Friday, August 10, 2012

The UN Is Morally Bankrupt

Guest Voice

We welcome a regular contributor, Gad Saad, on a subject that has universal importance, the moral failure of the United Nations—a body that has become so far removed from its charter, that it its very existence as an organization of good is in serious doubt. Some suggest other options, as a way to preserve and promote true democracy. As Prof Saad writes: "Accordingly, some folks are now proposing an alternative to the United Nations wherein countries must earn their place at the global table. Specifically, rather than a body that allows all nations to partake in the process, a new international organization should be formed that is solely made up of true democracies. Hence, rather than the United Nations, we would end up with the United Democracies."

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by Gad Saad

Of all functions that the United Nations fulfills, perhaps none are as important as those dealing with universal human rights. As listed on its website, The United Nations Human Rights Council has the following mandate (see here): “The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.” Sounds like a wonderful initiative.

The current council consists of forty-seven countries including the following illustrious bastions of human rights (see here): China, Cuba, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Past members include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, and Pakistan. Hence, countries that engage in the most egregious and grotesque violations of human rights sit on a council meant to promote and protect human rights. One of the “intellectual” positions that permit for such an affront to human decency is moral relativism. The argument goes something like this: Democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, the equality of the sexes, freedom of religion, and the protection of various minority groups including homosexuals are Western constructs. After all, who are we to judge the way by which other societies conduct their internal affairs? This would be cultural imperialism/colonialism.

Accordingly, the hanging of gays, the stoning of adulterous women, the genocide of religious minorities, the imposition of capital punishment for blasphemy, the beheading of “witches,” the severe restriction of free speech, and the inability to participate in a democratic process, are simply alternate ways of defining human rights. It would be culturally insensitive for the West to impose its own definition of human rights based on equality, fraternity, and liberty. One must allow for “alternate” expressions of human rights including the rejection of Western definitions of human rights. I wish that I were making this stuff up. Alas, this is the standard fraudulent and morally bankrupt “intellectual” courant that allows for such an astonishing reality. Canada and the United States sit at the same table as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and Cuba in tackling violations of human rights. It is hallucinatory.

When South Africa was governed by the evil and deeply racist apartheid system, the world decided to collectively sanction the regime by excluding it from countless international bodies (e.g., the Olympics). Ostracism works rather well in regulating the behaviors of individuals, groups, and nations. Accordingly, some folks are now proposing an alternative to the United Nations wherein countries must earn their place at the global table. Specifically, rather than a body that allows all nations to partake in the process, a new international organization should be formed that is solely made up of true democracies. Hence, rather than the United Nations, we would end up with the United Democracies. For the same reasons that we would not allow the KKK or the Nazi Party to serve on an organization meant to promote racial equality and harmony, we should not permit countries with a wanton disregard for the most basic human rights to sit on a global council meant to protect such rights.

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Dr. Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing, holder of the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, and advisory fellow at the Center for Inquiry. He has published 65+ scientific articles in numerous disciplines including in marketing, consumer behavior, advertising, medicine, economics, and bibliometrics. He has authored two books, The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007), and The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature (Prometheus Books, 2011), as well as edited a third book, Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences (Springer, 2011). His Psychology Today blog, Homo Consumericus, has thus far garnered 1.7-million+ total views.
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Copyright ©2012. Gad Saad. All Rights Reserved. This post was originally published in Psychology Today on April 17, 2012. It is  republished here with the author's permission.

2 comments:

  1. One needn't go as far as China, Cuba, Qatar, etc. to find human-rights supporters who are silent about the hanging of gays, the stoning of adulterous women, and other such offenses. Gay-rights activists and feminists all over the world have consistently kept quiet about these issues. The only question that counts for them is opposition to Israel. Anti-Zionism is the most powerful political force on earth.

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    Replies
    1. This is indeed true; and the U.N., in failing to adequately address these issues, has greatly undermined what little credibility it has as a moral force.

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