Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cultural Relativity or French interference in religion?

Greetings fellow bloggers!

     If you click on the headline above it will take you to a most interesting short article. It has been some time since I have visited you as I have been busy with my manuscript which I have recently finished! It is entitled So Many Humans, Too Few Rights. It should be  available soon as I have entrusted it to my literary agent around a month ago..Anyways as to the title of my post!! The French as you know have limited the Muslim dress as a matter of security so as to allow the visibility of a a womans face on camera. Some Muslims and those that sympathize with their religious human rights have a problem with this.
So, is this a matter of cultural relativity, or is it a matter of human rights? Should a states sovereignty and leadership trump religious freedom?

     France has a considerable population of Muslims in relationship to their own native French European residents. It is apparent that the French citizenry do not seem to have any particular problem with the legislation. It is those that feel it is a human rights violation and the Muslim population that feel that they are being targeted because of their faith.
     Logically, the argument and justification for the French does make sense as a nation states priority from a political science perspective has been argued by many elite that a nation-states top priority is SECURITY.
However, also in-line with that, one of our own Presidents, famous in history of America, has been quoted as saying that an individual has a right to do whatever please he/she as long as it in no way interferes with the rest of the individuals of the nation together as a whole.Again it is the collectivity of a nation that makes it strong, not the divisibility.
     Every nation state must respect each others human rights! This will always be the side of the fence that I will take. But when it comes to the security of a nation state that must protect its citizenry, men, women, and children, then I will always take the side of safety of the people. We will have to think about the decisions here in America if it ever becomes an issue which I feel that some day soon it may become one. So, is it cultural relativity or human rights?

William

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Geert Wilders Trial..., Cultural Relativism Misunderstood?? Misfortune or Lesson Learned ????

Today I came across a most interesting blog by a "religious" conservative figure whom I would have guessed  might not have taken a pro Wilder's point of view in the pending hate crimes against Muslims trial in the Netherlands. Of course this link will take you to his blog which I am positively sure you will be as thrilled to read as I was.

I consider my views to be moderately to the right of center as far as political positioning may go. However, Mr. Wilders has been extremely outspoken against the Muslim community. I need to talk about  a quote for you in regards to cultural relativism as this is an academic blog. I give  my opinion for you my readers to receive.. Here is a comment a  reader of the archbishops blog made in regards to Mr. Wilders comments:


"Bless you, Your Grace. I’d like to quote from the speech Mr Wilders made when he was finally allowed to visit Britain in March of this year: "❛First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, we need something like the American First Amendment. Second, we will have to end and get rid of cultural relativism. To the cultural relativists, the shariah socialists, I proudly say: Our Western culture is far superior to the Islamic culture. Don’t be afraid to say it. You are not a racist when you say that our own culture is better. Third, we will have to stop mass immigration from Islamic countries. Because more Islam means less freedom.❜
4 October 2010 12:16
 
There are quite a few interesting statements here for you to ponder over....... This commenter likens that Europe and the Netherlands should be like America. The West is far superior than Islam? Is it really? Who can qualify and quantify this? Interesting.......... Does more Islam really mean less freedom? How interesting???????...
Whats for sure is that the followers of this Wilders gentleman truly are radical right wing anti- Islamic and extremist to say the least. They almost are just like anti right wing terrorists that are against the west??? I am not sure but if there were a political spectrum of some kind........you would place this type of idological thinking whereabouts? How interesting?
This promises to be an interesting trial for this Mr. Wilder gentlemen. I have a feeling he will be found guilty by his country. The shame of it is that he will be a hero and has already become a hero in Europe to so many right wing anti Islamic extremists that his ideology has and will become stronger...
I agree you do need a First Amendment and freedom of speech, it is paramount to the American way of life!!!!
Does it also mean that you can yell FIRE in a movie theater??????

Monday, October 4, 2010

It is 1960, Can Cultural Relativism explain racism?

First I would like to say it has been a little over a year since I made a post to this blog or to my sister blog. "Global Human Rights Are For Everyone".
     But I have had several changes in my personal life and have been working hard on a manuscript. Anyways, I pose this link for you to follow. Please do not be offended in any way.....This is a mature readers blog so  I know we are all adults, therefore I am not  worried. Anyways, the question being asked really is rather a matter of cultural relativism. The answer is also a matter of cultural relativism offered up by an absolute icon to modern day human rights activist Martin Luther King. Please explore the short link, scratch your head for a moment, then come to your own conclusion. Was the King "off" with his answer do you think? Or did he actually throw his own people "under the bus" so to speak???

