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  1. #81
    Senior Member cogdecree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    But only in a democracy.
    I'll consent to that, I suppose I left open a flaw with my last line.

    I still think that such can be resisted if the majority felt it was unjust.

  2. #82
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Such practices HAVE been constant, albeit with periods of relative laxity followed by various purification/reformation movements.
    Huh? It's been constant, but, there's been periods of change?


    Orthodox Islam's "prolific humanitarian history" basically consist of Islamic civilization being less atrocious than either medieval Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire, or orthodox Hindu civilization. That's about as impressive as saying the aforementioned civilizations were more humanitarian than the Spartans.
    Unless there's a gold standard in place for what constitutes as 'humanitarian', we will only ever be able to evaluate by comparison. Thus, that's the only statement that can hold a grain of meaning, comparison to its counterpart civilizations within the same time frame.

    Again, the link I had posted earlier, regarding "The Golden Age of Islam" - from 700A.D. to 1200 A.D.

    Islamic Golden Age - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Some parts I'll copy and paste to highlight to our discussion at hand:

    On Ethics:
    "Many medieval Muslim thinkers pursued humanistic, rational and scientific discourses in their search for knowledge, meaning and values. A wide range of Islamic writings on love, poetry, history and philosophical theology show that medieval Islamic thought was open to the humanistic ideas of individualism, occasional secularism, skepticism and liberalism.[10][11]

    Religious freedom, though society was still controlled under Islamic values, helped create cross-cultural networks by attracting Muslim, Christian and Jewish intellectuals and thereby helped spawn the greatest period of philosophical creativity in the Middle Ages from the 8th to 13th centuries.[6] Another reason the Islamic world flourished during this period was an early emphasis on freedom of speech, as summarized by al-Hashimi (a cousin of Caliph al-Ma'mun) in the following letter to one of the religious opponents he was attempting to convert through reason:[12]
    "

    On Labour
    "The labour force in the Caliphate were employed from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, while both men and women were involved in diverse occupations and economic activities.[61] Women were employed in a wide range of commercial activities and diverse occupations[62] in the primary sector (as farmers for example), secondary sector (as construction workers, dyers, spinners, etc.) and tertiary sector (as investors, doctors, nurses, presidents of guilds, brokers, peddlers, lenders, scholars, etc.).[63] Muslim women also had a monopoly over certain branches of the textile industry.[62]"

    Causes of the decline of this Golden Age:
    One in particular is noteworthy to our discussion
    "institutionalisation of taqlid rather than bid'ah (13th century)"

    Taqlid: "In Islamic legal terminology it refers to the practice of following the decisions of a religious authority without necessarily examining the scriptural basis or reasoning of that decision. In Islamic theology taqlid of someone regarded as a higher religious authority (e.g. an '?lim) is acceptable in the details of the laws of the religion (shariah), such as matters of worship and personal affairs."
    Bid'ah: "any type of innovation in Islam"

    I don't know what you then mean as 'constant'....if 5 centuries of a different point of view had existed, I don't know how you still maintain this idea of 'constancy'.

    So please tell me, why are freedom of religion, free speech, and equal rights under the law "radical individualist" concepts that more communitarian cultures have good reason to reject (using Amartya Sen's criteria of what practically constitutes a universal value)?
    Amartya Sen proposed the "Liberal Paradox", which could help explain if/how/when there may be a conflict between the two:
    http://staff.science.uva.nl/~ulle/CO...-dougherty.pdf

    **
    Aside, [revealing my trump argument/final hand to this discussion, as no one challenged me, so I'll challenge myself] - I'm glad you brought up Sen, as he has given much commentary on this "Westernization of Human Rights". If you wanted to give a rebuttal to my position of "Asian values" in conflict with the inception of Human Rights, rather than challenging the point why does it matter from WHERE it arose, you would have been better to challenge the very idea of Human Rights being a Western value itself. (no one caught onto that - I was proving a point with regards to this 'ego-centric' view of the West and its acceptance of Human Rights as birthing from itself, without nod to the rest of civilization).

