A Culture To Arms?

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In a recent article at NRO Senator Thompson writes ...

It's time for people who believe that they have a stake in Western civilization and its traditions to get a little backbone -- even if it offends somebody.

A sentence that is in many ways is the essence of the "un-PC". Though the article's stated purpose is the defence of a robust telling of history, Senator Thompson is taking aim at the bankrupcy of the multi-cultural mindset and the havoc it wreaks.

The sentence points out how the West has apologized for its existence and feels guilt for its success. This is cultural angst is a poison. I am so sick of reading how we are the cause of the world's woes, from global warming to poverty, war to obesity. We are committing suicide by inches.

Thompson in this article is sounding the call to arms in the arena of ideas, and culture. He quotes Orwell ...

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."
and continues in his article with ...
Even in America, our children are often taught a watered down, inoffensive and culturally sensitive version of events ranging from the Crusades to the battle at the Alamo.

which strikes at the heart of the multi-culti thesis. The end result of the multi-culti thesis is that the only civilization not worth celebrating is our own. American exceptionalism cannot be sustained if we having nothing to celebrate. Furthermore, the West has brought the world representative government, the scientific method and the ideal of women's equality. Is all that not worth defending? Is it not worth offending someone? Is it not worth fighting for, dying for, and even killing for?

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46 Comments

stay puft said:

that just seems a bit confused.

First of all, there's a difference between celebrating culture and saying "our culture is better than everyone else's"

second of all, just because you're sick of hearing something doesn't make it wrong. Now, I surely don't want to argue that the west is responsible for the world's problems, but I'm willing to recognize that it hasn't been all roses and tootsie pops, either. The west has made loads of great contributions. It's also pulled some shit, and I don't it would serve anyone to turn a blind eye to that fact.

third of all, what's with this "robust telling of history" followed by the 1984 quote? creepy.

Do you want an honest telling of history, or a pro-west slanted version of everything?

I don't think people have been afraid to insult anyone. An honest account of the crusades (the one where pope pious comes off as a conniving, power-hungry jagoff) doesn't tip-toe around the facts.

All throughout the midle ages competing powers fought each other over control of land. In europe, it was an on-going, content-wide war for 1000 years. The Islamic expansion followed all the same rules. The only difference was that they weren't Christian and they won. and the pope sought to end european infighting by uniting europe (under his leadership) against a common foe: the savage Muslims. Savage why? because they weren't european?

for as long as "the west" has been a center of power, the question has been, "to what extent has the west exerted it's power over the Other corners of the world?"

so there you have it.

I don't know what you're referring to by, "bankrupcy of the multi-cultural mindset and the havoc it wreaks"

would you prefer a mindset of cultural superiority?

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
kewel reply.

I will respond pt by pt tonight. but your last sentence is money quote so to speak "would you prefer a mindset of cultural superiority?"
In short, yes. A feeling of cultural superiority IS preferable to the one of cultural _inferiority_.

Go look at the 'history' text books our kids read. Even the aztecs, who practiced human sacrifice, are protrayed in a positive light. Go find something positive about a dead white guy, who is not a commie in one of them books.

Jack said:

If we do not teach our children that our culture is superior, our culture will die. Is that what you want, puffalump?

stay puft marshmallow man said:

Jack,

that might be the craziest thing you've ever posted. However, I'm sure it's based on impeccable logic and not to be questioned. Since your ability to reason far exceeds mine, I guess all I can say is "whatever Jack"

ok, I guess I can say more. for one thing, you can never again accuse anything any liberal says as being alarmist.

for another thing, if the part of our culture that died was the part that said, "We're better than everyone else," than yes, that is what I want.

indulging ideas of cultural superiority is a dangerous game. we have sports to vent our tribal tendencies

why don't the great lakes flood Michigan? because Ohio sucks

Jack said:

So you admit that you cannot refute my logic, and that you want our culture to die?

Puffalump, EVERY culture says it's the best. If one does not think so, then one does not bother to preserve it. Why would someone continue to practice and teach his culture to his children if he thinks another culture is superior?

