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View Diary: Cultures don't have rights. People do. (153 comments)

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  •  I don't think we're in disagreement here. (0+ / 0-)

    My post talked about respect for cultures, not legal rights and certainly not property rights.

    But yes, as a matter of values I would rather have a world where every culture chose to follow the same human rights norms, even at the cost of some degree of diversity -- although I don't believe the two need to be mutually exclusive. Human rights norms, however, cannot and should not be spread by force. It's about persuasion, not force.

    But here's the thing, if the white nationalists, or say the people at David Koresh's compound had claimed that their property deserved to be protected because of their collective culture, I'd say bollocks. But I couldn't say bollocks if I had also said that all cultures are equal and all have a right to define their own values. We can't say that all cultures are equal except the white ones. We have to be able to judge and criticize cultures, including our own, and the basis has to be respect for rights and equality.

    Taking land from Native Americans or whites with or without compensation has nothing to do with condemning human rights abuses that are defended in the name of culture.

    The point is that in those instances where a culture -- yes, even an indigenous culture -- is abusing human rights, then I refuse to buy the argument that that culture is somehow above criticism. And that's what we're talking about, criticism, not the use of force or theft of property.

    If all cultures, by definition, are equally worthy of respect, then the Nazis are no worse than the Sioux. How can that be?

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