I will let you ponder this matter of cultural relativism as this is the subject of this blog.

Happy thinking and nice to see you back here!

Best


William

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How do we reconcile feminism and cultural relativism(Yahoo Answers)

I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the internet perspective and so we would have a look at the "average public response" to a very serious question. There really is no right or wrong answer. I have only posted this as I enjoyed this public forum, and the wide array of opinion that was posed. So I hope that you read and enjoy what was posted at Yahoo questions and answers!

How do we reconcile feminism and cultural relativism?

They are both two different moral theories and in many cases contradict each other. How can we justify using one over the other?
For example, feminists, under their moral theories, would state that it is immoral to, for example, perform female genital mutilation or force women to cover themselves, since this is against their theory and is taking away womens' rights. Cultural relativists would say that each moral theory depends on a certain culture, so it would be ethical to, in this case, perform female genital mutilation or make women cover themselves, because in these respective cultures it is morally right or allowed to do so.
What are your views on this?
Thanks!
  • 1 year ago

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

In the US in the ante-bellum South, it was culturally acceptable to own another human being, ie. slavery. Cultural relativity would argue that therefore slavery is fine, because the culture, and, in fact the religion supported it.
There are universal wrongs. Owning another human being, or mutilating the body of another human being is wrong. Genital mutilation is not even done in a medical setting. Human rights treaties have existed since WWII, when it was culturally acceptable in Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews.
Cultural relativity was never propounded to protect anyone abusing other humans in the past, and as a theory it should be dispensed with.
  • 1 year ago

Cultural relativism is Not the same as moral relativism. Cultural relativism is the basic principle that you have to understand beliefs and values and practises in the context of the culture they are formed in.

So the short answer to your question is that there is no conflict between feminism and cultural relativism. By the definitions of both terms.

And yes, saying that women are equal human beings with human rights and freedoms Does conflict with values and practises of many cultures. It conflicted with European and American Western cultural values and practises not very long ago.

You can't reconcile a basic belief that women are equal human beings with a belief that a culture's values and practises that violate that basic belief are legitimate. If women are exploited and oppressed by a culture, than who benefits from it? Clearly not 1/2 the population in that culture!
  • 1 year ago

Human rights abuses are human rights abuses. It really isn't debatable that genitle mutilation is anything other than, well, mutilation. Aside from the pain at the time, it makes a woman unable to enjoy sex. As far as I'm concerned, violence is violence, and every culture is, in general, against it, even if almost every culture (including ours) has blind spots. Just as we try to reveal our own blind spots concerning lapses in human rights and violence, it's right to call out those in others, even if we can't bring about change there.

As for covering themselves, I wouldn't want to live that way, but it isn't physical maiming, so I don't think it belongs in the same category.

But it's important to note that both these practices are controversial even in their own environments. Many people who belong to those cultures dont' accept them, so they aren't considered "right" by everyone.
  • 1 year ago

My view is that whatever happens it must be the person's own choice, not forced upon them by convention. If they choose to follow the convention of their own free will, fine. If not, no one should be able to force it upon them.
  • 1 year ago

Anyone who has studied philosophy can tell you that cultural relativism is a sham. Seriously, it's an insane position to hold, and fundementally self-contradictory.
  • 1 year ago

I think most feminists would agree that basic human rights override cultural standards. Freedom from torture is one of those rights.
  • 1 year ago
Very different perspectives. So you know, the first response was chosen by the voters as the best response. I hope you enjoyed this post.

William:)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Human Rights and The Debate Between Universalism and Cultural Relativism

hrdebate.pdf (application/pdf Object)

I stumbled upon a scholarly analysis of the ongoing debate from a perspective in which I knew was going to be biased in some way or another from other than a"western" notion of human rights and cultural relativism. This is good however, to look at other perspectives to enhance our own perspectives and gain better insight into any subject regardless of what it is you are studying or trying to gain knowledge of. Trust me on that. Anyway I just wanted to post that a conference was held in Vienna in 1993, to discuss the Universalism of Human Rights and the notion of cultural relativism. The nation-states invited were China, Syria, and Iran.

