The View From 1776
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The lectern used by Senator Dianne Feinstein to announce the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation methods bore a label declaring “human rights first.” Human rights, however, depend entirely upon preservation of the political power and social culture that proclaims and supports them. Enhanced interrogation methods after 9/11 were essential to that end.
The perspective implied by “human rights first” colors the vigorous debate about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation methods used with Islamic jihadists. Those who, without exception, condemn use of water boarding and related interrogation methods consciously or unconsciously are assuming that “human rights,” in the abstract, are guaranteed by some equally abstract social or political force.
Whatever unarticulated guaranteeing force lies behind that visualization, it certainly isn’t the UN or some international court. The UN is little more than a propaganda platform for brutal, third-world political states that hate the United States. And no international court has the power to enforce its decrees upon a defiant political power.
The French revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a text with which liberal-progressive intellectuals, particularly in academia, feel more comfortable than with our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence. Yet even liberal-progressivism’s iconic Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, proclaimed by the way “under the auspices of the Supreme Being,” enumerates rights only of citizens within the political state. Those rights conferred by the political state are not automatically available to non-citizens.
Islamic jihadists openly, loudly, and incessantly proclaim their aim is to destroy our political and social order and to replace that order with Sharia under their brutal and arbitrary rule.
Individual humans have rights, but, even more so, political states have rights to self-protection. To the extent that the political state’s survival is threatened, human rights themselves are threatened. A political society unable, or unwilling, to protect its citizens by all lawful means necessary from foreign attacks, by terrorists or otherwise, will perish along with the human rights that the society proclaims.