Attorney Discerning

Just another poor dumb sinner; trying to do what he can for Christ & His Church

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The UNESCO committee’s rapporteur, Richard McKeon, anticipated another problem. Different understandings of the meanings of rights usually reflect divergent concepts of man and of society, which in turn cause those who hold those understandings to have different views of reality. Thus, McKeon correctly predicted that, down the road, "difficulties will be discovered in the suspicions, suggested by these differences, concerning the tangential uses that might be made of a declaration of human rights for the purpose of advancing special interests." That is a philosopher’s way of saying, "Watch out, this whole enterprise could be hijacked."

That seems right. The people who drew up of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were so confident in their conclusions—their Christian morality without the tommyrot—that they thought it unnecessary to agree about where those rights came from or what they meant. (“Yes, we agree about the rights,” Jacques Maritain said of their deliberations, “but on condition that no one asks why.”)