Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person. . . Withou t concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.
Individuals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights). So strong and far-reaching are these rights that they raise the question of what, if anything, the state and its officials may do. How much room do individual rights leave for the state?
Happy, thrice happy shall they be pronounced hereafter, who have contributed any thing, who have performed the meanest office in erecting this stupendous fabrick of Freedom and Empire on the broad basis of Independency; who have assisted in protecting the rights of humane nature and establishing an Asylum for the poor and oppressed of all nations and religions.
It could well be argued that the continuing rights abuses of the present Iraqi regime, if it is allowed to survive, will prove most distressing. This is beyond any doubt. But the West has been required to witness terrible scenes in China, Russia, Vietnam, East Timor, Cambodia, and many other parts of the world. It is simply not possible for the United States to impose humanity on a worldwide scale unless it is prepared to enter into permanent global war.
The problem is sitting in the birthplace of Islam, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where this interpretation of Islam has gone out into the world over the last four decades, creating militancy groups from Indonesia, to now, San Bernardino, California, vicious attack. We have to take back the faith. And we have to take it back with the principles of peace, social justice, and human rights, women's rights, and secularize governance.
Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can only be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice. Justice requires that we carefully weigh rights and privileges and assure that each member of a community receives his due share. Love does not weigh rights and privileges too carefully because it prompts each to bear the burden of the other.