The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Friday, November 29, 2013

1948 United Nations' Declaration of Universal Human Rights..Not A Consideration For American Conservatives!

In October 2011, Investopedia published an interesting piece on Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life.  Amy Fontinelle's piece touched on a few intriguing points as the nation (at least some in the nation) worked to rid of the full-blown effect of Ronald Reagan's fallible and ultimately flawed trickle-down economics theories.  Fontinelle ends her piece as follows.

.......Standard of living is somewhat of a flawed indicator, however. Looking at our earlier list, while the United States, for example, might be considered to rank highly in all of these areas, most people would agree that for some segments of the population, the standard of living in the United States is actually quite low. In East St. Louis, Ill., for example, the quality and availability of employment has historically been poor; environmental quality is below average for the U.S., the incidence of disease is high and life expectancy is also below average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 census, the number of families living below the federal poverty level in East St. Louis was 35.1%, compared to a national average of 12.4%.
Similar to standard of living, what would be considered a good quality of life by one person, may not be considered as such by another. The earlier list of quality of life factors might also be considered to be a list of things the United States offers. "The Economist", for example, produces an index that attempts to rate the quality of life in various countries. Predictably, developed nations like Norway, Australia and Luxembourg come out on top and less-developed countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan come out on the bottom, according to "The Economist's" quality-of-life index. That said, there are certainly segments of the population, in countries like the United States, in which people don't have the right to marry whomever they choose, are discriminated against, are treated as guilty until proven innocent, do not have access to a meaningful and useful education and/or do not get equal pay for equal work. (highlight added by The Pardu)
The Bottom Line 
The main difference between standard of living and quality of life is that the former is more objective, while the latter is more subjective. Standard of living factors such as gross domestic product, poverty rate and environmental quality, can all be measured and defined with numbers, while quality of life factors like equal protection of the law, freedom from discrimination and freedom of religion, are more difficult to measure and are particularly qualitative. Both indicators are flawed, but they can help us get a general picture of what life is like in a particular location at a particular time. 
Our specific interest in Ms Fontinelle's article is its clear delineation of information that clearly shows American conservatism and the GOP's lack of commitment to "Quality of Life" as a guiding tenet. While remaining cognizant of the authors points related to how quality of life is influenced by the beholder's personal paradigm, there are factors in the piece that are endemic to the GOP and conservatives (especially mega wealthy libertarian plutocrats)

We will use a list from Ms. Fontinelle's 2011 piece to support our point. Her use of the 1948 United Nations' "Universal Declaration of Human Rights, list of factors that can be considered in evaluating quality of life," decades later offers opportunity contemplate conservative America, its money-bakers and the existential GOP.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is more subjective and intangible. The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides an excellent list of factors that can be considered in evaluating quality of life. It includes many things that citizens of the United States and other developed countries take for granted, but that are not available in a significant number of countries around the world. Although this declaration is 60 years old, in many ways it still represents an ideal to be achieved, rather than a baseline state of affairs. Factors that may be used to measure quality of life include the following: 
  • freedom from slavery and torture
  • equal protection of the law
  • freedom from discrimination
  • freedom of movement
  • freedom of residence within one's home country
  • presumption of innocence unless proved guilty
  • right to marry
  • right to have a family
  • right to be treated equally without regard to gender, race, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, socioeconomic status and more
  • right to privacy
  • freedom of thought
  • freedom of religion
  • free choice of employment
  • right to fair pay
  • equal pay for equal work
  • right to vote
  • right to rest and leisure
  • right to education
  • right to human dignity 
For sake of illustration we are going to place a few items from the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights list in modern-day conservative perspective. We have opted to use a table insert and developed categories to illustrate out point.

You may have noticed we avoided placing "freedom from slavery and torture," in our table. Slavery is not an issue, but if we consider the current conservative efforts to deny contraception as a critical component of a nation health and insurance program, we come close to forcing the male will on women. Also, should I address "torture" as George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales and the US Iraq Invasion team, sanctioned torture while fighting Al Qaeda. They did so for the first time in US History and violated Geneva Convention international law.

Of course, our table cannot apply to all US conservatives; we will not stand guilty of a trait we abhor in the US conservatism: blanket indictments of people to accommodate our paradigm and posit. Yet, we feel strongly, if conservatives are not vocal and demonstrative about addressing the items we segregated in the table above, they are in fact enablers. They are quiet minions who are allowing uber wealthy plutocrats to gain a grip on our society. 

Do you find the 1948 Universal Human Declaration of Human Rights an intriguing indictment of all things conservative 50 plus years after 1948? You shouldn't, there is nothing progressive about the GOP.

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