If you cannot understand that simple logic, well, the Democrat Party must really love you.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

the thing about your logic was a joke.

Haven't you ever seen fiddler on the roof? We love our culture because it is our culture. Can you only think in terms of hierarchy?

...so once again, your "logic" is full of holes.
saying that we are not superior does not imply that we are inferior. I know you aren't big on the idea of equality, but I am.

Jack said:

I am NOT big on equality of CULTURES. Are you saying that a culture that degrades women is equal to ours? Is a culture that hangs homosexuals equal to ours? Is a culture in which the government can tell you how many children to have equal to ours? Is a culture that allows no private ownership equal to ours? Is a culture that sews up their little girls genitals so they cannot have premarital sex equal to ours?

Our culture embraces the equality of opportunity, and position based on merit and acheivement. That makes our culture SUPERIOR to those that do not.

stay puft marshmallow man said:

yes, I don't think that we are superior to the rest of the world, so I therefore condone rape and lynchings and everything else.

christ sake, why do you take everything to the extreme? Obviously Nazis are bad. You've got to draw a line somewhere between embracing genocide and going around saying we're better than everyone else.

you're picking out specific practices, but I don't think those are things that people define their culture by.

Those guys in Texas tied a gay guy to a fence post and beat him to death. That isn't American culture. If it is, it needs to change.

Jack said:

That is not American Culture -- it's American CRIME. They went to jail for that. Did the people who hanged the homosexuals in Iran get put in jail? Of course not, hanging homosexuals is a LAW there, not a CRIME.

Is female genital mutilation a crime in Africa? No! It is the culture.

I pointed out things that are culturally accepted in other countries, and your idea of "equal culture" is to point out a CRIME here?

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
Thankyou for making my point.

I point out ours is a culture worth defending. You then equate lynching or rape with our culture as a means of defending some other cultures in which genital mutilation and the public hanging of homosexuals in IS the culture.

What a hoot. This is a classic knee jerk reaction Marshmallow. You put crime apples in the cultural orange bin, and I bet you are willing to defend this position. Please do, I even will get you a brand new shovel.

Thank you Marshamllow. This is a good day.

Jack and Jacob: Well done.

All ideas are NOT equal.

If so, then democracy = republic = monarchy = communist totalitarianism = NAZI totalitarianism = theocracy = tribes = oligarchy = plutocracy = dictatorship = anything.

Likewise, the Aztec religion is like Assemblies of God. Muslim is like Methodist. Morman is like Mennonite. Etc, you get the drift.

Liberals don't get what Conservatives do - the idea of 'America' is still an ascendant idea.

stay puft said:

Jacob,

what are you talking about?
I point out that bad things have happened on American soil, so I therefore support a mythical culture of rape and believe that our own culture is worthless?????????

how much kool-aid do you have to drink to get to where you are coming from???

Show me where I defended what you said I did? You're twisting my words. Ugly things happen everywhere, accurding to you, if they happen here, it's an anomaly, but if they happen somewhere else, you say it's part of their culture.

so take the log out of your own eye, as it were. No culture defines itself by the amount of pain and suffering it inflicts on women and gays.

You're arguing that we are culturally superior to the rest of the world because They(?) rape women and hang gays? If you really think that the rest of the world is comprised of murderous savages, no wonder you think we're superior.

People in other countries see it as part of American culture to be trigger-happy gun-crazed, crass cowboys. Of course, that's not an accurate understanding of American culture. no more accurate is saying that other cultures are centered around killing gays and raping women.

If there is indeed an island of gay-killing rapists, I'll agree with you that they have a problem. But even then it would be a leap to say that their culture is at fault.

Is part of German culture killing Jews, or is that a f$cked-up thing that happened despite the basic decency of German culture?

stay puft said:

also, Jack:

Is there a difference between the legal system and culture?

I think so. For instance: part of youth culture in many places consists of underage drinking, drugs, etc. Whether something is legal and whether it is cultural are two different issues.

