Sunday, September 27, 2009

How 'Human Rights' Came To Quash 'National Rights'

Melanie Phillips writes this about the whole issue of human rights but should have gone one step further: was western civilisation which produced the concept of human rights in the first place -- the sacredness of human life, the equality of all people, the seminal importance of freedom, law and justice – and declared these to be universal principles. That’s why ‘human rights’ lawyers protest that their doctrine cannot possibly constitute an attack on western civilisation, because it is rooted in that civilisation’s own foundational principles.

The crucial point, however, is that these were not universal principles but – very different, this – culturally particular principles to be applied universally. They derived from a particular set of religious ethics which gave rise to western civilisation -- principles promoted through Christianity but deriving from the Hebrew Bible. Without that Biblical moral underpinning, there can be no basis for freedom or equality or respect for life.

But modern ‘human rights’ culture effectively set out to sever those principles from their Biblical core. Arising from the contemporary cult of individuality which repudiates all external authority as unjustified constraints on self-actualisation, ‘human rights’ culture claimed that these ‘rights’ were indeed universal – principles that transcended all cultures and therefore laid claim to superseding them. It took the principle of ‘universality’ and radically dislocated it from the unique Biblical tradition from which such ethics had sprung. ‘Human rights’ thus became free-floating axioms, deriving from no higher authority than the vagaries of judicial assumptions, prejudices and whims.

In wrapping itself in the mantle of universality, ‘human rights’ culture became an explicit attack on the very notion of the particular. Religious tradition therefore was directly in its sights – particularly Christianity and the Hebrew Bible upon which it drew, even though these were the foundation of those rights.

And the above reasoning applies just as well to the national rights of the Jewish people, like all other peoples, to their national homeland where they can develop their national character, culture, lifestyle.

Phillips gets close here:

Small wonder that Israel is such a target for so many ‘human rights’ practitioners. Israel is not only a nation (crime number one) but a nation whose existence is rooted in a religion (crime number two), a religion moreover which underpins the oppressive, imperialist, reactionary west (crime number three). Even though the Israeli judiciary is a temple to human rights, Israel is guilty of the original sin of particularity three times over.

That is why those Jewish 'human rights' lawyers who are supporters of Israel – and often passionately so – like to pretend that Israel’s undoubtedly stellar human rights record embodies principles which are ‘universal’ and have nothing to do with the religion of Judaism, upon whose more observant practitioners they tend to look with unalloyed horror and disdain.

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