AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It does not support or oppose any government or political system, nor does it support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights it seeks to protect. It is concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.
Now I happen to think that’s a reasonable thing for an organization like Amnesty to say. Libertarian Cain and Socialist Abel may disagree on a lot of things. Cain believes that socialized medicine is the first step on the road to serfdom and Abel believes that the capitalist system inevitably leads to exploitation and oppression. No matter. They can work together to protest against torture, extrajudical killing and so on—which they agree are bad things. An organization that insisted the everyone sign up to an analysis of underlying causes would be sectarian and ineffective. But because the smart thing for an organization like Amnesty to do is to stay out of the business of root causes, that doesn’t mean it is committed to the positive view that Jacob now attributes to it in a further post. To whit:
I emphasized the organization’s institutional stance that no system of government is preferable to any other, that human rights abuses just kind of happen rather than being matters of official policy in some cases and not in others. This requires a pose of believing in equivalence among liberal democracies, theocracies, military dictatorships, and so on.
No way is such “equivalence” entailed by the Amnesty statement of aims that Jacob quoted and it is lazy of him to suggest that it is.
(I should add that Jacob does have a point about the emphasis of some of Amnesty’s up-front press releases, but it is absurd to suggest as Frida Ghetis does in the TNR piece that Jacob approvingly links to that Amnesty “has decided to stop doing its job”—since it demonstrably continues to produce the many detailed country-by-country resports that are its staple.)