Dr. Gordon Anderson edited the International Journal of World Peace (IJWP) for 35 its 38 years, and was central to its success and production from the moment of its founding. We are fortunate to have had an important hour with Dr. Anderson, to learn of the history of the journal, and also to move in our conversation into Dr. Anderson’s continued work in the systematic study of institutions, and the preservation or loss of values and culture thereunto related.
Here is the podcast of our Interview with Dr. Anderson (Interview Transcript below)
And here is the YouTube video of this same podcast.
Gordon L. Anderson, Ph. D., Gordon L. Anderson earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion at the Claremont Graduate University, with minors in International Relations and Peace Studies. He holds an M.Div., from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He also served three years in the United States Army.
Anderson has a long experience with the analysis of major political systems as Secretary-General of PWPA. In 1985, he organized with Professors Alexander Shtromas, Morton A. Kaplan and 90 Sovietologists, in Geneva, Switzerland, a conference on “The Fall of the Soviet Empire: Prospects for Transition to a Post-Soviet World.” Observers later stated that this conference not only accurately predicted the end of the Soviet Union but may have helped guide its peaceful transition. In 1987, in the Philippines, with the guidance of Professors Ilpyong J. Kim and Morton A. Kaplan, a similar study with 90 sinologists was conducted on “China in a New Era: Challenges and Opportunities.” Then in 1989, in London, England, with the guidance of Professor Edwards Shils of Cambridge University, he organized a conference of 90 experts on democratic government titled “Liberal Democratic Societies: The Present State and Future Prospects.”
In addition to organizing eight PWPA International Congresses, Anderson has organized or coordinated 380 regional and national PWPA meetings around the world. He helped organize PWPA chapters in 90 countries and traveled internationally extensively in the 1980s and 1990s to promote the development of PWPA.
Anderson also served as President of the Minnesota Legislative Evaluation Assembly, of which he has been a member evaluating the Minnesota legislature since 1999. He is President of Paragon House, a book publishing company, since 1994. He was editor-in-chief of International Journal on World Peace (1993-2021). He was adjunct professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Unification Theological Seminary. He is author of many articles and books, including Philosophy of the United States: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (2004), and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0 (2009).
Gordon L. Anderson is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Good morning, I’m Frank Kaufman, President of The Professor’s World Peace Academy. Welcome to the PWPA Scholars’ Interview series. Well, good morning everyone. I’m Frank Kaufman, the director of the Professor’s World Peace Academy, PWPA, and welcome to the PWPA Scholars’ Interview series. This morning, we’re very fortunate to have Dr. Gordon Anderson with us, and we’ll be covering a number of topics. Just very quickly before we invite him here onto the show, let me give you a word of Professor Gordon Anderson’s life. Dr. Gordon Anderson earned his PhD in Philosophy of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. His minor studies there were International Relations and Peace Studies. As director and secretary general of the Professor’s World Peace Academy, in 1985 he organized with Professors Alexander Stroumass, Morton Kaplan, and ninety Sovietologists in Geneva, Switzerland, a conference entitled The Fall of the Soviet Empire, Prospects for Transition to a Post-Soviet World. This was a controversial topic at the time because it was created during the peak of Soviet influence and dominance in world affairs, a very prophetic meeting. In 1989 in London, England, with the guidance of Professor Edward Shills of Cambridge University, Dr. Anderson organized a conference of ninety experts on democratic government titled Liberal Democratic Societies, the Present State and Future Prospects. Dr. Anderson has also served as president of the Minnesota Legislative Evaluation Assembly of which he has been a member evaluating the Minnesota legislature since 1999. He is president of Paragon House Publishers, a book publishing company since 1994, and he was editor-in-chief of the International Journal on World Peace, IJWP, from 1993 until just a few short weeks ago. Please join me to welcome to our program, Dr. Gordon Anderson. Hi, Dr. Anderson, welcome to our PWPA podcast.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Pleasure to be here.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Thanks. I always feel a little funny and a little awkward that I would ever be welcoming you to anything related to PWPA. I should always kind of be at the foot of your throne because the organization had all of its greatest moments during the time of your tenure as its leader and all that you did for it over the years.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah. PWPA did a lot of activities and, you know, all the founding members have now passed away so it’s not the same.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah. Hopefully the work that’s happened over the course of the years has made enduring changes and continues to impact the world. So I have a few things in mind for us as we proceed. I’m going to see if I can access them on my screen because that’s where my notes lie. If not, we may have to change a bit. Okay, that’s good. I am able to see it so I’ll proceed from those. The last time we were together, right at the beginning of this podcast series for PWPA, you and I had an interview and it was a little bit of some of the stuff we’re going to get into again. You were talking about the social and political systems related to health. It was right at the beginning of the COVID, not at the beginning, but as the COVID pandemic started to show some of its politicization in the health industry and in public communications. I had you on and we did a very important interview in my estimation on human health and your unique insights. You were comparing the health universe or the health industry, similar to an individual as an organized system. Do you remember that conversation?