Universal Declaration of Human Rights

We must all be aware of the supposedly self-evident human rights – but are they all really so fundamental? I thought I would chronologically list the personal issues that arose during my brief read.

Article 12.

  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation

Do we really have the right to not have our reputation or honour attacked? This is not self-evident to me as people’s reputation should be open to defamation or libel.

Article 23.

  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

Equal pay for equal work – does this have implications for performance pay? Does this rule out rewarding employees in a meritocratic fashion? We should not be judged on what we cannot change, but we are not born equal in potential or aspiration.

Article 23.

  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

The mandatory existence of trade unions in all countries signed up to this declaration seems ideologically short-sighted and outdated. Is it not possible that innovative Contract Law or other more radical alternatives could make them redundant?

Article 27.

  • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

This seems out of place justification for copyright or patent laws – which I feel is completely separate from every other right detailed here. The material interests phrase appears to provide justification for creating false-scarcity as an economic incentive and the subsequent moral dimension is absurdly unenforceable.