In What Manner Liberalism in Both Germany and France Conflicts with Group and Collective Rights for the Minority Populations Residing in Those Countries
Scholars involved in both the study and application of human rights, expend many painstaking hours debating whether some human rights should take pre-eminence over others. This long-lived debate over the primacy of human rights has continually failed to resolve itself. The scholar of human rights will find that different groups and persons around the globe will have divergent conceptions about which human rights are the most important to them. The distinct conception of human rights that any particular group, culture, or person claims is the most appropriate for them, is not always the most appropriate conception of human rights for other groups, cultures, and persons in the world. Analyzing certain variables will assist the human rights scholar in developing a particular conception of human rights that will be the most appropriate for one of the many groups, cultures, and people living in the world. Such variables might include, but are not limited to e.g., geographical location, age, culture, gender, social standing in society, and religion among others. The many people living in Sub-Saharan Africa who are going to die this week from either starvation or disease would most likely not find it comforting to know that the President of their country just adopted a liberal democratic constitution giving them the civil and political right to vote. Their new liberal, individual, civil and political right to vote will neither feed them nor will it help them to survive; since they will not live long enough to enjoy their new liberal, individual, civil and political right to vote, it is worthless to them. What they really need right now are the basic human needs that both Shue and Nordahl speak of. It is only after their government gives them the human right to: Food, shelter, physical security, and medical care, that they can return to good health and be able to enjoy their liberal, individual right to vote. Inversely, if you are a multi-millionaire living in upper class America, the importance of securing the basic right to food and physical security probably will not be at the top of your priority list. Multi-multimillionaires already possess the necessary capital that they need in order to obtain these privations.
Considering that you are able to read and understand this paper, it would probably be safe to assume that you are at neither one of the two extremes that I just mentioned but somewhere in between. You might feel that civil-political rights such as the right to vote and freedom of speech are just as important to you as social-economic rights such as the right to work and the right to obtain medical services in the event of illness. The scholar of human rights is easily able to discern wherefore the world possesses such a wide variety of human right conceptions and probably always will; this is on account of all human rights being relative to one another owing to the world’s great cultural diversity. Therefore, one group or person will have a conception of human rights that will always be relative to their particular cultural values, needs, and environment. There is no universal conception of human rights that is currently capable of successfully fulfilling the human right necessities of every group or every person in our world of immense ethnic diversity. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that neither every person nor every group either desires or believes in the identical doctrine of human rights that you might. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the current political and civil unrest existing in both Germany and France due to a serious and ongoing dispute over the primacy of human rights. Four different groups are involved in a violent debate over their divergent conceptions of human rights. This has constituted an extremely sad state of affairs in both Germany and France. In the process of this dispute, each of one of the four groups is guilty of committing gross human right violations against the other group which they perceive to be a threat to their own group. Each group has violated the particular conception of human rights that they claim is the most important to them. Both sad and ironic is that in the current disputatious atmosphere in both Germany and France no disputing group is yet capable of acknowledging that they share certain universal standards of human rights with the other groups such as: Certain basic rights-needs, in addition to certain social-economic and civil-political rights. Human rights are classified into different groups; civil-political, economic-social, and basic rights-needs. Liberal human right advocates generally consider civil-political human rights to have primacy over both certain economic-social human rights and basic human rights-needs. Some of the human rights that are considered extremely important to most liberal human right advocates include the following civil-political individual rights:
"freedom of speech, universal suffrage, and the right that people are secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search and seizures"(United States Bill of Rights:1791). Scholars of human rights should possess the vital ability to recognize that people dying of starvation in a scorching desert or Kurdish refugees fighting for the right of physical security while bullets are flying at them are not likely to find it very comforting to know that the United Nations is working extremely hard to bestow to them the liberal, civil-political right to vote while neglecting their immediate basic human rights-needs which will grant to them the human right to life and survival. The people dying of starvation in the desert and the Kurdish refugees are most likely to agree that the United Nations is entirely backwards in establishing their human right priorities in many cases. This scenario should enable the scholar of human rights to understand that all human rights are culturally relative to one another. Both Germany and France claim not only to espouse a liberal conception of human rights in principle as outlined within their state constitution, but also claim to be actively practicing the principles of a liberal conception of human rights as outlined within their state constitution. If both countries are practicing the liberal conception of human rights that they claim to be, the scholar of human rights finds it perplexing wherefore neither country is able to expediently resolve the current civil-political unrest that continually plagues both countries. It is equally perplexing as to why neither Germany nor France is capable of constituting a reasonable doctrine of human rights capable of addressing and accommodating the human right essentials of the minority groups who currently reside in both countries. By analyzing in what manner liberalism conflicts with group and collective human rights in both Germany and France, I hope that my conclusions will offer some plausible solutions to help solve the human rights dilemma in those two countries. I also hope that my conclusions are instrumental to all scholars of human rights in their continual dedication and struggle to solve the fundamental human right questions currently plaguing our post-modern world. It is my own belief that while both universalism and cultural relativism are two ways of conceptualizing human rights, they are not the only ways. Prior to plunging directly into the current state of affairs in both Germany and France, a brief discussion explaining the history of the liberal conception of human rights is noteworthy.