Immediately, from a "western" viewpoint what do you think were going to be the results of the analysis? Should I even have to tell you? Probably not by now right? Of course not. Either way I will just summarize a bit of the conclusions:

"At the 1993 UN Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, a delegation led by China, Syria and Iran officially challenged the universality of Human Rights and put forward the following conclusions:
1. Human Rights as currently defined are not universal but based on Western morality.
2. They should not therefore be imposed as norms on non-western societies in disregard of those societies’ historical and economic development and in disregard of their cultural differences and perceptions of what is right and wrong."

Furthermore:

"3.they contend that the imposition of one’s standard on another culture is unjust and imperialist in nature."

And:
"Relativism as linked to culture will appear later thanks to the work of anthropologists who empirically demonstrated that there exist in the world many different cultures, each equally worthy. However, International Law has only recently begun to tackle the issue of cultural relativism, which first emerged in a 1971 book by Adda Bozeman entitled The Future of Law in a Multicultural World. The central themes of the book are as follows:
1. There exist profound differences between western legal theories and cultures and those of Africa, Asia, India and Islam.
2. In order to fully understand a culture, one must be a product of that culture.
3. Even if a culture were to borrow a concept from another culture, that concept’s meaning would be filtered through the first culture’s unique linguistic-conceptual culture.
4. There can be no universal meaning to a moral value.
5. A universal text on values is a futile exercise.
Theoretically speaking, the debate then is inscribed on a spectrum ranging from radical universalism that disallows any derogation from certain standards to radical relativism which explains culture as the sole source of the validity of a moral value."

In other words, you might as well just disregard the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Drafted in 1948 as being a meaningful piece of human rights legislation altogether, right? These are just some of the conclusions of the Vienna meeting in 1993, however all of the roads basically led in the same direction. I am a proponent of the UDHR of 1948, so of course I disagree with the outcome and the conclusions I just wanted to represent to you the major philosophical differences that exist in our world today, with countries in which we have to make major dealings with, on a globally significant, day to day basis. This is of course culturally relative to everyone.

William

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Challenges in human rights: a social work perspective

Challenges in human rights: a social work perspective :

By Elisabeth Reichert

copyright 2007

I was amazed to find such a recently published book on the subject of cultural relativism and human rights. I will get right into the discussion:

"There is no simple alternative to letting individual countries enforce human rights, for a major obstacle to imposing a universal enforcement is that of cultural relativism, which makes the application of human rights a balancing act. Contradicting a founding principle that human rights are universal is the fact that individual cultures define their own values and ethics. Applying human rights universally, without deference to specific cultural principles, diminishes a nation's cultural identity, a human rights violation in itself. In cultural relativism, all viewpoints are equally valid and truth is relative as it belongs only to the individual or to one's culture, ethical, religious, and political beliefs and are true only in relation to the cultural identity of the individual or the society."

Ms. Reicherts analysis is not really a breakthrough in regards to what we have already studied in regards to cultural relativism. However, she does lend credence to the notion of cultural relativism with her statement"applying human rights universally, without deference to specific cultural principles, diminishes a nations cultural identity, a human rights violation in itself." I have not heard a writer or a scholar express this notion until this book. This is an interesting viewpoint and I respect the way in which she draws this particular conclusion. I will like to get my hands upon this book as it looks to be very good reading on the topic of cultural relativism and human rights.

William

VOA News - US Criticizes Wide-Ranging Rights Abuses

VOA News - US Criticizes Wide-Ranging Rights Abuses

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cultural Relativism and Human rights; Ancient Greek Law A Brief Analysis

Encyclopaedia of religion and Ethics
BY Louis Herbert Gray

These brilliant citations were taken from this Encyclopedia published in 1915 under the heading of Philosophy. I felt the need to find a historical reference and a "nexus": to coin a phraseology from military terminology (being an ex USAF veteran), which means a link or connection between human rights and cultural relativism. This lead me to ancient Greek Philosophy. I have quoted some text from this time frame to enhance this blogs and your interpretation of the significance of the history of cultural relativism and human rights from an ancient Greek point of view.




"Nature of law.
—The Greeks set a very high ideal to the State; its aim was not merely negative—to provide order and security for its members—but positive—to ensure the welfare of the individual. The policy might be called a cultural socialism—oi5 /i.'h'w rou j,'iji> lutita, dXXA Tou et fry (cf. Plato, Legg. xi. 923 A). Thus the State was regarded as being primarily an educational and cultural institution. To the attainment of its ideal, the laws were the chief instrument."