We can agree that Iran has some screwed-up laws. Does that make Persian culture inferior to American culture? Saddam Hussein had some crazy laws, too. But for some reason we didn't blame Iraqi culture. In fact, we said that with the right political reforms they could flourish.

genital mutilation sucks, and I believe that folks on both sides of the isle have been outspoken against such practices. To say that the "patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance" in "African countries" is therefore inferior to our own is a little cocky, don't you think?

stay puft said:

ok, on re-reading my earlier posts, I see that what I said was,

"you're picking out specific practices, but I don't think those are things that people define their culture by.

Those guys in Texas tied a gay guy to a fence post and beat him to death. That isn't American culture."

Jack, you said, "That's NOT American culture..." I know, that's what I said, so we agree on that.

then Jacob said that I, "equate lynching or rape with our culture as a means of defending some other cultures"

That is not the case, Jacob. Again, I said that it's NOT our culture. To say that it IS would be an inaccurate representation of American culture. wouldn't you agree?

Anonymous said:

Certainly bad things happen in the United States. That is why I am trying to counter the murderous culture of abortion that has flourished in this country. I mentioned things that are culturally accepted in other countries: genital mutilation of girls, "honor killings" of women, suicide bombers, female infanticide, hanging of homosexuals, etc. And all you can come up with is underage drinking and drug use?

"Is there a difference between the legal system and culture?"

Yes, but both are defined by the adult population, and so the law reflects the adult culture.

"I think so. For instance: part of youth culture in many places consists of underage drinking, drugs, etc."

That's why the youth do not make the laws.

"We can agree that Iran has some screwed-up laws. Does that make Persian culture inferior to American culture?"

Yes.

"Saddam Hussein had some crazy laws, too. But for some reason we didn't blame Iraqi culture. In fact, we said that with the right political reforms they could flourish."

The hope is to change the culture to something more civilized.


"To say that the 'patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance' in 'African countries' is therefore inferior to our own is a little cocky, don't you think?"

So what? If African culture was so great, why were they still in the Stone Age when the Europeans colonized the place?

"Is part of German culture killing Jews, or is that a f$cked-up thing that happened despite the basic decency of German culture?"

The Germans were the most crude and unrefined people in European during the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. I should know -- that's where my family is from.

"Ugly things happen everywhere, accurding to you, if they happen here, it's an anomaly, but if they happen somewhere else, you say it's part of their culture."

No, puffalump, if they happen here they are CRIMES. If they happen in Africa or the Middle East, they are accepted. That's the difference.

But tell me, puffalump, do you consider our culture superior to any other? If so, which ones?

Jack said:

Sorry, my name did not post on that last one.

Noonan said:

Some cultures are definitely better or worse than others. No culture is perfect, and there are many aspects of culture that one should not judge as better/worse - such as artistic or musical tastes, fiddler on the roof esque traditions, etc. But some cultures breed hate and violence, and more so than others, even though all societies have violence and hate to some degree.

Insofar as we can reject moral relativism, or the idea that one system of morals is as good as and equal to any other, we can say some cultures are better than others. I say that with the full belief and confidence that our culture has a long way to improve, particularly in respecting life and human dignity, and probably civility toward each other too. We can learn from the positives of other cultures, even those with severe problems.

For example, the pre-holocaust Germans didn't wake up one day and decide to kill the Jews. Their culture long brewed a hatred and prejudice and acceptance of injustice against a people they managed to marginalize to the point where they no longer considered them persons worthy of protection under the laws.

I hope we can all agree that evil is not born from a vacuum but is cultivated over time, and may permeate a culture. That is exactly why the culture wars are so important, and in my view, particularly important to social conservatives.

stay puft said:

OK, I think there's a bigger difference between culture and code of laws that you're allowing for.

My point with the youths and drugs wasn't to say, "look how horrible American culture is" but to point out that laws and cultural practices don't always coincide.

