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The danger of inventing new 'human rights'

May 03, 2011

Father James Schall, SJ, explains how modern states and international organizations, by claiming to define new rights, are actually undermining all human rights.

In 1948, Father Schall points out, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was based on the assumption that these rights are based on human nature and evident to everyone. "The modern regime of rights is not the one supposedly envisioned in the Charter," he writes. "We hold no truths to be “self-evident.”

Nevertheless, international organizations cite new "rights," supported by nothing but their own authority. Father Schall spots the danger:

The modern regime of “human rights” increasingly portends the soft totalitarianism implicit in our culture since we substituted will for reason as the ground of our understanding of God, the world, and ourselves.


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