Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Dutch Parliament has ordered the expulsion of over 26,000 asylum seekers, effectively kicking out thousands of people who escaped tyrannical governments in the hope of a better life. Certainly, Holland has a right to expel these people even if it is a shame. A good friend of mine escaped from Iran as a teenager (it is an amazing story) and ended up in Denmark and eventually in the United States. He is amazing success story and an irrepressible personality and had he not escaped to the free world, he would have been conscripted into the Iranian army to fight for and possibly die for something he did not believe in.

Certainly, many of the 26,000 seeking asylum have dreams of leading such a life and I hope they find refuge in neighboring countries. One hypocritical tidbit to come out of this article is a quote from the Human Rights Watch, calling the decision a "deportation law violating international standards." I am not sure which standards they are basing this opinion on – and it may or may not be true – but how can they say this with a straight face when they were no where to be found during the Elian Gonzalez affair?

The Human Rights Watch has the potential to serve a noble cause, but their definition of human rights is inconsistent and philosophically mucky. Unless they can define what they stand for, unfortunately, it is hard to take them seriously.

From the essay “Man’s Rights” by Ayn Rand:
“The concept of a 'right' pertains only to action--specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive--of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.”

From the HRW website:
“Since its formation in 1978, Human Rights Watch has focused mainly on upholding civil and political rights, but in the last decade we have increasingly addressed economic, social and cultural rights as well.”

Anytime you see the words social, economic, or cultural justice/rights, demand an identification of that person’s premises. If someone can not specifically define what those words mean, inconsistent action is inevitable.

Kudos to the HRW for identifying the atrocities of dictators around the world – now get into Iraq and LOUDLY demand an end to the murder of those leading the reconstruction effort. Demand a popular uprising against the terrorists. Demand an eradication of Syrian and Iranian nuclear threats to humanity. DEMAND and end to Palestinian suicide murderers. Until this group adopts a consistent and proper definition of human rights, we will continue to have to say “that’s nice, but where were you when….”

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