United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Respond to one of these questions. Word Count: 700-800. More is not necessarily better. PDF or doc. format.

  1. Arendt describes the paradox of human rights by saying: “If a human being loses his political status, he should, according to the implications of the inborn and inalienable rights of man, come under exactly the situation for which the declaration of such general rights provided. Actually the opposite is the case”. Why does she think this? Ask what a smart critic might say, and take a stand in this debate. If it’s helpful to your argument you can explore how this plays out in a contemporary or historical example.

2.Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Arendt responds to this by saying “We are not born equal; we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights”. What does she mean by this? See if you can identify the difference in these positions for Arendt, and ask pose a potential objection to her account.

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