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Immigration and value of culture

ben2974
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5/21/2014 11:56:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Note: i just realized this could apply to the philosophy forums. Sorry for the multiposting.
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I'm interested in knowing about others' views regarding the upholding of cultural integrity within countries like France, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, etc. where there remains a distinct identity. (e.g. France speaks French, separation of church and state, etc).

Would you allow less strict immigration laws if you represented one of these countries? The USA is an example that cannot be used, for obvious reasons. Immigration law severity is dependent on state conditions to be adhered by all incoming immigrants. So, technically a state could allow a huge number of immigrants but they are all subject to the conditions set by the host country (i.e., you must accept this, do that, etc).

For example: What do you think about adding a secondary language for a country like France and Italy where their official language is a major trait of the country. Since the Muslim population is rising in Euro countries (like England and France), should governments recognize Arabic to accommodate them (making Arabic an official language)?

Everything here, I guess, is dependent on how one values culture, and here's my take on this:
I think that it's important for a country to have an identity. I respect the differences in cultures and I think that keeping a culture shows the most respect, rather than mixing cultures.

In order to help give reason to support my above standing, I allude to the issue of interracial/intercultural marriage. I respect races and cultures. We talk about interracial marriage and discuss how it shows mutual understanding and respect for the other kind of person when we interbreed. You may say that because you would find no problem marrying into another race/culture that you accept and respect another culture, but because I respect and accept the culture, I think it is necessary to preserve the culture; so, I will not mix, as that, to me, is a signal for a disregard of culture. If you have a disregard for your partner's identity, how can you say that you respect it?

Also, another reason I find it necessary to keep from intermixing is because *true* understanding/respect of something is when you can look at something else and accept the differences while maintaining your own self. In other words, coexisting is harder to do and therefore a higher achievement for humanity.

America is the prime example of the progress made toward "mutual understanding" and coexisting. It is a melting pot of cultures - that is American culture as it is a land of immigrants. Yes, there are couples from different backgrounds who get together. Fine, whatever. What i'm looking at is the fact that we're a country of immigrants and so a country that boasts diversity. And the fact that we are able to coexist with all the different kinds of backgrounds we all come from (though not yet perfectly of course) is a much bigger accomplishment in and of itself. We are able to respect each individual's culture and at the same time allow each individual to be different.

Concerning the culturally distinct countries: the American individuals with their respective cultures all have their homelands, or countries of origin which of course are host to the held culture of said individual. If that individual can have his identity respected, then those countries of origin should therefore also have their identity respected. So, you can immigrate but should adopt the culture you are immigrating to. That includes adopting the language. Therefore, a rising Muslim population in, say France, should only mean that all those Muslims should learn French.
Smithereens
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5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.
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Questionner
Posts: 233
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5/22/2014 5:10:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I don't agree that culture should remain static. There's no point to keeping cultures the way they are. None of the actual cultures would be what they are if they hadn't evolved. Some things about cultures are positive and should be preserved because of that, but other aspects aren't and need to be let go of.

Intermarriage might be the sign of a disregard for culture, but there's no reason why it should not be disregarded. Not everything needs to be respected.

I do agree that immigrants should learn the language of their host countries, but that's just so that they're able to communicate with the natives and learn their ways more easily. Without this communication, it's more difficult to reach an understanding. Without understanding there's a greater chance for conflicts (which can escalate to wars). Encouraging a common language is more about preserving the stability of the country, than preserving its culture.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.

Like I pointed out I don't think that countries comprised of immigrants can be used as examples. One might say that US and AUS are melting pots; the diversity of cultures is the culture itself, i.e., the country's culture is defined as the assimilation of multiple cultures. So of course there is no problem here, and of course continued immigration fosters the health of the culture. In fact, if an immigrant country stops receiving immigrants, eventually it will lose its identity.

Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 7:47:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
For the post above, directed to Smithereens, I just want to point out that there can still be differences between immigrant countries (AUS / US). Political system and Geography/climate can influence the identity as a whole.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 7:56:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 5:10:06 AM, Questionner wrote:
I don't agree that culture should remain static. There's no point to keeping cultures the way they are. None of the actual cultures would be what they are if they hadn't evolved. Some things about cultures are positive and should be preserved because of that, but other aspects aren't and need to be let go of.

These are general statements. Can you explain the means of the evolution of culture? What are positive cultural elements? Negative?

Intermarriage might be the sign of a disregard for culture, but there's no reason why it should not be disregarded. Not everything needs to be respected.

