REVIEW: The New Human Rights Movement (2017)

A Book by Peter Joseph

I went into The New Human Rights Movement by Peter Joseph under a recommendation from a friend and general weariness of the author largely due to previous projects. Like many, I was practically forced to watch a DIY documentary by the author called Zeitgeist sometime in 2007 or so. This was the era of these sorts of cheaply made conspiratorial films that made millions for grifters like Alex Jones. Zeitgeist had more heart than similar films such as Loose Change or any Alex Jones piece, but it shared their looseness with actual facts as to not get in the way with the narrative they were trying to present.

Zeitgeist “exposed” what Joseph coined “the three great frauds perpetrated on humanity to keep us under control”: Christianity; 9/11; and the international monetary system. Most of the film is basically a lazily cobbled together 9/11 truther video with a poorly researched section on religion that is somehow less coherent than rants by teenagers on the Reddit r/atheism page. I’m not even against the whole Mythicist argument against a historical Jesus of Nazareth (I’m not even Christian), but there are FAR better arguments out there than this. Building an argument by citing a whole contingent of mistruths from obscure world religions the author likely assumed the viewer would like not do further research on, such as Mithraism or Kemetism, it was not quite the life-changing film that others seemingly had latched onto due to me seeing through the information presented. It is because of this that I was VERY VERY hesitant to read this book.

“In our interconnected world, self-interest and social-interest are rapidly becoming indistinguishable. If current negative trajectories remain, including growing climate destabilization, biodiversity loss, and economic inequality, an impending future of ecological collapse and societal destabilization will make “personal success” virtually meaningless. Yet our broken social system incentivizes behavior that will only make our problems worse. If true human rights progress is to be achieved today, it is time we dig deeper—rethinking the very foundation of our social system.”

I’m not going to say that Peter Joseph has entirely redeemed himself here, but this is a step in the right direction. The interesting thing to see would be how Joseph takes this foundation and moves forward from it, seeing that he obviously has more ideas he’d like to elaborate on. While the evidence gathered here is seemingly quite sound and well-cited, how one can apply it to normal everyday life is quite absent. The major gist of this book is that basically every ill of the world can be traced back to the world’s adoption of capitalism and the classicism that comes with that.

He cites numerous case studies and economist’s ideas to further his point, but does the cardinal sin of leaving us “high and dry” at the end. In a similar tone to a Communist theory book, you can tell his ideas are based on the world somehow drifting over to a hypothetical resource-based economy, without addressing how we get there. One would assume the answer would be some sort of Earth shattering revolution that would surely massacre scores upon scores of the very same innocent people he has enormous sympathy for, but this is never addressed in great detail. Speaking of Communist theory, this book somewhat reminded me of Peter Kropotkin’s 1892 Anarchist classic, The Conquest of Bread in a lot of ways, just brought forward into a modern age. Kropotkin is in a league of his own, but this was a solid attempt.

Sadly, I did see a bit of the author’s “old ways” creep through a few chapters in, where the author talks about how many with different ideas are labeled “conspiracy theorists”, and how people ignore them because of this. It makes me wonder how much of this previous identity of his he still holds in 2022? I mean, I know he made Zeitgeist when he was really young, but surely he has grown up. I never saw his “sequels” largely due to how much I hate conspiracy videos like this, so I can’t comment on whether he ever addressed the problems with his previous work, but I assume he did not. The way I look at it is – you have all these people that say the Earth is flat or that Democrats are are all secret lizard people trying to stay young by drinking baby hormones, and somehow I’m the asshole for calling that out and not respecting that? Come on!

Overall, this book was fine – it’s seemingly a fairly genuine look at what problems we have as a society and the root cause for all of it being money and wealth basically. However, if you are looking for any sort of solutions to these problems, none of those will be found in this book. Because of this, the work is somewhat incomplete, and honestly somewhat naïve. As with any book wherein the end goal is some sort of Utopia, one has to go out there and explain the pain that would need to happen to get there, and this book somewhat hides it or refuses to address the fact that a shift to a complete resource-based economy would be the utter removal of literally our entire society. I will follow this author for more on this, as this topic is VERY interesting. I just hope he doesn’t suddenly veer straight back into nutjob territory as I will take back every nice thing I’ve said about this book immediately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s