Hadley Arkes fears 'soft nihilism' in Obama approach to human rights
September 28, 2010
US President Barack Obama raised eyebrows with a recent speech in which he quoted the famous line from Declaration of Independence about “unalienable rights,” but omitted the mention of a Creator who endowed men with those rights.
The omission is highly significant, Hadley Arkes argues. Without a reference to the Creator, there is no standard by which to judge and justify human rights: no ultimate source from which those rights are derived. Arkes sees a “soft nihilism” behind the pretense that human rights can be based on nothing more than consensus.