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In 2010 U2 played the Luzhniki stadium in front of 85,000 people making it one of the worst human rights abuses in Russian history. Frankie Boyle, Frankie Goes to Russia, BBC 2018
The United States is a business-run society which means that human rights are subordinated to the overwhelming, overriding need of profit for investors. Decisions are placed in the hands of unaccountable private tyrannies. Noam Chomsky, The War on Unions and Workers’ Rights, lecture 1995 Youtube 2.15.26
The United States has a terrible record – one of the worst in the world – in ratifying human rights conventions. Noam Chomsky, lecture September 1999, ‘Sovereignty and World Order’
Human rights conventions carry no penalties at all for violations. Noam Chomsky, lecture 6th December 2001, ‘Human Rights and the United States’
The rule of force in international affairs … Prosecution for war crimes, their crimes against humanity: in this case only the weak and the defeated need apply. ibid.
War crimes are crimes that somebody else committed against us. ibid.
Security Council resolution of 1986: the resolution called on all states to observe international law. That’s it. And it was vetoed by the United States. ibid.
One is the striking correlations between US aid and human rights abuses that has been noted in several studies. The reason is not that US policymakers like torture. Rather, it is an irrelevance. What matters is to bar independent development and the wrong priorities. For this purpose it is often necessary (regrettably) to murder priests, torture union leaders, ‘disappear’ peasants, and otherwise intimidate the general population. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy p58
Human rights have only an instrumental function in the political culture, serving as a weapon against adversaries and a device to mobilize the domestic public behind the banner of our nobility, as we courageously denounce the real or alleged abuses of official enemies. ibid.
Instruments to serve the needs of power, not to enlighten the citizenry. ibid.
It was observed half a century ago that what is a stone wall to a layman, to a corporate lawyer is a triumphant arch. Much the same might be said of civil rights and freedoms. To the layman the Bill of Rights seems to be a stone wall against the misuse of power. But in the hands of a congressional committee, or often enough of a judge, it turns out to be so full of exceptions and qualifications that it might be a whole series of arches. Henry Steele Commager, The Right of Dissent
Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense – nonsense upon stilts. Jeremy Bentham, 1748-1832, English philosopher
No constable or other royal official shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of this. Magna Carta Clause 28
No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent. Clause 30
In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, producing credible witnesses to the truth of it. Clause 38
No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him, except by the legal judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. Clause 39
To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice. Clause 40
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. US Declaration of Independence
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost. Robert A Heinlein, Starship Troopers
First, individual rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the general good, and second, the principles of justice that specify these rights cannot be premised on any particular vision of the good life. What justifies the rights is not that they maximize the general welfare or otherwise promote the good, but rather that they comprise a fair framework within which individuals and groups can choose their own values and ends, consistent with a similar liberty for others. Michael J Sandel, Liberalism and Its Critics
George W Bush and his administration embarked on a full-scale assault on civil liberties, human rights and the rule of law, walking away from his international obligations, tearing up international treaties, protocols and UN conventions. Bianca Jagger
I believe in an America where the rights that I have described are enjoyed by all, regardless of their race or their creed or their national origin - where every citizen is free to think and speak as he pleases and write and worship as he pleases – and where every citizen is free to vote as he pleases, without instructions from anyone, his employer, the union leader or his clergyman. John F Kennedy, speech Convention Centre Philadelphia October 1960
This nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. And that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. My fellow Americans, this is a problem which faces us all. In every city of the north as well as the south. Today there are Negroes unemployed two or three times as many compared to whites. Inadequate education, moving into the large cities, unable to find work, denied equal rights; we cannot say to 10% of the population you can’t have that right ... We owe them, and we owe ourselves, a better country than that. John F Kennedy 19th June 1963
The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities. ibid.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. Thomas Jefferson
All eyes are opened, opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind have not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately by the grace of God. Thomas Jefferson
A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference. Thomas Jefferson
Folks, I hate to spoil your fun but there is no such thing as rights, OK? They’re imaginary, we made them up like the Boogie Man ... cute and fictional ... Where do they come from? ... If your rights came from God, He would have given you the right to some food every day, and He would have given you the right to a roof over your head – God would have been looking out for you. George Carlin
The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education. Albert Schweitzer
The foundation of individual rights is the assumption that people have wants and needs and are authorities on what those wants and needs are. If people’s stated desires were just some kind of erasable inscription or reprogrammable brainwashing, any atrocity could be justified. Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature