Blogs > Liberty and Power > Cultural Relativism 1, Justice 0

Sep 30, 2004 11:10 am

Cultural Relativism 1, Justice 0

Stories like this never fail to make angry - and my anger at the perpetrators is almost matched by my anger at their academic enablers, in my office and in yours.

By the way, this is my first attempt at the linking method Chris recommended I use for NYT stories. If it doesn't work, someone let me know.

UPDATE: Some have questioned my assertion about"academic enablers." Here's an example.

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Charles Johnson - 10/2/2004

Which religion promotes this? The story describes the decision of a tribal council's judicial procedures. Hideous, but I am unclear what it has to do with religious proclivities.

Charles Johnson - 10/2/2004

There are, to be sure, people in academia who are willing to sign on to cultural relativism; and the consequences of such views for women's liberation (or for any form of movement for justice) are hideous. But the FrontPage article you've cited here doesn't give any examples of such people. It's a hatchet piece concerned with attacking one feminist academic for opposing the war on Afghanistan as imperialist. (Nowhere in the article is she cited giving a "thumbs up to the Taliban"; the headline is nothing more than a lie.)

The article also begins by breezily dismissing RAWA, an autonomous women's group that has been opposing misogyny and tyranny in Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation period, through the civil war, and who put their lives on the line exposing the Taliban and directly resisting them through smuggling film out of Afghanistan, convening secret girls' schools, aiding refugees, etc. RAWA opposed the U.S. war on Afghanistan primarily because the central feature of the U.S.'s war plan was extensive bombing combined with arming and supporting Northern Alliance warlords--the same gynocidal jihadi thugs who RAWA had spent half a decade resisting and being persecuted by before the consolidation of power in the hands of the Taliban. RAWA could hardly be described as cultural relativists; what they do have, and what the FrontPage commentator apparently does not care about, is an acute knowledge of the material situation on the ground and the politics of the new boss (same as the old boss) in a "free" Afghanistan.

Aeon J. Skoble - 9/30/2004

I don't know where you work, so perhaps I overstated the case. It's true, though, that cultural relativism is a real academic phenomenon, not tiny.

Gus diZerega - 9/30/2004

academic enablers?

Do you know anyone in academia who enabled this - none did in my office - or is this a jibe at the tiny number of cultural relativists who are heartless enough to really walk their talk?

M.D. Fulwiler - 9/29/2004

Truly shocking, and any religion which promotes this is evil. End of argument.