Why should a poor starving parent that can't feed their children care about their rights? Many of the poor are desperate looking for a strong person, organisation or government to come and save them from their lives.
This is a curse Africa seems to have been fighting for a very long time. People willing to become slaves to another by giving up their rights for a promise and giving up rights they never knew they had or understand the power behind.
We have seen examples of countries where desperate poverty can be wiped out in just a few short decades, leaving behind prosperity, dignity and happiness. In every example, it was not given to people by a government, and it did not happen by the people having fewer rights.
Most of the world was poor and impoverished before Democracy. Universal Human Rights combined with a free market economy transformed the world and eradicated poverty in what we today call the developed world.
Throughout history, peoples lives were controlled by the person that held the most power. Chiefs, Kings, Queens and land barons controlled the wealth, and in turn, the people connected to that wealth.
The outcome of most peoples lives was determined by the leaders in power at the time. If a King of a region was a good and ethical person, the people that lived in that region were safe and less likely to be miss treated. If the leader was a greedy unethical monster the people suffered greatly, and there was little the people could do about it.
It does not matter if we are talking about ancient Rome, medieval Europe or colonial Africa. Human beings could be owned, the same way today people own pets or livestock, and this is the way it was for thousands of years across the world.
Every person's life was determined by a genetic lottery. If you were born into the correct region of the world, into the correct family, you lived a vastly better life than most, and monarchies were the dominant form of governance and benefactors of this lottery.
Ancient Greece is believed to be the first example of a Democracy. Athena was being invaded by Persia, and they had 2 choices. Fight knowing they were severely outnumbered, or submit to Persian rule.
With this choice in mind, the people were asked to vote. A white coloured stone indicated a yes vote and a black coloured stone indicated a no vote. The majority chose to fight, and against all odds, they defeated the invading Persian army.
Democracy is about people choosing. The Athenians went to war to defend their homes not because a King told them to, but because they wanted to. They were fighting for themselves willingly and freely.
This early form of democracy was not perfect, only male landowners were allowed to vote, but the idea had been formed and given the name "Democracy".
The early examples of the Greeks were almost lost over time, as different nations through war conquered each other, destroying each others history and creating new ones.
The path to universal human rights was not a sudden event but rather a very windy path with lots of small victories. It also did not happen everywhere all at once with the same small victories repeating themselves in different parts of the world and at different times.
As education becomes more common, and the average person could read, share ideas and learnt to pass information and learnings from one generation to the next, the people started to demand better treatment and more equal treatment.
In time this would become known as "human rights". Rights that each person was born with regardless of who they were or what they were.
The abolishment of slavery is an example of a significant moment in history, where previously oppressed people, were given the right of owning their own bodies and were allowed to choose their own destiny.
In the history of Democracy, the year 1789 was a watershed year. Before this, any attempts to form a Democracy were short-lived as the ruling elite would hold onto power any way they could, and would squash any attempts for the people to rule themselves.
Everything changed in 1789 in both Europe and North America. In 1776 America had won its independence from Great Britain and was deciding how their country would function. In 1789 they decided to create their Constitution and the "United States Bill of Rights" forming the worlds first modern Democracy.
All this was only possible because all the leaders of the American colonies were equal, no one person could claim to be the rightful leader or king, and everybody wanted an equal chance for a seat at the table.
In Europe, at the same time, another significant event was getting started called the French Revolution. The people sick of being mistreated by the Royal rulers decided to revolt, and execute most of the ruling elite. This lead to the creation of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen".
In North America the absence of a ruling monarchy allowed Democracy to form and with it universal human rights. In France, they had to remove a long-standing monarchy by force before human rights were possible.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The path to the creation of universal human rights was something that formed over time with different events and declarations building on each other.
Significant declarations of human rights
- 1215 - "Magna Carta"
- 1689 - "English Bill of Rights"
- 1776 - "United States Declaration of Independence"
- 1789 - "United States Bill of Rights"
- 1789 - "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen"
- 1948 - "United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights"
World War II
The Second World War had a significant impact on the world and political space. Many wanted to prevent as much as possible the atrocities witnessed from ever being repeated.
Following the end of the War, the Unite Nations (UN) was formed, and the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" drafted and signed.
Following this more than 20 treaties has been adopted by the UN. These range from political rights to socio-economic rights and the rights of woman.
Rights & Poverty
Research into poverty overt time shows us that in 1800 90% of the worlds 1 billion people were living in extreme poverty. Today the numbers have reversed with only 10% of the worlds 7+ billion people are estimated to be living in extreme poverty.
Leading up to the 1800's we had a steady rate of technological improvements and scientific discoveries, but this had little impact on the number of people living in extreme poverty in the world.
The reduction of world poverty is described as a "modern miracle". It is the culmination of three important pieces to form an ecosystem we call a "Free Market Democracy", and this system is responsible for the reduction and almost eliminating world poverty over the last 200 years.
Freedoms of the Free Market Democracy
- Human Freedoms: Giving people equal rights and control over their lives.
- Political Freedoms: Letting people choose their leaders in Democracy.
- Economic Freedoms: People are free to trade in a free market economy.
Socialists And The Power Of Rights
Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong all understood the power of human rights. The more power you give the people, the more power you take away from the government. If you convince the people to transfer their rights to the government, you disempower the people and empower the government and intern the political leaders.
This transfer of rights results in "Government Slavery" where the people become owned by and controlled by the government.
The ANC/SACP alliance that is the South African government today understands this and is actively working on different ways of convincing the people of South Africa to transfer their rights to the government of South Africa through Socialist laws and programs.
The only way of changing this balance of power is through voting and fighting to protect the rights of all people.
Democracy Formation - First 25
- 1789 - United States
- 1848 - Switzerland
- 1857 - New Zealand
- 1867 - Canada
- 1885 - Unite Kingdom
- 1890 - Luxembourg
- 1894 - Belgium
- 1897 - Netherlands
- 1900 - Norway
- 1901 - Australia
- 1901 - Denmark
- 1911 - Sweden
- 1917 - Finland
- 1918 - Iceland
- 1922 - Ireland
- 1945 - San Marino
- 1946 - Austria
- 1946 - France
- 1946 - Italy
- 1948 - Israel
- 1949 - Costa Rica
- 1950 - India
- 1952 - Japan
- 1958 - Colombia
- 1962 - Jamaica