Posts Tagged ‘Human rights’

At the heart of entitlement culture lies the human rights delusion

August 3, 2020

Entitlement culture is exhibited by people with the belief and the attitude that the world (their families, their neighbours, their government, their employers, the rest of humanity) owes them something merely because they exist. The culture is toxic.

The culture of entitlement is a “you owe me” attitude, one where people believe that society, a company, or government owes them something and they do not have to earn or deliver value for what they receive. These people believe they are owed something because of who they are or what social group or union they belong to—not because of what they earn.

People who feel entitled take for granted what they have and keep asking for more, and the more they get the more they expect. They focus more on what they are owed than what they contribute. In a culture of entitlement, peer pressure to perform is replaced by peer pressure to conform to the lowest common denominator; looking good is more important than doing the right thing.

Image : Reddit

It is a “me” focus which is closely associated with narcissism. Societies which focus on rights and entitlements rather than performance and duties, reap entitlement cultures in return. When governments usurp the duties and responsibilities of individuals, parents, families, schools, and companies they downgrade responsibility and promote entitlements. It is not surprising that “Nanny States” which foster the abrogation of individual responsibilities encourage a sense of entitlement. Children grow up feeling entitled, without any obligations,  to an education, a job, a living and a vacation. Paradoxically, welfare safety nets designed to assist the less fortunate end up also inculcating a false sense of entitlement. The permanently unemployed and the permanent students are consequences. Those who feel entitled cannot feel indebted and this reduces their own sense of obligations. Entitlement attitudes are promoted whenever reward is decoupled from performance. Inevitably, such rewards, which would normally be earned, (respect, appreciation, promotion, ….) are then considered entitlements or “rights”.

At the heart of entitlement culture lies the focus on misguided and imaginary concepts of “rights” and “human rights” instead of duties. Far better to have conceived a “Bill of Duties” rather than a “Bill of Rights”.

The human rights delusion

The world does not owe any living things – including humans – anything, whether as individuals or as species. No species has any entitlement to exist. Human survival or happiness or suffering are resultant states, not entitlements. A so-called ” human right” is an entitlement to privilege; where an entitlement is a promise and a privilege is a position of advantage for an individual or a group. ………. The post-WW2 concept of “human rights” is as an artificial, social construct of universal entitlements of unconditional privilege. No qualification is required. It is of an imagined, social contract between every individual and the rest of humanity. The individual’s entitlements are to be considered free of the cost of any duties and are an obligation upon everybody else.

…….. The UN Declaration is about what behaviour all individuals are entitled to receive but never directly about how an individual should behave. It is about what everybody else owes an individual. It is insidious and subversive in that it justifies the idea of having entitlements without any corresponding obligations. …. Where is the UN Declaration on Human Duties?

……… The artificial “human rights” concept and its imaginary social contract is unbalanced and untenable. If there is no cost to the acquisition of human rights, then they can have no great value. ……. Entitlements without duties are no social contract and ultimately, anti-social. It is only by aligning desired behaviour with perceptions of self-interest (and not just the interests of others), that we will see a change in the desired direction.

A human is defined by behaviour exhibited, not by behaviour received. 

Received behaviour (and the perception of “rights”) emerge as reflections of behaviour actually exhibited. Achieving some desired level of received behaviour is better served by a sharp focus on the behaviour expected from each individual (by the local surrounding society), rather than the diffuse focus of what the whole universe owes as received behaviour to every individual.


 

Man’s behaviour to man and the “human rights” delusion

June 25, 2020

During this coronavirus pandemic, many authoritarian, draconian and oppressive measures have been used across the world. They have been justified, and accepted, as necessary during a crisis. Some measures will, no doubt, remain after the crisis is over. Many infected, old people across Europe, have intentionally received a lower level of care to conserve resources. There have been cases of being denied oxygen or respirators to “protect the health care system”. In some cases, in care homes, old people have been put directly onto palliative, end-of-life care without even an attempt to treat the virus infection. “Years of useful life remaining” is euphemistically claimed not to be age-discrimination. Care decisions have not been irrational but they have exposed the myth that people’s lives are of equal value. 

As a subject, “human rights” is surrounded by such an impenetrable halo of sanctimonious political correctness that any rational discourse is suppressed. Yet the entire concept is imaginary and misleading.


I have borrowed freely from an earlier, related post: Humans are not equal


What makes a being human?

Infant chimpanzees treated and brought up as human babies, very quickly demonstrate by their behaviour that they are not human. The very few documented cases of feral children have shown that while they looked and were genetically “human”, they had an incapacity for language, social interaction and other learned “human” behaviour. Many animals have been taught some very limited skills to communicate with their humans, but they do not, by any stretch of the imagination, exhibit human behaviour. Working dogs show an ability to be able to understand some part of the abstract goals of their humans, but their behaviour is easily distinguished from that of humans. Many people behave towards their pets as if they were part of their human family, but the behaviour of their pets remains that of the animal species they belong to. Some have even tried to accord “human” status to rivers and mountains and trees. Within this century we may well achieve autonomous entities having artificial intelligence and some degree of sapience and even sentience. We may then be diverted into discussing how they are to be treated and what “rights” they are to accorded.

Does human identity lie in form or in substance? The form is appearance. The substance lies in the behaviour exhibited – not in the behaviour received. Our appearance is determined by our genes. Robots, with AI and maybe even sentience, may or may not have a humanoid appearance. The real challenge will come when we create, or encounter, an entity which does not have the form of a human, yet exhibits the full spectrum of human behaviour. Treating a chimp or a pet or any entity as a human does not make it human. My contention is that the identity of an entity lies in substance rather than form. Identity is not determined by received behaviour but by behaviour exhibited. A humanoid robot, which followed all of Asimov’s three Laws of Robotics, or was incapable of exhibiting anger or aggression or violence, would be a marvelous robot but very far from being human.

human being is a being which exhibits human behaviour.

Man’s behaviour to man.

Humans are born unique. In one legal estimate by the FBI, the criterion for a match between two human DNA profiles was to be considered satisfied if the probability of a mismatch was less than 1 in 260 billion. All the humans who have ever lived over 200,000 years as “anatomically modern humans” number about 110 billion. No two have ever been exactly alike. Humans are not born “equal” in their genes, nor are they “equal” in their nurture. They are not, through their lifetimes, equal in the behaviour they exhibit nor in the behaviour they receive.

