For 9/11

This seemed appropropriate to re-post today, the tenth anniversary of the event which inspired its need. The problems we are to overcome seem more prevalent and prominent today.

This statement was issued by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States in December 2001 as a response to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. It first appeared as a full-page statement in The New York Times on December 21, 2001 and was subsequently reprinted in dozens of other newspapers around the country.

At this time of world turmoil, the United States Baha’i community offers a perspective on the destiny of America as the promoter of world peace.

More than a hundred years ago, Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, addressing heads of state, proclaimed that the age of maturity for the entire human race had come. The unity of humankind was now to be established as the foundation of the great peace that would mark the highest stage in humanity’s spiritual and social evolution. Revolutionary and world-shaking changes were therefore inevitable.

The Baha’i writings state:

“The world is moving on. Its events are unfolding ominously and with bewildering rapidity. The whirlwind of its passions is swift and alarmingly violent. The New World is insensibly drawn into its vortex….Dangers, undreamt of and unpredictable, threaten it both from within and from without. Its governments and peoples are being gradually enmeshed in the coils of the world’s recurrent crises and fierce controversies….The world is contracting into a neighborhood. America, willingly or unwillingly, must face and grapple with this new situation. For purposes of national security, let alone any humanitarian motive, she must assume the obligations imposed by this newly created neighborhood. Paradoxical as it may seem, her only hope of extricating herself from the perils gathering around her is to become entangled in that very web of international association which the Hand of an inscrutable Providence is weaving.”

The American nation, Baha’is believe, will evolve through tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of the cause of everlasting peace. This is the peace promised by God in the sacred texts of the world’s religions.

Establishing peace is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace.

Universal acceptance of the spiritual principle of the oneness of humankind is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace.

Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace.
The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality of the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged, prerequisites of peace.

The inordinate disparity between rich and poor keeps the world in a state of instability, preventing the achievement of peace.

Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole.

Religious strife, the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts throughout history, is a major obstacle to progress. The challenge facing the world’s religious leaders is to contemplate, with hearts filled with compassion and the desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their God, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.

Baha’is pray, “May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the standard of the Most Great Peace.”

During this hour of crisis, we affirm our abiding faith in the destiny of America. We know that the road to its destiny is long, thorny and tortuous, but we are confident that America will emerge from her trials undivided and undefeatable.

The source of the above text of The Destiny of America and the Promise of World Peace.

Healthcare

Lorenia posted a funny video about the United States health care system being ranked #37. I briefly looked at The world health report 2000 – Health systems: improving performance. It is a 1.73MB PDF.

I’d like to better understand both the claims that the United States has the best or 37th best health care system in the world. Unfortunately the WHO report is 200 pages and has more about car crash deaths in the United States than what they mean by responsiveness level (25% of the overall level of health). Responsiveness appears to be dependent upon expectation, so we could all just stop complaining about wait times, autonomy, and not want our own hospital rooms to improve our ranking.

Except the WHO might not produce any more reports after this first one because it was too complex compiling the first one. Charts compare  1990 through 1999, so really the United States was ranked 37th in the 90s. The age of this number bothers me. How have reforms in the United States and worldwide changed the number? Let’s assume no change, do proponents of United States health care reform really expect their favorite bills to get us a better ranking than 33rd in 2015 once this is fully implemented?

There is also the Commonwealth Fund 2006 report placing the United States dead last among 5 industrial nations regarding health care. Their donor page shows millions invested in the CF to improve health care in the United States and New York. Seems a little myopic for an organization funded to improve health care to say health care needs improving.

Does the United States have health care issues? Sure. In my opinion the real problems is all this talking without something like Baha’i consultation (everyone participates, objectivity, detachment, unity). Similar to research indicating workers without the ability to make decisions experience more stress, patients and doctors without autonomy get stressed. Instead we have explicit policies creating a incomprehensible environment where people are hurt inadvertently because systems are cold and uncaring.