.

Through the Great Unraveling, the false consciousness of any religious, political, economic, religious, or other belief system contrary to the Will of God will be wiped away:

Methinks people’s sense of taste hath, alas, been sorely affected by the fever of negligence and folly, for they are found to be wholly unconscious and deprived of the sweetness of His utterance. How regrettable indeed that man should debar himself from the fruits of the tree of wisdom while his days and hours pass swiftly away. Please God, the hand of divine power may safeguard all mankind and direct their steps towards the horizon of true understanding.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Lawḥ-i-Maqṣúd” (Tablet to Maqṣúd), Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 173-174.
Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, indeed, but with a false consciousness. The real motives impelling him remain unknown to him, otherwise it would not be an ideological process at all. Hence he imagines false or apparent motives. Because it is a process of thought he derives both its form and its content from pure thought, either his own or that of his predecessors. He works with mere thought material which he accepts without examination as the product of thought, he does not investigate further for a more remote process independent of thought; indeed its origin seems obvious to him, because as all action is produced through the medium of thought it also appears to him to be ultimately based upon thought. The ideologist who deals with history (history is here simply meant to comprise all the spheres – political, juridical, philosophical, theological – belonging to society and not only to nature), the ideologist dealing with history then, possesses in every sphere of science material which has formed itself independently out of the thought of previous generations and has gone through an independent series of developments in the brains of these successive generations. True, external facts belonging to its own or other spheres may have exercised a co-determining influence on this development, but the tacit pre-supposition is that these facts themselves are also only the fruits of a process of thought, and so we still remain within that realm of pure thought which has successfully digested the hardest facts.
Friedrich Engels, Engels to Franz Mehring. 1893.

The light of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Revelation could, He wrote, appear in the ocean:

In the East the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West have appeared the signs of His dominion. Ponder this in your hearts, O people, and be not of those who have turned a deaf ear to the admonitions of Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Praised.... Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent, it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim: “I am the life-giver of the world!”
Baháʾuʾlláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 78-79.
Hurricane Isaac headed inland towards New Orleans as a Category 1 storm on the 7th anniversary of the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina....
The storm drew intense scrutiny because of its timing – ... the anniversary of the hurricane that devastated that city, while the first major speeches of the Republican National Convention went on in Tampa, Fla., already delayed and tempered by the storm.
Hurricane Isaac Pounds Louisiana on Anniversary of Katrina.” Fox News. August 29, 2012. Retrieved on August 29, 2012.

Through large-scale destruction and warfare in regions dominated by materialism and ungodliness, God will once again demonstrate His global dominion. In the Lord’s own time, the old world order, and those who serve and promote it, will, in some fashion, be destroyed. As Shoghi Effendi quoted the Blessed Beauty:

“The time for the destruction of the world and its people,” Baháʾuʾlláh’s prophetic pen has proclaimed, “hath arrived.” “The hour is approaching,” He specifically affirms, “when the most great convulsion will have appeared.” “The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: ‘Taste ye what your hands have wrought!’” “Soon shall the blasts of His chastisement beat upon you, and the dust of hell enshroud you.” And again: “And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake.”
Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 3.
“Soon,” Baháʾuʾlláh Himself has prophesied, “will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.” And again: “By Myself! The day is approaching when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein, and spread out a new Order in its stead.” “The day is approaching when God will have raised up a people who will call to remembrance Our days, who will tell the tale of Our trials, who will demand the restitution of Our rights, from them who, without a tittle of evidence, have treated Us with manifest injustice.”
Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Pages 17-18.

Similarly, in the heavenly words of dear Jesus and beloved Paul:

Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.
Jesus Christ in Matthew 8:22, American Standard Version (1901).
... it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed.
Jesus Christ in Luke 17:29-30, American Standard Version (1901).
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief ....
Paul, 1 Thessolonians 5:2-4, American Standard Version (1901).

Destroying the world, however, does not necessarily refer to the annihilation of all, or even most, human life:

Know ye that by “the world” is meant your unawareness of Him Who is your Maker, and your absorption in aught else but Him.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 276.
... he [Shoghi Effendi] does not think God will permit man to annihilate himself. Too much evolution is behind him and too much before him for that!
From a letter, dated July 5, 1947, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 437.
The Community of the Most Great Name [Baháʾís], the leaven that must leaven the lump, the chosen remnant that must survive the rolling up of the old, discredited, tottering order, and assist in the unfoldment of a new one in its stead, is standing ready, alert, clear-visioned, and resolute.
Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed to the Baháʾís of North America 1932-1946. July 5, 1938. Page 33.

In other words, the destruction to come may be regional, not uniformly global. According to my understanding, spiritual factors will be brought into play. For reasons that are as yet unknown, various frigid regions of the world could become temperate. However, the people of Greenland and perhaps elsewhere may have a choice, reminiscent of humanity during Nōăḥ’s diluvian Dispensation, concerning the long-term continuation of their landmass. Please bear in mind that I am only offering one personal interpretation of this passage:

Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate—that is, if the hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will acquire the utmost freshness and beauty. Effort, the utmost effort, is required.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan. Page 28.

Ultimately, however, divine punishment will fall upon the just and the unjust alike:

... he [God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.
Jesus, Matthew 5:45, American Standard Version (1901).

Countries closely guard their secrets, especially their highly sensitive sources and methods of intelligence gathering. Yet, ironically, only months after U.S. President Barack Obama announced an end to the War on Terror, Edward Snowden began his revelations on the National Security Agency:

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends – and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address. January 21, 2013.
5 June [2013]      The Guardian publishes its first exclusive based on [Edward] Snowden’s leak, revealing a secret court order showing that the US government had forced the telecoms giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.
7 June [2013]      Barack Obama defends the two programmes, saying they are overseen by the courts and Congress.
Mirren Gidda, “Edward Snowden and the NSA files – timeline.” The Guardian (newspaper). July 25, 2013. Retrieved on November 4, 2013.
... it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.
Romans 12:19, American Standard Version (1901).

While witnessing the distressing news of political repression in the Middle East, with governments slaughtering their own citizens, I have sometimes recalled the last of these three Islāmic traditions (al-aḥādīṯ, the plural of al-ḥadīṯ), as quoted by Shoghi Effendi. The text could refer to the dreadful consequences of nuclear warfare or, perhaps, of natural disasters in predominantly Muslim countries. Splitting an atom is relatively easy. Putting it all back together is the problem:

... every follower of the persecuted Faith of Baháʾuʾlláh recognized evidences of the directing Hand of the departed Founder of his religion, Who, from the invisible Realm, was unloosing a flood of well-deserved calamities upon a rebellious religion ....
The text of certain Muḥammadan traditions, the authenticity of which Muslims themselves recognize, and which have been extensively quoted by eminent Oriental Baháʾí scholars and authors, will serve to corroborate the argument and illuminate the theme I have attempted to expound: “In the latter days a grievous calamity shall befall My people at the hands of their ruler, a calamity such as no man ever heard to surpass it. So fierce will it be that none can find a shelter. God will then send down One of My descendants, One sprung from My family, Who will fill the earth with equity and justice, even as it hath been filled with injustice and tyranny.” And, again: “A day shall be witnessed by My people whereon there will have remained of Islám naught but a name, and of the Qurʾán naught but a mere appearance. The doctors of that age shall be the most evil the world hath ever seen. Mischief hath proceeded from them, and on them will it recoil.” And, again: “At that hour His malediction shall descend upon you, and your curse shall afflict you, and your religion shall remain an empty word on your tongues. And when these signs appear amongst you, anticipate the day when the red-hot wind will have swept over you, or the day when ye will have been disfigured, or when stones will have rained upon you.”
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 97 and 99.

Shoghi Effendi apparently anticipated that, given the dire circumstances surrounding a rapidly intensifying Cold War coupled with the American ideology of racism, the former Soviet Union would bomb cities in the United States. However, the key phrase in this quotation may be, “if allowed to drift”:

... pervading all departments of life—an evil which the nation [the United States], and indeed all those within the capitalist system, though to a lesser degree, share with that state and its satellites regarded as the sworn enemies of that system—is the crass materialism, which lays excessive and ever-increasing emphasis on material well-being, forgetful of those things of the spirit on which alone a sure and stable foundation can be laid for human society....
No less serious is the stress and strain imposed on the fabric of American society through the fundamental and persistent neglect, by the governed and governors alike, of the supreme, the inescapable and urgent duty—so repeatedly and graphically represented and stressed by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in His arraignment of the basic weaknesses in the social fabric of the nation—of remedying, while there is yet time, through a revolutionary change in the concept and attitude of the average white American toward his Negro fellow citizen, a situation which, if allowed to drift, will, in the words of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, cause the streets of American cities to run with blood, aggravating thereby the havoc which the fearful weapons of destruction, raining from the air, and amassed by a ruthless, a vigilant, a powerful and inveterate enemy, will wreak upon those same cities.
Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. Page 124-126.

So what happened? Well, according to Baháʾuʾlláh and ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, peace and blessings be upon Them, fate, and perhaps also prophecy, can sometimes be impending or conditional:

Know thou, O fruit of My Tree, that the decrees of the Sovereign Ordainer, as related to fate and predestination, are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable, the other is, as termed by men, impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. God, however, is able to alter or repeal it. As the harm that must result from such a change will be greater than if the decree had remained unaltered, all, therefore, should willingly acquiesce in what God hath willed and confidently abide by the same.
The decree that is impending, however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 133.
Fate is of two kinds: one is decreed, and the other is conditional or impending. The decreed fate is that which cannot change or be altered, and conditional fate is that which may occur. So, for this lamp, the decreed fate is that the oil burns and will be consumed; therefore, its eventual extinction is a decree which it is impossible to alter or to change because it is a decreed fate. In the same way, in the body of man a power of life has been created, and as soon as it is destroyed and ended, the body will certainly be decomposed, so when the oil in this lamp is burnt and finished, the lamp will undoubtedly become extinguished.
But conditional fate may be likened to this: while there is still oil, a violent wind blows on the lamp, which extinguishes it. This is a conditional fate. It is wise to avoid it, to protect oneself from it, to be cautious and circumspect. But the decreed fate, which is like the finishing of the oil in the lamp, cannot be altered, changed nor delayed. It must happen; it is inevitable that the lamp will become extinguished.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions. Page 244.

In this case, although certain U.S. cities may be destroyed by other means, natural or humanly engineered, the Civil Rights Movement inspired significant changes in American race relations, including legislative reform. Conceivably, those improvements, while certainly lacking in many areas, were sufficient to avert a more immediate catastrophe. In spite of continuing problems, Americans did eventually elect a self-defined African American president. Therefore, the planetary timeline, or conditionally predestined course of events, might also have shifted due to these unforeseen circumstances.

On the other hand, one of the most notable historical features of the American Civil Rights Movement was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) during a time of terrible racial conflict in the United States. Section 4 of the Act required nine Southern states and certain other mostly Southern counties with long histories of racial discrimination to receive federal approval before making any electoral changes. On June 25, 2013, that section was unceremoniously struck down, in a 5-4 ruling, by the Supreme Court.

One admittedly effective provision was, perplexingly, gutted. Any divine retributions for human misdeads are, of course, known only to God, His Prophets, and His Chosen Ones. Without a Soviet Union, the punishment may be inflicted by other means. The South of the twenty-first century is, in many respects, different from the South of the 1960s. Yet the recent Southern record of attempted repression against minorities voters has been less then exemplary. However, if the old white South attempts to rise again, in a manner of speaking, much more blood might fill the streets.

States retain broad autonomy ... in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government, including “the power to regulate elections.”... There is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States....
The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles....
... Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”...
... Section 4's formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions.
Supreme Court of the United States, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, Attorney General, et al. June 25, 2013. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.
... the American Civil Liberties Union’s Laughlin McDonald issued a statement saying the ruling poses a “real challenge to Americans’ fundamental right to vote.”
NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] President Ben Jealous called the decision ”outrageous,“ because it makes minority voters ”more vulnerable to the flood of attacks we have seen in recent years.”
Bill Mears, “Supreme Court Makes Historic Voting Rights Law Harder to Enforce.” CNN (Cable News Network). Atlanta, Georgia. CNN Politics. June 25, 2013. Retrieved on June 25, 2013.

In addition, ever since the end of school segregation and Jim Crow (segregation) laws in general, many white people have become increasingly fearful of Blacks, especially African American men. The institutionally racist undertones of describing inner cities as “jungles” appear to be lost on some people. Stand-your-ground laws, which allow people to kill based on a perceived threat, have been criticized as a legal justification for lynching in the twenty-first century:

Lynching a Black person in this country [the U.S.] is now called Stand Your Ground In Self Defense.
Mitch Gilbert, “Lynchings In America Are Now Called ‘Stand Your Ground In Self Defense’.” Tent of Abraham (blog). July 13, 2013. Retrieved on July 14, 2013.
Lynching went on a for a century in many states, particularly in the South and Border states, and was ignored, leading to very few prosecutions and convictions. The US Government refused to take any action until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allowed prosecution on a federal level.
Now there is a legal way to get around the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and there need not be any charges or accusations brought against the victim. Simply if someone is fearful of a black male, does not like the way he walks, dresses or looks you in the eye, is justification for the shooter to “stand his ground”!
Ronald Feinman, “The ‘New’ Lynching Mentality: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws!The Progressive Professor (blog). March 24, 2012. Retrieved on July 14, 2013.
Our [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’] goal for FY [fiscal year] 2014 - 2018 will be to conduct an annual, original fact-finding or statistically based investigation such as our 2013 ongoing research project regarding the civil rights implications of Stand Your Ground laws.
United States Commission on Civil Rights, Strategic Plan FY 2014-2018. Official U.S. government document. Retrieved on July 14, 2013. Page 6.

Plainly, there will be no rapture, or physical translation into heaven, of the elect. Many, though obviously not all, of these supposed elect are some of the same people who are applauding the Supreme Court’s decision. If the major source of problems in an Age is social or sociological, not personal or psychological, then the effects of disobedience are felt by everyone, not just the supposed evildoers. The current Age of Transition might, in my opinion, be described as one from homo sapien to homo unitas. We will, through trials and ordeals, become a new race of men.

The day is approaching when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a race of men the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, the Self-Subsisting.
Baháʾuʾlláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Page 85.
A sharp distinction between that community [American and Canadian Baháʾís] and that people [Americans and Canadians] must be made, and resolutely and fearlessly upheld, if we wish to give due recognition to the transmuting power of the Faith of Baháʾuʾlláh, in its impact on the lives and standards of those who have chosen to enlist under His banner. Otherwise, the supreme and distinguishing function of His Revelation, which is none other than the calling into being of a new race of men, will remain wholly unrecognized and completely obscured.
Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Page 16.
The Guardian [Shoghi Effendi] was delighted to hear of your youth group. The children who are trained in the world-embracing teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh cannot but grow up to be a truly new race of men. He hopes these young people will prepare themselves for the great task which will face them in the future, that of helping to rebuild the world with the aid and inspiration of the Baháʾí teachings.
From a letter, dated December 25, 1941, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Baháʾís of Hobart, Australia, A Compilation on Baháʾí Education.

I am not a fan of imposing psychiatric, or clinical psychological, diagnoses on societies. Nevertheless, the celebration of personal liberty might be understood, metaphorically, as The Culture of Narcissism, the title of a bestseller written by historian Christopher Lasch (1932-1994). I found it, by chance, in a White Plains, New York, bookstore immediately after it was published in 1979. If anything, the book’s major thesis, the death of a competitive individualist culture through self-centeredness, is more relevant now in the twenty-first century. According to Lasch, people are becoming increasingly self-involved:

This book ... describes a way of life that is dying—the culture of competitive individualism, which in its decadence has carried the logic of individualism to the extreme of a war of all against all, the pursuit of happiness to the dead end of a narcissistic preoccupation with the self.
Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1979. Page xv.
In a dying culture, narcissism appears to embody—in the guise of personal growth and awareness—the highest attainment of spiritual enlightenment.
Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1979. Page 235.

Philip Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan’s The Demise of Guys presents many similar ideas. In my opinion, however, the authors have drawn some mistaken conclusions from the data. The problem is the cult of individualism, not the male gender. Both women and men have been struggling under the culture of narcissism. The significant difference, perhaps, is that women are usually socialized, during childhood, to be more gregarious than men. That one factor, it seems to me, may, in certain respects, have allowed women to be a bit less damaged by this narcissistic culture than men.

We believe this demise [of men] can be traced to the rise of technology enchantment. From the earliest ages, guys are seduced into excessive and mostly isolated viewing and involvement with texting, tweeting, blogging, online chatting, emailing, and watching sports on TV or laptops. Most of all, though, they're burying themselves in video games and in getting off on all-pervasive online pornography....
Turn off your digital identity and turn on yourself. Learn how to dance, rediscover nature, make a female friend, monitor social interactions to be sure others are being listened to adequately and sufficiently, learn to tell jokes and practice conversation openers....
Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan, The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It. New York: TED Conferences, LLC. 2012.
Research projects have examined gender and age differences in domestication patterns of ICTs [information and communication technologies] and have uncovered characteristics that seem to be shared in many countries. Women, for example, make far greater domestic use of the telephone, both in terms of the number of calls and their duration, in most developed countries. Telephone usage decreases steadily with age until retirement, at which point it then increases. Men show much the same overall pattern, but their telephone usage is consistently lower than that of women. These findings are thought to indicate the role of women in maintaining social networks, although with the trend toward greater female employment in some countries, this role may change.
Ben Anderson, “Domestic Life and Internet.” Encyclopedia of Community. Karen Christensen and David Levinson, editors. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2003.

Elsewhere, elaborating on this theme, I wrote:

As Marshall McLuhan insightfully wrote, “the medium is the message.” The addictive pseudo-unity of social networking, fueled by websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and wireless “texting” have, it appears to me, exchanged much of the depth of human relationships for superficial and coded half sentences. Personalities flatten. I see college students, raised on gadgets, wandering alone through campus while deeply engaged with their palms. Getting many of them to turn off their devices in class has become a significant behavioral issue. Yet, the ideology of the century appears, so far, to be apathy.
Mark A. Foster, Heartfulness Inquiry. Retrieved on July 15, 2012.

Men, like women, will participate in the unfoldment of a new planetary society. However, with all of the upheavals in male-dominated countries and corporations, we may be witnessing the death, globally, of specifically masculinized cultures, along with patriarchy or male dominance, and the birth of a more spiritually egalitarian civilization. The Demise of Guys strikes me as a reaction to these rapid social changes. In any event, anyone who resists the emergence of unity will, I suspect, experience some degree of inner discomfort. ʿAbduʾl-Bahá reportedly said:

The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting-force is losing its weight and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine, and more permeated with the feminine ideals—or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá quoted by J.E. Esslemont, Baháʾuʾlláh and the New Era. Page 93. From report of remarks made aboard the S.S. Cedric on arrival in New York.

Again, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá and confirmed in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace and international arbitration. Assuredly, woman will abolish warfare among mankind.
Reported words of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Page 77.
The most momentous question of this day is international peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible without universal suffrage. Children are educated by the women. The mother bears the troubles and anxieties of rearing the child, undergoes the ordeal of its birth and training. Therefore, it is most difficult for mothers to send to the battlefield those upon whom they have lavished such love and care. Consider a son reared and trained twenty years by a devoted mother. What sleepless nights and restless, anxious days she has spent! Having brought him through dangers and difficulties to the age of maturity, how agonizing then to sacrifice him upon the battlefield! Therefore, the mothers will not sanction war nor be satisfied with it. So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt.
Reported words of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Page 94.
What ʿAbduʾl-Bahá meant about the women arising for peace is that this is a matter which vitally affects women, and when they form a conscious and overwhelming mass of public opinion against war, there can be no war. The Baháʾí women are already organized through being members of the Faith and the Administrative Order. No further organization is needed. But they should, through teaching and through the active moral support they give to every movement directed towards peace, seek to exert a strong influence on other women’s minds in regard to this essential matter.
From a letter, dated March 24, 1845, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 2089.

A deep-seated and popular dissatisfaction with institutional leaders, including high-profile politicians and the industrialists of transnational corporations, are being fueled by the unapologetic wickedness of destructive ideologies, including predatory capitalism, pervasive racism, and militant nationalism. Anyone who dares to question the legitimacy of these systems might risk an immediate branding as unpatriotic or even irreligious. Thus, oppression, bigotry, and other evils have been sacralized. Under these deteriorating conditions, the enticement of anarchism, on the Left, and libertarianism (even anarcho-capitalism), on the Right, has become ever more seductive.

Anarcho-capitalists argue that private enterprise can provide law enforcement, and the market place can resolve disagreements about what the law is and what the law means.
... Similarly, anarchists do not oppose law, but rather oppose the existence of any body of men with the power to make law by merely decreeing it to be law.
Brief Explanation of Anarcho-Capitalism. Retrieved on June 13, 2012.
The World According to Americans

When my grandparents and great-grandparents arrived in New York City, they did not have a visa. Their names were taken down, and they were let in. Through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, U.S. immigration officials functioned mostly as processors and health inspectors. Quotas or waiting lists were unknown. The terms “illegal alien” and “undocumented worker” should become oxymorons. Provided that immigrants are not violent criminals, they should be processed and admitted. The spirit of the age, as prescribed by the Divine Physician, is unity. Any country which acts in conformity with that spirit will, in my opinion, be rewarded.

Which American values should we betray? You’ve got the Statue of Liberty.... The statute says, “Give me your tired, give me your poor, give your huddled masses who yearn to breathe free.” If that sentiment was good enough for our grandparents, it should be good enough for our grandchildren. The color of the immigrants might change. Our national values should not change. We are a nation of immigrants. We should be respectful of the contribution of immigrants. And you cannot be an anti-immigrant bigot and a patriot at the same time. Those are things that don’t go together.
Van Jones Blasts the Conservative Faux Patriots Who Are Wrecking America. May 10, 2012. Retrieved on June 17, 2012.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus. 1883. Bronze tablet with this poem placed on the Statue of Liberty in 1903.

Conservatism is, frequently, dedicated to conserving the old and traditional. Many conservatives are conservatives precisely because they are opposed to multiculturalism or diversity:

Sgt. 1st Class Naida Hosan is not a Muslim – she’s a Catholic. But her name sounded Islamic to fellow U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and they would taunt her, calling her “Sgt. Hussein” and asking what God she prayed to.
Michael Biesecker, “Naida Hosan, Soldier, Says She Faced Harassment Over Muslim Name.” The Huffington Post. May 8, 2013. Retrieved on May 10, 2013.

The term “political correctness,” or “PC,” is used by some conservatives to criticize a supposed left-of-center intolerance of distasteful speech. What about teaching evolution in public schools, but not creation, for many conservative evangelicals? Why do some conservatives get absolutely livid at GSD (gender and sexual diversity) rights discussions in a public school? How does one explain the anger at medical doctors allegedly counseling women to have abortions without mentioning adoption or encouraging the mother to keep the child? Are conservatives who complain of a war on Christmas, when people say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas,” being politically correct?

London-based advocacy group Pink Therapy, have proposed that the term “LGBT” [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered] be replaced with what they say is a more inclusive term, “GSD,” meaning “Gender and Sexual Diversities.”
Pink Therapy director Dominic Davies and therapist Pamela Gawler-Wright posted a video on their Facebook page on Wednesday in which they discuss changing the LGBT label ....
In the video, Mr. Davies says: “LGBT became LGBTIQQA – adding Intersex, Queer, Questioning and their Allies – which was still very limiting.
“It still excluded a lot of groups. People who might be asexual ... [or] people who were in [other] non-traditional relationships ....”
Dom Sansalone, “Organisation Proposes Replacing the ‘limiting’ Term LGBT with ‘More Inclusive’ GSD.” Pink News: Europe’s Largest Gay News Service. London, UK. February 25, 2013. Retrieved on August 2, 2013.
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) is still used most often as an umbrella acronym for the community that identifies outside of the heteronomative and cisgender [matching sex and gender] norm, although it’s not the most inclusive of all identities. Longer acronyms have been suggested to incorporate other identities (asexual, ally, intersex, questioning, etc.) into the movement’s name with acronyms that try to classify people outside of identity such as GSM or GSD (gender and sexual minority or gender and sexual diversities).
Nikk Wasserman, “FAQ.” Queer the Space. Retrieved on August 2, 2013.

