The Incoherence of the Cultural Relativist Making Moral Pronouncements ~ Conversation Series

Here is a great conversation that stemmed from another story — as debated on FaceBook. I commented on a story someone posted on their FaceBook about an Iraqi woman who was killed in her home, and whoever murdered her left a note calling her a terrorist and they (the family) should go back to the Middle-East. (THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED!) The person posting the story did so to try and show that there is a bias against Muslims. I often wondered why the liberal does this, that is, find stories to showboat as against the status-quo showing America or our culture as racist by finding rare stories of victims to make some point of racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or intolerance. David Mamet answered this for me. After he laid the premise of the protagonist in a play who is typically afflicted by a condition not of their making, thus, drawing a similarity to the political realm of someone “afflicted” with homosexuality, illness, being a woman, etc, saying they had merely acted and thusly could not have sinned, he furthers his point by saying:

These plays were an (unfortunate) by-product of the contemporary love-of-the-victim. For a victim, as above, is pure, and cannot have sinned; and one, by endorsing him, may perhaps gain, by magic, part of his incontrovertible status.

So the liberal, by emphasizing these “victim-hood” stories, absorbs to their psyche innocence, proving that they are peaceful, fair, tolerant, stand for the poor, disenfranchised, and care about the environmentThus, better than those whom they just labeled. While many of these people will label religious folk as “holier than thou,” it is these priests of the victicrats [whether directed towards human plight or a perceived environment plight] that are replacing spirituality with “concern.” They are not just as religious, but are in fact fanatical in their positions.  (Larry Elder defines a “victicrat” as someone who “blames all ills, problems, concerns and unhappiness on others.”) At least the religious person is being honest and keeping the categories straight. But I digress.

I posted a quick response that this story is fresh and that it could be that this is a cover up for an honor killing, or the like.  This got things kicked off! As evidence that countered the story came out I would post it… (glass busted out, not in; that a dark skinned man was seen running from the house [by-the-way, this effectively stopped part of the conversation… why?… because how could one victim group/minority commit a hate crime against another? There has to be a racist white guy in the story to represent imperialistic, xenophobic, bigoted America. It just doesn’t compute!]). This led to another person, Michael H., jumping in the conversation, taking it another place entirely! Wee will pick it up from the point where he jumped in

Michael H.

Maybe someone killed her because she hates our freedoms. Its sad whatever the reason.

Pat O

No matter, if it was a relative, neighbor, enemy or stranger. It takes a lot of hate to kill someone like that.

Me

Crimes like this are typically familial. Not to mention that the Islamic influence debases women’s humanity and allows for men to “honor” kill them. Now, the question becomes why Nick would post this story and not ones found here? http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/honor_killings/

Now, mind you, I do not frequent Nick’s FB all that much (and in fact I just popped in to see if he uploaded a picture of him wearing a hoodie, or something), but I would guess that he posted the story because it was thought of first as a representation of intolerance towards Islam… showing America’s depravity in some way. Why do extreme liberal orgs support women rapists/killers? (http://youtu.be/IecSOR36CMA). There seems to be some inversion going on here… some moral equivalency, some lack of looking at history, objectively (how people from Saudi Arabia (the home of Wahhabism) treat women. The long list of honor killings. But I am sure a recalling of some Crusade or crime done in the name of Christianity from a 1,000 years ago will hold the faith of those who protect madness and debase Western culture and its influences.

Me

Michael H., maybe someone killed her because she started to fall in love with our freedoms, and her own possibility in those freedoms.

Michael H.

I was joking just so you know. Her family had been in the states for a long while, and her husband was a contractor for the US Army. So I think its unlikely that they were fundamentalists.

Nick N.

Lets go over the facts: She was a devout muslim and mother of 5 children. There was a note found near her body saying “go back to your country you terrorist.” She lives in a neighborhood where other muslims have reported “descriminatory hate incidents”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a hate crime is still on the table… If you’d rather deny that possibility be my guest.

But know that it’s not just the far left that are worried about incidents like these. Libertarian Anthony Gregory commented that “even though the Iraqi people did nothing against the United States, only to see their country destroyed, hundreds of thousands of their people slaughtered, millions displaced in two decades of murderous U.S. wars and sanctions, somehow these people are still seen as the dangerous ones. But of course, if it’s morally justifiable to treat people as subhuman by the millions—a principle necessarily implicit in the U.S. warfare state—what’s one more dead mother count?”

I understand you have a particular.. view… of muslims as dangerous or irrational people who would murder another for simply being happy or loving freedom, and i have to say this is worrysome to me….

Me

QUOTE:

If the “hate crime” narrative is going to work in describing the brutal beating of Shaima Alawadi, can it be maintained if a man with a dark skin color is a suspect? When was the last time you heard of a Hispanic or African-American attacking a Muslim in America? Could it be that this man was also from Iraq? From UT San Diego:

El Cajon police continue to stress that the possibility of a hate crime is only one avenue they are pursuing, and that they believe the attack to be an isolated incident.

