Monday, November 08, 2010

The Divine Right of Human Rights

We have fought wars, indulged in regicide and had a glorious revolution in order to rid us of the religio-political tyranny of divine right. The moment a man believes himself to be God’s unaccountable, infallible and absolute representative on earth, history teaches that we tend to hit a few problems.

If a king claims to know the will of an omnipotent and omniscient God, only God can judge the king, for the king can do no wrong, and no misgovernment on the part of the king can release his subjects from their allegiance.

This was the accepted Tory orthodoxy until the Whig triumph of 1688-9.

After that revolution, notions of absolutism were gradually replaced by parliamentary democracy, and the liberties and rights of the people were enshrined in the Bill of Rights, which is the inviolable property of a sovereign people.

From time to time since, notions of divine right have crept back to deprive the people of their sovereignty: Harold Macmillan was clearly concerned by the unquestionable authoritarianism of members of a priestly political class which seemed to have quasi-religious status: “We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts,” he asserted.

Daniel Hannan MEP has observed the same divine attributes in the quangocracy by which we are increasingly governed: the apparatchiks and ‘the rest of the unelected functionariat’.

But Parliament, having once removed absolute power from the monarch, has schemed to remove the centuries-old checks upon its own power. They have abolished the hereditary peers, one of the last bastions against tyranny, and have exchanged the arbitrary power of the Stuart king for the arbitrary power of politicians: the House of Commons has conspired to destroy its own omnipotence and rendered us all subject to another divine right.

The European Union has occasionally been known to claim for itself certain aspects of divinity.

But nothing is so immutable and inviolable as the omnipotent and omnipresent creed of Human Rights.

Her Majesty’s Government wished to strip the hook-handed ‘radical cleric’ Abu Hamza of the British passport he was awarded in 1986, principally because his presence on these shores is no longer considered to be conducive to the common good: he has an annoying habit of calling for the ‘blood and destruction’ of non-Muslims and believes
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands;
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear'd by their breed, and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,--
For Christian service and true chivalry,--
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry
Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son:
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,

to be ‘like the inside of a toilet'.

Being an Egyptian national, the Government simply sought to revoke the British citizenship it gifted him through marriage and deport him whence he came.

But Sheikh Hamza, who originally entered Britain on a student visa, appealed to the courts. He argued that such a move would breach his ‘human rights’; specifically, the right to retain his British citizenship because Egypt has already stripped him of his Egyptian citizenship.

To lose one citizenship may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

And so the specially-convened Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the removal of his British passport would render him ‘stateless’, which would breach his human right to belong somewhere.

Even to a country which is ‘like the inside of a toilet’.

Even more irritatingly, he was granted legal aid to engage the services of highly-qualified (ie damned expensive) lawyers to argue his case.

So not only has HM Government lost the case: the taxpayer has footed the bill.

And when Sheikh Hamza finally emerges from Belmarsh, HM Government will have no option but to let him live again amongst us.

For that is his inalienable and inviolable ‘human right’.

It is bizarre that those very rights which have sought to guard the individual from tyranny have themselves become a tyranny.

The trinity of revolutionary modernity was liberty, equality and fraternity.

But governments found that too much liberty for the people was problematic and that they could not legislate to inculcate fraternity.

The trinity of postmodernity is equality, plurality and secularity.

And governments have found that they can legislate for them all, and they are colluding to induce this enlightened, relativist ‘neutrality’ with missionary zeal.

If you now dare to question these absolutes or violate their sovereignty, you belong to the dark ages of racism, religious bigotry and intolerance. Left unchecked, the absolute state has decreed that militant Islam is equal to Christian piety; that cultural relativism brings pluralist peace; and that atheism is the source of moral neutrality.

Human rights have their genesis in the precisely the same absolutist politics that gave us divine right.

