Piero A. Tozzi: “The New Global Morality: DADT Repeal and Secretary Clinton’s embrace of ‘Universal Standards’”

Press Statement – Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 18, 2010

This is a historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values. As the President and I have repeatedly said, we are committed to universal standards abroad and here at home. Our progress on equality here strengthens our advocacy for human dignity everywhere.

PRN: 2010/1842

Comment by Piero A. Tozzi
Senior Legal Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the press release set forth above. The term “universal standards” — the language of objective morality — has been (mis)appropriated by the New Human Rights lobby to push the abortion and “sexual orientation” agendas along with other left wing causes.  This language has become commonplace in UN documents and the work of treaty compliance committees, particularly the committee that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 — a document rooted in the natural law — has also been hijacked by people who ultimately would undermine it. The call for new “rights” (i.e. the right to abortion, rights based on “sexual orientation and gender identity”) to trump truly fundamental rights (i.e. the right to life, the right of free expression, the right of conscience) is more advanced in global institutions than in the United States. Secretary Clinton echoes the rhetoric, and, along with a number of others at State — Harold Hongju Koh, Lynn Sicade in particular — seeks to import these new transnationalist norms. That was evident in the push to repeal DADT and also in the ongoing push to ratify CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Two strands of thought are evident in the new global morality which have combined to form a real witch’s brew. One is the relativistic and autonomistic ethos of secular liberalism (see e.g., Ronald Dworkin). The other is a dialecticism/cultural Marxism that sees social relations (“gender,” family, etc.) in terms of oppressor (white males, the Church, the natural/patriarchal family, heterosexist norms, etc.) and oppressed (feminist women, groups advocating homosexual behavior, etc.).

In both cases, the enforcement of so-called “universal standards” requires coercion: foreign aid becomes a tool to force developing nations to adopt population control policies; Balkan states seeking EU admission must adopt sexual orientation non-discrimination standards into their laws or else be denied membership, etc.

Recommended Reading:

Nicholas Wolterstorff’s, Justice: Rights and Wrongs (2008) (asserts that human rights must be grounded in the notion of a transcendent Deity in whose image man is created or else the human rights project will fail)

James Kalb, The Tyranny of Liberalism (2006). (The thesis of this book is summarized in this interview with the author http://www.zenit.org/article-25495?l=english).