When "Universal" Ideals Aren't
Liberalism believes in Universals ideas, the idea that there are political beliefs that all people believe in. It shouldn't come as too great a shock but those beliefs tend to be ones that Liberalism hold as truths. Ideas such as Human Rights, Democracies do not fight wars against each other, all people yearn for freedom and Feminism, among others. "These truths are self evident" as one of the earliest and greatest of Liberal documents states, the United States Declaration of Independence. But they are not self evident.
If you tune into the news or read a newspaper as I made the mistake of doing today, you will find any number of these mantras being used. They just seem to roll off the tongue and I often wonder if they even know what the idea means. But what is obvious is that they believe that all right thinking people know that what they have just stated is true. You would think that they would have a deep understanding of history or of people, but so often both their knowledge and their thinking is shallow. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that they think the man of 100 years ago was an idiot, most of them believe that about other men today. You know every man who doesn't think as they do. How can it be that so much education produces so little insight?
But back to Universal ideas, it is a very comforting thought to think that everyone secretly agrees with you. That only oppression or under education stops them from being on your side. That all you must do to unlock this limitless support is to free them or to provide education and they will come running to support you. You see this idea in play when they support Foreign Aid and unlimited Education. you see it in Free Trade and even in war aims. Practicality is absent and idealism reigns supreme.
Lets use Human Rights as an example. People and Governments can be extremely cruel, no one disputes that. Liberalism believes in a Universal standard, one that all people in all times are judged by. Remember it's a Universal standard so it's application is unlimited. The people of the past are just as guilty of violating the Universal standard as we are, even if they had no concept of it's existence. One aspect of Universal Human Rights is that while it first started to come into being in the 1700's, it is constantly changing. What was acceptable in one decade is regarded as a horrible crime in the next.
But how can something that most of history didn't know existed and something that is constantly denied and disputed be regarded by anyone as Universal? It is of course nonsense because it applies what are at best good intentions and instead regards them as policy. But today these good intentions are law, even International law. Hence why Liberalism is so keen on International courts. But regularly these Universal Human Rights are ignored, because rightly or wrongly these are not Universal at all and we all know it.
The idea that one Universal law can exist is wrong because it pretends that all people are the same at all times and in all circumstances. Not only are individual people different from each other but different cultures and beliefs also exist, making the idea of a Universal law quite bizarre. Universal Human Rights is regarded not as a minimum standard but as an absolute standard, it has no rival. That there should be minimum standards is one thing but to stay that an absolute standard exists is open to abuse. And abused it is, killing someone and slapping them are both a violation of their Human Rights, even though one is much more serious than the other. This is where the idea of Hate crimes come from, that killing someone of your own race or religion is less offensive than killing someone who is of a different race or religion. I most strongly disagree, the crime is murder not hate but that is part of the abuse.
One Universal belief you will see constantly pushed is Feminism, it is regarded as one of those truths that are self evident. Therefore it is often used as a tool of Liberalism in the Third World. Many Aid programs both Government and privately funded will use their Aid as a way of introducing Feminism into an innocent community. For example programs that teach women skills that make them compete against men therefore creating conflict between men and women. A classic case of the Battle between the Sexes. If you support a charity that does Foreign Aid please inquire about their womens programs, you might be pleasantly surprised, you might be very shocked, so make sure you support a charity that supports your beliefs and not Liberalisms.
Universal ideas are appealing, they give final answers as to how the world should behave, about how the people of the world should behave. But they are invented ideas, not Universal, they progressed from one idea to the next, they did not spring fully formed into being and these "Universal" ideas will continue to change. They will not stay static but they will continue to insist on more and more from us, like the rest of Liberalism.
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