Values in the West, a Moral High-Ground
Anyone reading this blog knows that I am vehemently contemptuous of cultural relativism; the notion that there are no absolutely right or wrong ways to govern or exist in a society but that instead it is all just a matter of one’s cultural consensus.
This notion, largely a far-left conceit, is not only demonstrably wrong with regard to the human condition but also a justification for all manner of grotesquery and moral turpitude. For example, a moral relativist would argue that western societies and those like it, such as Japan or South Korea, have no right to criticize the act of female genital mutilation since it can only be understood within its respective culture. In other words, what is true or right is determined by culture and not logic, reason, or even the obvious such as the human condition’s reaction to it.
Many times when defending the healthier practices of democracy and those nations which generally acknowledge Humanist values, I am confronted with some varietal of the far leftist, like a feminist who, while damning her own culture will compare its lowest points to some autocracy’s highest. The argument follows something like this: ‘Well, it was the West that dragged the world into World War II’ or ‘A ridiculously long time ago Arabia made some contributions to math which the Greeks failed to do.’
This tactic is a common one and almost inevitably involves the dredging up of a long finished and no longer representative past in a miserable state like Iran while comparing it with some past or current event in the West that is typically an exception to the rule. Either way, what is never acknowledged is the consistency of these faults or successes.
One of the most ridiculous attacks on the West’s moral superiority I’ve ever heard was when a French Muslim named Tariq Ramadan said the West had no right to criticize the treatment of women in Muslim majority nations since domestic abuse still transpired in Europe and North America. This is like claiming that because literacy rates in the West hover just below 100% they have no right to criticize nations where they exist at lows of fifty or even less.
I might also add, and this is a core difference, that domestic abuse in the West is illegal whereas in nations like Saudi Arabia it is most certainly legal or in the least, socially sanctioned. These distinctions matter.
It is demonstrably the case that when women are given equal access to resources in a society everyone in that society fares better. This can be scientifically measured and proven. I can guarantee that if you compared all the nations where women are practically equal to all the nations where they are undeniably not, you would find decreased poverty, increased literacy, lower infant mortality, and higher average lifespans. What is subjective or relative about that? Nothing. When women are equal the society is objectively a better one to live in. By what measure? Human well-being.
While no country on this earth is perfect and, for example, nations like the United States have much to answer for with regard to their clumsy and largely inhumane foreign policy, the reality on the ground of these nations is that the freedom to be and do exists and is taken seriously. The same cannot be said for many other nations, especially so in Muslim majority countries where de facto if not de jure theocracy reigns.
I you are going to compare two nations, like the United States and Iran, consistency matters. It is irrelevant who was more progressive several centuries ago. Anecdotes too are irrelevant. What matters is the legal system and how it is practiced on the ground. And I am sorry ladies and gentlemen, at least to those of you who disagree, but on that front and between these two nations in particular America is going to win every single time. Name whatever dictatorship America has propped up in the past if you please but in the end Iran maintains a theocratic psycho within its own borders and regularly threatens to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.
Nation states and cultures have to be compared directly. We can safely acknowledge the faults of democratic countries without submitting to the ridiculous notion that if a nation does one bad thing it is the equivalent of such sociopathic regimes as Iran or Saudi Arabia. Sweden engages in arms dealing, that hardly puts her on a par with Russia or China. The largely Humanist values of the West and her allies, occasional failings aside, are undeniably superior to the incessant system failures of their counterparts in such fascist states as Iran and that can never be understated.