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All cultures are not equal. Shockingly, some are inferior
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 08, 2007

A very interesting read from an American woman who married an Afghan man she met while in college and then moved to Afghanistan (prior to the Taliban). One thing she said which caught my eye:
Individual Afghans were enchantingly courteous — but the Afghanistan I knew was a bastion of illiteracy, poverty, treachery and preventable diseases. It was also a police state, a feudal monarchy and a theocracy, rank with fear and paranoia. Afghanistan had never been colonised. My relatives said: “Not even the British could occupy us.” Thus I was forced to conclude that Afghan barbarism was of their own making and could not be attributed to Western imperialism.

Long before the rise of the Taleban, I learnt not to romanticise Third World countries or to confuse their hideous tyrants with liberators. I also learnt that sexual and religious apartheid in Muslim countries is indigenous and not the result of Western crimes — and that such “colourful tribal customs” are absolutely, not relatively, evil. Long before al-Qaeda beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and Nicholas Berg in Iraq, I understood that it was dangerous for a Westerner, especially a woman, to live in a Muslim country. In retrospect, I believe my so-called Western feminism was forged in that most beautiful and treacherous of Eastern countries.
The emphasized sentences are something a large portion of the so-called 'western elites' have yet to figure out, or if they have, to acknowledge. We hear from many that it is our culture and our policy which has radicalized them. In fact, it isn't. What happens in many of these countries has been happening for centuries. It's just been happening mostly in "the dark". As Phyllis Chesler points out, Afghanistan's culture isn't a result of colonialism or its after effects.

It is a result of its religion and its interpretation overlayed with its own unique culture. We see the same sort of thing in Pakistan. And it is certainly evident in the Middle East to a lesser or greater extent depending on the country.

Yet there are those in the west who preach a pernicious form of cultural relativism which says that all cultures are equal. They defend Muslim cultures which hold their women as virtual chattel and true second class citizens as being "as good" as any western culture which strives toward equality for all citizens.
Nevertheless, Western intellectual-ideologues, including feminists, have demonised me as a reactionary and racist “Islamophobe” for arguing that Islam, not Israel, is the largest practitioner of both sexual and religious apartheid in the world and that if Westerners do not stand up to this apartheid, morally, economically and militarily, we will not only have the blood of innocents on our hands; we will also be overrun by Sharia in the West. I have been heckled, menaced, never-invited, or disinvited for such heretical ideas — and for denouncing the epidemic of Muslim-on-Muslim violence for which tiny Israel is routinely, unbelievably scapegoated.
Interestingly the very people who defend the cultures Chesler condemns, such as feminists, would be the very first victims of that culture. Conveniently forgotten in their defense of such regimes and cultures - such as the Taliban - are the executions of women in soccer stadiums for the horrible capital crime of not being properly escorted when out of the house.

Cognitive dissonance such as that is hard to explain at times. That's especially true when the argument against cultures such as these being "as good" or "equal" to others seems so obvious. However instead of addressing Chesler's points, critics of Chesler - someone who has actually lived in such a culture - are reduced to the use of an old stand by in order to demonize and dismiss her inconvenient first-hand testimony. Political correctness. They accuse her of "Islamaphobia", and in so doing, feel justified in ignoring her.

Undaunted, however, Ms. Chesler issues a challenge to those western intellectuals who defend these sorts of cultures by putting their defense in perspective:
Now is the time for Western intellectuals who claim to be antiracists and committed to human rights to stand with these dissidents. To do so requires that we adopt a universal standard of human rights and abandon our loyalty to multicultural relativism, which justifies, even romanticises, indigenous Islamist barbarism, totalitarian terrorism and the persecution of women, religious minorities, homosexuals and intellectuals. Our abject refusal to judge between civilisation and barbarism, and between enlightened rationalism and theocratic fundamentalism, endangers and condemns the victims of Islamic tyranny.
Amen. Now, go to read the article and then read the very first comment. Then, as I did, you're welcome to let out a long and weary sigh.
 
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I joked about this in another thread, but seriously now...Would this post even be allowed on Dean Esmay’s blog?

To me, that perfectly illustrates the way that the Left attemts to smother these issues at birth with a pillow of political correctness.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I emailed some of this out yesterday to Debbie Schlussel because of some "disagreements" she and Roger Ebert had.

