We want our individual responsible freedom and our group security.  In a rather brief space, PlanetHood traces a way to achieve both.  If the human family needs a pep talk to take freedom and security seriously, PlanetHood can serve that purpose in an expeditious way.  We need to replace the law of force with the force of law.

Each of us has a human right above all other rights, a right that makes other rights possible, the right to peace.  We need to proclaim that right loudly and persistently.  What will give us the courage to do that are the importance of the task and a reasonable hope to achieve peace.  PlanetHood explains what must be done and the progress that has been made.

We hardly need to be reminded of the cost of war to families, the environment, the economy.  PlanetHood says the danger of nuclear war has put the price of war today above what any country can afford to pay.  “We must begin to think in planetary terms if we are to find peace.”

What will secure peace?  We have already found that what works on a local and national level are democratically controlled laws, enforcement, and courts.  “Since the U.S. federal government can enforce its laws by direct action against individual citizens, it does not have to depend on states or declare war on a state in order to enforce a policy for the common benefit of all.”

However, as long as we have nation states that fear war from other nation states, we will lack the freedom and security necessary for humanity to grow and prosper.  A united federation of nations on a planetary level would be able to resolve conflicts by law, as the U.S. federal government can within our nation.

This is a key book for world federalists.  Professor Ron Glossop recalls how he and lawyer Mike Kronisch passed out free copies of the first edition in the Soviet Union in 1988 at a law school in St. Petersburg, back when the World Federalist Association and the Soviet Peace Committee had entered into a program of sending small delegations to each other’s countries in alternate years.  Ron says he likes to think that this exchange and maybe even this book had some influence on Soviet Premier Gorbachev’s becoming an outspoken champion of world federation.

Co-author of PlanetHood, Benjamin Ferencz, is a graduate of Harvard Law School, a veteran of World War II, a prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, and an author and teacher.  Ken Keyes was an American personal growth writer and lecturer, and the creator of the Living Love method, a self-help system.

The book concludes with an appendix incorporating an essay by Emery Reeves from his 1945 Anatomy of Peace.  The appendix also chronicles the achievements of the United Nations (“with hands tied behind its back”): the eradication of small pox, the freedom of many peoples from colonization, and the advance in human rights.

Several editions of PLANETHOOD were published.  The most “professional looking” version is the 1991 Trade Paperback Edition published by Love Line Books, Coos Bay, Oregon 97420, entitled PLANETHOOD: THE KEY TO YOUR FUTURE, described in the front as the “Rev. 2nd edition.”  The ISBN is 0-915972-21-2 and 0-915972-14-X.  The library numbers are JX1954.F47 1991 and 327.17-dc20.  A note says that “PlanetHood is not copyrighted.”

Click here to download a searchable version of the book. 

There are eight chapters, each focusing in turn on eight “steps to lasting peace and prosperity”.  Ferencz’s clear aim was to activate readers, to motivate us to implement the eight steps; so as you read, try to think of implications and applications.  We might think, also, of whether this would be a good ‘starter’ book to introduce world governance concepts to newcomers and young people.

A recording of the bookclub discussion can be found here.