|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 27239
العمر : 67
|موضوع: The Paradox of the Human Rights Paradigm الثلاثاء 15 يناير 2019, 11:21 pm|| |
The Paradox of the Human Rights Paradigm
The human rights movement is, obviously, foremost about “rights” or “freedoms.” Is it possible that some rights can be “absolute” or does every country/society recognize the fact that with respect to virtually all rights, some limits must be placed on the exercise of those rights? What about freedom of religious belief and practice? Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 18 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Ann Mayer is one who certainly gives the impression that some rights are absolute and non-negotiable.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) treats a number of rights as absolute or non-derogable rights, meaning that there could be no justification for curtailing them. Among these are the right to freedom and equality in dignity and rights; the right to equality before the law and to equal protection of the law; the right in fill equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal; the right to marry and the right to equal rights in marriage and divorce; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to change one’s religion; and the right to work and to free choice of employment.’’ The UDHR would not accept any criteria that would deny these rights.
Later, Mayer makes the following very bold statement: “International human rights law allows no constraints on a person’s religious beliefs: Freedom of religion is an unqualified freedom.” This is a rather amazing statement from Mayer. The entire tone of her book is that “traditional Islam” is not compatible with human rights and therefore must change. In fact, could Article 18, wherein it states that anyone is free to adhere to his or her religion, “either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance,” be true or is it simply a façade?
Suppose a religion does not believe in unrestricted interreligious marriage. Could that religious belief be absolutely protected under Article 18 of the UDHR? According to Oh, not only could that belief be contradicted by international human rights law but it could also be a grounds for military intervention.
Here is what she wrote,
If governments by and large agree, even with few detractors, that interreligious marriage is a genuinely universal human right, that is, a condition necessary for human dignity that others can and should protect, then intervention-though not necessarily a military one —would be justified and cannot rightly be labeled imperialist.
How could it be that a system that is supposedly so pro-rights is, in essence, anti-freedom of religious belief? The reality is, as Mayer herself knows very well, the freedom of religion is not absolute or an unqualified freedom. Furthermore, Mayer, who critiques Islam’s view on “freedom of religion,” and others know very well that there is a text clearly stating that there is no such thing as absolute freedom of religion.Under Article 18(3) of the ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) , the right to freedom of religion and beliefs is not absolute.
There is a restriction by the provision that:
Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
There is obviously a contradiction or paradox here. This is the fundamental paradox of human rights teaching that should be obvious to all. There are always have to be limits to freedom and rights. Most importantly, though, for the human rights paradigm, everything outside of the human rights paradigm has to be rejected—all in the name of rights and freedom.
This paradox was well delineated by Larry Alexander while speaking about “liberalism,” in a discussion which is perfectly analogous to the human rights paradigm paradox.
Alexander summarizes his thesis in the following:
In Chapter Eight [of his book], we saw the source of the problem: Evaluative neutrality is the hallmark of freedom of expression, but no moral theory can support evaluative neutrality without generating a paradox. Any moral theory will deem certain states of affairs to be desirable and demanding of legal promotion, and certain interests to be demanding of legal protection from acts that threaten those interests. But both the media of expression and the messages conveyed may cause undesirable states of affairs and threaten protectable interests (per the moral theory in question); and conversely, suppression of expression by reference to its content (Track One) or its media (Track Two) may cause desirable states of affairs and safeguard protectable interests (per that moral theory).
Therefore, government cannot permit the harmful expression without contravening the moral theory, which means, in turn, that the moral theory cannot demand protection of the harmful expression without generating a paradox. It must, instead, demand suppression of the harmful expression and permit only that expression that is consistent with the goals of the theory. But that evaluative nonneutrality is the antithesis of freedom of expression.
Alexander then argues that liberalism and religion are on the same epistemological level—and this is the same for the human rights advocates who are overruling religion in the name of human rights.Although the following quote from Alexander is quite lengthy, it must be quoted in full, as Alexander is one of the few to be willing to admit and state the conclusions that he has made concerning liberalism and religion.
In Alexander’s words,
I come to the conclusion, then, that liberalism and religion are on the same epistemological level, and that the knowledge each claims, if it be knowledge, has the same pedigree in experience and reason. There are not two ways of “knowing,” religious and secular/liberal; there are not both sectarian and secular/liberal “truths.” As a consequence of epistemological unity, liberalism must establish its tenets by rejecting conflicting religious ones, not by the illusion of “neutrally” banishing them to the “private” realm, where they can somehow remain “true” but impotent, but by meeting them head on and showing them to be false or unjustified.
