Article 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.

And finally we get to an important disclaimer. All across the political spectrum you can find people who will point to the opposite point on the spectrum and accuse its adherents of manipulating regard for these rights to increase their own power, to set themselves or their group above others. All across the political spectrum you will find instances where these accusations are unfortunately all too accurate.

These rights need to transcend political, religious and yes even personal ideology. Am I emotionally invested in them? Certainly, but that has absolutely nothing to do with their ultimate importance and why they need to be, as is right in the Declaration’s name “universal.” Yes, we feel better about agreeing with the Declaration, but its importance lies in the fact that adhering to it makes the world a safer, saner place for everyone, including ourselves.

To deny these rights is to invite continued chaos. It denies people a place at the table of community and when they are so denied, after a while, they decide to take a place at the table. That is undeniably, empirically true. To quote RATM “hungry people don’t stay hungry for long.” We’ve been sharing this planet for possibly 2 million years. We’ve been able to save and share our articulation on that experience for at least 12 thousand. We are long past the need to continue the cycle of power exchange and resource hoarding that has plagued us as long as we’ve been “us.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important step in breaking that cycle. Let’s help each other out by spreading the word as far and wide as we can.

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