Furthermore, despite the decline in unity, Baháʾís are encouraged and expected, contrary to the views of some anarchists and extreme libertarians, to put others before themselves and to be obedient to their governments:

... each and every one is required to show obedience, submission and loyalty towards his own government. Today no state in the world is in a condition of peace or tranquillity, for security and trust have vanished from among the people. Both the governed and the governors are alike in danger.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 81.

Each of us occupies a front-row seat to one of the greatest dramas in human history – the great unraveling of a global economic and political order. Corporate capitalism, which was once widely imagined to have defeated Soviet communism in the Cold War, might, as some now fear, be on the verge of collapse. Shattering all illusions, the emperor, a marauding economic system born from human greed while disguised as a profit motive, has had no clothes. Revolutions, uprisings, political repression, and climate change are among its legacies of moral contradiction. The profit-based economic system is now tearing the Earth apart to sustain itself.

Few will disagree that the universal disease sapping the health of the body of humankind is that of disunity. Its manifestations everywhere cripple political will, debilitate the collective urge to change, and poison national and religious relationships. How strange, then, that unity is regarded as a goal to be attained, if at all, in a distant future, after a host of disorders in social, political, economic and moral life have been addressed and somehow or other resolved. Yet the latter are essentially symptoms and side effects of the problem, not its root cause. Why has so fundamental an inversion of reality come to be widely accepted? The answer is presumably because the achievement of genuine unity of mind and heart among peoples whose experiences are deeply at variance is thought to be entirely beyond the capacity of society’s existing institutions. While this tacit admission is a welcome advance over the understanding of processes of social evolution that prevailed a few decades ago, it is of limited practical assistance in responding to the challenge.
Unity is a condition of the human spirit. Education can support and enhance it, as can legislation, but they can do so only once it emerges and has established itself as a compelling force in social life. A global intelligentsia, its prescriptions largely shaped by materialistic misconceptions of reality, clings tenaciously to the hope that imaginative social engineering, supported by political compromise, may indefinitely postpone the potential disasters that few deny loom over humanity’s future.
Baháʾí International Community, One Common Faith. September 2006. Pages 42-43.
The beginning of the Dark Ages may have been literal, as well as figurative, as the result of a massive volcanic eruption in the 6th century, according to a volcanologist at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory [Ken Wohletz]....
The 6th century was a turbulent, unsettling period in human history....
... [According to Wohletz,] “If the natural world goes through some large upheaval, we’ll all be affected.”
The Dark Ages May Have Really Been Dimmer.” ScienceDaily®. January 4, 2001. Retrieved on September 3, 2012.

In 1954, Shoghi Effendi, the interpreter and Guardian of the Cause of God, condemned the cancerous growth of economic materialism, including both communism and the so-called free-market system:

... pervading all departments of life—an evil which the nation [the United States], and indeed all those within the capitalist system, though to a lesser degree, share with that state [the former Soviet Union] and its satellites regarded as the sworn enemies of that system—is the crass materialism, which lays excessive and ever-increasing emphasis on material well-being, forgetful of those things of the spirit on which alone a sure and stable foundation can be laid for human society. It is this same cancerous materialism, born originally in Europe, carried to excess in the North American continent, contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations, spreading its ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its very heart, which Baháʾuʾlláh in unequivocal and emphatic language denounced in His Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and regarding it as the chief factor in precipitating the dire ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts of men. Indeed a foretaste of the devastation which this consuming fire will wreak upon the world, and with which it will lay waste the cities of the nations participating in this tragic world-engulfing contest, has been afforded by the last World War, marking the second stage in the global havoc which humanity, forgetful of its God and heedless of the clear warnings uttered by His appointed Messenger for this day, must, alas, inevitably experience. It is this same all-pervasive, pernicious materialism against which the voice of the Center of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant was raised, with pathetic persistence, from platform and pulpit, in His addresses to the heedless multitudes, which, on the morrow of His fateful visit to both Europe and America, found themselves suddenly swept into the vortex of a tempest which in its range and severity was unsurpassed in the world’s history.
Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith. July 28, 1954. Page 83.

Then, in 1985, the House of Justice ruled, by its divine authority, on the injustices of all oppressive economic systems whether East or West. So-called communism, or state capitalism as some have called it, has, with very few exceptions, already crumbled. Bourgeois corporate capitalism, which has now incorporated Mainland China and the republics of the former Soviet Union, is now struggling for its long-term survival. That system, with its avid supporters, could, through presently unfolding events or whenever dear Baháʾuʾlláh so wills, be the next to fall. Relatively powerless nations, such as North Korea, have, recognizing the West’s weakening, become seemingly fearless.

In its [religion’s] place they [increasing numbers of people] have turned either to the hedonistic pursuit of material satisfactions or to the following of man-made ideologies designed to rescue society from the evident evils under which it groans. All too many of these ideologies, alas, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, have tended to deify the state, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or to callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our forebears....
The time has come when those who preach the dogmas of materialism, whether of the east or the west, whether of capitalism or socialism, must give account of the moral stewardship they have presumed to exercise.... Why is the vast majority of the world’s peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth on a scale undreamed of by the Pharaohs, the Caesars, or even the imperialist powers of the nineteenth century is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human affairs?
The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace. October, 1985. Page 5.

As Hollywood producer Oliver Stone brilliantly remarked:

The free market is a theology. It is not a mathematical truth. It is really socialism for the rich and hard work for everyone else.
Oliver Stone, “Hidden History/Cruise Ship Crimes.” George Knapp, interviewer. Coast to Coast AM. December 16, 2012. Retrieved on December 17, 2012.

Although God’s Will appears to be plainly evident in this regard, the fundamental problem is not, as this person claims, wage slavery through debt. The predicament is global capitalism itself:

For the moment, money is still exchanged for gold. So for the moment, money is still an acceptable tribute. But the elite and powerful are quickly collapsing the world’s currencies to make your money worthless preventing your ability to give tribute – to force you into human sacrifice. Why are you surprised? They’ve been doing it throughout history. Through monetized debt, they’ve already made you wage-slaves. And it’s always the poor that are sent off to war. To make human sacrifices, and to become human sacrifices. Have you not realized that your leaders have been making human sacrifices all along? Now you know.
Ra-El (or RayEl), “Lord RayEl: Gold – Human Sacrifice – Slavery.” YouTube. July 9, 2011. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

Monetary debt is merely one of its many contradictions:

Money in its final, completed character now appears in all directions as a contradiction, a contradiction which dissolves itself, drives towards its own dissolution.
Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie. 1858.

There is, however, no need to worry. God and His Prophets are in control. In any event, this world is merely a brief interlude between life in the fetus and the eternal realm to come. Until the remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician, Baháʾuʾlláh, is taken by humanity, the problems will continue and intensify:

Know thou that hardship and privation shall increase day by day, and the people shall thereby be afflicted. The doors of joy and happiness shall be closed on all sides, and terrible wars shall occur. Frustration and despair shall encompass the people until they are forced to turn to the One True God. Then will the light of most joyful tidings so illumine the horizons that the cry of “Yá Baháʾuʾl-Abhá” [Arabic for O Glory of the Most Glorious] will be raised from every direction. This shall come to pass.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, from a Tablet to Isabella D. Brittingham (corrected translation), Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 438.

From Stalin, to Mao, to Hitler, to a host of other despots, tyranny became one of the most pressing social problems of the twentieth century. Clearly, dictators continue to rule over some nations, but the success of totalitarianism and authoritarianism depends upon the official reinforcement of popular terror. Unabashed fearlessness is a threat to the continuation of any imperialist system. As absolutist states, along with democratic republics, descend into instability or chaos, many individuals have thrown caution to the wind, or, perhaps, economic and political panic has simply dwarfed other, less-immediate worries.

World War III, or whatever term one prefers, is, at least in its initial stages, being waged with drones, high-tech espionage, and computer hacking. In particular, the United States government, evidently fearful of a world cast into disorder and without the collective security of an obviously requred global government, continues its long-established imperialist role as “policeman of the world.” Have its methods always been ethical? In my view, no. The problem is that the a single nation, the U.S., is fulfilling a role which should be performed by a global government. The latest form of that policing is its controversial drone program.

... the paradox is that while US military power retains global reach (it is working on supersonic cruise missiles, and long-range drones) its stewardship as world leader, as a generator of the next big idea, is gradually ending. There may come a time when international institutions are rebuilt to fill this vacuum. But that time is not yet. Until then, a new world disorder would be nearer the mark.
United States as a Global Power: New World Disorder” (editorial). The Guardian (newspaper). December 28, 2011. Retrieved on June 21, 2012

Tyranny is the opposite of anarchy. Democratic republics have tried, with some success, to find a happy medium between those two extremes. Although anarchy, not tyranny, may be the major threat of the twenty-first century, despotism and authoritarianism, sometimes draped in secrecy, can also be observed throughout the world. It is, generally speaking, a response to social disorganization and fear, especially driven by a perceived threat of losing control. National intelligence estimates are secret. In the U.S., any president would now be taking Draconian measures. Riots are bad enough without dangerous memes spreading throughout the Internet in times of crisis.

Governs all DoD Component planning for and participation in Defense support of civilian law enforcement activities, including domestic emergencies and civil disturbance operations (CDO) (formerly referred to as “military assistance for civil disturbances”).
Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies.” Department of Defense. Official U.S. government document. February 27, 2013.

Additionally, perceived tyranny followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist acts in New York City, Northern Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania:

A full account of the [George W. Bush] administration’s actions begins, of course, with its secret violations of the laws passed by Congress, specifically the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and despite the outcry prompted by its illegal, warrantless wiretapping program, the administration still won’t commit to abide by the laws of this country, issuing so-called signing statements as statutes become law and refusing to rule out future assertions of the President’s supposed authority to disregard FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act].
Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Activities. November 13, 2007. Official U.S. government document. Pages 39-40.

Globalization becomes both the problem and the solution. The rise of religious and political terrorism and, correspondingly, extremely vigilant security states are responses to a premature world-encircling relationships. Nations with relatively little in common, socially and culturally, now sit face to face. The popularity of the Internet, especially social networking, along with accelerating political and economic dependence have resulted in a dangerous world order. Moreover, governments govern. That is their job. Increased global complexity requires the cosmic envelope of unity, not the present-day demireality of disunity.

... [The] non-dual world [is] the cosmic envelope (in which the deepest natures or ground-states of all beings sit and are connected) ....
Roy Bhaskar, “The Philosophy of Meta-Reality, Part I: Identity, Spirituality, System. Interview by Mervyn Hartwig.” Abstract (excerpt). Journal of Critical Realism. Alethia 5.1 2002. Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
[Demi-reality] generates dualism, alienation, [and] fragmentation ....
Roy Bhaskar, From East to West: Odyssey of a Soul. New York: Routledge. 2000. Page 57.
There’s been a fair bit of controversy over the newly prominent TSA [U.S. Transportation Security Administration] practice of randomly testing liquids after checkpoints.
This is What a TSA Beyond-the-Checkpoint Soft Drink Inspection Looks Like.” Jaunted. September 7, 2012. Retrieved on September 14, 2012.

Meanwhile, in 2013, anarchistic state terrorism, as some people might regard it, have been committed by an American Congress which, angry over the President’s Affordable Care Act (so-called Obamacare), shut the government down:

... the tea-party-backed members [the far-right Republicans- leading the fight against “Obamacare,” and backing the shutdown, say they came to Washington to disrupt the routine.
Paul Kane and Josh Hicks, “So far on Capitol Hill, no end in sight over shutdown.” The Washington Times (newspaper). October 4, 2013. Retrieved on October 5, 2013.

The world has been cast into disorder and disunity. Contrary to many perceptions, surveillance and drones are, in my view, symptoms, not problems. Even a President, Mr. Obama, who once opposed widespread surveillance, now enforces it. Reality bites. Any chief political executive today is burdened with unimaginable economic, political, environmental threats. A decaying capitalist world order has been materialistically canibalizing on itself, and destroying the planet, to postpone its imminent demise. Working for a new world order is the only viable solution to the problems which currently plague humanity. Thankfully, I do not read the U.S. President’s daily intelligence briefing.

Rather than focusing, atomistically, on a supposed loss of individual freedom, perhaps, as explained by C. Wright Mills, we humans need to develop a sociological, not a psychological, imagination (my radio show on the subject):

Whatever the specific problems of the classic social analysts, however limited or however broad the features of social reality they have examined, those who have been imaginatively aware of the promise of their work have consistently asked three sorts of questions:
  1. What is the structure of this particular society as a whole? What are its essential components, and how are they related to one another? How does it differ from other varieties of social order? Within it, what is the meaning of any particular feature for its continuance and for its change?
  2. Where does this society stand in human history? What are the mechanics by which it is changing? What is its place within and its meaning for the development of humanity as a whole? How does any particular feature we are examining affect, and how is it affected by, the historical period in which it moves? And this period—what are its essential features? How does it differ from other periods? What are its characteristic ways of history-making?
  3. What varieties of men and women now prevail in this society and in this period? And what varieties are coming to prevail? In what ways are they selected and formed, liberated and repressed, made sensitive and blunted? What kinds of “human nature” are revealed in the conduct and character we observe in this society in this period? And what is the meaning for “human nature” of each and every feature of the society we are examining?
  4. C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. 2000. Pages 6-7.

As I see it, two separate questions are involved. First, to the question, “Do I understand the leaders of a dying imperial republic attempting to adapt the centuries-old Monroe doctrine or Pax Americana to the real dangers of the twenty-first century?,” I can certainly sympathize with political leaders protecting and serving their country. I would be disappointed if these women and men were not doing their jobs. To the second question, “How do I feel about the revelations by unprotected whisleblowers of the omnipresent surveillance state?,” I am, on one level, quite grateful. The contradictions in empire are now evident to almost everyone, while the empire strikes back.

On the other hand, the surveillance state is simply a single contradiction taken from the final hours of the capitalist world order. Focusing, myopically, on a contradiction, rather than upon the decaying system as a whole, is, in my opinion, misdirected. By the same token, if unethical actions, whether repeatedly targeting people with drones who turn out to be innocent or universal surveillance of the general public, are necessary to sustain a decaying world order or system, then perhaps, some might argue, the current world order should allowed to unravel rather than the end justifying the means. Together, we can work for a unified world commonwealth.

The spying apparatus should, in my view, be examined in its proper social and historical context. Attacking the surveillance state is a bit like getting angry at some of the the unfortunate symptoms of certain chemotherapies. The treatment might or might not work, and it has some rather nasty side effects, but the problem is the cancer, not the treatments administered by healthcare professionals. However, I assume that intelligence agencies are, from their perspectives, acting in good faith. I also do not possess enough information to second guess (worse, judge) them. My concern is with the cause of these problems, disunity, not with personal privacy.

Even admitting some possible over-reach, if officials were not working to protect their citizens, especially after the mistakes preceding 9/11, these public servants would, and should, be held responsible. Indeed, the world is ending. Governments and public bureaucrats are performing their jobs. They doing what they can to hold everything together. Any government-sponsored industrial espionage, while unfortunate, is understandable in light of economic instability and threats to national economies.

Furthermore, although practically none of the intelligence which 29- and 30-year-old former technical contractor Edward Snowden released, in 2013, was a surprise to the reasonably informed reader, the solution to our problems is not anarchy, civil disobedience, or breaking confidentiality agreements:

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA [National Security Agency].
Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras, “Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations.” The Guardian (newspaper). June 9, 2013. Retrieved on June 16, 2013.

The issues is that, instead of turning to unity as the solution to our mounting global social problems, these officials have turned to surveillance. It cannot work. For instance, recent investigative reporting by Reuters has discovered that National Security Agency intercepts, shared with the Drug Enforcement Agency, have been confidentially provided to local law-enforcement agencies. Those police departments were encouraged to lie, through “parallel construction,” about the sources of the information:

Details of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration program that feeds tips to federal agents and then instructs them to alter the investigative trail were published in a manual used by agents of the Internal Revenue Service for two years....
A 350-word entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the U.S. tax agency to omit any reference to tips supplied by the DEA’s Special Operations Division [SOD], especially from affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files. The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and was removed in early 2007. The IRS is among two dozen arms of the government working with the Special Operations Division, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency....
Defence attorneys and some former judges and prosecutors say that systematically hiding potential evidence from defendants violates the U.S. Constitution. According to documents and interviews, [U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA] agents use a procedure they call “parallel construction” to recreate the investigative trail, stating in affidavits or in court, for example, that an investigation began with a traffic infraction rather than an SOD tip.
John Shiffman and David Ingram, “Exclusive: IRS Manual Detailed DEA’s Use of Hidden Intel Evidence.” Reuters. New York: Thomson Reuters. August 7, 2013. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.

Bureaucracies generally resist change, but change is what we need. According to Baháʾuʾlláh:

The time is at hand when whatsoever lieth hid in the souls and hearts of men will be disclosed.... This Day the deceitful of eye, and all that men’s breasts conceal, are made known and laid bare before the throne of His Revelation. Nothing whatsoever can escape His knowledge. He heareth and seeth, and He, in truth, is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. How very strange that they discern not between the trustworthy and the treacherous!
Baháʾuʾlláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Pages 107.
... [This is] a Cause that hath made the hearts of the inhabitants of the heavens and of the earth to tremble, that hath caused the denizens of the Kingdoms of creation and of Revelation to cry out, and through which the hidden secrets of men’s breasts have been searched out and tested.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 292.

By laying bare the social corrosion of Realpolitik (political pragmatism) for the eyes of the world to see, Snowden turned the world, at least for a time, into a political battleground. The contradictions, and opposing players, within a defeated, disintegrating capitalist world order have been tearing human affairs to shreds. When bureaucrats panic, they get into protective mode. Hopefully, we will soon build a world out of unity, not disunity or demireality, in which public officials no longer believe, whether correctly or as a knee-jerk over-reaction, that extreme surveillance of human activities is desirable or necessary.

For the governors and the governed alike, trying to fix disunity with disunity, such as in Machiavellianism, is a bit like expecting a plant to water itself.

A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. And, on the contrary, it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states....
... it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with.
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (written around 1513 A.D.). William K. Marriott, translator.
... [Niccolo Machiavelli] wrote his great work on realpolitik (politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives), The Prince, between 1513 and 1514 ....
The Prince, written as a guidebook for all political leaders, attempted to show political life as it actually was rather than how contemporary leaders professed it to be ....
Keith Grint, “ Machiavelli, Niccolo (1469-1527).” Encyclopedia of Leadership. George R. Goethals & Georgia J. Sorenson, and James MacGregor Burns, editors. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 2004.
... the researchers [Karen Douglas and Robbie Sutton] found that participants who were highly Machiavellian – defined as willing to exploit others for personal gain – were more likely to indicate willingness to conspire, and as a result, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.
New Research Reveals Conspiring Conspiracy Theorists.” The University of Kent: The UK’s European University. May 4, 2011. Retrieved on September 22, 2012.

Harvard University sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889-1968) argued that Machiavellianism should be repleaced by servitude and cooperation:

The historical moment has struck for building a new applied science or a new art of amitology—the science and art of cultivation of amity, unselfish love, and mutual help in interindividual and intergroup relationships. A mature amitology is now the paramount need of humanity. Its development tangibly determines the creative future of homo sapiens.
Such a science is the antidote to the Machiavellian Prince....
... Machiavellian “guidebooks” for subjugation, extermination, and domination need to be replaced by “guidebooks” of mutual service and free cooperation....
As one of the first steps in this direction, a recent establishment, in 1949, of the Harvard Research Center of Creative Altruism can be mentioned.
Pitirim A. Sorokin, On the Practice of Sociology. Edited and with an introduction by Barry V. Johnston. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1998. Pages 302-304.

As alleged by some people, various U.S. government agencies apparently fear a civil war. Nevertheless, please bear in mind the obvious. Bureaucrats are not psychics; and fear is not prophecy. In addition, considering all of the advanced weapons purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense, what is the fuss about other agencies buying simple rifle ammunition? The following provocative comments do not reflect my own views. In other words, I remain skeptical:

Over the past 2 weeks [from August 21, 2012], everyone from the mainstream media to bloggers and conspiracy theorists have questioned the government’s mass purchasing of ammunition for federal agencies like the ... the Social Security Administration. Combined, both agencies ordered over 210,000 rounds. This ammunition is mostly made up of “hollow point” bullets, which are designed strictly for maximum damage to the human body and have been outlawed for use in warfare since 1969....
... The federal government is expecting either a catastrophic financial collapse that could provoke nationwide food riots and all out civil unrest, another civil war, or even Armageddon. All in the very near future. Some theorize that the mass purchase of ammunition is an attempt to hoard as much as possible from the American public whom the feds believe may be in preparation for civil war right now....
... reliable sources inside [the Department of] Homeland Security ... claim the agency is preparing for a massive civil war in America. The DHS [Department of Homeland Security] source states that the federal government foresees and prepares for a massive civil revolt. “Every time you hear about troop movements, military equipment, the militarization of the police, and the buying of the ammunition in the US, all of this is orchestrated by the DHS who are reportedly preparing for a massive uprising.”
Hagmann goes on to say that his sources tell him the concerns of the DHS stem from their belief in an impending collapse of the U.S. dollar as the the world’s primary reserve currency, and their fear that a significant portion of the population is already armed and will rise up over the crash of our monetary system. Hagmann’s sources confirmed the ongoing fear of a U.S. dollar collapse at the hands of the Chinese and possibly the Russians in retaliation for aggressive U.S. foreign policy initiatives against Chinese and Russian strategic allies like Iran and Syria....
Then there is Trends Research Institutes’ Founder Gerald Celente’s forecast of last year where he believes and expects a collapse of the U.S. dollar and riots in America some time this year....
... agencies akin to Homeland Security can get out of hand and allow self-appointed power and authority to become grossly abused, thus losing sight of their intent and objective.
Jack Swint, “Homeland Security Prepares for Civil War.” OpEdNews. August 21, 2012. Retrieved on September 11, 2012.

Regardless of the above argument’s merits, governments, throughout the world, are panicking. As Baháʾuʾlláh promised, they have lost their power:

“If ye pay no heed,” He [Baháʾuʾlláh] thus warned the kings of the earth, “unto the counsels which ... We have revealed in this Tablet, Divine chastisement will assail you from every direction.... On that day ye shall ... recognize your own impotence.” And again: “Though aware of most of Our afflictions, ye, nevertheless, have failed to stay the hand of the aggressor.” And, furthermore, this arraignment: “... We ... will be patient, as We have been patient in that which hath befallen Us at your hands, O concourse of kings!” Condemning specifically the world’s ecclesiastical leaders, He has written: “The source and origin of tyranny have been the divines.... God, verily, is clear of them, and We, too, are clear of them.” “When We observed carefully,” He openly affirms, “We discovered that Our enemies are, for the most part, the divines.” “O concourse of divines!” He thus addresses them, “Ye shall not henceforth behold yourselves possessed of any power, inasmuch as We have seized it from you....”
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Pages 230-231.

The global capitalist system, we have discovered, really does not work. In the present climate of economic and political fear, censorship efforts, by many political regimes, have dramatically increased. For instance, the institutionalized gossip of YouTube coupled with popular gullibility have been concerning:

Western governments, including the United States, appear to be stepping up efforts to censor Internet search results and YouTube videos, according to a “transparency report” released by Google....
In the last half of 2011, U.S. agencies asked Google to remove 6,192 individual pieces of content from its search results, blog posts or archives of online videos, according to the report. That’s up 718% compared with the 757 such items that U.S. agencies asked Google to remove in the six months prior.
John D. Sutter, “Google Reports ‘alarming’ rise in government censorship requests.” CNN. June 18, 2012. Retrieved on June 18, 2012.