    THAT would have helped the case for why 'human rights' is/should be universal, as it was proposed throughout history from civilizations over, not just the West.

    Victor bought into this assumption, as did you, with your comment that Orthodox Islam has ALWAYS been like it is at present. You got close:
    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    1.) Was algebra heavily influenced by an Indian bias? If a concept qualifies as a universal value, it dosn't matter where it originated, only whether its right.
    But, didn't see it through......."it doesn't matter where it originated, because there is no ONE place (West) that it originated from, so every civilization, at one point, thought it to be right."

    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    One advantage of liberal democracy is that it guarantees freedom of religion.

    And through the separation of religion and the state, guarantees no religion will dominate.

    These are part of the foundations of Western civilization.


    There was no challenge to either: (a) Asian values not having ideologies of human rights, nor (b) Western values did not propose the first ideas of human rights.

    That is, to defend human rights, we need to move away first, from the Universal DECLARATION of Human Rights (as a document rising from the West), to the very concept of Universal HUMAN RIGHTS, which really has no national bias, as it has been evident in one form or another, throughout history, IN ALL CIVILIZATIONS - including Islam. Challenge the dichotomy itself. Not what is wrong with the dichotomy...this just feeds into the reactionary movements of the Middle-East because the West then keeps asserting Human Rights, without doing anything to challenge that THEY themselves, did not just think of it.

    To tell the radicalists:

    "Why won't you follow what we declared are human rights? It's the RIGHT thing to do?"

    versus

    "Why won't you follow human rights? Your history had it, others history had it, our history had it, we all had this idea of universal human rights, in one form or another. This is why it is universal." (The IDEA. Challenge the WHO)

    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Hint: separate yourself/myself/ourselves from discussions of ideas...and you'll fare much better.
    Here's a very interesting read (and even discusses Islam):

    Amartya Sen, "Universal Truths: Human Rights and the Westernizing Illusion," Harvard International Review, Vol. 20, no.3 (Summer, 1998), pp. 40-43

  3. #83
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Huh? It's been constant, but, there's been periods of change?

    There have been constant reversions back to the standards set forth in the Koran and the Sunnah, which makes perfect sense given both the contents of those sources and the divinely mandated interpretation methodology of those sources inherent within orthodox Islam. Furthermore, all earthly laws (in the eyes of religiously-inclined orthodox Muslims) must be based on shariah, negatively molding the development and gradual evolution of laws in ways that are not conducive to human rights.


    Unless there's a gold standard in place for what constitutes as 'humanitarian', we will only ever be able to evaluate by comparison. Thus, that's the only statement that can hold a grain of meaning, comparison to its counterpart civilizations within the same time frame.

    One can also compare the humanitarian characteristics of ancient cultures/civilizations with modern ones-especially regarding such an abstract and subjective concept as "human rights"-you never did give me a good reason (objective or otherwise) for the specific human rights I mentioned to be rejected


    **
    Aside, [revealing my trump argument/final hand to this discussion, as no one challenged me, so I'll challenge myself] - I'm glad you brought up Sen, as he has given much commentary on this "Westernization of Human Rights". If you wanted to give a rebuttal to my position of "Asian values" in conflict with the inception of Human Rights, rather than challenging the point why does it matter from WHERE it arose, you would have been better to challenge the very idea of Human Rights being a Western value itself. (no one caught onto that - I was proving a point with regards to this 'ego-centric' view of the West and its acceptance of Human Rights as birthing from itself, without nod to the rest of civilization).

    THAT would have helped the case for why 'human rights' is/should be universal, as it was proposed throughout history from civilizations over, not just the West.

