The Crime of Complacency

The United Nations has become a circus.

I couldn’t help but think that today, as I read the news that Cuba has been reelected to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. This is the same one, by the way, that is chaired by Libya, and that the United States was kicked off a few years ago.

This latest spectacle proves of the folly of elevating worldwide consensus to the point where it becomes the ultimate determiner of right and wrong. It becomes especially foolish when that consensus is borne out in decision-making bodies such as the United Nations — an unelected, dysfunctional, undemocratic bureacracy of states that pursue their own foreign policy aims.

The question must be asked: In the case of Iraq, why is it that so many people suddenly equated such worldwide consensus with morality?

We can reach the answer by examining the people themselves. Many of them revile the American president, and view the United States as the main threat to world security, not Saddam Hussein.

Therefore, in my opinion, their sudden faith in the U.N. was not due to a desire to see world consensus before war with Iraq. Rather, it was a convenient excuse for inaction so as to thwart another exercise of American power.

This is why they did not visibly or vocally oppose war in Kosovo, but rose up so fervently to protect a far worse dictator.

I can certainly identify with those who are disgusted by the current administration. However, I believe today’s Left is in denial about even the existence of more pressing issues, namely terrorism, WMD and the genocide commited by despotic regimes. In this case, that denial nearly cost the lives of countless more Iraqis who would have needlessly perished or been imprisoned by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

From French philosopher André Glucksmann:

This is exactly the complacency, the crime of complacency, which once made Hitler possible. This complacency has cost us about 50 million lives. It also worked well for Stalin. ‘Better red than dead!’ Pacifism is a kind of complacency. And this complacency continues with Milosevic, with terrorism, with Saddam Hussein; people just want to sleep.

As Peter Burnet said, “We all need principles to interpret this crazy world and ground our hope for a better one. But, left, right, religious, or secular, when our commitment to the abstract is so unthinking we don’t see or care about real, concrete horrors, we are lost.”

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One Response to The Crime of Complacency

  1. Adam Morris says:

    You make an interesting argument, that trusting the UN blindly is really just a form of complacency, and certainly there are those out there who are like that. Particularly protesters, who’ve you mentioned before in your posts.

    What I’d like to see is a bit more beef in your argument over how other anti-war thinkers really have trusted blindly the UN. Certainly they don’t have any control over who gets elected to the Human Right Commission. Simply pointing out hypocrisy in the UN doesn’t go to say that critics really are complacent on the UN.

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