A neighbor told police a dark-skinned man was seen running from the house, according to police records obtained by KFMB/Channel 8. Family members have said in media interviews that a similar note had been found weeks earlier posted on their front door, but they did not notify police.

If the death is determined to be a hate crime, it would be highly unusual.

Of the county’s 136 hate crimes reported in 2010, El Cajon police reported one, according to data gathered by the state Attorney General’s Office. None was reported in 2009, one in 2008 and one in 2007… (UT San Diego)

Maybe she wanted to not wear her Hijab anymore? … I like facts Nick N.

Michael H.

I would be extremely worried about us if I was not one of us, but I’m actually still extremely worried about us even though I am on of us. Right or wrong, most of the world has a million reasons to fear and despise the United States. If someone is not able to see that, then they are another reason as far as I’m concerned. I would love to turn all that around if we can. The first step to that is seeing all humans as being created equal and worthy of respect.

Me

All people created equal, but not all ideologies Michael. So an ideology can make good people bad, yeah? So starving 15-million people to death is actually seen as a good thing.

‎…. or having the older sons help the father kill his daughter who is becoming too “Western.”

‎…. or his wife?

Michael H.

Or half the fucking country who claim to be Christians advocating the murder of millions of people over and over again because they are fooled into thinking these said people are worth less than other people. Does “Hitler” ring a bell. We kill people for breaking rules all the time. Its called the death penalty. Whats your point?

Me

Please Michael, be calm, I know leftism is a bit emotional and you are proving my point, but lets work through this. Do you wish to talk about your figure of millions, or, your statement about Hitler {since it was not clear maybe you can correct me if I am wrong] being a Christian?

Also, are you morally equivocating the death penalty (which is typically applied with a jury of peers and many appeals to courts/upper courts) to the killing of a woman or girl for wanting to be free from a cultural mandate from 640 A.D.? Please, take your time and be clear… because if that is not what you said you should make sure we all understand it.

Michael H.

First off, I do not claim a leftist ideology. So sorry to not prove your point. My point is simple and clear. You actually proved it. You sound like you value the morality from your own institutions and culture as superior to others. What the hell is wrong with the ideology of a culture that has vastly more history and cultural significance than our own? To be clear I am not advocating honor killings or anything else for that matter. I am however wondering where the authority to claim that the morality and customs of another country are somehow inferior to our own comes from. I do think that other peoples customs need to respect ours if they are in this country and they need to follow our laws but we are certainly not superior to anyone else. It is clear you believe we are better or superior or more educated or civilized or what ever the fuck you want to call it. My point is, this has happened throughout history. This is the kind of thinking that gave power to Hitler and slavery and every war America engages in. Yes millions; in the last century. Millions of people have been killed in the wars we have fought. But its ok because they were communists, or uncivilized people or terrorists, or the axis of evil, or different and bad in some way. So to be perfectly clear, I do not support anyone that thinks they are superior to any other group of people. To do so shows ignorance and a contempt towards humanity. I was not implying Hitler was a Christian, there is an overwhelming support of wars against Islam by Christians though. This kind of thinking in my opinion shows a clear moral bankruptcy. So yes I am morally equivocating the death penalty and common law to other forms of law that have existed since the dawn of civilization. I appreciate ours much more and i am very happy I live here, but I certainly respect the traditions of those who came before us. All the evil horrible things that have happened throughout history were allowed to occur because people viewed their own cultures as superior to another. This kind of thinking needs to stop. The truth if you can handle it is that those dirty primitive cave people belong to some of the most culturally rich groups of people on earth who happened to invent modern agriculture, civilization, mathematics and Astronomy just to name a couple things. Sorry you did not have me all figured out thinking I was a liberal. I know that would have made it easy. Really I am just sick of war and I am sick of people thinking that we belong to some righteous culture, because we don’t. But we could if we stopped acting like fools. That’s all I got to say. See ya later.

Me

QUOTE YOU

“To be clear I am not advocating honor killings or anything else for that matter. I am however wondering where the authority to claim that the morality and customs of another country are somehow inferior to our own comes from.”

UNQUOTE

There is a self-contradiction going on here, between the two sentences/ideas. I wish to offer a single book for those interested in taking the understanding of “cultural relativism” to task, just one book to counter the many hours in classes and hearsay thinking. It is entitled RELATIVISM: FEET PLANTED FIRMLY IN MID-AIR (you may have to order a used copy… cheaper that way). Its under 200 pages long, and explains well the idea that one cannot speak against a meta-narrative without replacing it with another:

Here is how I deal with it in my opening chapter to me book:

Anthropologist William Sumner argues against the logical position when he says that “every attempt to win an outside standpoint from which to reduce the whole to an absolute philosophy of truth and right, based on an unalterable principle, is delusion.” [81] Authors Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl respond to this self-defeating claim by showing that Sumner is making a strong claim here about knowledge:

