So far as I can tell, “human rights” has become another name for compulsory PC managerial liberalism, with horror stories mixed in to stir the emotions and show how bad opponents are. I’ve commented recently on the ACLU view that “civil liberties” mean forcing a printer to suport a cause he finds appalling, and the Human Rights Watch view that human rights abuses include failure to propagandize a technological attitude toward sex. Now Amnesty International announces their concerns in their Annual Report for 2004, which
“reports on areas of work being prioritized and developed by Amnesty International—such as violence against women; economic, social and cultural rights; and justice for refugees and migrants—and celebrates the achievements of activists in these and other areas.”
Like other human rights organizations, they particularly emphasize things related to the reconstruction of gender:
“Violence against women is the greatest human rights scandal of our times. From birth to death, in times of peace as well as war, women face discrimination and violence at the hands of the state, the community and the family.”
If you compare numbers of dead bodies violence against men is a much bigger problem, so it appears that their real concern is something other than violence. Be that as it may, there’s an obvious radical change from AI’s original focus as a special-purpose organization concerned with “prisoners of conscience.” POCs never included those who favor “hate” (that is, who accept human distinctions like sex, ethnicity and religion that support principles of social organization other than money and bureaucracy). At least though AI stood for a distinct concern that could bring together a variety of political perspectives in opposition to a definite evil. That doesn’t seem to be true any more. They’re in favor of “human rights” generally, which has become a slogan for radical reconstruction of all human life everywhere on rational-bureaucratic and secular-hedonistic lines.
Which is too bad, since it would indeed be a good thing if even those who differ could agree on common standards, that are not just a matter of political posturing, on things like the treatment of prisoners and noncombatants. After the Second World War the idea got around that people could agree on concrete rules for social life while differing wildly on ultimate concerns. I think history has shown that’s wrong. The view is still with us, though, and it’s now a doctrine under cover of which the project of suppressing ultimate concerns in the interests of the PC managerial reconstruction of human existence makes its way. We need to get past the propaganda and see what’s going on.