It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Following two world wars that killed tens of millions and laid large parts of entire countries to waste, the concept of a strong United Nations that would act as an arbiter and — to the extent it had power — policeman seemed appealing to those for whom memories of conflict were still fresh. Such an entity had the potential to secure a more peaceful future the world over.

But although the United Nations may arguably have succeeded in its mission of keeping the peace, at least on a worldwide scale (as witnessed by the lack of a global conflict since World War II), a tendency to branch out from simple peacekeeping into areas that might most accurately be called social engineering has been troubling to those particularly in the pro-life and pro-family movements.

A number of UN-affiliated organizations have arisen over the decades that have sought ostensibly to improve the human condition in its various facets – from economics (the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) to the state of the world’s children (the United Nations Emergency Children’s Fund) and so on.

With the collapse of Communism and the dissipation of the Cold War, the UN’s world peacekeeping function gradually moved into the background, to be replaced with an emphasis on social improvement, poverty relief, and so on. Unfortunately, among these noble attempts at improving humanity’s lot slipped in some causes that were not so virtuous in nature.

Anyone who has followed the world scene for any length of time is well familiar with the anti-population agendas that have arisen and the development of a tendency to unify everything under a global ethic that isn’t necessarily in line with life, family, moral or godly concerns. In this issue of The Interim, you’re reading about how these troubling tendencies have evolved and advanced even further. A “universal right to abortion” is now being enunciated, while the rich countries of the world band together under the banner of the OECD to discuss ways of breaking down investment barriers between countries and, in effect, make the world a corporation’s playground.

On the surface, the universal right to abortion seems to be much more a threat to human life issues than the Multi-Lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). But when we look closely, we see that these developments are part of the same pot – an overall move toward creating one, unified world free of division.

The problem lies in the sort of ethic that is supposed to underlie that unity. Unity requires that, in cases where division exists, various sides of an issue submit to a solution not necessarily in line with what they believe. In this respect, it’s not surprising that pro-life and pro-family advocates have to give up the most. It also means that pro-life and pro-family advocates have to stick to their principles, even if it means being party poopers in the headlong rush toward the much-ballyhooed “One World.”

Indeed, is it any surprise that Planned Parenthood has thrown in its lot with a bunch of other international organizations taking part in a “one world” Internet site?

The bottom line is that the right of an innocent human being to live is above any negotiation or sacrifice called for toward the goal of global unity. Similarly, commitment to the principle of the traditional family – a mother and father with children – cannot be given up in the cause of a shallow unity among nations.

If the UN can’t accept the right of every human being to be born and live a full life until natural death, or the traditional concept of the family, then perhaps it is the UN that should change. The Lord knows, there are more than enough reasons for the UN to change, even apart from life-family issues.

We saw, for example, how at the UN’s women’s conference in Beijing, China in 1995, democratic processes were being scuttled and the sabotage of pro-family elements was taking place. Or, more recently, we have seen how the Canadian general in charge of UN forces in Rwanda during the time of the genocide there is questioning UN leadership in preventing that tragedy.

Perhaps, then, the UN’s time is past. Or perhaps it needs to be roped back into playing a basic peacekeeping purpose. Either way, pro-life/pro-family forces have to stay the course and not be drawn into pursuing phantom dreams of utopia on earth — dreams that may turn into a nightmare.