Social Question

Mat74UK's avatar

Are human rights more important than national security?

Asked by Mat74UK (4649points) October 30th, 2009

What would you prefer? To be able to walk the street safe or for everybody to be treated with dignity and respect but be unsure of their motives?
You decide

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50 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

No matter what we think, a modern developed State like the the US has Interests. It doesn’t have friends, and it doesn’t have a developed morality (or, let’s say it’s morality is fungible, like a bank account..)

It will trample all over your, and anyone else’s, human rights if it is in its interests to do so, and it will never glance back or give it a moment’s thought.

judochop's avatar

According to the USA, human rights are a privilage. I’d rather we do one or the other and stop pussy footing around laws and rights with grey areas and money.

Master's avatar

Yes. What good is to be alive without basic rights. Are you really safe without human rights?

virtualist's avatar

If the US cannot multitask then the Earth is doomed ! Personally, it’s currently doing better that the recent past < my personal opinion >

filmfann's avatar

Ignoring Human Rights is an easy way to have your national security challenged.
Bush/Cheney torturing prisoners probably did us 10 times the harm it might have spared us.

dpworkin's avatar

@filmfann You think the Obama administration is for human rights? Then explain Karzai and his brother to me. No. I’ll explain it to you. Our interests in Afghanistan are more important than opium and free and fair elections, and not supporting criminal governments.

filmfann's avatar

@pdworkin We cannot demand others to respect human rights until we do.
China, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia are all lacking here. As Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world”.

dpworkin's avatar

That’s my point. We don’t. It’s not a matter of expecting them to honor human rights. Karzais brother has been on our payroll for years while he was the most corrupt politician in Afghanistan. What does that have to do with demanding anything? Obama wouldn’t even have a meeting with the Dalai Lama.

filmfann's avatar

@pdworkin I agree. Obama declining to meet with the Dalai Lama, just because he might upset the Chinese is stupid.
But we can’t refuse to talk to the bad guys in the world either. If our allies had to be morally and ethically cool, we would be pretty fucking lonely in this world.

dpworkin's avatar

How do explain the prisoners in Guantanamo? How do you explain his failure to stop Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? How do you explain thet we still use extraordinary rendition? How do you explain that he extended the “terrorist emergency” so that he could continue warrantless wiretapping? How do you explain his failure to support the civil rights of GLTBQ people? None of those have to do with “bad guys” in other countries. Just our own, local, everyday “bad guys.” You think you’re going to get health care reform? Watch what a watered down piece of shit bill he will sign with great fanfare.

filmfann's avatar

As Rosanne Rosanna Danna would say: “for someone from Upstate New York, you sure ask a lot of questions”.
Give Obama time. He has a full plate, and will get to most of what you refer to. He’s been kinda busy dealing with the mess W left.

dpworkin's avatar

How much time does it take to sign an order requiring the Army to stop Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? 68 seconds? 72 seconds? Don’t hold your breath, pal.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@filmfann Not applying pressure is not the way to get things you want from a president.

virtualist's avatar

@pdworkin Regardless how sensible and logical and correct and timely many changes should be wrought , humans in politics cannot respond quickly because they all do not agree on how to perform the logical, until the proper quid pro quo is executed and yada-yada. This has been true since the times of the Greeks and the Romans. Let’s change the political human then there will be no problems. But how would we agree on how to change the political human ? ... ahh! there’s the rub !

ragingloli's avatar

i prefer the latter. If you treat someone fairly then he is less likely to shoot you in the face.

galileogirl's avatar

There will never be a way to ensure safety no matter how many natural rights we suspend. On the contrary, history tells us the fewer people who have rights the greater the danger to the nation as well as the individual. On the other hand assuring liberty, equality and dignity and natural rights is the greatest aspiration for mankind.

Jack_Haas's avatar

How are they mutually exclusive? In modern democracies people normally expect both a strong national security and respect for human rights.

Jack79's avatar

Yes, human rights are far more important that “national security” (a mere excuse for state terrorism). I don’t feel threatened by that mother next to me on the plane that begged the officer to allow her to take her baby’s milk onboard, but oh no, you’re a terrorist if you carry more than 100ml of liquids. And I don’t see why my 73-year-old dad, a respectable teacher, has to take off his shoes at the airport. When any self-respecting terrorist would simply get a job as a pilot or airstewardess and blast the plane to pieces from the inside.

