Annnnnd … another phrase becomes meaningless. “Human rights” has joined “racism” and “gender” to mean anything a progressive says it means.

A while back, Bernie Sanders announced that he plans to extend his plan for free healthcare and collage-for-all to illegal immigrants, citing “human rights”:

I believe that health care is a human right. When I talk about health care being a human right, last time I heard that undocumented people are human beings as well … We need the best-educated population in the world and that means we’re going to make our public colleges and universities tuition-free, and open that to the undocumented as well.

When he wasn’t struck by political lightning, others have followed suit.

HUMAN RIGHTS CREEP

“Human rights” used to refer to serious matters–like the absolute prohibition on torture; due process before the law; absolute prohibition of slavery; freedom of religious belief; self-defense against individual assault or state tyranny; and the ability to vote.

These matters were judged so critical to the exercise of one’s humanity that they could not be abrogated, even if one supposedly consented to their removal.

Now, “human rights” is stretched out of shape beyond all recognition. Abortion? Human right. College? Human right. Crossing into a sovereign nation without permission? Human right. Closed captioning on porn videos? Human right.

I think I’m going to sue Starbucks. They gave me a chai rather than the cafe latte I ordered this morning. I’m pretty sure my human rights have been violated. I’m gonna call Bernie and get him on this.

WHEN EVERYTHING’S A HUMAN RIGHT, NOTHING IS

Congressional Democrats don’t seem to grasp the risk in watering down the principles of human rights in this way. They seem to believe that the traditional human rights are secure in today’s world, that they can inflate the notion of human rights without consequences–in essence guarantee everything to their base as a “human right.”

North Korea, China, Venezuela, Iran, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia, Zimbabwe, and a dozen other countries suggest they are horribly mistaken.

Human rights as Enlightenment christendom understands them still hang by a thread, and they have since they were first conceived. By stretching the term to its presently unrecognizable form for rhetorical points, Bernie and others run the chilling risk of destroying the notion entirely.

Once they are rendered meaningless, human rights might well be gone forever. Remember: it took thousands of years to achieve the first time.

A RIDDLE: HOW MANY AMERICANS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW UP HUMAN RIGHTS?

The root of this evolving catastrophe may well trace back to the exploding ignorance of Americans. In any well-informed democratic republic, Bernie would be laughed off the podium into forced retirement for speaking of healthcare or college for illegal immigrants as a “human right.” He would be physically thrown down the Capitol steps for muddying these precious fundamentals that keep the US from turning into a China or Venezuela.

But Americans today showcase their staggering naïveté and parochialism when they allow this disheveled communist Santa Claus to undermine the assumptions without which they will be nothing more than semi-prosperous drones in an authoritarian police state.

In the world outside the US, Chinese Muslims are being taken to actual concentration camps for coercive reeducation. A teenager was reportedly beheaded and crucified–yes, you read that right, *crucified*–for criticizing the Saudi government early last year.

The citizenry of Venezuela cannot manage to overthrow a thug state holding them in desperate poverty, because they gave up their firearms and the ability to hold a meaningful election. North Korea practices unvarnished slavery and political disappearances. Foreigners foolish enough to travel to Iran are routinely arrested on risible pretexts and held for years without due process as bargaining chips against their home governments.

Americans–particularly the young–demonstrate no inkling of the fragile dike of ideals that protects them from such historically common abuses from their own government. They either don’t understand or deny the reality of the greater world they live in. They seem to think America and the world at large is headed ineluctably toward utopia, and Bernie is just selling his particular roadmap to get there.

They don’t understand that government is–by the numbers–the most deadly thing on the planet to human survival, dwarfing natural disasters and disease over the last two centuries.

IN CHINA, AN AMERICAN LEARNS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS

My cousin traveled to an academic conference in Beijing recently. He was warned by the wiser heads in his department not to take any sensitive research with him, and to change all his passwords right away when he got back.

“Don’t put your laptop in the hotel safe,” they told him. “The intelligence services will have it out of the safe five minutes after you leave and copy everything on it, then put it back.”

My cousin told me: “It was spooky in Beijing. Everything looks peaceful and clean, but there was a soldier with a machine gun on every other street corner. I won’t be going back there any time soon.”

Utopia is always authoritarian, even in theoretical descriptions, starting with Saint Thomas More’s coining of the term. Like the neat-tidiness of Beijing, utopia comes from central management at gunpoint that abrogates individual thought, movement, and ownership.

The hidden cost of Bernie’s *free* will be Americans’ *freedom*. Bernie spouts about “revolution” as though he’s offering new hotness; but he’s actually peddling reversion to the historical mean of oppressive central control and loss of choice, the lowest common denominator of human society.

If Bernie isn’t the dictator we’ve been waiting for, he’s teeing up the ball for him–or for her.

GLOBALISM MAKES HUMAN RIGHTS PASSE?

Hollywood and Silicon Valley heap fuel on America’s bonfire of obliviousness. From Netflix series to network TV dramas, Americans are told the battle between good and evil breaks down neatly to a struggle between noble internationalists –who just want to take care of everybody under a benign one-world bureaucracy–versus hate-filled Neanderthal nationalists.

If you get your sense of the world from TV–and it’s appalling how many Americans do–you’d think the people in China or Iran want one big, happy San-Francisco world teeming with Enlightenment ideals, where everything from beachfront condos to gay marriage is a “human right.”

Only Donald Trump and various other nasty populists believe that people of other cultures hold a fundamentally different worldview, one that never experienced the Enlightenment and thinks fundamental human rights are a delusional fantasy to which only Westerners cling like a waterlogged raft.

But turn off the tube for a minute and consider: what use is free healthcare or free college if one gives up one’s basic freedom to live as one believes is right? What use are goodies without one’s *humanity*? What help are a shower of freebies when the government redistributes what you earn; decrees how you can worship; abolishes protective borders; censors your opinions at their discretion; and determines how your children are educated?

What will healthcare and education look like after the government gets its incompetent, wasteful, and corrupt fingers completely around it all?

*Free* won’t be worth having.

FREEDOM, SECURITY, CONVENIENCE – PICK ONE

If Americans can’t grasp this simple truth soon, they will find themselves in a surveillance state where they cannot speak their minds or expect due process for their persons and property before the law; a state where they lose the ability to resist their own governing elite by the vote, the pen, or the rifle.

Very soon, President Bernie will tell Americans they can’t have a free press because it violates the “human right” to “unbiased” news–the unbiasedness of which the government must oversee, of course. Just watch.

Will Americans allow their freedom to be bought for temporary convenience and security? It looks that way. But the convenience and security won’t last. That I can promise you.