The US Constitution vs The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
What follows is a comparison of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The United States Constitution (Bill of Rights) and Declaration of Independence . It may be advisable to use the above links to have copies of each in new browser windows for your consideration.
A critique should start with the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the preamble of the two US Documents. I have included the Declaration of Independence because it singularly summarizes the founding philosophy behind the US Constitution. As such, it is a virtual preamble to our Constitution.
The first striking difference I see is that the UN document uses the word “inalienable” whereas our Constitution uses “unalienable” as a descriptor for the rights of men. Is this a semantic difference or is there a subtle change in meaning being introduced here? I cannot say for certain, however, I found an examination of the issue online. It is clear that both “unalienable” and “inalienable” describe rights that may not be taken away. Some would argue that inalienable rights can be transferred by consent whereas; unalienable rights are a permanent part of a person and are not transferable by their very nature. The two words both seemed to have been used in drafts of the Declaration of independence. The final edited version specifically changed that word from inalienable to unalienable. I’ll leave this item for further research and discovery.
Further discovery: I found Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary online. It was written to specifically capture the meaning of the words of the English language at the time of adoption of the Constitution. Noah Webster understood that English, unlike Latin or other languages that have gone out of use, is a living changing language. To guard against abuses of the Constitution, Noah thought it wise to capture the meaning of the words for posterity, so we would always have a way to discern the original intent of the Constitution. We owe him much for that. Here is how he defined the two terms: unalienable and inalienable. For clarity here is his definition of alienable. Noah Webster does not draw any distinction between the two. He refers to unalienable as a definition of inalienable and so the terms appear to be interchangeable.
What follows is a list of the Articles in the UN Declaration which is in conflict with the US system accompanied by some thoughts and elaboration by your author of this blog. The UN Declaration citations are referenced as (Article#). The article number is accompanied with “.s#” if there are multiple sections to the article.
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.
(1)All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(2)Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
(3)Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
So this short list of rights seems pretty straight forward. What is there to be concerned about? You should be more concerned about what is not there. There is no mention of where rights come from. There is only a vague reference to inalienable rights in the preamble. No mention of God as a higher authority to man and no mention of man as a higher authority to government. There is no allusion to the idea that men create governments to serve their purpose and have right to abolish and reform them. The assumption is that government grants rights. If you doubt this assessment take a look at these entries…
(14.s1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(14.s2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(29.s1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(29.s2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(29.s3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(30)Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
There are more problems. Our Constitution says “Congress shall make no law” and then lists the areas of restriction. The UN declaration just assumes the power to regulate these areas. Afterall, if the UN can declare something is so, it can certainly undeclare it later. Compare these statements:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(18)Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
(19)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.
(20.s1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(20.s2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
(21.s1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(21.s2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(21.s3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Call me silly but I think there’s a big difference between “petition the Government for a redress of grievances” and “Everyone has the right to take part in the government”. What does the UN have to say about criminal proceedings?
(8)Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
(9)No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
(10)Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
(11.s1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(11.s2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Where is the mention of warrants necessary for search and seizure? What about double jeopardy? Is there a right to not be compelled to testify against one’s self? What about the right to a speedy and public trial? What happened to the jury trial in the state and district where the offense was allegedly committed? Where is the mention of a right to be informed of the offense being charged and to be confronted by witnesses? Do I have a right to furnish my own witnesses and to have counsel for a defense? What about excessive bail?
So you see, this UN document is a facade. It is full of high language and idealism but it also has self-contained language to legislate away all the proposed rights enumerated. It is steeped in a philosophy which aims to rule rather than serve. In short, it is a blueprint for subjugation.