u.s. efforts to promote human rights are culturally biased and self serving
U.S. Efforts to Promote Human Rights Are Culturally Biased And Self Serving
October, 1995Throughout the history of the United States, we have exerted our economic and military power in our own country and around the world, in order to promote our own ideals and cultures. This expansionistic style began with the Indians (�Native Americans�), continued with the Christian missionaries, and is currently taking place with our policies towards other countries.
Most, if not all, sensible people are in favor of justice, morality and human rights. But different countries have different views of these objectives. The United States has a certain definition of these values, and we have historically tried to impose our values on other countries. We use our economic and military strength to back this up.
An example of this is when Michael Faye broke a law in Singapore and was about to be punished by that country in accordance with their laws, and we pushed for him to be pardoned because he was an American. Another example is our embargo of Cuba because we disagree with their style of government.
Not all countries share the same philosophies as America. We have no right to impose our views and definitions of human rights on other countries, just as we would not want other countries to do the same to us. What we call violations of human rights are norms for other countries, and when we impose restrictions on those countries because of the differences in views, we end up hurting ourselves.
We would not like Japan stopping trade with us unless we conformed to their values, so why do we think we can bully other countries into following our definitions? We may not always be the superpower we presently are, and increasingly we are depending on other countries for trade. If some of those countries begin boycotting America because of our own human rights definitions, such as the death penalty, legalization of abortion, and even our own democracy, we will be in for quite a shock. Yet this is exactly what we do to other countries.
We boycott many Chinese products and services, and impose high tariffs on trade with that country because of their use of slave labor. What if Japan boycotted America because we allow ownership of guns? I doubt we would be willing to give in and change our Second Amendment because of Japan�s demands. We would suffer economic consequences because we value our sovereignty and our Constitution. Yet this is the exact position we place other countries in, just because of our strength.
For these reasons, I support not imposing our justice system, morals, and views of human rights on other countries, because I do not want other countries doing the same to us.