A sovereign parliament made up of the representatives of a sovereign people has elevated ‘equality’ to the status of omnipotence; induced ‘plurality’ as the source of omnibenevolence; and inculcated ‘secularity’ as the enlightened philosophy of tolerating omniscience. The individual conscience is subsumed to the omnipresence of relativist rights, and where these are violated, the state dictates its own belief system and imposes its own discourse upon all individuals and groups until they are inducted into the new religio-political orthodoxy.

The paradigm of absolute rights is antithetical to the Christian contract of obligations, duties and responsibilities for reward. The selfish subjectivity of individuality is antithetical to the collective objectivity of community. As long as people like Abu Hamza are free to preach their poison and disseminate their particular brand of hate, there can be no ‘Big Society’ because there is no ‘common good’. And there is no ‘common good’ because the fons et origo of that vision of justice and peace has been fractured into a plethora of common goods, each advocating its own absolute creed; demanding its own space in the public realm; claiming inviolable equality and competing for absolute supremacy in the hierarchy.

Thomas Paine observed ‘Government has no right to make itself a party in any debate respecting the principles or modes of forming, or of changing, constitutions. It is not for the benefit of those who exercise the powers of government, that constitutions, and the governments issuing from them, are established. In all those matters, then rights of judging and acting are in those who pay, and not those who receive.’

It is time to reassess the inviolability, infallibility and ubiquity of ‘human rights’.

Or, as history teaches, regicide and revolution will ensue.

29 Comments:

Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Outstanding.

And this, Your Grace, is why you must never go AWOL again!

8 November 2010 at 09:47  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Is it beyond the wit of Parliament to guarantee our safety from the 'Human Rights' of those who would impinge on our own? Our defence should be the first priority of government.
If other countries are given the green light to deny citizenship to their people we shall eventually be shoulder to shoulder in Great Britain.

8 November 2010 at 10:18  
Blogger St. Nikao said...

The definition of 'the common good' depends on the integrity of the system of government and its constitution/laws, etc.

If the system is corrupt (departs from the character of God (who is Love, Truth and Life), and the commandments of God (the Two and the Ten)) the definition and judgments of what is 'the common good' will be corrupt.

Currently (in the West) we have laws that allow us to break God's Commandments and some that force us to do so.

Therefore, we cannot trust the system to divine or define 'the common good.'

8 November 2010 at 10:22  
OpenID yokel said...

Don't the Yanks want him for something or other? Surely we should postpone the decision as to which country he should live in until he has emerged from a spell of Yankee hospitality.

8 November 2010 at 10:32  
Blogger Gnostic said...

To paraphrase Henry II:

Does no one have the backbone to rid us of this homicidal nutjob?

8 November 2010 at 10:36  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

A tour de force Cranmer although I beg to differ on a few points.

Left unchecked, the absolute state has decreed that militant Islam is equal to Christian piety; that cultural relativism brings pluralist peace; and that atheism is the source of moral neutrality.

Atheism cannot be the source of anything as it exists only as the absence of belief. Secularism can and does provide an environment of moral neutrality but it too has no special moral authority but that is the whole point of it! Until we are rid of all your religious beliefs mankind will continue to fight over claims of absolute authority that your beliefs reassuringly provide you.

Islam is disease that if left unchecked will destroy us, but the Christianity of which you are so fond is hardly clean, it contains Catholicism which continues to exploit the vulnerable and ignorant by spreading lies about contraception and forcing the destitute into having ever larger families that they cannot afford to support leaving millions of children to die of disease and malnutrition whist their mothers often bleed to death in unnecessary childbirth. Of course you are not a Catholic so perhaps in future you could refrain from using the word Christian in order to disassociate yourself with your Catholic “cousins”?

A sovereign parliament made up of the representatives of a sovereign people has elevated ‘equality’ to the status of omnipotence; induced ‘plurality’ as the source of omnibenevolence; and inculcated ‘secularity’ as the enlightened philosophy of tolerating omniscience. The individual conscience is subsumed to the omnipresence of relativist rights, and where these are violated, the state dictates its own belief system and imposes its own discourse upon all individuals and groups until they are inducted into the new religio-political orthodoxy.

