Re: SOC: cultural relativism

Date: Sat Jul 29 2000 - 19:52:07 MDT

(good post G!) writes:

> The contemporary cultural relativist denies the existence of
> any "privileged" cultural viewpoint, but espouses the primacy of culture.
> Having abandoned the MORAL foundation of individual autonomy, the cultural
> relativist can't resolve the paradox you identify,

IMO, cultural relativism is a parlor game. So is rejecting it. No one's
abandoned morals, they are just being f**cking overly polite and apologetic.
Call it liberal white guilt, let's be up front about it. Who really cares
about ebonics, tongue piercing, or polygamy?

The issues you raise are serious ones, but they aren't about culture, they
are about religious fanaticism.

What I get maddest at is the politeness and respect shown by all sorts of
intellectuals towards religions. People will protest genetic corn, but not
people-killing religion.

Anything spiritual is sacred, it's all OK ... it cannot be talked about ...
it cannot be attacked. It cannot be renounced, it's not POLITE. The cultural
relativists are not really to blame, nor the failure of educators. When we
get the 'cultural balls' to denounce all those sick and perverted practices
that are the result of f**cked up religious crackpot ideas, then maybe some
honesty will surface. Maybe someone will get mad enough to stop all this
abusive stuff.

As is, we are doomed to allowing all kinds of barbarous practices in the name
of religion. Ooops - I can't talk bad about your religion.... even you
atheists get mad if you get attacks on your beliefs. arghhhhh

> Nadia. In fact, the most
> radical post-modernists deny the existence of the paradox at all, claiming
> that it arises from making what they call the "mistake" of accepting any
> particular viewpoint as "privileged".

Yeah. Hmm... Being judgmental and saying we are better off is just honest,
and it's not PC (God forbid) but it won't do anything that being PC and
accepting other cultures does.

Except in the art world, where cultural values are essential to the mix,
these views are just masturbatory mental exercises. The fact is, exposure to
other world views is what matters -- and education. Good mental hygiene. We
send doctors in to see that people get vaccines, when will we devlope a good
'meme-vaccine' ;o)?

 Once people see how it is in a first world culture, it is hard NOT to want
to eat well, sleep safely in one's home, enjoy rights and privileges.
However, the cultures that often suffer the most from "backwards" i.e.
fundamentalist beliefs, eschew the modern books, sort of like how our own
anti-Darwinists refute the concept of evolution and won't allow their
children to read science.
I watch Jerry Springer........

So how does one who is committed to non-force make someone read and accept
reasonably unbiased information? How does one educate a populace? Something
like Mao's cultural revolution is out of the question. Aside from tying up
hundreds of people and injecting them with truth serum and putting walkmans
with eductaional tapes on their heads, how can you help a world that says:
"we don't want to know"? Especially with fanatical religious groups. One of
the most frustrating practices I know of is clitorectomies in Ethiopia, is
enforced by women themselves, who are so steeped in the culture that they tie
their daughters to tables so they can be mutilated. It's gross!! But I have
an Ethiopian friend who runs a women's shelter over there, and has been
working with that issue ...and she gets death threats...
> Ultimately, this "paradox" is a false one, and arises from a mistaken
> conflation of description and prescription. Post-modernist
> is nothing more than the stubborn refusal to acknowledge this error.

Again, it's nothing more than intellectual Floohflah. Post modernist or not,
accepting or not, we have to face up to the fact that while fundamentalists
have control over politics, it's not getting better for women, religious
genocide, whatever... and in many places it is getting worse.

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