January 16, 1962 – 25 Years in the Future

Excerpts from an interviews in 1962 with LOOK Magazine regarding the world in 25 years. 

David Ben-Gurion (Prime Minister of Israel):

“The image of the world in 1987 as traced in my imagination: The Cold War will be a thing of the past.  Internal pressure of the constantly growing intelligensia in Russia for more freedom and the pressure of the masses for raising their living standards may lead to a gradual democratization of the Soviet Union.  On the other hand, the increasing influence of the workers and farmers, and the rising political importance of men of science, may transform the United States into a welfare state with a planned economy.  Western and Eastern Europe will become a federation of autonomous states having a Socialist and democratic regime.  With the exception of the USSR as a federated Eurasian state, all other continents will become united in a world alliance, at whose disposal will be an international police force, and there will be no more wars.  In Jerusalem, the United Nations (a truly United Nations) will build a Shrine of the Prophets to serve the federated union of all continents; this will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies, as prophesied by Isaiah.  Higher education will be the right of every person in the world.  A pill to prevent pregnancy will slow down the explosive natural increase in China and India.  And by 1987, the average life-span of man will reach 100 years.”

 

Eleanor Roosevelt (widow of the ex-President):

“If we have not destroyed ourselves, I hope we will have learned that humanity must be looked upon as all of the same race.  I hope that East, West, North and South will be tolerant and even friendly over the differences that must arise; there is a possibility for face-to-face communication as never before.  I hope we will have strengthened the UN and built a system of international law to take the place of force.  This is a great deal to hope for in 25 years, but we move fast these days.”

 

Billy Graham (evangelist): 

“The Bible indicates there will be a period of history when Satanic forces will be unleashed upon the world on a scale with out parallel in human history.  We will witness in the next 25 years the growing power of evil on one hand and startling indications of good on the other.  I cannot accurately predict what the world will be like, but this I confidently know: Whatever grief we may be called upon to endure, God is working out His purpose.  Neither communism nor American materialism will write the last chapter.  God will put the final period on human history.  Whether this will happen within the next 25 years is impossible to say, but world events are casting their shadows in that direction.”

 

Samuel Goldwyn (motion picture producer):

“We will have more Hitlers, Mussolinis, and Khrushchevs, but I am sure they will meet the same fate as Hitler, Mussolini and the ancient Caesars.  America is still the greatest country in the world, and our form of government is the best that man has yet devised.  So I am an incorrigible optimist: In a quarter of a century, while everyone will still be complaining about the terrible state the world is in, conditions will be a great deal better for more people than ever before in history.”

Finally,

John F. Kennedy (President of the United States)

The White House offers a unique perspective of the last 25 years.  This office changed in that era as the nation changed – and it was here that many of that period’s most basic decisions were shaped and implemented.  But the White House has no special insight into conditions 25 years from now.  America has no 25-year plan to regiment its own economy, much less the world – and it has not special power to impose its will on the other 94 percent of mankind.

Yet some facts about the next 25 years are certain: There will be risk and burdens and hardship; for the challenges of the sixties, the constant threats to freedom, the opportunities for chaos and crisis, show no sign of lessening even then.

There will be change and progress and opportunity; for the revolutions sweeping the world today – political, economic, social, scientific, medical and a host of others – will not have abated by then.

What is most important for us to know is that the life of our people on Look’s fiftieth anniversary will be profoundly affected by what we do now.  For each President, we must remember, is the President not only of all who live, but, in a very real sense, of all who have yet to live.  His responsibility is not only to those who elected him, but also to those who will elect his successors for decades to come.  (This fact is a useful reminder to those who urge, in a moment of frustration or impatience, the kind of dramatic action that in one breif moment could alter the lives – or even the chance of life – of generations yet unborn.)

In short, while I possess few flat predictions of life on this planet 25 years hence, I possess many hopes.  I hope that we will have made the peace more nearly secure – and that tranquility will have replaced terror in the intercourse of nations.

I hope that the lives of our people will be richer and more secure – that the anxieties of unemployment and illness will be greatly reduced – and that our national output will have vastly increased – and, equally important, that we will have learned to use our wealth wisely.

I hope that in the next quarter century, we will make progress in protecting the natural charm of America.  Ours is a lovely nation.  Too often, in pursuit of public convenience or private gain, we have disfigured the beauty of our land and permitted squalor in our cities.

I hope, finally, that, in the next 25 years, we can see a great enlargement of the democratic spirit – that at last we shall have achieved such a degree of national maturity and respect for human dignity that not a single voice will be heard to begrudge the care of the sick, the schooling of the young, the conservation of our resources or help for the jobless.  Twenty-five years form now, let us hope, all Americans will realize that this kind of expenditure is an investment, not a waste – and a source of moral strength, not weakness.

In these and many other ways, I am hopeful – hopeful that our reach will indeed exceed our grasp.  Bit I am also somber as I look ahead – not merely because of the perils and pitfalls that await us still, but also because of all the work that remains to be done.

There will be several Presidents in the next 25 years – they cannot do that work alone.  But with the help of many, we can all look back on this period – on the occasion of LOOK’s fiftieth anniversary – and say with pride and conviction: We inherited a great land and freedom – and we have made them even greater.”

©1962 LOOK Magazine

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