The Nation magazine is an important part of my reading routine, and I particularly commend an article in the August 30 - September 6th double issue, "Human Rights In History," by Samuel Moyn.
Up until rather recently in history, "rights" have always been associated with citizenship, and have thus depended on national borders. The phrase "human rights" asserts a claim that all humans should have equal access to a set of "rights" common to us all.
Moyn believes that U.S. President Jimmy Carter "inaugurated the era of human rights in this country, but now it seems to be fading."
If it's fading, it's time for revival.
Surely our "human rights," those common to us all, demand that no one set of humans should destroy and impoverish the natural world upon which all humans depend. As Michael Jackson has said in song, we need to start with the "Man in the Mirror."
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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