The trend of civilisation is toward integration of national communities rather than toward increasing separation. The great humanist tradition of toleration has never been merely a device of expediency, it embodies respect for the claims of others, and a commitment to work towards agreement. History justifies this practical faith in man. In great measure, the problems of every nation have become the problems of all, and the present need for mutual toleration, expressed in restraint and in international cooperation, is widely accepted.
No one economic or political formulation is universally applicable, or ever will be. American democracy is not identical with British democracy. The planning necessities of India are different from those of France. However, all genuinely democratic endeavours are pointed toward the accomplishment of more equitable and effective societies.
Conquest is obsolete, and even the Great Powers are beginning to recognise this. Inasmuch as one may prefer early and complete disarmament, it must be recognised that this can only be an ultimate goal approached by the economic and political efforts toward betterment.
To outwit other governments has traditionally been considered a legitimate pursuit. It fulfils psychological needs, but at the same time it is evidence of inner insecurity. The thesis that advantage can be attained only by disadvantaging others must be replaced, indeed, in part it has been. Every human transaction, material or moral, can be made to produce advantages to all concerned.
We should aim at making this a universally applied test.
The next decade is likely to be dominated by transitional techniques in international relations. The emphasis on outwitting will not disappear, but it may be moderated. There is today a powerful trend in the direction of emancipating mankind from narrow political, economic, and religious dogmas, and of promoting confidence in the humanity common to mankind. This trend should be strengthened so that the new approach may have the opportunity to prove itself, now that shortsighted methods have been discredited.
The humanist movement appeals to all men and women who recognise the reality is and needs of the time to work for the enlightenment and emancipation which are the spiritual conditions of a world order, without which mankind cannot prosper, and may not survive.
IHEU congress 1962
'A new perspective in international life', Humanists International, World Humanist Congress, Oslo, Norway, 1962