Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joseph DillardDr. Joseph Dillard is a psychotherapist with over forty year's clinical experience treating individual, couple, and family issues. Dr. Dillard also has extensive experience with pain management and meditation training. The creator of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), Dr. Dillard is the author of over ten books on IDL, dreaming, nightmares, and meditation. He lives in Berlin, Germany. See: and his YouTube channel.


Integral and Human Rights

What Integral Can Learn from Russia and China

Joseph Dillard

My intention here is not to praise Russia and China or denigrate the West, but to ask, “Why is the West failing?”

The inspiration for this essay was an article written by Godfree Roberts and posted at the Unz Review, Human Rights in China and America.[1] I have been a fan of Chinese cultural perspectives since studying comparative religion in university. A decade later, in 1980, I returned to its challenging and provocative world views to help me understand the Dream Sociometric disclosure of intrasocial relationships. I found the Confucianist world view to be very helpful, and its power and relevance to both intrapsychic and socio-cultural realities has grown stronger over time.

If integral wants to gain a genuinely multi-perspectival foundation it is going to have to do a much better job of understanding, addressing, and applying Chinese and Russian values and methods than it has to date. China and Russia are leaving the West behind on multiple, fundamental dimensions and it is important to understand the reasons why. This reality is slowly sinking through the Iron Curtain of Western denial, denial shared by a good number of integralists. The awakening involves an area rarely associated in the West with either society—human rights.

Integral AQAL generally associates human rights with a late personal “green” emphasis on pluralism and egalitarianism. However, to the extent that this is the case, it is a misreading of both human rights and integral. While awakening to the importance of human rights is a late personal issue, human rights themselves apply to all levels of development; it is not the specialized province of late personal, as should be obvious from the utter failure of those with a strong late personal emphasis on egalitarianism and pluralism to generate the solutions they proclaim to the world. Many of these same people support illegal wars, Israeli apartheid, the persecution of whistle blowers like Assange or Manning, and the lack of egalitarianism in employment and corporate structure. We are not “transcending and including” human rights as a late personal priority if we are not working for their implementation, but instead are merely mouthing our theoretical support while supporting violence and injustice through both our passivity and our votes for human rights abusers.

An insistence on human rights is an ethical responsibility for all levels of development under international law. While such laws, considered mid-personal or “orange” by integral AQAL, are rational, universalist perspectives, their application is intended to be indifferent to one's level of development, due to the fundamental nature of universal ethical principles, such as reciprocity, the fundamental requirement of trust for association or relationship, and the desire to be heard and understood, (as opposed to being agreed with), a principle often framed as empathy. We are not “transcending and including” law as a mid-personal priority if we are not working for its implementation, but instead either merely mouthing our theoretical support, or, as libertarians and elected Democrats and Republicans do, actively working to dismantle law and undermine democracy.

An emphasis on getting a critical percentage of the population to 2nd Tier is elitist and ineffective, a utopian waste of time and energy. It hasn't worked, it isn't working, and it isn't going to work. That project shares many of the same warped assumptions associated with apocalypticism, including a belief in linear progress, the inevitability of growth and evolution, some version of divine will, a pre-rational belief system which enlists rationalizations to justify itself, and an emphasis on ideology combined with chronic blindness to the harm that ideology actually creates in the world. It assumes that an understanding of human rights and other prepersonal and personal building blocks will translate into the implementation of those understandings. That does not happen consistently in our own lives due to our addictions, allegiances to peer groups and employers, and our socially and culturally scripted preferences; why on earth should we therefore assume it is going to occur on a national or global scale?

A genuinely integral approach focuses, among other things, on the just application of laws already in place. It doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel; it doesn't attempt to remake human nature or “lift people up,” because that implies that we know what is best for others. We don't, at least not until we listen respectfully to them and respond to their professed needs. Therefore, this critique also applies to integral attempts to build 2nd Tier, world-centric models of governance and politic.

