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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Limits of Progressive Cultural Relativism and "The Urgency of Now!"

Universities, if they pound one message home over any other, in the "progressive" dominated fields such as anthropology, sociology, political science, and history, it is that we in the West must stop assuming our culture is superior and must accept what has been called the idea of "cultural relativism." We, for example, must respect regimes such as the ones set up by Castro, Mao, and others of that repellent ilk, and we must NEVER assume that the West has any greater knowledge about human nature than anybody else. We, in fact, must acknowledge the deep, deep flaws of the West which undermine any claims by it to moral superiority over or even equivalence to other cultures.

Well, not really. There is a big loophole. If one of those cultures makes the mistake of attacking a bit too loudly whatever group happens to be that month's progressive poster boy . . . all bets are off!

We have as Example A, Uganda.

That African nation is a strange and wonderful place. I am no expert on Uganda, having visited it only once many years ago, but I remember the people as exceptionally good looking, generally well-disposed to the US, and many of them quite religious. The politics, in the wake of Idi Amin, were standard "Third World," i.e. issues of corruption, nepotism, ethnicity--you know, things that would NEVER happen in Washington DC. Anyhow, for a time Uganda was held up as a model for the rest of Africa, and got lots of attention from the US. Now, however, the attention they are getting is of a different sort. It seems the President of Uganda has not read the Diplomad, or at least not the post in which I noted that when dealing with President Obama one must keep up with shifts in the official dogma --the bolded words are for President Yoweri Museveni,
If you question [President Obama], you are a racist, insane, a danger to democracy, hate the poor or all of the aforementioned. If you still hold the same views that he purported to hold up to a few weeks ago, e.g., the traditional definition of marriage, and failed to "evolve" when he did, then you are a hopeless homophobe; your business should be banned and ruined, and your employees bullied. This is not unlike Orwell's 1984, "We have never been at war with Eastasia . . . " You must keep up with the changes in Dear Leader's views. He will tell you when you can favor gay marriage; when you can raise closing Guantanamo; when the war will end; when the deficit must be cut with more spending. New Think is here.
It appears that President Museveni did not get the memo, signed into law anti-gay legislation, and made "non-approved" comments about homosexuals. It also seems that President Musevini and most Ugandans hold the same view on homosexuality that prevailed in the West, especially in the Anglosphere, until just a short time ago. Remember it wasn't until just after the 2012 elections that our Dear Leader gave us permission to favor same sex marriage; before then, he had spouted the same definition of marriage as had Romney, Bush, Reagan, and the Pope. Now, of course, if you hold President Obama's pre-2012 views, well, you are scum.

One wonders what the reaction of the White House, academics, and the official media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC would have been had Musevini said he found Christianity disgusting and an artifact of imperialism. Outrage? Doubt it. Condemnation? Nah . . .  We would have been lectured on cultural relativism and the need to respect other cultures and societies and the decisions they make based on their histories . . .

"We have never been war at with Eastasia!"

24 comments:

  1. Good post dip. It is so true though, it's almost a futile effort to try to stay in front of the curve of progressive think. I think the best way to sum it up was when John Kerry said, "I was for the war, before I was against it."
    I'm all for evolutions in thinking, I mean it happens (or at least it should as you develop as a human being and experience new things) but at the break neck speed that progressives "evolve" intellectually it just screams a contrived effort to grab the next potential voter block.

    On a different note, but somewhat similar, do you have any insight into the events in Somolia from your time with the state department. I've read and seen most of what I can find out there, and as a veracious studier of history, you are the closest thing to a friend I have in connected places. Just figured I would ask

    Nick from the penal colony known as New York

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    1. Nick? Your Dad's & Mom's names wouldn't by any chance begin with an M and an N?

      At any rate, this might get you going on Somalia. Alas I have to be careful with my time commenting. Risky bidness & all that.

      http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/Articles/1993/1993%20lorenz.pdf

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    2. No, my parent's names do not start with those letter, though that would have been incredibly freaky if they did.

      Nick from the penal colony formerly known as New York

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  2. Wont be long now before Christians in the US are 'authorized' to continue worshipping, so long as they, like everybody else, sacrifice at the altar of Jupiter as well.
    Then come the lions.

    - reader #1482

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  3. The Libs and Obama love to point out how they are always evolving on important issues. The only thing that I know of that evolves as rapidly is the fruit fly which sums up the entire subject and progs very nicely.

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  4. Duh!

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/25/foreign-service-group-urges-administration-to-raise-bar-on-diplomat-nominees/

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    1. Thanks for the link; I had not seen it. I am going to have to do something with that. Maybe my next post.

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  5. I have a lot of sympathy for Uganda's desire to repress sodomy.

    Back in the olden days before the Christian missionaries--oops, cultural imperialists--came, Baganda males of high status could do what they liked with their inferiors; a little like ancient Roman grandees. In the late 19th century, a group of young men became Christians and, accordingly, refused to submit to being sodomized. They were thereupon punished by being burned alive.

