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 Bedtime for Democracy: Human Rights and other Bad Ideas

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 17, 2001
Ever since the US-backed counterrevolution in Eastern Europe began in 1989, rich Westerners of all flavors have been crowing about the "failure of the communist experiment" and other similar absurdities. In their 10-year-long disinformation spree, the democratic states of the West have trotted out all manner of half-truths and outright lies to reinforce the myth of communism's failure. They tell exaggerated stories of disaster-related famine in North Korea, they speak in glowing tones about Eastern Europe's newfound peace and prosperity, and they become downright outraged when a country dares to enforce its own laws!

The one thread that runs through all of the above criticisms is that of "human rights": an essentially arbitrary set of concepts that capitalist nations accuse socialist ones of violating on a regular basis. I think it's time to examine these ideas more fully: when looked at without the nauseating sentimentality attached to "human rights" by rich Westerners with enough food to eat, we can see that objectively, democracy and human rights have been an unmitigated disaster for the Developing World.


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The first question we must answer is, how does one begin to evaluate a concept as hazy and ill-defined as human rights? As Mao Zedong said (and I believe any scientific-minded person would agree):

Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice, and from it alone; they come from three kinds of social practice, the struggle for production, the class struggle and scientific experiment.

Where Do Correct Ideas Come from? (May 1963), 1st pocket ed., p. 1.

Therefore, we will look at social practices as scientific experiments, and examine several cases of what the capitalist powers claim to be "human rights violations" -- and, more revealingly, corresponding cases on which they remain silent.

Perhaps the capitalist camp's favorite example is that of the Great Leap Forward, which they claim killed more than 15 million Chinese. For those of you still awash in this capitalist FUD, the Great Leap Forward was a brilliantly conceived plan by Mao to vastly increase China's agricultural and industrial production, commencing in 1958. It very nearly succeeded, and was only derailed in 1960 by a series of massive droughts that sent agricultural outputs plunging. This was used as an excuse by counterrevolutionary pro-democratic elements in the Communist Party, led by the US puppet Liu Shaoqi, to seize control. They proceeded to reverse nearly all of the reforms made during the Great Leap Forward, which, together with the damage from the droughts, led to the starvation of tens of millions of Chinese in the early 1960's. (These traitors were, fortunately, removed from power during the Cultural Revolution.) Yet, somehow, Mao and the Communist Party leadership are blamed for these deaths, a so-called massive violation of "human rights."

The hypocritical US stooges who denounce Mao and other upstanding revolutionaries for that tragedy then proceed to compare China to India over the same time period. This comparison does have its merits: both countries have approximately the same number of people, both countries have approximately the same arable land area, both governments came into power at approximately the same time -- India's in 1947, China's in 1949 -- and, at the time, both countries had roughly comparable literacy rates, death rates, and GDPs. The anti-socialist camp points out that China had an excess of 20 million deaths over India during the early 1960's, the "aftermath" of the Great Leap Forward. This was mainly because India enjoyed the advantages of a modern democratic state -- a free press, a strong opposition -- making it impossible for them to centralise production along Chinese lines.

What these economic imperialists fail to mention is that, since 1950, India has averaged four million more deaths per year than China -- 200 million deaths! The reasons are mostly consequences of India's lauded democratic capitalist ideology, namely, a weak central government and a failure to distribute resources, including food and medical care, anywhere close to equitably. But is India violating "human rights" in this manner? Not according to the US. But the 200 million "missing" Indians -- dead through famine and disease as a result of the "Democratic Holocaust" might beg to disagree.

These same democracy-loving hatemongers then turn around and complain about "human rights violations" when China dares to enforce its own drug laws. Ironically, these drug laws are the only effective way to combat the same sorts of drug problems that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans every single year. The US could fight its drug problem with much less human suffering and loss of life by instituting Chinese-style "Strike Hard" drug laws instead of criticizing them -- but the US government's relationship with the horribly corrupt and abusive prison industry (industry!) makes this less than likely. On top of this, we have the unofficial US death penalty: the 31,000 innocent people killed every year by handguns in the United States. For comparison, China, a nation with five times as many people, executes less than 5,000 people each year, even by the most extreme estimates. Somehow, it is a "human rights" violation for a country to execute several thousand of its worst drug offenders, but a country that sentences millions upon millions of its citizens to ineffective prison terms while sponsoring the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocents is to be applauded!

