The Fundamentalist conservatizers in the Islamic world who support or
passively sympathize with those who are attacking us perceive themselves
as under a grave threat. To assess the accuracy of their perception, we
must look at what they fear. Since 1945, the international legal system, at
the initiative of leading Western modernizing states, has established a set
of ground rules of political and other social organization based upon what
it considers to be universally valid and self-evident principles. These
ground rules are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. Although the United Nations Charter purported to reserve the
domestic jurisdiction of states from international concern, Western
governments and the human rights lobby have vigorously diminished the
scope of domestic jurisdiction so that it no longer buffers the internal legal
arrangements of statesfrom the application of international human rights
law. The values we designate as "universal" are, indeed,
"universalizable," in contrast with tribal or other ethnically or religiously
restrictive values that limit their reach and confine their benefits to
members of a particular group. But "universalizable" values are not
necessarily universally held. Nor are they "natural."
Reisman, W. Michael
"Aftershocks: Reflections on the Implications of September 11,"
Yale Human Rights and Development Journal: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol6/iss1/3