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Should human rights be dismissed when it comes to national security? watch

    • Thread Starter

    Ongoing debate, but I still lie on the side of the fence where human rights should remain superior.

    In what sense? In terms of war ? Spying ?

    The main sticking point is who gets to decide what is national security and who is and isn't a threat.

    Should the state be allowed to kill an impending threat (someone walking into a shopping centre with an AK and intent on shooting up the place)? Yeah.

    Should it be allowed to torture people and otherwise breach their rights because they looked at pro-terrorist material, and even proclaim to support the goals/ideology of the terrorists?

    Probably not.

    Even your standard issue crook is protected by human rights and the law. "National security" shouldn't be a free pass for the state to abuse people.

    It all depends on the context, which is why I'd argue that no right can be held to be absolute.

    If it was discovered that a national newspaper had found out the identities of informants within ISIS and was planning to blab, the security services would be perfectly justified in shutting them up, thus breaching freedom of the press. If a lone gunman went on a shooting spree and was killed by the police in self-defence, he would be deprived of the rights to life and to a fair trial (even if there's no doubt that he would be found guilty had he lived to face trial).

    If it was known for a certainty that a prisoner was involved in planning a major upcoming terrorist plot, would it be right to torture him for the as yet unknown details? Perhaps, perhaps not... but it certainly shouldn't be ruled out straight away without question.

    If you strip away all the rhetoric and opinion, I guess within a society national security represents the protection against exterior threats whilst human rights is supposed to guard against the inside threats of that said society, whether it be from the institutions that prop up the said society or other powerful elements within it.

    The problem arises when national security is used to diminish the strength of human rights by those with power, and when human rights (even when stripped of all that it is supposed to be) is just an empty word bandied about by those powerful interests in order to falsely legitimize their grip on power.

    For example, a power structure will publicize and draw attention to an external threat such as terrorism and use this to convince the people to remain passive as they strip away rights that were painfully fought for over a long period. If people are scared into thinking that chaos and death are constantly just around the corner they will be more likely to abdicate rights when the loss of these rights are framed by the power structure as a necessity in the current times. Yet even though these rights are now very much diluted or even ceasing to exist, the power structure will still continue to pretend that the said society practices human rights whilst rival societies do not,creating this dichotomy whereby, despite living in an increasingly repressive society, the masses are persuaded against any sort of protest against this turn of events as they believe that it is necessary and that they still have it better then somewhere else.

    Now the power structure has been able to use national security to create a more docile population of which it is easier for the powerful to control for their own interests whilst using the now empty concept of human rights as a flag to wave back any dissent against their new measures.


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