20. The State

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  1. War
  2. Early Human Associations
  3. Clubs and Secret Societies
  4. Monarchial Government
  5. Human Rights
  6. Evolution of Justice
  7. Representative Government
  8. Ideals of Statehood
  9. Progressive Civilization
  10. Private Property and Slavery
  11. Superhuman Government


1. Proposition. War is the natural heritage of evolving man; peace is the social yardstick measuring the advance of civilization.

“War is the natural state and heritage of evolving man; peace is the social yardstick measuring civilization’s advancement. Before the partial socialization of the advancing races man was exceedingly individualistic, extremely suspicious, and unbelievably quarrelsome. Violence is the law of nature, hostility the automatic reaction of the children of nature, while war is but these same activities carried on collectively. And wherever and whenever the fabric of civilization becomes stressed by the complications of society’s advancement, there is always an immediate and ruinous reversion to these early methods of violent adjustment of the irritations of human interassociations.” (783.4) 70:1.1

2. Proposition. When early chiefs prevented war they had to provide annual stone fights.

“When the early chiefs would try to iron out misunderstandings, they often found it necessary, at least once a year, to permit the tribal stone fights. The clan would divide up into two groups and engage in an all-day battle. And this for no other reason than just the fun of it; they really enjoyed fighting.” (784.2) 70:1.6

3. Proposition. Early wars involved whole tribes—but sometimes they would stake all on a duel—like David and Goliath.

“Early wars were fought between tribes as a whole, but in later times, when two individuals in different tribes had a dispute, instead of both tribes fighting, the two disputants engaged in a duel. It also became a custom for two armies to stake, all on the outcome of a contest between a representative chosen from each side, as in the instance of David and Goliath.” (785.2) 70:1.19

4. Proposition. War persists because man is evolved from bellicose animals. There were many causes of early wars.

See: (784.3) 70:1.7

5. Proposition. The first refinement of war was the taking of prisoners. Next, women were exempted and noncombatants were recognized.

“The first refinement of war was the taking of prisoners. Next, women were exempted from hostilities, and then came the recognition of noncombatants. Military castes and standing armies soon developed to keep pace with the increasing complexity of combat. Such warriors were early prohibited from associating with women, and women long ago ceased to fight, though they have always fed and nursed the soldiers and urged them on to battle.” (785.3) 70:1.20

6. Proposition. These early wars had certain social values.

“War has had a social value to past civilizations because it:

  1. Imposed discipline, enforced co-operation.
  2. Put a premium on fortitude and courage.
  3. Fostered and solidified nationalism.
  4. Destroyed weak and unfit peoples.
  5. Dissolved the illusion of primitive equality and selectively stratified society.” (785.8) 70:2.3

7. Proposition. Ancient wars decimated inferior peoples; modern war destroys the best human stocks.

“Ancient warfare resulted in the decimation of inferior peoples; the net result of modern conflict is the selective destruction of the best human stocks. Early wars promoted organization and efficiency, but these have now become the aims of modern industry.” (785.14) 70:2.9

8. Proposition. Man does not give up war until he learns that peace is best for his material welfare.

“Man will never accept peace as a normal mode of living until he has been thoroughly and repeatedly convinced that peace is best for his material welfare, and until society has wisely provided peaceful substitutes for the gratification of that inherent tendency periodically to let loose a collective drive designed to liberate those everaccumulating emotions and energies belonging to the self-preservation reactions of the human species.” (786.11) 70:2.20

9. Proposition. War selected great men for leaders and taught a race of arrogant individualists to submit to authority.

“But even in passing, war should be honored as the school of experience which compelled a race of arrogant individualists to submit themselves to highly concentrated authority—a chief executive. Old-fashioned war did select the innately great men for leadership, but modern war no longer does this. To discover leaders society must now turn to the conquests of peace: industry, science, and social achievement.” (786.12) 70:2.21


1. Proposition. Primitive society was a horde—children were common property. Later, the clan emerged and the family took over children.

