Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lie with Dogs

From an atheist homeschool list, I got an interesting email about the death knell of the 60 year-old UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. First, the United Nations is anathema to the United States. Second, the Declaration itself undermines human rights, but some of the Articles were about individual rights. Last week, the organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) helped to kill any appearance of human rights in the document by amending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression “To report on instances in which the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination …” (quoted from the original article). It is with that thought in mind that I found this article so disturbing, and this petition somewhat encouraging.

Of course, if the crash and burn of the cause of human rights incites the nations who actually value liberty to run from the flea bed of the UN, great.


C. August said...

Yikes. I'm wondering, though... does this signal the death knell of the Human Rights Declaration, or just a bad turn of events and an obvious contradiction? I'd be surprised if the majority of UN-ites would be able to take a principled stand against this, and even if they did they have already granted the altruist/collectivist premises everywhere else. It seems arbitrary to protect speech but support the seizing and redistribution of property.

If everything else they do is collectivist, why not welcome the Islamists with open arms? We're all brothers, right?

Sorry, I've got my cynical hat on today. I just re-read the excellent article by Leonard Piekoff, "End States That Sponsor Terrorism", that he wrote right after 9/11 and was published as a full-page ad in the NYTimes on Oct 2, 2001. And I see that nothing has changed except for the worse.

/*shaking head*/

Stephen Bourque said...

LB, you said it all when you wrote, “the Declaration itself undermines human rights.” All abuses can be attributed to the inconsistencies that result from trying to resolve individual rights with “collective rights.” The article you linked to from the International Humanist and Ethical Union absurdly claims that the UN Declaration is the document that “best enunciates” human rights. (You can see this if you hold the cursor over the hyper-linked “Human Rights.”)

Observe the declarations that contain the seeds of their own destruction. The first article of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” (emphasis mine) It is not “brotherly” to accuse your neighbor of stoning his wife to death, so you should be silent.

Or how about the French Revolution and its 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man? The first article states, “Men are born free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.” (again, emphasis mine) This “general good” clause extends beyond mere social distinctions. If a majority of the population agrees that homosexuals ought to be hanged by the neck until they are dead, then that satisfies the “general good,” so you should be silent.

Or how about the recent Iraqi constitution of 2005, which promises that no law may be passed that contradicts “the undisputed rule of Islam,” “the principles of democracy,” or “the basic freedoms outlined in this constitution?” The undisputed rule of Islam? Since it does not contradict Islam to deliver your nine-year-old daughter into marriage to a man that will beat and enslave her, you should be silent.

It doesn’t matter that each of these declarations has isolated statements that seem to support actual individual rights. They cannot even state their basic principles without introducing ideas that destroy all rights, including that of free speech.

Lynne said...

Thanks C. August and SB for your comments.

I guess I had the hope that by removing the veneer of individual rights from its list of human rights, the UN would be lain bare for all to see it for what it is and the good guys would run screaming from it.

I suppose you're right, C. August, in that this is just another step toward its collectivist/altruist guiding principles. But, is there no straw by which to break the camel's back?

Where is the outrage?
Where is our leadership?
And most importantly, what should we be doing about it?