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Classical Liberalism And World Peace Essay

2394 words - 10 pages

Since the end of the First World War in 1918, the world has been in search of international order and global peace through the political method of international organization.The League of Nations was seen as the great hope for world peace and security. Its failure in the years between the two world wars was taken as proof that a better and stronger organization was needed if yet a third world war was to be prevented.Out of the ashes of World War II emerged the United Nations. Once again were heard the heralds proclaiming that world peace and security were in man's reach. And, once more, mankind's hopes were dashed during the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.Now, in the post-Cold War era, the world is in search of global peace once again. The belief that international order and security could develop out of international organizations has been frustrated once again as the United States continues on its course of unilateral foreign interventionism to bring peace and democracy to the world.But the quest for world peace through either political internationalism or unilateralism is a false path to the goal of ending global conflicts.During the 20th century, when peace was pursued through international organizations such as the League of Nations and the UN, the world suffered from wars, civil wars, and mass murders on a scale that practically exceeds the capacity of the human mind to comprehend.Wars and domestic political murder by governments around the world have resulted in the deaths of more than 370 million people during the last 100 years.The 19th centuryIn stark contrast, during the 100 years between 1815 and 1914, when no global political organizations for world peace existed, wars were few in number, relatively short in duration, and, compared with the 20th century, fairly limited in their destructive effects on human life and property. (The American Civil War of the 1860s was one striking exception to this pattern.)For many people in the first half of the 20th century who still had an adult's memory of the period before the First World War, that era before 1914 seemed like a golden age.The distinguishing characteristic of 19th-century Europe and North America is that, however inconsistently and imperfectly it might have been practiced, that hundred-year period between 1815 and 1914 can rightly be said to have been the product of the classical-liberal spirit.The guiding principle that directed much of public policy in practically all the countries of the "civilized world" was the depoliticizing of social life.With the triumph of free trade over mercantilism in the early and middle decades of the 19th century and with the elimination of many of the domestic regulations, monopoly privileges, and restraints on enterprise, the state was dramatically removed from the affairs of everyday life.In its place arose "civil society," the blossoming of the "private sector," and an extension of the network of "intermediary...

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