Besides, “national security” implies there is a nation. A nation of people. These very humans that the politicians and law-enforcement personell are supposed to serve. It’s not just the recent paranoia, I remember this attitude as early back as the ‘80s. And I think my problem with it is the way it’s all done. I don’t mind cameras everywhere watching me discreetly, after all, I have nothing to hide. But this “guilty until proven innocent” way of looking at every citizen as a potential criminal is annoying. And it also proves that it’s not done with the best intentions, because if it were, it would be done more politely. Just my two cents.

Grisaille's avatar

I’d rather be an eagle in the crosshairs than a caged, trained parrot in the corner of a mansion.

Least I can bank left.

dpworkin's avatar

@Jack_Haas I would be very grateful for one (just one) example of a modern State that would not instantly sacrifice the ideals of human rights when its interests, economic, political or military were threatened.

In fact, any organized State in the history of the world. Just one.

Grisaille's avatar

@pdworkin Ain’t war grand?

Jack_Haas's avatar

@pdworkin I can’t think of any normal state that wouldn’t make temporary sacrifices in order to ensure its ability to guarantee its citizenry’s basic right to life first and full rights in the long run. Only decadent countries would place a foreign terrorist’s comfort above their own citizens’ human rights.

dpworkin's avatar

@Jack_Haas That’s just a semantic argument. To you it’s a temporary sacrifice, to others it is an irreversible loss of freedom and a travesty against the Constitution. You say tom*a*to, and all.

Let’s use the torture of unconvicted prisoners as an example. Some think this non-productive exercise in brutality was necessary to defend freedom; some think it was a descent into amoral hell that went counter to our core beliefs. Either way, it was ineffective.

Jack_Haas's avatar

@pdworkin Torture? What torture? Are you referring to immersive interrogation techniques used on known terrorists from a much tougher culture under strict medical supervision?

Some think it was ineffective, others think it was. But a descent into “amoral hell”? Come on…

dpworkin's avatar

That was predictable. It was torture when the Inquisition waterboarded; it was torture when we convicted Japanese soldiers of war crimes for waterboarding Americans, but when Dick Cheney gets fearful, and wants to play 24, it’s suddenly “immersive interrogation techniques”. Sounds a little Orwellian to me.

Jack_Haas's avatar

@pdworkin Waterboarding as practiced by US interrogators has nothing to do with what the spanish inquisitors did and even less with the “water cure” used by the Japanese.

Ann Coulter had a great piece on this (doesn’t she always?):

http://townhall.com/columnists/AnnCoulter/2009/05/06/watching_msnbc_is_torture

dpworkin's avatar

Anne Coulter is an execrable source. Surely you can do better than that.

galileogirl's avatar

Our torture wasn’t as bad as their torture-this from people who scream police brutality when given a traffic. Ain’t relatvism grand?

Grisaille's avatar

It’s times like these that I really wish the White House released those photos.

ragingloli's avatar

isn’t ann coulter one of the faux news demagogues?

Grisaille's avatar

Ann Coulter is an atrocious, base-feeding conservative that fights against the very rights women are trying to protect and gain.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything come from her mouth that I can even halfway-agree with. And I’ve tried.

Jack_Haas's avatar

@pdworkin Even people who hate her acknowledge she does her homework and checks facts. I’ve very rarely seen anyone attack her on her facts. Her looks, her fantastic brand of humor that apparently many people can’t understand, her provocative stance against liberalism, sure, all the time…

You can do better than that.

galileogirl's avatar

@Jack Haas The wit and wisdom of Anne Coulter

“These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s deaths so much.” -on 9/11 widows who have been critical of the Bush administration

I know Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that’s all I really need to know

They’ve hit us and we’ve got to hit back hard, and I’m not just talking about the terrorists.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war

If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women. It also makes the point, it is kind of embarrassing, the Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care—and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?’”

“If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”

“I was going to have a few comments about John Edwards but you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot.”—at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference

“I’m more of a man than any liberal.”

“We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee. That’s just a joke, for you in the media.”

“We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals.”

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”

”“Press passes can’t be that hard to come by if the White House allows that old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the President.”

“The swing voters—I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don’t have set philosophical principles. You’re either a liberal or you’re a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster.”

