Now, you probably think you have spotted the flaw in my argument. Since we will never actually attain total freedom from tyranny and injustice, we need not worry about losing all sense of purpose from our lives. Not so fast. Though few human rights advocates would admit this, we may be winning. With the fall of communism, and now the new democracies of the Arab Spring, the portion of people living in, or on the verge of achieving, liberty keeps rising.
And look what we've done to American foreign policy! Barack Obama was supposed to be a Kissingerian realist. But he's already launched one war in the Middle East solely to protect people from atrocities, and between Libya, Egypt, Yemen, the Ivory Coast, and hopefully Syria, he's been helping to remove dictators at a rate of more than one a year. Sure, people at the State Department can still get away with saying things like: "We share your concerns about the terrible human rights abuses in Fredonia. But our influence is limited, and we feel we can engage most constructively through quiet diplomacy while balancing our values against the range of interests we share with the GOF." But these days, such arguments work only, like, three-quarters of the time.
Yet my now-former colleagues at Human Rights Watch seem utterly oblivious to the implications of what they are doing. I have attended dozens of staff meetings in the last year in which not one single minute is spent reflecting on how it is the pursuit of human rights that makes life worth living, not its attainment. It's purely about how we can get this political prisoner out of jail today, or get that abusive government condemned tomorrow. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that we gave no thought at all to what the world would be like if we actually succeeded, god forbid.
I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. As for myself, I can no longer be part of an organization that is advancing the day when it will be impossible to live life to the fullest. And so, I must dedicate the rest of my years to delaying that calamity. Tomorrow, I will send my resume to the firms of Patton Boggs, Qorvis, and White & Case, which have lobbied for dictatorships such as Qaddafi's Libya, Mubarak's Egypt, Bahrain, and Equatorial Guinea. Having worked to bring effective pressure against their clients in the past, I believe I can help them to counter that pressure. And if they won't have me, well, there's always Goldman Sachs.
[Ed.: April Fools!]