When I read this article I was reminded of the 1991 film with Sally Field titled "Not Without My Daughter" about an American woman that went to Iran with her Iranian husband and lived a nightmarish espisode while trying to escape to return to America with her child. In searching for an synopsis of the movie I came across this snippet of a review by Roger Ebert.
This is what Roger Ebert said in his review of the movie.
"’Not Without My Daughter’ does not play fair with its Muslim characters. If a movie of such a vitriolic and spiteful nature were to be made in America about any other ethnic group, it would be denounced as racist and prejudiced."
I think that Ebert’s remarks captures the essence of what you are saying here:
The emphasized sentences are something a large portion of the so-called ’western elites’ have yet to figure out, or if they have, to acknowledge. We hear from many that it is our culture and our policy which has radicalized them. In fact, it isn’t. What happens in many of these countries has been happening for centuries. It’s just been happening mostly in "the dark". As Phyllis Chesler points out, Afghanistan’s culture isn’t a result of colonialism or its after effects.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Afghanistan had never been colonised. My relatives said: “Not even the British could occupy us.” Thus I was forced to conclude that Afghan barbarism was of their own making and could not be attributed to Western imperialism.
Frankly, the failure of countries that were colonized is mostly not due to colonization. In fact, some probably benifited from colonization.

And being colonized suggests an initial failure; in Mexico and South America, small bands of Spaniards achieved conquest—not simply due to horses and technology, but because of a superior decision making loop that performed better in unexpected circumstances.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yes, McQ, amen! Chester sums it up nicely.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/
I’ve also been interested in Mexico’s defeat in both the Texas rebellion and the Mexican-American War.

Both strike me as examples of a superior decision making process winning out. The Mexicans started off with a large professional army, and while in a protracted war the superior American economy would have crushed Mexico, Mexico was in fact crushed before the American economy was brought to bear.

The opinion of Yankees back in the day was simply that Mexicans were wimps (probably not the opinion of the Americans who fought). In fact the Mexicans were tough, and their calvery was first rate.

Modern opinion is that Mexico didn’t have a chance. That might be correct, but why? The modern view is of a powerful US and weak Mexico, but back in the day, the Mexicans had a large professional army and the US had a small standing officier corp and relied on calling up the militia.

Here is an example that I think hints at the answer: prior to a battle, a Mexican officier suggested placing cannons on a high peak. The Mexican general ignored the advice. On the US side, a Lt. R. Lee suggested the same thing to the American general, and in the morning Lt. Lee and several cannons were in place on the peak, commanding the battlefield.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Ask a leftist about the Hindu Caste system. On the one hand, it is an ancient practice by exotic, poor, brown people who have a history of being exploited by white Europeans. On the other hand, it institutionalizes income disparity and material inequality.

Watch their head explode!
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
don’t strain your shoulder patting yourself on the back. plenty of western feminist ngo’s were pointing out years before the invasion that afghanistan’s treatment of women was shocking. who has been taking the lead in trying to take on female genital mutiliation in africa? again, mostly western feminist ngo’s.

the point is that changing culture, as opposed to political structures, takes generations and a tremendous amount of work. Plenty of people, both liberal and conservative, are working to do so. Sure there are idiots who claim that every indigenous culture is of equal merit. they are balanced on the right by idiots who claim that the US is the superior culture in the world. this country does a lot of things well, but blind patriotism is about as poisonous as blind cultural relativity.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
they are balanced on the right by idiots who claim that the US is the superior culture in the world.
We aren’t? Gee I must have missed the part of history where Sweden surpassed the US in aid to the poor and in it’s ability to make the world a richer place....

plenty of western feminist ngo’s were pointing out years before the invasion that afghanistan’s treatment of women was shocking. who has been taking the lead in trying to take on female genital mutiliation in africa? again, mostly western feminist ngo’s.
Yeah they took the lead in publishing PETITIONS! Yeah the Taliban feared those On-line petitions...I dareasay that 60-75% of those "Western Feminist NGO" memberships OPPOSE the GWoT and oppose our actions in Iraq. As long as we "talked" the good talk things were Ok, but Heaven Forfend we DO something....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
plenty of western feminist ngo’s were pointing out years before the invasion that afghanistan’s treatment of women was shocking. who has been taking the lead in trying to take on female genital mutiliation in africa? again, mostly western feminist ngo’s.
Those feminists have a tendency to change sides when that evil Bush administration actually does something (as opposed to the chatter the feminists engage in).
they are balanced on the right by idiots who claim that the US is the superior culture in the world. this country does a lot of things well, but blind patriotism is about as poisonous as blind cultural relativity.
The US is the superior culture. That’s not blind patriotism, either, it is based upon facts.

