On October 3, 1863, in the middle of a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation of Thanksgiving. He began, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
Lincoln concludes: “I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
In today’s period of immense danger, it is useful to reflect on the conviction of the universal genius (and generally unacknowledged U.S. founder) Gottfried Leibniz, that this is the best of all possible worlds. The crises and dangers of today do nothing to contradict that sentiment. In fact, they are insistent demands, opportunities to improve.
The insane push for war and conflict with Russia and China, the efforts to spike the re-implementation of the JCPOA with Iran, the ongoing spread of Covid, the soaring prices for fuel, food, and materials, the deliberately enraging “programming” produced by the so-called news media—one could wish these away, but is it possible to have a world of peace, stability and growth while at the same time participating in a culture of apathy, ugliness, and sensualism?
It is the justice of this best of all possible worlds that these problems arise as painful reminders that we have not achieved a culture worthy of human dignity, that we have not overthrown, once and for all, oligarchism from the government of the world. This shapes the goals of the LaRouche movement—goals which require rethinking our image of mankind itself—goals such as the establishment of worldwide productivity to support the provision of high-quality health care to all people, with Afghanistan as a case in point, of the need to foster a beautiful culture embracing scientific discovery.
A development of the last 48 hours in California points to the potential for international cooperation in the broadest context. NASA launched a spacecraft which, in the fall of 2022, will collide with a body in the asteroid belt, changing its orbit. Compared to the adventures of what is called the Department of Defense, this planetary defense mission is a true work of defense. Yet it is far too small. Waiting the better part of a year to slightly alter the course of an asteroid will be of little use in defending our planet. We need to surpass the inherent limitations of slow chemical rockets through international collaboration to create nuclear-powered rockets, capable of reaching any such body in a matter of weeks, rather than months. Such are the heights of the defense of human life, and the sorts of projects in which the world can happily engage after jettisoning the green and geopolitical ideologies that crush our aspirations today.
We can be thankful even for our adversities, provided we apply the courage needed to overcome them!