I mean it's not horrible to have intermarriage. It at least acknowledges that the other culture is viewed positively in sum. Intermixing is simply not the way to truly respect the culture. You say "not everything" needs to be respected, implying that culture doesn't need to be respected? Why does it not?

I do agree that immigrants should learn the language of their host countries, but that's just so that they're able to communicate with the natives and learn their ways more easily. Without this communication, it's more difficult to reach an understanding. Without understanding there's a greater chance for conflicts (which can escalate to wars). Encouraging a common language is more about preserving the stability of the country, than preserving its culture.

"Learn their ways." So, you do agree that it's important to assimilate with the host country's culture? I don't think stability and cultural preservation are mutually exclusive.
Questionner
Posts: 233
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5/22/2014 8:02:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?

Cultures have pros and cons, but they can't be evaluated more "objectively" than any other moral issue. Immigration is a positive thing in the sense that it enables people with different point of views to discus their differences and philosophically reflect upon the validity of their norms and values and ideas. It provides a different perspective that helps having a richer understanding of the world.

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.

What is the "fabric of a culture"? If you don't agree that it has to stay static, what changes do you allow, what ones don't you allow and why?
Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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5/22/2014 8:04:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.

Like I pointed out I don't think that countries comprised of immigrants can be used as examples. One might say that US and AUS are melting pots; the diversity of cultures is the culture itself, i.e., the country's culture is defined as the assimilation of multiple cultures. So of course there is no problem here, and of course continued immigration fosters the health of the culture. In fact, if an immigrant country stops receiving immigrants, eventually it will lose its identity.
This is false, as our culture is well defined. The end of immigration would hurt our population growth, but not our identity, as I alluded to before. I can't speak for America, but there is such thing as an Australian culture, the only thing that would change if immigration stopped would be the change in our culture. Our culture simply would stop changing and stay the same.

Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?
Immigration into these cultures won't actually do anything. Immigrants in most countries if they don't move as a community, are assimilated and join the culture of the country they joined. Sometimes this takes a generation or two, sometimes its instant. Extraneous variables such as language barriers have something to do with this,

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.
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Questionner
Posts: 233
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5/22/2014 8:12:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 7:56:22 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 5:10:06 AM, Questionner wrote:
I don't agree that culture should remain static. There's no point to keeping cultures the way they are. None of the actual cultures would be what they are if they hadn't evolved. Some things about cultures are positive and should be preserved because of that, but other aspects aren't and need to be let go of.

These are general statements. Can you explain the means of the evolution of culture?

Changes in the popular views with regards to norms and values, traditions and every component that makes up a culture.

What are positive cultural elements? Negative?

Things I consider morally wrong such as circumcising young girls are negative. That's the first thing on my mind because I read something in the news some time ago about a woman who was guilty of that crime. Her justification was "that's how it's done in my culture. It's the tradition." That's not a justification.

Positive are the things are traits that are desirable and not immoral. I mean, you know what "positive" and "negative" mean, it's not any different when we're talking about culture.

I mean it's not horrible to have intermarriage. It at least acknowledges that the other culture is viewed positively in sum. Intermixing is simply not the way to truly respect the culture. You say "not everything" needs to be respected, implying that culture doesn't need to be respected? Why does it not?

Because there's no reason why it should. Can you provide a reason why it should?

"Learn their ways." So, you do agree that it's important to assimilate with the host country's culture? I don't think stability and cultural preservation are mutually exclusive.

Yes, I agree. I don't think both are mutually exclusive, I was just making clear that my motivation for agreeing with the idea that immigrants need to assimilate is isn't cultural preservation, but rather stability.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 8:28:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:04:24 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.

Like I pointed out I don't think that countries comprised of immigrants can be used as examples. One might say that US and AUS are melting pots; the diversity of cultures is the culture itself, i.e., the country's culture is defined as the assimilation of multiple cultures. So of course there is no problem here, and of course continued immigration fosters the health of the culture. In fact, if an immigrant country stops receiving immigrants, eventually it will lose its identity.
This is false, as our culture is well defined. The end of immigration would hurt our population growth, but not our identity, as I alluded to before. I can't speak for America, but there is such thing as an Australian culture, the only thing that would change if immigration stopped would be the change in our culture. Our culture simply would stop changing and stay the same.

I'm confused. It sounds like you contradict yourself here. You say that with immigration your culture is well defined: your culture defined as an ever-changing one. If you reduce/stop immigration, that would stop your culture from changing, which is itself a change to your culture... (AUS culture is dynamic, then, and feeds on immigration).


Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?
Immigration into these cultures won't actually do anything. Immigrants in most countries if they don't move as a community, are assimilated and join the culture of the country they joined. Sometimes this takes a generation or two, sometimes its instant. Extraneous variables such as language barriers have something to do with this,

But this is a huge problem in Europe with Muslims immigrating to Western Europe. In France, the wave of Muslims are demanding things that go against France's ruling of Laicite, or separation of church and state (1905). What you said is what I'm looking for ideally. That's why I brought this whole thing up in the first place. Some people aren't assimilating like you say they would.

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.
Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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5/22/2014 8:30:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:28:11 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:04:24 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.

Like I pointed out I don't think that countries comprised of immigrants can be used as examples. One might say that US and AUS are melting pots; the diversity of cultures is the culture itself, i.e., the country's culture is defined as the assimilation of multiple cultures. So of course there is no problem here, and of course continued immigration fosters the health of the culture. In fact, if an immigrant country stops receiving immigrants, eventually it will lose its identity.
This is false, as our culture is well defined. The end of immigration would hurt our population growth, but not our identity, as I alluded to before. I can't speak for America, but there is such thing as an Australian culture, the only thing that would change if immigration stopped would be the change in our culture. Our culture simply would stop changing and stay the same.

I'm confused. It sounds like you contradict yourself here. You say that with immigration your culture is well defined: your culture defined as an ever-changing one. If you reduce/stop immigration, that would stop your culture from changing, which is itself a change to your culture... (AUS culture is dynamic, then, and feeds on immigration).

I didn't define our culture as one defined by immigration, nor did I say that we rely on immigration for culture. I said that immigration changes culture and then I argued that this was a positive thing.


Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?
Immigration into these cultures won't actually do anything. Immigrants in most countries if they don't move as a community, are assimilated and join the culture of the country they joined. Sometimes this takes a generation or two, sometimes its instant. Extraneous variables such as language barriers have something to do with this,

But this is a huge problem in Europe with Muslims immigrating to Western Europe. In France, the wave of Muslims are demanding things that go against France's ruling of Laicite, or separation of church and state (1905). What you said is what I'm looking for ideally. That's why I brought this whole thing up in the first place. Some people aren't assimilating like you say they would.

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.
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ben2974
Posts: 767
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5/22/2014 8:41:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:02:09 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?

Cultures have pros and cons, but they can't be evaluated more "objectively" than any other moral issue. Immigration is a positive thing in the sense that it enables people with different point of views to discus their differences and philosophically reflect upon the validity of their norms and values and ideas. It provides a different perspective that helps having a richer understanding of the world.

It isn't necessary to do all of that by permanently infiltrating the host country and spreading other ideas. Evaluation of culture and "philosophical reflection" can be done outside the country in a neutral standing. Especially in this day and age, there is no excuse.

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.

What is the "fabric of a culture"? If you don't agree that it has to stay static, what changes do you allow, what ones don't you allow and why?

The degrees of variation in which groups of people approach things and do things. Examples include distinct gestures and meanings, value of family dining, senior respect, etc.
I'm no expert on culture and related terms but i'm just trying to make a point that there is distinction between cultural elements and how they may or may not be transformed over time.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 8:52:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:12:56 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:56:22 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 5:10:06 AM, Questionner wrote:
I don't agree that culture should remain static. There's no point to keeping cultures the way they are. None of the actual cultures would be what they are if they hadn't evolved. Some things about cultures are positive and should be preserved because of that, but other aspects aren't and need to be let go of.

These are general statements. Can you explain the means of the evolution of culture?

Changes in the popular views with regards to norms and values, traditions and every component that makes up a culture.

What are positive cultural elements? Negative?

Things I consider morally wrong such as circumcising young girls are negative. That's the first thing on my mind because I read something in the news some time ago about a woman who was guilty of that crime. Her justification was "that's how it's done in my culture. It's the tradition." That's not a justification.

Positive are the things are traits that are desirable and not immoral. I mean, you know what "positive" and "negative" mean, it's not any different when we're talking about culture.

I mean it's not horrible to have intermarriage. It at least acknowledges that the other culture is viewed positively in sum. Intermixing is simply not the way to truly respect the culture. You say "not everything" needs to be respected, implying that culture doesn't need to be respected? Why does it not?

Because there's no reason why it should. Can you provide a reason why it should?


Yeah, to foster understanding (taking your words in a sense, from your previous comment). I can make the same argument you made, just the other way around: coexisting is understanding/toleration. To be able to accept what someone else is while keeping true to yourself. A simpler reason is that diversity is "richer." One of the reasons I'm so damn excited to visit East Asia for the first time (China, Japan, and Korea - in that order) is to experience the culture shocks! I'd be damn pissed if the West started colonizing Asia in some dystopian future, forcing their values and crap on them.

"Learn their ways." So, you do agree that it's important to assimilate with the host country's culture? I don't think stability and cultural preservation are mutually exclusive.

Yes, I agree. I don't think both are mutually exclusive, I was just making clear that my motivation for agreeing with the idea that immigrants need to assimilate is isn't cultural preservation, but rather stability.

Ok.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 8:59:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:30:00 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:28:11 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:04:24 AM, Smithereens wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 1:37:39 AM, Smithereens wrote:
Australia is (nearly 100%) completely comprised of immigrants. Identity hasn't been an issue, immigration doesn't detract from that. If anything, immigration can build and foster a better culture or identity. I see no reason to accept the argument that a culture should be the way it is currently or was before.

Like I pointed out I don't think that countries comprised of immigrants can be used as examples. One might say that US and AUS are melting pots; the diversity of cultures is the culture itself, i.e., the country's culture is defined as the assimilation of multiple cultures. So of course there is no problem here, and of course continued immigration fosters the health of the culture. In fact, if an immigrant country stops receiving immigrants, eventually it will lose its identity.
This is false, as our culture is well defined. The end of immigration would hurt our population growth, but not our identity, as I alluded to before. I can't speak for America, but there is such thing as an Australian culture, the only thing that would change if immigration stopped would be the change in our culture. Our culture simply would stop changing and stay the same.

I'm confused. It sounds like you contradict yourself here. You say that with immigration your culture is well defined: your culture defined as an ever-changing one. If you reduce/stop immigration, that would stop your culture from changing, which is itself a change to your culture... (AUS culture is dynamic, then, and feeds on immigration).

I didn't define our culture as one defined by immigration, nor did I say that we rely on immigration for culture. I said that immigration changes culture and then I argued that this was a positive thing.

It seems implied that immigration defines your culture (or is an important contributing factor). How did you argue that immigration is positive for AUS's identity (and that dynamic cultures is a positive thing?)



Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?
Immigration into these cultures won't actually do anything. Immigrants in most countries if they don't move as a community, are assimilated and join the culture of the country they joined. Sometimes this takes a generation or two, sometimes its instant. Extraneous variables such as language barriers have something to do with this,

But this is a huge problem in Europe with Muslims immigrating to Western Europe. In France, the wave of Muslims are demanding things that go against France's ruling of Laicite, or separation of church and state (1905). What you said is what I'm looking for ideally. That's why I brought this whole thing up in the first place. Some people aren't assimilating like you say they would.

I don't think necessarily that cultures should stay static forever. It's really impossible anyway. Technology, for example, will change the way we do certain things and change how we approach stuff. But that doesn't mean that these changes have to alter the fabric of a culture. The identity can stay the same forever.
Questionner
Posts: 233
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5/22/2014 8:59:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:41:31 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:02:09 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?

Cultures have pros and cons, but they can't be evaluated more "objectively" than any other moral issue. Immigration is a positive thing in the sense that it enables people with different point of views to discus their differences and philosophically reflect upon the validity of their norms and values and ideas. It provides a different perspective that helps having a richer understanding of the world.

It isn't necessary to do all of that by permanently infiltrating the host country and spreading other ideas.

I know, but immigration helps doing all that. I was only explaining how immigration could be positive, as you asked.

Evaluation of culture and "philosophical reflection" can be done outside the country in a neutral standing. Especially in this day and age, there is no excuse.

There is "no excuse" for what?

Philosophical reflection can be done outside the country, but it's much more productive when people come in direct contact with different people and have to find ways to live with them.

I'm no expert on culture and related terms but i'm just trying to make a point that there is distinction between cultural elements and how they may or may not be transformed over time.

Okay, cultural elements are distinct and change. Now, what changes do you allow and what ones don't you and why?

Can you provide a reason why culture should be preserved?
ben2974
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5/22/2014 9:10:38 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 8:59:44 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:41:31 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:02:09 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 7:45:03 AM, ben2974 wrote:
Now, in the case of countries that have closed central identities (like Japan and France), how can immigration improve these cultures? Are you saying that cultures have pros and cons that can be evaluated objectively? Are we supposed to be able to label cultures as inferior?

Cultures have pros and cons, but they can't be evaluated more "objectively" than any other moral issue. Immigration is a positive thing in the sense that it enables people with different point of views to discus their differences and philosophically reflect upon the validity of their norms and values and ideas. It provides a different perspective that helps having a richer understanding of the world.

It isn't necessary to do all of that by permanently infiltrating the host country and spreading other ideas.

I know, but immigration helps doing all that. I was only explaining how immigration could be positive, as you asked.

Does it really? Just because and outsider is in my hometown explaining/offering me how to live my life differently doesn't mean I will accept the person's ideas easier/quicker than if he were to tell me elsewhere or by other means of communication. In fact, if he was on your turf, don't you think outsiders might come off to be a bit more condescending/arrogant? Example: Piers Morgan talking about gun control on CNN!

Evaluation of culture and "philosophical reflection" can be done outside the country in a neutral standing. Especially in this day and age, there is no excuse.

There is "no excuse" for what?

There is no excuse for philosophical reflection and evaluation of culture to be done through other means.

Philosophical reflection can be done outside the country, but it's much more productive when people come in direct contact with different people and have to find ways to live with them.

I'm no expert on culture and related terms but i'm just trying to make a point that there is distinction between cultural elements and how they may or may not be transformed over time.

Okay, cultural elements are distinct and change. Now, what changes do you allow and what ones don't you and why?

Can you provide a reason why culture should be preserved?

I kind of skim the responses to these two questions in the previous post.
Questionner
Posts: 233
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5/22/2014 9:16:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Sorry, I posted before seeing the new post you had made (in which you did answer my question).

At 5/22/2014 8:52:36 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:12:56 AM, Questionner wrote:
Because there's no reason why it should. Can you provide a reason why it should?

Yeah, to foster understanding (taking your words in a sense, from your previous comment). I can make the same argument you made, just the other way around: coexisting is understanding/toleration.

How is that a reason to preserve culture?
If both cultures merge into one, there won't be a need for the people to "tolerate" each other as much because their shared culture will make them understand each other already.

If both cultures haven't merged but are coexisting, people will have to learn to understand each other no matter whether you actively work towards preserving the culture. The different cultures are there regardless.

In both cases, there's no reason to work towards cultural preservation.

A simpler reason is that diversity is "richer." One of the reasons I'm so damn excited to visit East Asia for the first time (China, Japan, and Korea - in that order) is to experience the culture shocks!

I agree with that.

The problem now is what you're willing to do in order to preserve culture. Cultural differences are fun, but that fun isn't necessarily worth prohibiting immigration (thus prohibiting immigrants from fleeing their war torn or poor country). Likewise, it's "fun", but it's not worth prohibiting two people from different backgrounds who love each other from marrying.
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5/22/2014 9:31:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 9:10:38 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:59:44 AM, Questionner wrote:
I know, but immigration helps doing all that. I was only explaining how immigration could be positive, as you asked.

Does it really? Just because and outsider is in my hometown explaining/offering me how to live my life differently doesn't mean I will accept the person's ideas easier/quicker than if he were to tell me elsewhere or by other means of communication.

No, but if that stranger is a group of people protesting against a cultural element on the street, it will incite the politians you vote for to discuss the matter and take stances on it. The fact that they will be all over the news will make you think about it more, and given that you'll have to vote for politians who are either for or against it, you will have to think through what your stance on the matter is.

When it's just some stranger outside of your country preaching his way of life, you are more likely to feel like it doesn't concern you and not give it as much thought.

In fact, if he was on your turf, don't you think outsiders might come off to be a bit more condescending/arrogant? Example: Piers Morgan talking about gun control on CNN!

I don't see why being in your country will motivate the outsider to be more arrogant. He can be just as arrogant outside of it too.
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5/22/2014 9:36:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 9:16:31 AM, Questionner wrote:
Sorry, I posted before seeing the new post you had made (in which you did answer my question).

At 5/22/2014 8:52:36 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:12:56 AM, Questionner wrote:
Because there's no reason why it should. Can you provide a reason why it should?

Yeah, to foster understanding (taking your words in a sense, from your previous comment). I can make the same argument you made, just the other way around: coexisting is understanding/toleration.

How is that a reason to preserve culture?
If both cultures merge into one, there won't be a need for the people to "tolerate" each other as much because their shared culture will make them understand each other already.

Well, I would think that if two cultures are able to merge into one, then an ability to coexist has already manifested in advance. In order to merge peacefully they have to first be understanding of each other. After that, the only reason to merge is ....