Liberalism is, as many critics claim it to be, the “religion” of secularism. That does not mean that liberalism is false or that antiliberal religious views are true. What it does mean is that both liberalism and antiliberal religious views inhabit the same realm and make conflicting claims within it. Liberalism is not at a different level, where it can remain neutral and impartial with respect to religious controversy that is truth-seeking within a restricted domain, but not within the domain of liberalism.
That liberalism and religion are epistemological rivals has two basic implications. One, obvious and banal, is that the truth of those core, defining tenets of liberalism entails the falsity of all conflicting religious tenets. That much follows from the law of noncontradiction. More importantly, and the burden of the bulk of my argument, liberalism cannot establish its core tenets and its repudiation of illiberal religious ones (and banishment of religion from public policy making) by claiming to inhabit a different epistemological realm from that occupied by religion, a realm whose truths not only trump those of religion, but whose truths can be seen to be reasonable even by those whose religious truths they trump. No epistemological perspective exists from which one can simultaneously hold Ann’s views and, barring a belief that to do so would be self-defeating, hold that the state should not impose them.
Furthermore, to the extent that liberalism defines itself by the proposition that religious views can be “true” and important enough to protect, but cannot be fairly imposed through public policy, a public policy that draws its “truths” from a different epistemological well, to that extent the unity of epistemology undermines liberalism.
Liberalism can rest on agnosticism regarding some truths, but not regarding its own truth. Toleration of illiberal religions may rest on the value of autonomy (so long as those religions do not threaten autonomy), or toleration of illiberal religions may rest on a prediction that intolerance would provoke a backlash that would threaten liberalism to a greater extent than toleration. The case for toleration of illiberal religions, however, cannot rest upon their possible truth without self-contradiction.
Ultimately, then, the only reason to exclude religious views from the realm of coercive public policy – for the liberal or anyone else – is because those views are wrong. And the liberal’s particular problem is that he believes it wrong to extirpate erroneous views coercively…
Liberalism’s attempt to claim neutrality vis-à-vis religious views through some sort of epistemic abstinence is a failure. And from the failure issues a paradox: Liberalism can be neutral only toward those religions and religious views that are compatible with the tenets of liberalism, which is to say that if liberalism is defined in part by neutrality toward religious beliefs, liberalism is impossible.
The same arguments that Alexander makes concerning liberalism can be made concerning the contemporary human rights movement. One can literally replace every instance of the word “liberalism” above with “the human rights paradigm.” Once one claims that the human rights paradigm is the paradigm for all of humanity, one has essentially declared that no other paradigm is free to exist except to the extent that it is compatible with the human rights paradigm. It is freedom as long as one accepts its principles of freedom—much like Henry Ford’s statement, “You can have the Model T in any color you like as long as it is black.”
Nowhere, perhaps, is this paradox better highlighted than when it comes to religion. Especially given the fact that there is now a conflict with something that is very central to a human’s life, perhaps much more central and important than his belief in “human rights.”
One of the few to be willing to mention and discuss this topic in his discussion of human rights was Michael Freeman. He says that human rights are not “compossible,” highlighting in particular the conflict with religion.
Article 18 says that everyone has the right to freedom of religion. How should we define the right to freedom of religion of those whose religion denies that all human beings are equal in rights? How can we make sense of human rights if the implementation of some human rights requires tne violation of others?
Here the problem of implementing human-rights ideals derives, not from lack of political will or conflicts of political interests, but from the fact that human rights are not ‘compossible’, that is, the implementation of one human right can require the violation of another, or the protection of a human right of one person may require the violation of the same human right of another. If a religious group, for example, forbids its members, on the basis of its religious beliefs, to change their religion, then the religious freedom of the group will conflict with that of any members who wish to change their religion. If we support human rights that are not compossible, our thinking must surely be confused.
Once this is finally admitted, one will have to recognize that choices are going to have to be made and priorities are going to have to be given to some rights over others. The rights, in other words, are not absolute in any sense whatsoever. But who is going to decide what rights should take precedence and how is that decision going to be made? Should each people or nation make that decision on its own or does the conclusion have to be universal? Can a religion which dominates a society make that decision on behalf of society?
In fact, the problem is not just with respect to religion. So many restrictions on freedom of expression that one cannot call it a human right—however, this is the same kind of reasoning that the human rights advocates put on the practice of religion. Hence, one cannot say that freedom of religion is a human right from the perspective of how the human rights advocates themselves speak about it.