11 December 2008

Source Code for Civilisation

Simon Phipps points out the centrality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

This document is one of the most important documents created in the 20th century, delimiting the unarguable rights of every person, and doing it in in cool, clear prose. Flowing out of revulsion at the excesses of the Second World War, it sets a benchmark that is still vibrantly relevant to world society. For example, it makes clear that the Guantanamo concentration camp that the US is still running is abhorrent (see articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 - even arguing articles 3 and 28 implicitly allow it is dealt with in article 30). It casts light on the US wiretaps and the UK's surveillance society (article 12 supported by articles 7 and 11), on the TSA (article 13), on internet filtering (articles 18 & 19) and on so many more issues.

The more I look at it, the more convinced I am that this visionary document, born from the lessons humanity wanted to learn after the horrors of 1939-45, is a source text that can guide so much we're all trying to achieve. As we're working on the future, be it Web 2.0, rebuilding our political life in the west or freedom for Tibet, I'm struck that the Declaration is a primary source document against which to measure our intent and action.

Nice to see that Tibet is not forgotten.


Anonymous said...

I'm really disappointed, I thought Sid Mayer had published the source code to the Civilization game... shame ;)

Glyn Moody said...

Perhaps if he read the Declaration he might anyway....