I believe that the left's interest in human rights has eroded because of a shift toward socialism. . . .
When one talks of the current "rape camps" in the Congo, you get the usual and bored clucking of the tongues... "tsk... tsk... so horrible," but little in actual interest or protest. Yet, when Muboto was in charge and the Congo part of now defunct Zaire, then they cared. They care little for Castro and Che's "long ago" vicious repression and "reeducation" but still call for the blood of the deceased Pinochet (himself a terrible tyrant). They continue to rehash the legacy of American slavery (toppled almost a century-and-a-half ago), but seem to care very little for the African and Southeast Asian slave trade that is happening at this very moment.
. . . .[T]he socialist left's interest in human rights is not benevolent, but has been made a part of their philosophy, part of their politics.
The Left's disregard for human rights is not surprising. Stephen R.C. Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault:
Postmodernism is born of the marriage of Left politics and skeptical epistemology. . . . The failure of socialism, both empirically and theoretically, brought about a crisis of faith among socialists, and postmodernism is their response. Its epistemology justifies the leap of faith necessary to continue believing in socialism, and the same epistemology justifies using language not as a vehicle for seeking truth but as a rhetorical weapon in the continuing battle against capitalism.
With the advance of postmodernism and the resulting moral relativism, the left has become obsessed with power. Questions of right and wrong have been supplanted by questions of power. Without morality all that mattters is who is in control. Those with power are automatically responsible for all that is wrong in the world, and are consequently the only ones The Left feel comfortable condemning. The powerless are mere victims, not responsible for their actions or own atrocities. Therefore, The Left won't condemn Palestinian terrorists because they are the powerless, but will condemn the Israelis because they are more powerful. They don't mind Saddam Hussein's bloody Iraq or Iran and North Korea's brutal oppression of their own people, but rant and rave about American mistreatment of terrorist prisoners.
The only people in power who escape criticism are those dedicated to the same socialist agenda, because ideology trumps postmodernist philosophy for the Socialist. Consequently, Castro, Communist China, Hugo Chavez and now Obama will escape human rights criticism no matter how powerful they are. The Left's concern with human rights violations has never been about morality, but about condemning their enemies.