Human right to idiocy will never be scrapped

Amnesty International has written an open letter to our Lord Chancellor, begging him not to scrap the Human Rights Act.

The document has been published as an advertisement, signed and paid for by over 1,000 people. Well, there’s one born every minute.

They aren’t idiots simply because they support this hideous document – we are all occasionally misguided and misinformed. Errare humanum est and all that.

They are, however, idiots because they argue their case in an irredeemably imbecilic way. This starts from the title: Don’t Scrap Our Human Rights.

I’m not aware of RT Hon Michael Gove hatching a fiendish plan to do away with human rights, and I’m sure that neither are the signatories. Even should Mr Gove harbour such dastardly intentions, it’s a safe bet he wouldn’t be able to act on them.

In other words, the authors of the letter confuse human rights with the document featuring these words in its name. This is like believing that abolishing the inheritance tax would deprive us all of the right to inherit or that no one would have the right to buy in the absence of a corresponding law.

The argument starts from that low point and rapidly goes downhill: “A government cannot give human rights or take them away, nor can it decide who is entitled to human rights and who isn’t.”

Quite. I couldn’t agree more. A government can do no such thing – which is precisely why we in England don’t need a written document codifying human rights. This, regardless of whether the document is issued by our own government or especially the political, moral and legal abortion calling itself the European Union.

In this country – unlike on the continent – it’s not the government that traditionally imposes its laws on the people, but rather the other way around. Such is the difference between our venerable common law and the so-called positive law practised elsewhere in Europe.

Imposing EU diktats on Britain can only serve the opposite purpose to the one professed by the signatories: it’s bound to diminish the rights Englishmen have enjoyed for centuries.

Really, the 1,000 idiots who signed the petition should take a remedial course in historical, political and legal literacy before bothering themselves with such matters.

However, they obviously don’t need a remedial course in demagoguery: “Human rights are universal – they apply to all of us simply because we are human.”

The first time this worthy idea was expressed in this kind of language was in 1789, and the language was French (actually, the Americans were first, but they had got the idea from the philosophes). By way of punctuation, nearly a million Frenchmen were then murdered, tens of thousands of churches were razed or defaced, and France began to pounce on everyone within reach, losing another two million people in a succession of aggressive wars.

This isn’t a case of post hoc, ergo propter hoc, but a causal progression. For whenever a government seeks to enforce the universal rights protecting the congenital goodness of its subjects, it inevitably acquires the urge to kill them all.

People always fall short of the loftier expectations, and operating the guillotine is an excellent way to express one’s disappointment.

I’d suggest another remedial course for the 1,000-odd idiots: theology. They’d benefit from learning how related issues were handled in various books that have evidently escaped their attention, from the Bible to Summa Theologiae. Alternatively, Google natural law, chaps. See if it rings a bell.

“[The Human Rights Act] protects women fleeing from domestic violence,” proceeds the letter. In other words, before 1998, when this pernicious act was passed, a bleeding woman running down the street with her thuggish husband in hot pursuit had no protection whatsoever.

A policeman, should he have happened to observe the scene, would have been powerless to intercede. “Sorry, love,” he would have said. “You’re on your own. We haven’t yet signed the Human Rights Act. So run faster.”

“It makes it safer to be gay…” Same situation here. Presumably until 1998 it had been legal to pummel homosexuals into a bloody pulp. It’s only thanks to the Act that they can now walk the aisle in perfect safety. It’s amazing that Britain managed to legalise homosexuality in 1967, all on her own.

“The Human Rights Act brought home to us the rights we have under the European Convention on Human Rights, enabling us to hold public authorities to account in our own country.” Absolutely. Until 1998 public authorities in England had been blissfully unaccountable.

The authors clearly haven’t heard of the great ancient charters aimed to protect the individual from the despotism of the rulers. The Charter of Liberties (1100) and Magna Carta (1215) were only the culmination of this development; its beginnings go back centuries earlier.

I suggest that on 15 June, when the rest of us celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the signatories to this letter raise a glass to the Human Rights Act instead. May I suggest bromide as the beverage? These people are much too excitable for their own good.

“We urge you not to roll back our hard-won human rights,” they plead at the end. Well, by the looks of it, the right to idiocy is still held sacred in some quarters.

 

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