Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“ANY MEDIA”! Take that copyright lobbyists!
Personally, I assert that human rights exist, even without tangible proof of their existence. However, I like to post counter arguments to this blog in some idealistic hope I can be regarded as unbiased. Even though that’s impossible for a human to do, I still think reviewing counter claims is a necessary element of the intellectually honest. On that note, here is an excellent article written by Andrew Browne on the lack of evidence for the existence of all Human and Natural Rights.
The essential point about human rights is that there is no evidence whatsoever that they actually exist. Children are born without any belief in them and they were certainly never heard of in all the millennia of prehistory. Even in recorded history, they are a very new invention, and one which has been confined, even in principle, to a very small part of the world. They are based entirely on documents written by human beings, and produced through squalid political processes nothing like the later myths. Countries where enemies of the state are routinely tortured before being executed sign declarations of rights with as much enthusiasm as peaceful democracies.
We are told that the two qualities of human rights is that they are “self-evident” and “unassailable”. This is like saying that the chief quality of porridge is its excellence as a material for building skyscrapers. The chief evidence for the existence of these unassailable and self-evident human rights is that we are told, by people who believe in them, that they are everywhere attacked and trampled. What difference does a right make if it doesn’t change the world, and if there is no help for all the people who believe in it?
It’s obvious from watching children playing that they have no concept whatever of universal rights, only of their own. In societies where adults are forbidden to indoctrinate their children, the idea of human rights never arises except among lunatics and seldom spreads beyond them.
Even in this country, the active supporters of human rights are tiny and dwindling minority, with influence entirely disproportionate to their numbers. If it weren’t for the disgraceful pandering of the BBC to the rightist agenda and its decision to spend license payers’ money on such rightist indoctrination and propaganda as the Secret Policeman’s ball, these people would dwindle into their natural obscurity.
We in The National Realist Association do not want to outlaw the belief in human rights. That would be absurd. But it is just as absurd, and surely more dangerous, for the rightists to have a specially privileged position. They are allowed to teach in schools, and even protected against discrimination laws and allowed to sack anyone who doesn’t believe in Human Rights. And yet there is no evidence that human rights exist at all.
They should be taught in schools as part of a balanced curriculum, one in which such practices as slavery and torture are discussed on their merits – for they have never been more popular nor as widely practised as they are in the world today – and they, at least, exist, which no one has ever proved that human rights could do.
There is no instance of supposed human rights which cannot be better explained by a modern biological analysis of power arrangements in which “‘Genteel’ ideas of vaguely benevolent mutual co-operation are replaced by an expectation of stark, ruthless, opportunistic mutual exploitation.” We are after all, animals, another fact that makes the idea of specially “human” rights ridiculous.
Whether parents should be allowed to indoctrinate their children with a belief in human rights is of course a vexed question. Rightists would claim that a prohibition violates their rights, but this is a ludicrously circular argument. You might as well claim that the bible is true because the bible says it’s true. Once we realise that there is no evidence that human rights exist we must seriously ask ourselves whether society can allow parents to abuse their children in this way. A belief in human rights can lead people towards such absurdities as supposing that parents have a right (that word again!) to tell their children lies, and even that this is one of the foundations of a free society. This is a clear example of the terrible damage which a seemingly moderate and harmless delusion can do. In many ways the woolly and harmless rightists are far more dangerous, because of their apparent mask of decency, than the fanatics of Amnesty International.
Everywhere that human rights have gone, terror and bloodshed have followed, from the French Revolution, which convulsed Europe in war for nearly thirty years, through to Stalin’s Russia, where the constitution protected more rights than almost any other one has ever done, and now in the invasion of Iraq, where nearly people have died from our determination to impose rights and democracy. Of course the apologists will claim that these are perversions of the original idea. But why should we listen to the apologists, when they believe in something that doesn’t even exist?
People have criticised me for failing to read any literature by rightists. But the Emperor must prove he has new clothes before I will discuss their frills, their furbelows, and the excellence of their cut. And whatever the emperor’s sycophants may say they must first prove that rights exist before I can discuss what they are. And of course no one can prove this, and all their so-called proofs come down to mere assertions, based on books written hundreds of years ago by people who knew nothing of the modern world.
I know that some people will be shocked by this argument. It’s all very well, they will say, to dismiss God, or religion in this way, because those are things that other people believe in, and they are silly, and nasty, and wrong. That’s why they’re other people. But to demand evidence that the things exist which we believe in – that’s absurd.