A Human Rights Framework for Assessing Moral Bases of Law and Home-Land Defenses

Thomas Edward Reed, Eastern Kentucky University
Judge Bankole Thompson, Eastern Kentucky University

No adequate consensus exists on two critical issues in our post-9-11-01 world: the moral bases of law and viable assessment criteria. In response to these fuzzy legal-moral conditions and their implications for U.S. and other nations' homeland defenses, a human-rights frame conception of knowledge guides the advocacy of three assessment criteria. (a) Emerging but varied degrees of consensus within international and human rights law provide a basis for assessing the legality and fairness of any offensive or defensive actions. These rule-of-law standards are at least partially independent of national biases and the eroding doctrine of soverign immunity. (b) A full-person identity prototype of persons as neurobiological, social-civil, and mental-spiritual beings describes three universal human-identity dimensions that often can be assessed by verifiable empirical data. Baseline interdisciplinary knowledge about these human dimensions provides criteria for assessing identity-biased laws, actions, and ideologies that deviate from our shared genotypic identies and threaten human rights to existence, self-determination, and development. (c) Human-rights criticality addresses the need to motivate persons morally when democratic ideals require personal sacrifices or revolutionary changs in perceptions, values, and priorities. This criterion builds on an established criticality methodology: It can be used to discover and assess actions or moral beliefs that threaten the world-order ideals and priorities expressed in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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Updated 05/20/2006