    Further, what with a lot of southern Asia wising up to the Western sex tourist, I suspect that a lot of LGBT's would like Africa to become their next cheap playground, where they can infect as many very young partners as they like with HIV/AIDS.

    Finally, the late, unlamented East German disinformation machine got it wrong: AIDS wasn't cooked up in Fort Detrick, Maryland, to kill of the non-white races; the LGBT movement was cooked up in Berkeley to do that job (and a good portion of the white race as well).

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  6. The Orwell 1984 imagery gets bandied about quite a bit. While, I think it is possible for American to head down the Big Brother path. I feel that the more likely dystopian future is that of Brave new world. It shows in our electorate today. People are more interested in reality TV, than in reality itself.

    Orgy porgy doesn’t sound so bad though…..



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    1. I thought about that a bit. It seems we're headed for a blending of the two.

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    2. That was my exact thought, Dip. I've been pondering 1984 and BNW for a few years now (as I think I've posted here before) and came to the same conclusion. We live in a world where our leadership takes its queues from 1984, with Newspeak and all the other craziness. The general population, however, conforms more to BNW with the willing acceptance of totalitarianism, so long as all the bread and circuses and food stamps and Obama phones and what not continue to be made available. It really is the worst of both worlds in many ways. Thankfully ammunition is becoming mroe readily available again!

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    3. Interestingly, you are now starting to have increasing instances of cognitive dissonance, where identify politics and PC end up supporting something downright evil.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-glendale-comfort-women-statue-sparks-lawsuit-20140222,0,6987898.story#axzz2uQy43pI6

      The thought processes involved here must be something to behold.

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    4. Nikita Khrushchev was reported to have said to America, "we will bury you". I think in view of our current president, he meant "we will Barry you". It's like he had a premonition.

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    5. Whitewall, Sorry, but I am stealing that and will never give you any credit . . .

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    6. G'day Whitewall,

      That's Gold. Scary but gold.

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  7. A friend of mine, a retired Marine fighter pilot of some renown, was working for an aerospace company after his retirement and spent an afternoon in a sauna in Saudi Arabia with Idi Amin. I don't believe they exchanged confidences.

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  8. Lewis, still crazy after all these years, eh? We worked together in Jakarta and I still recall with fondness your frequent rants about the loneliness of a conservative white male adrift in the PC ocean that was (and remains) the Department of State. Glad to see that you are sharing your unique and often-twisted worldview with a larger and seemingly appreciative audience. John R, Riyadh

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    1. Twisted? Wait until the PC police come for you.
      All the best

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    2. An anecdote:

      I recall a Minister Counselor noting with dismay the lineup of big white males at the consular windows when I was in Bangkok. I kept my peace, but, frankly, I strongly suspect that that's what the average Thai expected to see in an American office. And it wasn't our fault that we passed the Foreign Service Exam when certain others passed it in smaller numbers, had less interest in pursuing it, or, on passing it, cut out for greener pastures.

      Besides, I also recall someone from the diversity office or whatever it was called telling my A-100 class about "white privilege", when I knew some guys there whose fathers were Appalachian coal miners, from the blue collar Polish- and Italian-towns of Great Lakes cities that were already clearly "Rust Belt", and the rest.

      Those EmCeePeeCee bozos talk "diversity", but it's literally only a matter of being skin-deep, genital configuration, and whom you sleep with these days. Where it matters, Groupthink is what counts.

      And, I wonder, how many high-ranking officers did State have who were of North African Sefardi heritage? Talk about diverse!

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  9. My expectation Diplomad Sir, would normally be you being very awary of what I placed at February 26, 2014 at 11:18 AM?

    The dips & mils kinda together?

    I'm of course not like you. Nobody'd for instance be put on record, "So & So says so & so."

    I recall an instance from awhile back [some decades] as we were both in a situation at the time described as "being rehabilitated" ... and I asked, "How could this possibly happen?"

    "How was it Arkie you didn't tell me who Mike Wallace is?"

    "Who the f*** is Mike Wallace" I more or less replied.

    I didn't know actually.

    Mind, I'm just being "imaginary" kinda like a hopeful novelist.

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  10. I travel to Uganda twice a year, and am friends with many. A number are on FB. They like this law. Whether we think homosexual acts should be punished by jail time is irrelevant. It's their country! Honestly, the much more controversial one in the country is the new "miniskirt law" which says women shouldn't wear skirts above the knee - lots of protesting on that, and some thugs have used it as an excuse to publicly undress and assault women. So the parliament is actually taking another look at that one.

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  11. everyone seems to miss the fact that Uganda is heavily influenced by the religion of peace.

    if you just listen to the news you would think it was a christian flavor in Uganda driving the traditional marriage and anti homo rhetoric. you'd be mistaken.

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    1. Say more!

      Yes, I know that Amin decamped for Saudi Arabia when his beneficiaries tired of him, but all the non-traditional influence in Uganda I'm aware of are Christian.

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