A “right” is an entitlement to privilege. The universe provides no entitlements of any kind to any entity. No living thing has any entitlements, not even any entitlement just to live. For all creatures, survival is a result, not an entitlement. The universe we perceive functions according to laws which must be complied with, but the universe makes no promises beyond these. The world does not owe any living things – including humans – anything, whether as individuals or as species. No species has any entitlement to exist. Human survival or happiness or suffering are resultant states, not entitlements.

A so-called ” human right” is an entitlement to privilege; where an entitlement is a promise and a privilege is a position of advantage for an individual or a group. Though promised, a benefit may not materialize. Only when realized does a privilege actually become a benefit. All human societies, ranging from families to book clubs to political parties to countries, grant conditional “rights” to their qualified members. No society can, or does, provide any guarantee that the “rights” it bestows will actually be realised as benefits. All so-called “human rights” are imaginary entitlements to privilege. They have no physical existence. They do not flow naturally from the laws of the universe. The post-WW2 concept of “human rights” is as an artificial, social construct of universal entitlements of unconditional privilege. No qualification is required. It is of an imagined, social contract between every individual and the rest of humanity. The individual’s entitlements are to be considered free of the cost of any duties and are an obligation upon everybody else. Ostensibly, the purpose of the UN Declaration on Human Rights is to “improve” the behaviour of humans to each other. It is a commentary about received behaviour but does not directly address the actions which are the root causes of the received behaviour. The question is whether this “entitlements approach” has had any real impact on the behaviour of humans to other humans.

It has not.

It can not.

The range of potential human behaviour

For any creature, it’s DNA identifies the individual and the cluster of similar entities (species) it belongs to. The genome creates the species-specific, envelope of behaviour which encompasses all that all the individuals of any specific species can possibly exhibit. The scope of individual human behaviour (what each person is capable of doing) is whatever is enabled first by the individual human genome and then as constrained by the individual’s own abilities, physical state, cognitive processes and by the natural laws. Though always within the envelope of behaviour which is characteristic for the species, a person’s actions are also constrained by capability. For all living things actions are driven primarily by the individual’s perceptions of self-interest. For humans, this derives from the cognition which gives rise to reason. One person’s self-interest could well be, and often is, in conflict with that of others. Often, whether intentionally or not, one human’s behaviour causes harm to others. What constitutes “bad” behaviour is a subjective judgement. Actions may be intentional or accidental, may be motivated or reactive, but in most cases will not be considered “bad” by the perpetrators. We behave differently with different people at different times. We are capable of being, simultaneously, utterly vile to some people, while being selfless and altruistic to others. In some circumstances, or by some people, actions which cause harm to others, directly or indirectly, may be considered justified, and may even be considered “good”.

The human concept of justice is subjective and is itself founded on discrimination by the prevailing power against what is judged to be unjust or “bad”. The prevailing power gets to decide what is “bad”. We tend to overlook that justice systems are always based on societies doing future harm to some, to balance or compensate for past harm to others. All cases of sanctions or punishments or penalties are for the intentional causing of harm to those adjudged to be culpable of having done harm. For societies to do harm to those “formally” judged to have harmed others, is considered to be the proper exercise of power. It is correct, ethical and even “good”. (It is unlikely that those harmed by the exercise of justice always consider such exercise to be just).

The “sanctity” of human life has been, and still is, a popular delusion. Whether by warfare, or murder, or execution, or infanticide, or abortion, or euthanasia, or indifference, or in self-defense, or by accident, the killing of other humans has always been selectively justifiable. In every society, and throughout history, particular circumstances are allowable for the harming (including killing) of other humans as the correct and proper thing to do. Every justice system exempts certain categories of humans from the usual consequences of their actions. In the context of the universe, abstractions about the human condition, individually or collectively, are of no significance. No human life or suffering or happiness has any relevance whatsoever for the elements and the forces of nature.

Modifying behaviour

Barbarous or atrocious human acts have not changed much since ancient times when humans, at least, had the excuse of being barbarians. The portfolio of all possible human behaviour was probably established by our genes when we became human some 200,000 years ago. The extremes of how well or how badly humans can treat each other has also not changed that much. Neither were atrocities first invented by ISIS or the Nazis or by Genghis Khan or even by Gilgamesh. All behaviour deemed “inhuman”, including the commitment of “atrocities”, still lies within the envelope of potential human behaviour enabled by the human genome. Aggression and violence are survival traits and part of what makes us humans. Enlightened and civilized societies (as all societies invariably label themselves) have had, and still have, their fair share of atrocities. Even the most atrocious and “inhuman” acts ever committed, still lie within the repertoire of behaviour that humans are capable of today. Technology may have changed, but the worst behaviour today is no different to the vilest behaviour 10,000 years ago. Some of the most cultured humans, living in the most sophisticated of civilizations, have also indulged in cruel and barbarous acts towards others. They still do. History is replete with philanthropist murderers and saintly torturers. Every individual has the capacity to be a saint to some and a barbarian to others, or both to anyone – even simultaneously. Each one of us does invariably behave well to some and badly to others.

There is always a potential conflict between the interests of the individual and those of the collective. The collective always has greater force to bring to bear than the individual. While societies seek to influence the behaviour of their members, the universe is equally indifferent to civilized sinners or barbarous saints. The usual tools are legislation (and all legislation is ultimately coercion by the prevailing power) and peer pressure (the herd instinct). From time to time, some societies have managed to establish high levels of compliance with their rules of membership. Smaller societies, with greater homogeneity and a narrower range of variation among members, generally have a closer correspondence between the self-interests of the individual and the collective, and achieve a higher level of uncoerced compliance. Larger societies – because individuals are not equal – exhibit greater dissent. The more diverse a society, the greater the observed dissent. Some disparate societies have succeeded in getting high compliance by using high levels of indoctrination or repression or suppression or coercion. Even the most “enlightened” system of education  – as every education system – is all about indoctrination. The smooth functioning of a society is the usual justification for whatever chosen level of coercion that may be used. The superior force available to the collective usually prevails and particular behaviour is often suppressed. However, no association of humans has yet managed, by the act of association, to change the innate range of behaviour its members are potentially capable of. That only happens by cultural evolution in the short term, and genetic evolution in the long term. Cultural evolution gives voluntary change while genetic evolution gives involuntary change. The range of genetically enabled, potential, behaviour that humans are capable of, is not affected by whether the surrounding society is monarchic or democratic or fascist. All modes of government (including democratic) rely on the ultimate threat of superior force to try and achieve compliance. All the available examples, today and throughout history, only confirm that while some particular individual behaviour can be temporarily suppressed, the range of potential human behaviour is not changed at all. But where individuals’ self-interests can be aligned with some specific behaviour, cultural change can be effected, and that behaviour can sometimes be sustained and perpetuated across many generations. The question is how a society should organize itself such that the manner in which people suppress their own self interest and constrain their own behaviour in the treatment of others, meets the “standards” established by that society. “Standards” are not written in stone or shared by all. They vary across individuals. They vary with societies, within societies and over time. Some current standards of behaviour would have been abhorrent in the past, just as some medieval behaviour is considered barbarous today. Even what is considered depraved and decadent varies over space and time and is dynamic. Some parts of the world are considered decadent by some and other parts are considered repressive and even barbarous by others. Role models of behaviour yesterday have become contemptible today, and role models of behaviour today were once considered brutish or freakish. Some standards applicable now in some societies, or some parts of the world, are anathema in others. Standards of behaviour have to be manifested, first, locally by individuals. Every society tries to “improve” the behaviour of its members, where “improvement” is defined as greater compliance with that society’s current, consensus set of values.

