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« The Gaza War Continues | WILLisms.com | Words Can Kill »

United Nations: You Have No Right To Self-Defense

Glenn Reynolds points to a UN report that attempts to minimize the most basic and premier human right of all: self-defense -

20. Self-defence is a widely recognized, yet legally proscribed, exception to the universal duty to respect the right to life of others. Self-defence is a basis for exemption from criminal responsibility that can be raised by any State agent or non-State actor. Self-defence is sometimes designated as a “right”. There is inadequate legal support for such an interpretation. Self-defence is more properly characterized as a means of protecting the right to life and, as such, a basis for avoiding responsibility for violating the rights of another.

If a guy breaks into your house with a gun, and you shoot him, you are 'violating his rights' according to the UN, not engaging in your right to self-defense. The UN's notion that there is "inadequate legal support" for the idea that self-defense is a human right is an agenda-driven wilful misreading of texts on the issue. The right to self-defense is the first among all human rights. Even Thomas Hobbes recognized that "summe of the Right of Nature" is "by all means we can, to defend our selves." Enlightenment literature and legal thought is replete with the concept of self-defense as the cornerstone of all natural rights. As an example, the Pennsylvania Declaration of 1776 stated that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state." In criticizing the UN report, the Claremont Institute points out that the very founders of international law itself, who would count for something at the UN one would think, Grotius and Emmerich de Vattel both recognized the concept.

The UN is most eager to deny that self-defense is a right, because this would obligate the UN to defend the concept of individual self-defense. Since unarmed self-defense in a world full of weapons is too often meaningless, this puts the UN in the position of having to defend the individual right to bear arms. Quelle horror! Is there anything more vulgar to a silk-suited euroweenie diplomat than individual gun ownership? This should not baffle you - the UN and its supporters are proponents of a single world government, under the ludicrous belief that a unitary government would hold a monopoly on all arms throughout the world, thus abolishing violence. Then, once violence is abolished the UN may disarm itself and the glorious new age of peace, love and rainbows can ensue.

The report goes out of its way to clear up any silly confusion about self-defense for States, including totalitarian regimes, as somehow also applying to lowly individual human beings:

"Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations applies to the States acting in self-defence against armed attacks against their State sovereignty. It does not apply to situations of self-defence for individual persons."

How ironic, that the preeminent human rights organization in the world, the UN, gives the full panoply of protections and immunities under international law to someone like Kim Jong-Il, whereas if you engage in self-defense you are 'violating the rights of another.' This goes to the heart of an entire belief system rampant in the world today that thinks that all violence is bad regardless of circumstances and context, and that the problems of violence are caused by weapons and not those that wield them. We saw this in the 80's with the unilateral disarmament movement. They believed that reducing nuclear arsenals somehow reduced the chance of war breaking out. If we have an arsenal of 10,000 warheads and we reduce that arsenal to 5,000 warheads - voila! - we have reduced the chance of war by 50%! As if each warhead was just itching to detonate itself, so the fewer the better. And so it is with guns. Every gun is just waiting to go off, and so reducing the number of guns will somehow reduce violence. And as we all know, the mere possession of a gun causes the urge to violence in otherwise perfectly sane and law-abiding owners. So, if everyone just put their guns down, and put their full faith in sovereign government instead to protect them, we can begin to initiate the Reign of Peace.

Anyone see any holes in this logic?

P.S. As for the unilaterial disarmament argument, proponents of the argument that fewer warheads make war less likely get it exactly backwards. Fewer warheads makes it easier for an enemy to destroy those warheads, thus actually inviting attack. Shrinking nuclear arsenals can actually be destabilizing. Is this, then, an argument for more weapons?

An armed society is a polite society.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 31 August 2006 09:38 PM


1 - one of the major arguments made by pro-slavery lawyers/judges was that IF blacks were given the same rights as whites that then they'd be allowed to have guns.

2 - to be unable to defend oneself is to be a victim-in-waiting - and victimhood is the preferred status for the left.

3a - unarmed jews where yellow stars of david which say JUDEN.

3b- armed jews wear a blue star of david with two blue bands.

4 - the un/lef denies we have the innate riught to self defesne becasue they hate indivduality. they want te state to have all the power. and for individuals to be defenseless.

