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July 22, 2020

Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights

The secretary of state correctly defines rights and how that plays out in foreign policy.

Liberty begins by acknowledging the unalienable rights granted to humans by our Creator. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows this, which is why he established the Commission on Unalienable Rights last year to determine what U.S. foreign policy objectives should be regarding those rights.

Last Thursday, the commission released its report, and it begins with the vision America’s Founders established in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Granted, the report acknowledges, the U.S. has not always lived up to those values and our leadership in the world depends on our example at home.

The U.S., imperfect as it has been, is dealing with China while Beijing is currently suppressing the Uighur people in forced labor — whether for Nike products or masks or, even worse, oppression. And that’s to say nothing of the tens of millions the ChiComs slaughtered in the 20th century. A clear statement of the foundation of rights is therefore useful.

From the domestic perspective, one of the biggest points of contention in America is the definition of the word “rights.” America’s Founders and today’s conservatives view rights as those listed in the Bill of Rights — the right to free speech and religion, to keep and bear arms, to a fair justice system, and so on. Leftists, by contrast, view rights as things that are provided by government (read: taxpayers) — free education, free healthcare, free abortion, free money itself.

Thus, American leftists attacked Pompeo. Rather than stand with him to defend true human rights around the world, Leftmedia pundits skewered him for “limiting” human rights by offering a “pretext for denying rights to people in disfavored groups.” The far-left Amnesty International derided him for “a dangerous political stunt that could spark a race to the bottom by human rights-abusing governments around the world.”

The truth is the American government should be standing for human rights and Liberty itself, and Pompeo is doing that. His critics, on the other hand, are showing themselves as more friendly to the world’s worst human-rights abusers by demanding government tyranny and redistribution.

“The Declaration of Independence itself is the most important statement of human rights ever written. It made human freedom and human equality our nation’s central ideas,” Pompeo said last week. “We agree that America draws strength and goodness from her founding ideals, and that our foreign policy must be grounded by those ideals as well.”

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