There has never been a society where “individual conscience” defines morality, nor is there likely to be. In the past most have submitted themselves to the diktat of a religious belief and to that extent there is no difference in Hamza and Cranmer. As religious beliefs invariably exist in opposition to each other it is necessary to have a more objective criterion for establishing and protecting human rights.

Secularity protects not only atheists or agnostics but also those who cling to religion. What is the alternative, other than the dominance of one faith over another? If the State doesn’t protect those rights then who does?

8 November 2010 at 10:53  
Anonymous philip walling said...

The people have to believe in something that their will puts into effect and by which they are ruled.

This plea for conscience is all well and good, but it must be based on Christianity whose precepts allow it, nay require it. It is not secularity that protects freedom of conscience, but Christianity.
Islam and secularism alike lead to different species of tyranny.

8 November 2010 at 11:09  
Anonymous Gerard Tibercross said...

Your Grace's analysis is impeccable except in one regard. This case has nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with the European Convention on Nationality 1997. Article 7 provides for the circumstances in which a state may remove nationality. The only circumstances in which nationality can be removed having the effect of making a person stateless is where “acquisition of the nationality of the State Party [was] by means of fraudulent conduct, false information or concealment of any relevant fact attributable to the applicant.” Quite why we signed up to a treaty that allows us to strip someone of British nationality on the grounds of “conduct seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the [UK]”, but not if that results in them becoming stateless, is beyond me.

In practical terms we cannot normally deport somebody who is stateless as there is nowhere to deport them to, unless another state agrees to take them.

Gerard Tibercross

8 November 2010 at 11:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

Outstanding analysis!

‘… there can be no “Big Society” because there is no “common good”. And there is no “common good” because the “fons et origo” of that vision of justice and peace has been fractured into a plethora of common goods, each advocating its own absolute creed; demanding its own space in the public realm; claiming inviolable equality and competing for absolute supremacy in the hierarchy’.

But how did they fracture it? The ‘fons et origo’: the Judaeo-Christian ethics that had informed this country’s institutions since Magna Carta?

By 1629 20,000 Puritans had left these shores (persecuted by effete Tories of a corrupt Court) and their grandsons produced the Constitution of the United States of America on the basis of which a president can be impeached. The Constitution is sovereign.

Cromwell attempted to produce a constitution, the Statutory Instrument of Government, for he knew that there must be a higher constitutional power than a sinful man at its head.

The Whig triumph of 1688-9 produced the Bill of Rights – a document that ensured the Divine Right of Kings would eventually be displaced into the Divine Right of Parliament – and eventually become as Hailsham observed: ‘elected dictatorship’.

The Prince of Orange, William III, landed at Torbay, November 4th, 1688 at the head of an army of 1,000 soldiers – a military coup d’etat took place. We have been living illegally in this country for 322 years.

By the time we come to the 1980s the social democratic consensus is finished. The Left-liberal establishment begins to enshrine in law a new system of ethics and its greatest milestone was the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Left-liberals genuinely thought that the 1998 Act would bring liberty, equality and fraternity for all in a context of equality, plurality and secularity.

They forgot one thing. The lesson that should have been learnt from the 1977 Soviet Union’s Constitution:

Article 34. Citizens of the USSR are equal before the law, without distinction of origin, social or property status, race or nationality, sex, education, language, attitude to religion, type and nature of occupation, domicile, or other status. The equal rights of citizens of the USSR are guaranteed in all fields of economic, political, social, and cultural life.

The application of such an article means that where rights collide with each other some rights will be superior and other rights will be inferior (in the British context it is now clear Christians under the Human Rights Act 1998 are inferior citizens) culminating in Solzhenitsyn’s ‘The Gulag Archipelago’.

The European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 14 is remarkably similar and produces the same effect:

Article 14: The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

Rights either come from revelation or they are invented by human agency. If the latter, then they become arbitrary and oppressive as humanistic regimes around the world have proved.

