2007-12-07

Cultural Relativism and Human Rights

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Sandefur on Azar Nafisi: "The problem with such cultural relativism is that by denying the universality of human rights, one no longer has a principled defense of their own freedom. If we excuse such deprivations of liberty as justifiable because that culture does not hold the same values we do, how then can we take a stand against our own culture's deprivations of liberty for ourselves or others?"

"If we make all such violations simply a matter of majority rule, we have no principled objection when the majority in our own nations choose to violate our own rights. Rights then become something granted by government, and therefore subject to withdrawal by government, rather than a value that cannot be justly violated by any government. When we begin to think in such ways, liberty will inevitably wither."

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