Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

It’s official. Donald Trump is now, undeniably, in bed with radical Islamists: the Saudi government. That government is essentially ISIS with oil. (Not incidentally, rich Saudis, including members of the Saudi royal family, provided essential funding to ISIS during its initial years.)

Following his love fest with Turkish president and Islamo-fascist thug Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump just approved one of the biggest arms deals in history with the Saudi Islamo-fascists. He just approved a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi regime.

So, what will the arms be used for, what purposes? Exactly what kind of policies does our “ally”pursue?

Under Saudi Sharia law, Human Rights Watch reports that “adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian—usually a husband, father, brother, or son—to travel, marry, or exit prison.” Under the Saudi regime, women couldn’t even drive until very recently.

Of course, given the regime’s radical Islamist (Wahabi) orientation, there is no freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia; mere criticism of the theo-fascist regime can, and does, land people in prison for more than a decade.

Nor is there freedom of conscience in Saudi Arabia. Merely being an atheist is grounds for execution, though the more usual punishments are imprisonment and/or torture (flogging) that can result in permanent physical damage.

And, yes, Saudi Arabia judicially murders a large number of people; it has one of the highest execution rates in the world.

Saudi crimes extend beyond Saudi Arabia’s borders. In addition to helping to finance ISIS and providing 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, the Saudis currently commit war crimes in Yemen, including bombing funerals, hospitals, and other civilian targets, and “double tap” bombing, in which the Saudis bomb the same target shortly after first hitting it, in order to kill and maim rescue workers.

These are the Islamist monsters Trump just armed to the teeth.

Actions speak louder than words, and despite Trump’s anti-Islamist rhetoric, his actions betray him. He’ll stir up hatred against powerless refugees, but he kisses the cheeks (both kinds) of oil-rich Islamists.

If you oppose radical Islam, you oppose it. And you support those who Islamists oppress. You don’t sell $110 billion in arms to one of the worst Islamist human rights violators on earth.

Donald Trump is an utter hypocrite.

(Of course, all recent U.S. presidents and their administrations have been equally hypocritical. Here’s a rogues gallery of some of the guilty.)

Barack Obama, who sold the Saudis $60 billion worth of arms.

 George W. Bush, who allowed approximately 50 members of the Bin Laden family to leave the U.S. immediately after 9/11, without allowing the FBI to question them.

Bill Clinton, whose foundation received more than $10 million of Saudi money.

Think about it. Is there really a basis for a “universal declaration of human rights”? No. There isn’t. Sadly, there isn’t.

Authoritarians of all stripes would agree. That seems to justify their wholesale brutishness and violence.

But they’re wrong.

“Human rights” is a social construct, and there’s a very good reason for that social construct: it leads to human happiness.  In other words, it’s utilitarian.

In the utilitarian universe, the only good is that which leads to human happiness. Again, an assertion, but a happy one. Anything beyond that also lies in the realm of assertion. Universal human rights? Prove it. No inherent human rights? Prove it.

Let’s act “as if.”

Does acting as if there are universal human rights prove that there are? No. Of course not. But in societies that maintain the fiction that there are? There’s more happiness than in those that pretend that human rights don’t exist. Compare Iran and Iceland, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

In other words, fighting to establish the entirely (naturalistically) baseless concept of “human rights” leads to happiness.

So, let’s work for the establishment of free speech, free association, etc.  There’s no naturalistic basis for human rights– nature is entirely neutral — but we’ll all be a hell of a lot happier if we’re free.


U.S. “ally” Saudi Arabia is a barbaric Islamic theocracy that has executed over 150 people so far this year by beheading. That benighted, tyrannical land is also a major source of funding for ISIS.

It’s a capital offense to renounce Islam or to be an open atheist in Saudi Arabia, and at least one atheist, Ashraf Fayadh, is under a death sentence.

How have the UN and the US government reacted to the murderous Saudi regime? Over the summer the UN named Saudi Arabia to head its Human Rights Commission, and last month the Obama Administration approved sales of $1.29 billion worth of weapons to the Saudi regime.