Is suicide bombing legal anywhere?

are you defining cultural superiority based on technological advancement? because Yes, the culture that bore us Harley Davidson is pretty sweet, but the ability to continue to get everything you need from the same plot of land for 10,000 years isn't bad either. It's a value call, don't you think?

Was our colonization a result of our cultural strength or weakness? Sure, we were able to subjugate simpler folk, but what need drove westerners to such lengths in the first place? While they were content to live out their lives for thousands of generations, we were busy developing a society that depended on endless expansion for it's own stability.

I think it's just a little outrageous to say that we're culturally superior to Persians because of crazy laws in Iran, but I'd expect nothing less coming from you.

Now, like I said I think there's a bigger separation between laws and culture.
The simple answer to your question is that cultures are complex systems, and I haven't spent enough time in a different culture to understand it well enough to judge. If I did, I imagine I'd end up preferring my own, it being the one I was brought up in, but that's not to say it's Superior in some objective sense.

I'm also not comfortable with this idea that we're culturally superior to other people in general. I don't think thinking that we're better than everyone else is what makes America great, but the more people get this idea in their heads, the more our culture changes from "American Culture" to "American Culture with a chip on it's shoulder." and it seems like that's a step down a road that leads to no good.

Having said that, I will say that from my understanding, the culture of the Yanomamo indians is pure crap. Screw them.

just what do you mean by, "culture" anyway?

Kevin said:

Please distinguish culture from nationalism. All I've ever heard the far right do is complain about American culture. Instant gratification, possibly having to learn another language, too much sex, Godlessness, entitlement (often complained about combined with entitlement, which I think is funny). . .

It's one thing to say "I'm loyal to my country. It has it's faults, but I'm loyal," and another to say "My culture is superior to all," like a drunk sailor (the latter is very common in the US, btw).

Jack said:

Western culture is the basis for democracy. Since you do not consider our culture superior to others, I must assume you do not think that democracy is a superior form of government.

But then, I expect nothing less from a socialist.

Jack said:

"Is suicide bombing legal anywhere?"

Well, Saddam was paying the families of the suicide bombers. It is culturally acceptable to murder Jews in most Middle Eastern countries.

jacob said:

All,
I ME countries it is culturally acceptable to kill 'others'; the Jews being the most other-like. Most 'others' beng simply 'non-Muslim' or even of the wrong sect. If these killings were NOT accepatble, then the tribal leaders would step in and end them. Also, many on the west bank get money for their efforts.

I recall a recent discussion on dehumanizing someone as a pretext/precondition for killing them. The protocols of Zion are taught in Saudi schools as fact for crying out loud. The Jews are apes and pigs.

On a separate note the concept of honor killing is also widespread throughout the region. There are even pockets of it in South America. In India unwanted girl children are murdered. In China they are often left on a hill to die. The question is not the only the level of violence, but is the violence considered 'okey dokey' or not.

Where you blundered above Marshmallow is you in one statement compared an aberration in our culture to the norm in another. This is the apples to oranges comparrison I was speaking of.

As Jack correctly pointed out above, if you are not an advocate for your own culture, then your culture will die, because other cultures DO consider themselves superior to your own. Nothing is in stasis.

You have on the other hand considered such advocacy (judging from your statements above) with distaste. This is the essence of the mutli-culti trap. If other cultures have strong advocacy, then you cannot take a stance of studied indifference (nothing in superior) or all you DO hold precious will simply vanish. Once gone it is nearly impossible to replicate/recessatate(sp?) a culture.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
And no, the rest of the world is not entirely composed of murderous savages. The Indians, and Chinese certainly do not fit this mold. The ME does appear to have quiet a few 7th century types running about. Are you saying one needs to find an utter savage before one can distiungish. Is the choice only 'savage' v. 'not savage'?

stay puft said:

No Jacob, you were going on about cultures of rape and lynching. I have never heard of such a culture. Find me a cultural group whose members will say, "What binds us together as a people is our collective love for raping women"

You want to play the doublethink game of believing that our culture really is superior while at the same time knowing that every cultural group thinks the same thing about their own culture? Be my guest. I've always admired your knack for fooling yourself into believing that you are Right.

