July 21, 2003
The Horns Of A Dilemma

On YalePundits (6/18, 10:11 PM if the link doesn't work), Mitch Webber quotes an eloquent paragraph from Tony Blair:

There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that Milosevic was Serbia's savior. Members of Congress, ours are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit, and anywhere -- (applause) -- anywhere, any time ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.

What I find interesting is that so many who would object to Blair's words and support some form of cultural relativism also (and quite rightly) despise Aristotle's idea that some people, and some entire nations, are natural slaves. Don't we have to agree with one or the other? There doesn't seem to me to be much in the way of middle ground. Do anti-Blairites and anti-Bushies really want to come out in favor of natural slavery?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at July 21, 2003 12:40 AM

You're expecting logic that that crowd is not capable of. These are the same people who would say "hands off N. Korea" even though it's truly an immediate threat to its neighbors as well as us, but would promote sanctions against S. Korea because they eat dogs. Cultural relativism seems to be quite relative.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve on July 21, 2003 07:23 AM

Cultural relativism is also irrational, so why bother trying to convince cultural relativists by rational arguments?

Posted by: Robert Speirs on July 21, 2003 12:38 PM