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, an individual is a biological system and a social institution is a human system and its cells are made up of the people that make it up. And we understand human beings pretty well throughout history. We’ve got the ten commandments, we’ve got others, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle and others coming down through history where we understand human nature and human biology pretty well but we don’t understand social institutions that well. They’re just sort haphazardly organized and in order to work, they have to be held together in a way that you could say is analogous to the human body which is another system.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And so that’s what I think I might have been talking about. The healthcare system, whether it’s run by a government or whether it’s run by a corporation or whether it’s run by any institution other than individual doctors, you have to bring the understanding of how social institutions work into the discussion.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Right. I’m going to link to that interview now that I’m being reminded of it in this conversation, because I think that you had a comparison. It was a very interesting parallel between viruses that can invade institutions similar to the way viruses can invade human beings. And that’s a little bit where we were going and you were discussing the health industry along those lines with the metaphor of virus or perhaps even the reality of virus.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah, I think that is the reality of the virus, but based on the system that’s got the virus. So a biological virus, of course, attacks the human body or other animals, whereas a computer virus attacks the operating system or some other part of computer software and redirects it for another purpose that is not what it’s intended. And of course, that can drag down computers. So when I wrote my book, Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness 4.0, I began with an introduction of how the government as a social institution also has been plagued by viruses. The US founders set up an operating system based on the Constitution which had a value system based on the Declaration of Independence. So the Constitution and the laws they created were to enable a governing institution to achieve the values of the Declaration of Independence. And that has been hijacked and circumvented and sidestepped for 200 years. Ever since the founders created that, people have been trying to get around it and use the government for their own purposes, use the treasury for their own purposes.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes. And so when a serious epidemic or a serious threat to the stability of society like the recent pandemic happens, then all the corruption and corrosion and infiltration that you described happening over the centuries becomes strained. We realize that we haven’t maintained the strength and stability needed to respond to a major crisis like we’re in the middle of now.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: That’s exactly correct. I think people, as long as things are going well, they don’t worry about the government. They go and cast their vote once every four years, but they don’t think about it. First, the election of Donald Trump and then the pandemic, these threw monkey wrenches at people that helped them understand how the system has been failing. Initial reactions were very superficial by most people, but as we go along, people are more studying and realizing that there are systemic problems, that there are problems with political parties and the way we vote and many other things that have been hijacked. The government’s been hijacked over the years and we see the effects of that in politics today.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes. Well, you’ve dedicated a lot of your life very seriously to the careful study of political and social reality and have produced a lot of good writing and insightful writing on these. If we have time, on the second half of our interview here, we may get to some of that because it seems like what I’ve been reading about, systems analysis of institutions, bears heavily on similar types of issues as you’ve just mentioned.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes. Yes.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Good. Well, let’s see if we get to that. I’m sure we will, but what I wanted to do with the first part of our interview is kind of speak to you. You seem to be managing it well, not mourning or grieving, but for many of us it feels like a sad moment. It probably has to be acknowledged at least a little bit as a sad moment because the International Journal of World Peace just published its final issue. And what was it, the winter of ’21? What is the name of that issue? Fall of ’21 or?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: December 2021. Yes, that’s the last issue after thirty-eight years of publication.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: That’s an amazing commitment, an amazing period of time, an amazing longevity. I’m sure there must be great journals in the academy that have a long history, but it’s hard to get a longer one than that. That’s thirty-eight years of publication. And so December of 2021 was the final issue.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes, it was a sad moment, but it’s something I’ve come to terms with. One of our founders, Dr. Richard Rubenstein, once told me that you have to know the things you can control and what you can’t control. And one thing I can’t control is my aging and I’ve got problems with my eyes that make it more difficult to continue to publish the journal as well as the lack of funding from traditional sources. In fact, all the people that had funded the journal have passed away.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Amazing, amazing. Life goes on. Dr. Rubenstein was a great mentor to many of us. The few words that would come now and then, and they endure and they guide us. One of the things I was thinking about, a sad moment is, it would be counted as a sad moment when the last of your children move out of the house in a way, right? But these are things that mature and they have their next phases and next steps.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes. He was one of the last of our founding board members to sort of move out of the house, but I have known him for many, many years and he’s certainly been a mentor as many of the others who have been advisors to the journal for many years.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah, I will bring them up. I want to ask about just any anecdotes and anything we can learn from the very elegant relationship you maintained that was professional and also like a family with many of those gentlemen and ladies like Dr. Mrs. Rubenstein.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: I was just going to say, indeed, it’s like family. I have stayed at the homes of almost all the people I mentioned in the farewell to the journal, the last issue. And last time I saw Morton Kaplan at his house, he gave me a big hug and an autographed copy of his most recent book. Panas Bartis, the original editor, had me to his home with our whole family and his family together. Then Alex Stroumas, our family stayed at his house, and Dr. Rubenstein, just a couple years before he passed away, invited me for the Friday night meal. That’s so important to Jews. And I put on the little…