Saddam Hussein gave people money so it was therefore part of their culture? You have a very odd understanding of "culture"

If a government allocates spending to one project or another, that project is instantly raised to the level of cultural institution? Is that what you're saying?

You don't think the average Iraqi things suicide bombing is an adoration?

Jack said:

Islamic culture, and law, allow one to beat his wife. That is neither accepted nor legal here.

Islamic culture, and law, permit "honor killings." That is neither accepted nor legal here.

Then there is the penchant for female infanticide in China.

Killing of homosexuals is accepted, and REQUIRED by law in Iran. Is it so here?

Yes, puffalump, our culture is superior to theirs.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
Actually it was you who linked a lynching in america with the practice of female genital mutilation in an earlier comment you made.

Your comment implied a cultural equivalence. I can only go by what you wrote. Outlandish as that seems. I will go and re-read your comments above, but is was a reply of yours to Jack that got this started.

Since you feel I have misrepresented your argument, I will go find the comment that began this line. We will see if we can agree on the meaning of what you wrote.

stay puft said:

I'm guessing this is what you're talking about:

Jack said, http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2007/05/a_culture_to_arms.php#comment-57851

then I said, http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2007/05/a_culture_to_arms.php#comment-57859

cute video Jack.
Your comment about culture and democracy makes no sense at all. Democracy came out of Ancient Greek thought. What does our own culture have in common with ancient Greek's? It was a place where slavery, infanticide, and polytheism were the common or normal. Culturally, I'm sure we have more in common with modern Iran.

or course I'm not saying that nothing bad happens in the world. once again, what do you mean by "culture" anyway?

jack said:

Puffalump, we do, in fact, take much of our culture, laws, and government from the ancient Greeks, through the Romans.

For example, we are a monogamist culture, unlike most of the Middle East. We do not have the lunar calendar of the Middle East. Even the Roman Senate was, early on, elected. Not everyone could vote, of course, but that was true in the early days of the U.S., too. (Even now, we do not have the right to vote for President.) The Founding Father's believed that those who pay the taxes should be the ones voting.

The Romans also weren't known for beating their women, as the Islamists do. (Accepted in both culture and law.)

In one sense, you are correct that we HAD more in common with modern Iranian culture. However, that culture died in their last revolution, and they have reverted to their Dark Ages culture.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,

>then I said, http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2007/05/a_culture_to_arms.php#commen

Correct. You wrote it. I can only operate on what you wrote. Since I am not a liberal, I do not claim to have telepathy.

Now with that disposed of ...

You Wrote:
"OK, I think there's a bigger difference between culture and code of laws that you're allowing for."
The laws of a society reflect in general the cultural sensibilities of said society.

For instance, today in Israel, most shops are closed on the Sabbath. This is Law carrying the whims of the culture. Recall the blue laws of this Nation. As we became
more mitlitantly secular or aetheistic our laws ceased to reflect the dominant Anglo Saxon Christian Culture upon which this Nation was founded.

You Write some more ...
"My point with the youths and drugs wasn't to say, "look how horrible American culture is" but to point out that laws and cultural practices don't always coincide."
I beleive the 'youths' as you say are in conflict with both the culture and as such are in violation of the law which is an expression of the culture.

"Is suicide bombing legal anywhere?"
In the west bank there is NO law against bombing the Zionist entity. This I am sure according to you has NOTHING to do with the racist backward culture of the Palestinians. IT's just an oversight. The day the were going to pass that law, well ...

"are you defining cultural superiority based on technological advancement?"
No. I am defining cultural superiority based on the value of life, equality before the law, individual rights, and social mobility.

You wrote:
" because Yes, the culture that bore us Harley Davidson is pretty sweet, but the ability to continue to get everything you need from the same plot of land for 10,000 years isn't bad either. It's a value call, don't you think?"
The ME is mostly desert today because they did not husband the land. Granted most of the desertification
occured back in the time of nebukadnzer.