“In the most primitive society the horde is everything; even children are its common property. The evolving family displaced the horde in child rearing, while the emerging clans and tribes took its place as the social unit.” (787.1) 70:3.1

2. Proposition. Families grew into clans. The first government was the council of the elders.

“With the gradual emergence of the family units the foundations of government were established in the clan organization, the grouping of consanguineous families. The first real governmental body was the council of the elders. This regulative group was composed of old men who had distinguished themselves in some efficient manner.” (788.8) 70:5.2

3. Proposition. The clans were held together by a group of common interests.

“The clans were blood-tie groups within the tribe, and they owed their existence to certain common interests, such as:

  1. Tracing origin back to a common ancestor.
  2. Allegiance to a common religious totem.
  3. Speaking the same dialect.
  4. Sharing a common dwelling place.
  5. Fearing the same enemies.
  6. Having had a common military experience.” (788.4) 70:4.2


1. Proposition. Natural inequalities insure that social classes will appear. The only worlds without social classes are the very primitive and the most advanced.

“The mental and physical inequality of human beings insures that social classes will appear. The only worlds without social strata are the most primitive and the most advanced. A dawning civilization has not yet begun the differentiation of social levels, while a world settled in light and life has largely effaced these divisions of mankind, which are so characteristic of all intermediate evolutionary stages.” (792.5) 70:8.1

2. Proposition. Ten groupings appear in an evolving society.

See: (792.6) 70:8.2

3. Proposition. Secret societies performed numerous functions for primitive society.

“All secret associations imposed an oath, enjoined confidence, and taught the keeping of secrets. These orders awed and controlled the mobs; they also acted as vigilance societies, thus practicing lynch law. They were the first spies when the tribes were at war and the first secret police during times of peace. Best of all they kept unscrupulous kings on the anxious seat. To offset them, the kings fostered their own secret police.

“These societies gave rise to the first political parties. The first party government was ‘the strong’ vs. ‘the weak.’ In ancient times a change of administration only followed civil war, abundant proof that the weak had become strong.” (792.1) 70:7.16


1. Proposition. Kings were sometimes chosen for special abilities—other than military.

“In later times some chiefs were chosen for other than military service, being selected because of unusual physique or outstanding personal abilities. The red men often had two sets of chiefs—the sachems, or peace chiefs, and the hereditary war chiefs. The peace rulers were also judges and teachers.” (789.5) 70:5.7

2. Proposition. Effective state government only came with a chief executive— conferring power on a person—not endowing an idea.

“Effective state rule only came with the arrival of a chief with full executive authority. Man found that effective government could be had only by conferring power on a personality, not by endowing an idea.” (789.8) 70:6.1

3. Proposition. Rulership grew out of family authority and wealth. Kings came from heroes—they had a divine origin.

“Rulership grew out of the idea of family authority or wealth. When a patriarchal kinglet became a real king, he was sometimes called ‘father of his people.’ Later on, kings were thought to have sprung from heroes. And still further on, rulership became hereditary, due to belief in the divine origin of kings.” (789.9) 70:6.2

4. Proposition. Early kings were fetish persons—kept in seclusion. They were represented by a prime minister.

“The early fetish king was often kept in seclusion; he was regarded as too sacred to be viewed except on feast days and holy days. Ordinarily a representative was chosen to impersonate him, and this is the origin of prime ministers.” (790.2) 70:6.5

5. Proposition. Group power produced the myth of the absolute obligation of the citizen to live and die for the state. The state is not divine in origin—it is evolutionary.

“The modern state is the institution which survived in the long struggle for group power. Superior power eventually prevailed, and it produced a creature of fact—the state—together with the moral myth of the absolute obligation of the citizen to live and die for the state. But the state is not of divine genesis; it was not even produced by volitionally intelligent human action; it is purely an evolutionary institution and was wholly automatic in origin.” (800.2) 71:0.2


1. Proposition. Nature confers no rights on man, only a life and a world in which to live it. Nature does not even confer the right to live.