In 1912, the beloved Master, traveling throughout the West, repeatedly emphasized race unity. To be clear, while some political parties are disguised right-wing hate groups, I am not making partisan comments. No political party holds a monopoly on race-baiting. I am, however, expressing sadness and, to be honest, fear for a country which has not yet learned the lesson of the oneness of humanity. The recent decline in fortunes for conservative American politicians reflects increasing ethnic diversity, especially the increasing Latino population and the the end of white supremacy.

I used to self-identify as a white American. I can now confidently assert that I no longer place myself under that pernicious and odious category. In the United States, race is synonymous with white class dominance or institutionalized supremacy over people of color. The category, “African American,” should, in my opinion, have always been another ethnicity, not a subordinated caste or race. To reject whiteness is synonymous with repudiating the ideology, or shared oppressive ideology, of racism. That is to say, race, racism, or white exceptionalism is a continuation of African American enslavement.

To the question, “What is your race?,” my current response would be that I have none. If the person insisted, my response, once again, would be that I am a raceless individual. However, if strongly and persistently pressed, I suppose I would say that I am, racially (ethnically) or historically, an indigenous Ashkenazi (Hebrew, Aškenazî) Jew. That is to say, I have a Yiddish (Yîdîš, Yiddish-language word for Jewish) ancestry. Saying, “I am a member of the human race,” while ostensibly true, is also a bit cliché. The fact that so many American Jews willingly embraced the construct of “whiteness,” grounded in the slave system, was, in my opinion, a mistake. Of course, I am also a Baháʾí:

Unfortunately, owing to this obnoxious and vicious race prejudice of every sort which afflicts the world today, the term Jew has come more to mean a race than a religion. You certainly, as your father feels, should never wish to disassociate yourself from a group of people who have contributed as much to the world as the Jews have. On the other hand your actual religion today is Baháʾí, and he feels that Jews should, when they become Baháʾís, always give this as their Faith, but as their racial descent they should give “Jewish.”
From a letter, dated March 15, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1819.

Given the diversification of the U.S. population, and the de facto end of its racial establishment, large numbers of social disenfranchised European Americans, including some white domestic terrorists, are now socially alienated by multiculturalism and emboldened by right-wing conspiratorial media sources. These people are panicking. Following the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama on November 6, 2012, many Americans, such as this fellow, even filed petitions to leave the country. However, calls for secession are simply the latest chapter in the unfolding saga of American racism.

The social status of whiteness is now threatened, and some are clinging to their whiteness. In bashing Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama’s former pastor, they are attacking the Black church, and its liberation theology, which, in an earlier incarnation, promoted community organizing among the slaves in the old American South. These poor and lower-class whites are, in a sense, reiterating the mistakes of the German Nazis prior to World War II. One of the most blatant contradictions becomes apparent as these white people vociferously claim that their freedoms are being taken away. Yet, none of them are arrested for treason.

President Obama is a political moderate, a military hawk, a Keynesian capitalist, a liberal Christian, and an American by birth. Accusing him, conspiratorially, of being a “secret” communist, socialist, Muslim, or Kenyan synthesizes white racism, reactionary politics, Islāmophobia, and conspiracy theory. All socialists, communists, Muslim, and (the few) Kenyans whom I have known are open, even proud, of their backgrounds. Leftists do not mask their emancipatory views behind a smokescreen. Similarly, most Muslims are peace-loving citizens, not religious extremists.

I have, in fact, been accused of being a “secret socialist” myself. My response generally leaves people speechless:

No, I am not a secret socialist. Like all socialists I have met, I am very public about my socialism.

Overall, these conspiracies tell us a great deal more about far-right paranoia, and the negativity which many far-right individuals project upon the Left and the religion of Islām, than about the president. Moreover, the odd twenty-first-century phenomenon of white people calling themselves “slaves,” particularly given the old plantation system in the United States, is pretty ironic:

We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings.... You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame.
Jesse Ventura, We Ain’t Got Time To Bleed. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.
During the New World Order, which will be activated on 12/21/2012, the elite will seek “safety” underground and will attempt to draw their deluded slaves down-under. Anybody that enters the underworld of the New World Order will be a vaccinate chipped human slave.
The Underground Cities and Phil Schneider! Retrieved on April 27, 2012.
Mankind was specifically created to mine gold for God. Mankind was almost wiped out when the mining was finished by use of “the flood.” But you were spared. In gratitude, mankind continued to pay tribute to God, and the subordinate “lesser gods,” through offerings of gold. It is the thing they value.... The government leaders are putting together an incredibly large gold tribute to protect themselves. The poor, with no gold to give, will be a giant human sacrifice, sent off to labor for the lesser gods. The is why human sacrifice was so common in the ancient world. The lesser gods took the souls of the sacrificed to be their eternal laborers.
Why do you think the price of gold has suddenly skyrocketed? So that only the most wealthy and powerful can afford it. So only they will be able to give proper tribute to God.... For the moment, money is still exchanged for gold. So for the moment, money is still an acceptable tribute. But the elite and powerful are quickly collapsing the world’s currencies to make your money worthless preventing your ability to give tribute – to force you into human sacrifice. Why are you surprised? They’ve been doing it throughout history. Through monetized debt, they’ve already made you wage-slaves. And it’s always the poor that are sent off to war. To make human sacrifices, and to become human sacrifices. Have you not realized that your leaders have been making human sacrifices all along? Now you know.
Ra-El (or RayEl), “Lord RayEl: Gold – Human Sacrifice – Slavery.” YouTube. July 9, 2011. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

Nobody is enslaved to a system. Anyone can work for meaningful social change and emancipation. Hopefully, over time, the era of bigoted white supremacy will, through the process of disintegration, be finished for good:

In the absence of conviction about the spiritual nature of reality and the fulfilment it alone offers, it is not surprising to find at the very heart of the current crisis of civilization a cult of individualism that increasingly admits of no restraint and that elevates acquisition and personal advancement to the status of major cultural values. The resulting atomization of society has marked a new stage in the process of disintegration about which the writings of Shoghi Effendi speak so urgently.
Prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light. Page 90.

Barack Obama is really the first truly twenty-first-century president. He comes from an interfaith, inter-racial family background. The fact that, for many Americans, a Muslim presidency would be scandalous is, of course, offensive. Yet, even beyond all the fearmongering, the far-right conspiracy theory of President Obama’s religious duplicity is ludicrous. Although he clearly respects his paternal Muslim ancestry, when he moved to Chicago, he joined the United Church of Christ, not a Muslim mosque (Arabic, masǧid). Outside of the culture of hate and racism, it is unreasonable to assume that anyone would maintain a religious façade for so many years.

CNN actually has images of African Americans cheering like crazy for Barack Obama. Communism shall prevail – thank you – led by the African American community.
Pete Santilli, “Obama Wins. Is Civil War or Military Coup Next?The Pete Santilli Show. November 6, 2012. Retrieved on November 10, 2012.

Ultimately, many members of the far right are simply projecting their own paranoia. These people are assuming that because they fear Islām, socialism, communism, multiculturalism, and immigration, President Obama must be a Muslim socialist born in Africa. Clearly, no one would be able to become an American president without proving her or his place of birth. These haters are, in other words, confusing their own negative emotions with the normative values of others. Therefore, I celebrate what self-described paleoconservative Patrick Buchanan mourns:

According to the 2010 Census white Americans will be a minority in 2041. Among those under eighteen, whites will become a minority in 2019. Every American child born after 2001 belongs to a generation more Third World than European. Questions about the future arise. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, “What will the new mainstream of America look like—and what ideas or values might it rally around? What will it mean to be white after ‘whiteness’ no longer defines the mainstream? Will anyone mourn the end of white America? Will anyone try to preserve it?”
Patrick J. Buchanan, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? New York: Macmillan. Page 125.

As an Autistic rights activist, I cannot be inconsistent and, God forbid, oppose civil rights for racial and other minorities. Sadly, racism, as an ideology, is ubiquitous. It is is deeply embedded into all of the social institutions of American society. Indeed, most white people hardly ever notice that racism – until someone, comes along and bites with it. White Southerners from poor and working-class backgrounds, the icons of the Ku Klux Klan, are especially alienated from society. In early 2012, one, ultimately unsuccessful, U.S. presidential contender referred to the current chief executive as a “food stamp president.” Strangely enough, the man has a Ph.D. in history:

The fact is, if I become your nominee [of the Republican Party], we will make the key test very simple. Food stamps, versus pay checks. [Barack] Obama is the best food stamp president in American history. More people are on food stamps today because of Obama’s policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.
Newt Gingrich, Food Stamp President. January 6, 2012.

Indeed, as Shoghi Effendi had, it appears to me, once lamented:

As to racial prejudice, the corrosion of which, for well-nigh a century, has bitten into the fiber, and attacked the whole social structure of American society, it should be regarded as constituting the most vital and challenging issue confronting the Baháʾí community at the present stage of its evolution. The ceaseless exertions which this issue of paramount importance calls for, the sacrifices it must impose, the care and vigilance it demands, the moral courage and fortitude it requires, the tact and sympathy it necessitates, invest this problem, which the American believers are still far from having satisfactorily resolved, with an urgency and importance that cannot be overestimated.
Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice. Pages 33-34.

As I see it, in recognition of the white race as a creation of the Black slave system, and in celebration of cooperative economics, all Americans, especially those individuals who have been privileged by imaginary whitness, might consider commemorating Kwanza (along with, in the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving and, in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day):

Practice the Kwanzaa greetings. Starting on December 26, greet everyone by saying “Habari Gani” which is a standard Swahili greeting meaning “what is the news?” If someone greets you, respond with the principle (Nguzo Saba) for that day:
• December 26: “Umoja” – Unity
• December 27: “Kujichagulia” – Self-determination
• December 28: “Ujima” – Collective work and responsibility
• December 29: “Ujamaa“ – Cooperative economics
• December 30: “Nia” – Purpose
• December 31: “Kuumba” – Creativity
• January 1: “Imani” – Faith.
• Non African-Americans are also welcome to participate in greetings. The traditional greeting for them is “Joyous Kwanzaa.”
Kwanzaa.” wikiHow. Retrieved on January 12, 2013.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government has reacted adversely to the so-called Arab spring of 2011:

A local [Syrian] activist reached via Skype said [the Bašar al-Asad or Bashar al-Assad] regime forces started shelling the village of Houla, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the city of Homs in west-central Syria following an anti-regime demonstration following Muslim prayers on Friday.
Later, pro-regime thugs known as shabiha [šabīḥa, ghosts or “spooks”] stormed the village of Taldaw, just south of Houla, raiding homes and shooting at civilians.
“They killed entire families, from parents on down to children, but they focused on the children,” he said.
Activists Put Syria “Massacre” Death Toll at 90. May 26, 2012. Retrieved on May 26, 2012.
The U.N. Security Council on Sunday condemned the weekend massacre of more than 100 civilians in Syria, with members casting blame on government forces for the deaths, while violence continued to rage on the ground....
Syria has denied its troops were behind the bloodbath in Houla, and Jafaari [Bašar al-Jāfarī, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the U.N.] denounced what he called a “tsunami of lies” against his government. He called the deaths “an appalling, horrific unjustified and unjustifiable crime” and vowed Syria’s government had launched a national commission to investigate them.
CNN Wire Staff, “U.N. Condemns Syrian Killings; Toll in Massacre Rises as Violence goes on.” CNN. Atlanta, GA. May 27, 2012. Retrieved on May 27, 2012.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied Sunday that government forces were behind the “outrageous” massacre of more than 100 civilians, including dozens of small children, in the town of Houla....
... al-Assad decried what he called the “terrorists” and “conspiracy” against Syria.
“At this time, we are facing a war from abroad,” al-Assad said ....
CNN Wire Staff, “Syrian President Condemns Houla Massacre, Rejects Accusations.” CNN. Atlanta, GA. June 3, 2012. Retrieved on June 3, 2012.

Of course, many officials, internationally, have also been concerned about Īrān:

New satellite images of an Iranian military base indicate Iranian efforts to cover evidence of a nuclear weapons program, according to a Washington-based think tank.
Jennifer Rizzo, “Cleanup at Iran’s Parchin site?CNN Security Clearance. Atlanta, GA. May 30, 2012. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected critical intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage attacks aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.
Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Julie Tate, “U.S., Israel Developed Computer Virus to Slow Iranian Nuclear Efforts, Officials Cay.” The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. June 19, 2012. Retrieved on June 19, 2012.

A Psalmist wrote about Israel:

A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. O God, keep not thou silence: Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult; And they that hate thee have lifted up the head. Thy take crafty counsel against thy people, And consult together against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent; Against thee do they make a covenant: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre: Assyria also is joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah. Do thou unto them as unto Midian, As to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the river Kishon; Who perished at Endor, Who became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb; Yea, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna; Who said, Let us take to ourselves in possession The habitations of God. O my God, make them like the whirling dust; As stubble before the wind. As the fire that burneth the forest, And as the flame that setteth the mountains on fire, So pursue them with thy tempest, And terrify them with thy storm. Fill their faces with confusion, That they may seek thy name, O Jehovah. Let them be put to shame and dismayed for ever; Yea, let them be confounded and perish; That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.
Psalms 83:1-18 (entire psalm), American Standard Version (1901).

As long as the unifying remedy of the Divine Physician, Baháʾuʾlláh, is withheld, world peace and global security will, despite even the best of intentions, remain elusive:

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:3. English Standard Version.
They have healed also the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith Jehovah.
Jeremiah 6:14-15. English Standard Version.
President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring, the White House said on Tuesday, raising the prospects of a new U.S. push to restart long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts.
Matt Spetalnick, “Obama to Visit Israel in Spring; Mideast Peace, Iran on Agenda.” Reuters. February 5, 2013. Retrieved on February 19, 2013.

Added into this unstable mix, the dangers of atomic weaponization, and perhaps also of laser-lightning weaponry, were vividly foreshadowed by His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh Himself. His concern about nuclear energy being discovered too early, perhaps, was realized at the end of World War II:

Consider the civilization of the West, how it hath agitated and alarmed the peoples of the world. An infernal engine hath been devised, and hath proved so cruel a weapon of destruction that its like none hath ever witnessed or heard. The purging of such deeply-rooted and overwhelming corruptions cannot be effected unless the peoples of the world unite in pursuit of one common aim and embrace one universal faith. Incline your ears unto the Call of this Wronged One and adhere firmly to the Lesser Peace.
Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal. Great God! We have observed an amazing thing. Lightning or a force similar to it is controlled by an operator and moveth at his command. Immeasurably exalted is the Lord of Power Who hath laid bare that which He purposed through the potency of His weighty and invincible command.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Words of Paradise,” Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 25-26.
The words of Baháʾuʾlláh regarding “a strange and wonderful instrument...” [“Strange and astonishing things ...,” in the above quotation, taken from an earlier translation] can, in the light of what the Master [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá] said in San Francisco, be taken as a reference to the great destructive power atomic energy can be made to release.
From a letter, dated June 6, 1948, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1585.
Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
Within it thou wilt find a sun.
Persian mystic poem quoted by Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys.” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Page 12.

The following quotation describes the application of laser-lightning technology:

In the perspective of the laser lightning rod, the ability of femtosecond filaments to trigger and to guide large scale discharges has been studied for several years. The present paper reports recent experimental results showing for the first time that filaments are able not only to trigger and guide but also to divert an electric discharge from its normal path. Laser filaments are also able to divert the spark without contact between laser and electrodes at large distance from the laser. A comparison between negative and positive discharge polarities also reveals important discrepancies in the guiding mechanism....
... The laser lightning rod would be a valuable alternative to lightning rockets.
B. Forestier et al., “ Triggering, Guiding and Deviation of Long Air Spark Discharges with Femtosecond Laser Filament.” AIP Advances. Volume 2. Issue 1. February 17, 2012. Retrieved on July 8, 2012.

Here are three apparently corresponding Biblical references:

This shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths.
Zechariah 14:12 New Revised Standard Version.
For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24:27, New Revised Standard Version.
... there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake.
Revelation 16:18, New Revised Standard Version.

In the considered views of many economists and pundits, the beginnings of the worst are already upon us:

The world is facing a period of “evil,” [George] Soros said, adding that he foresees Europe descending into chaos and conflict, while rioting in the streets of the U.S. will lead to a curtailment of civil liberties and the global economic system possibly collapsing altogether, Newsweek reported.
Blanche Gatt, “Euro Breakup Would Cause Global ‘Meltdown,’ George Soros Tells NewsweekBloomberg. January 24, 2012.

I personally believe there will be even more severe devastations in the near future, but the Will of God has only partially been revealed. On the other hand, it has sometimes been difficult for me to imagine any external and, perhaps more importantly, internal deteriorations which would be worse than those which, from one end of the globe to the other, we are witnessing at the present time. Indeed, history may show that the United States began and, in its global dominance, ended at a tea party. By setting dates for some future tribulation, the disunity of “oppression,” we may well have already missed its prologue:

In the first Gospel according to Matthew it is recorded: And when they asked Jesus concerning the signs of His coming, He said unto them: “Immediately after the oppression of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet.” ...
As to the words—“Immediately after the oppression of those days”—they refer to the time when men shall become oppressed and afflicted, the time when the lingering traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruit of the Tree of knowledge and wisdom will have vanished from the midst of men, when the reins of mankind will have fallen into the grasp of the foolish and ignorant, when the portals of divine unity and understanding—the essential and highest purpose in creation—will have been closed, when certain knowledge will have given way to idle fancy, and corruption will have usurped the station of righteousness. Such a condition as this is witnessed in this day when the reins of every community have fallen into the grasp of foolish leaders, who lead after their own whims and desire. On their tongue the mention of God hath become an empty name; in their midst His holy Word a dead letter.
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Pages 24-25 and 29.
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the breast, and they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory; and he shall send his messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens unto the ends thereof.
Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:29-31. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.

The pretribulational rapture, as a triumphalist or religiously elitist doctrine, is not only highly questionable. The spiritual elect, believers claim, will be translated into Heaven before the Tribulation. However, the Great Unraveling, now occurring in this Dispensation, is both universal and relative to the Sovereign Will of God. Humanity is a single essence, not divided. Although we, as human beings, operate within specific social and ethical contexts, God, acting through His Prophets of His Own accord, does whatsoever He wills. He alone determines the ethical requirements for a particular age.

Triumphalism is also unappealing to a millennial generation reared on globalized soical networking. Even the emerging church, which was developed to appeal to the previous Generation X, may be too traditional:

... here, very briefly stated, are what I feel to be some of the leading characteristics of an emerging theology. It reflects my biases and blindspots. If people want to suggest corrections or additions, I would be happy to take them into account and republish the list as a more collective statement.
  1. A theology for a community that is in self-conscious continuity with the biblical people of God and the calling of Abraham to be blessed and be a blessing to the nations of the world.
  2. A theology done under the lordship of Christ.
  3. A theology that gives priority to narrative in order both to define its core and to contextualize the content of biblical teaching.
  4. A theology that seeks to understand the intimate relationship between text and historical narrative.
  5. A theology that at its heart is a reading of scripture.
  6. A theology that as a matter of methodological commitment celebrates, reinforces, and exploits community: an emerging theology is strongly relational, conversational, interactive.
  7. A theology that is strongly aware of, and responsive to, the locality in which these conversations take place.
  8. A theology that attempts to resist certain distortions of modernism.
  9. A theology that is broadly but not slavishly postmodern in its epistemology, wary of absolute formulations, tolerant of diversity and plurality, sensitive to the social manipulation of texts.
  10. A theology that places a high value on intellectual and critical integrity - ‘integrity’ being, I think, the ‘postmodern’ word in that sentence.
  11. A theology committed to the renewal of its own discourse, understood not only as speech but as the whole spectrum of means (artistic, communal, activist) by which we communicate.
  12. A theology that fosters an open, inquisitive, probing mindset.
  13. A theology that endeavours to integrate rather than dissociate modes of thought, analysis, and practice, that draws on the mind of the whole community of faith.
  14. A generous theology that is inclined to discover meaning and truth outside of itself.
  15. A theology with an eschatological orientation towards the renewal of creation - humanity within a comprehensive ecology; therefore a public rather than a private theology.
Perriman, Andrew, “What (again) is an emerging theology?Open Source Theology. July 5, 2006. Retrieved on August 1, 2013.

Standards of good and evil, or collective conscience, are legitimated by God through His Prophets, not by His mortal servants:

Know thou for a certainty that the Will of God is not limited by the standards of the people, and God doth not tread in their ways. Rather is it incumbent upon everyone to firmly adhere to God’s straight Path. Were He to pronounce the right to be the left or the south to be the north, He speaketh the truth and there is no doubt of it. Verily He is to be praised in His acts and to be obeyed in His behests. He hath no associate in His judgement nor any helper in His sovereignty. He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 109-110.
Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution and oppression are worse than slaughter .... But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.
Muḥammad, Qurʾān 2:190-193. A. Yusuf Ali’s Translation.
And Samuel saith unto Saul, “Me did Jehovah send to anoint thee for king over His people, over Israel; and now, hearken to the voice of the words of Jehovah: ‘Thus said Jehovah of Hosts, I have looked after that which Amalek did to Israel, that which he laid for him in the way in his going up out of Egypt. Now, go, and thou hast smitten Amalek, and devoted all that it hath, and thou hast no pity on it, and hast put to death from man unto woman, from infant unto suckling, from ox unto sheep, from camel unto ass.’”
1 Samuel 15:1-3. Robert Young, translator. Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible.

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Upsetting the World’s Equilibrium
You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour!
The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation, This Is The Hour & There Are Things To Be Considered. November 12, 2012. Retrieved on November 12, 2012.

Everything that belongs to the old order of disunity is unraveling. Still, the tragic wars which are being continually reported in the news, no matter how devastating, and the “rumors of wars” are, in my view, only the precursors or shadows of sorrows. The issue, to my mind, is more basic. Through the coming of the Promised One of all ages, the dimensions of this world, including the planetary substance, have been thrown out of balance. The geomagnetic field has, according to some scientists, been shifting. When all is said and done, the Earth, including its relationship with the sun, will, I feel, dramatically change.

I testify that no sooner had the First Word proceeded, through the potency of Thy will and purpose, out of His mouth, and the First Call gone forth from His lips than the whole creation was revolutionized, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth were stirred to the depths. Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly kingdom, entities of a new creation, and revealing, in the unseen realms, the signs and tokens of Thy unity and oneness. Through that Call Thou didst announce unto all Thy servants the advent of Thy most great Revelation and the appearance of Thy most perfect Cause.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations. Pages 295-296.
... what is most frequently meant by the Holy City, the Jerusalem of God, which is mentioned in the Holy Book, is the Law of God. It is compared sometimes to a bride, and sometimes to Jerusalem, and again to the new heaven and earth. So in chapter 21, verses 1, 2 and 3 of the Revelation of St. John, it is said: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Notice how clear and evident it is that the first heaven and earth signify the former Law. For it is said that the first heaven and earth have passed away and there is no more sea-that is to say, that the earth is the place of judgment, and on this earth of judgment there is no sea, meaning that the teachings and the Law of God will entirely spread over the earth, and all men will enter the Cause of God, and the earth will be completely inhabited by believers; therefore, there will be no more sea, for the dwelling place and abode of man is the dry land. In other words, at that epoch the field of that Law will become the pleasure-ground of man. Such earth is solid; the feet do not slip upon it.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions. Pages 67-68.
... ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail.... [W]oe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath: for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.... Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.... And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man. Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left: two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left.
Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:6-8, 20-22, 28, and 37-41, American Standard Version (1901).

