Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Seriousness of Human Rights

Bill Richardson was blasted after the Democratic debate the other night, not just by the corporate media, but even by Tim Grieve over at Salon.com. What was his egregious sin? Richardson said that human rights are, at times, more important than national security. This is apparently something that no "serious" person would say. I was glad to see Jane Smiley over at The Huffington Post defend him.

I can understand not wanting to choose which is more important. After all, look at Iraq. They had security but not human rights prior to our occupation, and now they don't have security or human rights, and neither situation is acceptable. You might argue that it requires security to have human rights, so security is more important, but I could argue just the opposite. Without human rights, you'll never have real security, because there will always be resistance to oppression.

What bugs me is the implication that no "serious" person would put human rights before security. To me, security is worthless if it isn't defending human rights. That's why torture and rendition are such cancerous developments. If we ignore the very values we claim to be defending in our desire for security, then our security is not worth much.

In the end, it is a false dichotomy, because you really need both to have either. Nonetheless, if I were forced to choose (say, at gunpoint, because Jack Bauer thinks I'm a terrorist and a nuclear bomb is about to go off), I would hope I would be a faithful Christian and choose human rights over security. Clearly, those were Jesus' priorities during his time on earth.


DementedKeke said...

Bill Richardson has been my favorite Democratic candidate since their first debate. I thought he came off as having a good mix of the better qualities of conservative and liberal ideologies, in other words, a moderate. And I think you have articulated the situation admirably.

Dan S said...

I have to admit that I haven't even seen a debate yet - just the post analysis, which usually ignores Richardson, and focuses on the Big 3.

I'm still not sure who I will vote for - they all have their own drawbacks. But I guess it won't matter for me, since it will be decided before I get to vote :(