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Cultural relativism is popular, and it's undermining the West

Reader comment on item: Is Western Europe Turning to the Right?

Submitted by Dave (United States), Jul 19, 2021 at 15:31

Cultural relativism means only judging cultures relative to their own internal standards and not by standards external to those cultures. What makes this concept dangerous is that it defies common sense judgements that would otherwise protect one's own culture from harmful ones. If there's no qualitative difference between Yemen and Denmark, between Canada and Iran, or between one country and any other, then we might as well defund the military and open our borders. And that explains much of contemporary leftist ideology.

This concept poses as moralism, but it is utterly impractical. At its core, it has borrowed admirable notions of racial equality and taken them to absurd extremes. Thus, if one claims that aspects of Muslim culture are toxic, such as the acceptance of terrorism, or the way women and religious minorities are treated, and that therefore we must exercise caution in our immigration policy, then the charge of "racism" will be raised, despite these issues having nothing to do with race.
Cultural relativism appears to stem from Judeo-Christian ethics. There is the biblical teaching in Genesis that God created man in His own image. While this is a statement about creation and human potential, it yet allows for differences in outcomes. The Union used this biblical concept appropriately and heroically in opposing slavery, but now we see it being manhandled by fanatic levelers who want to erase all value judgements between cultures.

Forgiving and gentle Judeo-Christianity is vulnerable to more ruthless ideologies based on power and the glorification of violence. Nazism was widely tolerated before it was stopped, Communists could always count on well-intentioned appeasers and Islamism has gained shocking traction in Europe and passive acceptance among American leftists.

An egregious example of a liberal state being harmed by adherence to these principles is Sweden. A formerly safe country with little crime, Sweden now ranks second in Europe in gun violence. Muslim gangs have formed extortion rackets and are shaking down small businesses, and Sweden has a serious rape problem, where about 60 percent of the perpetrators are from Muslim backgrounds (see recent Lund U study). There are no-go zones and Jews are threatened by violent antisemitism in Muslim areas. Sweden's generous welfare system is also threatened by being overburdened by migrants; having open borders in a welfare state is like trying to air condition your house with the windows open. Other countries in Europe are facing similar challenges, largely of their own making.

Despite all this evidence against cultural relativism, the opinion leaders - the media, the academics etc. - are cheerleaders for it. They have been particularly effective with the young, as they are the most exposed to the latest ideas, however idiotic. The above poll shows that trend, and it is concerning.

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