THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
What kind of country has Britain become? (Part II)
The Boy King's Speech

Not 'Christian rights' but 'human rights'

Iranian Pastor Sentenced to Death: Nadarkhani Refuses to Convert - International Business Times.

Why does this story gain so little traction in the media? Why do only 'Christian rights' groups seem interested in the plight of a pastor who will not - even to save his life - renounce his beliefs? I can understand why libertarians are silent. We don't like it of course, but it's in Iran and therefore a matter for the Iranian people. But where are all the bloodthirsty statists who usually call for our soldiers to be used as armed educators?

I don't believe opinion or its expression (by anything other than deeds having serious adverse impact on others) should ever be punishable by law. I have heard many a leftist call for bloody revolution in my time. So what? Unless and until he actually starts to kill those who disagree with his views on control of the means of production, he's no problem. At least he's forewarned us of his predilection for violence. If someone calls for violence against Jews, immigrants or climate change deniers that's equally fine by me. As long as he doesn't act on it.

I wouldn't invite such nut jobs to dinner, you understand. I would be very concerned if one wanted to marry one of my daughters. But I have no desire to strike them with with that blunt instrument known as 'law'. There was a time when that was the typical British view of such matters. The last government's obsession with 'hate speech' however, and the Coalition's failure to repeal any of their stupid laws, has knocked us off that moral high ground. Perhaps that explains the silence of the usual suspects? It's not as if something important like this chap's 'right to work' is being threatened. Or his 'right' to an alternative sexuality. It's only his freedom of thought (and his thoughts are not like ours) so don't worry.

This story also strengthens my suspicion of all who preface the word 'rights' with any qualifier but 'human'. There are not nearly as many 'human rights' as are claimed, but one characteristic of a real one is that it is for everyone. For example, the 'right to life' or, more precisely, the right not to be wilfully killed by another human should apply equally to all. If any so-called 'right' is expressed as specific to a particular group, you will usually find that group (or someone seeking some benefit from that group) is on the make.

So I am disappointed (but not surprised) that few rights activists and advocates have had anything to say about Pastor Nadarkhani's imminent demise. A fellow-human is going to be killed for standing (rather impressively) by his beliefs. If that does not concern us, do we really care about 'human rights' or are we just hypocrites waving that flag in to obtain more privileges for our own favoured group?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I am not so sure it is so easy to say if a price is not worth it. Maybe agree to disagree?

Just what price do you put on millions of lives? Or on being able to look in your mirror?

There was this Jewish guy who I think got it just about right when he said "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world if he loses his own soul?"

I do agree absolutely Stalin was a terrible monster. He was responsible for killing around 800,000 prisoners of war and way over one and a half million political prosoners.

I also agree that the fools and criminals who ran down the British armed forces after the first world war should maybe have faced prison. "Peace dividends"? Some people just can't be trusted with the family silver.

If politicians ever thought they might have to really answer for more of their greedy self serving short term stupidity maybe they would think twice?

As they say... Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Do we really want a ringside seat to watch it?


We paid too high a price for what we did. We should have armed ourselves to the teeth (Britain's motto should be 'when in doubt, build warships') declared neutrality and adopted Machiavellian tactics.

Had we played the game of selling arms to the losing side at any given moment, for example, we might have kept two of history's three worst monsters at each others throats for long enough to weaken both and make them vulnerable to their disheartened people. Making money from arms sales the whole time, instead of beggaring ourselves as customers of US arms sales.

Though we bigged him up as 'Uncle Joe' and made our own voters sympathetic to the Soviets by our wartime propaganda, Stalin was no better than Hitler. His victory in WWII set the Soviet regime up for years of murder and oppression.


I just can not agree with your "Our blood and treasure saved precious few, if any, Jews from the Final Solution".

The UK was a path to the US/Canada and safe haven for Jews up to the outbreak of WWII.

At the end of WWII concentration camps were still busy murdering (processing).

The defeat of the Nazis stopped that. If they had never been defeated it would not have stopped.

Even worse it is horribly easy to argue that if Britain, it’s Empire and France never even went to war against Nazi Germany. The Nazis would have been free to bring in and keep quietly working on their final solution with it all kept as rumour, or kept quiet.

So if Britain and France don’t go to war then just imagine if Poland had been taken with no real reaction and partitioned. Maybe the Reich would have then taken on the Soviets.

Without fighting on two fronts the Nazis might have beaten the Soviets. In a year or two. Western Europe would have mostly not have been sorry and Nazi propaganda would have kept twisting at attitudes in France maybe Britain also.

The Nazis would have exterminated millions and millions in the former Soviet block. Jews and maybe Slavs as slave labour. Mussolini & Franco might have helped round up Jews too like occupied France did.

How many millions of Jews would have been exterminated then? Wikipedia says there were an estimated 4,855 million Jews living in the Soviet Union in 1941.

