Reaching a new acme in irresponsible fear-mongering, the far-left Guardian newspaper is now warning that President Donald Trump intends to obliterate the human rights movement, knocking humanity back to the pre-Civil Rights era.
Trump’s installation in the White House not only poses a threat to “global alliances, international trade and even fact-based discussion,” Guardian writer Natalie Nougayrède breathlessly exclaims, it also “risks unleashing a tsunami that could sweep away the human rights movement as it has so far existed.”
According to Ms. Nougayrède, President Trump “overtly despises the notions of fundamental rights and human dignity,” which will come as news to those who have actually bothered to inform themselves of Trump’s views.
The Guardian doesn’t explain how Mr. Trump intends to bring about his draconian human rights apocalypse, or even what this might look like, but assures readers that it will happen soon.
Across the world, the article states, “imprisoned dissidents, repressed journalists, censored writers, hounded political oppositions, stigmatised minorities are all set to lose out.” As a defender of free speech and a vocal advocate of dissidents, however, Mr. Trump seems poorly poised to turn on them.
In point of fact, Nougayrède’s article is long on insults and short on facts, a trademark of modern Leftist discourse. So, according to the writer, Mr. Trump is “a crude bigot who has targeted women and religious and ethnic groups” as well as “a blatant racist, demagogue and would-be dictator.”
If Ms. Nougayrède’s essay were a high school homework assignment, her teacher might well laud her creativity, while counseling her to tone down the hyperbole. As a news piece, however, it fails completely.
It is true that Mr. Trump’s understanding of human rights, as well as the best means for defending and promoting them, may differ considerably from the Guardian’s.
The President has defended the right to life of unborn children, for instance, and promised to nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court and defund abortion giant Planned Parenthood, but these are not the sort of human rights that the Guardian cares about.
Neither is the right to religious liberty, which President Trump champions. One of his first acts as President was to issue an executive order to protect conscience rights and minimize the economic and moral burden of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Despite the Guardian’s prophecy that “the very words ‘human rights’ are likely to disappear altogether from the official vocabulary” of western diplomacy, this is not likely to happen any time soon.
What seems far more probable is that the Trump presidency will fuel a vigorous discussion on human rights and how best to guarantee them.
Moreover, if his first acts are any indication, there will also be a shift in which rights take center stage.
It was the great human rights champion Saint John Paul II who said that the right to life is “the first of the fundamental rights,” and that religious liberty is “the source and synthesis” of all human rights, understood as “the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person.”
If the right to life and the right to religious freedom are indeed the most fundamental of all human rights, then it appears that President Trump may turn out to be a powerful ally and advocate of human rights rather than their destroyer.
Perhaps that’s the real tsunami that has certain people in a panic.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome