Andrew Brown does “satire”
Andrew Brown daringly analogizes two pairs of ideas –
- that specific religious beliefs are a) fictional and b) not necessarily identical with moral beliefs
- that human rights are a) abstract or legislative concepts and b) not the be-all-and-end-all magic solution to all the world’s problems
– to limited satirical effect.
Some people may take this as satire. I couldn’t possibly comment. But all these arguments have been made to delegitimise religion
The essential point about human rights is that there is no evidence whatsoever that they actually exist. Children are born without any belief in them and they were certainly never heard of in all the millennia of prehistory. Even in recorded history, they are a very new invention, and one which has been confined, even in principle, to a very small part of the world. They are based entirely on documents written by human beings, and produced through squalid political processes nothing like the later myths. Countries where enemies of the state are routinely tortured before being executed sign declarations of rights with as much enthusiasm as peaceful democracies.
We are told that the two qualities of human rights is that they are “self-evident” and “unassailable”. This is like saying that the chief quality of porridge is its excellence as a material for building skyscrapers. The chief evidence for the existence of these unassailable and self-evident human rights is that we are told, by people who believe in them, that they are everywhere attacked and trampled. What difference does a right make if it doesn’t change the world, and if there is no help for all the people who believe in it?