Sunday, March 11, 2007

An edited extract from What's Left? How the Liberals Lost Their Way, by Nick Cohen, here.

At some point, he says:

"In Bridget Jones's Diary, her retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Helen Fielding summed up the kudos of liberal interventionists when she made her modern version of Mr Darcy, not a landed aristocrat but a "top-notch human rights barrister" and "total sex god": there was no more worthy or desirable occupation for the modern hero."

It's a bit of a misreading, since, Mr. Darcy, while being a sexy "top-notch human rights barrister", is also conservative. To me, personally, the combination is very desirable, because it takes the important issue of human rights from the radical left which applies it only in as much as it serves its political anti-Imperialist, anti-American and -Israel agenda.

Michael Ignatieff, in his book “Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry” looks at the depreciation of the term “human rights”:

“Global human rights consciousness, moreover, does not necessarily imply that the groups defending human rights actually believe the same things. Many of these NGO’s espouse the universalist language of human rights but actually use it to defend highly particularist causes: the rights of particular national groups or minorities or classes or persons… The problem is that particularism conflicts with universalism at the point at which one’s commitment to a group leads one to countenance human rights violations towards another group.”

Ignatieff is claiming here that a noble term which was supposed to uphold an ideal of universal justice, the kind that safeguards the equity and inviolability of all human beings, has been devalued by different interest groups to the point where it is nearly worthless. Politicization of an ethical principle can only lead to the kind of confused, dislocated application of the term “Human rights”, where some NGO’s use it to justify their support of terrorist activities.

Bridget Jones's Darcy is a virtuous man. Virtue is very much a conservative quality, in that it rejects moral relativism. In his character Darcy compromises between solicitude for human suffering (as distinct for exclusive pity, which Hannah Arendt warned against) and the law which he practices in order to bring relief to this suffering. He represents in fiction the practical wisdom, that the Euston Manifesto tries to articulate.

(Hat tip: NWO)


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