Human rights have become so accepted a part of moral and political discourse at a global level, and in many parts of the world at national and local level as well, that their authoritative status is often taken for granted, by politicians, ordinary citizens, activists and political philosophers. Like the American Revolutionaries, many of us hold the truth of human rights to be self-evident. Moreover, it seems appropriate, in some respects, to take this moral authority for granted, for to question the validity of human rights seems to lead us toward implicitly supporting tyrants and torturers. Those who deny the validity of human rights may not find themselves in appealing company.
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