For example, it is possible for a Mexican to recognize the superiority of US culture while being a patriotic Mexican. You are confusing two seperate things.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Sure there are idiots who claim that every indigenous culture is of equal merit. they are balanced on the right by idiots who claim that the US is the superior culture in the world. this country does a lot of things well, but blind patriotism is about as poisonous as blind cultural relativity.
The basic concept of cultural relativity is that cultural traits and values must be understood from within the context of a given culture. Essentially, it is an ethnographic tool. And a necessary one. However, beyond that it only results in garbage: cultures are not equal, and anyone who claims otherwise is a fool.

Once we conclude that cultures are not equal, it is reasonable to decide which cultures are superior and which are inferior. That ranking should be based upon facts, not feelings, not patrotism, not personal preferences.

I kinda like the native American cultures, where a man can have multiple wifes, war and hunting are the measure of a man, the man only owns horses and weapons and the woman gets to haul all of her junk, etc. I even like the Sioux (and others) approach of stampeding bison off cliffs and only taking the most desired meat (tongue), leaving the rest to rot . . . (appeals to my anti-Green irony). But the fact is, native American cultures were inferior, despite romantic portrayal.

I’m curious—which culture does Francis think is superior and why?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
. . . but blind patriotism is about as poisonous as blind cultural relativity.
Patrotism is blind. It is sort of like loving your mother. You can love your mother even if you realize she isn’t the best mother in the neighborhood. You might not love her if she was really, really bad, but aside from extremes you will lover her despite faults.

It is reasonable to love one’s country best while understanding that it isn’t really factually the best country. The same applies to culture.

America and its culture are not perfect, and they never will be. And some other countries/cultures are better in some ways. But overall, America is the best country, and it is best because the root American culture is best.

As a side point, American culture is good at appropriating the best of other cultures: food, music, dance, drink and therby improving itself.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As a side point, American culture is good at appropriating the best of other cultures: food, music, dance, drink and therby improving itself.
CULTURAL THEFT J’accuse!

Honestly I think it’s been one of the Anglo advantages...we will thieve from anyone, shamelessly. I actually feel for France, Le Belle Pays seems FRIGHTENED of the outside world. Any time someone or group starts purging foreign words from day-to-day use I think it’s syptomatic of some deeper problems.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Iranian police are cracking down on womens rights activists to mark international womens day. Protests are centered on reform of Islamic laws that discriminate against women.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
don’t strain your shoulder patting yourself on the back.
Don’t strain yourself using the shift key.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Honestly I think it’s been one of the Anglo advantages...we will thieve from anyone, shamelessly. I actually feel for France, Le Belle Pays seems FRIGHTENED of the outside world. Any time someone or group starts purging foreign words from day-to-day use I think it’s syptomatic of some deeper problems.
Joe,

That advantage derives from a sense of security, which in turn derives from success. Our success derives from key, but often subtle, cultural values.

Here is an example from the Indian wars that might resonate: prior to Custer’s defeat, Americans in the East were in fact sympathetic towards the Plains Indians, including our enemies, the Sioux. But with Custer’s defeat, we developed a widespread eagerness to defeat the Sioux and bring them to heal (this is often pointed out in lefty college courses without the context that prior to Custer’s defeat Americans were mostly sympathetic towards the Sioux; the opinion of Americans post-Battle of Little Bighorn is used to illustrait how awful American culture was/is).

Our sympathy existed while we felt secure; when we faced a dramatic (if minor) reverse, insecurity set in and opinion changed (likewise the lefties who demonstrait against Israel would quickly change their tune if they faced the insecurity Israel faces).

As a side point, Rain-in-the-Face, the Sioux warrior believed (at the time) to have killed and mutilated Custer’s brother, eventually went on a sort of talk circuit. IIRC, it was Florida where a Custer partisan in an audience attempted to kill him, and a bystander saved his live by moving the gun. Wow, we are such a viscious culture—those who mutilate our dead soldiers go on our talk circuit.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
. . . the point is that changing culture, as opposed to political structures, takes generations and a tremendous amount of work.
The feminist ngos have essentially nil chance of changing the cultures in question.

American capitalism is the most likely vehicle that will implement positive change. Hence, airliners flying into the Towers . . .

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Lighten up, Francis.
 
Written By: Uncle Pinky
URL: http://

 
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