The human rights delusion

For the last 70+ years the “human rights” approach has tried to decree entitlements to privileges, to be universally applicable to everybody and not conditional upon the behaviour of those privileged. The UN Declaration of Human Rights is built on the proposition that all humans should be entitled to certain unconditional privileges of received behaviour, independent of their own behaviour and which must be effected by the rest of the universe. It is implied that member countries should be making these promises, and legislating for these unconditional entitlements, to everybody without qualification (citizens as well as non-citizens). In practice, no such legislation can, or does, avoid conditions for qualification, boundaries for applicability and limits of jurisdiction. The Declaration is a well-meaning, aspirational commentary on received behaviour but does not attempt to address causing behaviour. In essence, the Declaration piously declaims that “no human should be harmed by other humans” but not that “no human shall harm other humans”. As if the level of water in the sink can be controlled without controlling the tap. The Declaration does not bother to define humans, but merely assumes that the form of a human, irrespective of substance, is sufficient for qualification. It is a wish-list for individual entitlements without any balancing duties.

The Declaration as written was profoundly influenced by the atrocities in Europe leading up to and during the Second World War. It was, to a great extent, driven not only by outrage but also by the suppressed guilt in Europe for its complicity and acquiescence. An underlying driver was that so many in the rest of Europe had agreed with and supported German antisemitism. In any event, it ends up as a self-declaration of virtue by the victors. The assumption is that the declaration of a set of unconditional entitlements of privilege for all humans everywhere (received behaviour) will somehow preempt or discourage the causing behaviour by all other humans. The Declaration is no doubt well-meaning but it is silent about the reality that all individuals act as they see fit in their own perceived self-interest – and are constrained only by their own assessments of unacceptable behaviour. Even in a crowd – be it a disciplined army or a rioting mob – actions are by individuals who judge that their self-interest lies in compliance with the actions of the crowd.

Ultimately, behaviour is manifested by individuals, who can only act locally. Whether of benefit to others or causing harm to others, an individual’s actions are dominated by perceived self-interest. When an individual “mistreats” another, the “human rights” of the victim can be declared to be violated, but the compulsions leading to the perpetrating behaviour are hardly addressed. When Cain murdered Abel, Abel’s “human rights” were surely infringed but Cain’s behaviour was not preempted (and he even got to populate the world).  My “universal entitlement” to not be tortured or murdered is of little deterrence and of no value to me if the local compulsions of others lead to my torture or murder. My “universal entitlement” to freedom of speech and expression is of little note if my cantankerous neighbour dislikes what I say or my surrounding local society labels my speech as “politically incorrect”. It matters even less when my burly neighbour or my surrounding society can exert greater force (moral or physical) than I can. When faced by physical confrontation, and irrespective of who is “right”, my self-interest lies in having access to a stick rather than in waving a “bill of rights”. My supposed entitlements are of no consequence if I am a victim of malice, or an accident, or if I am just collateral damage. My entitlements to the ownership of assets are always subject to the vagaries and expressions of superior force (including state force) around me. Any declared entitlements I may have are irrelevant if the harm I experience is the consequence of malice from someone wishing me ill, or gross negligence by someone wishing me well, or by accident. My entitlement to life, liberty and security of person has no value when my time has come, or if I am infected, or if an earthquake strikes, or a burglar breaks in, or if I am hit by a drunk driver, or if society implements a judgement of harm against me. What I actually receive depends upon the immediate, local behaviour of those around me. That behaviour may well have been provoked by my own behaviour. In practice, whatever I may actually be “entitled” to, by way of privileges in my local society, depends, first and foremost, upon my own behaviour. My supposed entitlements, if any, and even if granted, are never guaranteed – by anybody. All my supposed entitlements are of no consequence if just one person next to me – for whatever reason – exercises greater force and – whether by choice or by accident – performs an act which harms me. In practice, an artificial, global declaration of my imaginary “human rights” is irrelevant to the immediate compulsions of individuals around me. When individuals treat others well, or murder or torture or otherwise mistreat others, they are driven by their own compelling, local, immediate motivations and not by any abstract contemplation of some, artificial “human rights” of others.

The UN Declaration goes down the wrong path from the very beginning. In its “Preamble” itself:

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

“Disregard and contempt for human rights” are not the root cause of “barbarous acts”. The text is a logical nonsense. It is the same mankind which shows the disregard and contempt which supposedly outrages itself. For the text to make any sense, those who showed “disregard and contempt” would need to be separated from “mankind”. The reality is that the root cause is that all “barbarous acts” are also human acts. They are acts which lie within the capability of all humans, and are performed by individuals when particular circumstances and their local, immediate compulsions so dictate. That some humans, even if very few, take enjoyment in inflicting cruelty, is also reality. Cruel, vicious and sadistic actions lie within the natural repertoire of the same “common people” who aspire to freedom of speech and belief and freedom from want and fear. In fact, many of these reprehensible actions stem from these same aspirations. The aspiration to freedom of religion drives more religious strife than any other reason. The aspiration to freedom from want drives more robbery than any other reason. Any idealized, sanctimonious concept of humanity and the “spirit of brotherhood” which ignores this reality is self-delusional. When the Declaration condemns all received barbarity as anti-human, it becomes mired in a logical contradiction when it further insists that the perpetrators still be classed as being human. It is a focus on form which ignores substance. The Declaration denies the reality that the identity of an entity is not determined by the behaviour it receives, but by the behaviour it exhibits. Human is as human does. All “barbarous acts” envisaged by the Declaration fall well within the envelope of actions that humans are capable of and can, and do, perform. They were, and still are, usually caused by the behaviour of only a minority of individuals. Nevertheless, the minimization, if not the elimination, of “barbarous acts” requires that the perceived self-interest which compels such human behaviour be addressed, not just that a “barbarous act” be labeled so, by a consensus, after the event. The “highest aspiration” of any individual is ultimately self-interest and the “highest aspiration of the common people” has no meaning when it is the same “common people” who commit the “barbarous acts”. Being able to be cruel and nasty and barbarous is an integral part of being human and to deny that is fantasy.