FACT: the state derives it's specified and limited powers from the sovereign, and the sovereign is the people.

the only basis for a "collective" right to mutual defense and national security is that persons have this innate right to self defense and cede some of it to the state.

leftists - going back to hegel - believe that the state defines and creates indiviuality and indivdual rights. which is absurd.

Posted by: reliapundit at August 31, 2006 10:24 PM

The left, and the UN, sees the state as the basic unit of humanity, rather than people, which is why they deny things such as the right to self-defense.

Rights come prior to the state however, and grand UN pronouncements cannot erase them.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at August 31, 2006 11:59 PM

"If a guy breaks into your house with a gun, and you shoot him, you are 'violating his rights' according to the UN, not engaging in your right to self-defense."

Right now, in England, we're seeing how well that's working out. You might want to talk to Tony Martin for his take on this position.

Posted by: Bruce Lagasse at September 1, 2006 12:39 PM

> Then, once violence is abolished the UN may disarm itself and the glorious new age of peace, love and rainbows can ensue.

I don't think that even they believe in that goal these days, which suggests that they've acknowledged their inner-totalitarian. (They stopped saying the "disarm" thing a while back because people were laughing at them.)

Posted by: Andy Freeman at September 1, 2006 12:46 PM

"LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as set forth in the Declaration Of Independence as unalienable rights.

How can that not include the right of self defense? The D of I says that individuals have the right to life. It doesn't say that individuals have the right "to have a government that is the sole agency to protect their lives." It says they have a right to life, an unalienable right. If someone can take your life because you don't have the right to defend yourself, and the government is unable for whatever reason to defend you, then you do not have a right to life as guarenteed by the D of I.

Posted by: david mosier at September 1, 2006 12:48 PM

"An armed society is a polite society."

Hmmmmm ....

Maybe it would be worthwhile to reread Clavell's Shogun.

Posted by: ExRat at September 1, 2006 01:15 PM

ExRat - interesting you'd say that. In a shogunate, the samurai, who had sworn loyalty to the shogun, had essentially a monopoly on the use of force as a servant of the shogun. Only they were allowed to bear arms - the katana and accompanying wakizashi. If I recall correctly, carrying these weapons while not being a samurai would be punished by death. Peasants could be used for sword fodder - samurai would test the sharpness of their swords on them, for example. If the peasants had the arms and the training, do you think that would have gone on for very long?

This is what the UN wants: a government monopoly on the bearing of arms and the use of force. Where does that leave the individual?

As an unarmed peasant.

Posted by: Insomniac at September 1, 2006 01:55 PM

At this point, maybe we should draft a Declaration of Independence from the UN.

Posted by: monkeyfan at September 1, 2006 02:05 PM

Tribal militias in Sudan would have a much harder time commiting "genocide" if every villager had a Spingfield or Winchester rifle and 150-rounds of ready-ammunition. Rather than disarming militias, perhaps we shoud be arming the peasants AND teaching them defensive tactics? In Iraq, every household has the right to retain one AK-47 even as the heavier weapons of the militias are slowly being taken away.

And it's not the guns; the Hutu and Tutsi slaughtered eachother in the thousands with machete and farming implements.

Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) at September 1, 2006 02:28 PM

Nuke Turtle Bay!

Not a Krust kracker, something tactical to reduce collateral casualties but definitely nuclear. Mushroom clouds focus the attention so well, ask the Japanese.


Posted by: otpu at September 1, 2006 05:53 PM

This is an attempt to reverse the entire concept of individual rights, and return the Divine Rights of Kings, with the Emperor being the United Nations.

(I went on much longer here: http://unix-jedi.livejournal.com/22851.html .

Posted by: Unix-Jedi at September 1, 2006 05:54 PM

UN is an organization of governments.

A cohesive people (a people with a common culture, common language in a contiguous area, seperate from others) declaring a right to autonomy and self-governance would not be assisted, will not even be recognized.

It's the rare case of a government abusing people en masse, on such scale that a refugee emmigration disturbs a neighboring country where the UN would stand against the government's treatment of its people. And not for the sake of the people, but for the sake of the neighboring government.

What the UN won't stand for, for Chechens, Kurds or Basques; it sure as hell won't stand for, for Tom, Dick or Harry.

Posted by: Sonar at September 2, 2006 01:02 AM

Someone please explain how the UN position squares with the concept of "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter?'

Perhaps explosive vests and IEDs don't count as weapons?

Posted by: Ed Nutter at September 2, 2006 02:18 AM