If you are impliying that the locals there husband the land in the manner advocated by greenpeace then you are in need of meds.

You Wrote:
"Was our colonization a result of our cultural strength or weakness?"
It was the result of our technological prowess, which in turn is a function of culture. Face it, historically, if you don't colonize 'them' they colonize 'you'.

stay puft said:

Jacob,
Let me just clarify that those quotes of mine that you responded to in the last three stanzas of your post were in response to Jack's, "so we colonized them. what was so great about African culture anyway?" comment. I wasn't talking about the ME.

You have got to be kidding me that if we hadn't colonized Africa they would have taken over Europe. (You've got to be kidding in general)

This whole idea that we have to take them over before they take us over is fairly Western.

wait, are you serious that the ME is desert because they failed to "husband the land" ?!?! It's been desert since the beginning of time!!! ok, some farm land went out of use at some point following the decline of some dynasty, but I do believe it's back up and running. But once again you have got to be kidding me! How are you going to fault ME culture for the place being a desert!?!? OMFG, can you work with me here!

Both of you are picking and choosing what what things are or aren't "culture" You're only talking about the most abhorrent things that happen in other countries (and blaming it on culture). Jack, we're so close to Greek culture, except for all the ways that our culture is completely and totally different! Jacob, I know you live in a bubble, but you've got to know that drugs play a role in American culture, despite the law.

that's it, this conversation is on hold until I get a definition of "culture" from one of you two.

Also, Jacob, can you elaborate on how drugs aren't really a part of American culture?

and if either of you are up to it, can you respond ya or nay to the statement, "A society's culture and it's code of laws are two different things which don't always coincide."

Jack said:

"It's been desert since the beginning of time!!!"

That's why it was called the Fertile Crescent.

stay puft said:

I'm really having a hard time telling when you are joking and when you are serious right now. let's reinstate the use of the winking emoticon.

the land of this "Fertile crescent" is still fertile, and as always, control of it is being fought over rather fiercely.

outside the fertile lands, it is as it has always been, desert.

this strip of fertile land surrounded by desert has been the engine of the region's history for thousands of years.

if you please:
http://visav.phys.uvic.ca/~babul/AstroCourses/P303/mesopotamia.html

now this geographic discussion is great, and it does sort of define who you are comparing Our culture to: Iraq. but really what does it have to do with anything?

Are we having a talk about culture, or Iraqi society? Because we can all agree that Iraqi society is a mess. Although I bet we wouldn't agree entirely on the reasons for it. My guess is that you'd ignore any western involvement that has resulted in degradation of the Iraqi social infrastructure, etc. and fill in those gaps by faulting Iraqi (and by extension Arab-Islamic) culture.

are you going to answer any of my questions?

Jack said:

No, we are not just talking about Iraq. We are talking about Islamic countries, African countries, South American countries, and Asian countries. Which of these countries can hold a candle to the West? Japan, perhaps, after they adopted much of our culture. Singapore, the same. They even speak English in Singapore.

But back to the Middle East, what Islamic country ISN'T a mess? It is not simply extending Iraq to Arab-Islamic culture. The entire place is a mess.

What question have I missed?

stay puft said:

So now it sounds like you're saying that America is better than being American than any other country. Nowhere else are people quite as American as they are in America. I can't argue with that!

I said:

"that's it, this conversation is on hold until I get a definition of "culture" from one of you two.

Also, Jacob, can you elaborate on how drugs aren't really a part of American culture?

and if either of you are up to it, can you respond ya or nay to the statement, "A society's culture and it's code of laws are two different things which don't always coincide." ??

Jack said:

"So now it sounds like you're saying that America is better than being American than any other country."

That makes no sense at all.

Culture: "The ideas customs, skills, arts, etc. of a given people in a given period." (Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition)

Perhaps you should consider buying a dictionary.

"A society's culture and it's code of laws are two different things which don't always coincide." ??

