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Author Topic: A global religion?  (Read 804 times)

Yei

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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2019, 03:05:42 am »
Human rights may not be the best example, in my opinion. Good and evil exist. That’s something approaching universality, along with the acknowledgment of objective truths. We can argue about different codes of morality, but for many human rights violations it doesn’t matter. They’re wrong by any measure.

If by “his own people” you mean Iraqi’s, then yes, Saddam’s regime was responsible for the Anfal genocide against the Kurds in northern Iraq. That’s not to say it justified the Iraq war in which Saddam was overthrown. But human rights are a thing. I wouldn’t call it a religion, but sure, there are some very basic ideals we should be able to share.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anfal_genocide

I'd just like to clarify that the “his own people” statement was made by Bush not me. Regardless, the point was about how the concept of human rights gets used as a political tool to justify intervention.

As for human rights being objective, I must disagree with this. Firstly, because rights have changed dramatically throughout the ages, and not always for the better. For example Spanish colonialism devastated religious freedom throughout the Americas and increased 'homophobia' (not that such a term existed), and weakened women's rights. Although the situation has generally improved over the years, I'd say that this is probably due to improved education, increasing literacy, access to media, and improvements in institutional stability.

Second, even today there are huge disagreements over basic rights. For example, in many Western nations healthcare is seen as a right, but not in the US, at least on the political level. Basically, many people have claimed that rights are objective, but no one has been able to demonstrate why their particular objective beliefs are more objective and true than the next person's true and objective beliefs.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 07:46:40 pm by SunflowerP »

Yei

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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2019, 03:53:33 am »
I am not actually proposing a world government or democracy. We already have an international political order based on economy, diplomacy, and force. Nation-states compete in a global real politick. What I would actuallly like to see is some sort of global treaty organization made up of legitimate democracies. Sort of how NATO militarily protects Europe, I would imagine a Global Democratic Organization to be made of of many member states globally that are democracies. There would be a military aspect, designed for mutual protection of global democracies. But, the main idea would be the use of soft power to encourage global democracy and discourage militant, undemocratic and authoriatarian regimes.

I shouldn't imply that you were advocating for a one world government, and that wasn't my intention at all. What I want to suggest is that trying to make something, be it an idea, a concept, or a system, global is much more difficult than it might at first appear.

Quote
By soft power, I mean economics, diplomacy, and political pressure. The idea might be also something like a global economic order where only legitimate democracies with good constitutions and human rights records would be admitted. Non-democratic nations would not be admitted and would have sanctions (economic, political) imposed for human rights violations and any other kinds of undemocratic activites (supporting terrorism, for example). Now, we already have somethign like this on an ad hoc basis. Often with America leading a coalition of allies to impose limits and sanctions on countries like North Korea for there anti-democratic and human rights violations as well as their development of nuclear weapons.

The idea is that a nation state would be excluded from economic participation if they are not a part of the Global Democratic Organization. The idea would be to encourage democracy and human rights in foreign countries that do not have them. The intent would be to incentivize democracy and disincentivize authoritarian rule. The Treaty Organization structure would solve the problem of nation state sovereignty. Every nation in the Treaty Org would remain a legitimate sovereign nation with their own independent governments. This solves part of the problem that these sort of "one world" type schemes always reject as an idea: a one world government and the loss of a coutnries national sovereignty. The Treaty Org would function as a global collection of Nation States with strong democracies with a policy of economics and diplomacy to encouyrage other nations to embrace democrcy and reject authoritarianism.

There is of course the United Nations, but that body has not been very effective as a functioning government, largely because the constituent nations do not want to give up any of their sovereign power to the U.N. This idea of a Global Treaty Organization of Democracies would function differently, because the constituent Nations would not be giving up their sovereign powers becasue the Treaty Org is just that: a treaty org of constiuent and sovereign nations versus something that looks like an ineffective attempt at world governemt, which is basically what the U.N. is.

Again, it gets a lot more complicated when dealing with the detail. Take sanctions for example. First, sanctions themselves can constitute a serious human rights violation, causing an enormous amount of suffering to innocent people. Such an action could easily backfire, encouraging people to support their oppressive government against foreign aggression and justifying the regime's use of harsh tactics. Furthermore, I can't think of many nations brought down by sanctions, and so question their effectiveness. I mean, Cuba has been under embargo for fifty+ years and its still there.

Then we have to establish what constitutes a human rights violation or an undemocratic activity, and how to ensure that false accusations are not used to bully weaker nations. This was why I mentioned Bush and the Iraq war earlier. I'm sure that this would run contrary to your intention for such an organisation, but I can see it becoming a serious problem.

Conversely, how would such a system cope with one of its own members violating the rules? Democracies are not necessarily 'good guys.' From French intervention in Algeria to what is basically US foreign policy, they can be just as bad as dictatorships, only they don't seem to get punished for it.

We also have to acknowledge that many democracies have highly undemocratic structures and some dictatorships use democratic methods as part of their government (such as voting), even if such strategies are merely for show. How would this system deal with 'false democracies?'