An emphasis on integrating Western “enlightenment values” of reason, law, capitalism, linear progress, personal responsibility, psychology, and human rights is non-integral and has led to a collapse of that model in the West. This is not due to superficial “shadow” issues, but to structural imbalances in AQAL. The project of integrating and balancing Western values with “Eastern” values (meaning Indian, Hindu and Buddhist) of dharma, cyclic, cosmic order, personal responsibility as karma, psychology as self-transcending disciplines or yogas, responsibility framed as a means of personal salvation, access to altered states, the distinction between absolute and relative realities, and a focus on subtle physiology—chakras, astral, subtle, and causal energy bodies—has not, does not, and will not generate the renewal of humanity predicted by Integral AQAL.

There are important reasons why integral has not received broad traction among both intellectual and common audiences and remains an elite pursuit which has trouble translating into effective social solutions. To understand why, we can look at those systems that are demonstrating their effectiveness in today's world. On a national level, those are primarily Russia, but even more so, China. Both countries are generally pigeon-holed by Integralists as “red” late prepersonal or “blue” early personal. This is foolish reductionism. However, even if that warped analysis were to be true, then the genuine level of development of the West is even prior to those (and there is considerable truth to that). Another alternative to explain the success of both nations is that China and Russia both provide models that are more integral than those of the West in important, even critical aspects. This idea goes so contrary to a lifetime of public narrative designed to manufacture our consent that it is difficult to raise such issues without immediately being dismissed as a socialist, “useful idiot,” “Putin apologist,” or “communist sympathizer.” These are transparent attempts to silence dissent and shut down rationality, in favor of blind ideology. There is nothing integral about such responses.

However, there are a number of obvious objections to looking to Russia and China for the improvement of Integral, which we can address at the outset and then circle back and once again consider at the conclusion of this essay. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

“This is a “green” or “orange” analysis; not a “2nd Tier” approach.” Analyses that take into account all developmental levels are, by definition, at least at vision-logic, aperspectival, and integral. Therefore, to dismiss the argument in this essay as an expression of this or that personal developmental level is a reductionistic misrepresentation.

“Integral already includes answers to all the issues you have raised.” Theoretically, I agree. Practically, and functionally, integral strongly favors the interior quadrants, intention, world view, cognition, and consciousness over justice, law, science, and human rights. Whether it includes the answers or not, we can perhaps agree that it has not achieved the traction required for their widespread adoption, much less implementation.

“The problems you mention are simply the 'shadow' of the current integral model rather than structural defects in the model itself.” The idealistic, spiritual, and other worldly emphases of Integral AQAL are not “bugs” but “features.” People are drawn to integral essentially for two reasons. First, it helps them make sense of their own personal mystical experiences. Secondly, it provides a model by which the cacophony of disparate fields and approaches can be understood. I was drawn to Integral AQAL for both reasons, and I praise Wilber for his important contributions in both arenas. The issues with Integral AQAL I am raising are structural, not perspectival ones that are associated with this or that developmental stage, line, quadrant, state, or style. The solution does not involve humanity growing into a broader, more inclusive perspective, but involves all four quadrants, with far greater emphasis on exterior quadrant changes in behavior and relationships.

My intention here is not to praise Russia and China or denigrate the West, but to ask, “Why is the West failing?” “Why is Integral not more popular?” “What are Russia and China doing right that the West is not doing?” “What can Integral learn from Russia and China?” Regarding this last question, too many integralists are ideologues. They put prepersonal belief systems before reason and do so in the belief that they are completely rational, and therefore their beliefs transcend reason and are transpersonal or 2nd Tier. This is largely a self-serving delusion, based on having had some mystical experiences and being able to comprehend Wilber's multi-perspectival integral world view.

The US Record on Supporting Human Rights

The US, as the world's leading human rights critic, rarely observes even the basic rights it swore to uphold in the UN Charter. Integral AQAL relativizes principles of universal law, including those protecting human rights, as merely one developmental stage. The consequence of this is that integralists tend to do the same. Human rights and the laws that guarantee them are contextualized within AQAL; at higher levels of development than personal, human rights aren't sancrosanct. Wilber even makes that case in his defense of war in the Bhagavad Gita. Roberts states,

“We Greco-Christians seek personal liberation from worldly bondage and prioritize abstract rights like unfettered, irresponsible public speech, export these values as 'human rights' and use them to justify invading smaller countries.”

