The last utopia : human rights in history / Samuel Moyn
- Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010
Includes bibliographical references and index
Human rights offer a vision of international justice that today's idealistic millions hold dear. Yet the very concept on which the movement is based became familiar only a few decades ago when it profoundly reshaped our hopes for an improved humanity. Here, historian Samuel Moyn elevates that transformation to center stage and asks what it reveals about the ideal's troubled present and uncertain future. It was on the ruins of earlier political utopias, Moyn argues, that human rights achieved contemporary prominence. The morality of individual rights substituted for the soiled political dreams of revolutionary communism and nationalism as international law became an alternative to popular struggle and bloody violence. But as the ideal of human rights enters into rival political agendas, it requires more vigilance and scrutiny than when it became the watchword of our hopes.--From publisher description.
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