the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world
ELEMENTS OF THE STEWARDSHIP
Strengthening the stewardship is an essential duty of the stewards. Their advocacy, by word and example, of the ideals of stewardship is the most important action they can take to that end, and the most important function of this project. But an obvious source of strength for the stewardship is collaboration, and with so many stewards unaware of the whole and its doings, the effectiveness of each is diminished. We as stewards are bound by our own sense of responsibility to cooperate, so that the potential strength of our unity is realized. And so promoting that collaboration is also a function of this project.
Once that principle of collaboration is established, it remains to be decided how the stewards of the world will organize themselves. In fact, there is a multitude of institutions formed in whole or in part to facilitate the practice of stewardship ― governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental. The governmental organizations ― the states of the world and their subsidiaries ― are unfortunately more inclined to the practice of dominion. But the democratic states, at least, reflect the inclinations of their electorates, and there is a considerable minority of stewards in those electorates. Some agencies and provincial or municipal subdivisions of the states are stewardships to some extent. This in turn brings a strong element of stewardship into the intergovernmental organizations, especially those representing the democracies. But even the broadest intergovernmental, the United Nations, is far more enlightened than the mean of the states it comprises. And its agencies enjoy a degree of autonomy that allows their workers to exhibit the progressive beliefs which drew them into a globalist peace institution to begin with.
The nongovernmental organizations, though lacking the tremendous power of the states, are a much greater source of idealism. This is the primary justification for their existence: to balance the pragmatic effectiveness of the states with a principled dedication to high ideals. The stewardship must concern itself with results, but it is not ultimately about compromise. Those high ideals are not a bargaining position, but the place where all must eventually find themselves. The smaller, more idealistic groups must constantly encourage the broader, more conservative elements of society towards the higher ground. And they must take up the tasks which the pragmatic states cannot or will not bother with.
The Stewardship Project, author of this site, came into being with this purpose clearly in mind. It recognizes the need for a voice which speaks to the truth, not merely the transient realities of the temporal world. It resolves to pursue the transcendent ideals which underlie the stewardship, and to advocate their adoption by all. It works for the development of the Stewardship Union, an association of individuals and groups dedicated to the central principles of stewardship.
Among the principles supported by the Union is that of organization itself. The stewards of the world must give thought to the practical necessities of their obligations. The fragmentation of the current situtation, the division within the stewardship by geography and by focus, has two consequences. The first is that the various stewards of the world are not cooperating as they should, are missing opportunities, sacrificing effectiveness, duplicating efforts, and even working at cross purposes. The second is that there are many weak voices for stewardship in its regions and aspects, and no strong voice for the underlying principle of stewardship; this allows, among other things, for the disregard of the full strength of the stewardship. The mitigation for these consequences is, respectively, a network and a coalition of stewards. The network, working properly, will provide coordination and communication; the coalition will speak to the common elements of its constituents.
Such organizations already exist. It is possible to name many local, national, and global networks or coalitions that pursue limited visions of stewardship. But in both cases the limitations are the problem. There is no global network or coalition for stewardship. There is no way to bring the entire strength of the stewardship on Earth to bear on problems which clearly require that strength. There is always a division into aspectual groupings, always a division between public and private, regional and universal, pacifist and interventionist, activist and service-oriented.
The Stewardship Project promotes varying degrees of organization to overcome these divisions. The ultimate goal is a Stewardship of Earth, a long-term ideal of true unity of purpose and action. Until that can come about, there must be an interim alliance of progressive forces, as broadly based as possible, and, most imperatively, a global response force for disaster. And of course, the Stewardship Union figures at the center of this vision; but its principles are beyond what the world is ready to accept, and in the meantime the world suffers. The need to make the stewardship more effective and more efficient remains.
© O.T. FORD
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and O.T. Ford