Quote
As far as what kinds of democracies should exist- Republics, Parliaments, how many Parties, what types, etc, it would not really matter. As long as a country has a legimate functioning democracy, a free system, some sort of Bill of Rights or Universal Human Rights Declaration, they could be admitted to the Treaty Org. The idea is to put political, economic, and diplomatic pressure on nation states that have authoritarian governments and to create incentives for those nations that make the transition to a functioning democracy of whatever particular sort.

So what exactly constitutes a legitimate functioning democracy? Or a free system (do you mean a free economic system?)? Because exactly what this means will differ depending on who you ask. Many people, including many Americas, might say that US politics is broken, but what that means would differ between people. Some would point to Russian interference, others to corporate lobbying, still others to the party system, and so on. So would the US count as a illegitimate democracy? Would Russia for that matter? There are lots of arguments that can be made against Putin, but he does seem to be genuinely popular.

Quote
Anyway, the type of global system that we would hope would evolve from this is a world made up of free nations and democracies that preserve their own national character and cultures, yet participate in a world where peace and prosperity are the goals, and militarism and war are made obsolete. I recognize that some would consider this sort of idea as unlikely and pie-in-the-sky, but fortune really does favor the bold. We have seen other democracies, governments, and systems developed throughout history. Why should we not hope for some sort of global order where people live in democracies that protect their rights and freedoms, inlcuding religious freedoms? I am not proposing that developing such a system would be easy, but very few things of value in this world are simple and easy. So, idealistic, maybe, but impractical, I don't think so. Just a large challenge. 

I don't want to just be a contrarian and smack down all your ideas. For the record, I don't think that many human rights ideals are bad. However, I derive my beliefs about them from different sources. I certainly don't think they are objective. I think that they are negotiated. We discuss them amongst ourselves, making the arguments we deem relevant and effective.

There is also a temporal element. Everything that exists has a place in time, and therefore we must apply our beliefs with regard to the context. This is normal for people in everyday life, even when talking politics. My concern is goes to what I was discussing in my first post in this thread, that the claim to universal human rights is not really about respecting human rights at all, but a justification to violate those rights. I think it would be better to take the time to examine the situation first and understand what is happening in any individual situation before attempting to slam down a rights concept. 
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 07:50:48 pm by SunflowerP »

Donal2018

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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2019, 03:12:06 pm »
I shouldn't imply that you were advocating for a one world government, and that wasn't my intention at all. What I want to suggest is that trying to make something, be it an idea, a concept, or a system, global is much more difficult than it might at first appear.

Again, it gets a lot more complicated when dealing with the detail. Take sanctions for example. First, sanctions themselves can constitute a serious human rights violation, causing an enormous amount of suffering to innocent people. Such an action could easily backfire, encouraging people to support their oppressive government against foreign aggression and justifying the regime's use of harsh tactics. Furthermore, I can't think of many nations brought down by sanctions, and so question their effectiveness. I mean, Cuba has been under embargo for fifty+ years and its still there. Then we have to establish what constitutes a human rights violation or an undemocratic activity, and how to ensure that false accusations are not used to bully weaker nations. This was why I mentioned Bush and the Iraq war earlier. I'm sure that this would run contrary to your intention for such an organisation, but I can see it becoming a serious problem. Conversely, how would such a system cope with one of its own members violating the rules? Democracies are not necessarily 'good guys.' From French intervention in Algeria to what is basically US foreign policy, they can be just as bad as dictatorships, only they don't seem to get punished for it. We also have to acknowledge that many democracies have highly undemocratic structures and some dictatorships use democratic methods as part of their government (such as voting), even if such strategies are merely for show. How would this system deal with 'false democracies?'

So what exactly constitutes a legitimate functioning democracy? Or a free system (do you mean a free economic system?)? Because exactly what this means will differ depending on who you ask. Many people, including many Americas, might say that US politics is broken, but what that means would differ between people. Some would point to Russian interference, others to corporate lobbying, still others to the party system, and so on. So would the US count as a illegitimate democracy? Would Russia for that matter? There are lots of arguments that can be made against Putin, but he does seem to be genuinely popular.

I don't want to just be a contrarian and smack down all your ideas. For the record, I don't think that many human rights ideals are bad. However, I derive my beliefs about them from different sources. I certainly don't think they are objective. I think that they are negotiated. We discuss them amongst ourselves, making the arguments we deem relevant and effective. There is also a temporal element. Everything that exists has a place in time, and therefore we must apply our beliefs with regard to the context. This is normal for people in everyday life, even when talking politics. My concern is goes to what I was discussing in my first post in this thread, that the claim to universal human rights is not really about respecting human rights at all, but a justification to violate those rights. I think it would be better to take the time to examine the situation first and understand what is happening in any individual situation before attempting to slam down a rights concept.