Jimmy Carter notes,[2]

“The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation's violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.”

The United States is the world's leading human rights critic but rarely observes even the basic rights upon which it is founded.

Carter cites two grievous examples:

“Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don't know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.”
“These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas, affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behavior.”
“Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses 169 prisoners. About half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.”

Progressives and integralists keep voting for and electing politicians of both major parties who vote for these policies. Why? On what moral grounds? When we cast around for alternative models that might point us toward more integral approaches to personal and global problems, we can do worse than looking at what Russia and China do right.

What Integral has to Learn from Russia

It is difficult to view Russia objectively, due to the narratives manufactured by Western governments and media consistently, over our entire lifetimes. Russia is not essentially socialist or communist. It has a mixed capitalist economy, as does China. Both are democracies with strong systems of central planning that rely heavily on citizen and local level input for decision-making. Russia is not attempting to embrace or duplicate Western values and practices, having attempted to do so since Peter the Great and been either rebuffed or found that Western practices are elitist, egalitarian, and exclusivistic. Western “help” has led to the privatization and selling off of Russian resources and assets to special interests and foreigners. Russia is not monolithically Caucasian, Christian, or Western. It has a large Moslem population and is currently receiving a massive infusion of Chinese influence. Russia will continue to grow closer to China, with it being entirely possible that Chinese social, cultural, and economic approaches and practices will supersede those of the West in only a few years.

It is impossible to understand the relationship of Russia to the Western culture that filters and distorts our perception, or to Russia's relationship to integral without considering the values and priorities of Vladimir Putin, who is the strongest, most capable, and most important leader in the world today. While there are many things that can be said about Putin, he demonstrates three central characteristics that are particularly pertinent to this discussion. These are his willingness to collect, study, and use a wide variety of information before making decisions, his moderation and non-reactivity, and his insistence on adherence to the rule of law. The first of these indicates a strong prioritization of both reason and collective decision-making; the second, an ability to subordinate ideology and emotionalism to objectivity and reason; the third, a willingness to subordinate national priorities to international collective agreements. While we may point to exceptions to each of these principles, I believe that any objective analysis of Putin's rise to power and his consistent high popularity with his constituents is based on these three points. I also believe they largely explain why he is the most effective leader on the world stage today.

The relevance of these principles to integral are clear enough. Integral AQAL, although a thoroughly rational system, favors ideology and individual decision-making in ways that limit its development. These include its reliance on a teleologically-based Eros instead of a scientifically-supported view of evolution, its dismissal of irresponsible and unethical behavior as either “shadow” or misinterpretation, and its history of poor judgment regarding support of abuse. I have gone into these issues elsewhere in some depth, so I am not going to repeat them here. Russia is winning the day over the West due to these three factors, but more can be named. Russia is not ham-strung by Western systems of financial vampirism which make the creation and fielding of military solutions obscenely expensive and improvements in infrastructure and social services unlikely. As a result, this relative freedom and flexibility has allowed Russia to catch up and surpass the West in sheer military power, infrastructure, agricultural production, and in some technologies, such as the generation of nuclear power. In the amoral realm of “might makes right,” Russia's teeth are every bit as sharp as those of the US, if not more so. In addition, there is reason to believe that the average Russian is much more willing to fight and die for their nation and values than is the average citizen of the West. There is also reason to believe that the Russian educational system is turning out citizens that are at least, if not more prepared to shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship than are Western educational institutions.