Where the Judaeo-Christian revelatory ethic says ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’ the Left-liberal snaps it in half and restates it as ‘you shall love your neighbour’. In other words no matter how much damage to you and your family it will cause by being compelled to put your neighbour first – it is justified on the basis of human rights.

As Orwell once wrote ‘some are equal but some are more equal than others’.

How different, how damaging and how destructive a humanistic rights regime is to ‘the Christian contract of obligations, duties and responsibilities for reward’.

8 November 2010 at 11:48  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

The Head of the Human Rights Court once summed the position up perfectly in his advice to lawyers

If you have substantial merit in your case - plead the facts.

If you have some merit in your case - plead the Law.

If you have no merit in your case - plead Human Rights.

8 November 2010 at 12:11  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
Could we not exile him to some remote corner of the globe, perhaps a desert island where he could gambol happily with the lambs for some time, until like Nebuchadnezer his sanity was restored & he would be fit to re-enter society a nicer, friendlier, humbler man who appreciates the good things that he at present mocks?
Surely this would solve all the problems as he could retain a U.K passport. Of course if the Yanks stole him in the night it would have nothing to do with us.

8 November 2010 at 12:37  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Allah apparently provides. Time Mr Hamza put his faith where his Islamist gob is and let's see how far it gets him. I've had more than enough of the government extorting taxes from honest, hard working, law abiding people to support lazy, objectionable hatemongers like him.

Several countries are interested in welcoming him across their borders. Such a shame we can't auction the creep and reclaim some of that money.

8 November 2010 at 13:14  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Gnostic...

*applause*

8 November 2010 at 13:54  
Blogger OldSlaughter said...

Epic work.

8 November 2010 at 14:23  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Being a Bear of Very Little Brain, I’ve done my best to understand Your Grace’s essay but, as far as I can tell, you make no proposals for correcting our sad state of affairs.

You talk of the replacement of the common good by a multitude of common goods—one (if I may paraphrase) for every skin colour, nationality and belief system. The American academic Robert Putnam examined the effects of diversity in the United States and found that it had a deleterious effect on the life of a community: ‘In more diverse communities … there were neither great bonds formed across group lines nor heightened ethnic tensions, but a general civic malaise. … [L]evels of trust were not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.’

The more diverse a community, the less well it functions. The more diverse a country, the less well it functions, and no amount of liberal legislative hand-wringing will create a common good where natural human inclination refuses to co-operate.

Reducing the diversity of the population would resurrect our sense of a national common good. Providing financial incentives for Muslims to leave Britain would be an excellent place to start.

8 November 2010 at 14:40  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8 November 2010 at 15:04  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Presumably, the Archdruid of Canterbury supports Abu Hamza's demands to remain in the country and live off benefits. After all, we wouldn't want Abu to slip into a "spiral of despair" would we?

Maybe we can send the 2 of them off to some remote island for some interfaith dialogue.

8 November 2010 at 15:54  
Anonymous Oswin said...

As Rebel Saint says @ 9.47 & everyone else too, Your Grace!

Perhaps a 'Facebook' campaign beyond Sir Cliff's Christmas offering and Miss Snuffy's support group, is required here? Or does it exist already? If not, can someone PLEASE begin the process (it's beyond me, being a dinosuar in such matters)... this vile creature cannot be allowed to sully our streets with impunity.

It is an offence against both God and nature to tolerate this clawed abomination. His only entitlement is that of a 'pantomime villain' to be hissed at, laughed at and forever despised!

8 November 2010 at 17:28  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

When the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks about a spiral of despair, I know what he means. I have been unemployed and it is shit. Your self esteem hits the floor, and the longer it goes on the more desperate you become, but you fall into a paradox of low self confidence even though you might have qualifications and experience.

There are genuine job hunters out there who do find it hard sometimes to get back into work. They manage eventually, just like I have, but they need a little encouragement and time to get their shit together.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is an intelligent, God-fearing and loving Christian, and I am certain that he understands that there are people who are going to fall into a spiral of despair, with mounting bills, desperation in their search for work, only to be cut off and thrown to the shit heap, when in all reality, all they need is a bit more time and some encouragement to boost their confidence. This is what he is talking about.