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: It’s a beautiful tradition. There’s nothing like it on earth to be in the home of an observant Jewish family and to participate in the Seder. It’s wonderful. Yeah, being in one another’s homes, there’s a certain intimacy and vulnerability. It’s really opening your doors and it’s a step beyond every other type of collaboration. This is who we are and we show ourselves to you. It’s in a way your family, in a way, this kind of experience.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah, I was surprised before Professor Stroumas passed away, he was dying. He knew he was terminally ill and a package came in the mail with a bunch of photographs. And it said, “friends should have such things.”
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Isn’t that great? Where did he live, Dr. Stroumas?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: At that time, he was teaching at Hillsdale College and living in Hillsdale, Michigan.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Oh, I see. Wonderful. I didn’t know he taught at Hillsdale.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Oh, yes.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Oh, that’s wonderful. And that was the last of where he concluded his public professional and academic life there at Hillsdale?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah, he started in Russia, had some of the best training in the law school at the University of Moscow and spoke several languages. But he didn’t get along with the people in power in the ‘70s and immigrated to England and he joined PWPA there and became not too long after, the chairman of PWPA in England. And then he moved to the United States. He had, I think, a one- or two-year stint at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: And his role with the journal?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: His role with the journal was as an advisor on the advisory board but he contributed several articles as well as recommended and reviewed other articles.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: It was really a great team. We could count on each other or you could count on your colleagues. It was a joint effort even though it had the classical titles and positions. In your farewell letter or kind of, I believe, how was it called? Letter from the Editor or?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Farewell to the International Journal on World Peace. It was a subtitle in my “From the Editor, Introduction”
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: In the journal itself, yes. The kind of the list that I saw was Panos Bardos, Morton Kaplan and Nicholas Kier in that order. Is that how the team was led over time, passing one to the other?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, Panos Bardos was the first editor and he had been editor of The International Social Science Review. So when we when PWPA decided it was going to publish a journal at a meeting in the early house in 1983, Panos who edited the International Social Science Review volunteered and was chosen by the others there to head this project up because he was already a known editor in the social sciences and he taught sociology at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: I see. Now, did that overlap? Did he maintain both journals for a period of time?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: He did maintain both journals. I think that he quit the International Social Science Review a little sooner when he became ill because he didn’t have someone like me helping him with that one.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Okay.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And then by 1993, he had to retire from our journal and then I took over.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Okay. So he was the founding editor-in-chief or editor and you were his partner right at his right-hand shoulder helping him.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes, I was managing editor. I made sure everything got published. He sent the articles to me and I made sure they got typed out and subscriptions and things like that.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah. And then because he had a person like you, although he had to retire from the prior journal that he ran, what was it again? Social Science?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: International Social Science Review.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: He probably stopped that two or three years sooner.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: So he could keep at the work with a steady hand at his side like you and then when he retired from that, then you inherited the position as editor at that point.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes, I did. And I had a PhD with a minor in International Relations and Peace Studies so I had kind of educationally groomed myself for that position.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: And actually you maintained a lot of publishing responsibilities, not only the journal but also you produced a lot of books.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes. As secretary general of the Professors World Peace Academy, we were involved in sponsoring a lot of academic conferences that led to conference proceedings and other books by members of the academy that attended those meetings or sent in articles that we published. And we had a line of Professors World Peace Academy books and International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences books that I was involved in editing and publishing with Paragon House, and then later ended up with Paragon House publishing as well.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Right. So after time passed, over the course of time, you were both the editor of the IJWP, The international Journal of World Peace and Paragon House Publishers. You were the senior editor or what? What was the title of your position with Paragon?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, I eventually became the president.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Very good.