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Wrong TurningsHow the Left Got Lost$
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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226505749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226505916.001.0001

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After Vietnam: The Left Descends into Cultural Relativism

After Vietnam: The Left Descends into Cultural Relativism

(p.139) Chapter 8 After Vietnam: The Left Descends into Cultural Relativism
Wrong Turnings

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter is an attack on normative cultural relativism, described as ‘cultural relativism’ for short. Cultural relativists argue that we (especially those of us from the West) should not criticize the moral values of other cultures. Its proponents allege that such criticism furthers Western globalization or imperialism by imposing Western values on the rest of the world. Cultural relativism was fuelled by reactions against Western military intervention in Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere. But being critical of Western brutality and hypocrisy does not mean that one should be indifferent to female genital mutilation, wife-burning, or dowry murder, as some prominent ‘feminists’ seem to propose. Such arguments are internally contradictory and immoral.

Keywords:   cultural relativism, human rights, imperialism

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