“Neo-Humanist” statement calls for a global parliament

25. July 2010

The need to develop “transnational planetary institutions to cope with global problems” is one of sixteen main principles included in a statement that was published recently by Paul Kurtz and other prominent humanists. According to the "Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values",   "all members of the planetary community" are "ethically obligated" to "transcend the arbitrary political boundaries of the past and help create new transnational institutions that are democratic in governance and will respect and defend human rights." The document states that these new transnational institutions “will need to adopt a body of laws which will apply worldwide, a legislature to enact and revise these laws, a world court to interpret them, and an elected executive body to apply them.”

Drafted the statement: Paul Kurtz
Image: Wikimedia

The document that includes a call for an “eventual World Parliament” is signed by more than 100 well-known humanists including former U.S. Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, writer Ann Druyan as well as philosophers Rebecca Goldstein, Colin McGinn, Philip Kitcher and Owen Flanagan.

The statement is the latest public declaration of a humanist movement that has been shaped by similar documents in 1933, 1973, and 2000. It is not the first to endorse the notion of a world parliament. The “Humanist Manifesto 2000” that was published ten years ago already elaborated extensively on the need for “new planetary institutions.” Among other things it stated that “we need now more than ever a world body that represents the people of the world rather than nation-states.” The statement concluded that “perhaps a bicameral legislature is the most feasible with both a Parliament of peoples and a General Assembly of nations.”

The new “Neo-Humanist” statement was issued in March of this year, apparently in the context of a schism that is ongoing in the humanist movement. According to the website of the newly established “Institute for Science and Human Values” that is chaired by Paul Kurtz, one of the leading figures in the humanist movement for over 30 years, the statement “will help guide the new organization’s activities.”

Read the Neo-Humanist statement here

Top image: Paul Kurtz at an event in New York in November 2007, by QwirkSilver, Creative Commons (Flickr)