Connoisseurs of Theodore Dalrymple’s regular columns heaping scorn on contemporary demotic Britain will enjoy his latest: From stiff upper lip to clenched jaws, in which the good doctor examines the consequences of modern rights-inflation:
WHAT a human catastrophe is the doctrine of human rights! Not only does it give officialdom an excuse to insinuate itself into the fabric of our lives but it has a profoundly corrupting effect on youth, who have been indoctrinated into believing that until such rights were granted (or is it discovered?) there was no freedom.
Worse still, it persuades each young person that they are uniquely precious, which is to say more precious than anyone else; and that, moreover, the world is a giant conspiracy to deprive them of their rightful entitlements. Once someone is convinced of their rights, it becomes impossible to reason with them; and thus the reason of the Enlightenment is swiftly transformed into the unreason of the psychopath.
The doctrine of rights has borne putrid fruit.