I wrote something more extensive to your response but my computer ate it. I would point out that I agree with much of what you say. The devil is often in the details. I was just trying to provide a general framework about one possible idea that might help to promote peace, democracy, and human rights globally. I certainly do not think that this is an easy or clear cut topic. I am open to discussion and legitimate criticism.

I think you are right that nations that are democratic at home/domestically can still do horrible, anti-human stuff overseas and internationally. I think the point I was trying to get to is that we need to be democratic not just domestically, but globally. We need to get to the point where any kind of military intervention or violence, even in the name of "spreading human rights" or "protecting democracy" is unlawful. We are far away from such a world. My idea for a Global Treaty Organization of Democracies is sort of intended to be a bridge between the world that we live in and hopefully a more just, peaceful, and prosperous world.

I also agree that sanctions can backfire. As far as how political and economic pressure can change the world, I would point out the fall of the Soviet Union. After that happened, we should have gone in and tried to promote a democratic Russia, but unfortunately we just left them to their own devices. Now we have an authoritarian Russia ruled by economic oligarchs and an ex-KGB agent. The same way that we rebuilt Europe economically after World War Two, we should have helped Russia transition to some form of lawful democracy. What they have now is a sham democracy run by an authoritarian strong man. The same way that Germany and Japan became peaceful allies and economic powerhouses after WW II, we could have worked to help Russia become freer and more prosperous. If we had done that, we might not have Russia as a rival or even enemy as we have now.

Of course, democracy could be eroded even in America. There has been some speculation that Trump would protest election results if he lost in 2020. He has authoritarian impulses. You also mention that Putin is popular. Populism and Nationalism are not Democratic. In Democracies we protect political, ethnic and cultural minorities from what is called Tyranny of the Majority. Just because a large number of people support a particular politician or system does not immediately make that democratic. Populism and Nationalism without protecting the rights of political, ethnic, or cultural minorities is not free and democratic. More can be said about this from a Political Theory of Democracies perspective, but I will leave off from that at this moment.

Just as NATO is a military alliance to promote security in Western Europe, so a Global Treaty Organization would be a political alliance to protect and promote Democracy and Peace worldwide. This would also prevent military interventions from other countries even if they are democracies. Of course, having a democracy is not guarantee of peace. There are democracies and republics that still have conflicts that are sometimes ethnic, religious or cultural. Look at India and Pakistan, for example. They are both Democratic Republics, but have a hostile détente between them. So, I do not expect that a Global Treaty Organization would immediately solve these sort of problems. I would suggest that it would be a start towards peace, with the ultimate goal of abolishing or at least limiting war.

I don't think any of this is a simple matter, and I view many of your observations as true and worth consideration.

Donal2018

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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2019, 03:31:45 pm »
English language became a universal language, so that all people can communicate. It makes sense to have an international language for that matter. can the same happen with religion? There are religious wars and intolerance. If we agree that we all have a minimum of religious acceptance would it help us? For example, if we agree that the golden wiccan rule or dharma became our religion too and all people followed that, would it help us?

I wanted to bring this back around to the original post so that I do not get too far from the original topic. I don't think that a universal language or global religion would work, ie be effective. There are some people who subscribe to such religions (I myself am a Universalist), but it is unlikely and undesirable that there would be some sort of effective global religion that creates world peace.

What I have been suggesting in my previous posts is that since a global religion is neither feasible or desirable (we wish to keep our particular cultures, languages, and relgions), there might be alternative ways to promote global peace. I suggest a (secular) global political framework based upon democracy and an international treaty organization of democratic nations.

I would also suggest here that we also might wish to promote a Global Peace and Anti-War movement. The Peace Movement already exists, but I think that we need to give it more support and new life.

Also, promoting economic and social justice for people and different classes of people worldwide could contribute to the possibility of peace. Giving women micro-loans to start small businesses/social enterprises in different parts of the world has been proven to help the economy. It also has promoted improved political power and status for women in areas where these are limited. So, these things are a starting point for promoting global peace, democracy, and freedom, including religious freedom.

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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2019, 08:00:46 pm »



A Reminder:
Hi, Yei,

We don't mind long posts here, but to avoid having a hard-to-read wall-o'-text, hitting "enter" twice every few lines adds some white space and makes it easier to follow - I've edited your posts (quoted above) to add those breaks, but it's a really good habit to get into yourself. (Isn't this something I've nudged you about several times before?)

They don't have to be the "proper" place for paragraph breaks (we're interested in readability more than technicalities), or a complete change of thought - some thoughts take a lot of lines and need to be broken up into sub-thoughts - as long as they're there.

Donal, you could do with more line breaks too. Your unbroken blocks aren't as huge as the ones Yei had, so I didn't edit them, but some of them are big enough that I'm including you in this reminder.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder. No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification,  please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!
Sunflower
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Re: A global religion?
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2019, 08:01:27 pm »

Also, while I'm staffhatting, I'm going to move this thread to Political Discussions, as I maybe should have done when it first appeared.

Sunflower
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