Why Human Rights?


Life is a test of strength and endurance. Our purpose is to grow into the person we were always meant to be. There is only one rule: we must do so without harming anyone or anything. Impossible, you say? Maybe so; however, attempting to meet this challenge makes us fully human. Otherwise, we are predators and prey or simply animals.

Can you imagine waking up every day planning the daily hunt? News flash: plenty of people do. Whether it involves finding enough food to live another day in their war-torn dystopia or maliciously positioning yourself on top of a more qualified coworker for a job promotion, we want to seize our prize before someone else gets to it. Okay, how about waking up to yet another day of sheer survival? Domestic violence victims and infantry soldiers know how that feels, but so do physical laborers who are experiencing poor health and are one paycheck away from becoming homeless.

That’s life, or so we are often told by the “powers-that-be.” In fact, we are indoctrinated to believe this from early childhood throughout adulthood by our parents, teachers, employers, and government representatives. But those who participate in and learn from the liberal arts and humanities don’t believe that we are here to hunt and survive. The enlightenment showed us that joy was possible. The industrial age taught us to build and grow. And now the digital age is making it possible to perfect every aspect of life.

Humanists realize that primal instincts are strong yet must be held in check if we are to advance towards our fullest potential. Progress makes no sense to those who are trapped in the food chain, so they resist change. Simple offerings of hope won’t convince them that the risks are worth the benefits. Although they are accustomed to the use of force, that hasn’t worked out well either.

There is one thing that might sway them. It is a gift of sorts, but there are some strings attached. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights encompasses a worldwide bipartisan list of mutually agreed upon rights that will (hopefully) guide us towards full humanity. It shows us how to become humane to one another. The following website has tons of resources to help you learn more: http://qoo.ly/dbxv6

By State of Peaceland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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