“Nature confers no rights on man, only life and a world in which to live it. Nature does not even confer the right to live, as might be deduced by considering what would likely happen if an unarmed man met a hungry tiger face to face in the primitive forest. Society’s prime gift to man is security.” (793.11) 70:9.1

2. Proposition. Gradually society asserted its rights.

“Gradually society asserted its rights and, at the present time, they are:

  1. Assurance of food supply.
  2. Military defense—security through preparedness.
  3. Internal peace preservation—prevention of personal violence and social disorder.
  4. Sex control—marriage, the family institution.
  5. Property—the right to own.
  6. Fostering of individual and group competition.
  7. Provision for educating and training youth.
  8. Promotion of trade and commerce—industrial development.
  9. Improvement of labor conditions and rewards.
  10. The guarantee of the freedom of religious practices to the end that all of these other social activities may be exalted by becoming spiritually motivated.” (793.12) 70:9.2

3. Proposition. Equality is the child of civilization, it is not found in nature. Culture demonstrates inherent inequality of men by their unequal capacity therefor. Society can administer varying rights with fairness.

“But this equality ideal is the child of civilization; it is not found in nature. Even culture itself demonstrates conclusively the inherent inequality of men by their very unequal capacity therefor. The sudden and nonevolutionary realization of supposed natural equality would quickly throw civilized man back to the crude usages of primitive ages. Society cannot offer equal rights to all, but it can promise to administer the varying rights of each with fairness and equity. It is the business and duty of society to provide the child of nature with a fair and peaceful opportunity to pursue selfmaintenance, participate in self-perpetuation, while at the same time enjoying some measure of self-gratification, the sum of all three constituting human happiness.” (794.12) 70:9.17


1. Proposition. Government evolved by trial and error—an unconscious development. It became traditional because it had survival value.

“Government is an unconscious development; it evolves by trial and error. It does have survival value; therefore it becomes traditional. Anarchy augmented misery; therefore government, comparative law and order, slowly emerged or is emerging. The coercive demands of the struggle for existence literally drove the human race along the progressive road to civilization.” (783.3) 70:0.3

2. Proposition. The idea of natural justice is a man-made theory—it is not a reality—it is a fiction.

“Natural justice is a man-made theory; it is not a reality. In nature, justice is purely theoretic, wholly a fiction. Nature provides but one kind of justice—inevitable conformity of results to causes.” (794.13) 70:10.1

3. Proposition. In primitive society public opinion operated directly—law officers were not needed.

“In the earliest primitive society public opinion operated directly; officers of law were not needed. There was no privacy in primitive life. A man’s neighbors were responsible for his conduct; therefore their right to pry into his personal affairs. Society was regulated on the theory that the group membership should have an interest in, and some degree of control over, the behavior of each individual.” (795.1) 70:10.4

4. Proposition. The evolution of justice is well illustrated by an Old Testament ordeal pertaining to a wife suspected of infidelity.

“The Old Testament records one of these ordeals, a marital guilt test; If a man suspected his wife of being untrue to him, he took her to the priest and stated his suspicions, after which the priest would prepare a concoction consisting of holy water and sweepings from the temple floor. After due ceremony, including threatening curses, the accused wife was made to drink the nasty potion. If she was guilty, the water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thighs shall rot, and the woman shall be accursed among her people.’ If, by any chance, any woman could quaff this filthy draught and not show symptoms of physical illness, she was acquitted of the charges made by her jealous husband.” (795.3) 70:10.6

5. Proposition. The imposition of fines for taboo violations was an advance in regulative function—they were the first public revenue.

“Another advance was the imposition of fines for taboo violations, the provision of penalties. These fines constituted the first public revenue. The practice of paying ‘blood money’ also came into vogue as a substitute for blood vengeance. Such damages were usually paid in women or cattle; it was a long time before actual fines, monetary compensation, were assessed as punishment for crime. And since the idea of punishment was essentially compensation, everything, including human life, eventually came to have a price which could be paid as damages. The Hebrews were the first to abolish the practice of paying blood money. Moses taught that they should ‘take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death; he shall surely be put to death.’” (796.2) 70:10.12

6. Proposition. Law is a codified record of human experience—public opinion crystallized and legalized.

“Law is a codified record of long human experience, public opinion crystallized and legalized. The mores were the raw material of accumulated experience out of which later ruling minds formulated the written laws. The ancient judge had no laws. When he handed down a decision, he simply said, ‘It is the custom.’” (797.4) 70:11.6

7. Proposition. The first courts were fistic encounters—judges were umpires. Might was right—later on verbal arguments took the place of physical combat.