The Father has come. This Dispensation is His Day of Judgment and Chastisement. So far, however, the nations of the world have turned a deaf ear to His universal rulings. At the same time, the very equilibrium of the world has, through His Cause or Command (al-Amr), been upset and shaken by His new Order of existence, while the Earth is being filled with His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh, the Glory of God:

The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Page 85.
O people of the Bayán! If ye aid Him not, God will assuredly assist Him with the powers of earth and heaven, and sustain Him with the hosts of the unseen through His command “Be” [Kun], and it is! The day is approaching when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a race of men the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, the Self-Subsisting.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Súriy-i-Haykal.” Summons of the Lord of Hosts. Page 6.
Take heed that ye dispute not idly concerning the Almighty and His Cause, for lo! He hath appeared amongst you invested with a Revelation so great as to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future. Were We to address Our theme by speaking in the language of the inmates of the Kingdom, We would say: “In truth, God created that School ere He created heaven and earth, and We entered it before the letters B [Kāf] and E [Nūn] were joined and knit together” [as Kun or “Be”]. Such is the language of Our servants in Our Kingdom; consider what the tongue of the dwellers of Our exalted Dominion would utter, for We have taught them Our knowledge and have revealed to them whatever had lain hidden in God’s wisdom. Imagine then what the Tongue of Might and Grandeur would utter in His All-Glorious Abode!
Baháʾuʾlláh, Prayers and Meditations. Page 84.

The disequilibrating of the world is now being manifested globally. On May 25, 2013 earthquakes rocked and disequilibriated all corners of the earth. Baháʾuʾlláh’s words are, in my humble opinion, now being literally fulfilled. Meanwhile, one videographer (MP4 video) noted, by observing the Moon, that the Earth itself was shaking:

In this video the moon appears to be shaking, but it’s the earth shaking on the evening of May 22 on into early May 23, 2013. What is going on under our feet?
Qronos16, “The Moon Shaking.” YouTube. May 25, 2013. Retrieved on May 26, 2013.

Similarly, possible earthly upheavals, including a shifting of the magnetic poles and quaking, were anticipated in the Book of Isaiah:

Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.... The earth shall stagger like a drunken man, and shall sway to and fro like a hammock; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall, and not rise again.
Isaiah 24: 1 and 20, American Standard Version (1901).

Likewise, in the TaNaḤ (Old Testament):

For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations; and the precious things of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of hosts.
Haggai 2:6-7, American Standard Version (1901).

The Earth has grown tired of humanity. In my opinion, these planetary disturbances are, in addition to their obvious spiritual impact, being manifested as accelerated geomagnetic changes:

In the eighth of the most holy lines, in the fifth Tablet of Paradise, He saith:
O YE THAT ARE LYING AS DEAD ON THE COUCH OF HEEDLESSNESS! Ages have passed and your precious lives are well-nigh ended, yet not a single breath of purity hath reached Our court of holiness from you. Though immersed in the ocean of misbelief, yet with your lips ye profess the one true faith of God. Him whom I abhor ye have loved, and of My foe ye have made a friend. Notwithstanding, ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you and everything within it shunneth you. Were ye but to open your eyes, ye would, in truth, prefer a myriad griefs unto this joy, and would count death itself better than this life.
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Hidden Words of Baháʾuʾlláh. Persian. Number 20.
Many natural mechanisms have been proposed for climate change during the past millennia, however, none of these appears to have accounted for the change in global temperature seen over the second half of the last century. As such the rise in temperature has been attributed to man made mechanisms. Analysis of the movement of the Earth’s magnetic poles over the last 105 years demonstrates strong correlations between the position of the north magnetic, and geomagnetic poles, and both Northern Hemisphere and global temperatures. Although these correlations are surprising, a statistical analysis shows there is a less than one percent chance they are random, but it is not clear how movements of the poles affect climate. Links between changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and climate change have been proposed previously although the exact mechanism is disputed. These include: The Earth’s magnetic field affects the energy transfer rates from the solar wind to the Earth’s atmosphere, which in turn affects the North Atlantic Oscillation. Movement of the poles changes the geographic distribution of galactic and solar cosmic rays, moving them to particularly climate sensitive areas. Changes in distribution of ultraviolet rays resulting from the movement of the magnetic field, may result in increases in the death rates of carbon sinking oceanic plant life such as phytoplankton.
Adrian K. Kerton, M.Sc., “Climate Change And The Earth’s Magnetic Poles, A Possible Connection.” Abstract. Energy & Environment. Volume 20. Numbers 1-2. January 2009. Pages 75-83. Retrieved on May 3, 2012.

Furthermore, brush fires, earthquakes, massive animal deaths, volcanos, tornados, rapid climate change, and global warming have all intensified. Although some of these anomalies may have either terrestrial or solar causes, most, in my view, are the result of human abuse of the planet:

To produce natural gas from shale formations, it is necessary to increase the interconnectedness of the pore space (permeability) of the shale so that the gas can flow through the rock mass and be extracted through production wells. This is usually done by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Fracking causes small earthquakes, but they are almost always too small to be a safety concern. In addition to natural gas, fracking fluids and formation waters are returned to the surface. These wastewaters are frequently disposed of by injection into deep wells. The injection of wastewater into the subsurface can cause earthquakes that are large enough to be felt and may cause damage.
Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection.” U.S. Geological Survey. Official U.S. government document. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.
With scientific evidence emerging that wastewater from oil and gas drilling is the possible cause of earthquakes, states are adding new requirements for disposal wells....
The findings add to pressure on the industry over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling technique in which millions of gallons of chemically treated water are forced underground to break up rock and free trapped gas.
Jim Efstathiou, Jr., “Fracking-Linked Earthquakes Spurring State Regulations.” Bloomberg. April 20, 2012. Retrieved on April 23, 2012.

Geomagnetic changes, “acoustic trauma,” and changes in planetary resonance, might be responsible for some large-scale animal deaths or, perhaps, die-offs:

Zoologists have often said that climate change could be one of the causes of this increased mortality among birds and other animals. Fish and crabs are known to die en masse because of sudden increases in water temperature. Deprived of food, coastal birds take off in search of more ambient climes, leaving their young to certain death.
Other causes include magnetic fluctuations, which have a severe impact on all birds whose seasonal migration patterns follow the earth’s magnetic lines. The red-winged blackbirds of Arkansas could have died as a result of “magnetic storms or the trials of some kind of technical device,” said Vladimir Galushin.
On the other hand, a global change could be underway that will affect all life on Earth the scientist added.
Olga Sobolevskaya, “Mass Bird Deaths do not Mean the End is Nigh – Scientists.” RIA Novosti. Newswire. January 15, 2011. Moscow, Russian Federation. From LexisNexis Academic. Retrieved on July 7, 2012.
Since early February 2012, about 1,000 dolphins have washed up on the beaches between Pimentel and Lambayeque near Chiclayo and the fishing village of San Jose. One veterinarian has discovered cracked and broken ear bones consistent with acoustic trauma in the dead dolphins ....
... what Dr. Yaipen Llanos discovered very quickly were broken periotic bones, which are the inner ear bones. And he found that when he cut into the fresh dolphins that were on the beach – say within 24 hours of our arrival on February 26, 2012 – he cut into the livers and they would bubble. This froth would come out of them. So over the course of time, he came to the conclusion that this was acoustic trauma.
Linda Moulton Howe, “More Than 1,000 Dolphins Dead in Northern Peru Since January – Acoustic Trauma? Biotoxins? Natural Causes?.” Earthfiles. 2012. Retrieved on June 21, 2012.
Most of us know that the Earth has a magnetic field. A Scientist called Carl Friedrich Gauss, discovered back in 1935 that the earth’s magnetic field was dying, and Scientists today also confirm that it is indeed declining, and at a rapid rate.
As the earth’s molten core is rotating; the magnetic field is created. This magnetic field has been weakening dramatically over the last ten years.... [I]n physics there is a parameter called “Schumann’s Resonance.” Using that, mathematicians can determine the strength of the earth’s magnetic field. While for many centuries, it was constant around 7.80 cycles per second, during the last 7-8 years, it has risen to 11 cycles per second and is continuing to increase dramatically .... When this resonance is 13 cycles per second, the earth’s core would stop rotating with the magnetic field gone....
As we know, most animals and insects use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate, it’s like and internal compass. May explain why the whales have been beaching themselves a lot more often over the last decade. Scientist recently discovered through the study of butterflies that humans also have an internal compass ... but I’ve know this for years, I knew that I had good sense of direction and an internal compass, when I travelled alone to countries with cities of 20+ million people, and could navigate my way around without so much as a map or English speaking assistance and not get lost. We have probably all tested that theory in some way or another.
Rebekah Bennett, The Scientific Facts Behind 2012 and Death of the Egoic Materialistic Mind. Retrieved on December 23, 2012.

Regarding these widespread, massive deaths of animals, the authors of the Books of Zephaniah and Hosea recorded:

I will utterly consume all things from off the face of the ground, saith Jehovah. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the face of the ground, saith Jehovah.
Zephaniah 1:1-3, American Standard Version (1901).
Hear the word of Jehovah, ye children of Israel; for Jehovah hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land. There is nought but swearing and breaking faith, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
Hosea 4:1-3, American Standard Version (1901).

Despite all of the fear-mongering on the web and on certain email lists, the solar maximum of 2013-2014 is expected to be relatively weak. Consequently, the immediate chances of a damaging solar flare or a coronal mass ejection (CME) of plasma are reasonably minimal. Perhaps, however, a rapid geomagnetic shift, not the commonly feared veering of the Earth from its axis, will, at some point in the future, derange the planetary equilibrium. Additionally, according to Drunvalo Melchizedek (born, Bernard Perona in 1941), the ringing in some people’s ears has been connected by various Russian scientists with a geomagnetic weakening (MP3 audio file).

Just north of a truck stop in Battle Mountain, Nev., lies evidence that the Earth’s magnetic field once went haywire....
Scott Bogue of Occidental College in Los Angeles and Jonathan Glen of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., went to Nevada to study layered lava flows. As each flow cooled, it preserved the orientation of the planet’s magnetic field at the time, frozen like a tiny compass needle in the rock’s magnetic crystals.
One flow caught the scientists’ attention. Initially it started to cool and then was heated again within a year as a fresh lava flow buried it. The fresh lava remagnetized the crystals within the rock below, causing them to reorient themselves a whopping 53 degrees. At the rate the lava would have cooled, says Bogue, the magnetic field would be changing direction at about 1 degree a week.
Alexandra Witze, “Earth’s Magnetic Field may Flip Fast.” Science News. September 25, 2010. Retrieved on June 12, 2012.

According to certain scientists and writers, the shift has already started:

The geophysicist David Gubbins at the University of Leeds and his colleagues trawled through thousands of logbooks across the world’s oceans from 1590 to 1840.
Although the ship’s captains were interested only in finding their bearings, their logs can be used to map the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field. The results show that the field was fairly stable until the late 18th century. This is of interest because from about 1860 the Earth’s magnetic field began to weaken noticeably and has accelerated since, possibly caused as patches of magnetic flux reversed in the South Atlantic, resulting from changes in the Earth’s core.
Some scientists speculate that this may be the start of a complete flip in the Earth’s magnetic field, when the north and south magnetic poles swap places. The last magnetic reversal occurred about 780,000 years ago, and we are due for another one. Once a reversal begins, the Earth’s field gradually disappears before the poles flip over, a whole process that may take a few thousand years.
Paul Simon, “Time for the Poles to Swap Places.” The Times (newspaper). London. November 17, 2006. Features. Page 94. Retrieved on June 12, 2012.
Magnetic polar shifts have occurred many times in Earth’s history. It’s happening again now to every planet in the solar system including Earth. The magnetic field drives weather to a significant degree and when that field starts migrating superstorms start erupting.
The superstorms have arrived.
Terrence Aym, “Magnetic Polar Shifts Causing Massive Global Superstorms.” Helium. February 6, 2011. Retrieved on June 12, 2012.

On the other hand, as some NASA scientists have pointed out, an actual reversal in Earth’s rotation is impossible:

A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles. However, many of the disaster websites pull a bait-and-switch to fool people. They claim a relationship between the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average. As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway....
Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.
2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Official U.S. government document.

Globally, the 2004 tsunami near the Indian Ocean, the 2005 flood in New Orleans, and the 2011 tsunami in Japan also come to mind. At least In the Nōăḥide narrative, people were apparently not, to my understanding, automatically saved from death or suffering because of their individual spiritual qualities:

Mention hath been made in certain books of a deluge which caused all that existed on earth, historical records as well as other things, to be destroyed. Moreover, many cataclysms have occurred which have effaced the traces of many events.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 174.
Launched ... into the troublesome seas of ceaseless tribulation, piloted by the mighty arm of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá and manned by the bold initiative and abundant vitality of a band of sorely-tried disciples, the Ark of Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant has ... been steadily pursuing its course contemptuous of the storms of bitter misfortune that have raged, and which must continue to assail it, as it forges ahead towards the promised haven of undisturbed security and peace.
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Page 84.
Could anything less than the fire of a civil war with all its violence and vicissitudes—a war that nearly rent the great American Republic—have welded the states, not only into a Union of independent units, but into a Nation, in spite of all the ethnic differences that characterized its component parts? That so fundamental a revolution, involving such far-reaching changes in the structure of society, can be achieved through the ordinary processes of diplomacy and education seems highly improbable. We have but to turn our gaze to humanity’s blood-stained history to realize that nothing short of intense mental as well as physical agony has been able to precipitate those epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization.
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 45.

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Global Warming

Rather than admitting that global warming, sometimes called climate change or climate disruption, has primarily been among the more noticeable waste products of the engines of capitalism, the sun and its cycles are, in some fringe scientific quarters, conveniently scapegoated:

Mars and Jupiter are not warming, and anyway the sun has recently been cooling slightly.
This argument is part of a greater one that other planets are warming. If this is happening throughout the solar system, clearly it must be the sun causing the rise in temperatures - including here on Earth....
Claims that solar system bodies are heating up due to increased solar activity are clearly wrong. The sun’s output has declined in recent decades. Only Pluto and Neptune are exhibiting increased brightness. Heating attributed to other solar bodies remains unproven.
G.P. Wayne, What Climate Change is Happening to Other Planets in the Solar System. Skeptical Science: Getting Skeptical about Global Warming Skepticism. September 15, 2012. Retrieved on August 20, 2012.
The Sierra Club Board of Directors has approved the one-time use of civil disobedience for the first time in the organization’s 120-year history.
Recognizing the imminent danger posed by climate disruption, including record heat waves, drought, wildfires and the devastation of superstorm Sandy, the Sierra Club board of directors has suspended a long-standing Club policy to allow, for one time, the organization to lead a group of environmental activists, civil rights leaders, visionaries, scientists, and other high-profile individuals in a peaceful protest to dirty and dangerous tar sands.
Michael Tobis, Civil Disobedience and Climate Disruption. March 22, 2013. Retrieved on May 4, 2013.

The issue of solar complicity is briefly addressed in the following quotations:

Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.
Richard A. Muller, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic.” The New York Times (newspaper). Op-ed piece. July 28, 2012. Retrieved on July 30, 2012.
There are some who assert that the global warming that has been observed on all continents is caused by changes in the output of the sun. This hypothesis does not stand up to scrutiny in either the short or the long-term ....
Each year, we are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 2 parts per million (ppm).... As a consequence, human-made climate change now overwhelms this natural cycle.
Milan Ilnyckyj, “Climate Change: The Solar Hypothesis.” A Sibilant Intake of Breath. Blog. February 2, 2010.

The Earth was around before any of our present-day economic systems. Both American political parties support the corporatocracy. In the U.S., a country without an established Left, the claim by Fox News Channel to be “fair and balanced” is simply reinforcing a distinction without a difference. If modern corporations cannot, allegedly, afford to clean up their act, and stop polluting the environment, perhaps capitalism, and its forces of destruction, should be eliminated. Indeed, the evidence for global warming is widespread:

The effects of increasing temperature on marine and freshwater ecosystems are already evident, with rapid pole ward shifts indistributions of fish and plankton in regions such as North East Atlantic, where temperature change has been rapid .... Climate change has been implicated in mass mortalities of many aquatic species, including plants, fish, corals, and mammals ....
Bimal P. Mohanty, Sasmita Mohanty, Jyanendra K. Sahoo, and Anil P. Sharma, “Climate Change: Impacts on Fisheries and Aquaculture.” Climate Change and Variability. Suzanne W. Simard and Mary E. Austin, editors. Privately published. 2010. Page 123.
Fantasy can eat away at reality in the overly entertained over stimulated human mind. Global warming is just another movie on flat screen in the news. The fictional people made of light and shadow on a white wall, are little different than their spectator audience in denial of the terrible consequences of their actions RIGHT NOW projected upon a real screen of Earth’s atmosphere on real skies in a drought across the central, eastern and Rocky Mountain states of America....
... too many billions of semi-conscious, desensitized people chose to walk in dreams rather than reality, noses buried in screens of social network toys, texting while taxing the world’s finite resources. They covet sustaining the parasite’s illusion that this planet can further sustain their energy demands and their pollution when it is estimated this current humanity would need several Planet Earths to satisfy it.
They go to theaters to watch someone else on a flat screen live their flat lives, make love and do heroic things. They belong to a mad mass of humanity escaping global warming and life.
John Hogue, “Predictions for 2012, Chapter 6: Nature’s War on Humanity Year Three – Upheaval and Flood.” Hogue Prophecy. July 22, 2012. Retrieved on August 1, 2012.

In some cases, the same corporations which covered up the dangers of tobacco throughout much of the twentieth centurey are now spreading disinformation and junk science on global warming:

... sea levels are rising; snow cover in the Arctic melts earlier; the average air temperature is rising; ocean surface temperatures have also been rising; the summer sea ice cover is declining; sea air temperature has been rising; for 19 years glaciers have lost mass; land air temperature has been rising - a global trend.
All of this puts the lie to the propaganda of the oil industry aimed at creating doubt about the reliability of scientific data. Taking a leaf from the tobacco industry, which managed to create doubt about the safety of their products years after they privately knew the facts, the oil industry has been attempting to raise doubt about the urgency of replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, and with considerable success.
Paul Hellyer (1963-1967 Canadian minister of defence), Global Fraud: Global Hope. An Address to the International UFO Congress, Fort McDowell Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona. Saturday, February 26, 2011. Page 7.

Although climate change is a natural process, solar activity, according to NASA, cannot explain the degree and type of present-day climate change:

The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane to higher levels than at any point during the last 650,000 years. Scientists agree it is very likely that most of the global average warming since the mid-20th century is due to the human-induced increases in greenhouse gases, rather than to natural causes.
While natural variations have altered the climate significantly in the past, it is very unlikely that the changes in climate observed since the mid-20th century can be explained by natural processes alone.
Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Official U.S. government document.
If the warming were caused by a more active sun, then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Instead, they have observed a cooling in the upper atmosphere, and a warming at the surface and in the lower parts of the atmosphere. That’s because greenhouse gasses are trapping heat in the lower atmosphere.
A Blanket Around the Earth.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Official U.S. government document.

Although a small amount of climate change has natural explanations, the arguments against humanly caused global warming are, generally speaking, quite weak. For instance, Mitch Batros, whose website combines some scientific analysis of earth changes with a magical presentation of Western indigenous prophecies (especially Mayan and Hopi), wrote that “global warming” is a “made up name.” (The romanticism aside, everyone is indigenous to one or more places.) My question is, “Can anyone provide an example of a name or word that has not been made up?” Batros wrote:

Sure, we argue about such things as the made up name “global warming” and the greed and politics involved, however, let us separate our ability to champion the cause and action of stewardship in regards to our home “Earth.”
Mitch Batros, Earth Changes Media. Retrieved on April 30, 2012.

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While anarchy, chaos, and earth changes have encircled the globe, a predictable survivalist or prepper conversation has been taking place. Even now, people are hoarding food and water, building their “coffins” (bunkers and, at least in one case, underground condos), and, in short, reinforcing the social delusion of safety in separation. My own view is that, rather than becoming captivated by this fear-mongering, we should regularly reflect upon ourselves as servants. The ultimate accomplishment of our brief journeys in the material world is al-fanāʾ (self-annihilation or true poverty and absolute nothingness).

Four buyers have already spent about $7 million on luxurious doomsday-safe condos built in a Cold War-era missile shaft below a Kansas prairie .... The cylindrical underground building not only includes condo space, but its developer is also adding an indoor farm, pool, movie theater, a stockpile of five years worth of dry food, and space for a medical center and school ....
Khadeeja Safdar, “Super-Rich Plan To Survive Apocalypse In Underground Luxury Condos.” The Huffington Post. April 11, 2012. Retrieved on September 30, 2012.
Condo Bunkers Condo Bunkers
illustrations of underground condo bunkers

Truthfully, I cannot imagine myself, particularly as a single man, becoming a survivalist. Hopefully, I would reflect, “How can I help everyone, not only my friends, in the disaster?” “In what ways can I put their lives, needs, and sustenance ahead of mine?“ Being ready is being ready to serve others. In my opinion, we should all be “preppers” for the spiritual Kingdom beyond, the heavenly world of departed angels, not for this temporal plane of dust:

As the usefulness and powers of the life (of a child) were not seen in that dark and narrow world (of the womb), but when it is brought into this vast world, all the use of its growth and development becometh manifest and obvious in it, so likewise, reward and punishment, paradise and hell, and the requital of deeds and actions done by it in the present life become manifest and evident when it is transferred to the world to come—which is far from this world! Had the life and growth of the child in the womb been confined to that condition, then the existence of the child in the womb would have proved utterly abortive and unintelligible; as would the life of this world, were its deeds, actions and their results not to appear in the world to come.
Therefore, know thou that the True One possesseth invisible worlds which human meditation is unable to comprehend and the intellect of man hath no power to imagine. When thou wilt purify and clarify thy spiritual; nostrils from every worldly moisture, then thou wilt inhale the holy fragrances diffusing from the merciful gardens of these worlds.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablets of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá ʿAbbás. Pages 644-645.
Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle. Retrieved on February 26, 2012.
I am a prepper. Survivalist. Whatever you want to call me, it doesn’t matter....
... I’ve learned that our “global economy” is nothing more than a great Ponzi scheme, and I’ve come to realize that the only way to insulate one’s self from the collapse of that scheme is to prepare for self reliant living.
What’s a Prepper? Retrieved on February 26, 2012.

Although my views on the libertarian or individualistic philosophy of survivalism, including building home-grown military dugouts, are quite negative, disaster preparedness, particularly under the supervision of government agencies (such as, in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security or DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA), is always a good idea:

Disaster preparedness refers to measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters. That is, to predict and—where possible—prevent them, mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations, and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences. Disaster preparedness is best viewed from a broad perspective and is more appropriately conceived of as a goal, rather than as a specialised programme or stage that immediately precedes disaster response.
Introduction to Disaster Preparedness: Disaster Preparedness Training Programme. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. June, 2000. Retrieved on September 26, 2012. Page 6.
Once you have developed your [family disaster] plan, you need to practice and maintain it. Practicing your plan will help your family instinctively take the appropriate actions during an actual emergency; even in the middle of the night. You should review your plan at least annually and make updates as necessary.
Family Disaster Planning Guide. Patrick Air Force Base, Florida: Office of Emergency Management. May 1, 2007. Retrieved on September 26, 2012. Page 15.
There are many different kinds of disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, airplane crashes, chemical spills, and explosions, which seldom give warning and can be equally devastating to their victims. Although this guide is primarily about earthquake preparation, the steps you take will help your family prepare for any type of disaster that could strike in your community.
Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide. San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. Retrieved on September 26, 2012. Page 3.

