Archive for the ‘cultural relativism’ Category

September 5, 2011

Multiculturalism rests on the supposition—or better, the dishonest pretense—that all cultures are equal and that no fundamental conflict can arise between the customs, mores, and philosophical outlooks of two different cultures. The multiculturalist preaches that, in an age of mass migration, society can (and should) be a kind of salad bowl, a receptacle for wonderful exotic ingredients from around the world, the more the better, each bringing its special flavor to the cultural mix. For the salad to be delicious, no ingredient should predominate and impose its flavor on the others.

Even as a culinary metaphor, this view is wrong: every cook knows that not every ingredient blends with every other. But the spread and influence of an idea is by no means necessarily proportional to its intrinsic worth, including (perhaps especially) among those who gain their living by playing with ideas, the intelligentsia.

Theodore Dalrymple

This attitude is borne of relativism.

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To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs

November 10, 2009

You can only be truly tolerant of other people’s realities by having found some new way to inhabit your own…To develop tolerance is to develop a story about stories, a perspective on all our values and beliefs.

Anderson, W.T. (1990). Reality isn’t what it used to be: Theatrical politics, ready to wear religion, global myths, primitive chic, and other wonders of the post-modern world. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p.267f.

In other words, Anderson prescribes that ‘real’ tolerance (to ‘be truly tolerant’, like him) you must (no room for tolerance there, you must) have a constructivist view of ‘the nature of human truth’ and ensure that you say you hold your beliefs provisionally and not as the last word. You must, in short, change your beliefs (albeit allowing local colouring) to be like Anderson’s. Tolerance of intolerance is not tolerated of course. Got that?!

How postmodernism kills science

October 4, 2009

In his review of Higher Superstition, Arthur R. Kantrowitz wrote in Physics Today (January 1995): “The pigeonholing of science as a white, European, bourgeois, male, etc. view of the world is taken seriously by many members of the humanities and social science faculties of our leading universities and by literary intellectuals generally. To such demystifiers, the knowledge produced by science is no more reliable than that produced by Rother ways of knowing.

As Gross and Levitt put it, “Once it has been affirmed that one discursive community is as good as another, that the narrative of science holds no privileges over the narratives of superstition, the newly minted cultural critic can actually revel in his ignorance of deep scientific ideas.

The left’s flirtation with irrationalism, its reactionary rejection of the scientific worldview, is deplorable and contradicts its own deepest traditions. …The literary intellectuals control most of the undergraduate years of people who go on to become teachers, lawyers and journalists. To an alarming degree they have broadcast the proposition that science is too dangerous, and they have given prominence to ‘other ways of knowing,’ which they have put forward as more politically correct.

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Cultural relativism does not account for the situation of cultural whose moral values are not those of their neighbours

September 29, 2009

(Cultural relativism)… is only another way of saying that is (the fact of a specific value) equals ought (what should be so). Moreover, it does not account for the situation of cultural whose moral values are not those of their neighbours. The cultural rebel’s* is is not considered ought. Why? The answer of cultural relativism is that the rebel’s moral values…upset social cohesiveness and jeopardize cultural survival. So we discover that is is not ought after all. The cultural relativist has affirmed a value – the preservation of a culture at its current state – as more valuable than its destruction or transformation by one or more rebels within it. Once more, we are forced to ask why.

James Sire, The Universe Next Door, pp98-99

In essence, the cultural relativist is conservative for conservation’s sake. It is a value but it is arbitrary and lacks any capacity to question or healthily critique any given society and its failings. It can provide no vision for a better society. Cultural relativists are the best friend of those in power.

*An example of a cultural rebel would be a Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther or a Wilberforce. Their views were not necessarily those of the majority around them.