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Paragon House was originally founded to support the academic endeavors of ICUS and PWPA but as those activities waned, it also had an independent line but became a totally independent press at that time under my leadership.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes. And so under your leadership, you begin to start to work with the scholarly community in the same arena of Peace Studies and Social Sciences, but now it’s just a pure house of finding writers, writers finding you and you getting books out.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah, more like a traditional independent publishing company.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Very good. Earlier on, you mentioned in passing as we were discussing the final issue of IJWP, funding. And I’m wondering, this must be characteristic of the field, perhaps, that a lot of journals would be facing similar types of challenges and I guess they’re responding in different ways going only online. Can you tell us about the field in general a little bit?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, most academic journals traditionally were founded by organizations. So Professors World Peace Academy had the International Journal on World Peace and the American Political Science association would have its journal, the Psychological Association, the American Academy of Religion, each of these organizations to which scholars belonged would produce articles that pretty much explained the state of the art in the field. They were traditional and institutional. When we talk about institutions, the journals are themselves institutions or they reflect the value system of the institution as well as the evolution of those institutions. So as new discoveries are made in a field, they probably change the nature of the state of knowledge in that field. But one thing that really has happened in the last thirty years is the acquisition of some of these traditional journals by financial interests, by investors, by large publishers that want to have a line of journals. And the problem with that is there has become a loss of the main goal and value system underpinning each journal as the goal of the owners now becomes profit.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: That’s so interesting.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: So journals, in a sense, I don’t think are as pure or representative. And they can be more politicized or articles chosen based on profitability for some owner that’s not even in the field of the journal.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And it’s a big problem.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah. You mentioned professional associations, of course and university departments themselves have renowned journals as well.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: The Harvard Law Review or Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah. So those are departments of colleges, but also like the University of Chicago had a critical journal that was transdisciplinary. It was for the school itself.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And not just for a department.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: What you mentioned about the acquisition of journals, it kind of was a blow to the heart in a way because every field suffers from that now. Everything has become a calculated monetization design that has severed the core idea of the very thing itself from serving any type of community.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And that leads to institutional dysfunction, whether it be a journal or whether it be a mom-and-pop store that wants to give like a family restaurant that gets acquired or put out of business by a chain of restaurants. And then what happens is you lose the personal and community aspect that institution originally served. And it becomes depersonalized and decisions are made on Wall Street that might depend totally on how something can be done more profitably or efficiently. They no longer care about the purpose.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Right. It’s very painful. I think a big issue has been during the pandemic, the complete decimation or wiping out of small businesses and just the centralization of all production and distribution. The entire market has come down.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Not only that, but when you have institutions that conglomerate so that you have like CBS television, Simon and Schuster Books, I forget if it’s AT&T or some large internet carrier all combined under one group and the ownership might be 50% Chinese. And the advertising for say CBS, their revenue comes 8% from pharmaceutical companies. So if CBS is going to analyze something like the pandemic with independence, they can’t really do that. And it gets shown that they don’t do that. They basically tow the line of the advertisers because the advertiser, if they’re somebody that contributed much to the bottom line of CBS, could actually cause it to go out of business by pulling funding. They can hold it hostage to its mission.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: It’s overwhelming just trying to even step onto the threshold of how corrections or solutions might be found in the face of this. I live very close to Manhattan Island. There’s one township between the East River and my township. Mine is Sunnyside and Long Island City sits between us. Now, Long Island City has become a home of real estate and high rises that’s going to rival Manhattan Island itself. It’s just springing forth to become an independent skyline between me and what was once the Manhattan skyline. But the thing about that eruption of high rises and buildings is that it’s no longer a particular individual or a landlord buying property and building the buildings so that you would have some character to either having office space or residential space there, you’d be dealing with a person who owned the building. Now there’s these ultra-wealthy conglomerates that are utterly unrelated to the fact that they’re providing residential space. It’s just generated by computers for every profit to every penny to every kind of derivative and things like that. And so even life itself, where you live, has fallen into the hands of some group of people who may never, they probably come from China, they may never visit New York and yet they are coming to own it rather than you see a building called the Macy’s building or the Gimble’s building. This is just a time gone by.