The conspiratorial meme notwithstanding, there are no FEMA prison camps. However, emergency planning is a good idea:

The most important information about the emergency plan that citizens should know is
  1. identification of the hazards to which they are vulnerable.
  2. details on what they should do in an emergency.
  3. the persons to contact for details about the plan.
  4. a list of nearby evacuation centers.
  5. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The Emergency Program Manager: Independent Study Course. Official U.S. government document.
We need preplanned, carefully thought out means for moving National Guardsmen and other military forces and particularly assets, such as high-water vehicles and Chinook transport helicopters, swiftly into place to prevent urban areas from sinking into anarchy—as was so painfully evident at the convention center in New Orleans and throughout the city.
Congressional Record—Senate. September 8, 2005. Official U.S. government document.
One goal of emergency management was ensuring continuity of government after an attack or disaster to prevent anarchy, maintain defense, aid the victims and engender recovery. Several steps achieve that goal:
  1. a trained emergency organization in place,
  2. designated chain of succession for elected official and appointed executives,
  3. protection of vital records, and
  4. alternate seats of government.
  5. Frances Edwards, Ph.D., CEM, Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Planning/Preparedness/Readiness. From the FEMA website.

Similar suggestions have been made by Phillipine Business for Social Progress:

... the need for a master plan for coordination cannot be underscored. This need stems from the fact that there are several actors who have different thrusts, agenda, and strategies; there is a need to orchestrate these so that resources are maximized, and people, more importantly, are not confused by conflicts in directions and priorities. A mechanism for coordination is paramount so that anarchy of efforts does not result.
A strongly related need is a master plan for development which outlines the general directions of the rehabilitation program. Victims, and implementors must be given the leeway to pursue development as they see fit. But their efforts will be efficient and meaningful only if these unfold from the broader perspective of the direction of their province and, in the end, their region. To sum up, the different resettlement cases show that there can be no single blueprint for rehabilitation. Local conditions and the initiatives, participation, and capabilities of the victims should be considered. This requires, however, delivery of services in local areas and the tripartite action of government agencies, non-government organizations, and the victims themselves. It also requires more innovative means of creating employment opportunities at the micro and macro levels.
The development of rehabilitation and resettlement measures at more decentralized levels, will avoid the bureaucratic delays associated with more centralized efforts at rehabilitating and resettling the victims, who are bound to increase in the next eight years.
Phillipine Business for Social Progress, In Search of Alternatives: Rehabilitation Options and Alternatives for the Mount Pinatubo Victims. Completed with the funding assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). July 1993. Page 6.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

Federal, State, tribal, and local government planning is mutually supportive. Planning for low-probability, high-consequence scenarios is a Federal focus and complements a State, tribal, and local focus on more likely and frequently experienced smaller-scale events.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Response Framework. Official U.S. government document. January, 2008. Retrieved on March 11, 2013. Page 71.

The U.S. Army document, Internment and Resettlement Operations (FM 3-39.40), outlines official procedures to be used with detainees, including both confined enemy combatants and dislocated civilians. Although this February, 2010, publication was leaked, and is now in the public domain, a distribution notice at the beginning reads, “Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.” Therefore, I will not quote directly from the operations manual. On the other hand, an earlier version, FM 3-19.40, has already been declassified.

Operations manuals, while often used in planning for worst-case scenarios, can, when they are read by untrained eyes, cause considerable panic. For example, some people, including the highly dangerous Alex Jones, have entirely misinterpreted the FM 3-39.40 publication as a totalitarian plan for one world government:

The document, entitled FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations ... was originally released on a restricted basis to the DoD in February 2010, but has now been leaked online....
We [Alex Jones’ Infowars] have exhaustively documented preparations for the mass internment of citizens inside America, but this is the first time that language concerning the re-education of detainees, in particular political activists, has cropped up in our research.
Paul Joseph Watson, “Leaked U.S. Army Document Outlines Plan For Re-Education Camps In America: Political Activists Would be Pacified to Sympathize with the Government.” Infowars. May 3, 2012. Retrieved on August 25, 2012.

Certain U.S. government officials might be afraid of something. For instance, in an tumultuous era which has seen a succession of lost military conflicts by major powers, including the U.S., drones may be a appealing solution. No sober-minded politician wants to lead her country into a failed war:

... the debate centered on the question of whether the president had authority to use a drone &ndashl an unmanned, remotely guided and armed aircraft – to kill a U.S citizen who is an enemy combatant abroad, without trial. We know of only one that has: Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011....
... the suspicion unfortunately was raised that the Obama administration might engage in such unconscionable conduct by its hesitant and muddled responses to questions over whether it can posed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and others....
... Attorney General Eric Holder wrote: “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no.”...
... Ryan Goodman, co-chair of the New York University Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, found a loophole: The promise not to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil as long as they were not “engaged in combat.” “By declining to specify what it means to be ‘engaged in combat,’ the letter does not foreclose the possible scenario – however hypothetical – of a military drone strike, against a United States citizen, on American soil,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed.
Dennis Byrne, “Will Obama Launch a Drone Attack on U.S. Soil?” ” Chicago Tribune (newspaper). March 12, 2013. Retrieved on March 12, 2013.
Is there something really serious brewing that [U.S.] Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano isn’t telling us?...
First, we hear that DHS is in the process of stockpiling more than 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition, along with 7,000 fully-automatic 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” plus a huge stash of 30-round high-capacity magazines....
Then, to cap it off, we find out that DHS, through the U.S. Army Forces Command, recently purchased and retrofitted 2,717 Mine-Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq. They are specifically designed to protect occupants from ambush attack ....
... the Social Security Administration issued a post on its official blog explaining that the ammunition they purchased was “standard issue” used by special agents during “mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions, to ensure agent and public safety.”
Larry Bell, “Why The Heck Is DHS Buying More Than A Billion Bullets Plus Thousands Of Guns And Mine-Resistant Armored Vehicles?Forbes (magazine). March 10, 2013. Retrieved on March 11, 2013.

Various subterranean and suboceanic fortresses, research facilities, and bomb or air-raid shelters, including in such western U.S. western states as Nevada and Colorado and in the Washington, D.C., area, are being, and have already been, constructed, often out of existing caverns (MP4 videos one, two, and three). These facilities may, in certain cases, be networked using high-speed subways or other rapid transit systems. Unfortunately, no fortifications or dugouts, however expertly designed, could, I believe, guarantee protection or security from accelerating planetary shifts, civil unrest, or weapons of mass destruction. Humanity’s sole salvation is the Blessed Perfection, Baháʾuʾlláh.

Presently, there are 129 deep underground military bases in the United States. They have been building these 129 bases day and night, unceasingly, since the early 1940’s. Some of them were built even earlier than that. These bases are basically large cities underground connected by high-speed magneto-leviton trains that have speeds up to Mach 2 [twice the speed of sound].
Phil Schneider, Underground Bases and Tunnels. Retrieved on September 17, 2012.
The average depth of these bases is over a mile, and they again are basically whole cities underground. They all are between 2.66 and 4.25 cubic miles in size. They have laser-drilling machines that can drill a tunnel seven miles long in one day.
Phil Schneider, Last Lecture by Phil Schneider. August, 1995. Retrieved on October 13, 2012.
Boring Machine Boring Machine Boring Machine
photos of alleged U.S. deep underground military bases and the train system (click to enlarge)

In other words, the defenders of the old world order are attempting to salvage a morally bankrupt system. The quotations provided below on deep underground military bases (DUMB), shelters for command and control or continuity of government (COG), are taken from official United States government documents:

Hard and deeply buried targets are structures ranging from hardened surface bunker complexes to deep, underground tunnel facilities, which are used to conceal and protect critical leadership, military, and industrial personnel; weapons; equipment; and activities that constitute serious threats to U.S. security. These structures are typically large, complex, and well concealed, incorporating strong physical security, modern air defenses, protective siting, multifaceted communications, and other important features that make many of them survivable against existing conventional methods of attack.
Military Transformation: Actions Needed by DOD to More Clearly Identify New Triad Spending and Develop a Long-term Investment Approach Page 12. Report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. United States Government Accountability Office. June, 2005. Official U.S. government document.
The PRMRF [Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund] provides space, building services, deep underground relocation capability, and force protection for Department of Defense (DoD) Components, including Military Departments and other activities located within the Pentagon Reservation.
Summary of Operations: Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund, Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Budget Estimate. Washington Headquarters Services. February, 2005. Official U.S. government document.
In 1978, the facility changed names from Naval Torpedo Station Keyport to Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station Keyport in recognition that the functions had broadened to include various undersea warfare weapons and systems engineering and development activities. In 1992, the facility again changed names to NUWC, Division Keyport. Operations currently include engineering, fabrication, assembly, and testing of underwater weapons.
EPA Superfund Record of Decision: Naval Undersea Warfare Engineering Station. September 1, 1994. Official U.S. government document.

This document outlines some of the basic technologies which might be used to construct deep underground bases:

An extensive review will be made of literature on technical developments or innovative methods of explosive excavation. This review will identify any promising concepts for reducing time required or improving productivity in drilling for blasts, loading blast holes, charge design, ventilation and fume removal, and mucking. The goal of the study is to identify those concepts which might be integrable into the post attack egress system for a deep underground base. If such improvements can be made, they could lead to explosive excavation as a supplement or alternative to tunnel boring machines. A final report will present the results of the study and make recommendations for further development of candidate concepts.
James A. Keller, Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer. U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force. Official U.S. government document. 1985. Retrieved on August 13, 2012.
Boring Machine Boring Machine Boring Machine
photos of alleged boring machines for U.S. deep underground military bases (click to enlarge)

NASA is more qualified in its comments on the subject:

There are bomb-proof civil defense bunkers all around the U.S. that were built during the cold war, especially during the Eisenhower administration. These include the famous Cheyenne Mountain operations center of the Strategic Air Command and the large complex at Greenbrier, West Virginia, which was once the designated site for senior government officials in case of atomic attack on Washington.
David Morrison, Bunkers. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). March 1, 2010. Official U.S. government document. Retrieved on June 11, 2012.

The next report, of unknown accuracy, concerns Lloyd Duscha, a former deputy director of engineering and construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

... [In 1987, Lloyd] Duscha went into a discussion of the Corps’ involvement in the 1960s in the construction of the large and elaborate NORAD base buried deep beneath Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado. And then he said:
As stated earlier, there are other projects of similar scope, which I cannot identify....
I would add, parenthetically, that I believe these multiple “interesting facilities” that are “classified,” which he “cannot identify” are likely to be either a) undersea, b) involve sensitive projects involving UFO technology and/or joint alien/human operating bases, and/or c) be located on the Moon and/or Mars and/or other planets and planetoids elsewhere.
Dr. Richard Sauder, “Vorticular Madness Of The Dark Magicians.” Event Horizon Chronicle. Blog. December 25, 2011. Retrieved on April 22, 2012.

This story is from 2011:

A disturbing report prepared by General Alexey Maslov, the Senior Military Representative of the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO, states that he has been notified by the Americans of their plan to hold a DEFCON 1 [the highest alert] “Cocked Pistol” maximum readiness alert drill on 27 September [2011] which will be overseen by President Obama at one the United States most secure bunkers located beneath the Denver International Airport.
Obama Ordered To Denver Bunker By US Military.” EU Times. September 14, 2011. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

The specific mechanisms for the continuity of the U.S. federal government, in the event of a massive catastrophe, are, apparently, highly classified. Congressman Peter DeFazio complained about the secrecy on the floor of the House of Representatives:

Most Americans would agree that it would be prudent to have a plan to provide for the continuity of government and the rule of law in case of a devastating terrorist attack or natural disaster, a plan to provide for the cooperation, the coordination and continued functioning of all three branches of the government. The [George W.] Bush administration tells us they have such a plan. They have introduced a little sketchy public version that is clearly inadequate and doesn’t really tell us what they have in mind, but they said, don’t worry; there’s a detailed classified version. But now they’ve denied the entire Homeland Security Committee of the United States House of Representatives access to their so-called detailed plan to provide for continuity of government. They say, trust us.
Congressman Peter DeFazio quoted in Stephen Demetriou, Congress Denied Access to Continuity of Government Planning. February 19, 2008. Retrieved on May 26, 2012.

Bunkers have, of course, also been constructed elsewhere. The following statements come from official Israeli government publications:

Data on exports of energy or supply to marine bunkers are recorded with a minus sign, to indicate that the amount stated is subtracted from the Total Primary Energy Supply. “Marine bunkers” include data on Israeli and foreign ships.
Central Bureau of Statistics, Israeli Energy through 2003.
The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, especially Hamas, have conducted extensive fortification activity, copying Hezbollah’s model in Lebanon. They have made a particular effort to construct tunnels, bunkers and weapons’ stores for both offensive and defensive purposes. A large part of the underground fortification system is located in densely populated areas in cities, village and refugee camps, in gross violation of international laws governing the conduct of war and classified as a war crime.
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Anti-Israeli Terrorism, 2006: Data, Analysis and Trends. March, 2007. Page 103.

Fortunately, however, the meek will inherit the earth, not religious leaders, rulers, the proud, and the seemingly mighty:

“When We observed carefully,” He [Baháʾuʾlláh] significantly remarks, “We discovered that Our enemies are, for the most part, the divines.” “Among the people are those who said: ‘He hath repudiated the divines.’ Say: ‘Yea, by My Lord! I, in very truth, was the One Who abolished the idols!’” “We, verily, have sounded the Trumpet, which is Our Most Sublime Pen, and lo, the divines and the learned, and the doctors and the rulers, swooned away except such as God preserved, as a token of His grace, and He, verily, is the All-Bounteous, the Ancient of Days.”
Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 83.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Jesus, Matthew 5:5. American Standard Version (1901).

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Many people, coming from various perspectives, had premonitions about various Earth-changing events beginning in 2012. My personal intuition is that 2012, or perhaps even its December solstice, marked the end of a respite – an era with mere foreshadowings of unravelling. 2013 through 2021, the nine-year period following the 2012 centenary of the Master’s journeys in the West, will climax on the centenary of the Ascension of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá with the inception of the Formative Age of the Baháʾí Dispensation, and, possibly, the termination of Western global hegemony and the establishment of a world commonwealth.

During the years immediately following 2012, the masses of humanity may actually wish, in retrospect, that popularized interpretations of Mayan astrology, whether catastrophes or elevations of consciousness, were correct. At least in the short term, 2012 might, paradoxically, become a year of nostalgia. However, in the midst of Earth-shaking tribulations or oppressions, the receptiveness to discussions of 2012, no matter the superstitious source, appears to have indicated that many folks are, by future shock, experiencing a planetary neighborhood which, through continuously shifting global relationships, is rapidly changing:

[Sociologist] William Ogburn, with his celebrated theory of cultural lag, pointed out how social stresses arise out of the uneven rates of change in different sectors of society. The concept of future shock—and the theory of adaptation that derives from it—strongly suggests that there must be balance, not merely between rates of change in different sectors, but between the pace of environmental change and the limited pace of human response. For future shock grows out of the increasing lag between the two.
Alvin Toffler, Future Shock. New York: Bantam Books (Random House). 1970. Pages 3-4.

Some people made some rather creative, and largely unfulfilled, predictions. When it comes to life in general, and especially to the Internet, there is always the sage advice – caveat emptor (Latin for let the buyer beware):

The program is called Timewave Zero. The software takes ... theories and discoveries concerning the I Ching [Chinese, Yě Jīng, Classic on Changes, an ancient text used for fortune telling] and creates time maps based upon them. The time maps, or novelty maps, show the ebb and flow of connectedness, or novelty, in any span of time from a few days to tens of millennia. The theory is not deterministic; it does not say what will happen in the future, it only predicts the level of novelty that whatever happens will have to fulfill. As such, it operates as a map, or simplified picture, of the future (and past) behavior of whatever system is being studied. The end date is the point of maximized novelty in the system, and is the only point in the entire wave that has a quantified value of zero. December 21, 2012 A.D. We arrived at this particular end date without knowledge of the Mayan Calendar, and it was only after we noticed that the historical data seemed to fit best with the wave if this end date was chosen that we were informed that the end date that we had deduced was in fact the end of the Mayan calendar.
Peter Meyer and Terence McKenna, TimeWaveZero: A guide to software.
A generation according to Matthew 1:17 and Luke chapter 3 comes out to 52 years both times and we’re talking about a hundred and some different groups and generations involved so that’s an accurate figure. You add that to 1967 and you come out to 2019 minus 7 years for the Rapture and that comes out to 2012.
Jack Van Impe, Jack Van Impe and a 2012 Rapture. Television evangelist.
The year 2008 marked the last of God’s warnings to mankind and the beginning in a countdown of the final three and one-half years of man’s self-rule that will end by May 27, 2012.
Ronald Weinland, The Prophesied End-Time Revealed. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.

Others argued that 2012 is “encoded” in the Biblical texts. The approach, which examines the proximity of certain keywords in the original Hebrew of the Holy TaNaḤ (Old Testament), is referred to as the Torah [Hebrew, Tôrâ, instruction or teaching] or Bible Code. Similar techniques have been applied to other religious scriptures. The Torah code, as a type of fortunetelling, illustrates the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. For instance, claiming that a relationship between concepts or events and the Bible, or any text, cannot be attributed to chance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The results of the analysis are statistically predicted by the data entered.

This form of divination or fortunetelling, called bibliomancy, is illustrated in the following quotations:

Evidence of a supernatural system of messages in the Bible is proof it is the Word of God The Bible Code? ... Pick an arbitrary code and you can get a system of messages out of any text.
Word of God.” TheologyWeb Campus. March 22, 2005. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.
Many of the most startling new Codes have been found by Rabbi [Matityahu] Glazerson. His depth of study into ancient texts and their meaning adds tremendous insight into the topics of the Mayan calendar and 2012.
The Torah Code and 2012. Retrieved on May 22, 2012.
... the Quran’s mathematical miracle is based on the number “19.” To share this awesome miracle with the reader, the word “GOD” is printed throughout the English text in bold capital letters, and the cumulative number of occurrences is shown at the lower left corner of every page. The total occurrence of this most important word is shown at the end of the Quran to be 2698. This total is a multiple of 19. Additionally, when we add the numbers assigned to every verse where the word “God” occurs, the total comes to 118123, also a multiple of 19 (19x6217).
Rashad Khalifa (translator), Quran: The Final Testament. Authorized English Version. 2003. Page 12.

The December 21, 2012, “meme,” a term which was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, appeared, for several years, to have been imprinted onto the collective awareness of much of humanity. Repeatedly observing a meme may, to the uncritical thinker, support its validity. However, they are simply witnessing cultural diffusion (the spread of memes through direct and indirect interaction). Outwardly, at least, Robert J. Sharer, was that meme’s originator. Based upon his own research, he added the date to the fourth (1983), fifth (1994), and sixth (2007) editions of Slyvanus G. Morley’s book (peace be upon them):

The ancient Maya may have believed that the world came to an end, and was recreated afresh, at the close of each great cycle of thirteen bak’stuns, a period of approximately 5,128 solar years, and they reckoned the chronology of their current world from a fixed point corresponding to the end of the preceding great cycle .... According to the generally accepted calendrical correlation ..., the current great cycle—and our current world—will end on December 21, 2012 ....
Slyvanus G. Morley, The Ancient Maya. Edited by Robert J. Sharer. Fifth edition. Stanford, CA. Stanford University Press. 1994. Page 568.
... increasing numbers of people have adopted the name “meme” for the postulated gene analogue....
... the Oxford Dictionary now does contain the following definition: meme: “a self-replicating element of culture passed on by imitation.”
Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2003. Page 120.

José Argüelles, Ph.D. (1939-2011), peace and blessings be upon him, popularized the date. He also gave it spiritual significance. December 21, 2012, became, in the years following 1987, a hugely successful popular cultural phenomenon:

The fulcrum and most likely the climax of the biosphere-noosphere transition and the epochal shift into a new dimension of reality, the consciously activated Noosphere, has been linked to a specific date, December 21, 2012 (12/21/12).
Since I introduced the date with the publication of the book, The Mayan Factor, in 1987, fascination with its meaning—the end of the 5,125 year “Great Cycle,” a measure of one of the calendars of the Classic Maya civilization of Central America—has grown exponentially.
José Argüelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2011. Page 38.

Reinforcing the 2012 meme in the popular imagination, the date was incorporated into the script for the final episode of the popular science-fiction television series, The X-Files (1993-2002), and became the title for an adventure film (released in 2009):

In this final episode of The X-Files, it is revealed that on December 22 2012, aliens will invade and take over the world, one day after December 21 2012. It was like Chris Carter [the central male character] was saying to us that the aliens don’t need to invade and conquer us, all they need to do is move in to a vacant earth.
December212012 Network. Retrieved on April 15, 2012.
From Roland Emmerich, director of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and INDEPENDENCE DAY, comes the ultimate action-adventure film, exploding with groundbreaking special effects. As the world faces a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, cities collapse and continents crumble. 2012 brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.
2012. Movie. Product Description.

The apparent seer, William Miller (1782-1849), founded the Adventist movement. He stumbled upon the year of the Declaration of the Most Exalted Báb in 1844. When the Báb came, and the Adventists did not accept him, they factionalized. The Russellites, influenced by Adventist ministers George Storrs and George Stetson, developed into the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other groups. 1878, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1948, 1975, and 1994 were their unfulfilled dates. Out of the Church of God (Seventh Day), another Adventist group, came the Russellites’ first cousin, Worldwide Church of God. They also had failed messianic predictions: 1936, 1943, 1957, 1972, and 1975.

Argüelles and some other 2012 writers and speakers, peace be upon them, also made recent predictions. After a reported meeting with some Mayan elders, Argüelles was sometimes known, late in his life, by the name, Valum Votan (Mayan for closer of the cycle):

According to the time science of the ancient Maya history is shaped by a galactic beam that Earth has been transiting for over 5,100 years....
... December 21, 2012 marks the conclusion of the passage of our solar system through this galactic synchronization beam.
José Argüelles, 2012 – A New Beginning. Retrieved on March 10, 2012.
... they [a group of indigenous Mayan elders in Teotihuacan, Mexico] took me up to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and gave me this really incredible-looking staff with an obsidian-tipped knife on it and an onyx sphere at the other end of it, and all this other stuff. They said, “You’re the Closer of the Cycle” [Valum Votan].
José Argüelles quoted by Carol Hiltner, José Argüelles and the Great Calendar Change. Retrieved on March 10, 2012.
I am a plain messenger. I foretell UR [Universal Religion], the UR that follows the great change. Life is not safe. Security is only with God who is One. The great change will bring a new Heaven and a New Earth. In UR, which is the Dominion of Time, there will be no trace left of the world that preceded the great change. This is the divine plan for a divine planet, the coming of the Earth Wizards.
As Valum Votan, I am closer of the cycle. What does this mean? I complete the prophecy cycle of Pacal Votan and Quetzalcoatl which defines the year 2012 as the conclusion of a schedule of historic and evolutionary cycles.... I am commanded as well, to the furtherance of all of the principles of UR, the Universal Religion on Earth ....
My knowledge is derived from study, contemplation, and revelation. The source of this revelation is Pacal Votan, AD 603-683 ....
José Argüelles, Votan Lives in Argüelles! Argüelles is Dead! Retrieved on March 12, 2012.

Argüelles was, in previous years, known for the Harmonic Convergence:

The Harmonic Convergence was a worldwide peace initiative that took place on August 16 and 17, 1987. Conceived by José Argüelles, it signified the end of the nine cycles of the underworld and heralded a 25-year period of spiritual growth leading to the end of the current age in 2012. Massive numbers of people gathered at sacred sites all over the planet awakening the energy grid....
Market models allow economists to analyze market factors and predict trends in the economy. One market model is called the Elliott Wave theory, developed by Ralph Nelson Elliott in the late 1920s. He noticed that stock markets did not behave in a chaotic manner as was believed. He noticed trading followed repetitive cycles based on the emotions of investors....
The Elliott Wave system predicts that between the years 2012 and 2015 there will be a sharp burst in the economic bubble in response to credit implosion and the lack of credit reserve. In other words, there will be an economic meltdown. The good news? The years 2017-2033 will herald a new era called “The Great Global Re-Balancing.”
Synthia Andrews and Colin Andrews, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 2012. New York: Alpha Books (Penguin Group). 2008.

