The United States in Opposition
Daniel P. Moynihan
6"l1TE ARE far from living in a single world community," writes Edward Shils, "but the rudiments of a world society do exist." Among those rudiments, perhaps the most conspicuous, if least remarked, are the emerging views as to what kind of society it is. A measure of self-awareness has appeared, much as it did for smaller polities in earlier times. These assessments tend at the international level to be as diverse as those commonly encountered concerning national societies, or local ones. Some will think the society is good and getting better; others will see it as bad and getting worse. Some want change; some fear it. Where one sees justice, another sees wrong. The notion of a world society is nothing new to Americans. It dominated the rhetoric of World War II, of the founding of the United Nations, of much of the cold war. It is now a received idea, and its impress may be measured by the success with which advocates have found audiences for issues defined in international terms: the world environmental problem; the world population problem; the world food problem. Not a generation ago, these were national issues at most. Much of this internationalist rhetoric is based on things real enough. There is a world ecology; there is a world economy; and some measures important to individual countries can only be obtained through international accord. Thus the concept of interdependence has become perhaps the main element of the new consciousness of a world society. This is a valid basis on which to posit the existence of a society; it is almost a precondition of a society's coming into being. Yet societies rarely stop at the acknowledgment of the need for cooperation which is implied by the term interdependence. The image of a society as a family is a common one, and with reason, for in both cases the idea of cooperation is frequently supplemented or even supplanted by the idea of
DANIEL P. MOYNIHAN...