Over the last 30 years human rights have triumphed. They unite left and right, north and south, church and state. The cosmopolitan world order promises the fulfilment of Enlightenment principles and an end to strife.
Yet human rights have only paradoxes to offer. Despite the statements about a universal right to life, every day brings more atrocious news from Darfur, Congo, Palestine and Mumbai.
Human rights are an expression of the human urge to resist public and private domination and oppression. Their force unites Chinese dissidents, the defenders of refugees, immigrants and detainees of the war on terror as well as schoolkids in Greece. In the hands of western governments however they have become the latest version of the civilising mission.
In the west, the rise of neoliberal capitalism coincided with the cosmopolitan and humanitarian turn. The spread of human rights is not the result of the liberal or charitable disposition of the west exported to the south along with the second hand clothes offered to Oxfam. Global moral and civic rules are the necessary companion of neoliberal capitalism.
Robert Cooper has called these arrangements the voluntary imperialism of the global economy. It is an imperialism “acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values”. Economic rules have been supplemented by various treaties and rhetorical statements on rights which prepare the future world citizen, highly moralised and regulated, but also highly materially differentiated despite the common rights everyone should enjoy from Helsinki to Hanoi.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
If we think of ourselves first, maybe human rights is a justification for us taking over? It’s globalist cultural imperialism: removal of all things that oppose us by calling them racist, sexist, classist or homophobic.
The amazing thing is that he can print this article and it’s still too complicated for the voting populace. Why? Because they’re too busy considering themselves scholars and gentlemen for upholding human rights as a goal, even thought both parasitic hippies and manipulative CEOs agree with them.
The United States sharply criticized China on Wednesday in its annual report on human rights, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton soft-pedalled rights concerns during a visit to Beijing.
The State Department report also took aim at Russia, where it said civil liberties were “under siege,” and noted a global outbreak in restrictive laws on non-governmental groups and the media, including the Internet.
In an examination of human rights in more than 190 countries during 2008, the report roundly criticized many of its usual targets, including Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.
“The most serious human rights abuses tended to occur in countries where unaccountable rulers wielded unchecked power or there was government failure or collapse, often exacerbated or caused by internal or external conflict,” said the report, which regularly draws the anger of foreign governments targeted for criticism.
Human rights is an excuse for cultural imperialism. We claim moral superiority, accuse our enemies of being Zombie Hitler, and then declare war on them.
Through this passive aggression, we force them to either participate in our system of government — where populist notions triumph over culture, ideals and long-term thinking — or go to war with us.
Those who do not compromise are terrorists or Nazis.
Most of our citizens accept this outlook because they want to look good to other people, so offer tokens of being good, like altruism, egalitarianism and their political arm, “civil rights”/”human rights.”
Manipulating each other in order for individuals to succeed, and thus destroying the collective that is essential to civilization — on and on, south of Heaven…
The Chinese have responded with an insightful view of America:
China has responded in detail to a US report published this week criticising China for alleged rights abuses.
Beijing released its own report on the US, saying crime is a threat to many Americans and racial discrimination prevails in social life across the US.
The 9,000-word Chinese report depicts a bleak picture of the US, saying violent crime is a widespread threat to people’s lives, property and personal security.
The American people’s economic, social and cultural rights are not properly protected, say the Chinese, and many young Americans “have personality disorders”.
The comedy is that both reports are correct.
It’s just that “human rights” isn’t a goal, it’s a symbol.
Most people are too disorganized/not gifted by nature to take advantage of their rights. They will be perpetual disasters.
But we invent a political token instead of addressing that problem.