All of these cases point to the same conclusion: "human rights" are completely arbitrary and utterly useless as a moral yardstick. They exist solely as a propaganda tool for the use of the Western democratic nations. And, what is more interesting, is that the democratic capitalists use this tool for one primary purpose: to hide the fact that socialism is demonstrably better than democracy in every way that counts. Returning to the China vs. India comparison above, note that both countries were in almost identical situations in 1950, the principal difference being that China had a strong socialist government, while India had a weak democratic one. According to the CIA World Factbook 2000 (India, China), China's average life expectancy is currently almost 10 years longer than India's, China's literacy rate is 30% higher, and China's GDP per capita is more than twice India's. Damning evidence indeed.

It's time to face the facts: democracy has failed. It has failed to provide peace, justice, freedom, or a higher quality of life, and has been responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths during its disastrous years of domination in the name of "human rights", while allowing all the actual humans who might have had those rights to die a lingering death. And it is indeed a formidable adversary; overcoming it will not be easy. But as Chairman Mao wrote:

Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.

"The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains" (June 11, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 321.

Human rights are a rich man's plaything. That have been utterly disastrous everywhere they have been tried, other than the isolated cases of Western Europe and the USA. They must, for the sake of human survival, be eliminated from the developing world, and the sooner the better.


Using the hierarchy of human needs (none / 0) (#6)
by typical geek on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 08:11:13 AM PST
human rights are one of the last things to be sated, so this analysis has some merit. But really, we should keep our eyes on the prize of human rights, and make societies work towards that.

Who knows, maybe someday America will have the human rights that Europe has (6 weeks paid vacation, paid paternity leave, no drinking age, no age of consent).

gcc is to software freedom as guns are to personal freedom.

Erm not in the UK (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 08:39:09 AM PST
3 weeks vacation, unpaid parenity leave, drinking age 18 and age of consent 16....

We're a 'European' country at least in terms of geography and membership of the EU....

You'd rather have a drinking age of 21 (none / 0) (#8)
by typical geek on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 08:48:52 AM PST
2 weeks of vacation, and an age of consent of 18?

I have no trouble with being drafted and risking my ass to save democracy and transnational corporate interesta, but I'd like a beer when I was done.

gcc is to software freedom as guns are to personal freedom.

"Word Court" and "Human Rights" (none / 0) (#9)
by Logical Analysis on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 09:09:41 AM PST
Even more ridiculous is the so-called "World Court" which enforces the "human rights" (aka capitalist rights). Legitimate leaders of countries which oppose western-style liberal democracy are prosecuted under trumped up charges by the NATO warmongers... Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic being the latest victim of the corporate USian interests.

Not since the end of World War II has the term "Kangeroo Court" been more appropriate.

It is good that you have brought Mao Zedong into the conversation... Mao himself was a strong opponent of ideological totalitarianism:

"Let a hundred flowers bloom!
Let a hundred schools of thought contend!"

We should take his wisdom to heart.

Yes exactly (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 09:23:01 AM PST
The proponents of Human Rights would have you believe that Human Rights are universal to all human beings. However, they are not - Human Rights are a cultural artifact of the west.

In countries which value the rights of society over the rights of the individual (a perfectly valid system - to suggest otherwise is just cultural imperialism), such as China, there is no reason why Western Human Rights and the Anglo Saxon cultural values they impose should be applied.

Human Rights are just another way for western countries to enforce their values upon different cultures.

china has human rights (none / 0) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 09:43:08 AM PST
China's Constitution

Individual freedom is important to every society and only society can guarantee individual freedom. It would be more accurate to say the West pontificates, quite disingenuously, negative rights (dont bother me) without a balanced attention to positive rights (bother me to recognize my duties to others) in order to justify varying degrees of economic licentiousness.

It's a trick.

Rights are meaningless without the economic means to make choices. Political freedom is proportional to economic equality.

Oh really (none / 0) (#12)
by Husaria on Thu Jul 19th, 2001 at 07:09:38 PM PST
I don't think democracy has failed in the sense of total failure. Granted, it has its problems. But look at any Communist regime, (the past and those still standing), and you'll see a standard of living much lower than of living than in democracies.
And thats not speaking from textbook, thats personal experience. In 1988, I went to Poland, which was still Communist at the time. I had gone to places that still did not have any water at all or phones! Goods? You took what you could get, and machines? They rarely worked. There was a joke commonplace: would you rather live in a Socialist Hell or Communist hell? Communist, because nothing ever worked right
Human rights? Thats the basis of every democracy, from the Enlightment, which most modern democracies bases itself on.
Socialism is better in every way that counts? Oh please, is that why its failed miserably in almost every place in the world? Granted, its a good system, but human nature ruins it.
The Cultural Revolution: if the US sponsored it, you'd see hardcore commies being exiled and of what actually happened.
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