Right from Article 1, the UN Declaration is pious and virtuous, but utterly false.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  FALSE

Humans are not born equal, they do not live equally and they do not die equal. The reality is that all humans are born naked, with no resources, no debts, no liabilities and with only those privileges as may be granted, or liabilities that may be imposed, by the surrounding human society. “Dignity and rights” are merely labels for a class of beneficial, received behaviour, but are not something inherent within any individual. It bears repeating to break out of this mass delusion. Humans are not born equal. They are born helpless and utterly dependent upon other surrounding humans for their survival. That is hardly being “born free”. The vastly varying levels of support they receive from others, at birth and through their upbringing, further emphasizes that they are not equal. They behave differently from each other, to each other and differently through their lives. The value of a human life to its own surrounding society is a subjective judgement. It varies across societies, from one human to the next and over the life of that human. It is neither static nor a constant. The value of a human life within its own society varies with manifested behaviour and over time. Human lives are not lived equally. The value of a distinguished life may extend far beyond the boundaries of the local society and long after that life is over. The value of an undistinguished human life may be priceless to friends and relatives, but quite low in its immediate society and may approach zero to a distant society. “Years of useful life remaining” is proportional to value.

They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.  ILLOGICAL. (REASON leads to an assessment of self-interest not of “brotherhood”).

“Brotherhood” has no meaning unless a “brother” is distinguished, by his privileged status, from a non-brother. If everybody belongs to a “brotherhood” then there is no meaning to being a brother. The “spirit of brotherhood” was imaginary at the time of Cain and is imaginary now. In reality, it is because humans are endowed with reason that they have an assessment of their own self-interest. “The spirit of brotherhood”, when it exists, is a cognitive assessment, applied to a particular group and which is always, without exception, subordinated to perceived self-interest. As it was with Cain. It is unconscionable to refer to conscience as if that label represents values common to all humans. To act according to one’s conscience may be an explanation, but can never be an excuse for behaviour. Majorities rule and minorities are always suppressed (even if not necessarily oppressed), always in good conscience. That, after all, is Democracy. “Justice” and judicial sanctions and even miscarriages of justice are carried out in good conscience. Burglers burgle and fraudsters defraud with perfectly placid consciences. People oppose, in good conscience, and even with great violence and cruelty, the equally conscientious actions of others. Every riot or revolution is made up of protesters acting in good conscience. Every war has been started for some perceived common good. Every riot that is viciously put down is for the greater good. Harming a few for the greater good is always considered morally and ethically correct. Harming others (them), for the sake of our good (us), is always acceptable even if only as a last resort. Psychopaths and drunk drivers kill and maim without conscience. The worst atrocities (and what an atrocity is, is a subjective judgement) carried out by man have always been in good conscience. The collective always imposes upon individuals in good conscience (with the excuse that it is for the individual’s own good). The forcible sterilization of, and abortions among, lunatics or blacks or aborigines or the Sami, were all considered moral and ethical in their time. Long before Nazi Germany, eugenics and birth control were promoted to facilitate “the process of weeding out the unfit [and] of preventing the birth of defectives.” The practice of coercive eugenics whether by the Nazis, or by all the supposedly charitable organisations which subscribed to the theory, were always for the greater good. Religious killings, whether during the Crusades then, or by Islamic fanatics now, are always in eminently good conscience. Human sacrifice, religious inquisitions and the slaughter of infidels were the stuff of good conscience. The stairway to paradise is littered with the tortured remains of the victims of religious conscience. Warfare, violent revolutions, executions, egregious cruelty, infanticide, euthanasia of the old, medical triage of any kind, honour killings and even abortions are all carried out in good conscience.

Article 2 is little better than sanctimonious drivel:

Everyone is entitled, to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind ….

You could as well add: without any corresponding obligations, 

This has not the makings of a contract. It sanctifies entitlements and downgrades duties. A contract is untenable if one party has only benefits and the second only has liabilities. This purports to be about received behaviour and yet assumes that initiating behaviour is irrelevant. Humans will not exclude some particular behaviour from their repertoire when they perceive a compelling self-interest in exhibiting such behaviour. Human capability for violence survives because it is a critical survival trait. Human behaviour can only “improve” if the cognitive process at the individual level perceives no benefit, and a high probability of penalty, in “bad” behaviour. Behaviour within any particular society can only “improve” if privileges granted to individuals by their local society are earned by “good” behaviour and lost by “bad” behaviour. Self-interest must be made to align with “good” behaviour for such behaviour to prevail. It is inevitable that if even “bad” behaviour can attract privileges, then “good” behaviour is undermined. If “entitlements” apply even to the perpetrators of “bad” behaviour then that behaviour is effectively shielded and perpetuated. Artificial declarations of entitlement to received behaviour, which ignore the behaviour of those being so entitled, cannot address, let alone improve, behaviour. The “human rights” approach cannot guarantee these privileges, but instead places a blanket liability on the rest of the universe to deliver them. There are no duties, whatsoever, placed on the individuals (everybody) to be granted the privileges. The imbalance is unsustainable. In any legal system, unconditional entitlements to privilege for received behaviour inherently lacks the balance needed for a meaningful social contract. It does not help that every individual is an identified, unencumbered beneficiary of a supposed contract, where all the obligations are to be delivered by an unidentified, diffuse, second party (which encompasses the rest of humanity). The artificial concept of “human rights” represents, at best, an unbalanced and “bad” contract. At worst, it is no social contract at all and misleads by feigning to be a contract.

