Immutable Universal Truths Found in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Submitted on behalf of Dr Purje by a friend.

ALL LIVES MATTER IS AN IMMUTABLE UNIVERSAL TRUTH

By Dr Ragnar Purje PhD

A universal truth is an actuality that is applicable to everything and everyone, and it is immutable to everything and everyone. When a universal truth is applied to morals and ethics, this means that a universal truth refers to that which is equal and is applied as an absolute for all of humanity. This means that a universal truth is not, and can never be racist. This universal truth – that all lives matter – is affirmed by the following United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1.      “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

2.     Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

3.     Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

4.     All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

5.     All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

6.     Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,

7.     Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

8.     In the exercise of his[her] rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

9.     Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

Immutable universal self-evident truth

What that self-evidently means is that the statement: All lives matter, is an immutable universal truth.The life of every human is equal in every aspect of life, living and existence. As such the statement All lives matter is a universal truth; and what this means is that the statement: All lives matter is a Universal Human Right which adheres to United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Self-respect

Robin Dillon writes that “self-respect is a complex of multilayered and interpenetrating phenomena,” which involves affect, cognition, motivation, valuation, expectations, reactions, behaviours and actions. All of these interpenetrating phenomena “compose a mode of” thinking and “being ‘in the world’ which is considered as being “at the heart of” the self.

Mutual self-respect

It is these interrelating and interpenetrating constructs that provide the intrinsic means by which the individual is able to intellectually appreciate “oneself as having morally significant worth.” What this means is that each-and-every person (and each-and-every-observer of the other) must see, know, acknowledge, accept, and have a universal understanding, that each-and-every-person is to be universally respected; which helps to advance personal self-respect and social self-respect. For the self, this means: “I respect myself.” For one the who is observing the other, this means: “That I (the observer) respect you (the one I am observing). This powerfully indicates that mutual self-respect is taking place.

Attunement of identity

Further to this Robin Dillon points out that self-respect also has “to do with the structure and attunement of an individual’s identity.” This is about the phenomena of self-respect, as it is lived, and “reverberates throughout the self,” under the overarching intrinsic and social umbrella of the moral self. This intrinsic moral-centred reverberation then acts to influence the very formation and foundation of a person’s values, emotions, commitments, dispositions, thoughts, actions, desires, and encompasses the very identity of the living self. 

Intrinsic moral process

As such, self-respect can be thought of as being an intrinsic moral process of cognitions, and affects that influences the thoughts, desires, behaviours and choice of actions by the self; which then develops and forms the sentient identity of the presenting self. It is this recognition of the sentient self, which then provides the conscious means of free will. Free will allows for choice. These choices can be ethical or moral, or not.

Ethics

Ethics and morals have similarities, in that both constructs relate to choices, behaviours or actions that are either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘good’ or bad.’ However, even though both of these constructs are often used synonymously and interchangeably; the research indicates that these constructs have differences. Cydney Grannan, writing in Encyclopædia Britannica, notes that “ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in [organisations] or principles in religions.

Morals

Morals refer to an individual’s own personal point of view regarding of what is right or wrong, good or bad. However, even with these differences, the research indicates there is agreement, in that both ethical behaviour and moral behaviour are about actions that are good, just or right; with the overarching immutable universal principle being: do no harm. This inevitably means an individual’s self-respect and associated moral self-worth can only prevail, if the choices the individual presents meet the universal standard of being ethical and moral.

Self-respect and moral self-worth

The profound importance of having self-respect and also living a life that has moral self-worth, is further emphasised by Robin Dillon, who refers to Immanuel Kant. An individual’s moral self-worth and their self-respect (which are ontologically fused – as a singularity – in the living essence of the self), can only be lived and expressed in accordance with the categorical imperative.

The categorical imperative

The categorical imperative is considered by Kant as being the universal “supreme principle of morality.” The categorical imperative universally informs that it is the “humanity in [all] persons, strictly speaking, that has dignity; that it is in virtue of the humanity in them that [all] humans are and so ought to be treated as ends in themselves,” and never as a means to an end. This aligns with the universal principle of personhood as expressed by Arthur Danto.

Personhood

If personhood is to take place, each-and-every person must be treated with respect. According to Danto, “[p]ersons … must not be used merely as a means to someone’s end; they are in Kant’s famous phrase “ends-in-themselves” and sources of value in their own right.” Robert Downie and Elizabeth Telfer offer a similar view. They write: 

‘Persons ought to be respected’ is not merely to say ‘What is valuable ought to be respected,’ but rather ‘humans ought to be respected for what is valuable in them’ … this is not a trivial claim, for it asserts that there is something worthy of respect about a human being.

Crucial axiomatic point of view

Andreas van Melsen extends the importance of this crucial axiomatic point of view pertaining to the categorical imperative, personhood, and the ontologically fused constructs of self-worth and self-respect even further. Van Melsen asserts that “each individual human is not just an instance of mankind in the same way in which a piece of copper is an instance of copper. Each individual is an original centre of being in action. His [or her] actions are [his or her] own.” And as such, must only be treated as an end-in-themselves. Anything less is an action that is unethical and immoral, and does not meet the social standard of how an individual can be identified as having, living and is presenting the essence of what self-respect is, and what moral self-worth means. And in terms of the universal human condition, and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; this means that all lives matter.

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