It’s fair to say that most people in New Zealand and indeed most of the world at least pay lip service to human rights. The best and most widely known expression of human rights is of course the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which most countries have signed up to, and we were one of the first.
Of course many people in positions of power violate these rights, while at the same time claiming to uphold them – everyone from Putin and the Saudi government to Tony Abbot, and arguably at times the NZ government too. But generally speaking, there aren’t many people who outright deny or repudiate them.
People who do straight up deny human rights tend to be extremists on the marginal fringe of established belief systems, the types of people who don’t generally get invited to dinner parties or sporting events.
Except that there’s one human right that a bunch of apparently ‘regular’ people do straight up deny – and that’s the right to belong to a trade union – article 23 (4) of the UDHR.
Belonging to a trade union means organising, and negotiating en masse with an employer rather than individually.
If you don’t think that people should be able to bargain collectively with their employer, you’re a human rights denier.
I’m definitely not saying that we shouldn’t allow this radical fringe opinion to be expressed, or that any human rights deniers shouldn’t be allowed to (generally speaking) say whatever they want.
Simply, they should be subjected to the same incredulity and public odium as we give people who deny others the right to change religion, or marry who they want, or not be a slave.