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It is a commonplace observation that the world arena today exhibits a number of systems of public order, each demanding and embodying the values of human dignity in very different degree. Yet the problems connected with the identification of public order systems, and their appraisal in terms of impact upon the values of human dignity, have received so little systematic attention that scholars of many nations, in no sense exclusive of the United States, continue inadvertently to contribute to the confusions of everyday life manifest in the whole world community and all its component regions.

The consequences of continued confusion are to impede the continuing efforts that are indispensable to the building of the new institutions of which there is such desperate need. Among traditional legal scholars it has long been customary to give unquestioning verbal deference to the proposition that if there is any international law at all, it is a universal law, embracing the organized governments of the world community as a whole, or at least all those bodies politic admitted to the ever-enlarging European "family of nations." The existence of regional diversities in the interpretation of allegedly universal prescriptions, and in the fundamental policies about the allocation of power and other values sought by such interpretation, has been cloaked in the shadows of "decent mystery" by hopeful insistence that such divergent interpretations are but occasional aberrations which will disappear when the real universality of the relevant concepts is appropriately understood.

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