International Law

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Or, "Why I love the Web". :)

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods23.html is an essay about the first origins of what we now call International Law. I found it interesting as to the reasons for the original investigations and thoughts, as well as where all this took place and under whose auspices. (New World explorations; Spain; the Catholic Church.)

    There are several points in the essay which offer potential for different "food for thought" threads...

    'Rat
     
  2. abdul macrumors member

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    im sorry but international law has no power, only the poeple how want to enforce that particular law. If a strong country breaks International law for ~50years with the backing of a more powerful country....and no one says ****,or can go sh#t that is where international law fails/. but when a weak country breaks a Interantional law, lets say on human rights they can get sanctined by the more powerful countries just they they want to pick at that country...e.g libiya
     
  3. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    True, abdul, but the fact remains that people do try to think beyond just national borders. A country might not want to subordinate its sovereign rights to some organization like the UN, but it would like orderly dealings with other countries.

    And the concept of "human rights" ordained by something larger than governments apparently began during the period being discussed. After all, the U.S.' fundamental view is that rights exist independently of any government, regardless of the personal views of all-too-many in government. This concept had to begin somewhere, sometime, that rights exist independently of skin color, culture or religion.

    'Rat
     
  4. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    While it is worth while to look at those who talked about the need to treat all people with certain basic rights, it is important to put it in the context that this was not the way in which the indigenous population of the Americas was treated. Regardless of the importance of disease as the number one factor in the deaths of most native americans, it does not change the genocidal policies of the conquerors. Nor does the fact that some Catholic scholars had a different view, change the use of religion as justification for the horrors of the extermination of entire peoples. Its a bloody, dark history and attempts to pretty it up don't work well.
     
  5. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    "Genocidal policies"? Are you kidding? The last thing an occupying force does is kill off the labor force! The killing was during the time of conquering, not after the various lands were occupied.

    Not supporting slavery or serfdom, but genocide is hardly the correct term to use.

    My limited knowledge of the era, insofar as this sort of thing, had me thinking of the Catholic church mostly in terms of the Inquisition, which was truly a dark and bloody time in Spain; much less so in Italy.

    The padres of the Catholic church in norther Mexico and the southern/southwestern US, while rather chauvinistic about religion, did do their limited best insofar as "equal-opportunity" medicine, and worked to educate as much as they could in language and other subjects. Regardless of one's views of the comparative virtues of agrarian towns vs. nomadic hunting/gathering, they strove for civilization as they knew it.

    And face it, the AmerInds were quite happy to do a lot of killing, theirownselves. The most notable, of course, as mentioned in the essay, were the Aztecs--but the plains Indians were no slouches.

    Whether Steppes nomads, followers of Mohammed or explorers of the New World, the clash of cultures has always been bloody.

    'Rat
     
  6. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    'Rat, between the two men genocide was indeed practiced as the policy of many toward the Native American peoples. I did not choose that term lightly. We can, of course, debate the definition of the term if you like. Here is a resource that might make that easier:
    http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/gendef.htm

    Please take note of the criteria used there.

    I don't think I need to go over the whole bloody history of Europeans relationship with Native Americans to say that it was the policy of many to wipe out Native Americans, if not always through the physical annihilation of a people, then through other methods.

    Yes, sometimes that meant killing the "labor force" if they did not submit to the new regime.

    The history of the different peoples of the Americas towards each other, whether benign or belligerent, is not germane to the question. It doesn't wash to just consign this history of Colonial slaughter to irrelevance because you believe everybody did it.
     
  7. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #7
    not to mention the smallpox infected blankets given to native americans by missionaries. You can't get much worse than germ warfare.
     
  8. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Lordy, you're sure adding a bunch of meaning to what I said!

    I'm not trying to make anything irrelevant. I'm not trying to say there wasn't a bunch of mass-murder and unnecessary slaughter.

    But Cortez was doing his thing during the takeover phase, not the occupation phase. Ya gota keep the timelines straight. And I merely noted in passing that cultural clashes can be bloody, just as a bit of perspective.

    But to go back to Cortez, for a moment: Given his own cultural background, what do you think was his opinion of a people who practiced human sacrifice in the Aztec manner? Would he have possibly regarded Montezuma as a sort of Hitler or Hussein? And, again looking at the Spanish culture, would he have not felt that the means justified the end? To "put paid" to such sinning?

    Again, to me the important point is that there was a definite beginning to the concept of human rights and particularly that they come from outside the raw power of government. Next is that it was the Catholic church, at the particular time which included the Spanish Inquisition.

    'Rat
     
  9. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    'Rat, not trying to put words in your mouth. I thought you disagreed with my use of the term "genocide" and I was trying to show that it was indeed justified.

    I think you need to check out the history a little better. The revolts against Spanish rule continues for centuries. There is no small period of conflict followed by a stable occupation.

    I know how Cortes viewed the Aztec religious practices, including sacrifices, because he goes on at length about them in the letter I quoted. Does that justify his actions?

    To your last point, I too agree that the quotes about the view of the rights of all human beings in your original piece is interesting. I just think it must be placed in context. It was not the view that governed the conduct of the conquest.
     
  10. abdul macrumors member

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    Desertrat, you obviously not understanding my position. i am all in favour of human rights and an active member of Amnesty. But what i was trying to say was that this International law doesnt have consistant backing. You made a fair point of other countries trying to influence this such as human rights, and that is what AI strive for, but i also mentioned that powerful countries can ignore human rights records of other countries as well as the countless UN resolutions they have broken, but those countries can be treasted as friends while other countires are punished for similar crimes, the punishment being sanctions.
     
  11. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    No argument, abdul. Trouble is, old homo sapiens is the top predator on the planet, and there will always be some sort of intra-species predation. Only the form of the predation varies.

    'Rat
     

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