A culture of entitlement has to shift to a culture of duties

I merely observe that since 1948, the “worst” human behaviour has not, by any measure, “improved”. By one (somewhat underestimated) count, there have been at least 24 mass-atrocity/genocide like events since WW2. More people are murdered today (around 450,000 per year) than ever in the past. However one defines “bad”, the population increase means there are more “bad” people alive today than in 1948. Even though the awareness of imaginary “human rights” is high, and even though the number of people employed in the “human rights” industry has exploded, the frequency of “atrocities” and genocide-like events has, if anything, increased. (It could be argued that the continuing growth of the “human rights” industry is itself an indicator of worsening behaviour!) We cannot even claim that the worst atrocities we commit are any less “bad”. The range of human behaviour is largely unchanged. In one sense, human behaviour may actually be worse, in that, the “entitlements” approach now provides protections even for the perpetrators of the worst atrocities. It gives rise to the horrible situation in many societies that those who harm are afforded greater privileges and protections than their victims ever had. The dead, of course, have no rights though their murderers do.

(I note also, in passing, that “animal rights” are not claimed by any animal. They know better. All “animal rights” are, without exception, claimed by some humans seeking to coerce the behaviour of other humans).

The UN Declaration is about what behaviour all individuals are entitled to receive but never directly about how an individual should behave. It is about what everybody else owes an individual. It is insidious and subversive in that it justifies the idea of having entitlements without any corresponding obligations. If the question is whether the UN Declaration can prevent atrocities from happening again, the answer is clearly that it cannot. It is not the UN or the Declaration but the interconnected world of self-interests which may prevent the scale of the Nazi atrocities from ever being repeated. If the objective is to influence behaviour, the emphasis has to shift away from entitlements to privilege and focus instead on the behaviour of individuals. Behaviour must be addressed at the point of action and not at the receiving end.  That can only happen first at the individual level and only within the “local” society. It is the impotence of global, top-down platitudes versus the bottom-up alignment of self-interest with desired behaviour. Societies can – and do – use legislation to try and influence local, individual behaviour. However, pious assumptions of “universal laws” which are not grounded at the local level, are of little practical help and add little value. The fundamental and guiding principle needs to be that all individuals are responsible and accountable for their own behaviour. Far too often the entitlements approach leads to explanations of behaviour being used to excuse that behaviour. Psycho-babble explanations of “bad” behaviour are used as an excuse. Any entitlements to privilege, in any society, can only be contingent upon behaviour. Where is the UN Declaration on Human Duties?

The artificial “human rights” concept and its imaginary social contract is unbalanced and untenable. If there is no cost to the acquisition of human rights, then they can have no great value. I come to the conclusion that human behaviour is surely capable of being influenced by a social contract. But it needs to be a real social contract where benefits for the individual are balanced by duties and obligations. Entitlements without duties are no social contract and ultimately, anti-social. It is only by aligning desired behaviour with perceptions of self-interest (and not just the interests of others), that we will see a change in the desired direction.

A human is defined by behaviour exhibited, not by behaviour received. And the place to begin is by local, not global, declarations of the behaviour to be exhibited to qualify for the privileges to be accorded to humans. The human condition will improve only when “bad” behaviour is perceived as being against self-interest, not just by labeling such behaviour as a sin against imaginary “human rights”.

“Ask not what behaviour others owe you, but what behaviour you owe to others”


 

 

 

Are rights real in this age of entitlement?

March 11, 2020
  1. A right is an entitlement to a privilege.
  2. A privilege is an actual advantage available (whether granted by anybody or not) to a particular person or group. (By analogy, your right is your ownership of another’s debt, an entitlement is that the credit is in your account and a privilege results when it is encashed).
  3. Having an entitlement is no guarantee that the privilege will result.
  4. A grant of an impossible entitlement or an entitlement granted by an incompetent authority cannot be realized as a privilege.
  5. The universe is not in debt to any living creature.
  6. There are no entitlements which flow from the laws of nature as rights of any kind except the obligation to comply with the natural laws.
  7. No living thing is born with any entitlements.
  8. There is no entitlement even to life. Survival is a result, not an entitlement.
  9. The primal drivers for all living things are survival and self-interest.
  10. Humans are not born equal. Each human is born with a unique set of genes and has the potential and the constraints given by that set of genes (nature). All humans are born naked, with no resources, no debts, no liabilities and with only those privileges as may be granted, or liabilities that may be imposed, by the local, surrounding human society.
  11. Humans are not brought up equally. Every individual receives varying amounts and quality of support from the surrounding community (nurture).
  12. Human lives are not equal in value. The value of a human life to its surrounding society is neither static nor a constant. It varies across individuals, across societies and across the lifetime of the individual.
  13. An individual’s capability for behaviour lies within the envelope of what is allowed by an individual’s genes (nature), as enabled or constrained by upbringing (nurture).
  14. An individual’s actual actions are limited first by capability (nature and nurture) and then as motivated or constrained by individual cognition.
  15. Every individual is free to act within his capabilities and his desires but within the physical constraints that the surroundings (environment or society) may have applied.
  16. Human brains give us the ability to reason which, in turn, gives our assessments of self-interest. All human behaviour is governed first by perceived self-interest.
  17. Even apparently altruistic actions are only as a subset of perceived self-interest.
  18. An individual’s immediate, perceived self-interest can override any consideration of causing harm to others.
  19. Coercion, physically or by the application of threats (including by legislation), can change the perception of self-interest.
  20. All societies – from family groups and up to nations – grant their members various privileges conditional always upon their behaviour.
  21. “Acceptable behaviour” is a dynamic, local, value-judgement. It varies across individuals, families, societies and over time.
  22. All societies create legislation to try and coerce “acceptable” behaviour from their members by rewarding “good” behaviour and penalizing “bad” behaviour.
  23. In practice, protecting or rewarding the perpetrators of “bad” behaviour shields and perpetuates that behaviour.
  24. “Improvement” of individual behaviour means eliciting a greater compliance with a society’s standards of behaviour.
  25. Global declarations of entitlements can only be effected (encashed) locally.
  26. There is no global, timeless definition of what constitutes “acceptable” or “barbarous” behaviour which is shared by all 7 billion humans.
  27. No society attempts to, or has the competence to, guarantee that any of its members will not be victims of “unacceptable behaviour” received from others.
  28. Human rights are an imaginary social construct.
  29. All declared human rights are of universally applicable, irrevocable, unconditional entitlements to some privilege of received behaviour.
  30. Declared human rights are free of cost and require no reciprocal duties.
  31. A declaration of human rights in itself creates no social contract.
  32. All claims of human rights are claims against the behaviour received or not received from others.
  33. Human rights entitlements are theorized to apply only after birth and cease with death. (A living murderer retains rights but not so the victim).

