• The UN Fatwa on Freedom of Speech?

    by  • April 1, 2008 • The Global Picture • 3 Comments

    The Islamic Conference (OIC) has allegedly punched a hole in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by inserting the following text into some UN docs.

    To report on instances where the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination taking into account Articles 19(3) and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and General Comment 15 of the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which stipulates that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression.

    (original text here)

    (one analysis of the political implications, and a description of the process, here)


    My thoughts?

    I have long thought that, on close analysis, the UN Declaration of Human Rights was a pretty flawed document, although given the conditions of its construction, allowances can be made. But not many.

    The problem is that American-style Individual Rights Based Thinking – which, yes, continues traditions from Britain – has become entirely too bound to the American nation state. And as the American nation state slips further into what can only be described as fascism (sorry, chaps, kidnapping yer own citizens, holding them without trial, torturing them, using evidence gained under torture in their show trials, then locking them up and throwing away the key is not something that can be glossed as temporary excess – first they came for Jose Padilla, etc.) it becomes increasingly necessary for whatever friends of liberty exist to take their show on the road, into jurisdictions which are more friendly to individual liberty.

    I became an American at an ideological level when I came to a good understanding of what the Founders had done in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the struggles that went into the adoption of those documents. Not just the will of the founders, but the will of an entire people went into ensuring those freedoms. But a constant diet of right wing christianity and lies have addled the minds of the American population to the point where they dully accept the kidnapping and torture carried out by their government, rather than making the country ungovernable until such time as the government restores the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to their fullness. You cannot turn to the United Nations, and you cannot turn to the American People to ensure your liberty.

    Having seen the second world war, and the willingness of individual governments to collaborate with the Nazis, you would think that the ordinary european citizen would insist on their right to bear arms, so that in the event of another outbreak of fascism, they could at least die on their own terms, and take a few of the fascists with them. But the lesson is not learned, and as undemocratic institutions like the European Union continue to cement their hold on power, and the right wing gets more and more vocal, the real debate about “who controls my life, and who controls my actions?” is never voiced. Endless debate about what is socially acceptable, but no real consideration of “who decides?”

    Let me make this clear.

    The right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, alternatively conceived as the right to Life, Liberty and Property, is a inalienable right, imbued in humans by their creator. Or, these days, imbued in humans by their own ability to recognize that right, whatever its origins.

    These are also rights

    * freedom of religion
    * freedom of speech
    * freedom of the press, of assembly
    * freedom to own a rifle and other arms
    * no soldiers to take up residence in your house without lawful approval
    * no unreasonable search and seizure of property by the State
    * proper trials, no self incrimination, no government theft of property
    * trial by jury, the right to hear charges and so on
    * no cruel and unusual punishment (don’t get me started.)
    * and whatever rights you know to be your rights, along with your fellows

    Where America has gone wrong recently is in mistaking these rights to apply to American citizens only. No, my friends, these are the rights of man. That the US government denies them to individual human beings under their control in the fortresses and prisons like Guantanamo, all over the world, is a reason for bulldozing the entire political consciousness that has brought America so low, and starting again.

    The problem is that Ron Paul was not revolutionary enough.

    You cannot argue, fully, for the Rights of Man from a Christian perspective. I’m sorry to say this, but it is true. The founders were not really Christians in the modern sense – many of them outright rejected Christianity in favor of Deism, and others, like Jefferson, had their own conceptions of the divine and scourged religion in its normative forms. First comes the transfer of authority from the individual to “god,” and then the transfer of authority from God to the Elect or the Priests, and then, soon enough, the State Apparatus might as well be a projection of the power of the Catholic Church in the middle ages.

    Does anybody doubt that in their secret chambers, many of George Bush’s government think they are doing God’s Will in the Middle East, murdering perhaps one million people in a war which is closer to Germany in Czechoslovakia than to America in Europe?

    Secular Individualism was the crown jewels of American society: a government which believed in the rights of the individual, not in the spiritual beliefs of any individual or set of individuals within it. It did not place the needs of the many above the rights of the individual in the way that, for example, the Scandinavian democracies do, because the Government was not invested with the power to do that. An alliance of individuals, not a State per-se.

    You cannot trust the United Nations – the Muslims and Communists are rapidly corrupting what little basis in individual rights it had. You cannot trust the US Government because it has stripped its own citizens of their rights and tortured them, and extended immunity to the individuals involved.

    we are on our own.

    It is possible that America will heal: a new president, a new awareness of individual liberty as the root cause for America as an institution. But if it does not, the struggle continues, and it is up to us, and no other generation, to hold the torch aloft for a few more revolutions around the sun.

    There are three fundamental questions in the life of any human being who has attained autonomy.

    1> What do I live for?

    2> What would I die for?

    3> What would I kill for?

    Some people reverse questions 2> and 3> and are willing to kill for causes which they are not willing to die for – those are thugs and psychopaths.

    In the times which may come, stand your ground. A little grit in the machinery of fascism and totalitarianism may go a long way to preventing a new equilibrium, in which governments own the individual like common property. There is little we can do to prevent our brethren being stampeded by their leaders, over the cliff and into slavery and fear, but we at least as individuals can stand our ground.