Integralists would do well to learn from Russia by doing the following: Focus on real world solutions rather than merely discussing world views; assume, until proven otherwise, that you and those others with whom you interact in person, on line, or through the media, are using reason to bolster pre-rational emotional ideology rather than to provide genuine objectivity. You can determine this by identifying what logical fallacies, cognitive biases, and emotional cognitive distortions are being used by yourself and others. Integralists would do well to insist on basic principles that underlie law: reciprocity, trustworthiness, and empathy, in their personal relationships, work, and in the politicians they vote for. Simply refuse to vote for any and all politicians that do not perform at an entry-level of morality, as determined by their voting record.

What Integral has to Learn from China

China's continuing success is supported by both a sophisticated world view and its system of governance. China supports and follows international law to a degree not attained by the West, and in particular, the US, and that this is due to its greater adherence to the three above-mentioned principles of reciprocity, trustworthiness, and empathy. Following Roberts, this will be illustrated by exploring the relationship between China and the UN Charter of 1945, a principle of international law developed largely by the United States on the foundations of the Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928.

Do the Chinese emphasize human rights? Mao said, “By political human rights we mean the rights of freedom and democracy.” In 2010, Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao explained,

“Science, democracy, rule of law, freedom and human rights are not concepts unique to capitalism. Rather, they are common values pursued by all mankind throughout history, the fruits of human civilization. It is only that–at different historical stages and in different countries–they are achieved through different means and in different forms.”

Randall Nadeau, in Confucianism and the Problem of Human Rights, states,

“Christian-based Western values like radical autonomy of the individual, the soul in a transcendent relationship to the world, the prioritizing of the individual over the family and the prioritizing of the individual over the state are alien to the Chinese. The West defines human rights as 'freedom from' oppressive tendencies of the family and state and grounds human rights in the fundamental equality of all persons. Thus, human rights are equated with human liberation–liberation of the autonomous individual from the restrictive community.”

China historically prioritizes

“morality over law, community over individuals, the spiritual over the material, responsibility over rights, national well-being over democracy, order over freedom, this life over the next, harmony over conflict, civilization over impoverishment and family over social class. In addition to its own strengths and contributions, China has internalized and in many ways out-performed the West in important criteria of excellence, including education, technology, infrastructure, elimination of crime, and elimination of poverty. Their creation of a xiaokang society next year will, in their eyes, be the greatest human rights achievement in history.”

These are issues integral should assess if it wants to have greater relevance in today's world because they represent foundational developmental structures at prepersonal and personal which, if undeveloped, provide a deficient and unbalanced foundation on which to build anything integral. Instead, integral too often emphasizes mastery of the principles of cognitive multi-perspectivalism, that is, the AQAL model, the development of objectivity through meditation, exceptionalism in this or that auxiliary line (like spiritual excellence), or the acquisition of various mystical states of oneness. These are of little relevance to the day-to-day concerns of most people, nor do they enhance the quality of their lives in ways that matter to them. If we think they should, we need to remember that is a projection of our values and priorities onto others, instead of respectfully listening to how others list their own priorities and helping them attain them.

For example, security is a fundamental prepersonal human need. As such, it takes precedence over higher level needs, such as increased understanding or attaining a more inclusive world view. Nothing much else matters if you don't have access to clean water, sufficient food, and some degree of protection. In regard to such fundamental necessities, who feels they are more secure, the Chinese or US citizens?


China and the US have ratified The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We will walk through its sections, do a rough comparison, and draw implications for integral. In the comments following each section, the statements in quotes are from Roberts, except where elsewhere noted.

In its preamble, the Declaration states,

“The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was voted into existence on December 10, 1948 so that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

“They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. In the World Values Survey, more Chinese than Americans said they felt free.” There are multiple varieties of freedom, such as freedom from exorbitant interest rates, unlawful search and seizure, and first amendment rights to privacy, that are eroding daily in the US.

2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

“China's liangshaoyikuan policy privileges minorities, preferences their education, and shows greater leniency towards their offenses, contrasting with US treatment of minorities.” The extent to which this policy is carried out in practice in China is uncertain, since much is made of Chinese purported persecution of Moslem Uyghur minorities in its far west. However, assessments by the world Moslem community of the circumstances of Uyghurs in Xinjiang do not support Western allegations.[3] We do know that the US incarcerates a percentage of blacks that far exceeds their representation in the population, and many of these for non-violence related crimes.

