The right to bear arms, the right to bear children, the right to vote…
Three human rights that are wrong in the 21st Century
1. The right to vote.
Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, there have been a raft of vox pops on social media with some alarming responses to the question “Why did you vote leave?” For example…
‘There are just too many immigrants. I mean the Europeans are OK but it’s the Syrians and the Africans that are the problem.”
( EU referendum. The clue is in the title.)
The day after we voted to leave, the second most popular search on Google in the UK was “What is the E.U.?”
You could say, these two examples bring into question the intelligence of the voting public and the advisability of asking them in the first place. I mean, you wouldn’t give the vote to primary school children. I think everyone agrees this would be a crazy thing to do. Why? Because they’re not intelligent enough to understand what they’re voting for. So if it IS about intelligence, perhaps we need to sit some form of very basic test before we qualify to vote.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be an automatic human right.
2. The right to bear arms.
This idea of course was set in motion in a world that bears no resemblance to the world we are currently living in. Most people these days don’t live in rural communities where their main concern is protecting their isolated property from cattle rustlers. Also the ‘arms’ in question have changed somewhat since 1791 when the Second Amendment came into being. The difference between the semi automatic rifle used at Orlando, and a blunderbuss is quite considerable. In fact the word “blunderbuss” is now used to describe “an action that is lacking in subtlety and PRECISION.”
We are horrified when we see photographs of small children wandering around Uganda with machine guns. Why? They don’t have the mental and emotional capacities to understand the consequences of what they’re doing. So if this is the case, surely there needs to be some form of test to establish both mental intelligence and emotional health before anyone is allowed to buy a gun.
“Ah but you can’t label ALL people as crazy stupid people” I hear some people say. Well yes we can and we do, as anyone who has walked through an airport will attest. We can’t board a plane with a bottle of shampoo — that’s a measure of the curtailment of liberties we are subjected to on a daily basis. Apparently the moisturizer you put on your hands is more dangerous than that gun you’re holding in them.
The right to bear arms should not be a human right.
3. The right to bear children.
This one is more controversial but I’m going for it anyway because it’s the elephant in the room and I’m quite partial to elephants. Which example shall I choose? Because there are, oh so many.
How about the woman with a crack cocaine habit who had five children — all in separate foster care homes and was pregnant with her sixth child. There was some level of debate as to whether it might be a good idea to insert some form of permanent birth control device after she had the baby, but this couldn’t be done against her will, because it was a violation of her human rights.
How about the woman who allowed her boyfriend to sexually abuse their children (and other children) and was complicit in this abuse because of the thrill of power it gave them both. Or the man who went to court for custody of his daughter, only to murder her a few months later.
How about the fifteen year old girl who hates school and living at home, can’t get a job and gets pregnant as a way onto the housing ladder. In London, where it is impossible for most working young people to afford an apartment of their own, children have become a currency for the stupid and an unaffordable dream for the smart.
And then of course there’s the religious thing. Again, this is not 1791 — the concept of a supreme intelligence aka God has evolved along with everything else. There is an intelligence greater than ourselves (let’s face it that’s not hard to imagine) but the interpretation of what that intelligence is, filtered through the lens of people living hundreds of years ago, is very different from the lens of today. It needs an upgrade.
Hundreds of years ago, Catholics (the very right wing, rule based Christians — think Donald Trump followers) fought the Cathars (very left wing, inclusive Christians — think Bernie Sanders followers). When the Catholics asked their leaders how they might determine one from the other, how to separate the good guys from the bad guys (a problem that’s followed us right up to the 21st century) their leaders said “Kill them all, God will know his own.”
This is an absurd idea now… but not really. It supposes that God is a ‘person’ with preferences, rules and demands — as opposed to an intelligence that fosters love, harmony and mutual flourishing, over hate and war. It is exasperating therefore to find religions still advising their followers that it is their duty to bear children. Despite the fact that the world is over populated, that we have dwindling natural resources, that the requirements to feed large amounts of people have allowed evil corporations like Monsanto to poison the water supply in the name of preventing world hunger.
It’s heartbreaking to see boat loads of refugees drowning with their babies and toddlers. The war in Syria has been going on for over four years. What would make any sane person have unprotected sex in a war zone? Oh yes, religion.
Raising children is a joy and a challenge, but it isn’t an automatic human right. It’s strange that we have to pass a test before we’re allowed to drive but none whatsoever before creating a human being.
The world has changed. We’re a global community now and we need to re-think our rights on this planet that we all share. Most of the people who voted to leave the EU were older people. In the vox pops, many voiced a nostalgia for the world they grew up in. I want my country back. But this world is no more. We can never go back. We can’t stop change, we can only learn HOW to change, how to be flexible, how to be more creative, more inclusive, more visionary… and above all more intelligent.
The UK woke up with the worst kind of hangover today. Not an intelligent, adult hangover (perhaps not a great idea to open that last bottle of Merlot!) more a teenage hangover (oh fuck!! We’ve trashed the house and Mum and Dad will be back in two hours…what were we thinking!!!) We’ve looked around at the ‘after party’ mess with alarm. Over in the corner is some bloke with a leering grin and a pint in his hand and we anxiously look at each other and say.
Who the fuck opened the door and let him in?
It’s time to correct the clever stupid balance. America — save yourselves now!