American Preface to
A Declaration of Global Responsibility
By David Gruder, Ph.D.
Wide-ranging reactions to the events of September 11, 2001, have made it clear that although most of the people in the world oppose terrorism, there is considerable conflict over how to best address this problem. I believe that this is because we are collectively awaiting the articulation of the underlying principles that can guide us in creating a solution; principles that strike a common chord in our hearts and give us a collective sense of purpose, direction and empowerment.
Being a responsible citizen in the U.S. today means trying to navigate the dwindling waters of a river that flows between the steep banks of "nuke 'em" and "they're only violent because they're oppressed." But these two extremes, while they garner media attention, do not represent what most people really feel. The time has therefore come to articulate a new doctrine, a fresh way that responds to the realities of the times in which we live and can be used to guide the thinking, commitments, strategies and actions of a civilized world dedicated to enduring peace and prosperity for all.
As Americans, we know that a visionary and idealistic document can spark great things. The United States Constitution was just such a document. The framers of our Constitution understood the need for a highly principled doctrine. In creating that amazing document they galvanized a new country in such a powerful way that this document has not only served the US well ever since, but it has become an inspiration to other countries around the world.
The U.S. was founded on the bedrock of religious freedom and ethnic diversity. Even if we Americans take them for granted, these qualities are a large part of what makes our country a beacon to part of the world... and a threat to other parts of the world. (Being a "threat" in this way is an extremely positive thing in the long run, but it's also one of many factors contributing to present anti-American sentiment among some.
Demonstrating that a country can be durable and prosperous when it values a climate of religious freedom, acceptance of ethnic diversity and equal rights for all may well be America's greatest gift to the world — even moreso than our economic abundance, our political reach or our military might.
The events and aftermath of 9/11 have made it clear that the time has come to create a new document to guide us. It must be just as principled as the Constitution, but this additional document would not be for the U.S. alone — it would be for the entire world. Because such a document's purpose would be to provide a guiding light, it would not set out specific strategies and actions to be taken, but would instead outline the core values and intentions that will guide our choice of actions.
I have attempted to compose such a doctrine based on psychologically sound principles that are rooted in the concept of responsibility. This document endeavors to identify beliefs that contribute to violence and terrorism, no matter how reasonable, common or politically correct these beliefs used to seem—or may still seem—to some citizens of our planet. It also seeks to articulate values that can create an end to violence and terrorism.
In the accompanying document, I first will explain the assumptions about terrorism and fanaticism that underlie this new doctrine. Then I will set out the ten crucial principles of the new Declaration of Global Responsibility.
In closing this preface, I feel obligated to add that it continues to be my experience that frighteningly few Americans recognize how out-of-step with the rest of the world, including Western Europe, the American leadership (be it Democratic or Republican) is perceived to be. Our media know full well that they keep the American public egregiously insulated from coverage that would enable Americans to develop the more well-rounded international perspective necessary for Americans to have informed opinions about international matters.
The reason I know this is that when I am abroad and watch, for example, CNN Europe, the stories they report and the ways they report them are far more balanced and complete than they are when reported through CNN United States. Without the complete picture, we Americans, who by and large are a compassionate and caring people, come to distorted conclusions that cause us to continue to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
I therefore believe that the time has come for the American people need to demand more complete coverage by the American media and that the American media have an ethical obligation to correct this dangerous deficit regardless of whether doing this causes them to lose advertising sponsors.
In the spirit of peace,
David Gruder, Ph.D.
Author of The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World
Mental Health Worker Preface direct online link
Declaration of Global Responsibility direct online link
Future revisions of the Declaration and/or its Prefaces are likely to occur.
Originally drafted: San Diego, California, September 28, 2001 (August 2004 revision)
© 2001-2004 Dr. David Gruder