3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

“While forced labor occurs in China, it is also important to know that forced labor abuses are common in American prisons and on its farms.” While we are taught to feel horror at Nazi forced labor, we ignore similar practices in our own country and somehow manage to feel much more evolved than fascists.

4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

While China invaded and incorporated Tibet in 1959 and attacked Vietnam in 1979, since WWII the US has had 70 major military interventions in other nations in order to bring them into various states of servitude. I certainly wasn't taught this in school, nor will you find this factoid anywhere in the mainstream media. The reason is that it sets up cognitive dissonance between our image of ourselves as “the best and the brightest” and reality. Similarly, by causing integralists to assume they have attained “2nd Tier” and integral-aperspectival vision-logic just because they understand multi-perspectivalism, Integral AQAL actively supports both elitism and exceptionalism that in turn generate hubris.

5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Jimmy Carter:

“Our government's counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the 30 Articles (of the UN Charter), including the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” One would think that we integralists would at least feel shame about this, but no; it is simply accepted practice, just like other routine transgressions against international law.”

6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

“We hold prisoners in Guantanamo specifically to avoid recognizing them as persons before the law. We trust our legal system half as much as the Chinese trust theirs.”

7. All are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

“The US executes one-thousand people and imprisons two million without trial every year and does not prosecute its criminal elite.” China does prosecute its criminal elite. While it is common knowledge that Obama bailed out the banks and Wall street brokerages in 2009, progressives voted for him a second time. 2.82 million home owners faced foreclosure in 2009 instead. Still, progressives and integralists shrugged, voted once again for Obama and also for Representatives and Senators who did nothing to object to this grand theft of the middle and lower classes.

8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

“America denied effective remedy to Guantanamo prisoners, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and imprisons and executes more blacks than South Africa at the height of apartheid, mostly without trial.” Where is the integral outrage against the US prison system? As an accomplished fact, the stunning imprisonment rate of minorities isn't even on the radar of most integralists and progressives.

9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

“The US kidnaps and imprisons hundreds of people at home and abroad each year.” President Obama's 2009 Executive Order repudiating torture does not repudiate the CIA extraordinary rendition program.  It was specifically crafted to preserve the CIA's authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term, transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.” Yet many integralists voted to give Obama a second term, either due to agreement on other issues they presumably considered more important than basic human rights or because they saw him as “the lesser of two evils.” Evidence is now pointing toward his likely collusion with Hillary Clinton to spy on the Trump campaign in a major breach of Constitutional protections. When given a choice between Pepsi or Coke, why would we vote for either?

10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Carter: “Recent legislation has made legal the president's right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations. This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration. In addition to American citizens' being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention.”

11.1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

America holds twenty-five percent of the world's prison population, mostly without trial, including forty in Guantánamo Bay who committed no penal offense, some of whom have been tortured a hundred times.

11. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

“The US operates 360-degree, 24-hour surveillance and police home invasions regularly kill innocent homeowners. Attacks upon citizens' honor and reputation are carried out daily in and by our media.”

13.1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

“America's secret, no-fly list denies this right to 50,000 citizens. China's hukou publicly deny citizens the right to change residency without permission.” The no-fly list is only one of many US “watch” lists. But “justice” for integral AQAL exists in the LL, as a value, instead of as a LR right guaranteed by law.

14.1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

“The US actively seeks to deny Edward Snowden and Julian Assange the right to asylum from persecution.”

15.1. Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. 16.1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

“American families break up twice as often as Chinese.”

16.1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

“American families break up twice as often as Chinese.”

17.1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

“Without adducing evidence or proving a crime, American police take more money from citizens each year than robbers.”

18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

“China restricts public practice of religion but in the US, says Carter, “Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship, or with whom they associate.”

19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

“America observes this better than China, though US censorship is narrowing the gap.”

