Does Our Human Family Need Another Renaissance?

Our colleague, Professor Emeritus Doran Hunter, who taught government, administrative law and jurisprudence for many years, has applied the process of seeking a “re-birth,” – a renaissance – to the U.S. as a remedy for its current travails.

I attach his essay here.

His suggestion may have broader application.

The COP27 gathering of leaders to reduce warming of our atmosphere was notable for its limited results, more in the line of charity for poor countries than investment in promising new technologies.

In China, the people’s resentment of one-party autocratic micro-management of individual lives expressed itself in protests.  The critique of Xi Jinping’s reimposition of an imperial order is an uncompromising rejection of its moral legitimacy.

In Iran, the news is of the regime surrendering its religiously grounded theory of restricted social intercourse for women, restrictions enforced by a special police force.

In Russia, Putin has refused to go along with long standing principles of international law and respect for others.

In the U.K., parliamentary governance is showing signs of wear and tear after 300 years,

Failure of the state’s capacity to provide law and order is worrisome in South Africa and Mexico. The Taliban has not yet brought well-being to Afghanistan.  Several million citizens have left and in 2023, more are expected to join them in leaving their homelands in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to illegally enter the U.S.

If systems are experiencing stress and entropic decline, they need to be replaced with others energized by a better vision of the good.

An impressive effort to build anew a capable civilizational dynamic which, over several centuries, produced our modern civilization, began with a return to first principles – the Italian Renaissance.

Wikipedia notes that “The intellectual basis of the Renaissance was its version of humanism, derived from the concept of Roman humanitas and the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras, who said that “man is the measure of all things.”  This new thinking became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature.”

In many ways, the thinking of the Caux Round Table on moral capitalism and moral government has been inspired by the very humanism associated with that effort at “re-birth,” but now generalized in association with many other wisdom traditions.

With this scope for its importance to all of us, I commend to you Doran’s essay.