Glendon’s criticism of current human rights discourse

Category: Human, Human Rights
Last Updated: 26 Jan 2021
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Human rights are the basic rights that a person is entitled to by virtue of being a human being regardless of color, race, creed and country of origin. Many countries have been accused of violating human rights and it is for that reason that there has been put in place various watchdogs to oversee and ensure that basic human rights are not violated. Mary Ann Gledon is perhaps one of the most influential women in America as far as human rights are concerned. Besides her high qualifications as a Professor, Mary has been vocal and highly critical in the manner in which human rights laws are applied.

The following discussion takes a brief overview of her criticism on the current human rights discourse . Glendon’s Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse is a book in which the author has criticized a great deal the application of human rights citing massive irregularities and thus abuse of human rights. Mary has in great depths criticized the courts arguing that by their unlimited authority to interpret the meaning of various human rights, the result has been that human rights have been individualized making people to lose responsibility for others.

Besides this there is total detachment from moral standards and as an absolute right (as made to appear by the courts), is above all other considerations . Mary argues that looking at the property law many societal concerns are not put in place and thus workers and employees are left uncatered for. Mary’s general argument as far as human rights are concerned is that there is a lot deviation in implementation of these rights and thus the very purpose for which they were established is defeated . 2.

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What is the nature of Perry’s response to Glendon’s, and others, criticism of contemporary rights talk? Michael Perry a renowned scholar and a vocal human rights activist has in his book The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries differed with Mary Glendon and has instead attempted to respond to some of the issues raised in Mary’ book. This he has done by attempting to classify human rights in various categories . Firstly he argues that some rights that are classified under human rights actually do not apply to all but only to human beings in particular circumstances.

For instance the right to vote only applies to those citizens in a particular territory but not to all human beings. Perry disagrees with Mary quite a great deal in many of the issues raised in her book and attempts to give a different approach to the same issue of human rights . 3. What refinements does Glendon suggest to current human rights discourse? Glendon feels that in order to bright order to the American system on human rights a lot of reference must be made to the European countries.

She points out that the constitution and even decisions of courts of European countries are good examples of balanced human rights. This basically means that the scope would be expanded but only to the extent and limit where they do not interfere without concerns of the society. Conclusion To be able to arrive at the correct position we have to look at both authors critically since both have strong arguments but they also have some weaknesses in their arguments. Bibliography Glendon, Mary Ann. Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse:

“Preface” (pages xi-xii, plus notes), and Chapter 7: “Refining the Rhetoric of Rights”, (pages 171-183, plus notes). Henry, J. Steiner. International Human Rights in Context, Oxford University Press US, 2008. Mahony, John. The Challenge of Human Rights, Wiley Black Well, 2007. Perry, Michael J. The Idea of Human Rights: Four Inquiries. Chapter 2 (pages 43-56, plus notes): “Rights Talk: What Does it Mean? And Is It Problematic? ” Soohoo, Cynthia. Bringing Human Rights. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008.

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Glendon’s criticism of current human rights discourse. (2016, Aug 14). Retrieved from

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