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: And whether that’s sustainable or not is a big question because when you undercut the community and local levels of society and try to make it just the individual and the global conglomerate, it doesn’t really work. You can imagine how efficiently the federal government would plow your driveway. And yet people often, in order to shove off responsibility, tend to ask higher levels of government to do things but they don’t really understand that each level of governance, each level of size in a conglomerate, has to have its own integrity if that whole conglomerate is to survive.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes, exactly. Exactly.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: That’s why some people talk about systemic failure of the United States today. I just recently saw an article questioning whether the United States was under systemic collapse. And the answer is many of the institutions are and many of the institutions are not remaining true to their purpose or they’re not acting in a way in the entire system where they serve like each cell in the human body serving its purpose. All these institutions have to organize in a way that each serves as organs of society rather than trying to run the whole society themselves. And yet many of them try to do that.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah. I think you’ve long been a champion. Very early on, I recall reading you on the necessity of systematic mediating institutions from smallest to largest. And there’s a big gap between the individual and the state, and there’s not the mediating institutions each with their own sovereignty that are sufficient to protect the organism at its size. And when you have that big gap, you’re perfectly vulnerable.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: That’s a big problem and you could use the example of local police versus state police quite easily because local police live in the town with the people they serve, they would not inappropriately draw a gun or view the people as enemies or criminals as terrorists because they actually live in the town with them and know who they are and have face to face relations. And yet you see that some of the recent trends after George Floyd of wanting to almost defund local police and ask for national police to come in. And then you have national police viewing citizens more like an army views people in occupied territory. Like the US troops might have viewed citizens of Afghanistan. US troops might view people in Sunnyside the same way.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: It’s absolutely correct and when I was thinking about the little example I came up with on the fly about this city emerging between me and Manhattan, the only thing people look to as some sort of protection against people invading where you live with no interest in where you live is equally far away. They want the politicians to legislate against it. The only recourse people have is to politicians and even that’s a little too distant. There are not enough cohesive social institutions that correspond between me and even my local government and representative.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: That’s true. The Principle of Subsidiarity kind of explains it. The idea of the Principle of Subsidiarity is the greatest responsibility to the lowest possible level of governance. So what you can do, you don’t ask somebody else to do for you. Now, what your community can do, you don’t ask the state to do it for you. So we used to have community schools where the parents set up the school and they’re definitely concerned about how their children grow up because they’re their children and they want them to succeed, they want them to become independent, they want them to become good citizens. But if suddenly the state takes over the school because people don’t want to fund it, but they’d rather defer their responsibility to some higher level that has money, then what happens is that the state will eventually take that curriculum and turn it into indoctrination. And the people who are in charge of the curriculum have no personal relationship with the children, but may be coming out of college with some theory of education they want to test on people. And therefore you end up not caring the way the local community would care and you end up also in the case of a school, you would not want really the children to become citizens that could throw out the bureaucrats, that had integrity to throw out the bureaucrats because the bureaucrats have a vested interest in keeping their position. So in a sense, they don’t watch citizens. They just want voters that they can control.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Right. The way history and social sciences would be taught would be to support the system that they’re trying to keep themselves in power.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Right. And that’s the opposite of democracy where the people are wanting the government to reflect the principles they believe in.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes. I think you and I both agree with the starting assumption or arguable assumption that it’s somehow rooted in spiritual or religious origin points that have some guides for living a healthy life in the world, building healthy societies, being healthy individuals and so forth. Each major cultural sphere is rooted in some core scripture so people would imagine that the US, although it is a multi-religious society with the guaranteed rights of religious freedom of every believer and even non-believers, still it’s often been understood that its earlier roots until recent times would be affirmed as Judeo-Christian, for example. Perhaps in some middle Eastern societies, the ideals of a healthy and good society would be founded in say the Quran or Muslim culture, Hindu culture, and so on and so forth. So if this tendency or trend to the centralization or federalization of control over daily life is improper or kind of heading to an ever more severe application of kind of citizens being controlled by those without familiarity or interest in their circumstances, would you imagine that there’s any particular spiritual or religious or scriptural groundwork that could start to be a voice towards a correction of this direction, a correction of the ills that we’ve just identified?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, first of all, the way I view things, society is in three spheres. There are three social spheres. The sphere of governance, the sphere of culture and the sphere of the economy, and each of these operate on different principles.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Say that again, please. One more time?