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Samizdata quote of the day – What is the ECHR really for?

Take a look around you (you don’t have to live in the UK to play this trick, of course): does it strike you that you live in a country in which ‘freedom of speech, assembly, religion, privacy and much more’ are guaranteed? And does it strike you that those freedoms – ‘and much more’ – have been given greater protection since 1998, or less? It strikes me rather that they are becoming ever more contingent, and ever more subject to suspicion. And this is absolutely no accident; it is in part because when the HRA came into effect in the UK, it ushered in the notion that most rights are ‘qualified’ rather than absolute, meaning that that they can be constrained where ‘proportionate’ to the achievement of some legitimate aim of government. The result of this is that rights such as those to freedom of speech or assembly, which were once more or less absolute in the UK except where subject to clear constraint in the form of statutory or common law rules, are now in large part dependent on the whims of judges’ determinations about whether or not interference with the right in question would be legitimate and proportionate. (This is often framed, with respect to freedom of speech, around the rubric of what would be ‘acceptable in a democratic society’ to say – in the eyes, of course, of the judge.)

In summary, then, the idea that human rights law is a body of rules which are necessary to constrain the State, and that the ECHR and its incorporation into UK law by the HRA represented a new era of increased ‘dignity and respect’, is simply not true. What is rather true is that law will tend to follow politics, and indeed will be bent to serve political interests – and human rights law is no different.

David McGrogan

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – What is the ECHR really for?

  • Paul Marks

    Whatever the European Court of Human Rights was for originally, it is now part of general international “governance”.

    Remember according to the international establishment both national independence and democracy are “bad ideas” (the Economist magazine last week – “bad Tory ideas” are such things as independence from the European Union and independence from the ECHR), the people are to be allowed to vote – but, according to the international establishment, voting must NOT decide policy – whether it is immigration, or local Council Tax and spending levels on Social Care – or whatever), policy is to be decided by judges and other “experts”.

    I suspect that the international establishment (and things they own, such as the Economist magazine) would even support the World Health Organisation which did such terrible harm with its vicious lies during Covid – and now seeks even more extreme powers.

    As for resistance to all this – whilst the Conservative Party is undermined by so many “One Nation”, really ANTI nation, types – and whilst “the right” remains divided between the Conservatives and Reform parties, it is hard to see much hope.

    A political party must be just that, an association of ordinary people in the country – not a top-down organisation, the Reform Party is rightly criticised for its top-down structure – but the Conservative Party also has this problem, with unelected leaders (remember Mrs May) and a “Central Office” that behaves more like the master, rather than the servant, of ordinary party members.

    There are plenty of ordinary people in the United Kingdom who want national independence and democracy – an end to the despicable Economist magazine style of international “governance” by judges, officials and “expects”, but these ordinary people must be convinced that the party they are part of is controlled by them – NOT by distant unelected leaders and officials who seem to support international organisations such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and World Health Organisation.

    If someone supports rule by such international bodies (for example supports rule by the European Court of Human Rights and the World Health Organisation) then I am really not interested in anything else they say – there is no point in such people being in public life as they do not support national independence or democracy.

    What is the point of voting for someone who is just going to obey the orders of unelected judges (judges who hate and despise the basic principles of traditional jurisprudence), officials and “experts”, on immigration, health policy and everything else.

  • Paul Marks

    As for the idea that the European Court of Human Rights and other international bodies (or national courts and officials) “protect fundamental liberties”, “protect human rights as limitations on state power”.

    Both Covid and, increasingly, “Climate”, have exposed such claims as a vast LIE.

    The international bodies did nothing to prevent the Covid lockdowns (violating fundamental liberties) or to prevent the mass censorship and the pushing of blatant lies (“there is no effective Early Treatment for Covid”, “lockdowns will save lives”, “the cloth masks work”, “the Covid vaccines are safe-and-effective” and other vicious lies) – on the contrary international bodies pushed the Police State style “lockdowns”, supported the censorship and the pushing of endless lies (both by governments and Partner Corporations), and all the rest of it.

