...‘human rights’ has become an Orwellian synonym for an attack on human rights. It has become a judicial wrecking ball which is being deployed to shatter the fundamental principles of both western civilisation and national identity.
This is almost wholly obscured by the fact that it 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.
Phillips' claim that these are "culturally particular principles to be applied universally" is rather dubious, in my opinion, since they were never called as such. The UN has adopted "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in which it claims human rights stated within it as universal. It could have been that the authors had something different in mind, something aching to Phillips' assertion, and which would be far more sensible, but the wording of the declaration does not support that. Rather, it vindicates the position of Goldstone and his ilk. By formulating "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" as such, we have sown the seeds of our destruction and we are now reaping it, as Melanie Phillips herself shows:
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. That’s why, for example, Christians are no longer allowed to uphold their belief that same–sex relationships are sinful; if they protest against same-sex adoptions, for example, on the grounds that a child has the right to a mother and a father figure, they are vilified as bigots and lose their professional position.
The rights of Christians count for nothing. As the beliefs of a particular, discrete tradition they are trumped by ‘universal rights’. And these are whatever 'human rights' lawyers deem them to be, through institutions such as' human rights' law or supra-national courts – such as the International Criminal Tribunals of which Judge Goldstone was such an ornament. This ‘transnational progressivism’ holds that the nation and the culture that made that nation must yield to the diktats of ‘universal’ principles – which are not universal at all but spring from the minds of western ‘human rights’ lawyers intent on promoting a secular agenda which kicks away all those tiresome Biblical constraints, to be replaced by their own formulae for controlling human behaviour.
Moreover, because ‘human rights’ is the legal engine of self-actualisation, it is also the legal engine of moral and cultural relativism – the doctrine that values are all subjective, that there can therefore be no hierarchy of values and that no culture can have superiority over any other culture. This turned ‘human rights’ into a battering ram against the very idea of a majority culture.
And if I may add, this, by extension, also turns the "human rights" ideology into a tool of the destruction of nation-states, national cultures and national and state rights as such since "majority culture" is but a product of the aforementioned concepts.
Melanie Phillips, however, does not offer a solution to this problem. Perhaps because it is much easier to state it then to actually do it. Let me start with the former: one must either reform or abolish altogether the UN human rights declaration.
And now, for the hard part...I'm sure that the very proposal might raise quite a few eyebrows. Non-western countries will propably dismiss this out of hand because on the surface it might look as if someone would try to remove the legal obstacle for conquest and re-colonization. However, if they look closely into recent history, they will find out that the Declaration, or some of it's stated principles, has, in fact, quite often been used as a pretext for an invasion of a sovereign country by the powers governed by the universalist transnational-progressivist ideology, all in the name of "universal human rights". Which brings me to my next point...
A far greater obstacle to the Declaration's reform will be, in fact, in the ruling establishment in the West. Not only were entire political and other careers forged around the so-called "human rights" industry in the US and Europe, but transnational progressivism has over the years, in fact, cleverly supplanted traditional societies there, leaving the impression that they always were the true representatives of the West. It will not give up it's position easily.
The conditio sine qua non of any Declaration reform is that such ideology as well as all of it's off-shoots in the form of "nation-building" and "spreading of democracy" are curtailed and marginalized and that their proponents are exposed and ostracized. Europe and America must do that for their own sake first. Only this can open the door to a Declaration more in the mould of Melanie Phillips' claim, one that will be applicable only to countries and peoples that wish to belong to a certain civilizational circle but which will simultaniousely forgo any universalist claims or pretends of expanding beyond it's realm or imposing itself on those who reject it. This will, in turn, create a much healthier and more sincere foundation in international relations, something that is sorely needed in these times.