I am sure he understands that there are people like Abu Hamza, as well as legions of lazy sods who have no intention of looking for work, but The ABC's concerns as a leader of a Christian Church is about unnecessary suffering and burden for good decent people.

If you cannot understand this, then I am sorry for you.

8 November 2010 at 17:34  
Blogger oldmaid said...

My opinion on this obnoxious specimen would get me deleted.

So I will just say as one of the long term unemployed he should be made to make himself useful under IDS's scheme and pick up rubbish...

8 November 2010 at 17:38  
Blogger St. Nikao said...

Here's a wonderful article by Michael Nazir-Ali that pertains to the topic at hand:
http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/3491/full
(thanks - Anglican Mainstream)

8 November 2010 at 17:59  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Jared ... [taking the post down a slightly different thread] many of us recognise the symptoms you are talking about. But the role of the state isn't "to give us a little encouragement". And actually, giving a free hand out in perpetuity doesn't do a great deal for feelings of self-worth or self-confidence either.

Giving people a sense of having earned £65 and of having done something worthwhile (no matter how menial) will actually help people escape a spiral of despair, not send them into one. It keeps some small part of the discipline of going to work, you'll probably get to meet others which helps alleviate some of the sense of isolation that can set-in.

I don't think people should have to work 35 hrs to qualify, but at minimum wage rates it's a good days honest labour for "good decent people" - something scripture advocates.

The Archbishop doesn't seem to recognise that people feel the way you described already. It's being unemployed that demoralises and causes a "spiral of despair", NOT the thought of having to do some menial work to earn some income.

8 November 2010 at 18:29  
Anonymous Voyager said...

and rights of the people were enshrined in the Bill of Rights,

Really ?

That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law

May simple be legislated away by Act of Parliament....a fine "Bill of Rights" but hardly the same as The Ten Amendments of the US Constitution.

8 November 2010 at 18:30  
Anonymous len said...

The Declaration of Human Rights assumes people to be reasonable and of good conscience.
Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
...............
This is where the whole Human Rights thing falls down. If man is unreasonable,devoid of conscience, and active inciting unrest against the State should he be tolerated regardless?
Hamza being Egyptian by birth is Egypt`s problem and should be deported.

8 November 2010 at 20:11  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

"Presumably, the Archdruid of Canterbury supports Abu Hamza's demands to remain in the country and live off benefits. After all, we wouldn't want Abu to slip into a "spiral of despair" would we?"

You seem to have changed tac slightly since the above comment. I am happy to leave it there.

8 November 2010 at 20:11  
Anonymous Petronius said...

A thousand times "Amen" to what you have said here, Your Grace.

Indeed, my opinion is that we ought not to merely re-assess the inviolability, infallibility and ubiquity of ‘human rights’; it is time for the whole false concept to be utterly refuted and destroyed, right from first principles. I would propose: "There is no such thing as "human rights"; there is right and there is wrong, and that is all there is to it. Do what is right and you shall be rewarded; do what is wrong and you shall be punished". That is all that any legal system need ever say. To bring in this false idea of "rights" is to put the cart before the horse and to turn the concept of morality on its head. A "right" actually means a privilege granted to someone as a special favour, earned by the performance of a duty. It is not meant to mean "something that we automatically possess, merely by virtue of existing". That whole concept is a total nonsense.

8 November 2010 at 21:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I believe it was you who introduced the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.

8 November 2010 at 21:22  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@Jared ... "You seem to have changed tac slightly since the above comment. I am happy to leave it there."

I guess we will have to leave it there coz I genuinely don't understand what you mean.

9 November 2010 at 00:34  
Blogger Gnostic said...

oldmaid, nice idea. Forget the rubbish though because there's a far more worthwhile chore. Hookie's fixated on toilets and I've got a bog brush I'd love to intruduce him to...

9 November 2010 at 07:39  

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