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Governance. The principle that underlies governance is force of law and force. There is a cultural sphere and what underlies culture is love, relationships, knowledge, and human pursuit. What underlies the economic sphere is the market, ownership and exchange of goods and services and production.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yes.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: So with these three spheres, each has their own underlying principle and we see rampant trespass of one sphere over the other. So religion is in the cultural sphere. You talked about the traditional religions. They’re all in the cultural sphere. They’ve all given us knowledge, both internal and sometimes external knowledge that enable civilization to function. If you look at each of the main spheres of civilization, they all have sufficient values and rules and underpinning and consciousness that allows that civilization to exist. Whereas if you have a government call that religion as obsolete or outdated and you just want squash all those values with the governmental sphere or some large corporate behemoth, as we were talking about before wanting to squash all those values with economic control, then with the suppression of that cultural sphere will lead to complete social dysfunction and collapse ultimately.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Collapse into tyranny, I guess.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Well, yes. You would first have tyranny and totalitarianism and then that cannot stand probably more than two or three generations, and you have collapsed. So you might have the total disappearance of civilization. Today, what we see is more like a neo-feudalism developing where with the collapse of the Roman empire and the value system that underpinned it, you had feudal lords buying up all the land so that no individuals or middle class controlled their own destiny anymore. People that had their own farms were now surfs on the land of some feudal Lord. And this is what’s happening in a way in the industrial and corporate sector today where these mom- and-pop businesses are going out of business and you’re having feudal Lords. You might say that the Davos Conference clientele represents a meeting of modern feudal Lords in many ways.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: I get it. I understand. Best laid plans.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: We’ve sidetracked but these are important conversations.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: No, I’m happy to go where we’ve gone because it’s in a special expertise of yours and it’s an urgent voice and knowledge that needs to be out there so I’m very pleased with where we’ve come. But in terms of any hope, given the directions and trends and problematic decisions or events which have happened, where would you find a voice of hope or of correction or an advocacy or what an individual could do, what a listener could do? Because I’m sure you don’t see it as just a juggernaut that’s inescapable, that it’s a lost cause. What would we draw from to be responsive to trying to prevent these types of outcomes?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: I think we have to address institutional failures and we have to do that one at a time, from the local level all the way up to the federal and world level institutions. And we have a very poor understanding of institutions, the dynamics within them and how to control them. As I mentioned before, we have the ten commandments in Western Civilization for individual behavior, which are important for individuals to live together in some society. But now we have all these institutions which have more power and more control. They also make things more efficient and possible to live in larger numbers in complex societies, but only if they’re functioning properly. And so we have large populations in the world because of institutions but we don’t understand how they work. And you might remember Ronald Reagan saying there’s nothing more closer to eternal life than a bureaucratic institution. And that’s because we don’t know how to kill them, we don’t know how to keep them on track. Almost every institution we see being hijacked by ideological people with ideological motives or people with big egos that want to use the organization for their own personal purpose and these things destroy institutions. And that’s why in the last issue of the journal, one of the things we are pushing for or hoping for is that in the future, there will be a better study of institutions and the article by Don Trishaw in the final issue of the International Journal on World Peace gets at some of the core components that have to be understood and should be the kind of things that are talked about in the media. When we look at the failure of the government to do this or to do that, you have to look at whether the process itself is even functioning.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Got it. Well, I took in Don Trishaw’s piece. It starts with an introduction of institutional values transmission (IVT). It’s one of the things which you say is needed if we’re hoping to make some corrections. What I’d like to do, Gordon, is schedule a time to dedicate ourselves directly on what you are presenting here as a possible remedy for protecting ourselves from the type of collapse or surrender into totalitarian structures. And so if we can schedule a part two sometime in the near future, I would love that. Is that a possibility?
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Certainly is. This is my area of interest right now and what I feel is probably one of the most important issues facing the world.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Of the day.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: So although I couldn’t hold us fast and okay with that to the saints and giants that underlie a thirty-eight-year run for a great journal, we did honor them a touch. Let’s have a kind of a reverential farewell to a magnificent career and work that you held from day one and kept going until this recent issue.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yeah. I could have mentioned a couple of the other fellows and some of the other things that we learned along the way that I thought were very important and are all part of this discussion so we can.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Yeah. We’ll invite them back in part two.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Yes.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: But this was educational for me and I’m sure it will be for the listeners. And we’re really grateful to Dr. Anderson that you offered your time for us today.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Thank you very much.
Dr. Frank Kaufmann: Okay. Bye for now.
Dr. Gordon Anderson: Goodbye.