World Government: Mere Science Fiction—Or Future Possibility?

A Talk to the 2021 LOSCON (The Los Angeles science fiction convention)
By Tad Daley, JD, PhD, Director of Policy Analysis at CGS

The goal of Citizens for Global Solutions is the establishment of a democratic federal world government, something like a “Federal Republic of Earth” or a “United Federation of Nations.” We envision giving humanity the tools to confront our greatest transnational challenges, to cast war onto the rubble heap of history, and to bring about the political, constitutional, and spiritual unification of humankind.

One reason why we think this goal might one day be achievable is that it has been rendered so believable by countless works in the genre of science fiction. In the talk which I delivered at the annual LOSCON (Los Angeles Science Fiction Convention) in November of 2021, I explore the idea of a world state in the long history of science fiction. The video of the entire talk can be viewed below. Here is a partial transcript:

 “Here’s why I love science fiction. Because of COVID-19, science fiction and fantasy (SFF) conventions, like most everything else, were being conducted virtually during much of 2020 and 2021. Over Memorial Day weekend 2020 I tuned in online to the annual ‘Balticon SFF’ convention, which I attended most every year while living in Washington, DC. I was watching a fine panel with the award-winning young SFF authors R.F. Kuang and Arkady Martine. And when R.F. asked Arkady what she was working on at the moment, she replied: ‘It’s a novel set in the near future—around the 23rd Century.’

“In my field of international politics, the ‘near future’ might be next year’s ‘Summit of the Future’ that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is cooking up for the United Nations—that is, an event occurring not in the 23rd century but in the year 2023!

“I started devouring science fiction when I was a kid. I embraced it because it offered both rollicking good yarns set in fictional future worlds as well as fascinating speculations about the vistas of human possibility. And I discovered, too, almost in passing, that many science fiction works, both in literature and film, contained something like a politically unified human race. Often it wasn’t even what the story was about, but just a background component of the fictional universe built by the author. And almost always, it had an inherent plausibility to it: “A couple hundred years in the future? Of course we’ll abolish war by then. Of course we’ll figure out a way to preserve our climate and maintain a sustainable planetary biosphere by then. Of course we’ll have a United States of the World by then. Maybe by then everyone will be a Citizen of the Galaxy—the title of legendary SF novel by one Robert A. Heinlein. . .”

And so it remains a great mystery to me: Brilliant science fiction writers can make this development seem both desirable and inevitable. Yet why is it that real-world scholars and activists like those of us at Citizens for Global Solutions are so often dismissed as hopelessly utopian when we assert that we ought to chart a course toward the political unity of the human race as an actual historical goal? In my talk before the audience at LOSCON, I introduced the possibility that science fiction might become reality—not just in the realms of science and technology—but in how a future version of the human race might someday organize and govern itself. I wanted to explore just how thoroughly and persuasively science fiction giants like H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov (longtime member of the CGS Advisory Council), and Gene Roddenberry—as well as contemporary authors like Ada Palmer and Becky Chambers—depict the social and political evolution of humankind. I wanted to move us all to dream about brilliant future worlds.

Posted in Global Governance