Unfortunately, instead of highlighting the realism of unity itself, the more common approach taken by the 2012 movement was to emphasize a New Age, an idealistic unity consciousness. In my opinion, this perspective fails to rank the unifying cause over its influence on attributes or events, including a higher consciousness. Furthermore, improperly elevating knowledge, or the conscious effect, above unity is, perhaps by definition, the opposite or contradiction of Baháʾí consultation. We are now living in the blessed age of unity, not the age of higher consciousness.

... we just entered the 9th (and last) wave of Mayan Calendar which is about unity consciousness and I hold a deep intention to be part of the expanding universal consciousness that continues to imprint humanity’s evolution.
Filiz, “My heart said YES and I took the first step....” medicineWords: Telling Stories of the Great Transition and a Brave New World. Blog. March 10, 2011.
At the root of the primary definition of “noosphere” is a dual perception: that life on earth is a web of unity constituting a whole system known as the biosphere; and that the mind or self-reflective consciousness of life—the noosphere, earth’s thinking layer—constitutes a unity that is presently discontinuous but coextensive with the entire system of life on earth, including its inorganic support systems.
José Argüelles, Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2011. Page 178.

If, in decision making, people insist on the truth of their own thoughts and opinions, disharmony and discord, not harmony and accord, may be the likely results. To my understanding, however, the human species, which may also be referred to as the unity of humanity, is manifested as the collective consciousness, the rational faculty, or the human spirit. That is to say, the unity of humanity is manifested as a universal or shared awareness of the attributes of unifying essences (unities), such as the divine Unity (Tawḥīd), the unity of religions, and the unity of humanity. This human spirit is individualized in particular human beings:

... the modes of operation that characterize man’s biological nature illustrate fundamental principles of existence. Chief among these is that of unity in diversity. Paradoxically, it is precisely the wholeness and complexity of the order constituting the human body—and the perfect integration into it of the body’s cells—that permit the full realization of the distinctive capacities inherent in each of these component elements. No cell lives apart from the body, whether in contributing to its functioning or in deriving its share from the well-being of the whole. The physical well-being thus achieved finds its purpose in making possible the expression of human consciousness; that is to say, the purpose of biological development transcends the mere existence of the body and its parts.
What is true of the life of the individual has its parallels in human society. The human species is an organic whole, the leading edge of the evolutionary process. That human consciousness necessarily operates through an infinite diversity of individual minds and motivations detracts in no way from its essential unity. Indeed, it is precisely an inhering diversity that distinguishes unity from homogeneity or uniformity. What the peoples of the world are today experiencing, Baháʾuʾlláh said, is their collective coming-of-age, and it is through this emerging maturity of the race that the principle of unity in diversity will find full expression....
Clearly, the advancement of the [human] race has not occurred at the expense of human individuality.
Universal House of Justice, The Prosperity of Humankind. January 23, 1995. Pages 3-4.

Politics, or political realism, is like dirty poker. Its operative rule is self-interest. Therefore, the Great Unraveling, rather than politics or governmental reform, will, in my opinion, provide a resolution to the extraordinary crises at this juncture of our collective development. The operative word, I feel, is soon. Specifically, however, no one knows the future. As with “flying saucers,” the faddishness (dumbing down), superstition (alleged absence of free will or coincidences), magical thinking (finding meaning in everything), cosmic idealism (New Age higher consciousness), and purported indigenous prophecies surrounding the 2012 date became a collective obsession:

2012 is the end of Western civilization as we know it.
Alberto Villoldo, About 2012. MP4 file.
While interpretations of prophecies going by the Mayan calendar say the year 2012 could be a cataclysmic one in which the world may end, Hindu calendars that began roughly at the same time some 5,000 years ago predict a golden age beginning in 2012.
Astrologers predict great changes in year 2012.” Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved on January 2, 2012.
Researcher Patrick Geryl and his team say: “We found virtually absolute proof that the doomsday will happen in 2012!”
How to Survive 2012 (website now defunct). Retrieved on March 24, 2012.

Gilbert Eriksen was more explicit:

Starting in 2012 (best current estimate) one-third of the Earth will be incinerated as fire rains down from the sky. An asteroid will impact one of the major oceans destroying many ships and harbor facilities.... Then a major war will erupt in the Orient killing off one-third of the Earth’s remaining population. Then the governments of the world will begin systematically murdering their own citizens as the New World Order consolidates its satanic grip on the populations of the world.
A second set of nasty physical changes will begin to impact the earth in about the 2015/2016 time frame (best current estimate). It will start with a world wide outbreak of cancer. Then massive tonnages of iron oxide and raunchy chemicals will rain down from the sky staining oceans, the rivers and the lakes a rusty red color accompanied by a rotten stench. The Sun will blast the Earth with powerful CME energy bringing intense heat and shrouding the entire planet in a dark and steamy cloud cover.
Gilbert Eriksen, The Millennium Prophecy. March 19, 2011. Retrieved on May 28, 2012.

On the other hand:

Contrary to popular belief the living elders of the Maya do not agree that December 21, 2012 is the end of their calendar. A new “Sun” represents the beginning of a new Long Count cycle in the calendar system of approximately 5,200 years, which they say may not happen for many years.
Wandering Wolf (for National Council of Elders: Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna), The Maya finally speak up about the meaning of 2012. April 8, 2011.
Who has heard about this Mayan prophecy ... you know, 2012?...
What’s interesting is that the Mayans were not the only people speak about this. When I began doing research, it amazed me to realize that the greatest say the exact same thing.... There’s a conversation that takes place ... [with] Krishna [Sanskrit, Kṛṣṇā, dark blue One] .... There will be a Golden Age of ten thousand years, and he says it’s quite literally ten thousand ... that will begin from five thousand years from this exact moment.
Now what’s interesting is Vedic astrologers, people who know calendars very well, have done calculations on this; and we know now when this is supposed to begin again according to Krishna .... And guess what the date is? It’s February of 2013.... And this is the amazing thing: The Mayans, their calendar, and it’s December 21st, 2012. According to ... the words of Krishna himself ..., a Golden Age is supposed to start three months after that....
Now think about this: Both of these calculations were done at least five thousand years ago.... They’re done by two civilizations that were existing quite literally on opposite sides of the earth, India and South America; and yet they both say the same thing; and they differed by a period of three months – three months.
You know, and, truthfully, you could really even say it’s not even a difference in a way, because, again, the Mayan calendar says the old age will end in December of 2012. Krishna says the new age the Golden Age will begin February of 2013. So, truthfully, they’re both correct.
Śrī Dharma Pravartaka Acāryā (Sanskrit, his magesty the maintainer, authority, teacher a.k.a. Frank Morales, Ph.D.), “The Coming Golden Age.” YouTube. Uploaded on September 13, 2011. Retrieved on December 2, 2012.
Amazingly, the Hindu scriptures DO provide a specific astrological signature of the opening for a new Satya Yuga, which is: “during Pushya Naksatra, when the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter are all in Cancer.” As I researched the Yugas [Sanskrit, yugaḥ, yokes or pairs or Vedic grand cycles, related to “yoga,” a yoking or a union], this last piece of information came as a delicious discovery. Handed down through ancient manuscripts, we actually have been given the timing for the beginning of our new Grand cycle. My precision in Jyotish [Sanskrit, jyotişa, light body or Vedic astrology] sidereal calculations is admittedly lacking. However, based on what I can discern, the next date that meets these criteria is June 9, 2013! This is a perfect date for rebirth into a new and higher vibration of peace, harmony, and the lifestyle we all deserve.
Maya White, The Crazy Planets – What’s Going On? July 2, 2010. Retrieved on December 2, 2012.

The magical properties of an alleged galactic center are, in my opinion, astrological superstitions:

With regard to the spiritual influence of stars, though this influence of stars in the human world may appear strange, still, if you reflect deeply upon this subject, you will not be so much surprised at it. My meaning is not, however, that the decrees which the astrologers of former times inferred from the movements of the stars corresponded to occurrences; for the decrees of those former astrologers were forms of imagination which were originated by Egyptian, Assyrian and Chaldean priests; nay, rather, they were due to the fancies of Hindus, to the myths of the Greeks, Romans and other star worshipers. But I mean that this limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength. How much the organs, the members and the parts of the body of man are intermingled and connected for mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another! In the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions. Pages 245-246.
... the Guardian [Shoghi Effendi] considers “astrology,” which is a pseudo-science, as for the most part “non-sensical,” as it is mostly made up of superstitious beliefs and practices.
From a letter, dated July 10, 1939, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1747.
Myth .... The Earth’s precession cycle will cross the galactic equator at sunrise on 21st December 2012.
The original proponent of this hypothesis, set-down in 1997, suggested that the Sunrise on 21st December 2012 will, as it drifts through the 25,800 year precession cycle, align with a “cloud of cosmic dust” in the Milky Way. This entire concept is meaningless because the rising of the Sun must align with something in the heavens on any one day.
Maurice Cotterell, “Dispelling the Myths about 2012.” The Works of Maurice Cotterell. 2009. Retrieved on May 30, 2012.

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Part II. Renewal
Wealth and Poverty
... he [God] shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4, American Standard Version (1901).

To my understanding, the Best Beloved has given to humanity a new World Order, not a philanthropic society. The wealthy cannot be merely permitted or encouraged to contribute to a public charity on an entirely voluntary basis. In any orderly, non-anarchist, society, there will, by necessity, be some degree of compulsion. For instance, in princple, nothing is wrong, as I see it, with making a great deal of money, or acquiring considerable material resources, as long as an individual does not get to keep most of the riches she has acquired.

The assumption that people are motivated to work hard by the promise of financial rewards is not always justified. Frequently, even destitute individuals will volunteer to serve others. Laziness is an arrogant and classist explanation for poverty. Nevertheless, within the private sector, the implementation of profit sharing, or perhaps a similar form of collectivization, will, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, make strikes unnecessary:

Strikes are due to two causes. One is the extreme greed and rapacity of the manufacturers and industrialists; the other, the excesses, the avidity and intransigence of the workmen and artisans. It is, therefore, necessary to remedy these two causes.
But the principal cause of these difficulties lies in the laws of the present civilization; for they lead to a small number of individuals accumulating incomparable fortunes, beyond their needs, while the greater number remain destitute, stripped and in the greatest misery. This is contrary to justice, to humanity, to equity; it is the height of iniquity, the opposite to what causes divine satisfaction....
... rules and laws should be established to regulate the excessive fortunes of certain private individuals and meet the needs of millions of the poor masses; thus a certain moderation would be obtained. However, absolute equality is just as impossible, for absolute equality in fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture, industry would end in disorderliness, in chaos, in disorganization of the means of existence, and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be quite destroyed. Thus difficulties will also arise when unjustified equality is imposed. It is, therefore, preferable for moderation to be established by means of laws and regulations to hinder the constitution of the excessive fortunes of certain individuals, and to protect the essential needs of the masses.... Therefore, laws and regulations should be established which would permit the workmen to receive from the factory owner their wages and a share in the fourth or the fifth part of the profits, according to the capacity of the factory; or in some other way the body of workmen and the manufacturers should share equitably the profits and advantages.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Some Answered Questions. Pages 273-274.
No, Baháʾuʾlláh did not bring a complete system of economics to the world.
Profit-sharing is recommended as a solution to one form of economic problems.
There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of capitalism; its present form, though, would require adjustments to be made.
From a letter, dated November 19, 1945, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1869.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá in general disapproved of strikes. The Baháʾí attitude is that when the law recognizes strikes as legal, as when called by a properly constituted authority such as a trade union, the Baháʾí teaching neither requires nor forbids an individual to participate in the strike but leaves him free to decide for himself what is the proper course of action in the particular circumstances.
From a letter, dated June 23, 1985, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 2121.

According to the principle of moderation, some income diversity or inequality would, in my view, be acceptable. That is not, however, the same as social stratification or inequality of opportunity. Wealth and poverty, the two immoral economic extremes, must, following the principle of justice, be eliminated. Exactly how such an optimistic state of affairs is established through economic policy will, I assume, be eventually decided by the Universal House of Justice or by an agency acting under the Supreme Body’s authority. Ultimately, the degrees of inequality, referred to by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, lie, presumably, somewhere in the middle:

ʿAbduʾl-Bahá has developed in various of His talks, which you will find in different compilations, the principles upon which the Baháʾí economic system would be based. A system that prevents among others the gradual control of wealth in the hands of a few and the resulting state of both extremes, wealth and poverty.
From a letter, dated October 28, 1927, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1860.
... The Master [ʿAbduʾl-Bahá] has definitely stated that wages should be unequal, simply because that men are unequal in their ability, and hence should receive wages that would correspond to their varying capacities and resources. This view seems to contradict the opinion of some modern economists. But the friends should have full confidence in the words of the Master, and should give preference to His statements over those voiced by our so-called modern thinkers.
From a letter, dated December 26, 1935, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1867.

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Unitive Socialism™

Democracy is impossible without socialism. Political equality requires an end to economic domination. By Unitive Socialism, I am tentatively outlining an economic system, not a form of government. Politically, a unity between nations, the rule of law under a system of global super-statism, will gradually evolve into an international commonwealth and, in time, to a Golden Age, an Era of Fulfillment, and the World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Yet, there is no need, in my view, to ferment an economic or a political revolution. Instead, revolutions of various types have been, and will most likely continue to be, predictable, even inevitable, outcomes of the disintegration of the old world order.

Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favor all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall be elected by the people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal whose judgment will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration. A world community in which all economic barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence of Capital and Labor definitely recognized; in which the clamor of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been finally extinguished; in which a single code of international law—the product of the considered judgment of the world’s federated representatives—shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world citizenship-such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order anticipated by Baháʾuʾlláh, an Order that shall come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age.
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 40-41.

The present system of corporate capitalism is legalized theft. The pockets of workers, filled with their honest labor, have been picked, with impunity, by industrialists. Although many proponents of the so-called free-market system criticize the redistribution of wealth for the poor, they apparently have no qualms over redistributing it, through tax loopholes, to themselves. The modern-day robber barons of global capitalism are, through the justice and mercy of God, now being rapidly brought down by their failure to serve humanity and to promote its unification.

... cumulative instances of political upheaval and economic turmoil on various continents have shaken governments and peoples. Societies have been brought to the brink of revolution, and in notable cases over the edge. Leaders are finding that neither arms nor riches guarantee security. Where the aspirations of the people have gone unfulfilled, a store of indignation has accrued. We recall how pointedly Baháʾuʾlláh admonished the rulers of the earth: “Your people are your treasures. Beware lest your rule violate the commandments of God, and ye deliver your wards to the hands of the robber.” A word of caution: No matter how captivating the spectacle of the people’s fervour for change, it must be remembered that there are interests which manipulate the course of events. And, so long as the remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician is not administered, the tribulations of this age will persist and deepen. An attentive observer of the times will readily recognize the accelerated disintegration, fitful but relentless, of a world order lamentably defective.
The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván, 2011, Message.

When people call me a devil, I sometimes think, jokingly, “Perhaps I am your devil. For all I know, I might be everything you think is bad and evil.” However, American imperialism, which was long used to resolve global problems, has failed, successively, in ʿIrāq and in Libya. The United States can no longer function effectively as the “policeman of the world.” The following quotation is offered only as an illustration:

Mitt Romney’s [2012 U.S. presidential] campaign and the Republican National Committee on Wednesday tried to shift attention off the GOP nominee’s [Grand Old Party’s] secretly taped remarks at a private fund-raiser [that 47% of Americans believe that the government should take care of them] and onto comments [President] Barack Obama made 14 years ago about his belief in income redistribution, hammering the president on the stump and in a new ad.
Callum Borchers, “Mitt Romney Hits President Obama for ‘Redistribution’ Comment amid ‘47 percent’ Fallout.” Political Intelligence. Blog. September 19, 2012. Retrieved on September 19, 2012.

Through the Occupy Movement, which began on Wall Street but quickly spread to Main Street, international outrage stirred over the accumulations of huge fortunes by the privileged few even while others have struggled to make ends meet. Regimes, like dominoes, were toppled, one by one, during a brief Arab spring which, despite considerable fanfare, has reverted to a hard winter, particularly in Syria. In these troubling times of widespread uncertainty and panic over tomorrow, the unprecedented dominations of political and economic leaders have, to many average individuals, become intolerable.

Where we can not rely on our elected officials to work in the interest of the 99%, we will join together and offer each other mutual aid. We build community centers, free markets, workshops, and alternative structures. We will be the change we are seeking in the world....
... the occupy movement has called attention to important issues of unchecked corporate influence in politics and social and economic inequality. “We are the 99%” has become a rallying cry by many, familiar by virtually all, and acknowledged but mocked by the wealthy, showing their disregard for the majority of American people.
Learn About Occupy.” Occupy Together. Retrieved on July 29, 2012.

Significantly, many of Karl Marx’s predictions of popular alienation and dissent are currently being fulfilled. Socialism may emerge from the ashes of global anarchy. The dialectic of contradictory power relations can be observed in the revolutionary and reform movements of the present age, whether the labor uprisings of Occupy or the upheavals in the Arab world. Advocates of the so-called free market tactically condemn the dominated members of society, using defensive jargon, for waging “class warfare.” Hypocritically, then, consumers are warned of a continual onslaught with “let the buyer beware” or, in Latin, caveat emptor.

Occupy Wall Street was started by the anarchist group, Adbusters. Many forms of anarchism are dangerous and treasonous. Understandably, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been concerned:

An identified [blanked out] of October planned to engage in sniper attacks in protesors in Houston, Texas, if deemed necessary.
Official FBI Documents on the Occupy Movement. Compilation of three PDF files. Retrieved on June 28, 2013.

In other words, socialism will, I suspect, appear critically and suddenly, through both emergence and emergency, not through gradualism:

Gradualism      The introduction of political or social change slowly and by degrees.... [G]radualism tends to refer to the general direction of government policy with respect to the political or economic system as a whole—for example, the expansion of rights, democratization, or changes to the basic structure of the economy.
“Gradualism.” Dictionary of the Social Sciences. Craig Calhoun, editor. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2002. Page 196.
The Fabians were a group of socialists whose strategy differed from that of Karl Marx in that they sought world domination through what they called the “doctrine of inevitability of gradualism.” This meant their goals would be achieved “without breach of continuity or abrupt change of the entire social issue,” by infiltrating educational institutions, government agencies, and political parties. Prominent Fabian and writer, George Bernard Shaw, revealed that their goal was to be achieved by “stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name.”
David Livingstone, Terrorism and the Illuminati: A Three Thousand Year History. 2007. Promotional material. Retrieved on June 22, 2012.
Spiritual emergency can be defined as a crisis involving religious, transpersonal, and/or spiritual issues that provides opportunities for growth. Spiritual emergence, meanwhile, lends itself to gentler transformation.
Darlene B. Viggiano and Stanley Krippner, “The Grofs’ [Stanislav and Christina Grofs’] Model of Spiritual Emergency in Retrospect: Has it Stood the Test of Time?” International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. Volume 29. Number 1. 2010. Retrieved on April 2, 2013.

I shall now briefly outline my vision for a Unitive Socialism. However, to be clear at the outset, I am not claiming that socialism, as a broad-based school of economic thought, is advocated within the Teachings of the Baháʾí Faith. This subject, like the material in the rest of the book, reflects only my personal perspectives. When reviewing the Baháʾí texts, there are no formal descriptions of future political economies. Instead, Baháʾí primary sources contain a few spiritual economic principles. These general criteria will, in the years to come, guide experts when developing economic systems:

... There are practically no technical teachings on economics in the Cause, such as banking, the price system, and others. The Cause is not an economic system, nor can its Founders be considered as having been technical economists. The contribution of the Faith to this subject is essentially indirect, as it consists in the application of spiritual principles to our present-day economic system. Baháʾuʾlláh has given us a few basic principles which should guide future Baháʾí economists in establishing such institutions which will adjust the economic relationships of the world.
From a letter, dated January 25, 1936, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1868.

The Will of God, as manifested by the divine Physician, is the unities of all things. Any human activities, including nationalism and nation building, which contradicts unity, the spirit of the age, will, in the long run, fail. Indeed, one of the major points to keep in mind is that Baháʾí economic principles, including my personal understandings of them, refer to a global civilization or kingdom of Heaven on Earth, not to modern societies and their governments:

... Shoghi Effendi believes that it is preferable not to confuse the methods explained by the Master with present systems. They may have many resemblances but also many points of difference. Moreover these general statements we have in the teachings have to be explained and applied by the House of Justice before we can really appreciate their significance.
From a letter, dated October 21, 1932, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual Baháʾí, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1861.

Monetary interests should, under no circumstances, be permitted to monopolize public and private human affairs. The new Unitive Socialism, as I have imagined this command economy, would unify or spiritually harmonize aspects of theocracy, state socialism (such as government ownership of major industries and a decentralized welfare state), democratic socialism (including middle-sized collectives, public cooperatives, worker cooperatives as union ownership or perhaps co-ownership, and credit unions in place of commercial or savings banks), and both collectivized and privately owned (subject to collectivization for impropriety) small-scale enterprises.

Although voluntary contributions are an important aspect of economic collectivism and its socialist command economy, they are, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, only one of seven sources of revenue for a local storehouse or house of finance. Based upon a negative income tax, the higher one’s income, the more one would pay in taxes. Correspondingly, the lower one’s income, the more one would receive from that storehouse. Wealth and poverty will become illegal through an orderly redistribution of resources:

... a general storehouse should be founded with the appointment of a secretary. At the time of the harvest, with the approval of the members of that board, a determined percentage of the entire harvest should be appropriated for the storehouse.
The storehouse is to have seven revenues: Tithes, taxes on animals, wealth without inheritors, all things found whose owners cannot be discovered, a third of all treasures (money) found in the earth, a third of the mines, and voluntary contributions.
On the other hand, there are seven expenditures:
  1. General running expenses of the institution-salaries etc., and the administration of public safety, including the department of hygiene.
  2. Tithes to the general government (State).
  3. Taxes on animals for the State.
  4. Support of an orphanage.
  5. Support of cripples and the incurable.
  6. Support of educational institutions.
  7. Supplying any deficiency for the expenses of the poor.
The first revenue is the tithe. For example, if the income of a farmer is five hundred dollars and his necessary expenses are five hundred dollars, no tithes will be collected from him. Another’s expenses being five hundred and his income one thousand dollars, one tenth will be taken from him, for he hath more than his needs; if he giveth one tenth his livelihood will not be disturbed. Another’s expenses are one thousand dollars, and his income is five thousand dollars; as he hath four thousand dollars surplus, he will be required to give one and a half tenths. Another hath necessary expenses of one thousand dollars; but his income is ten thousand dollars; from him two tenths will be required. The necessary expenses of another person are five thousand dollars, and his income one hundred thousand; therefore, one fourth will be required from him. On the other hand, a person’s income may be two hundred, but his needs absolutely essential for his livelihood are five hundred dollars; provided he hath not failed in effort and exertion or his farm hath not been blessed with a harvest, such a one must be helped from the general storehouse, so that he may not remain in need and may live in ease.
From a Tablet, dated October 4, 1912, written by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá to an individual Baháʾí (translation corrected at the Baháʾí World Centre, December 1985), Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 580.
As to the economic question, it hath been stated briefly and the basis of it hath been set forth, while its details are to be fixed by the Universal House of Justice. The board of the house of finance (storehouse) will direct in every village the revenues of the house, such as tithes, tax on animals, etc. In every village a storehouse and an officer in charge are to be provided, while the notables of the village gather and form a board and to this board and officer the direction of the affairs of the village are entrusted. They take charge of all questions pertaining to the village, and the revenues of the storehouse such as tithes, tax on animals and other revenues are gathered in it and are given out for necessary expenditures....
What hath been stated is only an example and this doth not mean that it should be enforced exactly in this manner. The principle is that as a man’s wealth increaseth, his financial obligations should proportionately increase, so that vast riches may not be accumulated in one place. In this manner justice may be exercised between the rich and the poor.
From a Tablet, dated July 25, 1919, written by ʿAbduʾl-Bahá to an individual Baháʾí (provisional translation), Economics, Agriculture, and Related Subjects. Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice.