All of this goes to show that US government’s rhetoric about human rights is absolute bullshit when oil is involved. It’s been this way seemingly forever, under both Democrats and Republicans.

If you’ve forgotten it, check out the photo below. In this case, a photo really is worth a thousand words.


We’ve all heard this “argument” over and over. It’s so common that I don’t even need to cite examples. It’s constantly used by left and right, and by religious believers of almost all stripes.

Bring up in conversation some horror committed by a government or religion, and an apologist for that government or religion is sure to say, “But what about…..” and then bring up some horror committed by another government or religion. The basis of this “argument”–“stratagem” is more accurate–is the assumption that human rights violations or other atrocities are excusable as long as the apologist can point to worse human rights violations or worse atrocities committed by other entities.

This “argument” plays straight into the hands of the powers that be, at home and abroad. Follow it to its logical conclusion, and you can justify any human rights violation or other atrocity short of the Holocaust. To the extent that people buy this “argument,” governments and religions have greater latitude to engage in evil–as long as other governments and religions are perceived to be committing worse evils.

That’s how it played out in the U.S. during the Cold War, when right wingers in the U.S. routinely dismissed concerns about racism, civil liberties violations, and widespread poverty,  by pointing to the Soviet Union. The end result of this demagoguery was the weakening of attempts to end these evils in the United States, and demonization of those working to end them.

At the same time, all too many American left wingers were (and still are) pointing to those same evils to excuse human rights violations, including suppression of free speech and imprisonment and execution [in the ’60s and ’70s] of political prisoners, in Cuba. The end result of this has been to legitimize the Castro dictatorship and to sweep its human rights violations under the rug.

Invariably in such apologetics, there’s an underlying false dichotomy: the belief that there are only two choices, that when confronted with two evildoers your only choice is to support one or the other. But a moment’s thought reveals that there is always a third choice. It’s entirely possible to oppose human rights violations no matter who commits them. It’s entirely possible to oppose human rights violators of all stripes–including those on your side of the political (or religious) spectrum.

Why do those who utilize the “But what about…..” stratagem do so? The most charitable explanation is that they use this red herring because they don’t know any better, because they’ve never thought about it. All their lives, they’ve heard this “argument” used over and over again, and have never heard its underlying assumptions challenged. All their lives, they’ve been presented with false dichotomies, and have never heard them challenged. So, they repeat this contemptible “argument” in parrot-like fashion.

A less charitable explanation is that they’re deliberately using a deceptive argument for partisan purposes.

If you consider yourself an advocate of human rights and have used this false argument, have uttered “But what about…..” to excuse evil, please be consistent. Please stop being a  hypocrite. Please condemn all human rights violations and atrocities, and all those who commit them, no matter who they are.

“Men should not petition for rights, but take them.”

–Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Atheists for Human Rights (AFHR), an all-volunteer 501 (c) 3 group,  is one of the smallest atheist organizations in the U.S. But it’s the only one–yes, the only one–that donates money to individuals and groups suffering religious persecution in this country. AFHR has little in the way of resources, but puts its money where its mouth is via its Moral High Ground project. Here’s a list of AFHR’s donations in 2013:

  • $1600 ( $400 each) to four abortion clinics, all suffering vicious attacks by the religious right. The clinics include those that picked up the torch when Dr.Tiller was murdered. These are clinics where the doctors come to work wearing bulletproof vests and the religious right attempts every possible legal scam–while they hypocritically lie about being concerned about the health of women–to try to shut them down.
  • $500 to LGBT tuition grant.
  • $300 to Final Exit Network, the death with dignity organization that assists the terminally ill, for their ongoing legal expenses in defending themselves against malicious  “assisted suicide” prosecution by fanatical district attorneys.
  • $658 to Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD).  CHILD,  essentially all alone for decade, has been fighting faith healing laws, that allow religious fanatics to deny life-saving medical care to their children.  (They get almost no support from other child-welfare groups because that would require those groups to challenge [insane] religious beliefs–our biggest social taboo.)

If you’re an atheist or agnostic  and want your dollars to support victims of religious persecution in this country, please consider donating to AFHR’s Moral High Ground project. You can check them out via the AFHR web site.