I’m a big fan of other cultures, in particular those of the Philippines, Japan, and India, all of which I feel are the homelands of some of the most beautiful women in the world — Hey, I’m single, what can I say?
I’ve been doing a little thinking on the idea of multiculturalism, and though I think it is the start of a good idea, except for the cultural relativism associated with it, I think we have to move beyond that to something better.
As many of you know by now, I’m not a big fan of relativism, particularly of the cognitive and moral sort, but make no error, I’m as far from an absolutist as I am from a relativist.
My main beef with cultural relativism, and this is painfully obvious when it’s your culture to which it is applied, is that it’s annoyingly condescending and self-righteous in tone, and few people like being talked down to by someone trying to “help” them by uncritically endorsing their views on the mere fact that their culture holds them, and not whether these views result in harm to or the oppression of others.
Tolerance is good, but giving antisocial, even dangerous, behavior or other violations of human rights a free pass because these actions are an outgrowth of a culture’s beliefs and values is going too far.
We should be intolerant of such intolerance, especially when uncritical acceptance of it leads to human suffering, subjugation, or death.
Where do we go from here? What comes after multiculturalism? I don’t know, but whatever it turns out to be, a newer and better tolerance that maximizes human flourishing, happiness, and fulfillment, while minimizing the converse to whatever degree is possible is needed.
In a world as interconnected as ours is, we cannot afford to maintain our bigotry, our hatreds, our petty rivalries with those ‘other peeps not like us,’ because these, despite being natural tendencies, are not good merely because they are natural.