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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Saturday, May 27, 2006


human rights and commitment

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, May 27, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
This is the summary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. All Human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights
2. All people are entitled to rights without distinction based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, property, birth or residency.
3. Right to life liberty and security of person.
4. Freedom from slavery
5. Freedom from torture
6. Right to be treated equally by the law
7. Right to equal protection by the law
8. Right for all to effective remedy by competent tribunal
9. Freedom from arbitrary arrest.
10. Right to a fair public hearing by independent tribunal
11. Right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty at public trial with all guarantees necessary for defence
12. Right to privacy in home, family and correspondence
13. Freedom of movement in your own country and the right to leave and return to any countries
14. Right to political asylum in other countries
15. Right to nationality
16. Right to marriage and family and to equal right of men and women during and after marriage
17. Right to own property
18. Freedom of thought and conscience and religion
19. Freedom of opinion and expression and to seek, receive and impart information
20. Freedom of Association and assembly
21. Right to take part in and select government
22. Right to social security and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights
23. Right to work, to equal pay for equal work and to form and join trade unions
24. Right to reasonable hours of work and paid holidays
25. Right to adequate living standard for self and family, including food, housing, clothing, medical are and social security
26. Right to education
27. Right to participate in cultural life and to protect intellectual property rights
28. Right to social and international order permitting these freedoms to be realised
29. Each person has responsibilities to the community and others as essential for a democratic society
30. Repression in the name of rights is unacceptable.

Are these progressive principles? If so, then what responsibility does adherence to these principles require?

 The question is, I think important. Many regimes throughout history have violated the UNDHR. I think that we, as the most powerful country on earth, have a rsponsibilty to try and champion these principles for the benefit of all manind. More people die from human rights abuse than they do from global warming; if we don't solve human rights and liberty worldwide, is civilization even worth saving?

Is it progressive to say, "we have our rights at home; the rest matters not" ?

Is it progressive to say that a thing such as sovereignity of mere nations trumps the dignity of a single human being?

I have never been a militarist. Iran for example is clearly a case where diplomacy is required, and mere mention of war is total foolishness. But were it President Gore, we would still have gone to Iraq. Competently, but gone all the same.

In fact I endorse the general advice of Gary Hart - well-known for his foreign policy and national security expertise. In his book The Fourth Power, Hart argues that America has multi-pole capability to influence the world. One pole is military, others are economic and cultural. All must be brought to bear.

The UNDHR is the template. We must seek its propagation throughout the globe, and devote our foreign policy to this task alone. For, free nations do not wage war, they wage peace.

And sometimes that does require war - as it did in Kosovo, as it did in Rwanda, and is does now in Darfur.

I value men more than nations.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.