    As far back as 1992 (if not long before) various international figures were hoping that such things as “pandemics” and “Climate Change” could be used as excuses for international “governance” – i.e. international tyranny – the end of national independence and democracy (people still being allowed to vote – but their votes not deciding policy).

    What is happening now has not been produced overnight – it is many decades in the making.

  • Kirk

    The idjits have been dreaming of a “world government” for the last century or more. They think that they can manage the world, which is a conceit I confidently predict will blow up in their faces; these arseholes can’t even manage their own, much smaller and less complex nation-states.

    Obviously, the solution to their manifest failures is to take on an even more ambitious project…

    I do not understand the drive to control, to “manage”, to “be in charge”. Every goddamn time I’ve been in charge of anything, it’s been an unending litany of dealing with stupidity and low-order folly. I once naively thought that “Hey, I could do a better job than that dumbass…”

    Then, I f*cked around and got myself promoted to be that dumbass…

    Lemme tell you what: Every damn thing I had looked at as a junior as “Man, I’ll never do that, when I’m in charge…” turned out to be something that yes, indeed, I did find myself doing. Because the flippin’ situation demanded it, and there weren’t any really good options other than perpetrating the stupidity myself.

    You want to know how you manufacture people with common sense, cynicism about their fellow man, and a deep and lasting desire not to ever “be in charge” of things? Simple: Put them in charge.

    Had a guy working for me, once. Typical college-bound left-wing reactionary, read the various Marxist tomes and who railed against “the Man” and all forms of authority. He wasn’t a dummy, just ignorant and without practical experience. I decided to amuse myself by putting him in charge of making our barracks and latrine truly communal affairs, run along his cherished Marxist lines.

    Looking back on it, that was perhaps the cruelest and most horrible thing I’ve ever done to another human being. It didn’t take more than about 90 days before I’d taken Mr. Sweetness and Light Communal Effort into a raging authoritarian tyrant who’d brook no backtalk or transgression in his common areas. I shattered that poor young man’s illusions, and I still feel sort of bad about it…

    I venture to predict that if they do manage a “world government”, it’ll last about a week, and then collapse into a heap of acrimony and hatred. The actual direction we need to go is in the diametric opposite, towards less central control and more organic bottom-up small-scale cellular organization. The real answer isn’t more hydraulic state bureaucracy, but less government overall. You want to “fix” the world? You do it by leaving it the hell alone, because every attempt you make to “manage” it breaks it a little more.

  • Bill

    Unfortunately we have seen time after time, in country after country, where, “I venture to predict that if they do manage a “world government”, it’ll last about a week,” will be two days too many for those in charge to have begun stripping the assets out of everything that could be sold quickly and allowed those who rule to have escaped with the loot to somewhere they can freely spend the rest of their days living in luxury.

    None of them would willingly work as they would demand their peons do, whilst justifying their own benefits or absolution on the reason, ‘for the benefit of society’, just like every communist country’s leaders have done in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. If people complain too much they might happen to go missing as traitors and ‘counter-revolutionaries’.

  • So in other words, this human rights law does not protect rights by constraining the state, it protects the state by constraining rights?

  • Kirk

    Bill said:

    None of them would willingly work as they would demand their peons do, whilst justifying their own benefits or absolution on the reason, ‘for the benefit of society’, just like every communist country’s leaders have done in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. If people complain too much they might happen to go missing as traitors and ‘counter-revolutionaries’.

    See, here’s the thing: These cretins only have the power they do because we give it to them.

    The beatings are going to continue until we figure that out, and stop investing all this power and authority over ourselves into these vast reef structures of government. They get away with what they do because we go along with them, “get with the program”. How far would Lenin and his ilk have gotten, had the average Russian said “Yeah, ya know what… I don’t like this, not gonna do it, won’t send people east to Siberia the same way the guy we just got rid of did… I refuse to participate in this BS.”

    Nobody had the balls to do that, so the whole thing just rolled over again and again. These charismatic nut jobs only get to where they do because a bunch of dumbass cretins follow them. Stop following them. What would Adolf Hitler have been, had people just treated him like the neighborhood crank, instead of elevating him to run the damn country?