He says that all claims to know objective moral truth are false because we are all imprisoned in our own cultural and are incapable of seeing beyond the limits of our own biases. He concludes, therefore, that moral truth is relative to culture and that no objective standard exists. Sumner’s analysis falls victim to the same error committed by religious pluralists who see all religions as equally valid.[82]

The authors continue: Sumner’s view, however, is self-refuting. In order for him to conclude that all moral claims are an illusion, he must first escape the illusion himself. He must have a full and accurate view of the entire picture…. Such a privileged view is precisely what Sumner denies. Objective assessments are illusions, he claims, but then he offers his own“objective” assessment. It is as if he were saying, “We’re all blind,” and then adds, “but I’ll tell you what the world really looks like.” This is clearly contradictory.[83]

Philosopher Roger Scruton drives this point home when he says, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely negative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” [84]

For references: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34407776/Introduction-Technology-Junkies?in_collection=2649254

May I also mention, again, that I am still offering Michael to support a single claim out of the many he presents in “shotgun form” (what some people refer to as the “Gish Gallop” ~ http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gish+Gallop) to try and make a point seem valid by offering a string of bumper sticker platitudes connected together. For instance, just saying “Hitler did ‘A'” does not connect his refutation of the main subject. Do you wish to, Michael, camp on this single topic out of the many (now more points you have entered into the conversation) and do the hard work of dissecting your perception of history, culture, and religion, and discuss (dialogue) these great ideas or do you simply wish to monologue them by endless streams of quips and bad thinking? (I refer to “bad thinking in the self-contradictory aspect of his two sentences together).

For instance, lets go to the sources themselves and see who is closer to the point Michael is making:

“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel.” Adolf Hitler, A sign of his quote hangs on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23. (from: http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/a-starbucks-encounter-michael-berryman/)

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.” Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18. (From: http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/what-is-fascism-two-posts-combined-imported-from-old-blog/)

So as simple as you try and make it sound Michael, you have an opportunity to lay aside your “machismo” and either continue the conversation here, focusing like a laser beam on one of your statements to see if they pan out to reality, or, continue it with me privately. Both ways are getting out of your sound-room/group of like thinking persons you (we all do this) surround yourself with. My email is: rpt@r-pt.net

I will post a videos and an audio of some of the thinking found in that recommended book below.

Michael H.

I do not posses a sound group of like thinking persons. If you find one be sure to let me know. I appreciate the reading material, but I do not need justification for my ideals or yours, I prefer to keep myself free from dogmas and proclaimed ideologies. My opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it or prove it correct by quoting text from another persons attempt to validate their own ideas. I am not going to get into this conversation with you trying to prove that I am right through logic or prove what you are saying is fallacious. My opinion is not factual or provable or even necessarily correct for that mater, its just my opinion, and I refuse to paraphrase the ideas of religious philosophers in a dueling match of circular reasoning. I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of relativism, and will never even consider the possibility of one ultimate truth, god, philosophy or religion. I will check out what you sent me. Thanks.

Me

“My opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it or prove it correct by quoting text from another persons attempt to validate their own ideas” Then you are posting here because you are a narcissist? Or a masochist?

You see, every theory, model, religious position, political ideal (whatever!) needs to be internally consistent. I appreciate that you will pursue the ideas I expressed, but I wish to point out again where your statements are nonsensical, or, incoherent. For instance, when you say, “I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of relativism, and will never even consider the possibility of one ultimate truth, god, philosophy or religion.” Do you see the contradiction in your statement? A great example comes from a philosophy 101 class I took. The teacher had just graduated with a masters in poli-sci and philosophy (a double major). She mentioned before starting our first class that this was her first teaching position/class. She then, within minutes of that wrote on the white board the following:

✪ “There is no absolute truth.”

I felt bad raising my hand and pointing out the inherent contradiction… because she had just stated her “greenness.” But if what she was true, then it refutes her statement, if it is false, it is false. You are essentially saying the same thing. Your denial IS AN ABSOLUTE. In fact, my chapter on karma and reincarnation was born from a paper I wrote for her class. What was her main problem? I think she only read things in her belief structure and never expanded her thinking beyond what she wanted to study and what was hand fed to her by her professors. What was the result? Being embarrassed by something that a first year student knows (Aristotelian logic) at Biola.

You should put two books on your bookcase and keep them there for reading when you get a “bug” under your skin – the RELATIVISM book I already recommended, and “Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith.” Just add some thinking that challenges your entrenched position. That is all I can encourage you to do Michael.

Cheers.

One should take note that many of Michael H.’s positions are moral claims or authoritative claims to knowledge. He just refuses to tie in any epistemology to his claims thus invalidating anyone taking him seriously… which he admits to: “my opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it…” I doubt he has read my posts thoughtfully (maybe he has?), but the relativist position (his) is just as absolute as the communist/Marxist or the conservative evangelical… he just thinks his position is benighted thinking, thusly adopting a “hollier than though” mentality. Which he rejects in other persons.

Really, then, Michael’s position can be summed up as follows:

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