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Does Cultural Relativism Excuse Inhumane Treatment to Human Beings?

Socio Political Rants

Richard From Peking Duck Raised a really interesting question.

Does Cultural Relativism Excuse Inhuman Treatment of Human Beings?

The answer is "No”. It's actually the worse kind of thought processes for the west to take, as human rights activists already have to face that sort of issue at home, and part of the bargaining power they have with their governments and local chiefs, is the more powerful affluent “west” takes a stand on those issues. Therefore in order for the developing world to go “forward” (ie. richer) and fully participate in the globalize economy, the government must follow through on human rights.

When misinformed liberals begin to question themselves and start to excuse inhumane behavior in the developing world, it’s a huge political miscalculation, and has far more impact than just withdrawing support, as the political implications are that power structures regain some footing in the main premise and take away driving force behind any kind of change. (Which is why even though it's obnoxious and hypocritical for the US to occasionally make statements against human rights abuses in China, it's still an useful and important message to send.)

The United Nation's Stance on this subject. :
The Challenge of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity.
by Diana Ayton-Shenker

If you want to explore this issue further, this book is a good start: In the Realm of the Diamond Queen By Anna Tsing
This is the original post from Peking Duck and my reply, which is probably written more in plane English.

No excuse

Also I just want to say, I am a little in love with Peking Duck for always bringing up the issues most close to my heart. (No Need to point out the obvious, I know. It's not the first time and it won't be the last okay?)(ps. all you have to do is read the above post)



Thanks for these links. This issue inevitably arises when I criticize China for treating peasants similar to the way the Palestinians treat women. Some say I am "shallow" or "simplistic." What is shallow or simplistic about pointing out a fundamental act of evil? Yeah, I know all about their culture and their past. That still doesn't excuse burning a peasant's house down and killing the people inside because you will make some money out of it.


No excuses, Zero tolerance. I am with you all the way.

I have to admit that book is a little hard going just that, Anna was the professor who taught me a lot of this stuff, so it came to my mind first. If I think of something better I will let you know.

Culture Smulsher, I should have my footbound and sold to my husband. Those people are simplistic and lack vision.

Your sista in stuggle. ;)



First, it's cute you are in love with Richard. He's a very debonnaire gentleman, and one of the smartest people I know.

Second, you really have bound feet!?

Third, it's a UN report - it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Fourth, it's a shame and I don't see the customs changing any time soon.


Ah.. you're so cynical Jeremy. But not too, because you can find me cute. :)



Oh, total cynic, but I prefer to think of myself as a cynical optimist :-)

But, you can't like me, because I never lived in WeHo or the Castro ;-)


Okay. I promise I won't like you. But you can like me back, I don't mind. I kissed a gay boy once because he said, "I never kissed a girl in my life" so everyone said, "Oh you have to do it ONCE" so I voleenteered, and he said, "You know, that was quite fun. Can we do it again?" after that his boyfriend then hit him on the head...

d fresh

Hey, I think they talk about that in the U.N. article, Yan.


Nah, that's cool. I went through my Asian phase already. Now back into redheads.

If I did eat Yolk, though, you're the type I'd go for, if that makes you feel good.

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