Essay, Pages 4 (760 words)
Humans develop their thinking about morality over years. They do it following to their interactions with individuals and social institutions. In different societies each with their own cultures there are various beliefs concerning how humans are to behave. Different cultures have different rules, laws and moral ideas. In view of this, are there any independent criteria by which we can safely say that some cultures’ moral principles better than others or they are all equally good?
In fact, all peoples own a culture, but this does not imply that all cultures are equally confirmed and commendable.
Some beliefs and values are better than others. Actually, the Enlightenment was more desirable than the Dark Ages. Freedom is much better than slavery. Democracy is better than fascism. Scientific knowledge is better than superstition. Western medicine is more effective in eradicating disease than witch’s brews. Why they’re better, more effective or preferable? because “any belief or practice that enables human beings to predict and control events in their lives, with a higher degree of success than previous beliefs or practices did, can be said to ‘work better.
’ Better prediction and better control of events-those are the two essential ingredients that enable human beings to adapt better to the world around them” (Bagish, p. 34).
Well, it’s true that all human beings merit human rights but not all beliefs and traditions deserve respect. Political and religious ideas which stand on racism, discrimination and homophobia are unworthy of appreciation. For instance, the greed of Anglo-Americans in the genocidal efforts behind the doctrine and practice of Manifest Destiny which resulted in wiping out over 75% of all American Indians; the mindset of Hitler and the Third Reich which eventually led to the annihilation of six million Jews; or the white supremacist ideology of South Africans that until recently denied Blacks many basic human rights; all of those values of a given society or culture doesn’t deserve respect .
They should be challenged, not tolerated.
Besides, based on 3aspects which are equality, order, and freedom we can say one culture is morally better than another. Each of these three factors fractally depends on the existing of the other two factors, at any level at which you zoom in. A community with no equal treatment under the law, deprive peoples from the chance of enjoying freedom. People who are not free to live as they like to, and not equal with others, will not tolerate the unfair order of things. Peoples who are living in chaos and without freedom often respond to the stress in reactionary ways against races and cultural subgroups, undermining equality. Equality between cultures require all three in balance. Also, if we are talking about French, American, German, Russian, and Korean cultures, It wouldn’t be easy to place one on top or one on bottom, each has it’s deep, profound flaws and it’s beauties. Within each culture there are greatly negative and positive elements, and it is our role as citizens to develop ourselves and work to expand the positive elements of culture and work against the negative. Not in terms of what we like, what foods we like, what styles we like, those things are arbitrary, but in terms of promoting freedom, equality, and order.
Moreover, the question “What makes a culture better than the other” is more complicated than what it looks? Actually, if someone from China would answer it, he will probably tend to point to long historical continuity, social cohesion, and resilience after disaster as markers of cultural superiority. Notions of freedom and rights, military victories, or technological discoveries may seem relatively trivial.
But, if he is an American, he will likely choose technology and freedom of choice as markers of cultural superiority, and he will be far more impressed with military achievements. A long history may seem to him like a liability; the present is what matter the most. He might tolerate an unusual level of internal dissension and violence, as democracies go. It will seem healthy to him. So, the point is that there is no objective standards.
In conclusion, cultural relativism is a descriptive claim that ethical practices differ among cultures; that is, as a matter of fact, what is considered right in one culture may be considered wrong in another. While moral relativism, is the claim that what is right or wrong is what the culture says is acceptable or not. Moral relativists accept cultural relativism as true, but they claim much more. The plausibility of moral relativism is widely challenged; and it was questionable if there is a culture better than the other.