    Make yourselves lions, and tear the flesh of your oppressors, of whatever stripe. Be fearless.

    The founders made no bones about it – their plan for tyranny was simple – for the population to rise up and murder their oppressors. But now we have the situation where the dictatorship of the masses has arisen in America, where the bulk of the population has no idea what rights it has or why they were fought for, and will by-and-large do as they are told. This largely invalidates the plan of the Founders, who appear not to have conceived of a situation in which Americans would become so lax as to make their government into their owner.

    The Left has an insane agenda which simply puts more and more power into the hands of the same institutions abusing it now, albeit with a temporary check on war. The Right is so deeply entertained with the current political mire there is little help to be had their either. And the libertarians… god help us, guys, for gods sake get it together.

    There is no movement. There is no organization currently on the field which has the fundamental force and integrity to hold the line. Not the US Government. Not the United Nations.

    So we hold the line. Each of us individually, and if you see others holding the line, you support them.

    Do what it takes: we are the sovereign protectors of our own humanity, and this must never be forgotten. It is a sacred trust, and right now it lies on the floor, as the institutions established by previous generations of those who guarded liberty crumble into their own obsolescence.

    The population, as a whole, slumbers, and the wolves are out in force again. This is not the situation the founders foresaw, at all. It’s not about mass movements any more, not about getting people reacquainted with their rights… water level is too low, people are too sluggish, too oriented to the church, and not enough to the university. Faith and comfort have made people passive.

    It’s going to take a new approach to make liberty and integrity in government real again. I do not believe any of the existing nation states can be fixed. Switzerland is a shining example of taking the principles seriously and building a state on them, but unless you plan to relocate, I’m not sure that the necessary preconditions exist elsewhere.

    Dire news indeed. I’ve known it, at some level, for years, but I finally feel its time to speak out: I don’t think you can count on fixing America as a long term plan for individual human rights. Nice if it happens, and we may know more on the prognosis by the end of this year, but the federal government system as it stands appears to be beyond meaningful repair. The State governments, in some instances, appear to have excellent potential to respect the Constitutional intention of the founders, but while they are under the mantle of an organization that holds American citizens without trial and condones torture, what hope?

    I think it starts with a reawakening of consciousness: the American system was created by individuals who had a solid sense of their own natural rights, and of who was oppressing them. First foster this consciousness in yourself – feel the pain of being told what to do in the small details of your personal affairs by institutions which can summon military force to back up their insistence that you do as you are told and pay as instructed. Become aware of the cage.

    America will not keep that cage off you any more: it has become, to a sad degree, a manifestation of that cage. So we must individually re-awaken liberty within ourselves, and steer for the long course.

    Again, within our lifetimes, it must shine, but it is up to us now, and no other will do it on our behalf. The time for resting on the laurels of the previous generations is done.

    The first hurdle is sovereignty.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    3 Responses to The UN Fatwa on Freedom of Speech?

    1. April 4, 2008 at 2:41 am

      Hi, this is Kári, your downstairs neighbor on Holtsgata… We have got to sit down over {insert serving of preferred beverage} for a nice chat when (if?) you get back!

    2. April 4, 2008 at 4:25 am

      I really couldn’t have said it better. It’s time to act, and it’s too easy to wait for the right movement to come along and tell you what to do to make everything better again. It *is* about consciousness – it’s about enough people (it doesn’t have to be a lot) waking up to their own power, and waking up to the fact that this country could be anything the people want it to be, rather than how the bureaucracies of government and corporatism stumble into policy. We have only to ask ourselves that first question: what do we want to live for? Honestly, I think *that’s* the question most Americans are stuck on.

      I can’t speak for anybody but myself, but I think the real way that people can make a difference right now is to basically start building alternative institutions. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose – in fact, the whole point of decentralization is that we’re doing something on a scale that is organic and shouldn’t need a lot of inputs. It should fly below the radar. Hell, just getting to know your neighbors would be a huge step for most people. We need to reestablish the human connections that trump rule by decree. That itself is a major step forward in consciousness – being able to help, NOW.

      Your post was very moving to me, and I can’t express how happy it makes me to know somebody else is out there seeing and having the same reaction to the endless stream of bad news and alienation from one’s own country.

    3. John
      June 5, 2008 at 7:42 pm

      It is rule by decree, but do you really think they’re just stumbling upon these policies haphazardly? Isn’t that what all these think-tanks are for, to map out the policy years ahead and how they’re going to implement so it can be done gradually without hardly anyone really noticing? Whatever policy they slip it into our consciousness incrementally over a period of time, like the frog in the pot of water that is being gradually heated. So that people are coming to accept an idea after they have had it presented to them as a ‘controversial issue’ in the medea. Seems quite purposeful to me. I agreed with everything else you wrote though. It must be that they are crafty incrementalists and black magicians who have subverted our consciousness from what at one time could have been considered civilized if not technologically sophisticated, to what it is today: murder by technology. And they have been working their way up to this crescendo of violence and destruction for a long, long time. I just don’t think all these convergences with gas doubling or tripling in price and worldwide food shortages are any accident. That must be policy too or it wouldn’t be happening.

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