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A Second Look -- And It's Worse Than I Thought

Well, yesterday I took a look at the new Revised Arab Charter Of Human Rights from the Arab League of States -- and found it seriously wanting.

Longtime detractor and contrarian "Herman" took issue with my position, and made a comparison between the Charter and the works of the Founding Fathers -- pointing out that many of them were slave owners, attempting -- I think -- to strike a sort of moral equivalence between them and the men behind the Charter.

I don't accept this, but I think that the point Herman raises has some rather fascinating implications -- ones that escaped him.

If we grant Herman his point for the moment, that would put the Arab League at the same moral point that we ourselves were at over 200 years ago. Those were the days when women were chattel, blacks often property, and only white male landowners were allowed to vote. Capital and corporal punishment was a given, and Indians were subhuman savages.

While this would be an improvement over the traditional Arab beliefs, it's hardly a sign of hope for them. Indeed, if you listen to them, they are morally superior to us already -- they see no reason to improve things.

But enough of Herman's silliness. There is another, far more fundamental, difference between this Charter and the United States' founding documents.

The Declaration of Independence says the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Note that the rights are inalienable -- cannot be taken away -- and endowed to men by "their Creator." This means that they are not granted by any earthly authority.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

This states unequivocally that the powers of government come from the people, and that the power and rights of the people do NOT come from the government.

And the Preamble to the Constitution affirms this statement:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The very foundation of the United States is the individual, joined together with other individuals, exercising their undeniable rights to grant power to the government.

Whereas the Charter clearly derives its authority in a different way:

Based on the faith of the Arab nation in the dignity of the human person whom God has exalted ever since the beginning of creation and in the fact that the Arab homeland is the cradle of religions and civilizations whose lofty human values affirm the human right to a decent life based on freedom, justice and equality, In furtherance of the eternal principles of fraternity, equality and tolerance among human beings consecrated by the noble Islamic religion and the other divinely-revealed religions,

Being proud of the humanitarian values and principles that the Arab nation has established throughout its long history, which have played a major role in spreading knowledge between East and West, so making the region a point of reference for the whole world and a destination for seekers of knowledge and wisdom,

Believing in the unity of the Arab nation, which struggles for its freedom and defends the right of nations to self-determination, to the preservation of their wealth and to development; believing in the sovereignty of the law and its contribution to the protection of universal and interrelated human rights and convinced that the human person's enjoyment of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity is a fundamental measure of the value of any society,

Rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism, which constitute a violation of human rights and a threat to international peace and security, recognizing the close link that exists between human rights and international peace and security, reaffirming the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and having regard to the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam...

So we learn that the Arab notion of "human rights" derives from the Islamic faith and the "Arab nation." This raises the implication that one need to accept the Islamic faith -- or, at least, acknowledge its authority -- or risk being excluded. After all, if one rejects Islam, then one cannot then claim any rights that derive from Islam.

Hey, Herman might have a point. The Constitution tacitly endorsed slavery, by counting them as 3/5 of a person for the purposes of representation, and the Charter explicitly equates Zionism and racism. There could be a parallel there.

But the Abolitionist movement was already well under way at the time of the Constitution, and it was their influence that won even that much of a concession from the slave states.

Where are the modern-day Arab equivalents of the Abolitionists? Where are the Muslims fighting to improve the Charter and make things more fair and equal and just?

They're easy to identify -- but not so easy to find. That's because they're the ones that are being threatened (often successfully) with beheading or some other form of death by the majority of Muslims.

This Charter isn't "half a loaf" -- as in "half a loaf is better than none." It's a steaming loaf, pinched out and stinking up things until some brave soul gives it a courtesy flush.

Until then, we have no shortage of Islamists and their apologists who are cheerfully volunteering to polish it.


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Comments (10)

Perhaps the Arab League wil... (Below threshold)
Geminichuck:

Perhaps the Arab League will soon issue some admendments - say about 10 of them - that will enumerate broad human rights.

Sweetness...this is far too... (Below threshold)

Sweetness...this is far too much logic for the likes of Herman.

And any Muslim who wants to make things more fair and just would have to cease being Muslim because these principles are antithetical to every pillar of their faith.

Well done as usual Jay. How... (Below threshold)

Well done as usual Jay. However, I agree with Wonder Woman... That's far too much logical and factual information for Herman.

I believe that the decision... (Below threshold)
ChuckD:

I believe that the decision to count slaves as 3/5 of a person was a concession from the Northern states. They feared that counting slaves as whole persons would greatly increase the enumerated populations of the Southern states, thereby giving them increased representation in the federal legislature. Ironically, it was the Northern states who would later fight on the side of emancipation that were responsible for the fractional-human counting method.

The left insists Islam not ... (Below threshold)

The left insists Islam not be held to any human standard. Jihadists are their army in the war against Capitalism and Western values. That they themselves will be the first to have their heads cut off for their "sinful" lifestyles is looking too far ahead for them, as immediate social justice is all they can see right now.

Jay Tea: "The Constitution ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Jay Tea: "The Constitution tacitly endorsed slavery, by counting them as 3/5 of a person for the purposes of representation,..."

Just for the record (and I'm certain Jay already knows this), it was the position of those OPPOSED to slavery that slaves should only count as 3/5's of a person for the SOLE purpose of apportioning representatives based on population.

It was the position of those who SUPPORTED slavery that slaves should count as a "whole" person for the SOLE purpose of apportioning representatives based on population.

The reasoning is rather simple: The slaveowners wanted slaves to be considered property, so the implications of individual rights and freedom would not be applied to the them, while simultaneously the slaveowners wanted to maximize the political power of the slave-holding states.

Again, I know that Jay already knows this, it's simply a particular bugaboo of mine since this is an oft-used Jesse Jackson-ism for the past several decades.

Oops, looks like ChuckD had... (Below threshold)
Drago:

Oops, looks like ChuckD had already beaten me to it.

Just to add, 3/5 was a comp... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Just to add, 3/5 was a compromise between the North and South. The South wanted 1 full count (despite granting no represenation to slaves) and the North wanted no count.

Without the compromise and reduction in Representation, the move to abolish slavery would have been blocked.

Since this has already gott... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Since this has already gotten off topic I just wanted to correct something missing in #4, 6, & 8.

The southern states wanted the slaves to be counted as a whole person for representation purposes but not counted at all for distribution of taxation purposes. The compormise was that they be counted as 3/5ths of a person for both purposes.

I'm sorry, but in the 21st ... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry, but in the 21st Century I cannot agree that any "culture" which condones the beating of women for the crime of appearing in public with insufficient covering or condemns them to harsh punishment for the crime of being raped, or which countenances the mass murder and destruction of the way of life of non-Muslims in Dafur, or of the holding of slaves, is "morally equivalent" to anything except the worst sort of barbarism.

For such people to DARE publish a document purporting to be about "human rights" is an affront to reason. For reasonable people to fail to acknowledge that fact is obeisant to evil.




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