    The concept of human rights has been proposed throughout history and from virtually all cultures (broadly speaking), but never before in the in-depth, individualized, and universalistic way in which it has been expounded through modern Western sources. That does not mean that human rights are a "western" concept, merely that the modern (and vastly superior) incarnation of the human rights paradigm originated in the West through serendipity and historical accident-other cultures/civilizations have good reason to broadly adopt them, and no good reason to reject the most essential elements, just as the rest of the world had very good reason to adopt "arabic" numerals and mathematical concepts originating from the Indian sub-continent, and no good reason to reject them. To reject the modern human rights paradigm on the basis that it is "western" is no different (keeping in mind Sen's practical definition of what a universal value is) from rejecting algebra (or just about any other good thing that was most notably formulated after the fall of the western Roman empire and before the late Reinassience) on the basis that it originated from outside the West.
    ^my responses are contained within the quote.

    Edit: I've previously read the second link you posted, I haven't read the first; concerning the second, I never posited that Europe has always been uniquely predisposed to valuing individual rights, or that orthodox Islamic civilization has always been worse than the West in this area-merely that the characteristics of orthodox Islam (which were once a relative strength) are antithetical to the most important elements of modern human rights standards. As for the first link, I've only skimmed it so far, but it seems to posit that protecting individual rights in some societies has "proved" to result in sub-optimal utilitarian conditions according to a statistical formula. In the short-term, I don't doubt that they are right (not necessarily for the reasons they suggest), but in the long-term such calculations severely limit aggregate utility. In any event, it dosn't address why the specific individual rights I mentioned should not be valued in and of themselves.
    Last edited by lowtech redneck; 04-05-2009 at 02:26 PM. Reason: more to add

  4. #84
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    There have been constant reversions back to the standards set forth in the Koran and the Sunnah, which makes perfect sense given both the contents of those sources and the divinely mandated interpretation methodology of those sources inherent within orthodox Islam. Furthermore, all earthly laws (in the eyes of religiously-inclined orthodox Muslims) must be based on shariah, negatively molding the development and gradual evolution of laws in ways that are not conducive to human rights.
    Bolded: false and a subjective assumption.
    1) There are still many Islamic theologists who are in constant debate over the Sunna and the support of it through the hadith and thus, how one interprets, based on the context.
    2) If it was that easy to parse out cleanly the 'divinely mandated interpretation methodology of those sources being inherent within Orthodox Islam'...there wouldn't have risen different sects within Islam. This is one of the main differences b/w Shi'a and Sunni. How one interprets the Sunna.
    3) Shariah cannot be divorced from fiq (which only 'scholars' have the capacity to do: truly understand the law) - hence, there's issues with 'concrete consensus' for most laws.
    a) with this, there are differences b/w Shi'a & Sunni

    One can also compare the humanitarian characteristics of ancient cultures/civilizations with modern ones-especially regarding such an abstract and subjective concept as "human rights"
    Why would that be in any way relevant to the point? It would only just add the huge confounder, TIME.

    you never did give me a good reason (objective or otherwise) for the specific human rights I mentioned to be rejected
    Freedom of religion, free speech, and equal rights. Were those the three?
    You want to know what exactly? Why they would objectively be rejected by a society that upholds collective more than the individual? (isn't the answer blatantly inferred within the dichotomy of individual/collective?) Also, re: the "liberal paradox"....

    The concept of human rights has been proposed throughout history and from virtually all cultures (broadly speaking), but never before in the in-depth, individualized, and universalistic way in which it has been expounded through modern Western sources.
    I said as much before, so I agree.

    That does not mean that human rights are a "western" concept, merely that the modern (and vastly superior) incarnation of the human rights paradigm originated in the West through serendipity and historical accident-other cultures/civilizations have good reason to broadly adopt them, and no good reason to reject the most essential elements, just as the rest of the world had very good reason to adopt "arabic" numerals and mathematical concepts originating from the Indian sub-continent, and no good reason to reject them. To reject the modern human rights paradigm on the basis that it is "western" is no different (keeping in mind Sen's practical definition of what a universal value is) from rejecting algebra (or just about any other good thing that was most notably formulated after the fall of the western Roman empire and before the late Reinassience) on the basis that it originated from outside the West.
    Okay, let me try to explain this better. You're talking again from a high moral ground. I'm telling you: THAT'S where *YOU'RE* (and, Victor, but, he's off in his own la-la land, so....) going about it the wrong way and thus counter-productive.
    In practicality all it will do is further the gap, and the isolation. It is counter-productive. The fact that UDHR is through the UN (which Middle-East thinks/knows/whatever is heavily influenced by the USA), and THEY'RE (UN) promoting it.......it makes a difference. HUGE (I hope you're not ignorant to this reality). Hence, why I keep talking of a reactionary uprising. Right or wrong. High moral ground or not. It is the reality.