“The first courts were regulated fistic encounters; the judges were merely umpires or referees. They saw to it that the fight was carried on according to approved rules. On entering a court combat, each party made a deposit with the judge to pay the costs and fine after one had been defeated by the other. ‘Might was still right.’ Later on, verbal arguments were substituted for physical blows.” (797.11) 70:11.13


1. Proposition. Public opinion has always delayed society, but it does preserve civilization.

“Public opinion, common opinion, has always delayed society; nevertheless, it is valuable, for, while retarding social evolution, it does preserve civilization. Education of public opinion is the only safe and true method of accelerating civilization; force is only a temporary expedient, and cultural growth will increasingly accelerate as bullets give way to ballots. Public opinion, the mores, is the basic and elemental energy in social evolution and state development, but to be of state value it must be nonviolent in expression.” (802.1) 71:2.7

2. Proposition. Democracy is an ideal, but it is beset by certain dangers.

“Democracy, while an ideal, is a product of civilization, not of evolution. Go slowly! select carefully! for the dangers of democracy are:

  1. Glorification of mediocrity.
  2. Choice of base and ignorant rulers.
  3. Failure to recognize the basic facts of social evolution.
  4. Danger of universal suffrage in the hands of uneducated and indolent majorities.
  5. Slavery to public opinion; the majority is not always right.” (801.13) 71:2.1

3. Proposition. There are ten stages in evolution of representative government. See: (802.3) 71:2.9


1. Proposition. Ideals of statehood are attained by evolution. The level of any civilization is indicated by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer for public service.

“The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.” (803.10) 71:3.10

2. Proposition. To remain free, after choosing a charter of liberty, men must maintain certain safeguards.

“If men would maintain their freedom, they must, after having chosen their charter of liberty, provide for its wise, intelligent, and fearless interpretation to the end that there may be prevented:

  1. Usurpation of unwarranted power by either the executive or legislative branches.
  2. Machinations of ignorant and superstitious agitators.
  3. Retardation of scientific progress.
  4. Stalemate of the dominance of mediocrity.
  5. Domination by vicious minorities.
  6. Control by ambitious and clever would-be dictators.
  7. Disastrous disruption of panics.
  8. Exploitation by the unscrupulous.
  9. Taxation enslavement of the citizenry by the state.
  10. Failure of social and economic fairness.
  11. Union of church and state.
  12. Loss of personal liberty.” (798.5) 70:12.6

3. Proposition. Cities should be governed just like any business should be conducted.

“In a real commonwealth the business of governing cities and provinces is conducted by experts and is managed just as are all other forms of economic and commercial associations of people.” (803.11) 71:3.11

4. Proposition. Idealists should avoid extinction. The great test of idealism is: To maintain effective military preparedness and refrain from offensive acts of military aggrandizement.

“Idealism can never survive on an evolving planet if the idealists in each generation permit themselves to be exterminated by the baser orders of humanity. And here is the great test of idealism: Can an advanced society maintain that military preparedness which renders it secure from all attack by its war-loving neighbors without yielding to the temptation to employ this military strength in offensive operations against other peoples for purposes of selfish gain or national aggrandizement? National survival demands preparedness, and religious idealism alone can prevent the prostitution of preparedness into aggression. Only love, brotherhood, can prevent the strong from oppressing the weak.” (804.17) 71:4.17

5. Proposition. The great problem of statehood is to regulate society without becoming parasitical or tyrannical.

“The ideal state undertakes to regulate social conduct only enough to take violence out of individual competition and to prevent unfairness in personal initiative. Here is a great problem in statehood: How can you guarantee peace and quiet in industry, pay the taxes to support state power, and at the same time prevent taxation from handicapping industry and keep the state from becoming parasitical or tyrannical?”(805.2) 71:5.2

6. Proposition. Statehood evolves from level to level through a dozen stages.

See:  (806.15) 71:8.2


1. Proposition. Society has not progressed very far when it permits idleness and tolerates poverty.

“No society has progressed very far when it permits idleness or tolerates poverty. But poverty and dependence can never be eliminated if the defective and degenerate stocks are freely supported and permitted to reproduce without restraint.” (803.8) 71:3.8

