Paradigm Management for a New International Order of Liberty and Justice: Some Universal Interfaith

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Posted May 23, 2010      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Paradigm Management for a New International Order of Liberty and Justice: Some Universal Interfaith Guidelines

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  President Obama has now followed up his Cairo speech a year ago with another revolutionary call for justice.  Although he focused on the role of the military in his talk at Westpoint on May 22, 2010, he made it clear that “we will be stronger if the world is more just,” and he spoke of an “international order ... of liberty and justice”.  His is a lone voice.  Few people, if any, know what he is talking about, and even he may not know.  He has no support in either of the major parties, but perhaps one must first introduce a new paradigm before one can take action.

  President Obama met massive resistance within his own Administration when he bull-dozed his way to include the word justice in his Cairo speech.  Six times his speech writers took the word out of the carefully managed speech, but each time he put it back in.  When he read the final version of the speech on the flight to Cairo he found that again the word justice had been deleted, so without prior clearance he put it back in with spades by using the word seven times. 

  This is somewhat like President Ronald Reagan, who saw the increasing wealth gap both within and among nations as the major long-range source of threats to America.  He called for a Second American Revolution of institutional reform to broaden capital ownership so that every person would truly own America, rather than a tiny elite.  He horrified the prime movers in his own party by calling for such a revolution, and he never did anything to promote it, but at least he tried to push the boundaries of political correctness.

  Perhaps the U.S. Military Academy was a good place for President Obama to start spreading the concept that justice is the route to order, and not the other way around, that attempts to impose order usually produce only more disorder and make justice impossible. 

  The media may completely miss his point, because he does not spell out what he means.  Nevertheless, by calling for a new “international order” of “liberty and justice” President Obama seems to be tackling the real source of power in Washington and New York and the real arena of think-tanks, which is the art of paradigm management through long-range forecasting and policy-planning. 

  American leadership as a model for civilizational renewal will come not from the imposition of stability through the paradigms of either “conflict control” or “conflict resolution”, but from the pursuit of peace, prosperity, and freedom through the paradigm of faith-based, compassionate justice.

  The essence of justice as a paradigm of thought is developed in the book entitled, The Future of Faith: Rehabilitating the Role of Religion in the World through a New Foundation of Faith-Based, Compassionate Justice, of which the first seven of ten chapters were published online in on May 30 and June 7, 2009, in four parts.  A 32-page condensation of this book is available as Chapter Four, entitled “Universal Principles of Human Responsibilities and Human Rights in the Shari’ah”, in the 710-page textbook, Islam and Muslims, by Mohammad Ali Chaudry and Robert D. Crane. 

  This paradigm has three basic premises.  The first is that the rise and fall of civilizations are determined by challenge and response.  Civilizations rise when they meet challenges and they fall when they do not adequately respond.  The second premise is that the traditional wisdom of the world’s religions is being challenged both from without through the secularization of a new global culture and from within through a self-defeating, radicalized response.  The third basic premise is that the only adequate response to this challenge is the recovery of traditionalist religion as a framework of transcendent justice to guide both domestic and foreign policy.

  The most universal framework of justice as a set of normative guidelines for human responsibilities and human rights was developed over a period of centuries by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars in what are known as the maqasid al shari’ah or universal purposes of transcendent justice.  These irreducible norms or substantive principles of jurisprudence are based on three sources of knowledge, namely, haqq al din, divine revelation through prophets, ‘ain al yaqin, scientific study of the physical universe, and ‘ilm al yaqin, the intellectual or third jihad to understand the coherence of the first two.

  The eight maqasid needed to address all the challenges of secular globalization and to turn globalization into a net benefit for civilizational renewal contain four guiding principles: 1) haqq al din, freedom of religion; 2) haqq al nafs, dignity of the individual person; 3) haqq al nasl, the sacredness of human community; and 4) haqq al mahid, stewardship of the earth.  These serve to guide four implementing principles: 1) haqq al hurriyah, individual and community self-determination, known as political freedom and political justice, through the reform of institutions; 2) haqq al mal, broadened individual ownership of wealth production, known as economic justice, through institutional change designed to narrow the wealth gap within and among nations; 3) haqq al karamah, gender equity; and 4) haqq al ‘aql or haqq al‘ilm, freedom for the pursuit of knowledge.

  These eight components, based on taqwa or loving awareness of God and on ‘adl or love of justice, can best be pursued through: 1) ecumenical dialogue within each religion; 2) interfaith dialogue among them; and 3) global engagement of all religions in solidarity to change the governing paradigm of policy throughout the world from survival through enforced stability to prosperity through compassionate justice.

      The major challenge in the world today is to rehabilitate the essence of religion.  This consists of loving awareness of God and is expressed in love of justice, which are the first two elements of the Islamic creed.  Only by offering this essence of Islam as the essence of all traditionalist religion and as the missing dimension of policy-making can both Muslims and others change the perception of Islam in the West.

  In his first major foreign policy address on Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1983, President Ronald Reagan laid the groundwork for future generations of Americans.  He emphasized our “responsibility to work for constructive change, not merely to preserve the status quo”.  “History,” he declared, “is not a darkening path twisting inevitably toward tyranny. ... It is the growing determination of men and women of all races and conditions to gain control of their own destinies”. 

  President Reagan called American policy makers, both Republican and Democrat, to recognize, as he put it, “the central focus of politics - the minds, hearts, sympathies, fears, hopes, and aspirations not of governments, but of people -the global electorate.”.  He concluded, “The American dream lives - not only in the hearts and minds of our own countrymen, but in the hearts and minds of millions of the world’s people in both free and oppressed societies who look to us for leadership.  As long as that dream lives, as long as we continue to defend it, America has a future - and all mankind has reason to hope”.

  The past record of Muslim failure in changing policies results from the negative strategy of simply opposing existing policies and from short-sighted attempts to change them without changing the agendas that control policies and the paradigms that shape the agendas.

  The only effective strategy is to help renew America.  The only way for Muslims to change the perception of Islam in the West is to work with the visionary leaders, like Presidents Reagan and Obama, to carry out their vision.  In politics, visionary leaders can overcome the seemingly insuperable obstacles and barriers of special interests only if and to the extent that Muslims, Christians, and Jews cooperate in solidarity to turn the essential vision of all religions into reality, in sha’a Allah.


Obama at West Point: ‘Long Hard Road Awaits You’ But U.S. Won’t Go It Alone, Tom Diemer