For all the constant freakouts from the right about everything the United Nations does being a threat to American sovereignty, it’s really a wonder that we still exist as a nation at all. We should have lost our sovereignty decades ago, and multiple times. Rick Santorum and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah are the latest to beat the “ZOMG, they’re going to take us over” drum — and it’s over a plea for people to respect the equal rights of disabled people.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a former GOP presidential candidate and the father of a handicapped child, joined Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, in denouncing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, saying it would open a “Pandora’s box” of legal interpretations resulting in a “direct assault on us and our families.”
In a press conference on Capitol Hill Monday, both Santorum and Lee said Articles 4 and 7 of the convention, which reference the rights of disabled children, represent a threat to both national sovereignty and the rights of families to make decisions on how to raise their own children.
“Our concerns with this convention have nothing to do with a lack of concern with the rights of persons with disabilities,” said Lee. “They have everything to do with protecting national sovereignty, protecting the interests of parents … and the interests of families.”
Article 4 of the convention compels member states to embrace “economic, cultural and social rights” that are rooted in the concept that government creates rights, as contrasted with the uniquely American view that rights are inalienable and God-given.This is, Lee explains, “unknown in our legal system” as it presupposes that the state, not God, is the origin, of our rights.
Uh, what? Couldn’t one make this same argument against every provision in the constitution or the law protecting someone’s rights? We don’t have any declarations from any god about what rights an individual has; indeed, we have a Bible that Lee and Santorum believe to be the word of God and it not only does not contain such a list of “God-given rights,” it contains innumerable commandments that would destroy the rights declared in the Constitution. This is just gibberish.
And let’s get one thing very clear. This convention could not possibly diminish American sovereignty for one simple reason: It has no force unless we agree to it. Treaties don’t become part of the American law because the UN proposes them, they only have an effect if the president signs it and the Senate ratifies it. And even if we do that, it doesn’t mean we’re actually going to follow any of it. Look at the UN Convention on Torture, which Reagan pushed through and was ratified by the Senate, and which we have been flagrantly violating for the last decade.