 

Repetition of a mantra – even a “human rights” mantra – does not make it true

May 27, 2019

Article 1 of the Declaration of Human Rights begins with a mantra.

Mantra – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

Reality – Human beings are unique and different. They are born with varying physical and mental characteristics. Their genetic characteristics define and constrain the limits of their physical and mental potentials. At birth they are incapable of survival in isolation. From birth and through their lives they are afforded privileges (rights) by the surrounding human society. Their capabilities – mental and physical – develop by the nurture they receive in their early years and their development is constrained by their innate (genetic) capability. The nurture they receive varies according to the resources and will of the surrounding society to provide such nurture. Human behaviour is a consequence of their genetics and their nurture. In similar situations humans may behave similarly but any individual’s behaviour is unique. An individual’s behaviour determines the respect afforded by the surrounding society.

The mantra is a nonsense. It is little more than “a sanctimonious wish, full of ill-defined words, signifying nothing”. It is repeated incessantly, but it is not true, cannot be true and should not be true. For it to be true would require that all humans be identical down to the last atom. For it to be true humans must lose their uniqueness and be a species of clones.

The difference between natural law and human laws is that natural laws cannot be broken. Compliance is assured even if the natural law is not even formulated. Human laws do not command automatic compliance. In fact, any human law which did command complete compliance would be an unnecessary law. “Human Rights” (and all human rights are nothing but privileges) are all attempts made by societies to regulate human behaviour. If the mantra were true, no “human rights legislation” would ever be necessary.

The reality is that human beings are not born equal in dignity and in rights.

A concept of “equality” which ignores the reality that humans are innately unequal is fundamentally flawed. Humans are unique and are not equal, or of equal value. Justice demands inequality. The very concept of justice requires unequal treatment. A child is not equal to an adult. A murderer is not equal to a saint. The perpetrator of an injustice is not equal to the victim. To treat a child as an adult is unjust. To respect bad behaviour is both unjust and stupid. Any society which treats a murderer the same as it treats a saint is an unjust society. Any concept of “equality” must be subordinated to justice.

I would take the UN Declaration more seriously if it simply began:

 “All human beings shall be afforded just dignity and respect by all human societies”


 

Another fundamental human right?

March 26, 2018

This could be added as the 31st Article in the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights but would probably need to be placed between the current Articles 18 and 19.

Freedom of identity choice:

Everyone has the right to freedom of choice of identity regarding race, colour or gender regardless of actual race, colour or gender. This right includes the freedom to change his/her/its identity of choice and the freedom to manifest his/her/its chosen identity in all his/her/its actions, behaviour, thought and observance.

A new fundamental human right?


 

Real rights are dependent upon behaviour (part 4)

March 20, 2018

My behaviour strongly influences the behaviour of others towards me.

Any “right” I may have can only exist if the behaviour of others is, at worst, not opposed to my exercise of the right.

Therefore,

Any “rights” I may have are dependent upon my behaviour.


 

Human rights are not universal and they are not free: The fatal flaw in the UN “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (part 3)

March 10, 2018

In part 1  I proposed as a definition:

A right is entirely a social construct. .. I take a right to be an entitlement. It is a possession of status within some specified human society which gives its owner a privilege to act or not act in some specific manner, and/or a claim on other entities within the relevant society to act or not act in some specified manner. …… Rights can not – and do not – exist except when vested by a competent grant-giver in a qualified recipient.

A unilateral proclamation or declaration does not create a right. A human right can therefore only be created between two human parties, where the parties are identified and competent to fulfill their obligations (see part 2). For a right to truly exist, the behaviour of both parties in fulfilling the social contract is crucial. Any right which is an entitlement of one party is utterly dependant upon the behaviour of other involved parties. Without an acknowledged and accepted obligation of the other parties, no right exists. It is meaningless – and entirely insufficient – for third parties to declare that relevant other parties should or ought to have such obligations. A fundamental tenet of all valid contracts is that the parties involved commit to their obligations. It is not valid or acceptable for any party to create commitments for other parties. A contract can only be valid if the relevant parties freely enter into and commit to their own obligations.

Purported rights do not create or overcome behaviour. Actual behaviour creates real rights.

A true right can only exist if a valid social contract between a qualified party on the one hand and a competent party on the other, is in force.

The UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (UDHR) was a knee-jerk reaction to the horrors of the Second World War and the state of the world immediately afterwards. Certainly intentions were good. But it was more a listing of pious hopes than any kind of a contract which could be a tool to change human behaviour. The UDHR was a document born of the Holocaust and a desire that such grotesque repression would never happen again. It was intended to be a compass for human behaviour. It has been the wrong tool at the wrong time.

It is my contention that the UDHR has not only failed to be an instrument for “improving” human behaviour, it has also legitimised the idea that purported rights are “free” and not linked to any qualifications or duties or standards of behaviour.

In the 70 years since it was formulated, the UDHR has been used as the “bible” for human rights legislation. But the state of humankind today in respect of the real rights accorded to an individual by surrounding society is in most cases no better than in 1948. In many instances it is very much worse. Human behaviour is not any better now, than it was then.   It is my contention that the UDHR has done more harm than good. It frees one party (“everyone”) from any obligations or duties or qualifications in the ownership of an entitlement. The other party which must grant and guarantee the right is never defined. As a “contract document” it is not fit for purpose. It has been counterproductive to its own goals because its very lack of rigour has given mere wishes and desires the false status of rights. This in turn has led to the dilution of the necessary requirements for real rights to exist. It has led us down the wrong path. It has provided a very shaky foundation for the legislation that follows which – not surprisingly – is then poor legislation.

Since it was formulated in 1948 and ratified in 1951, there have been more deaths due to recognised “genocides” than during the Holocaust. Religious fanaticism has increased. Freedom of belief has become the freedom to indoctrinate. Barbarism and terror is the new normal for an extremist. The nuclear family has been stripped of its dignity in many parts of the world. To not offend carries more weight than the voicing of true opinion. Mere accusations (especially on social media) now contain a presumption of guilt. Depravity is glorified in the name of “human rights”. Anti-social behaviour is “protected” by purported rights. Having signed up to the UDHR does not stop nations from cruel and unusual treatment of political opponents. States confiscate more of their citizens’ property than ever before under the guise of taxation. The depths to which human behaviour sinks (whether by Mexican drug cartels or by ISIS) has not changed since the Nazi atrocities.

