3.12. The Most Important Cause You Can Support

Go read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And then start doing whatever you can to hold our institutions accountable to it.

Look. We know what we need to do to solve many of our problems.

It’s not like people disagree that poverty, oppression, massive inequalities, and systemic discrimination are big problems.

People are starving? Feed them.

People are sick? Give them medical care.

People aren’t given fair, equal opportunities to survive and thrive?

Then level the damned playing field. This isn’t rocket science.

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding of what our problems are, or a lack of understanding about what needs to be done to fix them.

The problem is our institutions don’t want to fix them. Because they benefit from these unjust conditions.

The great struggle of our time isn’t between science and religion, or conservatives and liberals.

It’s between the people of the world and our institutions.

It’s about whether our institutions should have the right to deny some people their rights, in order to make their job easier, make a buck, or increase their own power.

Let’s be fair. We ask institutions to do hard jobs. We ask them to maintain order. Protect us. Provide jobs, goods, and services. Educate us. Inform us. Make our society run smoothly.

It’s only natural that they want to make those hard jobs as easy as possible. And we should work with them in good faith to do that, to the extent that it’s possible.

But when they ask us to let them get away with discrimination, profiting off of people’s misery, and turning their operations into a corrupt racket, instead of doing the hard work of doing things the right way…that’s where we need to draw the line.

That’s where I say, “Too bad. I know this makes your job harder—but figure it out.”

When what we have is a conflict between the well-being of some group of people and the interests of one or more institutions…the people’s well-being ought to win out.

And it’s really simple to ensure this is what happens—because the notion that all the people of the world are entitled to basic rights, liberties, and protections has been around for seventy years!

Ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in 1948, people have been trying to advance this cause.

It’s something we all know is right. So why don’t we hear more about it? Why aren’t the people of the world coming together to hold our institutions accountable to these universal rights?

This is what needs to happen, all over the world. Because this is one interconnected world now. And we’re one unit of 7.5 billion people, who deserve these basic rights.

And yet, I don’t think there’s a single government or corporation in the world that’s truly committed itself to all of these rights.

We have to make them.

They don’t want us to. They want to cut corners, any way they can. They want to make their efforts to screw people over seem like somehow the right thing to do.

Don’t let them.

Go read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And then start doing whatever you can to hold our institutions accountable to it.

There’s no one document you can read, no one cause you can support, that’s more worthy.


This is the 56th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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