    Same thing today. Why do all these idiot people follow leaders like Putin who’re clearly not operating with the best interests of their people at heart? Why do cretins like Nancy Pelosi keep getting re-elected?

    Because we’re basically stupid for falling for the con. Stop. If people didn’t respond to all those Nigerian prince scams, then the scammers wouldn’t try them, any more… Same thing with government: It’s another scam, a fraud, perpetrated by con artists.

  • Russ Armstrong

    Y’all need a written Constitution.

  • So in other words, this human rights law does not protect rights by constraining the state, it protects the state by constraining rights?

    Pretty much

  • Paul Marks

    Yes indeed Mr Gibbs – as long as by “the state” one means the international state, which includes “NGOs” (supposedly “non government” – but really part of the international government) and the “Partner Corporations” – who are no more part of free market capitalism than a wolf is an elephant.

  • Y’all need a written Constitution.

    Worst idea I’ve heard so far in 2024. In the USA, did the Fourth Amendment stop decades of asset forfeiture from people not even charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one?

    More to the point, any written constitution contrived today would be a long wish-list of state powers (i.e. “positive” rights) placed permanently beyond the reach of democratic reform.

  • Paul Marks

    Perry – a written Constitution can have good effects, if it is tightly written (it has to be written by really “paranoid” people) – but you are correct, in the United Kingdom it would be written by people whose basic principles are utterly evil, and so a written Constitution here would be utterly evil.

    As for the European Court of Human Rights – it recently ruled that the Swiss government has to impose Net Zero regardless of who the Swiss people vote for (a group of Swiss Citizens were used as a front for the forces really behind this “legal case”).

    The correct response is to tell the European Court of Human Rights, and the rest of the international establishment (including the Partner Corporations) to go freeze in the appropriate circle of Hell.

  • Paul Marks

    On the failure of the Supreme Court to apply the 4th Amendment to forbid the abomination that is “Civil Asset Forfeiture” – two uncomfortable facts have to be stated, it was the “conservative” judges who utterly failed in this case, and the only State that has really ended the mess is New Mexico (a Democrat State).

    Truth must be stated – even when the truth is uncomfortable.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Worst idea I’ve heard so far in 2024.

    You can’t be serious!
    There are so many to choose from!

  • Kirk

    Perry de Havilland (Wiltshire) said:

    Worst idea I’ve heard so far in 2024. In the USA, did the Fourth Amendment stop decades of asset forfeiture from people not even charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one?

    More to the point, any written constitution contrived today would be a long wish-list of state powers (i.e. “positive” rights) placed permanently beyond the reach of democratic reform.

    Yeah… See, here’s the thing: None of this stuff happens because someone wrote something down on a piece of paper somewhere a long time ago. It doesn’t get stopped by those words, either.

    I’ve said this before: Civilization does not exist separately as something created by the institutions we set up to administer things. You don’t have a civilization because you have schools and courts of laws; you have civilization because you and your fellow human beings are civilized sentients and conduct yourselves as such. The idea that civilized conduct happens because of the institutions is precisely 180 degrees off the facts, which is that you have those institutions because you are civilized. Once you lose that “inner civilization” because your parents failed to properly inculcate those values and restraints upon your behavior, and you’re essentially feral in the absence of the controlling institutions, your civilization is doomed. You cannot impose civilization over the long term from without; it has to be lived, internalized.

    This is why the Russian people were so easily swayed into the evils of Lenin and Stalin. They were never civilized in the first place; all that they had was imposed on them by the Tsar and his nobles. They’d no sense of civilized behavior themselves, else the majority of Russians asked to send their fellow citizens off to the gulags to die would have said “No, we aren’t doing that…”

    In WWII, Denmark demonstrated that it was a civilized nation. Asked to round up and ship their Jews off to the camps, they demurred, and instead rounded them up and shipped them off to Sweden… Bulgaria did something similar.

    The rest of Europe? Not so much; they demonstrated that they were savages by their acts of omission.

