This could potentially be my most contentious blog yet, but the very thing I am railing against [somewhat] is the very thing that allows me to post this in the first place; human rights, as enforced by my country’s laws and/or societal norms. MY society anyway.
My issue is not with human rights per se, they are a concept that should only become more important as the world gets smaller. Shared information available to an enormous distribution of mobile devices will, in theory, help combat the rampant ignorance across the globe, often enforced by oppressive government entities themselves. Just look at the ridiculous Twitter ban in Turkey for one of the milder examples. When everyone on the planet knows that they shouldn’t have to live under any totalitarian regime, human rights will provide the long-term road map for progress towards the freedom most of us take for granted.
My issue with human rights is the equal enforcement of them. As an extreme; why does someone convicted of multiple homicides have the same rights as someone who spends their whole life helping others? Yes, the killer may lose their freedom, but their rights as a human being are still in full effect. You take from someone everything they will ever have, and in my opinion, you are giving up some – and potentially all (depending on your crime(s)) – of your rights to be treated equally AS a human.
No, this is NOT a case for capital punishment, that’s too specific a judgment, this is about the fact that as species, there is no way we human beings will EVER reach a 100% consensus on anything, and we need to stop pretending that we can. The majority opinion must rule, as long as it’s not MOB rule, and the losing minority needs to abide by the prevailing decision. Criminals of every sort ALL have an opinion different from the majority, and it’s one they have likely acted upon. They think they are somehow exempt from doing the right thing, and in most ‘civilised’ nations those right things are instilled from childhood and reflect an accepted standard of ‘common decency’.
Do NOT steal, do NOT kill, do NOT take anyone by force and so on, but what about those countries where the established norms – if not the actual laws – are different? Can anyone reading this blog POSSIBLY justify the murder of the 11 people working for Charlie Hebdo just because they printed satirical matter and images related to their deity? Or any of the hundreds of terrorist attacks perpetrated for religious or political reasons across the globe? These things are REAL, but what makes US right? What makes US the arbiters of that common decency?
We’re the majority, that’s what gives us the right to condemn their actions. Anything other than treating everyone as you would wish to be treated yourself should be unacceptable in any society.
So we clearly need to stop pretending that as a species we are that evolved OR that civilised, and neither religion nor government should have the final say in what’s right and what’s wrong. We are all born with rights, but from that point forward they become a privilege every individual has the responsibility to maintain. All of our freedoms and all of our rights come at a cost, we must all be prepared to pay those costs.
In the end, humans are just another mammal, the attribution of instincts above layer 4 of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is admirable, and certainly an aspiration, but fighting a sociopath with rules is no different than making a wish by blowing out candles on a birthday cake. I will live my life by a simple set of self-imposed laws, and would hope everyone around me does the same;
The 5 Laws of Human Rights:
- Everyone starts out in life with the same rights;
- Everyone may utilise their rights to their own unqualified ends as long as those actions do not infringe on the rights of others;
- Infringement of the rights of others will result in a loss of your rights equal to that inflicted on the other party(ies);
- Use of rights for one’s own benefit comes with a risk of loss, everyone will accept personal responsibility for this loss; and
- No-one shall take their rights for granted.
We need to stop pandering to those living outside the globally accepted norms of common decency, they have no place here with the rest of us.
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