1. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Where to draw the line when respecting other cultures?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by thirdwind, Oct 17, 2013.

    @Lemex and I were just talking about where the line should be drawn when respecting other cultures and practices. Of course, we both support respecting other cultures. However, in some cases, we both felt that there is a limit, especially when natural human rights are infringed upon. But this leads to some complications. To use an example, if a particular community killed a child each month as sacrifice to the gods, should an outside community intervene to abolish this practice because it’s against basic human rights? Why does one culture get to define these basic human rights and then impose that on another culture?
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I used to be more on the side of cross cultural tolerance but now I have drawn the line a lot further down on what I think is OK regarding traditions that oppress women. I think it's fine that Sarkozy banned the burka, definitely female circumcision is wrong, and there are many more things on my list I no longer think are OK because of cultural differences.

    As for one culture imposing on another, one can be against that but still have a bottom line where some practices excused as cultural difference just go too far.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Until the logarithm of the standard deviation exceeds Planck's constant divided by pi.
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    There are a few terms here that need defining. 'Culture' is the main one. Are we referring to forced practices or accepted traditions? There's so much grey area here it would be a nightmare to create any one law that would apply to everyone, everywhere.

    Also, 'basic human rights' is a fluid, ever-changing term.

    As with all things, it's a spectrum and it gets harder and harder the further down you go.

    Human sacrifices? Easy.
    Forced mutilation? Easy.

    I can't think of a small case but they are there.
     
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  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm pretty sure a right to life, for a child or any other born human is the basis of our civilisation. Throw that out of the window and we become a pack of wild hyenas. Basic rules that (hopefully) enable individuals to live a life devoid of extreme cruelty and injustice have enabled many advances and improvements in our society.

    However, by saying 'our society' I don't mean to imply 'every society'. There indeed are societies on this planet where basic human rights are not respected. Can we or should we do something to force them to conform to our values is a much more difficult question to answer. The main issue so far, with enforcing our supposed values on other cultures, is double standards, or the fact we are much more likely to spot problems in others then we are in ourselves.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    What one society sees as accepted tradition another one may see as a forced practice. There are practices in some Middle Eastern tribal communities that you and I would find appalling. But these practices have been part of their society for hundreds of years. So who are we to go and tell them they can't do something we find horrible?
     
  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    One thing to consider might be where these people are practicing their traditions and what they see as basic human rights. See the basic human rights are, as @JJ_Maxx pointed out, are not constant. They are not entirely universal either. So if they are in their own land doing their own thing according to their own world view, who are we to say "hey now, cut that out, it's inhumane and barbaric," unless we want to create a "cultural empire" so to speak. But if they are within our borders doing things that are unacceptable here (according to our view of human rights) It is considerable for us to denounce such practices and end them. But not so far as to eradicate their world view entirely, but to grind out the detrimental portions. Again, that is if they are within our realm of "cultural jurisdiction" if you'll allow such an outlandish phraseology. :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
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  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    That's what I was saying. If an adult member of a culture isn't being pressured or forced to do something our culture considers wrong, I don't think it's our place to apply our version of ethics to others.

    That being said, I personally feel that a society should freely allow exit from a culture if an individual wishes to leave. No human should be forced against their will to participate in a practice they are offended by. Of course, exceptions always exist. ;)
     
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  9. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Now that's something I've never really considered. I mean, we in the States like to think if you don't like the way things are done somewhere, you can pack up and move. But as it happens there are many places in the world without that kind of mobility for a handful of reasons. I agree though!
     
  10. Darrell Standing
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    Darrell Standing Member

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    I think the West would do well to follow most Islamic laws...
     
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  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    What?
     
  12. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who says there has to be a line we don't cross?

    Female genitalia mutilation is the norm in some countries, should we stand back and watch these women suffer in this barbarism? While you or I may not be able to do anything, big govts can - but don't.

    These people go so far over the line from human basic rights it's not even a line, barely a dot.
     
