On 19 December 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Right to Peace. Article 2 recognizes that the conquest of freedom is not only an intrinsic part of the right to peace, but a means to build peace within and between societies.
The inclusion of this principle derived from human dignity responds to the idea transmitted, among others, by Francis Fukuyama, who in his book “The end of history and the last man” confirmed that the most serious and systematic attempts to write Universal Histories saw the central issue in history as the development of Freedom.
Kant suggested that history would have an end point, that is to say, a final purpose that was implied in man’s current potentialities and which made the whole of history intelligible. This end point was the realization of human freedom, for “a society in which freedom under external laws is associated in the highest degree with irresistible power, i.e., a perfectly just civic constitution, is the highest problem Nature assigns to the human race.”
Hegel also outlined that the History of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of Freedom. The unfolding of Universal History could be understood as the growth of the equality of human freedom, summed up in Hegel’s epigram that “the Eastern nations knew that one was free; the Greek and Roman world only that some are free; while we know that all men absolutely (man as man) are free.
Is freedom possible? In the cycle of Tanner lectures on human values, held at the Stanford University in 1981, the jurist Charles Fried elaborated the idea that absolute freedom could not triumph over earth until there exist a full distributive justice among all human beings.
It is for this reason that Article 2 of the Declaration on the Right to Peace advocates for the concept of freedom from fear and want.
Fukuyama ends his famous book with the following metaphor about humanity’s progress towards freedom:
“… mankind will come to seem like a long wagon train strung out along a road. Some wagons will be pulling into town sharply and crisply, while others will be bivouacked back in the desert, or else stuck in ruts in the final pass over the mountains….. But the great majority of wagons will be making the slow journey into town, and most will eventually arrive there. The wagons are all similar to one another: while they are painted different colors and are constructed of varied materials, each has four wheels and is drawn by horses, while inside sits a family hoping and praying that their journey will be a safe one. The apparent differences in the situations of the wagons will not be seen as reflecting permanent and necessary differences between the people riding in the wagons, but simply a product of their different positions along the road”.
Sources: Paz sin Fronteras