So I was browsing around the internet, because its what I does when looking for a story, when I came across this little beauty on a friend’s blog/page.

In “Moments of startling clarity: Moral education programming in Ontario today,”* Stephen L. Anderson recounts what happened when he tried to show students what can happen to women in a culture with no tradition of treating women as if they were fellow human beings with men:

I was teaching my senior Philosophy class. We had just finished a unit on Metaphysics and were about to get into Ethics, the philosophy of how we make moral judgments…I decided to open by simply displaying, without comment, the photo of Bibi Aisha. Aisha was the Afghani teenager who was forced into an abusive marriage with a Taliban fighter, who…kept her with his animals. When she attempted to flee, her family caught her, hacked off her nose and ears, and left her for dead in the mountains. After crawling to her grandfather’s house, she was saved by a nearby American hospital.

Anderson was waiting for the cries of outrage from his morally intelligent students.  But, that’s hardly what he got.  This is how he describes it,

Instead, they became confused. They seemed not to know what to think. They spoke timorously, afraid to make any moral judgment at all. They were unwilling to criticize any situation originating in a different culture.

They said, “Well, we might not like it, but maybe over there it’s okay.” One student said, “I don’t feel anything at all; I see lots of this kind of stuff .”

Another said (with no consciousness of self-contradiction), “It’s just wrong to judge other cultures.”

“Wrong to judge other cultures…” Right. Because no war has ever been fought because one culture saw the actions of another culture as wrong, immoral, or unethical. I mean, that is just crazy.  This is what separates good men from great men; moments like this.  Anderson says it himself,

While we may hope some are capable of bridging the gap between principled morality and this ethically vacuous relativism, it is evident that a good many are not. For them, the overriding message is “never judge, never criticize, never take a position.”

The book that this snippet is from goes into greater depth as to where these atrocious student reactions originate and how it varies dramatically from the actual study and understanding of the word and study of Ethics

For thousands of years, most thinkers assumed that virtue was something specific; it could be described, and could be distinguished from (vice). Courage, for example, was a virtue—a cardinal virtue. Cowardice was a vice.  Those thinkers are—in the students’ terms—judgmental!  In recent decades, a new view has taken root. The new view is that courage and cowardice have no intrinsic reality. Neither does the classical virtue of justice or the vice of injustice. It all depends on how you feel about things, which in turn depends on your culture.

Apparently, it is alright to constantly hate upon people of your own ethical background, and judge and condemn or praise (however you might personally choose) but do not, under any circumstances, give way to the notion that, in this world where we are all caretakers, you have any right to question the moral and ethical reasoning of another human being who claims to have different cultural morals.

Or next thing you know, people might even go so far as to think we have a right to aid third-world countries in their fight for survival and equality.  Horrors.

Theirs is an education to avoid at all costs.

Thank you.


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