Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Slavery: It's a Bad Thing

Slavery: it’s a bad thing.

That’s the upshot of
Mark Hyman’s recent commentary on human trafficking, following a report by the Capital Research Center. (As an aside, the CRC is another of Hyman’s “non-partisan in name only” sources. Funded in large measure by conservative groups such as the Scaife Foundation, they are particularly critical of environmentalism, organized labor, government social programs, and anything else they feel gets in the way of the free market. While they are right on this particular issue, they are far right on most everything else).

No one disagrees with this. The fact that slavery still exists is appalling, and needs to be addressed. In particular, given that the modern slave trade is an international phenomenon, with human “capital” being gathered in poor countries and “sold” in wealthy countries, governmental action and international cooperation is essential.

Unfortunately, the United States is in less of a position to spearhead such an effort than it traditionally has been. While the U. S. has at times, unfortunately, pursued policies that were at odds with our national credo that “all men are created equal” and have inalienable rights, we’ve enjoyed a certain ethos in the world community when it comes to issues of human rights. At least until recently.

The juxtaposition of the CRC report and Hyman’s editorial with the release of (and subsequent reaction to) the State Department report on human rights emphasizes how tarnished the U.S. reputation is these days when it comes to championing basic decency. It’s bad enough that many of the countries chided in the report can
respond with substantive “comebacks” to U.S. accusations, but groups not affiliated with any government, such as Amnesty International, also point out the glaring hypocrisy of a country that pooh-poohs the Geneva Convention, detains prisoners indefinitely without access to attorneys, and allows torture of detainees, lecturing others about human rights.

For those that wonder what the big deal about Abu-Ghraib and related issues is, you’ve got your answer. Beyond the immorality of the specific actions, such abuses undermine the authority of the U.S. to lead international efforts to take on issues such as human trafficking. If the U.S. can’t lead by example, it won’t be able to lead in any other way either.

And that’s The Countepoint.


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Counterpoint Ted.
Hyman's idea that the United States, under the tyrannical control of the Neo-Fascist 'BushCo', could lead any international effort aimed at elevating 'Human Rights', is so absolutely absurd on it's face! After all the lies leading up to the unjust, illegal and immoral war in Iraq, 'Freedom Fries', 'Old Europe', 'Coalition of the Willingly Bribed', Geneva Quaintvention , torture, extraordinary rendition, more people in prisons in the U.S. than any other country, Afghanistan a Narco-State, Bolton to the United Nations, Wolfowitz to the World Bank and so many other instances as to be too numerous to list, any good will that we ever had with the international community has been squandered and made less than useless! These idiots running America into the ground, have 'Flipped Off' the international community of nations so many times that Bush and Company can't possibly avoid contracting a terminal case of 'Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome of the Middle Finger', while Hyman and his ilk keep stoking the fire!
Thanks Ted, and keep on bustin' Hyman!
Mike B. in SC


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