The UDHR fails as a contract document because

  1. it does not address what constitutes a right, and
  2. it does not define the parties to the contract, and
  3. it does not define the obligations and liabilities of the parties, and
  4. it states that the subject of the contract (human rights) are universal, and therefore
  5. contains no commitment from the involved parties

The UDHR ends up being a good-intentioned but banal collection of maudlin platitudes. The entire content can just as well be summarised as Jack Nicholson’s character puts it in Mars Attacks, “Why can’t we all just get along?”. The UDHR was a document of its time. It had the best of intentions but it does not stand the test of time. If the goal was to improve human behaviour, it has led the world down the wrong path.

There is one fundamental, insidious, and corrosive flaw in the UDHR. It is a fatal flaw. This is the legitimising of the view that human rights are “free” and universal and unconnected to duties and obligations and standards of behaviour. It is this claim, that every individual, regardless of qualifications or duties, has entitlements which must be honoured by the rest of humanity without any obligations in return, which is the fatal flaw. Universality requires that the purported rights be “free” and that is why – as declared – they have no value in the real world. The perceived and the true value of any right depends upon the parties involved. Different rights have different values not only to the right-holder but also to the party granting and guaranteeing a right. Rights have a value for the right-holder and rights have costs for the guarantor. These values and costs are profoundly impacted by human behaviour.

There is also a philosophic failure in the UDHR. This is the adoption of the fantasy that human behaviour can be changed by proclamation and declarations in a top-down approach. There is an arrogance – albeit good-intentioned – in a text written by an elite purporting to represent all of mankind. Declaration of purported rights do not create behaviour. It is behaviour which creates and allows the manifestation of real rights. Human behaviour must of necessity begin with the individual, evolve locally and nationally and build up to the international. A top-down approach as in the UDHR is conceptually and fundamentally in error. If human rights are to be real they must first be created and ensured and exercised locally. They must first be rights which are clearly defined (not amorphous as in the UDHR) and specific (not universal and valueless) such that their ownership is clear and their exercise can, in fact, be guaranteed. Implementation at the local level can then be allowed and encouraged to grow to become global to the extent that shared values produce similar behaviour. Universal, amorphous rights as envisaged in the UDHR are necessarily non-existent and unenforceable. If human rights exist at all they start with my behaviour and yours, not with a sanctimonious declaration from the UN. Freedom of speech starts with what I am willing to allow my neighbour to say without triggering any opposing behaviour. If he slanders me then I find the cost of guaranteeing his free speech too much to bear and do what I can to silence him. Every right has a value and a cost. Behaviour creates the rights that are exercised. The rule of law has a part to play – but no system of law can guarantee compliance. In any event it can only begin with laws created at the local or national level to suit local or national rights which themselves have to be created and guaranteed. Global laws imposed on local societies is the cart before the horse.

Human rights are not “free”. They have value to the right-holder and a cost for the guarantor. And if they were “free” – as universality implies – then they have no value. It is by insisting on universality that the connection between rights and behaviour is lost. I suppose it really boils down to whether it is more important to make sanctimonious proclamations about what “human rights” ought to be, or whether it is more important to change human behaviour so that “human rights” are exercised and actually delivered.

The UDHR is written in the form of a contract with seven “whereas” clauses in the preamble, a proclamation clause and thirty Articles. But it is no treaty and no contract. It is just a declaration. As a contract document it is not fit for purpose since the parties to the contract, their obligations and liabilities are all undefined. Even the subject of the declaration – “human rights” are undefined. To its credit it has served as the basis of much legislation. But it has failed in its purpose of improving human behaviour – if that in fact was its purpose. It undermines itself by declaring human rights to be free and universal (and therefore of no real value).

As the UDHR is written even a divine power, if one existed, could not guarantee the purported rights


This is a commentary on why I find the UDHR not fit for purpose as a contract document.

UDHR commentary

The UDHR is not fit for purpose as a contract document because 

  1. The parties to the contract are undefined.
  2. Neither are the concepts of “rights” and “dignity”.
  3. In a contract document the whereas clauses in the preamble are introductory statements of fact that mean “that being the case.” In the UDHR the preamble and its whereas clauses are, at best, ungrounded statements, and at worst, statements of religious belief.

 

You can’t claim a “human right” unless you can identify who guarantees it (part 2)

March 4, 2018

Human rights do not occur naturally. They must be created and they must be bestowed. They cannot be self-bestowed. Once bestowed, if their exercise is thwarted they cease to be rights. Human rights can only be created as a social contract where the parties to the contract are able to, and do, fulfill their obligations.

In part 1 I described the concept of a right taken as an entitlement.

right is entirely a social construct. When encompassed within a legal, moral or ethical system, it could be taken as a social contract. As a contract it requires to be between two parties; the grant-giver and a recipient. ….. I  take a right to be an entitlement. It is a possession of status within some specified human society which gives its owner a privilege to act or not act in some specific manner, and/or a claim on other entities within the relevant society to act or not act in some specified manner. ….  Rights can not – and do not – exist except when vested by a competent grant-giver in a qualified recipient.

Two parties are necessary for a right to be created. The granter must be competent to grant and to ensure the exercise of the right and the recipient must be qualified and “free” to exercise the right. If a right is claimed but it is not clear as to who grants it and who guarantees it, then it is not a right. It may still be a wish or a hope or a desired standard of behaviour, but it manifestly is not a right. The granting party needs, not only to be identified, but also to be competent to grant and guarantee the entitlement. A party – such as a government – may go some way towards the grant of an entitlement by enshrining it in law, but no law (except the laws of nature) can inherently guarantee compliance. Moreover, even the grant of the entitlement is restricted by the jurisdiction within which the granting party holds sway. The party owning a right needs to be a qualified party who has been explicitly vested with the right by a competent party. The very concept of “human rights” is constrained to be applicable only to humans. It is necessary requirement for any right that the grant giver identifies which humans are to be vested with the right. “Everybody” is not a proper definition of a right-holder since there is no grant-giver capable of granting any kind of a right to “everybody”. Any claim of a right being universal and applicable to “all human beings” always fails because

  1. there is no competent agency – human or divine – which is able to grant and guarantee such “universal” rights to all humans, and
  2.  every real claim of a “universal” right is constrained to not be available to some humans.

Most claims of “human rights” fail the test of being rights and are merely wishes. Even where a government can be identified as the party granting and purporting to guarantee the right, the reality is that the right is not guaranteed.

