One outcome of the Second World War, Professor Dawsey writes in his foreword to this edition, was the proposition that all human beings should enjoy certain fundamental freedoms. These were enshrined by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the book was first published in 1971 this endorsement has led to greater recognition of human rights in Russia, China, and many other parts of the world.
In the West, Andelson argued, human rights have been an issue that are often invoked but seldom intelligently considered. Thus there have been pressure groups pushing for this, that and the other right to be recognised without considering how such a right might impinge on the freedom of others; for example the right to free expression versus the right to privacy, the right to life of the unborn child versus the mother’s choice.
Seeking to establish the ground for rights, Andelson exposed the inadequacy of the radical-humanist, utilitarian and self-realisation approaches as well as many widely held Christian approaches, and developed an original thesis.
Robert V Andelson was an ordained Congregationalist minister and professor of philosophy at AuburnUniversity. He was co-author of From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World and of Critics of Henry George: An Appraisal of their Strictures on Progress and Poverty.
Keywords: Human rights, Christian social theory