    You do not impose civilization. It either arises from within the individual participants, or it ceases to do much more than ape the forms. Most of the arseholes we have running our societies today are not civilized human beings, otherwise they’d feel some qualms about what they are doing. Since they persist in this behavior, we must acknowledge that they are uncivilized creatures, and deal with them as such.

    If you give in to your inner child, and behave as though there are no constraints on your behavior and actions, you are not a civilized human being. The Danes of WWII proved that they were; the rest of Europe…? Jury is still out, but it ain’t looking good. If you have to rely on the law, in all its majesty, to prevent you from doing as you please to your fellow man, well… Welcome to Club Savage. Because that’s precisely what you are.

    The men and women who ignore the 4th Amendment would be thieves and pirates in any other age, honest enough to stick a gun in your face and acknowledge that they were bold-face robbers. Because they are essentially uncivilized creatures, they do what they do, regardless of the law or spirit of it. They are unrestrained by the law and Constitution precisely because they are savages; we have failed to acculturate them and give them the internal restraints on their behavior that they should have.

    A large part of this is that these things happen specifically because we have mistaken the true nature of that which is civilization. We think we must allow these transgressions against us because we think that to be civilized is to be cowed and unaggressive against those who transgress. Which just encourages them in their actions; they do what they do because they do not fear us, the civilized man. They use the institutions against us, again and again, because we allow that to happen.

    The reality is that the institutions and mechanisms of our civilization have been taken over by savages, who have weaponized them against us. Why have we allowed that? Why are these people not dealt with properly, and they are allowed to game the system against the truly civilized?

    The solution, I fear, is that the savages among us must be made to fear the civilized again. Run them out of town on rails, tarred and feathered… Hang them from the lamp posts, after fair trials. Do as the Dutch did, and eat a few of them in impromptu banquets. Teach them to fear you, or you will live in fear of them.

    I reluctantly conclude that the only way to get civilized conduct from a large swathe of the species is to engender in them the fear of what we would do to them should they transgress. Sadly, they do not possess the internal checks and balances of the civilized human being, and the only way to get them to mimic being civilized is to terrorize them into it.

    What we really have here is a failure to properly acculturate the majority of our fellow citizens. They’ve no internal civilized natures to call on, and behave as though they were pure savages. Fixing that? Lots of hard work ahead, but making them fearful of consequence is a necessary step. The government should fear the governed, until the government is run on civilized lines by actual civilized people.

    There are apparently issues with this going up… If there are duplications, please delete as necessary.

  • jgh

    “rule of law” and “democracy” are two different axis. They are not contingent on each other, or synonymns. They commonly occur together, but they are not the same.

  • jgh

    These morons can’t admit that any “world government” would ncessarrily be government by Communist China. What, you think *they* will be in charge? Ha! As if they think the biggest country in the world is going to be bossed around by puny westerners and submit to their idea of “world government”.

    Though, of course, some of them would be wetting their pants at the prospect of being ruled by the CCP – until the point they realise that *they* would be ruled by the CCP, they wouldn’t be part of the rulers.

  • Paul Marks

    The United States Constitution has, at times, stopped many evil things – and a Constitution written by more “paranoid” people would have stopped more.

    People, even judges (who, alas, are lawyers) do often hesitate to violate a clear legal document – they seek wriggle room, loopholes. So the point is to not give them any loopholes – to write the legal document assuming one is dealing with knaves.

    Of course Perry’s other point is unanswerable – in modern Britain a Constitution is not going to be written by someone like Mr Ed, it is going to be written by Collectivist lunatics – so a written Constitution would be a bad idea in this time and place.

  • Paul Marks


    Evil man though he is – I noticed that the international elite only became hostile to Dictator Xi when it became clear that Dictator Xi was not going to obey their orders.

    Before that became clear, the international elite could not give a damn how many people Dictator Xi had murdered, but when it became clear he was not going to obey their orders – lots of “China is about to collapse” pieces started to appear in the mainstream media, produced by the pet “intellectuals”.

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