IGNATIEFF HUMAN RIGHTS AS POLITICS AND IDOLATRY PDF

Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the human rights revolution. Since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in , this revolution has brought the world moral progress and broken the nation-state's monopoly on the conduct of international affairs. But it has also faced challenges. Ignatieff argues that human rights activists have rightly drawn criticism from Asia, the Islamic world, and within the West itself for being overambitious and unwilling to accept limits. It is now time, he writes, for activists to embrace a more modest agenda and to reestablish the balance between the rights of states and the rights of citizens.

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Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the human rights revolution.

Since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in , this revolution has brought the world moral progress and broken the nation-state's monopoly on the conduct of international affairs. But it has also faced challenges. Ignatieff argues that human rights activists have rightly drawn criticism from Asia, the Islamic world, and within the West itself for being overambitious and unwilling to accept limits.

It is now time, he writes, for activists to embrace a more modest agenda and to reestablish the balance between the rights of states and the rights of citizens. Ignatieff begins by examining the politics of human rights, assessing when it is appropriate to use the fact of human rights abuse to justify intervention in other countries. He then explores the ideas that underpin human rights, warning that human rights must not become an idolatry.

In the spirit of Isaiah Berlin, he argues that human rights can command universal assent only if they are designed to protect and enhance the capacity of individuals to lead the lives they wish. By embracing this approach and recognizing that state sovereignty is the best guarantee against chaos, Ignatieff concludes, Western nations will have a better chance of extending the real progress of the past fifty years.

Throughout, Ignatieff balances idealism with a sure sense of practical reality earned from his years of travel in zones of war and political turmoil around the globe. Based on the Tanner Lectures that Ignatieff delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in , the book includes two chapters by Ignatieff, an introduction by Amy Gutmann, comments by four leading scholars--K.

Anthony Appiah, David A. Hollinger, Thomas W. Laqueur, and Diane F. Orentlicher--and a response by Ignatieff. He writes about interesting things in an interesting way, without using jargon and without any attempt to engage in covert practical politics.

His essays on human rights display all of these virtues. If anyone is superbly equipped to scrutinize the hybrid of theory and practical exigency at the heart of human-rights thinking, it's this unique, independent veteran of the world's war zones. It is a 'must read' for anyone seriously interested in, or desiring a thoughtful general overview of, the struggle for universal human rights in contemporary international society. This book will undoubtedly provoke controversy within the human rights community.

The author gives a sympathetic analysis of its problems. His views ring true, and he writes lucidly. Not least of the achievements of Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. And at a time when it has become fashionable to deride the gains made by the human rights movement over the years, his cautious optimism is refreshing. The literature on human rights is growing, both on the practical side and the theoretical. But this book combines both, with Ignatieff's nuanced grasp of real-world politics meshing with his impressive knowledge of political theory.

There is no one I can think of who combines the two so well. The scholarship is first-rate, the writing is splendid, and the commentaries are excellent. An excellent little book. It deserves to be widely read among all those interested in human rights issues. One finds oneself eagerly anticipating Ignatieff's next contribution.

Ignatieff's lectures are engaging and vigorous; they also combine some rather striking ideas with savvy perceptions about actual domestic and international politics. They spark lively and distinctive discussion among the distinguished respondents. Ignatieff's response to them is also vibrant. Ignatieff presents a sharp and vital argument for human rights that can be reconciled with state sovereignty, that can defend against charges of imperialism without caving in to the moral relativism bandwagon, and that can navigate reciprocal respect between people and between nations.

Open Access. About Us. English Deutsch. Sign In Create Profile. Advanced Search Help. Subject Areas Subject Areas. Michael Ignatieff. Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. Edited by: Amy Gutmann. Hollinger , Thomas W. Overview Contents Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the human rights revolution.

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Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry

Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the human rights revolution. Since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in , this revolution has brought the world moral progress and broken the nation-state's monopoly on the conduct of international affairs. But it has also faced challenges. Ignatieff argues that human rights activists have rightly drawn criticism from Asia, the Islamic world, and within the West itself for being overambitious and unwilling to accept limits. It is now time, he writes, for activists to embrace a more modest agenda and to reestablish the balance between the rights of states and the rights of citizens. Ignatieff begins by examining the politics of human rights, assessing when it is appropriate to use the fact of human rights abuse to justify intervention in other countries. He then explores the ideas that underpin human rights, warning that human rights must not become an idolatry.

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Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry by Michael Ignatieff

An elegant reflection on the foundations of the international human rights revolution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of gave the rights of individuals international legal recognition. But the spread of human rights norms since then has not resolved basic questions about the legal and political grounds for human rights, which transcend both the sovereign state and the legitimacy of coercive intervention to enforce norms. Addressing this quandary, Ignatieff argues that international human rights norms are best defended on pragmatic grounds: when individuals have defensible rights, they are less likely to be abused. But the protection of human agency -- the ability of individuals to resist an unjust state -- is what gives the international human rights movement its potential appeal outside the West.

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Michael Ignatieff. Many of our ebooks are available through library electronic resources including these platforms:. Michael Ignatieff draws on his extensive experience as a writer and commentator on world affairs to present a penetrating account of the successes, failures, and prospects of the human rights revolution. But it has also faced challenges. Ignatieff argues that human rights activists have rightly drawn criticism from Asia, the Islamic world, and within the West itself for being overambitious and unwilling to accept limits.

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