20.1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

“The US flunked its United Nations 'peaceful assembly' inspection while Chinese protesters hold a hundred thousand public protests each year.”[4]

21.1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

“Neither Chinese nor American voters directly elect their heads of State, but Chinese prisoners retain the right to vote and voter participation is sixty-two percent in China compared to fifty-five percent in the US. Twenty percent of Americans approve of their government's policies compared to ninety percent of Chinese.”

22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

“China will close this gap by 2021 when every citizen will have health and old age insurance and access to first class schools.”

23.1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

“China's labor participation rate is much higher than ours, its union membership rate is double ours and its wages have outpaced GDP growth for forty years while ours have lagged it.”

24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

“Chinese employees have sixteen annual, paid, mandatory vacation days. Americans have none.”

25.1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

“The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates there are roughly half a million homeless people in the United States on any given night, in a country with 18 million empty homes.”

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

“American has five times more hungry children? than China, more survive childbirth and all will live longer, healthier lives than ours.”

26.1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

“Chinese kids finish high school three years ahead of ours and even their poor children outscore ours academically.”

27.1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

“America's intellectual property rights are stronger than China's but Chinese participation in the arts is higher.”

28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

“Since World War II, America has deprived thirty-five countries of this right by invading them.”

China's Belt Road Initiative now involves cooperative investments in 141 countries as of late May, 2019, with many more soon to join.[6] The reason is because China's commercial developmental model is superior to that of the IMF and World Bank, both financially and in terms of non-interference in the internal affairs of affiliating nations. This reflects a respect for the economic rights of nations in addition to the credibility gained by China's record of respect for human rights, discussed above.


The primary way we build credibility for ourselves and integral is by walking our talk with others.

Circling back to the objections mentioned toward the beginning of this essay, is demanding of respect for internationally agreed upon laws really a mid-personal, “orange” approach or is it a manifestation of the rights of collectives at every stage of development? Integral has made a post-modern mistake by believing the applicability of law can be and should be relativized. To not do so does not make a god out of law, but rather recognizes both its inevitability and irreplaceability for collective development. To be practically relevant in the agoras, or marketplaces of the world, integral is going to have to do a better job of addressing the exterior quadrants, justice, collective assessments by the global commons, at following the conclusions of science, and in emphasizing karma marga, at least as much as raja marga. Transcendant mystical experiences amount to little if they are not grounded in the common dirt of helping others. Multi-perspectivalism and breadth of world view only amount to exceptionalism and elitism if priority isnot given to respect, obedience, and, above all, humility.

Just as the idealism of US democracy, freedom, and human rights gives it no right to invade other countries or deprive its citizens or those of other countries of their rights, but instead requires that those who espouse such views be held to higher standards of accountability and transparency, so the idealism of integral and progressives in general requires that we hold ourselves to a higher level of personal responsibility, accountability, and transparency than others. Otherwise, on what basis do we claim integral anything? If we do not defend the human rights of others, rights which are the foundation for other socio-cultural “goods,” just what exactly is integral about who we are? Does having an integral world view translate into anything of any significance in a world of struggling people with real needs? By all means, support integral and its inspirational vision, while remembering that most of us are much stronger in our interior quadrants than our exterior ones. The primary way we build credibility for ourselves and integral is by walking our talk with others, in the LR quadrant, in particular with those that don't “get it,” with the “deplorables,” the “reds,” and those who we imagine embrace world views that do not transcend and include our own. We could be wrong, and what is happening in the West is a case study of what happens when that is indeed the case.


[1] Godfree Roberts, "Human Rights in China and America",, May 26, 2019.

[2] Jimmy Carter, "A Cruel and Unusual Record",, June 25, 2012.

[3] "No cultural, religious repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang: Pakistan diplomat",, 24th January 2019.

[4] Max Fisher, "How China Stays Stable Despite 500 Protests Every Day",, Jan. 5, 2012.

[5] Chen Weihua, "Chinese, Americans trust in their governments a contrast",, Oct. 2, 2017.

[6] "The Belt and Road Initiative: Country Profiles",

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