Re: ETHICS: Ethics in a void

From: Ron Salkin (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 15:33:05 MST

--- Harvey Newstrom <> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 25, 2001 at 11:41:11AM -0500, Michael
> Lorrey wrote:
> >There are also
> >taboos, like incest, murder, rape, theft, etc that
> are universal to all
> >cultures. These taboos wouldn't be universal if
> there were not some
> >objective basis for them.
> These are not universal taboos. Many cultures and
> ancient tribes and
> civilizations practiced incest, murder, rape, theft,
> etc. Incest was
> often used to keep royal, priestly or tribal blood
> lines pure.
> Murder was common-place between warring factions,
> and was often
> ritualized into their religions. Rape was rarely
> seen as a taboo
> since woman often did not have rights in many
> societies. (Only
> raping someone else's woman was seen as a crime of
> property theft.)
> Theft itself was commonplace between different
> tribes or warring
> nations. Not only would I argue against these
> taboos being
> universal, I daresay the reverse was true. Incest,
> murder, rape and
> theft probably were more common historically than
> today.

In many cultures (the Masai, ancient Celtic, ancient
India) cattle theft was regarded as a perfectly
honorable activity. One who could not keep his cattle
did not deserve to do so. Rob Roy MacGregor was famous
for being a great 'riever and retriever' - a cattle
thief and one who could pursue and retrieve cattle
stolen from him.

Ron S

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