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  13. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    But is it our political right to impose our world view. We can agree we have things better, but should we eradicate their culture and re-educate them in our own? Is that ethical? Then again, It's what America is doing, though in a much more subtle, way.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not saying this is what I necessarily believe, but it's something to think about.

    However tempting it is to want to rush in somewhere and 'save' other cultures from their evil ways, it's instructive to remember that it wasn't all that long ago that 'our' western culture did pretty horrible things too, and many of these horrible things were either encouraged or actually required by the Christian religion that our culture commonly believed in.

    Women were the property of men—fathers first, then husbands. There was no such thing as domestic violence or rape within marriage. Rape outwith marriage often turned women into social pariahs. Children got thrown into prison for stealing bread. Children were made to work for starvation wages at a very early age. They were also beaten and abused. Innocent people were horribly executed for the supposed crime of witchcraft. People owned slaves. People got thrown into asylums for being depressed. Women were forced (by fashion and propriety) to wear clothing than no sane individual would 'choose' for themselves. Women were thrown into insane asylums for having sexual desires. Women were sometimes genitally mutilated for that reason as well. Homosexuals were imprisoned. Hangings and floggings were commonly applied punishments. Etc etc.

    And what changed? We did. Our culture changed, and people within our culture made it happen. It wasn't something imposed from outside.

    I would say there is an argument for allowing change to come about naturally, in these other cultures as well. The seeds for change will be there already. Same as they were in 'our' culture too. I think if there is a change towards less cruelty and more human rights within a culture, it will probably be a more lasting and more ingrained change, than if it's been imposed from outwith, by another culture which—by reason of wealth and/or power—'can.'
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
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  15. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Though I won't consider it a bad thing if we got a little fire going and fanned it a little when the time was right. Or we could do what we've been doing and advertise our culture and ideals around the world until they become more "Americanized"/Westernized. It's already happening, it's only a matter of time. :/
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    'How' is a different argument from 'should'.
     
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  17. David Kulesh
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    David Kulesh Banned

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    I was watching a westboro babtist church docu and understood a disturbing truth. The lady said something like, none of us are worthy to judge, becuae we all have sinned, and have acted in opposition to God's will, and thus we all are unworthy of life. While this is extreme, I would be lying if I didn't recognize a certain degree of truth persevering through all the hate. It is hard to take someone who uses the term "fag enabler" seriously, but to judge anyone by our own standards, as far as we consider them a reflection of objective truth is ignorant. I am a Buddhist who holds skepticism as the highest ideal, so when I use the word God, I am referring to unconditional love. IMO the words love and God are interchanable for those of us in this world.
     
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  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Your first post in this forum is claiming Westboro Baptist has some truth to impart? Seriously? I am at a loss.
     
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  19. David Kulesh
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    David Kulesh Banned

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    The ego is an ugly thing, and If i were you i would try to weaken its influence, this is my second post and it has been made clear to me that it is not appropriate for me to post here. Carry on.
     
  20. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    WBC has no truth to impart to anyone, except as a warning to not be like them.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I do apologize David, but I do not understand your posts.
     
  22. David Kulesh
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    David Kulesh Banned

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    How would aspiring towards unc
     
  23. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    If I'm picking you up rightly, I think I was saying 'probably no' to should and that the 'how' is up to each culture to work out for itself. But again, it's not necessarily my view. My own instinct is to want to 'save' people from what I see as cruelty or stupidity ...and of course I have all the right answers, don't I?

    It's not an easy question to answer, is it?
     
  24. David Kulesh
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    David Kulesh Banned

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    I apologize for my oppositional tone. All I am trying to say is that none of us have access to eternal objective truth, thus every statement uttered by man, or dolphins if they are able, should be met with respect and consideration. If that is offensive then i am offensive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
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  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Please lets not spend a dime on helping other cultures. Help ours, PLEASE.
     

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