In the United States, so-called “Obamacare” is a Keynesian capitalist, market-driven nonsolution for a problem which can only be remedied through spiritual transformation and economic collectivization. State socialism, based upon a command economy, is the opposite of a market system:

Zambia eliminated tariffs on foreign goods, weaned farmers off practically all government subsidies and support, and sold more than 300 state-owned enterprises, including the country’s copper mines. Virtually overnight, a socialist command economy had been replaced by a deregulated, free-market model.
The payoff so far is an economy fueled by little more than grit and guile, practically devoid of valuable commodities. Since 1992, Zambia has shed nearly 100,000 jobs ....
Recognized as a new, emerging market, Saigon [Vietnam] is a city transitioning from a socialist command economy to that of a socialist market economy fueled by the liberalization of global capital....
During the command economy, people [in Saigon] had less leisure time, but had access to more spaces free of charge. Now public spaces have changed to semi-public spaces as a fee is charged to access the spaces....
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency. The justification for central planning is that the consolidation of economic resources can allow for the economy to take advantage of more perfect information when making decisions regarding investment and production. In an entirely centralized economy, a universal survey of human needs and consumer wants is required before a comprehensive plan for production can be formulated. The state would require the power to allocate the workforce, for setting production values and for overseeing the distribution system of the economy. The most extensive form of a planned economy is referred to as a command economy, centrally planned economy, or command and control economy. Implementation of this form of economy is called planification.
Planned economies are in contrast to unplanned economies, i.e. the market economy and proposed self-managed economy, where production, distribution, pricing, and investment decisions are made by autonomous firms based upon their individual interests rather than upon a macroeconomic plan. Less extensive forms of planned economies include those that use indicative planning, in which the state employs “influence, subsidies, grants, and taxes, but does not compel” [Alec Nove]. This latter is sometimes referred to as a “planned market economy.”
A planned economy may consist of state-owned enterprises, cooperative enterprises, private enterprises directed by the state, or a combination of different enterprise types. Though “planned economy” and “command economy” are often used as synonyms, some make the distinction that under a command economy, enterprises need not follow a comprehensive plan of production. That is, a planned economy is “an economic system in which the government controls and regulates production, distribution, prices, etc.” but a command economy, while also having this type of regulation, necessarily has substantial public ownership of industry. Therefore, command economies are planned economies, but not necessarily the reverse.
Various sources, Planned and Command Economies. Retrieved on September 26, 2012.
In a capitalist world and a bourgeois society, socialism will never be simple sense. But what we can hope to aspire to is the dawning of a new enlightenment, a socialist enlightenment which will stand to some future order of things, as the eighteenth-century bourgeois enlightenment stood to the American Declaration of Independence, the French revolution and the overthrow of colonial slavery for which it helped to prepare the cultural ground....
... Individualism is a pretty pure ideology of the market, at least as we have it now.
Roy Bhaskar, Reclaiming Reality: A Critical Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy (Classical Texts in Critical Realism). New York: Routledge. 2011. Kindle edition.

However, Marxist communism and socialist statism are incompatible. Most so-called communist nations instead referred to themselves as either socialist states (as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) or people’s republics (such as the People’s Republic of China). Modern history is replete with instances of widespread violence and chaos erupting in societies without effective vertical authority structures. Yet, there are no examples of stability. Without a measure of compulsion, criminal gangs, and their own vertical power arrangements, fill the void. The horizontal style of governance preferred by some anarchists has no historical precedents.

I have no interest in seeing the death of the state in a communist anarchy. Although, by some measures, holding such views would make me a socialist statist, I am a world statist, not a nation-statist:

World’s Smallest Political Quiz
Mark Foster’s score on the World’s Smallest Political Quiz (September, 2012)
... both liberals and Marxists (including the related dependency and regulation approaches) explicitly or implicitly adopted the growth ideology and the desirability of the growth economy, differing among themselves only on the question whether capitalism, or, instead, some kind of socialist statism, is a better way to achieve it....
... crucial problems are “solved” either through a “rationing by the wallet” mechanism, as in market economy, or through the bureaucratic decisions of the planners, as in socialist statism.
Takis Fotopoulos, “The Multidimensional Crisis and Inclusive Democracy.” International Journal for Inclusive Democracy (open-access journal). Athens, Greece: International Network for Inclusive Democracy. 2009. Pages 134 and 136.

I reject the capitalist premise that an individual’s activities should be driven by a desire to make money. Service, in one’s occupation, should result from a love for others, and derive from unity, not from a desire to make a profit. Nevertheless, a Unified Socialist State would combine state socialism with democratic socialism, while incorporating both public and private sectors. Unitive Socialism resembles other models of socialism, such as economist Alec Nove’s (Aleksandr Novakovsky, 1915-1994) feasible socialism and political scientist Luke Martell’s associational socialism.

A socialist state (or socialist republic) generally refers to any state that is constitutionally dedicated to the construction of a socialist society....
A socialist state could in fact be perfectly democratic. There’s no intrinsic reason why socialism even in the [now former] USSR shouldn’t become democratic one day.
Various sources, Planned and Command Economies. Retrieved on September 26, 2012.
And between you, me, and the gatepost, in the present in, say, France, Italy, or Britain, I wouldn’t favour abolishing the stock exchange .... So what was I arguing? After my chapter on instances where central control is necessary to prevent abuse of power, which could happen if one let them run themselves; second, under competitive conditions, smaller state enterprises where a cleaned-up version of self-management would be appropriate; third would be cooperatives, in distinction to the second category, which would own their enterprise and therefore take any risks that would be involved in owning; fourth is smaller-scale private enterprise which, if conditions are right for it, can normally only be stopped by the continuous action of a socialist police and I don’t think it is the task of a socialist police to prevent people from acting as economic people if they wish to and the circumstances are right for it. In my view, such entrepreneurs would not be capitalists because, even though they employ people, they are the managers, they work, they run the private enterprise; the fifth group, finally, are individuals such as writers, lawyers, etc. My argument is that this corresponds partly to economies and diseconomies of scale in the sense that some things like electricity are better produced through a centralised national grid, partly to human factors: some people like to work in cooperatives, some people like self-management and like responsibility and a lot of us don’t.
Alec Nove in Anders Stephanson, “Feasible Socialism: A Conversation With Alec Nove.” (Interview.) Social Text. Number 11 (Winter, 1984-1985). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pages 96-109.
It [associational socialism] is based on small-scale trial and error and a willingness to drop or continue with experiments on the basis of experience rather than on sudden total change or a confidence in its own infallibility. It proposes gradualism over change out of tune with human consciousness and decentralism over centralized direction. And it has a pluralist openness to the co-existence of non-socialist liberal ideas and forms such as private property, markets, competition and some degree of inequality ... alongside socialist commitments to non-state social ownership, democratic co-ordination, cooperative mutualism and egalitarian redistribution.
Luke Martell, “Rescuing the Middle Ground: Neo-Liberalism and Associational Socialism.” Economy and Society. Volume 22. Number 1 (February, 1993). New York: Routledge. Pages 100-113.

I also find aspects of Titoism to be appealing:

... by 1950 [Yugoslav President Josip “Tito” Broz] started introducing workers’ councils into enterprises. These were meant to be the institutional basis for a return to authentic Marxist “self-management” by the producers in all areas of decision making. In fact, this was a pragmatic attempt to find an ideological alternative to Soviet socialism without embracing Western pluralism and a market economy.
Ivo Banac, “Tito.” The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World. 2nd edition. Joel Krieger, editor. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2001.

The corporatocracy, or mechanisms of corporate dominance, and plutocracy, or structure of wealth dominance, will, I anticipate, be superceded by a new participatory economic democracy:

Participatory democracy implies a more activist citizenry directly involved in the processes of governmental decision making. Citizen participation in public decision making is encouraged and expected.
Michael E. Milakovich, Ph.D., The Internet and Increased Citizen Participation in Government. Page 2.
And since our [U.S.] government has done nothing to really transform the cost model with this health care bill, Americans will all now be required under federal law to line the pockets of private for-profit health insurance companies at rates near 200% that of other developed democracies. The Soviet Union lives. And it is us. The American people are being bilked dry by the corporatocracy in just the about every way imaginable.
The Corporatocracy’s Usury Against The American People: Our Health Care System Ranks Dead Last With Costs 200% Higher Than Comparable Nations.Rantings on Markets, Economics and Business Strategies. Blog. June 24, 2010. Retrieved on May 8, 2012.
Now, most people know what plutocracy is: the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy. Plutocracy is not an American word and wasn’t meant to become an American phenomenon. Some of our founders deplored what they called “the veneration of wealth.” But plutocracy is here ....
Bill Moyers, Welcome to the Plutocracy!

A world federal, or decentralized, state, revolving around an acceptance of the Unity of God (Tawḥīd, Unifying), will fully, and lovingly, control the resources of the planet:

A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources, blending and embodying the ideals of both the East and the West, liberated from the curse of war and its miseries, and bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition of one God and by its allegiance to one common Revelation—such is the goal towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces of life, is moving.
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Page 204.
Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world-wide Law of Baháʾuʾlláh. Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men’s hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity ....
Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 41-42.

Historically, socialism has taken several forms. As a result, many self-defined socialists do not agree on how a socialistic system should operate. By and large, however, socialists tend to privilege need before want. Economic democratization, in which the forces of production become accountable to the citizens and residents of a society, would, it seems to me, be a vital ingredient in any form of socialism:

Key to economic democracy is a democratic labor movement that plays a central role in the struggle for a democratic workplace, whether worker or privately owned. In workplaces that the employees do not own-traditional corporations, family businesses, government, and private nonprofits—only independent, democratically run unions can protect workers.
Democratic Socialists of America, Building the Next Left: The Political Perspective of the Democratic Socialists of America.

As a college professor, I am a member of a union, the Kansas chapter of the National Education Association (NEA), but I do not, as a Baháʾí, belong to a socialist, or to any other, political party. In other words, I am political nothing. However, America’s Socialist Party sums up the issue pretty well. The leaders of the organization recognize the diversity of the global socialist movement:

Socialism is an economy-based political agenda; but what is Socialism? Decades of technological advances allowed the definition of socialism to evolve. The traditional definition is - Public ownership of the means of production. This definition was interpreted in the past as the state’s ownership of industry. Nevertheless, most corporations are considered publicly held companies today. What this public ownership is missing is responsibility and control. A central government does not have to own the commanding heights of the economy; government need only regulate corporate socially responsibility....
Regardless of form, socialism serves one function: To give workers an equitable distribution of the wealth that their efforts helped to produce.
The form of socialism embraced by a worker is a personal preference based upon that worker’s personal situation.
America’s Socialist Party will not ascribe to a particular form of Socialism.
America’s Socialist Party. Retrieved on May 16, 2012.

On the other hand, unlike the author of the following quotation, I have nothing against the rule of law through a fair measure of state domination:

We fight for the extension of democracy into all aspects of our society [U.S.A.].
This means not a government-dominated, but a democratic, non-sexist, un-racist, welfare state with a mixed economy [socialism and capitalism] in which the people and democratically-responsible representatives will have the maximum fearasible influence in setting economic priorities....
The purpose of the organization [Social Democrats Socialist Party] shall be by democratic means to establish social democracy/democratic socialism within the United States of America and across the world by extending democracy to all institutions, political, social, and economic.
Social Democrats Socialist Party. Retrieved on May 8, 2012.

Unfortunately, partisan politics and politicking in general are, often by design, divisive. They contradict, by definition, Unities of All Things, The Unicentric Paradigm, and the Baháʾí principle of consultative decision making. Although, to be honest, I am sometimes mildly entertained by governmental controversies, I try to avoid any personal involvement with them. Even in cases where I generally agree with one side or another, I have noticed that, as soon as the issues become politicized, they are rarely resolved. People, instead, gather around in-groups and out-groups, while the conversation quickly deteriorates into “us” versus “them.”

The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions. If after discussion, a decision be carried unanimously well and good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a majority of voices must prevail.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Page 87.

Therefore, while ownership within Unitive Socialism might, in my opinion, be cooperative, state, and private, economic and political decisions should be grounded upon a radical participatory consultation. That is to say, all stakeholders – workers, consumers, renters, owners, and so on – should be empowered to collaboratively make decisions which will impact their lives. His sanctified Presence ʿAbduʾl-Bahá wrote:

The purpose of consultation is to show that the views of several individuals are assuredly preferable to one man, even as the power of a number of men is of course greater than the power of one man. Thus consultation is acceptable in the presence of the Almighty, and hath been enjoined upon the believers, so that they may confer upon ordinary and personal matters, as well as on affairs which are general in nature and universal.
For instance, when a man hath a project to accomplish, should he consult with some of his brethren, that which is agreeable will of course be investigated and unveiled to his eyes, and the truth will be disclosed. Likewise on a higher level, should the people of a village consult one another about their affairs, the right solution will certainly be revealed. In like manner, the members of each profession, such as in industry, should consult, and those in commerce should similarly consult on business affairs. In short, consultation is desirable and acceptable in all things and on all issues.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá quoted in a letter, dated February 15, 1922, written by Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia (Īrān), Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 580.

One of the key differences between Baháʾí consultation and the Rand Corporation’s Delphi Method (or Delphi Technique) is that consultation is not usually anonymous or private. There are, however, similarities. However, both processes are only as beneficial as people make them:

The Delphi technique is a structured process that uses a series of questionnaires or “rounds” to gather information. Rounds are held until group consensus is reached. One of the main reasons for the popularity enjoyed by the Delphi technique is that a large number of individuals across diverse locations and areas of expertise can be included anonymously, thus avoiding domination of the consensus process by one or a few experts. ... [T]he Delphi technique [can be defined] as an exercise in group communication that brings together and synthesizes the knowledge of a group of geographically scattered participants who never meet.
Rym Boulkedid et al, Using and Reporting the Delphi Method for Selecting Healthcare Quality Indicators: A Systematic Review. Pages 2-3. Retrieved on August 18, 2012.
Its [the Delphi Method’s] purpose is to importune reliable responses from a panel of experts regarding a particular problem or dilemma. This research tool permits researchers to combine the reports or testimony of a group of experts into one, useful statement....
The basic Delphi Method begins with a series of first round questions asked individually of experts on the subject. The experts submit their judgments. The results of the first round judgments are then tabulated and the results sent back to the experts for modification. In real meaning, the experts are asked in the second round to reevaluate their original judgments in light of the average estimates calculated in the first round. This procedure of reevaluation is continued for several rounds until a fairly high degree of consensus is reached, or until the experts no longer modify their previous estimates.
Another technique for administering a Delphi survey is through a modified focus group. Here, the experts are allowed to interact face-to-face in the combined focus group sessions where the issues and answers to surveys are discussed. However, even with this technique, the actual survey questions should be answered by the experts in private. Delphi surveys can also be conducted through internet or bulletin boards for expert discussion. For near-real-time Delphi surveys, researchers can use spreadsheet software to immediately evaluate Internet answers and provide immediate feedback to live discussion chat rooms.
Dr. Harishchandra Singh Rathod and Dr. Mamta Brahmbhatt, “An Experimental Use of Delphi Method for Understanding Chemists’ Opinions Related To Medications for Swine Flu.” Global Journal of Management and Business Research. Volume 12. Issue 4. Version 1.0. March, 2012. Retrieved on August 18, 2012. Pages 74-81.
The Delphi technique had its genesis at the Rand Corporation in the early 1950s as a forecasting tool for the military. Its purpose is to solicit reliable responses from a panel of experts regarding a particular problem or dilemma. This research tool permits researchers to combine the reports or testimony of a group of experts into one, useful statement.
... the Delphi method ... [is] a communication process that is structured to produce a detailed examination of a topic/problem and discussion from the participating group, but not one that forces a quick compromise. Thus, the structuring of group communications is an essential component of the Delphi. The contributions of individuals via this tool produce a group perspective not otherwise obtainable.
Wanda L. Stitt-Gohdes and Tena B. Crews, “The Delphi Technique: A Research Strategy for Career and Technical Education.” Journal of Career and Technical Education. Volume 20. Number 2. Spring 2004. Retrieved on August 18, 2012.

Discussions need to be open and cooperative, not manipulative or driven by predetermined agendas. Otherwise, people will become frustrated by the process and alienated from individuals occupying positions of authority:

As with any policy process, there are many ways to abuse the use of the Policy Delphi: the manner in which comments are edited, the neglect of items, the organization of the results. However, such a process is a rather dangerous game and not likely to go unnoticed by some segment of the respondents. There are very few greater wraths than that of a respondent who discovers himself to be engaged in a biased exercise. Furthermore, Delphi has reached the point where there is no longer any excuse on a professional basis for making many of the mistakes found in earlier exercises. The person seeking to undertake a Delphi today should be reasonably familiar with what has taken place in the field.
Murray Turoff, “The Policy Delphi.” The Delphi Method: Techniques and Applications. Harold A. Linstone and Murray Turoff, editors. Privately published. 2002. Retrieved on August 18, 2012. Page 96.

When people argue that socialism has never worked, my response is threefold: First, I support a decentralized, not a totalitarian, socialism. Second, capitalism has never worked either. It has resulted oil spills and in cycles of depression, recession, inflation, deflation, stagflation, and high unemployment. Third, so-called socialist societies, like the Nordic countries and the Netherlands, are only capitalistic social democracies. Faced with two alternatives, complete isolationism or participation in the U.S.-dominated system of global capitalism, they took the second course. Socialism has never really been an option.

I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot to take over the US. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible....
These are the kind of ideas that get people reaching for their rifles in America’s talk-radio heartland.
Gideon Rachman, “And Now for a World Government.” The Financial Times (newspaper). December 8, 2008

As to the common claim that socialism is a utopian (from Ancient Greek for nowhere) dream, and in violation of human nature (or the lower nature), my response is that contemporay capitalism is even more utopian. Indeed, it is a form of ritual magic which will, ultimately, be ultimated be eliminated through world unity. The proposition that leaving people alone (French, laissez-faire, let do or let make) to competitively pursue their own profitable interests will, abracadabra, produce a fair and just market is, it seems to me, entirely ludicrous.

Internationally, the capitalist market system has resulted in gross inequalities between the Western world and the more impoverished Global South. As the inadequacies and contradictions within corporate capitalism, and within empire, move the financial sector toward an ultimate collapse, the borderless fourth world of poverty becomes increasingly ubiquitous. Moreover, the nonempirical human nature fallacy has also been selectively used, over the course of history, to justify the inferiority and mistreatment of races, genders, ethnicities, and religions.

Unitive Socialism is based upon spiritual leadership, unity, and love, not upon a mechanistic technocracy of automatons:

The entire point of technology is to free humanity from labor itself! We need a social design that focuses on maximizing our technological abilities for the sake of freeing humanity from drudgery and increasing productivity to its highest potential. Anything less is unacceptable....
Government and the concept of the “State” will eventually be outgrown entirely and replaced by an objective system of global resource management and technological organization. In a system of abundance, the “State,” as we know it, has no basis to exist. Government also becomes a Cybernated System , which is combined with Industry and thus responsible for the production and distribution of goods, along with resource and environmental management.
The Zeitgeist Movement – Observations and Responses: Activist Orientation Guide.

Since work is worship, being freed from labor is, ultimately, not freedom at all:

It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship unto God, the True One. Ponder ye in your hearts the grace and the blessings of God and render thanks unto Him at eventide and at dawn. Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others. Thus hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon the day-star of wisdom and utterance shineth resplendent.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 26.

If there is ever a global royal sovereign, a heroic or saintly servant of humanity might be selected. She or he should be someone of the caliber of: Ṭāhirih, Saint Teresa of Ávila, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Elizabeth Thomas (my spiritual mother), Ḥaḍrat Sulṭān Bāhū, Mother Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, or Mohandas “Mahatma” Karamchand Gandhi. Such a majestic and honorary position, held by a queen or king, would not be hereditary. My own views aside, according to my understanding of dear Shoghi Effendi’s words, His Ancient Presence Baháʾuʾlláh preferred unifying republicanism and royalty into a constitutional monarchy.

Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Bishárát (Glad-Tidings).” Tablets of Baháʾuʾlláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 28.
One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind. Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight. Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Tablet to Shaykh Salmán,” quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 71.
To the trustees of the House of Justice He assigns the duty of legislating on matters not expressly provided in His writings, and promises that God will “inspire them with whatsoever He willeth.” The establishment of a constitutional form of government, in which the ideals of republicanism and the majesty of kingship, characterized by Him as “one of the signs of God,” are combined, He recommends as a meritorious achievement ....
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By. Pages 218-219.

Return to the table of contents.


At this point, however, I see some value in briefly distinguishing the non-political intellectual left, as I have been personally developing it, from the philosophies of individualistic liberalism. Many on the intellectual left, grounded in a strong emancipatory ethic, support the human rights of marginalized communities, universal justice, and economic democratization, while opposing capitalist globalization. Unlike the politically reform-minded middle left of progressives, intellectual leftists advocate a fundamental restructuring or reshaping of societies and relationships, such as a radical unity in diversity.

Taking what we can from the sociology of the commons, a genuine democracy appears to involve changing the way we relate to the world around us, and moving beyond ownership to stewardship to commoning. This isn’t a call to abandon all property—personal property is important, and no one should be denied it within reason.
Raj Patel, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy. New York: Macmillan. 2009. Page 188.

In my opinion, the moderate left, or progressivism, is insufficient. I certainly do not advocate revolution or violence of any kind. However, revolutions, demonstrations, civil wars, insurrections, and coups d’état have been occurring, and will continue to occur, until the old world order is brought down. Movements of the far left do not need to be intentional or premeditated:

... the far left ... [is] communist or socialist ....
Edward Webb, “Chapter 30: Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism.” 21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook John T. Ishiyama and Marijke Breuning, editors. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. 2011.
While far-left groups have had success in other nations opposing and even overthrowing governments, nothing of this sort has ever come close to happening in the US. Despite this, there still are several far-left sects in America.
Robert Fitch, “Who’s Who on the Far Left?” The Village Voice (newspaper). New York, NY. November 26, 1996. Pages 23-25.

The globalization of the old world order needs to be succeeded by globalization 2.0:

The experience of the Baháʾí community may be seen as an example of ... enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family, conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its Founder’s vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the Baháʾí experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.
The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace. October, 1985. Page 14.

The Western world, I would suggest, has too much freedom, liberty, and libertarianism but too little justice. The Supreme Baháʾí Institution is the Universal House of Justice, not the Universal House of Freedom. Reifying freedom and individualism, turning them into real things, is a logical fallacy. Then idolizing them, as goods in themselves, while imagining that they are somehow natural, may, at least in part, be an unfortunate byproduct of the frontier experience. Whose freedom?, I would ask. What about free health care or freedom from capitalism?

It is evident that the unifying tendencies of the [American] Revolutionary period were facilitated by the previous coöperation in the regulation of the frontier. In this connection may be mentioned the importance of the frontier, from that day to this, as a military training school, keeping alive the power of resistance to aggression, and developing the stalwart and rugged qualities of the frontiersman....
... the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of democracy here [the United States] and in Europe. As has been indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family. The tendency is anti-social. It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control.
Frederick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1921. Pages 22-23 and 35-36
The simple truth is that all men want to be free, and our common enemies are lies and those who create them.
About Us.” Freedom Reigns. Retrieved on May 14, 2012.