This will enable my readers to better understand wherefore the minority groups in both Germany and France now claim that the liberal conception of human rights is inadequate to address their specific human right needs. The goal of contemporary liberalism is to emphasize and promote individualism. Liberalism addresses the human right requirements of the sovereign individual while neglecting to address the human right requirements of the innumerous ethnic, cultural, tribal communities and minority collectives existing in the world today; hence the reason for the political and civil unrest currently existing in both Germany and in France. The principles constituting the liberal conception of human rights were born during the Enlightenment Era deriving from the philosophies of: Hobbes, Locke, Darwin, Mills, Kant, Bentham, Voltaire, and Spencer among others. The Enlightenment Era challenged, deconstructed, and then reconstructed century old traditional beliefs regarding the purpose of: Life, God, church, state, community, personal and political thought, as well as the conception of human rights possibly beyond repair. Prior the Enlightenment Era the conception of human rights was easily able to recognize and to accommodate the needs of cultural communities. Post the Enlightenment Era, the liberal conception of human rights focused its attention on the specific needs of the sovereign individual while continually neglecting the human right necessities of cultural communities and group collectives. The goal of liberalism is to shift the primacy of human rights from the group and community to the sovereign individual. The liberal conception of human rights and its emphasis on the individual was never devoid from purpose. As the epoch of feudalism and monarchy closed, the new epoch of the industrial revolution was opened. The industrial revolution propelled liberalism into the faddish political doctrine it is today thus displacing the importance of traditional cultural communities by labeling them as obsolete. Traditional communities and village artisans gradually disintegrated owing to the many new-born innovations such as: The city, market economy, wage labor, factories, the indispensability of the nation state, nationalism, and individualism. Enlightenment philosophers such as Hobbes diffused contagious philosophies about the essence of humankind throughout Europe and America. Hobbes asserted that individuals were incapable of working together in a community setting in order to fulfill their basic human needs. Hobbesian thought is central to the liberal conception of human rights.
Liberalism likens the sovereign individual to a despotic monarch possessing absolute rule over his home commonly referred to as his castle, his subjects, commonly referred to as his family and/or slaves, and his destiny. Hobbes explained wherefore liberalism places this strong emphasis on individual rights in lieu of group and collective rights throughout his discourse on the bourgeois man. Hobbes posits that human beings are not social animals needing a community, group, or social solidarity in order to survive. Hobbes explains: "We do not…by nature seek society for its own sake, but that we may receive some honor or profit from it; Men come together for their own good, which relates to their senses and their mind [for pleasure, lust, and unlimited greed – common bourgeois thought] The most frequent reason why men desire to hurt each other, ariseth hence, that many men at the same time have an appetite to the same thing; which they can not very often neither enjoy in common, nor yet divide it; whence it follows that the strongest mind must have it, and who is strongest is decided by the sword."(Hobbes Bourgeois Man:233-244) Hobbes conclusion is that human beings are entirely incapable of controlling their passions, lusts, and unlimited desires thus making the idea inconceivable that men and women are capable of working together in a community setting in order to fulfill their basic human needs. The growing social class of bourgeois experiencing a tremendous rise in both their wealth and standard of living during the industrial revolution were strong political pro