I figure there were many more saved than you are thinking and the world could , heaven help us, be a lot darker place that it is.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Edmund Burk said

Suboptimal Planet

... I suppose one argument is that if we'd been clear from the outset that we wouldn't intervene, countries with a more immediate interest might have done more to counter the Nazi threat early on (e.g. when France alone was a match for the German army).

But having established rules after WWI about the German navy, we should have insisted on strict conformance.

Would that have left Germany vulnerable to Soviet attack?

Impossible to know, but interesting to speculate.

Suboptimal Planet

Fair points, Tom, especially regarding the French.

"When we reach that state, would I be happy for French or Icelandic armed forces to set me free? I suspect I might turn on them if they tried, suggesting as I wielded my pitchfork that it's for Englishmen to sort out English messes."

But would you be equally resentful if New Zealand were to liberate us from our tyranny, asking nothing in return?

It's very hard to say how things would have turned out if we'd not intervened in WWII (I've read what Sean Gabb has to say on the matter).

How long would a Nazi-dominated Europe have tolerated our quirky little unsinkable aircraft carrier off its coast?

I'm not even sure how safe we would have been if we'd stayed out of WWI.

Personally, I reckon early intervention (before the German military was a real threat) would have been preferable both to what we actually did and to staying out altogether, though I'm not as sure of this as I once was.

But for the long term, I think Cobden had it right:

"Peace will come to earth when the people have more to do with each other and governments less"


If I could push a magic button that would set the peoples of the world free, would I be right to do it? Possibly not. I would very likely be tempted though. Absent such magics, what to do?

Britain is sliding steadily into totalitarianism (sorry to be negative, but I rashly watched Question Time from Liverpool this week, which would depress any lover of freedom). When we reach that state, would I be happy for French or Icelandic armed forces to set me free? I suspect I might turn on them if they tried, suggesting as I wielded my pitchfork that it's for Englishmen to sort out English messes. I simply feel I should not do unto others as I would have them not do unto me.

Our attitudes to foreign intervention are warped by our strange view of World War II. We forget that Britain declared war in defence of Poland, but ended up handing the Poles to Stalin. Our blood and treasure saved precious few, if any, Jews from the Final Solution. Had we stayed out of the war but done a deal with Hitler to accept German and Polish Jews as refugees, we might have saved far more, far more cheaply. We might also have populated empty Scotland with its first hard-working, businesslike inhabitants. B^)

Instead we bankrupted ourselves 'defending' the likes of the French, who surrendered on sight as usual and were as deserving as they have been grateful. We lost sterling's status as a reserve currency and indebted ourselves to the USA on a massive scale. We only made the final repayment of that debt under Tony Blair's regime.

Only a nation with the PR genius to turn the embarrassing fiasco of Dunkirk into a tear-jerking tale of national heroism could characterise WWII as anything other than a national disaster. Yet, because of our rewriting of history, we still tend to cast ourselves (now as junior partners of the Americans) as 'saviours of the world' on permanent standby. It's silly, to be frank.

We seem to forget that just because a nation has no democratic way to solve its problems doesn't mean they can't be solved. The Iranian people can, should and one day *will* rise up and cut the throats of their totalitarian rulers. I will happily buy every Iranian I know a drink when that happens. As my Iranian friends are not strictly observant, I expect the same from them when the English people finally sharpen their pitchforks and roar into Westminster.

Until then, we should all mind our own business.


This is a terrible thing. I never heard of it before, it needs more publicity. Pressure.

This is all religiously justified by Islam and shows to anyone just exactly what sort of thing Islam is in it's core. It just seems viscious, pedudiced and insecure.

I don't understand why you say "I can understand why libertarians are silent." why would that be?

The guy is not offering violence, or using force, just talking.

The Iranian state wants to kill him firstly just because he converted away from islam. It would not matter much to them what he converted to. Islam says you just don't get to leave.

Anyone who believes in liberty, or free speach, even if they are not Christian, should remember Voltair's “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

If people don't keep that in mind most all the time then how long will anyone be free to speak their mind?

Suboptimal Planet

Very well said, Tom.

It's interesting to question this bit, though:

"I can understand why libertarians are silent. We don't like it of course, but it's in Iran and therefore a matter for the Iranian people."

Is this a moral principle, or simple pragmatism?

For me it's certainly the latter. There's an arbitrariness to the concept of the nation state, especially as it relates to the principle of non-intervention.

If such persecution were common in Cornwall, would we be happy to declare it a matter for the Cornish people? What about Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or Australia.

Should the Royal Navy have left foreign slave traders to their business, enforcing abolition strictly within the Empire?

Why is it right to have a compulsorily-funded police force defend human rights domestically, but wrong to have a compulsorily-funded military defend those same rights abroad?

As far as I can tell, there's a continuum in various factors:

- how much would intervention cost?
- how likely would it be to succeed?
- how much kinship do we feel with those who are persecuted?

I'd suggest that this, rather than any absolute moral principle, is what inclines libertarians to non-interventionism.


Human rights just like freedom of speech and equality appears only for the few not the many, it certainly isn't for Christians or Jews

The comments to this entry are closed.