2. Proposition. The progressive program of advancing civilization embraces many factors.

“The progressive program of an expanding civilization embraces:

  1. Preservation of individual liberties.
  2. Protection of the home.
  3. Promotion of economic security.
  4. Prevention of disease.
  5. Compulsory education.
  6. Compulsory employment.
  7. Profitable utilization of leisure.
  8. Care of the unfortunate.
  9. Race improvement.
  10. Promotion of science and art.
  11. Promotion of philosophy—wisdom.
  12. Augmentation of cosmic insight—spirituality.” (804.2) 71:4.2

3. Proposition. The nations of Urantia are engaged in the gigantic struggle between nationalistic militarism and the perils of industrialism.

“The nations of Urantia have already entered upon the gigantic struggle between nationalistic militarism and industrialism, and in many ways this conflict is analogous to the agelong struggle between the herder-hunter and the farmer. But if industrialism is to triumph over militarism, it must avoid the dangers which beset it. The perils of budding industry on Urantia are:

  1. The strong drift toward materialism, spiritual blindness.
  2. The worship of wealth-power, value distortion.
  3. The vices of luxury, cultural immaturity.
  4. The increasing dangers of indolence, service insensitivity.
  5. The growth of undesirable racial softness, biologic eterioration.
  6. The threat of standardized industrial slavery, personality stagnation. Labor is ennobling but drudgery is benumbing.” (786.2) 70:2.11

4. Proposition. Unless profit motivation can be augmented by service motives, it is doomed. Ruthless competition is destructive of even those things it seeks to uphold.

“Present-day profit-motivated economics is doomed unless profit motives can be augmented by service motives. Ruthless competition based on narrow-minded self-interest is ultimately destructive of even those things which it seeks to maintain. Exclusive and selfserving profit motivation is incompatible with Christian ideals— much more incompatible with the teachings of Jesus.” (805.5) 71:6.1

5. Proposition. Profit motivation should not be taken away from men until they are in possession of superior nonprofit motives.

“Profit motivation must not be taken away from men until they have firmly possessed themselves of superior types of nonprofit motives for economic striving and social serving—the transcendent urges of superlative wisdom, intriguing brotherhood, and excellency of spiritual attainment.” (805.7) 71:6.3


1. Proposition. The development of industry demanded law, and private property necessitated government.

“No sooner had man partially solved the problem of making a living than he was confronted with the task of regulating human contacts. The development of industry demanded law, order, and social adjustment; private property necessitated government.” (783.1) 70:0.1

2. Proposition. Primitive communism did not level men down, but it did put a premium on idleness. It failed because it was contrary to four basic human urges.

See: (780.5) 69:9.2

3. Proposition. Private ownership increased liberty and enhanced stability. Improved machinery is setting men free from slavish toil.

“Private ownership brought increased liberty and enhanced stability; but private ownership of land was given social sanction only after communal control and direction had failed, and it was soon followed by a succession of slaves, serfs, and landless classes. But improved machinery is gradually setting men free from slavish toil.” (782.3) 69:9.16

Proposition. Property rights are purely social. But all of the blessings of civilization have grown up around private ownership of property.

“The right to property is not absolute; it is purely social. But all government, law, order, civil rights, social liberties, conventions, peace, and happiness, as they are enjoyed by modern peoples, have grown up around the private ownership of property.” (782.4) 69:9.17

5. Proposition. Present social orders are not necessarily right—much less sacred. But we should move slowly in making changes. What we have is better than anything known to our ancestors.

“The present social order is not necessarily right—not divine or sacred—but mankind will do well to move slowly in making changes. That which you have is vastly better than any system known to your ancestors. Make certain that when you change the social order you change for the better. Do not be persuaded to experiment with the discarded formulas of your forefathers. Go forward, not backward! Let evolution proceed! Do not take a backward step.” (782.5) 69:9.18

6. Proposition. Enslavement was a merciful forward step in the treatment of war prisoners. Even the Hebrews “utterly destroyed” their enemies.

