February 10, 2012

On the Progressive-Left's Care about Human Rights and Social Justice

Earlier today I read a post at a site where I contribute, Israel Thrives, where it was stated:
If the progressive-left honestly cared about human rights or social justice then they might care about Tibet or Darfur or Congo (where something like 5.5 million people are dead over the last decade, or so, due to that conflict), but they do not. This can only mean that their claims to care about social justice and human rights are entirely hollow. Yet day after day they fling filth at the Jewish.
I understand the gist of this remark, but have a running, good-natured difference with the author. I am not of the opinion that the claims of those mentioned about social justice and human rights are entirely hollow. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that for far too many it's become an obsession against Israel that blinds such voices of morality to most anything else, including the ramifications of their own actions. Further, try as they might to demonize and act illiberally toward others, I still endeavor to believe they have altruistic intentions, though misguided in the approach and methodology they adopt.

When I hear how these folks lecture others about morality and human rights, though I believe most are good intentioned to make the world better, I usually scratch my head. I wish they were less ignorant about history and reliant on theory, more attuned to the reality of the world and the human condition. All that education that provides one narrative deprives the ability to recognize or acknowledge other narratives, let alone give them appropriate or fair minded consideration. In this environment, coming from such a disproportionate foundation, no wonder they feel how they do.

As ignorance decreases, more liberals and others become less hesitant to speak out to change this Orwellian dynamic where the point of departure is that Israel, the USA, the West are imperialistic, intolerant and evil. (As if no others actors have equal capacity or can choose their own behavior.) What seems forgotten is that some states and groups at least try to comply with standards of human rights and democracy, while far too many do not. Rather than work against the worst of abuses and human suffering, because it is much harder to confront when societies are closed and there may be personal danger, these disproportionately obsessed instead prefer easier prey to attack with their self-made clubs and badges of human rights, wielding their theories and weaponry far way from the fray, among themselves and captive audiences.

In my view, from a human rights standpoint, these proponents squander limited resources with overblown efforts against states where governmental have tangible protections in place like a free press to expose, an independent judiciary to enforce, and virtually no risk of reprisal by the state for expression. Nevertheless, they demand a standard of perfection from these best actors, one that can never exist among humans or states, rather than place focus on situations where even minimum standards are absent. As a result, most people remain in the dark about the gravest threats to universal human rights.

This is not at all to say that a state that violates human rights should have impunity. Only a sophist or the like would gleen such an interpretation. It pains me to say that there are many such persons. So let me be explicit: All violations are wrong and deserve a remedy. However, as an analogy, I prefer to first prosecute killers, then tax cheaters. I take the same view in the matter of human rights and international relations.

Indeed, this is more a call for those who define themselves as liberal or progressive not to fear those that disproportionately ignore the worst actors to target the best, then treat people who seek balance as bigoted enemies of human rights. Assuming they act in good faith, is it liberal or progressive to call others names or seek to censor other voices or the content of others' ideas?

Each time I see a "liberal" or "progressive" act this way, it drives home the point of how ironic and contradictory life is among the believers. Until the barriers of ignorance are made weak with sunlight, knowledge and fair discourse, the battle for human rights does not stand a chance.

Back to the grind.

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