Since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in
1948, rights have become the dominant language of the public good
around the globe.
In Canada, rights
have become the trump card in every argument from family life to
Parliament Hill. But the notorious fights for aboriginal rights and for
the linguistic heritage of French-speaking Canadians have steered
Canada into a full-blown rights revolution.
This revolution is not only deeply controversial
here, but is being watched around the world. Are group rights -- to land
and language -- jeopardizing individual rights? Has the Charter of
Rights empowered ordinary Canadians or just enriched constitutional
lawyers? When everyone asserts their rights, what happens to
Michael Ignatieff confronts these questions head-on in The Rights Revolution
, defending the supposed individualism of rights language against all comers.
political and social history of Western society since the French
Revolution is the story of the struggle of all human groups to gain
inclusion. It is only within the lifetime of all of us here that this
vast historical process, begun in the European wars of religion in the
16th century, has been brought to a successful conclusion in the rights
revolution of the last 40 years.
All of this is so much part of
our lived history that we barely notice its enormous historical
significance. We are living in the first human society actually
attempting to create a political community on the assumption that
everyone - literally everyone - has the right to belong. We are all
embarked on the same perilous adventure, whether we can live with our
differences or die because of them."
- Michael Ignatieff
Books and CDs
The Rights Revolution
is published by House of Anansi
.The Rights Revolution
(5 CD set) Five one-hour lectures, $49.95. Available from the CBC Shop