The UN “Universal declaration of human rights” proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 is unsatisfactory at very many levels. As a wish-list I have no great objection to it. As a list of standards to be achieved it has many admirable goals. But it is mainly a collection of platitudes – many undefined and many meaningless. It builds on questionable assumptions and a somewhat suspect philosophy. The title itself is ambiguous. Is the declaration universal or is it proclaimed that the desired rights are universal?

But the primary flaws with the UN document are that

  1. it refers to rights without considering what is necessary to constitute a right, and
  2. it ignores the qualifications necessary to own a “right” by claiming that rights should be universal

It starts by “recognising” the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” with no reference to any party which might be able to grant and guarantee the claimed rights. By claiming that such rights be available universally, it immediately undermines its own intent since there is no human agency capable of granting any right universally. The document contains 30 Articles, and every single Article fails the test of defining, or even trying to define, who grants and who guarantees the proclaimed “right” and to whom.

As a document laying out a social contract it is not fit for purpose.

But more of that in part 3.


 

Declaring a “human right” does not make it one (part 1)

February 27, 2018

There are no human rights which follow as an inevitable consequence of the natural laws of the universe.

Consider what is needed to create a right. Mere declaration does not suffice. A right is entirely a social construct. When encompassed within a legal, moral or ethical system, it could be taken as a social contract. As a contract it requires to be between two parties; the grant-giver and a recipient. In fact, our entire conception of rights has meaning only when applied to the social interaction between humans.  All rights are about the behaviour of humans.

I take a right to be an entitlement. It is a possession of status within some specified human society which gives its owner a privilege to act or not act in some specific manner, and/or a claim on other entities within the relevant society to act or not act in some specified manner

The granting of a right is a necessary condition but it is not sufficient for a right to exist. It must be granted by a party such that

  • ownership of the right is vested in the receiver, and
  • exercise of the right by the recipient is guaranteed by the grant-giver

Rights can not – and do not – exist except when vested by a competent grant-giver in a qualified recipient. The grant-giver must have the power to grant. The competence of the grant-giver is fundamentally necessary (but also not sufficient) to the creation of a “right”. An individual can grant a right to another individual only if it is within his power to do so. A grant which is outside the competence of the grant-giver to give creates no right for the receiver.

It is also a necessary condition – though not sufficient – for the recipient to be qualified to possess and exercise the granted right. No rights can exist if the grant-giver does not have the wherewithal to vest ownership of those “rights” in the recipient.  Nor can they exist if the recipient is not capable of exercising such vested rights or if such exercise is not ensured. Declaration of so-called animal rights does not create any animal recipient qualified to possess or exercise that right. Such declarations do not vest privileges or claims in any animal and are actually about human behaviour.

Anybody can declare a right but for any grant to be meaningful, the granting party must be able to guarantee and ensure the exercise of that right by the right-holder. A right which cannot be exercised is vitiated and empty. It fails, in fact, to be a right, whether of claim or of privilege. The grant of such empty rights then becomes merely a statement of wishes. A party which can only grant empty rights, where the exercise of such “rights” is not guaranteed, is a party not sufficiently competent to grant rights.

Human rights are neither universal nor absolute. They are not written into the laws of the universe. They are an expression of desires and wishes and hopes about standards of human behaviour. In reality there are no human, or even divine, agencies which have a competence sufficient to grant so-called human rights. They are declared – always – by bodies or entities which lack the full competence first, to vest ownership of the rights in the recipients and second, to guarantee and ensure their exercise.

The UN Declaration of Human Rights (UN DHR) is just that – a declaration.  What it describes are not rights. The UN can neither guarantee nor ensure the ownership or the exercise of those  declared rights or of the implied duties. Neither can the governments of the UN’s member countries guarantee the exercise of the rights declared. Without the ability to guarantee the exercise, the rights declared are not, in fact, rights at all but are merely pious hopes.

UN Declaration Human Rights

The UN Declaration of hopes and wishes is only as good as it is allowed to be, by the assumptions it starts with. The assumptions are not sound. It is a declaration of desirable standards of human behaviour. Unfortunately it ignores the basic requirements for any rights to exist. It does not specify the parties involved. It ignores the competence required of the party granting the rights and ignores the qualifications of the receiver of the rights. The fundamental claim in the UN DHR that “all humans”, independent of their behaviour, should possess these “rights” is untenable. How? Who is competent to grant such ownership? To whom? And who guarantees the exercise of these “rights”.

Whatever the UN Declaration of Human Rights may be, it is not about rights at all.


 

 

How does Breivik qualify for “human” rights?

March 13, 2016

There is something obscene in the manner in which so called “human rights” are being exploited by the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik in suing the Norwegian government for keeping him in isolation. Apart from the fact that he has been sentenced to just 21 years in prison for the murder of 77 people (which is less than 100 days in prison for every person murdered), I find it objectionable that

  1. he is considered “human”, and
  2. he is allowed to sue

Of course it is up to any society to make whatever rules it wants and to decide what it wants to consider “human rights”. It is also up to any society to be as stupid as it wishes, and if the Norwegian people wish to treat Breivik with the respect due to a human then they can do so.

But surely they don’t have to treat a criminal lunatic as a sane rational being?

Breivik

Breivik

Euronews:

Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is about to return to court – but this time it is to sue the Norwegian state, claiming it is violating his human rights by keeping him in isolation.

The right-wing extremist will appear in a gym-turned-courtroom within the prison in which he is being held on Tuesday. It will be a testing time for his victims’ families and survivors of his attacks.

“Personally I think it is a little bit hilarious but many of the others…the support group, doesn’t like him being in the media again,” said Dag Andre Anderssen, who survived Breivik’s island shooting massacre.

“That is actually the most important thing for us – that he gets to be in the spotlight again – and we don’t like that. We would rather that he be forgotten.”

It was 2011 when Breivik detonated a bomb at Oslo’s central government building, killing eight people and injuring more than 200. He then headed to the island of Utoeya where his gun rampage killed 69 people at a Labour Party camp, most of them teenagers.

Jailed for 21 years, Breivik has his own cellblock at Skien prison, south of Oslo as well as access to a computer, TV and Playstation.

“Human rights” are not absolute and certainly not some divine right. They are just privileges afforded by societies to their members. There is no reason for them not to be subordinate to common sense. There is no reason for stupidity in the name of “human rights”.


 


%d bloggers like this: