Friday, December 29, 2006

Human Rights Organizations are Always Wrong

Following up the post below, one little rhetorical trick used by our Oh So Wise opinion leaders is the invocation of a position of some human rights organization or another as a means of elevating the Wisdom and/or Morality of the pundit by contrasting themselves with the Always Wrong human rights organization.

It's a neat trick because it can be used for almost any reason, especially if the pundit is willing to just make stuff up. You can blast the organization for not paying enough attention to your pet issue, making you a very good person and them very bad. You can blast them for caring too much about a particular issue, either because your issue is more important or because it makes them very unserious. It's extra fun when you pretend that they are organizations with infinite resources and power instead of, you know, not. And always the pundit is Wiser and More Good than the human rights organizations who are very silly and don't really care about human rights, at least not the stuff that matters.

Whatever the motives of the individual pundits, the net effect is, of course, the complete undermining of these organizations. I'm not suggesting all such institutions are perfect or above criticism for their emphasis or actions, but that's not the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm talking about the criticizing-organization-as-means-of-self-aggrandizement which is a very common thing.