“Enslavement was a forward step in the merciful treatment of war captives. The ambush of Ai, with the wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children, only the king being saved to gratify the conqueror’s vanity, is a faithful picture of the barbaric slaughter practiced by even supposedly civilized peoples. The raid upon Og, the king of Bashan, was equally brutal and effective. The Hebrews ‘utterly destroyed’ their enemies, taking all their property as spoils. They put all cities under tribute on pain of the ‘destruction of all males.’ But many of the contemporary tribes, those having less tribal egotism, had long since begun to practice the adoption of superior captives.”(779.2) 69:8.3

7. Proposition. Slavery was indispensable in the development of civilization —it compelled backward and lazy people to work and thus provide wealth and leisure for the advancement of superior peoples.

“Slavery was an indispensable link in the chain of human civilization. It was the bridge over which society passed from chaos and indolence to order and civilized activities; it compelled backward and lazy peoples to work and thus provide wealth and leisure for the social advancement of their superiors.” (779.5) 69:8.6


1. Proposition. Every one hundred years the 24 Jerusem supervisors send one of their number to act as governor general of Urantia.

“Every one hundred years of Urantia time, the Jerusem corps of twenty-four planetary superviors designate one of their number to sojourn on your world to act as their executive representative, as resident governor general. During the times of the preparation of these narratives this executive officer was changed, the nineteenth so to serve being succeeded by the twentieth. The name of the current planetary supervisor is withheld from you only because mortal man is so prone to venerate, even to deify, his extraordinary compatriots and superhuman superiors.” (1252.5) 114:3.1

2. Proposition. The governor general has no personal authority—acts for the twenty-four counselors.

“The resident governor general has no actual personal authority in the management of world affairs except as the representative of the twenty-four Jerusem counselors. He acts as the co-ordinator of superhuman administration and is the respected head and universally recognized leader of the celestial beings functioning on Urantia. All orders of angelic hosts regard him as their co-ordinating director, while the united midwayers, since the departure of 1-2-3 the first to become one of the twenty-four counselors, really look upon the successive governors general as their planetary fathers.” (1252.6) 114:3.2

3. Proposition. The Most High observer is empowered to seize authority in times of crisis—and has done so thirty-three times.

“A Most High observer is empowered, at his discretion, to seize the planetary government in times of grave planetary crises, and it is of record that this has happened thirty-three times in the history of Urantia. At such times the Most High observer functions as the Most High regent, exercising unquestioned authority over all ministers and administrators resident on the planet excepting only the divisional organization of the archangels.” (1253.7) 114:4.4

4. Proposition. The cabinet of the governor general consists of twelve seraphim, the chiefs of the special angelic groups.

“The direct administrative cabinet of the governor general consists of twelve seraphim, the acting chiefs of the twelve groups of special angels functioning as the immediate superhuman directors of planetary progress and stability.” (1254.6) 114:5.6

5. Proposition. The reserve corps of destiny consists of persons selected by the superhuman administrators to assist in the conduct of world affairs.

“The reserve corps of destiny consists of living men and women who have been admitted to the special service of the superhuman administration of world affairs. This corps is made up of the men and women of each generation who are chosen by the spirit directors of the realm to assist in the conduct of the ministry of mercy and wisdom to the children of time on the evolutionary worlds. It is the general practice in the conduct of the affairs of the ascension plans to begin this liaison utilization of mortal will creatures immediately they are competent and trustworthy to assume such responsibilities. Accordingly, as soon as men and women appear on the stage of temporal action with sufficient mental capacity, adequate moral status, and requisite spirituality, they are quickly assigned to the appropriate celestial group of planetary personalities as human liaisons, mortal assistants.” (1257.1) 114:7.1

6. Proposition. The reservists unconsciously act as conservators of essential planetary information.

“The reservists unconsciously act as conservators of essential planetary information. Many times, upon the death of a reservist, a transfer of certain vital data from the mind of the dying reservist to a younger successor is made by a liaison of the two Thought Adjusters. The Adjusters undoubtedly function in many other ways unknown to us, in connection with these reserve corps.”(1258.2) 114:7.10

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