A nation's laws are a reflection of its culture. Those laws that do not match the prevailing culture are generally ignored. For instance, cohabitation is illegal in Virginia, but because of the change in our culture, that law is no longer enforced. Similarly, Muslim countries are lax in prosecuting crimes against Jews. Latin American countries accept bribery as part of their culture, even though it is technically illegal; the laws are ignored.

However, the laws do REFLECT the culture, and jacob pointed out a fine example in the Blue Laws.

stay puft said:

correction:

"So now it sounds like you're saying that America is better at being American than any other country."

Thanks. I've seen maybe 20 different definitions of "culture" I thought I'd let you pick which one we'd use for the sake of this conversation.

So that definition is pretty all-encompassing. It seems to agree more or less with the anthro 101 definition: "learned and shared patterns of behavior characteristic of a group."

it seems like culture refers to pretty much everything that a particular group of people does.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
given your definition: "learned and shared patterns of behavior characteristic of a group."
Excellent description. So, given your earlier statements regarding law and culture, how can the laws under which a group operates be anything other than a codification\affirmation of the culture?

Behavior that is truely frowned upon is made illegal.

anon said:

This argument is something I've been wrestling with myself lately. Its what I've come to term "the bastardization of American culture". The current trend of standoffish politically correct behavior in America is appalling. Look to current events like the Duke Scandal and Don Imus and it becomes readily apparent (if its not already) that culturally the United States has become bankrupt. All the while we are further encouraging interracial dating/marriage in an attempt to quell racism. I would argue that its our differences that make us great. No one group is better than another and bridging the gap through sex isn't going to fix the problem. Lets say this is true though, hypothetically, lets say everyone was on equal ground physically and culturally. Its human nature to fight over something and wars would still continue, though probably over other things like religion or consumables. Wiping out cultural identity through changing or ignoring historical events is not a solution its a problem. The current social trend in the US and the UK is also a problem. We are all long overdue for a social reform to put this great nation back on track.

stay puft said:

Jacob, there's a connection between laws and culture. Saying that a culture is lousy because of it's legal system doesn't make sense. It's kind of the "all squares are rectangles" deal: There's a relation, but the terms "culture" and "legal system" are not interchangeable.

agreed?

given the broad scope of what the term, "culture" refers to, it seems a bit foolhardy to say, "people in this cultural group do X thing, therefore their culture in it's entirety is inferior to other cultural groups that do not do X."

there are practices, as I've said, that most people see as impinging on basic human rights, and changing those practices should be a priority. But saying that the whole culture is inferior just doesn't make sense.

take a cultural group that practices FGM. If they ended the practice, it's not like they're going to start shopping in Malls and wearing Blue Jeans. They'd still be a distinct cultural group.

Anonymous said:

"culturally the United States has become bankrupt." is the Jihadist's argument. Would you say that you agree with the idea behind radical islam, just not it's methods?

;)

well, the rest of your comment comes off as a bit defeatist, "we'll always find SOMEthing to fight over"

Kevin said:

Are we seriously trying to eradicate racism through interacial sex? Huh.

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
I will agree whole heartedly that the two terms (culture and legal system) are not wholly interchangeable, BUT, the legal system, is a reflection of the heart of the culture.

Two great examples of how law is an extension of the evil in a culture is "Jim Crow" and the Nuremberg Laws. I would say that these two laws are examples of damning evidence that the culture that spawned them has rot.

the Islamist's culture institutionalizes the execution of women who go to the market to get food for their children (Taliban Afghanistan). Or the murder of a women because she has dishonored the family (the whole ME in general outside of Israel). Or the public hanging (not lynching) of gay men (Iran practises this openly). Or the murder of someone who has decided they no longer want to be a Muslim and has converted to another religion, like Christianity (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia). All of the a above is happening NOW. It is a damning reflection of the heart of that culture.

In essence it is a culture that is having a hissy fit at modernity.