    It is not about what ought to be done. It is about what can be done.

    You can talk of ought 'til the cows come home, it won't make an iota of difference unless you appeal to the target audience.

    Main point: if you (general, West, you in particular) want acceptance of an idea, and you're selling it to someone who dislikes you (because of your political history - and history is something that cannot be changed without a time machine), it would be logical to sell the idea, NOT THROUGH PROMOTION that it was YOUR IDEA, but, to SHOW THEM THAT IT'S THEIR IDEA AS WELL.


    So, how dare they reject something that's right isn't even a valid nor relevant question. It's just a soapbox expounding from a moral high-ground and quite circular.

    Why would they reject it? Looking at the context, and then, framing it to appeal to them, would gain the most results, IMO. So, whatever points you keep saying/reiterating amounts to nothing in the long run of the practicality of getting universal acceptance of the UDHR.

  5. #85
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    And this is what you do. And what you do most of the time.

    You rationalise.

    Rationalisation is not logic.

    Rationalisation is the pretense at logic to conceal your emotions - and to conceal your emotional intentions.

    Rationalisation is a form of pathology.

    Your pseudonym gave you away when you first arrived and you have remained true to your pseudonym ever since.

    But what is most interesting is how you are drawn to and defend other game players - birds of a feather flock together.

    But it is our own fault - by providing anonymity we provide the perfect environment for game players.

    And we never seem to realise that we are simply being played.

    Genuine and good humoured people seem to think everyone else is like them.

    So the genuine and good humoured easily fall victim to the predatory game players.
    K, so...how is your position reasonable again? Do you really think 100 spread-out deaths are better than 50 at the same time?

    (btw, I like to give credit where it's due when others are playing the game well.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    So, how dare they reject something that's right isn't even a valid nor relevant question. It's just a soapbox expounding from a moral high-ground and quite circular.
    +1
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  6. #86
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Bolded: false and a subjective assumption.
    1) There are still many Islamic theologists who are in constant debate over the Sunna and the support of it through the hadith and thus, how one interprets, based on the context.
    2) If it was that easy to parse out cleanly the 'divinely mandated interpretation methodology of those sources being inherent within Orthodox Islam'...there wouldn't have risen different sects within Islam. This is one of the main differences b/w Shi'a and Sunni. How one interprets the Sunna.
    3) Shariah cannot be divorced from fiq (which only 'scholars' have the capacity to do: truly understand the law) - hence, there's issues with 'concrete consensus' for most laws.
    a) with this, there are differences b/w Shi'a & Sunni

    Freedom of religion, free speech, and equal rights. Were those the three?
    You want to know what exactly? Why they would objectively be rejected by a society that upholds collective more than the individual? (isn't the answer blatantly inferred within the dichotomy of individual/collective?) Also, re: the "liberal paradox"...

