What is AI concerned with?
discusses their mission in their current annual report
Amnesty International urged that respect for human rights encompass not only the universality, but also the indivisibility of all rights,
economic, social and cultural as well as civil and political. As globalization spreads, bringing greater wealth to some and destitution and
despair to others, human rights activists must promote not just legal justice but also social justice.
The report featured the response to terrorism, including heightened concern about “open borders,” as a major human rights problem over the past
Whipped up by politicians more concerned with popularity than with respecting international human rights obligations, a racist backlash has
generated a climate of suspicion and mistrust, exaggerated by the way in which foreigners are being portrayed as a source of ”terrorism”.
The dream inspiring the post-war human rights movement was that regardless of differences men of good will could unite in condemning obvious
crimes against humanity. That’s not at all what the human rights movement has become. While the impression persists that organizations like the
and AI are somehow pure advocates for liberty who rise above all
partisanship that’s obviously not the case. They seem more concerned with talk about limitations on immigration in Europe than actual large-scale
brutality throughout much of the world, and could hardly care less about Dutch
laws against free speech
. What they believe in is simply imposition of left-liberalism worldwide.
Posted by Jim Kalb at May 29, 2002 08:47 AM | Send
Amnesty International is evidently a far left organization. I happened to see the executive director of AI on CSPAN last night delivering this report. He was extremely shrill and self-righteous, and specifically hostile to the United States. He made it appear that human rights are such an indivisible whole that the slightest failure to uphold them by AI’s standards in any and all circumstances makes our whole country basically worthless. He only seemed to direct this judgment at the U.S., however.
On this “social justice” requirement that they are now raising, that is fascinating. AI started out as an organization with the modest and reasonable premise that there are certain minimal human rights, like the right not to be tortured, that everyone can agree on. In other words, it was a classic liberal organization putting forward basic procedural rights, not seeking the substantive re-organization of human society. But now they’ve redefined human rights as social justice, i.e., as substantive, economic equality. What this means is that the non-political moral imperative that had been associated with the protection of the most basic human rights has been transferred by sleight of hand to a political scheme to have world socialist government. Which also means that if you don’t agree with such a scheme, you’re “anti-human rights.”
In other words, they started with something that seemed non-political, and therefore non-debatable: people shouldn’t be tortured and murdered by the state. Then they changed that into a political agenda amounting to a demand for world socialist government, but they’re still falsely presenting this agenda as though it were non-political and hence not to be discussed.
Such is the course and method of liberalism as it mutates into leftism—or rather of leftism pretending for a while to be liberalism, and then showing its true, totalitarian colors.
It’s bothersome though - is it impossible to have any agreement at all on basics like the badness of massacre and torture without extending the agreement (honestly or not) to a comprehensive scheme of society for everyone everywhere? The history of the human rights movement and liberalism generally suggest it isn’t, at least when the agreement becomes the basis for a political movement and gets formalized in open-ended legal institutions like the UN.