Do you agree that the 9/11 widows enjoyed their husbands’ deaths or that all anyone needs to know is Jesus died for them or that it would be a good thing to blow up other buildings or that calling John Edward a faggot and wishing he was assassinated was humorous? If you do, maybe she IS more of a man than you are.

ragingloli's avatar

Even people who hate her acknowledge she does her homework and checks facts.
That must be why she was one of the fools who parroted the “death panel” nonsense

Jack_Haas's avatar

@galileogirl I didn’t see the point of your copy and paste exercise (I like to read her entire columns thank you) until I found a couple hilarious quotes I had completely forgotten… thanks for the chuckle.

filmfann's avatar

I hate Coulter and dismiss any suggestion that she has her facts right.
She is simply without a conscience.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@filmfann I don’t like her either but I think its going a little far to “dismiss any suggestion that she has her facts right.”

filmfann's avatar

So you believe the 9–11 widows are glad their husbands were killed so they could get media attention?
Ann does.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@filmfann No, I don’t.
Your statement seemed to imply “If Ann Coulter says something, it is automatically incorrect”. I’m sure she has told the truth a few times.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Correction: she said the widows “enjoyed” their husbands death not that they were glad they were killed. There is a difference.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@Jack_Haas Either way I think the vast majority of those widows would say “no” to the question: “did you enjoy your spouse’s death?”

dpworkin's avatar

@Jack_Haas doesn’t expect any of us to take Ms Coulter seriously. This is just a little experimental venture into trolldom, and we all fed the troll. Now we can expect something similar the next time. Silly us.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@pdworkin I take her about as seriously as I do Stephen Colbert. Ann is so funny!

dpworkin's avatar

Except his humor is good-natured and hers is vicious and repellent.

Jack_Haas's avatar

@benjaminlevi .There’s no doubt about it. And you’re free to agree or disagree with Ann Coulter’s provocative assessment. But people shouldn’t forget the fact that these widows accepted that their husbands’ deaths be exploited for political reasons and accepted to become political activists themselves. Think about it what you will, they went on camera with John Kerry, looking like they were having loads of fun. Ann Coulter thinks they enjoyed the attention and the perks of being the widows of high profile 9/11 victimes. Some people then think about how they would react if the love of their life was killed by terrorists and agree with Ann Coulter. Others don’t make anything of it and disagree with Ann Coulter’s assessment. The fake outrage about the whole thing, however, is grotesque.

@pdworkin If you consider unpopular opinions as trolling then yes, you can expect me to go against the crowd a few times. But you and your friends dominate the site and there’s just me on the other side so what’s the problem? You can ignore me, disprove my points, or you can just flag my comments to be taken down. Problem solved.

Unless you guys make it clear that you want a radical left-wing militant website and that you expect everyone to confom to your opinions, I assume that fair minded people are free to offer alternatives to the dominant ideology and bring unconventional yet valid, respectable points of view to the table, regardless of their popularity vis a vis a core activist crowd. If Alternet.org is an acceptable source on Fluther, then Ann Coulter should be more than appropriate.

And a quick look at my interventions in this thread show the following:

- I illustrated my position with an informative, thought provoking, unconventional (and funny to boot!) column from a nationally syndicated author known in most circles for her impeccable research and fact-checking.

You went off-script and went into a diversionary attack on her character. Trolling didn’t come from me.

- Another poster tried to bait me into a nonsensical argument. I declined to take the bait.

- Another poster came throwing oil on the fire by grossly misrepresenting an Ann Coulter quote. I just made a rectification. Once again, the troll wasn’t me.

Me, a troll? Now that’s irony..

galileogirl's avatar

@Jack_Haas The purpose of my cut and paste exercise was simply to give you the opportunity to explain what you found so enlightening and/or droll about the ideas of Ann Coulter. Your responses have told us a lot about your psyche and I would hazard a guess that your admiration arises from similar “character” or more likely your shared obtuseness.

SolitaryMan's avatar

Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh must spawn children together and produce the master race certain to abolish all sin and raise humanity to a level not seen before since Adam and Eve…................okay shoot me, I’m done.

benjaminlevi's avatar

@SolitaryMan The thought of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh mating puts horrible images in my head.

SolitaryMan's avatar

Makin’ bacon?

belakyre's avatar

If you were to say that human rights include being able to live a safe and healthy life, to have a right to education, to have a right to vote, to have a right to all jobs regardless of your gender, race, or ethnicity, then I would definitely choose human rights over national security.

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