During World War II, just like Altiero Spinelli wrote the Ventotene Manifesto, Albert Einstein endorsed the idea of a supranational world government, which would have guaranteed global peace without interfering in culture, economy and national politics.
They where not the only ones to think that supranational laws and institutions could promise a new era of peace and prosperity. The United Nations and other multilateral institutions set up in the Forties of the previous century are nothing but a resized realization of more ambitious visions.
But let’s go back to Einstein and his personal path which brought him to use – one of the few – the word “supranational“.
Of course, he was Influenced by his life experience as a citizen of several nations as well as by his international career as a scientist, he couldn’t but be a cosmopolitan. His spiritual openness informed his universalist perspective. His vision for world government, inherently pacifist, was not far from Kant’s Perpetual Peace.
Distaste for nationalism and militarism pushed Einstein to revoke his German citizenship in 1896 and, until 1901, he lived without citizenship at all. Then he got the Swiss citizenship and kept it until his death (adding Austrian and American citizenship, and again the German one in different periods).
Knowing first hand that citizenship may be relative or temporary, but humanity remains the core of what we are, Albert Einstein offers a powerful example of how personal experience and beliefs also forge a personal political vision.
“It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.” – A. Einstein