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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 148)...

    What is your take on human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, which impose their conceptions of "human rights" on other cultures?

    ...and the response:

    This is a question that can and must be examined from many different perpectives. Amnesty International (AI) works exclusively within Taker culture (as far as I know). For example, I don't believe they're putting pressure on the Xavante of Brazil to abandon their traditional cultural practices; if they ever do, then I'll be at the forefront of opposition to them. But for the moment, they act as moral police within Taker culture (which of course has many subcultures). Like most of the inventions Takers have come up with to try to manage a fundamentally dysfunctional lifestyle, policing is not a system that invariably works well (as we all know). Sometimes it works well, sometimes it works badly. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't. The policing of AI (and similar organizations) makes the best sense when they are trying to make the rulers of a given country live up to the rules they've agreed to live up to. They make less sense when they're trying to make the rulers of a country live up to rules they have not agreed to live up to. There are clearly two distinct possibilities in this last case. (1) The people of the country WANT to be governed by the rules AI is trying to impose (but the rulers refuse), in which case the policing of AI makes some sense; or (2) the people of the country DON'T want to be governed by the rules AI is trying to impose, in which case the policing of AI makes no sense at all. So my perpective on this is that policing is a makeshift system that works better sometimes than others---and AI and similar organizations are no exception.


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