I’m a fan of the United Nations. Sure, it’s a flawed organization, but I firmly believe in its capacity to do good in the world. Despite this, it’s pretty clear that the UN isn’t the most effective organization in the world. Which, when you consider that it’s merely a conduit for diplomacy among the nations of the world, it’s not surprising.
So it’s always surprising to me to find out that there are people out there who believe the United Nations is out for only one thing: world domination. These wackadoodles aren’t the fringe. They are our elected officials and powerful lobbyists. Here are a few efforts to make the world a better, safer place that have been thwarted by conspiracy theorists.
Arms Trade Treaty
Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association is behind the United States’ failure to ratify this treaty. Even though the Arms Trade Treaty is only meant to regulate the international sale of weapons, the NRA perceived a threat to their guns. You know, hoards of powder blue helmets marching up and down every street in America, demanding every good, decent, law-abiding gun owner give up the hunting rifle their grandpa gave them! Forget the fact that the Obama administration bent over backwards to make sure national gun rights are protected. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good bout of paranoia. Luckily, the UN will reconsider the treaty in March.
The extent to which some people are convinced Agenda 21 is a UN power grab is one of the more humorous conspiracy theories. Agenda 21 is, simply put, the United Nation’s sustainability program. The goals are to improve the environment and lessen economic disparities around the world. I wrote about it back in May when the state legislature in Kansas spent actual time discussing a resolution denouncing the program. But Kansas isn’t alone. Agenda 21 has its opponents in New Hampshire and Georgia. Opponents believe that attempting to get the world to cooperate on environmental issues equals compromising the sovereignty of the state and nation. It must be all those enforcement mechanisms the UN has.
Disability Rights Treaty
The blocking of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is perhaps the most shameful result of credulous thinking in recent memory. (Or maybe it was shear contraryism, but it was done under the cover of several conspiracy theories.) The Senate came a handful of votes shy of ratifying this human rights treaty, but failed to because of unbelievable concerns that it would create new abortion rights and impede the ability for parents to homeschool their children.
Sure thing. Sounds legit. Oh wait. Nope. The treaty only requires that other countries bring their disability rights policies up to U.S. levels. (Not that we couldn’t do with some improvement.) But this might cause you to wonder why we should sign such a treaty in the first place. If we’re not going to be required to do anything new, why sign it? I would argue that by ratifying this type of treaty it gives us the international clout to effectively advocate for human rights. Assuming that kind of thing is important to us. However, as several members of the GOP proved only a few weeks ago, that delusions of loss of sovereignty is more important that showing support for people with disabilities. Good job.
It’s tempting to just call these people crazy and let them hoard canned goods in their bunkers, but these are just a few example of how this type of thinking actually causes harm to people all over the world.
Image credit: BOMBMAN