"The general result was an acute realization of the relativity of all human affairs, which in practical life acted as a powerful social dis-solvent. It became a common contention that law was merely the product of force, or an arbitrary and artificial arrangement which superior persons were entitled to disregard."

"This was to be explained, they said, by the social instinct: man is led by nature to evaluate his own actions — hence the feeling of shame (cu'Sus)—and at the same time to strike a balance between conflicting rights—hence justice (SUii) (Plato, Protag. 322B). How was this to be reconciled with relativism? According to Plato, Protagoras held that the laws were the result of conventions imposed by each city according to its own particular standards (Thetct. 172 A, B). It was useless to dispute concerning the truth of these different views of law ; but the event would show which of them was useful and which not. In this system, therefore, individual- jam is supplanted by pragmatism. The doctrine of the Si|a TTJt r&\eus, fully developed by Protagoras, remains one of the corner-stones of Sokrates' teaching. The citizen who has been nurtured by the irti.Nis, and chooses to remain in it, must abide by its decrees ; at the same time, freedom must be allowed to individual thought, and Sokrates was optimistic as to the ultimate triumph of right knowledge in politics and jurisprudence as well as in science; his standard for the examination of laws is a logical standard, and his method necessarily dialectical. Plato follows upon much the same lines as Socrates."

Interesting though, each city had there own cultural laws based upon that cities particular standard? This is dated when now?" Man is led to nature to evaluate his own actions." How much more interesting. Men have been pondering upon these issues for centuries. It is no easier in today's modern society than is was back in ancient Greece for the most intelligent men alive to come up with something that made "sense" to everyone! I am not totally surprised by this. I hope you enjoyed this
post.


Encyclopaedia of religion and Ethics
BY Louis Herbert Gray

These brilliant citations were taken from this Encyclopedia published in 1915 under the heading of Philosophy. I felt the need to find a historical reference and a "nexus": to coin a phraseology from military terminology (being an ex USAF veteran), which means a link or connection between human rights and cultural relativism. This lead me to ancient Greek Philosophy. I have quoted some text from this time frame to enhance this blogs and your interpretation of the significance of the history of cultural relativism and human rights from an ancient Greek point of view.




William

cultural relativism and human rights; Ancient Greek Law A Brief Analysis

Encyclopædia of religion and ethics

By Louis Herbert Gray

While perusing for more history of cultural relativism and human rights through
book sourcesI discovered this book by Louis Herbert Gray published in the
subheading philosophy in 1915.I thought excellent. So I cited a few selected
texts from the book,and posted them to show that this notion of cultural relativism
and human rights really does date modern human rights and
cultural relativism all the way back to ancient Greece.




This principle of relativism runs throughout all the speculation of the Sophists, and, as is well known, reached its highest point in Protagoras. But a justification had to be provided for positive law; even the Sophists had to recognize the fact that society and law continue to exist in spite of the divergent tendencies of individualism. This was to be explained, they said, by the social instinct: man is led by nature to evaluate his own actions — hence the feeling of shame (cu'Sus)—and at the same time to strike a balance between conflicting rights—hence justice (SUii) (Plato, Protag. 322B). How was this to be reconciled with relativism? According to Plato, Protagoras held that the laws were the result of conventions imposed by each city according to its own particular standards (Thetct. 172 A, B). It was useless to dispute concerning the truth of these different views of law ; but the event would show which of them was useful and which not. In this system, therefore, individual- jam is supplanted by pragmatism. The doctrine of the Si|a TTJt r&\eus, fully developed by Protagoras, remains one of the corner-stones of Sokrates' teaching. The citizen who has been nurtured by the irti.Nis, and chooses to remain in it, must abide by its decrees ; at the same time, freedom must be allowed to individual thought, and Sokrates was optimistic as to the ultimate triumph of right knowledge in politics and jurisprudence as well as in science; his standard for the examination of laws is a logical standard, and his method necessarily dialectical. Plato follows upon much the same lines as Sokrates. The S&S-a. r/,s r6\eox, in his view, means that the State, not the individual, is to set the standard of morals and law.






The general result was an acute realization of the relativity of all human affairs, which in practical life acted as a powerful social dis solvent. It became a common contention that law was merely the product of force, or an arbitrary and artificial arrangement which superior persons were entitled to disregard.