    In practicality all it will do is further the gap, and the isolation. It is counter-productive.
    It is not about what ought to be done. It is about what can be done.
    In terms of Koranic interpretation (the Sunnah is, of course, much more complicated), orthodox Muslim scholars are limited by an explicit doctrine through which newer passages (in terms of origin) take precedence over older passages-guess when most of the unpleasant and illiberal passages originated? (Unorthodox) Islamic scholars with a liberal interpretation of Islam are a distinct (and often persecuted) minority, whose attempts to make (or in their own eyes, prove) Islamic values compatible with individual rights are very effectively stymied by accusations of and laws against blasphemy and apostasy. Which brings up the issue of why I specifically mention certain rights; because those are the rights that do the most to make all other rights possible (aside from what I subjectively regard as their self-evident precedence over lesser rights). As for the rest, just as it is self-defeating to EMPHASIZE the predominantly western origin of the modern human rights paradigm (something you brought up before I did), it is even more self-defeating not to oppose alternative basis for human rights which are in fundamental opposition to the most important human rights-which is what the OIC (and to lesser extent Hinduveta(sp), and the more vague "Asian values" proponents) are proposing.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    In terms of Koranic interpretation (the Sunnah is, of course, much more complicated), orthodox Muslim scholars are limited by an explicit doctrine through which newer passages (in terms of origin) take precedence over older passages-guess when most of the unpleasant and illiberal passages originated? (Unorthodox) Islamic scholars with a liberal interpretation of Islam are a distinct (and often persecuted) minority, whose attempts to make (or in their own eyes, prove) Islamic values compatible with individual rights are very effectively stymied by accusations of and laws against blasphemy and apostasy.
    Again, I will say: false.

    http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_ml...879_index.html

    As for the rest, just as it is self-defeating to EMPHASIZE the predominantly western origin of the modern human rights paradigm (something you brought up before I did),
    I didn't bring it up, per se. I was responding to Victor, using the 3 questions/points structure, in support of my position that the Middle-East's opposition to UDHR is reactionary, reactionary to the "Westernization" it sees UDHR to be an example of. You then responded to those three points, and so we began. I wasn't FOR the claim that universal human rights *has* a Western bias, just that the universal DECLARATION (the document) of human rights, rising out of the UN, is seen as a western bias by the 'other side', hence, an explanation to the resistence. I have yet to state my support or opposition to UDHR.

    it is even more self-defeating not to oppose alternative basis for human rights which are in fundamental opposition to the most important human rights-which is what the OIC (and to lesser extent Hinduveta(sp), and the more vague "Asian values" proponents) are proposing.
    I don't know about MORE or LESS. But, I agree they are both self-defeating. My point of bringing in "Asian values" is to put to the table the view of the other side. If we don't acknowledge the dissent of the other side, we cannot go about resolving an issue.

    Thus, we must acknowledge that this is the position of the 'other side', once we acknowledge, then only, can we try to erase the line, the divide....which is not helped by 'your side' maintaining a monopolic claim over the UDHR.

    The Middle-East will do EXACTLY the opposite of USA, just because USA is going right, that is enough reason for it to go LEFT. Is it rational? Does that matter? [you seem to not really answer this bolded question, as you keep saying the same point over and over, 'well, their side doesn't make sense'...does it matter whether its a question of rationality or not, when we should be concentrating on the best way to resolve it - this is my point]

    So, unless we can sever the long-held assumption of UDHR being entrenced in Western ideology, it will never be accepted by them. And, that has been what I've said all along. What's your issue with this point of mine?

  8. #88
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Again, I will say: false.

    http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_ml...879_index.html

    The Middle-East will do EXACTLY the opposite of USA, just because USA is going right, that is enough reason for it to go LEFT. Is it rational? Does that matter? [you seem to not really answer this bolded question, as you keep saying the same point over and over, 'well, their side doesn't make sense'...does it matter whether its a question of rationality or not, when we should be concentrating on the best way to resolve it - this is my point]

    So, unless we can sever the long-held assumption of UDHR being entrenced in Western ideology, it will never be accepted by them. And, that has been what I've said all along. What's your issue with this point of mine?
    The paper you linked only addresses procedural demcracy, not liberal democracy (i.e. democratic systems with human rights protections against majoritarian tyranny). I'm not impressed by the fact that moderate (as opposed to radical) Islamists support procedural democracy, if you asked Southern segregationalists during the 1950's whether they supported democracy and segregation, one would recieve an overwhelming affirmative to both questions. In any event, I am very well aware that Islamists are generally the strongest supporters of procedural democracy in most Muslim countries, and remain singularly unimpressed by that fact; democracy without (classical) liberal safeguards isn't worth very much.