'Saying that a culture is lousy because of it's legal system doesn't make sense.' I would say you are correct only sometimes. The National Socialists of Germany implemented their ideology vis a vie the legal system. The anti-Semitic component of this ideology was an outgrowth of over a 100 years of German antisemitism. Read "Hitlers Willing Executioners". You will see what I mean.

The Islamists do not differentiate between government and religion. Keep that thought in front of you.

'given the broad scope of what the term, "culture" refers to, it seems a bit foolhardy to say, "people in this cultural group do X thing, therefore their culture in it's entirety is inferior to other cultural groups that do not do X."'
If you are comparing Italian to Spanish, or English to French, I would agree. American to Japanese is also a in the same 'can't say which is better' (definitively). All of these cultures have made it into the 21st century.

Marshmallow, the comparison I am making is between the 21st and 7th centuries. This is NOT a 'potat-oo' v. 'patata' situation.

Mankind's history is soaked in blood. It is not an East-West, North-South, White-Brown, thing. Its a human thing. There were NO peaceful societies. All enslaved, all looted, killed burned. Some chose cannibalism over rape, but when you got down to it, the blood we all shed from the dawn of time is red. Modernity offers a hope of breaking the cycle.

The West in effect did impose a veneer of cultural hegemony in the last century. After it almost committed suicide in the two WW's. This hegemony did come through the barrel of a gun. But face it, it would not have been able to be imposed any other way. The end result was the uniquely Western ideals of Democracy, Emancipation of Women, abolishment of Chattel Slavery and property rights were presented-to/imposed-upon the world.

Places where these ideals were grafted onto the local culture have done well. Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan, India. Are examples were the graft has taken, and it has born wonderful fruit. These cultures are thriving and much of the vigor is a function of that graft.

Did the West commit atrocities during that period. Yes, of course, Europeans are human. Were these actions worse than what went before? No!

Is the West's 20th century culture with it's Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman outlook the only way? No. But it is decidedly preferable to the 7th century Islamist's vision for the future. The ME is still tribal. They have oil, so they have money. Money enough to raise hell.

'there are practices, as I've said, that most people see as impinging on basic human rights, and changing those practices should be a priority. But saying that the whole culture is inferior just doesn't make sense.'
Marshmallow, First of all just because you do not see the sense in something, does not mean it is not there. Second of all, and more tellingly, your multi-culti is showing. 'Every Culture has something of value' is fine so long as no one culture is out to expand via the force of arms or intimidation. Once that is in the arena, we have to unlink arms and stop singing kumbaya.

It is at that point you must defend yourself, or we will return to the 7th century a.k.a 'the dark ages'. As a self proclaimed child of the enlightenment who worships 'reason' you of all people ought to stand opposed to this pre-renassaince barbarity.

'take a cultural group that practices FGM.'
OK, I'll bite, what is FGM?

'Think'
The implication here is I don't. I shall endeavour to persevere.

stay puft said:

I'd choose modernity over the 7th century any day! (...is it possible that the concept of modernity a cultural construct?)

yes, the Taliban guys are nuts. The Iranian leadership is more or less crazy as well.

When an oppressive regime exerts it's will on the people, you just can't point to culture as the problem. The problem is the Taliban, the problem is the leadership in Iran.

...in Nazi Germany, the problem was antisemitism and fascism.

I understand what you're getting at, but I don't see the point in using such broad strokes to highlight specific problems.

That's what I'm saying: even if certain horrible practices have become enmeshed in the culture, "the culture" encompasses all sorts of things which AREN'T the problem. rather than blanket statements about inferior cultures, why not get to the root by discussing the specific things which need to stop?

Jack said:

Puffalump, if there is a barrel of apples in which 50% of the apples are bad, is that barrel of apples not inferior to another barrel with in which only 10% of the apples are bad?

stay puft said:

It's a hell of a world you live in, where human culture is as simple a thing as a barrel of apples.

...but I thought one bad apple spoils the barrel

...and I do believe that it's a different sort of culture that causes apples to spoil, anyway

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