The Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) held its inaugural, invitation-only three-day international conference last week in London and Daily Citizen staff attended.
We were among 1,500 delegates from 72 nations gathering with other global religious, political, academic, media, business and cultural leaders focused on setting an agenda to overcome the declinism that is sweeping so much of so-called “progressive” politics today.
British Baroness Philippa Shroud, CEO of ARC, explained in her speech opening the conference that the world desperately “needs a better story rooted in hope, established on historic foundations, foundations from our liberal democratic history and the foundations from our precious Judeo-Christian history.” ARC was specifically organized to work to call all sectors of responsible society together to cooperatively restore these foundations.
This declinism is ironically happening at the very time when humans are living longer, safer lives; more of us are better educated than ever before; and increasing numbers of nations are gaining unparalleled access to cleaner air, fresher water and better food that is grown on less land and enjoying greater access to cleaner, more plentiful energy sources.
But rather than living in and furthering these profound advances in human well-being, this growth is stagnating because there is a very intentional expansion of skepticism, anxiety and negativity about the sustainability of our future existence driven by malign forces in our world. ARC could be described as a hopeful, life-giving response to the limiting forces of the World Economic Forum.
ARC was founded by and is the brain-child of psychology professor and author Jordan Peterson, conservative British media baron Sir Paul Marshall, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, John Anderson and Phillipa Stroud, among others.
Over the three days, delegates listened to talks from an array of international thought-leaders, asking fundamental questions like:
- Is it possible to have a better story?
- How can the very fabric of our society be strengthened?
- How can we reestablish the family as the fount of human society?
- How can we unleash the entrepreneurial power of business to improve human thriving?
- How should we view the responsibility of environmental stewardship at a time of energy transition?
- How have we arrived at this defining moment in the West of increasing division and doomist outlook?
The conference was intended as an opportunity to launch an international discussion on how to, as Stroud explained, “identify a clear path forward full of strength, hope and vision” toward a world that God intended for all of us. ARC’s focus is to move human civilization from decline to renewal, to a society that is “rooted in the infinite value of every human being, built on the foundations of freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, woven together with kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control by a responsible people.”
This in response to another speaker, Konstantin Kisin, who described our current cultural leaders as those who “believe our history is evil, that we do not deserve to be great, that we do not deserve to be powerful, that we must be punished for the sins of our ancestors.” He added, “To them, our past is abominable, our present must be spent apologizing, and our future is managed decline.”
Kisin concluded, paraphrasing environmental teen activist Greta Thunberg, “My message to those people is simple: How Dare You? You will not steal my son’s dreams with your empty words.”
ARC was founded because each person involved believes we are living in what evangelical Christian thinker Os Guinness has called “a civilizational moment.”
In the concluding address of those three days, delivered with great passion and literal tears, Jordon Peterson explained the power of Judeo-Christian truth claims in civilizational influence. He told the crowd,
You’re the men and women, individuals made in the image of God who stumble uphill toward the City on the Hill. And we are so foolish. We regard those (biblical) propositions approximating primitive superstitions, when in fact, they are the most brilliant intuitions in the fundamental structure of reality that have ever been offered.
We have predicated our civilization on those presuppositions, and look at it, it isn’t so bad. We’ve brought wealth and plenty to billions of people around the world. If we are wise and faithful and courageous and responsible, we could continue to spread that to everyone if we continue to struggle uphill to the City of God. That’s the truth! That’s the truth! It’s not some superstition. It’s not the opiate of the people. It’s the call to divine responsibility.
Peterson is speaking, not of the gospel itself, but of what a people who live by that gospel can achieve by living faithfully as citizens to God’s universal life-giving wisdom and insight. ARC is a call to “remember who we are” and to “tilt the world towards heaven and away from hell.”
The organizers of ARC have provided very helpful summaries and snippets of each day’s best presentations.
Watch these short presentations from some of the world’s leading thinkers with your family. Take them in and discuss them with your older children. Your whole family will be enriched and empowered.
Image from Alliance for Responsible Citizenship.