In the modern political lexicon, there is hardly any term that is as perfect an example of Orwellian newspeak as the much-repeated buzzword “human rights”. “Human rights” is a meaningless platitude that has, since its popularization after the end of WWII, been consistently used to justify the expansion of government powers along with all manner of warmongering and imperialism. (below image via 4chan.org)
In sharp contrast to natural rights, the term “human rights” refers to a socialist understanding of rights. Whereas natural rights are rights which one has merely by virtue of being born human, “human rights” are rights that the government grants to its citizens simply because it is socially and politically expedient to do so at the time. Take, for example, the right to freedom of speech. From the perspective of natural rights, freedom of speech is absolute and can only be limited when it directly causes actual physical harm. From a socialist perspective, however, freedom of speech applies only to speech that the government personally approves of. This is demonstrated perfectly by the United Nations, which is currently pressuring Japan to outlaw “hate speech” in response to a few small and widely-condemned rallies and public demonstrations by fringe far-right goons which have, if anything, only united people against racism (and, unfortunately, Japan appears to be listening to the UN’s demands, despite having their own equivalent of America’s First Amendment). Free speech is a “gift given to us by the [Universal] Declaration of Human Rights”, according to Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson during a press conference on October 2nd at the UN’s headquarters in New York City. It is “a privilege”, Eliasson stated, “that we have, which in my view involves also the need for respect, the need to avoid provocations.” According to the UN, not even Germany is strict enough in its government regulation of speech. Likewise, the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy is on record as having told journalists that freedom of expression does not include “the freedom to insult or offend”.
Yes, that’s right: freedom of speech – and all other rights – are not granted to one from birth, but are granted to one from the power of the government. And the government can choose to limit or take away those rights whenever it feels the need to. In a world of natural rights, “hate speech” does not infringe on anyone’s rights. In a world of “human rights”, however, “hate speech” infringes on the sacred human right to not be offended – which is inevitably expanded into the government’s sacred human right to not be criticized, as Thailand has recently demonstrated by labeling criticism of its government as “hate speech”. Had the First Amendment been written today – during the era of “human rights” rather than during the Enlightenment era of natural rights – there can be absolutely no doubt that it would include a laundry list of qualifications, reservations, and exemptions that would render it effectively worthless.
Nearly every single attempt to limit freedom of speech in modern times has been championed under the guise of “human rights”. “Human rights activists” are the ones currently pressuring Japan to outlaw “hate speech”, with many claiming that Japan is behind the rest of the world in “human rights” because it has yet to do so (in addition, thousands of people participated in an ironically-named “March on Tokyo for Freedom” calling on the Japanese government to abide by the UN’s “international law” and ban all “hateful” speech). “Human rights activists” backed Australia’s proposed “Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill” – which would have made it illegal to “offend” or “insult” someone for their political opinions along with outlawing any expression of religious belief if someone were “offended” by it – and voiced the most outrage when Australia’s government recently proposed making the country’s federal “hate speech” laws slightly less strict, as I wrote about previously. And yes, “human rights” activists have even proposed state surveillance and “tolerance camps” for people found guilty of thought crimes. The authoritarianism of the “human rights” lobby is made even more disturbing when one considers that “human rights” activists consistently invent new “rights”, which include everything from the “right” to free Internet access to the very dangerous “right to be forgotten”.
This conflicts with the fundamentals of natural rights. Whereas natural rights stood for freedom from government interference in people’s lives, “human rights” stands for government control of every single aspect of people’s lives. Not only that, however, but “human rights” activists have also been some of the loudest champions for war in our time. “Human rights activists” were among the most outspoken proponents of waging war on Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – a war which has had devastating effects not only for Libya, but also for Mali.
Barack Obama’s “human rights” team has pressed for escalating military intervention in Syria and Afghanistan, while other prominent “human rights activists” have recently played the role of cheerleaders for war in – among other assorted places – Uganda, Nigeria, South Sudan, and the Ivory Coast. On top of that, “human rights” activists are the driving force behind “international law” and other forms of imperialism which aim to erode the national sovereignty of countries and subject them to the “civilizing” influence of Western “human rights” activists (“human rights” can very much be seen as the new “white man’s burden”). “Human rights” activists are far more dangerous than traditional authoritarians and warmongers because they wrap themselves up in a cloak of benevolence and do-goodery. After all, who is going to come out against “human rights”? Anyone who did so would be instantly labeled as an evil fascist dictator (despite the self-proclaimed “human rights activists” actually being far closer to such a thing).
This is exactly the sort of thing that George Orwell eerily predicted in his discomfortingly prescient 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. “Human rights” is an example of contemporary “newspeak”, with government “human rights tribunals” giving themselves a pleasant-sounding name in much the same way as the “Ministry of Love”, “Ministry of Truth”, “Ministry of Peace”, and “Ministry of Plenty”. “Human rights” activists are not only tasked with functioning as the “Thought Police” and prosecuting “thought crimes” (or “hate crimes” and “hate speech”), but also with pushing for war and brainwashing the populace just like the “Ministries” in Orwell’s prophetic novel. “Human rights activists” are also masters of “doublethink”, as they claim to be for peace while supporting war, claim to be for freedom of speech while supporting censorship, and – most fundamental of all – claim to be for “human rights” while aiming to strangle the very natural rights which our nation was founded upon. The “Orwell was right” cliche is indeed very much played out, but that does not make it any less true in many cases – particularly in the case of newspeak becoming a sad reality.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)
Do not be fooled by the insidious trickery of the “human rights” lobby. These people do not want to defend your rights, but to take them away and turn them into commodities to be given out by a “gracious” Big Brother government whenever convenient. They are not only tyrants, but the most dangerous form of tyrants: tyrants who sincerely believe that they should rule over others for the good of the people that they’re ruling over. Like the disgusting and wretched parasites who run the bloodsucking UN, “human rights activists” are little more than dictators imbued with an extreme sense of egoism and self-righteousness. These people are a menace to freedom and civil liberties and should be treated as exactly what they are: ruthless autocrats dressed up as kindly humanitarians. “Human rights” is the new totalitarianism.