According to the dear Universal House of Justice:

At the individual level, justice is that faculty of the human soul that enables each person to distinguish truth from falsehood. In the sight of God, Baháʾuʾlláh avers, justice is “the best beloved of all things” since it permits each individual to see with his own eyes rather than the eyes of others, to know through his own knowledge rather than the knowledge of his neighbor or his group. It calls for fair-mindedness in one’s judgments, for equity in one’s treatment of others, and is thus a constant if demanding companion in the daily occasions of life....
At the heart of the discussion of a strategy of social and economic development ... lies the issue of human rights. The shaping of such a strategy calls for the promotion of human rights to be freed from the grip of the false dichotomies that have for so long held it hostage. Concern that each human being should enjoy the freedom of thought and action conducive to his or her personal growth does not justify devotion to the cult of individualism that so deeply corrupts many areas of contemporary life. Nor does concern to ensure the welfare of society as a whole require a deification of the state as the supposed source of humanity’s well-being. Far otherwise: the history of the present century shows all too clearly that such ideologies and the partisan agendas to which they give rise have been themselves the principal enemies of the interests they purport to serve. Only in a consultative framework made possible by the consciousness of the organic unity of humankind can all aspects of the concern for human rights find legitimate and creative expression....
The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.
Universal House of Justice, The Prosperity of Humankind. January 23, 1995. Pages 5-6.

In other words, justice, not so-called economic freedom, is the best beloved of all things in dear Baháʾuʾlláh’s sight:

O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Hidden Words of Baháʾuʾlláh. Arabic. Number 2.

Individual freedom or liberty is, by definition, a liberal issue. The concept developed in the Western Enlightenment. Strictly speaking, both the conservative pro-life and the progressive pro-choice views on abortion are liberal positions. Pro-lifers are primarily interested in the individual liberty of the fetus to come to term. Those on the pro-choice side, however, focus upon the individual reproductive freedom of the mother. The capitalist free market is classic economic liberalism (classical economics) or, expanded transnationally, neoliberalism (neoclassical economics).

Middle-left Keynesianism modified capitalist liberalism, with an enlarged civil-service sector, in order to allegedly protect the freedom of individuals to be employed. However, Keynesianism, in my opinion, was even worse than economic liberalism. Not only did Keynesians prop up the corporate state. They proposed a dangerous and distracting solution. There is, from a Keynesian standpoint, no need to dismantle corporate capitalism. Instead, one legitimizes the system by putting a band-aid on it. By worsening, through postponement, the inevitable crash and burn, Keynesianism became the corporate monster with a smile on his face.

Freedom, I think, has been interpreted in at least two ways: First, freedom can be understood, in the context of the European Enlightnment, as (personal) liberty. Since the founding fathers of the United States were rational, liberal Enlightenment thinkers, clearly indicated by the pyramidal eye on the back of a dollar bill, they focused on liberty. On the other hand, like Roy Bhaskar’s Critical Realism and his philosophy of metaReality, Unities of all Things focuses upon a second definition of freedom as liberation, emancipation, and social justice. In this sense, freedom is unity or, in Bhaskar’s terminology, the cosmic envelope.

The term “ground state” is a term ... [which includes] not only the more religious concept of “soul” but also the secular concept of our best or “higher selves”; all ground states are connected in ... the “cosmic envelope.”
Cheryl Frank, “Global Warming andCultural/Media Articulations of Emerging and Contending Social Imaginaries: A Critical Realist Perspective Interdisciplinarity and Climate Change: Transforming Knowledge and Practice for Our Global Future. Roy Bhaskar, Cheryl Frank, Petter Naess, and Jenneth Parker, editors. New York: Routledge. 2010. Page 114.

However, freedom as liberty, as I see it, can never be a good in itself. If taken to an extreme, freedom, or anomie, leads to libertarianism, anarchy, and wickedness. Moreover, liberalism or progressivism (the middle left) is often little more than left libertarianism. Sentiment and nostalgia, the desire to restore an imaginary idyllic past, are out of touch with the exigencies of the present day. Rather, freedom, from an emancipatory perspective, is achieved through an ongoing struggle against oppressions or unjust dominations, divinely ordained spiritual tests, and other directly observable human difficulties. According to His Blessed Presence Baháʾuʾlláh:

Consider the pettiness of men’s minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing.
Say: True liberty consisteth in man’s submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty. Happy is the man that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all created things. Say: The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and heaven.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʾuʾlláh. Pages 335-336.
With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors to war; their attitude, judged from the Baháʾí standpoint, is quite anti-social and due to its exaltation of the individual conscience leads inevitably to disorder and chaos in society. Extreme pacifists are thus very close to the anarchists, in the sense that both of these groups lay an undue emphasis on the rights and merits of the individual. The Baháʾí conception of social life is essentially based on the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything, it follows the “golden mean.” The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.
The other main objection to the conscientious objectors is that their method of establishing peace is too negative. Non-cooperation is too passive a philosophy to become an effective way for social reconstruction. Their refusal to bear arms can never establish peace. There should first be a spiritual revitalization which nothing, except the Cause of God, can effectively bring to every man’s heart.
From a letter, dated November 21, 1935, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance: A Baháʾí Reference File. Number 1354.
The totality of moral rules truly forms about each person an imaginary wall, at the foot of which the flood of human passions simply dies without being able to go further. For the same reason – that they are contained – it becomes possible to satisfy them. But if at any point this barrier weakens, these previously restrained human forces pour tumultuously from the open breach; once loosed they find no limits where they can stop. They can only devote themselves, without hope of satisfaction, to the pursuit of an end which always eludes them.
Émile Durkheim, Émile Durkheim: Selected Writings. Anthony Giddens, editor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 1972. Page 173.

Furthermore, the philosophies of individualism and libertarianism are, in effect, false gods. If each person is an individualization of the unity of humanity and its attributes (the rational faculty), then no one, singly, is a complete individual. Absolute individual freedom or liberty becomes a socially reinforced delusion. On the other hand, the Unified Socialist™ economic principle of collective freedom, human rights, or social justice is, it seems to me, one of the profound, yet unavoidable, implications of the unity in multiplicity of existence or, according to ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, “the universal relationships.”

Freedom, in my view, is unity or, more precisely, unity in diversity:

And among the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh is man’s freedom, that through the ideal Power he should be free and emancipated from the captivity of the world of nature; for as long as man is captive to nature he is a ferocious animal, as the struggle for existence is one of the exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of the struggle for existence [Herbert Spencer’s A System of Synthetic Philosophy or so-called “Social Darwinism”?] is the fountain-head of all calamities and is the supreme affliction....
... with regard to the peoples who clamour for freedom: the moderate freedom which guarantees the welfare of the world of mankind and maintains and preserves the universal relationships, is found in its fullest power and extension in the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh....
... with regard to the party of “equality” which seeks the solution of the economic problems: until now all proposed solutions have proved impracticable except the economic proposals in the teachings of Baháʾuʾlláh which are practicable and cause no distress to society.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá. Pages 302 and 305.
Now concerning nature, it is but the essential properties and the necessary relations inherent in the realities of things. And though these infinite realities are diverse in their character yet they are in the utmost harmony and closely connected together. As one’s vision is broadened and the matter observed carefully, it will be made certain that every reality is but an essential requisite of other realities. Thus to connect and harmonize these diverse and infinite realities an all-unifying Power is necessary, that every part of existent being may in perfect order discharge its own function.
ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, Tablet to August Forel. Pages 20-21.

As wonderful film maker Michael Moore (born, 1954) insightfully observed on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight (July 24, 2012), “Guns don’t kill people; Americans kill people.” Statistically, his assertion, however poignant, was accurate. The United States, among all countries, is currently ranked at the top of the list in its rate of incarceration. That nation also has, globally, one of the highest percentages of homicide and, per capita, the highest percentage of private gun ownership. Ostensibly, weapons have not made the country safe. What’s more, the American republic in particular, while not alone, appears to worship at the feet of the god of war:

The war-god breeds on ideology, defined as “us against them,” whether it poses as religion or politics. Although Apollo was the god of wisdom and knowledge, he could not counteract the actions of Mars, who could only be subdued by Venus, his lover. This was a subtle way of saying that knowledge alone can’t resist militancy. Only the power of love can do that.
We [Americans] may think that we’re a Judeo-Christian country, but our actions tell us that we worship at the altar of Mars. The Pentagon is a temple to the war-god. Deception and lies are part of its arsenal. And like the voracious “war-god” thirsting for blood, it measures success by the number of dead bodies.
Charles Rayner Kelly, Mars: The God of War.

Jesus apparently recommended that his disciples take up swords to protect and serve others, not to use these weapons defensively, or perhaps in revenge, and offensively:

For which is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.... he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet; and he that hath none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword.
Jesus, Luke 22:27 and 36, American Standard Version (1901).
Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Jesus, Matthew 26:52, American Standard Version (1901).
... I say unto you, resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Jesus, Matthew 5:39, American Standard Version (1901).

The world is collapsing upon itself. Global leaders know it. That is the reason for heightened surveillance and drone programs. Many average people are clueless, or they imagine some conspiracy behind these events. Something needs to replace the present system when it is gone, and I have high hopes. In any event, I cannot, for the life of me, imagine that America’s epic and epoch, now decaying through violence, will, short of divine intervention, be concluded. Perhaps centuries from now, the socially atomizing tale of God, guns, and guts will be chronicled in the epilogue of a dying capitalist world order.

Countries are at war with themselves. Civil wars, revolutions, and coups d’état are multiplying. No social entity, not even a superpower, has much authority. Countries are too absorbed in their own pressing problems. As a mirror of world disorder, the United Nations, for it’s part, only has enough coercive might to issue “resolutions.” Without collective security, the world will remain, as a rotting corpse, in its present disintegrating state. Since a voluntary body of member states could not enforce its decisions, the world requires federation, not confederation.

According to the the holy Universal House of Justice, the remedy has been prescribed by the divine Physician, the Beloved Lord of Hosts:

Baháʾuʾlláh confirms an injunction contained in the Bayán which makes it unlawful to carry arms, unless it is necessary to do so. With regard to circumstances under which the bearing of arms might be “essential” for an individual, ʿAbduʾl-Bahá gives permission to a believer for self-protection in a dangerous environment. Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf has also indicated that, in an emergency, when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Baháʾí is justified in defending his life. There are a number of other situations in which weapons are needed and can be legitimately used; for instance, in countries where people hunt for their food and clothing, and in such sports as archery, marksmanship, and fencing.
On the societal level, the principle of collective security enunciated by Baháʾuʾlláh ... and elaborated by Shoghi Effendi ... does not presuppose the abolition of the use of force, but prescribes “a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice,” and which provides for the existence of an international peace-keeping force that “will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth.” In the Tablet of Bishárát, Baháʾuʾlláh expresses the hope that “weapons of war throughout the world may be converted into instruments of reconstruction and that strife and conflict may be removed from the midst of men.”
In another Tablet Baháʾuʾlláh stresses the importance of fellowship with the followers of all religions; He also states that “the law of holy war hath been blotted out from the Book.”
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Editorial commentary by the Universal House of Justice. Pages 240-241.

America’s disunity through individualism and idolatry of liberty have been accompanied by a materialistic attachment to firearms. The U.S. Constitution, including its Second Amendment, has often been approached, reverently and inerrantly, with the scriptural literalism of a fundamentalist. Jointly, these factors have demonstrated themselves to be a dangerous, even deadly, combination. If the well-regulated militia of military, police, and intelligence agencies (with their right to bear arms) works properly, the necessity for average citizens to carry weapons, except when hunting, might, it seems to me, be eliminated.

Constitutions need to be periodically rewritten or revised. They should not be piously regarded as sacred texts. Although the U.S. Constitution was a well-crafted document for the late eighteenth century, a new global Constitution should, it seems to me, be authored for the twenty-first century. Consequently, I must, in that respect, agree with one of the framers of the United States Constitution, the second President of the United States Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). He would, I suspect, be horrified to learn that Americans would be debating the intricacies of a document written more than two centuries in the past.

Jefferson, as a rationalist, was a man of the Enlightenment. He was clearly not a constitutional fundamentalist. Aside from the impracticality of his proposal of authoring a new Constitution every nineteen years, given the entrenched divisions among politicians, his letter is important. It challenges a modern tendency to turn the Constitution into a perfect, even divinely inspired, document. I doubt that Jefferson would have agreed with any of those characterizations:

... it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation. They may manage it then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct [right of enjoyment]. They are masters too of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors extinguished then in their natural course with those who gave them being. This could preserve that being till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.—It may be said that the succeeding generation exercising in fact the power of repeal, this leaves them as free as if the constitution or law has been expressly limited to 19 years only. In the first place, this objection admits the right, in proposing an equivalent. But the power of repeal is not an equivalent. It might be indeed if every form of government were so perfectly contrived that the will of the majority could always be obtained fairly and without impediment. But this is true of no form.
Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. September 5, 1789.

More specifically, the founding fathers of the U.S. supported a navy while, by and large, opposing a standing army. An ad hoc militia was their alternative. Of course, contrary to the wishes of the founding fathers, the U.S. has a standing army and a National Guard, so the provision for a “well regulated Militia” has, in a sense, become irrelevant:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The United States Constitution (Second Amendment). September 17, 1787.

Many American libertarians who support unrestricted, or virtually unrestricted, gun ownership oppose martial law. However, martial law is as constitutional as the Second Amendment:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
The United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 9). September 17, 1787.

Since criminals, some gun control opponents assert, will always find a way to obtain guns, weapons should not be registered. Of course, by that same argument, since murders will murder, robbers will rob, arsonists will burn down buildings, and so forth, those laws should also be eliminated:

Criminals do not register guns. Felons do not register their illegally-held guns. In fact, requiring a felon to register a handgun is a [U.S.] Constitutional violation, since government mandated registration would require a felon to self-incriminate, a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The only people who will register their guns are law-abiding citizens.
Charles Bloomer, “The Fallacy Of Gun Registration.” Gun Owners of America. September 29, 2008. Retrieved on April 6, 2013.
Compare the rate of murder by gun in the United States to the rate in any other advanced industrial nation, and you’re forced to draw one of two conclusions: Either there are far more homicidal people in this country than just about anyplace else on Earth, or far more guns. We must either be home to more people who succumb to murderous rage or who kill out of the coldest of calculations, or it’s easier to pick up a gun and start shooting here than in any comparable country.
And yet, I’ve never heard even the staunchest gun advocate make the case that Americans are inherently more homicidal than everyone else. They repeat ad nauseum that people, not guns, kill people; but they don’t argue that there’s something about Americans that make them kill more than their counterparts in other nations.
... the numbers are plain: Just as the danger of gun violence rises with the number of guns, so the share of adamant opponents of gun control – disproportionately, gun owners and Republicans – is waning. Making America safer by restricting the sale of guns is politically safer than many of our leaders believe.
Harold Meyerson, “Why does America have so Many Guns.” The Washington Post (newspaper). December 19, 2012.

That the gun culture is dominated by so-called white men should come as no surprise to any careful reader of American history. The violence of poor and working class Southern males, typified by the Ku Klux Klan and its offshoots, resulted from the creation of whiteness by the bourgeoisie. By giving laborers of European ancestry a few more breadcrumbs than their African coworkers, these poor “whites” were bribed into becoming the foremen and disciplinarians of African slaves. The bourgeoisie, or bluebloods, were then free to pursue a life of luxury. The end of slavery only increased poor white angst or anxiety. Racial differences obscured the common class interests of slaves and rednecks.

As Minister Louis Farrakhan (born, 1933) wisely said in this MP3 audio file:

The Second Amendment says that there was no well-regulated militia to protect a free state. They had just won their independence. That’s the context of the Second Amendment. So it said that no American – their right to bear arms should be infringed upon because there was no well-regulated militia. Here you have well-regulated police, well-regulated state troopers, well-regulated National Guard, well-regulated federal troops, well-regulated FBI and ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives]. So if you have all of that well regulated, what do American people need with all of these weapons that can kill forty people at one time?
Minister Louis Farrakhan, Farrakhan on “Django Unchained”: “It’s Preparation for Race War”. January 12, 2013. Retrieved (transcribed) on January 13, 2013.

The habitual use of so-called four-letter words is, in my view, inadvisable. Nevertheless, many words regarded as vulgar slang are little more than the so-called profane speech of the uneducated commoners. They originated in the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Old English era. Following the Norman Conquest, and the birth of Middle English, the higher classes began to use the French terms for certain bodily parts and functions. However, the older expressions might be appropriate or even pure, in certain cases, when expressing genuine moral outrage at social vulgarity or profanity.

O servants! Lifeless is the body that is bereft of a soul, and withered the heart that is devoid of the remembrance of its Lord. Commune with the remembrance of the Friend and shun the enemy. Your enemy is such things as ye have acquired of your own inclination, to which ye have firmly clung, and whereby ye have sullied your souls. The soul hath been created for the remembrance of the Friend; safeguard its purity. The tongue hath been created to bear witness to God; pollute it not with the mention of the wayward.
Baháʾuʾlláh, Tabernacle of Unity. Page 68.
I call BULLSHIT on libertarianism. It’s a stupid position to take. Even if it could be implemented it couldn’t succeed. Its thinly veiled social “Darwinism” but without any of the nuance of true evolutionary theory.
10 Reason Why Libertarianism is Bullshit.” Lady Atheist: Atheism and Secular Living from a Woman’s Point of View. Blog. December 5, 2011. Retrieved on April 24, 2013.

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Unfortunately, issues of social and economic freedom may, to a certain extent, be largely irrelevant at this moment. My personal observation is that global economic and political systems, along with our present-day material civilizations, are unsustainable. With power seized from high and low alike, the outcomes of national political elections have become practically irrelevant. Unity alone is the remedy. In the disintegrating, self-seeking capitalist world order, there are no real power elites. The disunified capitalist world order has spun out of control, and its leaders are unsuccessfully attempting to rein it in:

From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.
Baháʾuʾlláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come. Page 71.

Moreover, if I, or someone with similar views, had influence over American society, its affairs might be handled very differently. Since partisanship is the rule of the present period, and emancipatory perspectives hold little sway, I am functionally a pragmatist. Avenues of cooperation and even compromise must be sought. Yet, given the widespread materialism in this world, little may be left following the collapse of the present order. Rather than concerning ourselves with personal freedom, we need to trust in the continuing guidance of the Universal House of Justice and to be spiritually prepared for localism:

In the contemporary landscape, there is a growing return to Localism.... I am designating phenomena, such as the emerging economic paradigm which reinterprets economic principles according to the interests of local economies .... This economic localism has produced research that effectively argues for provincial public policies that prevent national and, worse, multinational retailers from entering and inevitably monopolizing local markets. Such foreign agents extract more resources than they reinvest in the local economy. Rather than procuring the merchandise, with which they stock their shelves, from local producers, these retailers import from distanced manufacturers that exploit cheaper, often, offshore labor....
Localism is a political philosophy that is opposed to a tendency in American politics that this paper references as centralization: A social process through which political power is accumulated in a locus that is distanced, removed from local communities, their unique human ecologies, and their provincial political institutions....
The Localism I espouse is not a luddite ideology. Although it might appear romanticist in the sense that it valorizes cultural institutions that had a more complete, robust expression in previous historical periods, it is by no means a call to reenact what has transpired. I recognize that digital communications have transformed human geography.
E. Russell Cole, “Radical Localism in the Network Society.” E. Russell Cole: Sociological Thoughts. Blog. Retrieved on February 1, 2012.
“Anarcho-pluralism,” as I conceive of it at least, is a brand of anti-state radicalism that has “anti-universalism” and what might be called “radical localism” as it core defining characteristics. It is “anti-universalist” because it rejects the view that there is one “correct” system of politics, economics, or culture that is applicable much less obligatory for all people at all times and in all places. As Russell Kirk observed: “There exists no single best form of government for the happiness of all mankind. The most suitable form of government necessarily depends upon the historic experience, the customs, the beliefs, the state of culture, the ancient laws, and the material circumstances of a people.” Anarcho-pluralism advocates “radical localism” as the best possible method of avoiding the tyrannies and abuses of overarching Leviathan states, and accommodating the irreconcilable differences concerning any number of matters that all societies inevitably contain.
Keith Preston, “Anarcho-Pluralism and Pan-Secessionism: What They Are and What They Are Not.” Attack the System: Pan-seccessionism Against the Empire. Blog. Retrieved on February 1, 2012.

Some of the laws given by Baháʾuʾlláh for His Dispensation appear to anticipate localism and an unsophisticated level of technology:

Marriage is conditional upon the consent of the parents of both parties to the marriage, and in this respect it maketh no difference whether the bride be a virgin or otherwise....
... If such [lost] property be found in the town, its discovery is to be announced once by the town crier.
... The definition of a journey is nine hours by the clock. Should the traveller stop in a place, anticipating that he will stay there for no less than one month by the Bayán reckoning, it is incumbent on him to keep the Fast; but if for less than one month, he is exempt from fasting. If he arriveth during the Fast at a place where he is to stay one month according to the Bayán, he should not observe the Fast till three days have elapsed, thereafter keeping it throughout the remainder of its course; but if he come to his home, where he hath heretofore been permanently resident, he must commence his fast upon the first day after his arrival.
Baháʾuʾlláh, “Questions and Answers.” The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Pages 111, 112, and 114.

Right now, I believe, the world is headed down the path toward planetary lawlessness, a breakdown in infrastructure, and a disintegration of communication, transportation, and food distribution systems. As humanity, in its present state of travail, continues to unravel, the Universal House of Justice has, in my opinion, been encouraging greater local consolidation or unity through a strengthening of the Ruhi Institute (rūḥī, spiritual) and related activities. More generally, the Supreme Body has been preparing the Baháʾí world for the contributions it will make, on the grassroots level, to the rebuilding of civilization:

In their efforts to present the Faith plainly and unequivocally, the believers have benefited greatly from the illustrative example in Book 6 of the Ruhi Institute. Where the logic underlying the presentation is appreciated, and the urge to convert it into a formula overcome, it gives rise to a conversation between two souls ....
... Indeed, the civilization that beckons humanity will not be attained through the efforts of the Baháʾí community alone. Numerous groups and organizations, animated by the spirit of world solidarity that is an indirect manifestation of Baháʾuʾlláh’s conception of the principle of the oneness of humankind, will contribute to the civilization destined to emerge out of the welter and chaos of present-day society. It should be clear to everyone that the capacity created in the Baháʾí community over successive global plans renders it increasingly able to lend assistance in the manifold and diverse dimensions of civilization building, opening to it new frontiers of learning.
The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010 letter.
Stages to World Unity

The once popular bumper sticker, “Think globally; act locally,” could, I imagine, be the emancipatory motto of the Great Reconstruction, through a collaborative, and an emancipatory, localism, which will, I suspect, inevitably result from worldwide anarchy. Economies and governments should, in my opinion, be reconstructed, on the grassroots level, upon the foundation of small towns or large neighborhoods. All business entities, of whatever size, must be democratically regulated by laws protecting localities, not stockholders. Community industries, whether cooperative or privately owned, would focus upon the needs of workers and customers. The profit motive will be replaced by the service motive.

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I am not fluent in Arabic, but I can work with it. Unless otherwise stated, all English translations are from the Arabic or Persian languages (or, in some cases, a “Persianized” Arabic). There are differences, which will be evident, between the system of transliteration, or romanization, of Arabic and Persian words contained in official Baháʾí texts and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) system (or the Tiberian system for some Hebrew words) adopted in other parts of this work. (See this page on verb conjugation.) Diacritics (the signs used in transliteration) for various languages have sometimes been modified in quotations. Focusing on both translation and transliteration has, from my perspective, been a way to draw close, in my heart, to the individuals and ideas being discussed. Perhaps your experiences will be similar. Learning any “tongue” comes through love:
Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
A lover hath many a tongue at his command.
From Mawlānā (Our Master) Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī’s Maṯnawī (Persian, Maṯnavī), quoted by Baháʾuʾlláh, “The Seven Valleys.” The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Page 58.

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