    As for whether or not it matters, if one thinks that foundational assumptions and theoretical support frameworks have long-term effects beyond their immediate policy prescriptions, then the answer is a resounding yes (which is a conviction I share with the Islamists-they're not stupid, just fanatical devotees of a collectivist and utopian ideology that fundamentally rejects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality under the law). Also, voicing general support for the principles embodied within the UDHR is primarily a means of socializing/educating the members of one's own country, so that's not going to stop.

  9. #89
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Does this mean that the "West" is loosing the war form military and political perspective?

  10. #90
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    The paper you linked only addresses procedural demcracy, not liberal democracy (i.e. democratic systems with human rights protections against majoritarian tyranny). I'm not impressed by the fact that moderate (as opposed to radical) Islamists support procedural democracy, if you asked Southern segregationalists during the 1950's whether they supported democracy and segregation, one would recieve an overwhelming affirmative to both questions. In any event, I am very well aware that Islamists are generally the strongest supporters of procedural democracy in most Muslim countries, and remain singularly unimpressed by that fact; democracy without (classical) liberal safeguards isn't worth very much.
    Okay, again, you seem to ask for very specific things that the Middle-East should/ought to do/be.

    Liberal democracy.
    Secular.

    And, of course, you ask this of Orthodox Islam. That's like asking an orange to be a bird and wondering why an orange can't be a bird, thus, there must be something wrong with the orange. Well, Islam being a religion and all, I don't really understand how, EVER, we can get a support for secularism. A lot of these are inherently limited due to the fact that it's a religion that's also a political system - Orthodox Islam. It won't make sense for it to be many of the things you're wanting 'proof' from me whether it is or isn't. Of course it isn't. It's inherently assumed when we say, Orthodox Islam. But, that doesn't mean that it doesn't practice some form of democratic systems [maybe not the ones you specify because it's the golden standard of USA]

    I have some questions for you in order to show how redundant it is to ask an ethno-religiously driven nation, which is dictated in its politics, to be certain of these things that you hold as 'gold-standard': Israel [I'm using them as an example, because they're the closest in resembling an ethno-politically/religiously driven nation]
    - Is it a liberal democracy?
    - does it practice freedom of speech?
    - equal rights under the law?
    - truly secular in practice?
    * and, saying, well, they're not as bad isn't an answer, because that's apologetic.

    If you can figure out the limitations of why some of these questions are not applicable in an arena where religion drives politics, you will have found the answer [which you already know]....of why the Orthodox Islam isn't many of these things.

    The question is again, what makes you think it is THE RIGHT WAY to be? And, then, expect them to adopt that?

    As for whether or not it matters, if one thinks that foundational assumptions and theoretical support frameworks have long-term effects beyond their immediate policy prescriptions, then the answer is a resounding yes (which is a conviction I share with the Islamists-they're not stupid, just fanatical devotees of a collectivist and utopian ideology that fundamentally rejects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and equality under the law). Also, voicing general support for the principles embodied within the UDHR is primarily a means of socializing/educating the members of one's own country, so that's not going to stop.
    So, if foundational assumptions have direct long-term repercussions, shouldn't we be careful of what we assume? And, how we project that assumptions to the rest of the world?

    If you can give me an answer of how you ask a religion to be secular (:rolli, I will understand why you think it is a very logical request (demand?) to ask the Middle-East to be in line with the UDHR. I think there's issues with the way UDHR is framed, and, that there's a baseline assumption of a certain political system a country must adopt/be in order for UDHR to work in the first place, that, asking nations that don't have these political systems to follow the UDHR is again, like asking the orange to be the bird. And, then reaffirming your superior moral ground when the orange can't become that bird. Quite circular. All it amounts to is intellectual masturbation sparked by self-affirmation.

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