If both cultures haven't merged but are coexisting, people will have to learn to understand each other no matter whether you actively work towards preserving the culture. The different cultures are there regardless.

Wait what's the point/message of this statement? Coexistence implies cultural preservation.

In both cases, there's no reason to work towards cultural preservation.

A simpler reason is that diversity is "richer." One of the reasons I'm so damn excited to visit East Asia for the first time (China, Japan, and Korea - in that order) is to experience the culture shocks!

I agree with that.

The problem now is what you're willing to do in order to preserve culture. Cultural differences are fun, but that fun isn't necessarily worth prohibiting immigration (thus prohibiting immigrants from fleeing their war torn or poor country). Likewise, it's "fun", but it's not worth prohibiting two people from different backgrounds who love each other from marrying.

That's the point of contention. Out of respect for my own culture and the opposing culture, I will refrain.
ben2974
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5/22/2014 9:49:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 9:31:18 AM, Questionner wrote:
At 5/22/2014 9:10:38 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 8:59:44 AM, Questionner wrote:
I know, but immigration helps doing all that. I was only explaining how immigration could be positive, as you asked.

Does it really? Just because and outsider is in my hometown explaining/offering me how to live my life differently doesn't mean I will accept the person's ideas easier/quicker than if he were to tell me elsewhere or by other means of communication.

No, but if that stranger is a group of people protesting against a cultural element on the street, it will incite the politians you vote for to discuss the matter and take stances on it. The fact that they will be all over the news will make you think about it more, and given that you'll have to vote for politians who are either for or against it, you will have to think through what your stance on the matter is.

When it's just some stranger outside of your country preaching his way of life, you are more likely to feel like it doesn't concern you and not give it as much thought.

In fact, if he was on your turf, don't you think outsiders might come off to be a bit more condescending/arrogant? Example: Piers Morgan talking about gun control on CNN!

I don't see why being in your country will motivate the outsider to be more arrogant. He can be just as arrogant outside of it too.

You have a really good point here. But who is to say that a minority's voice is heard louder (received positively) in group? It could incite frustration and shunning by the majority. The minority could be seen as a threat and therefore the majority would take stronger actions to suppress it. Progressive change versus radical change. A culture changes over time. We both agreed cultures aren't static. Why not let the culture go through gradual change.

Also, to add to my previous post in rebuttal to your previous post, immigrants seeking safe havens from their country undergoing civil war and the likes can be granted asylum for the time being.
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5/22/2014 10:44:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 9:36:02 AM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 9:16:31 AM, Questionner wrote:
How is that a reason to preserve culture?
If both cultures merge into one, there won't be a need for the people to "tolerate" each other as much because their shared culture will make them understand each other already.

Well, I would think that if two cultures are able to merge into one, then an ability to coexist has already manifested in advance. In order to merge peacefully they have to first be understanding of each other. After that, the only reason to merge is ....

If both cultures haven't merged but are coexisting, people will have to learn to understand each other no matter whether you actively work towards preserving the culture. The different cultures are there regardless.

Wait what's the point/message of this statement? Coexistence implies cultural preservation.

It doesn't imply an active effort to preserve the culture.

An immigrant can have different views than the natives just because he was raised with a different culture and genuinely believes that his views are the correct ones as a result of that. In that case, the guy isn't aiming at preserving culture, he's aiming at adopting the most logical standpoint.

After discussing with the natives, that person could change his views and adopt the native views just because the natives have been able to provide convincing arguments, regardless of the fact that he has to let go of elements of his culture.

Culture just doesn't matter to him, so he simply doesn't care about preserving it.

The point of this statement is highlighting that working towards preserving culture is not necessary to foster understanding, the simple fact that people have to live together with different people will lead to them discussing their differences and thus foster tolerance and understanding in them because it's necessary for coexisting, even if they don't purposefully work towards preserving culture.

The problem now is what you're willing to do in order to preserve culture. Cultural differences are fun, but that fun isn't necessarily worth prohibiting immigration (thus prohibiting immigrants from fleeing their war torn or poor country). Likewise, it's "fun", but it's not worth prohibiting two people from different backgrounds who love each other from marrying.

That's the point of contention. Out of respect for my own culture and the opposing culture, I will refrain.

Refrain from what? Refrain from prohibiting people from different backgrounds from marrying? Refrain from prohibiting immigration?

If that's the case, I don't see how it's your respect for your culture that is causing you to refrain from it. Both marriage and immigration lead to cultural change, not cultural preservation, so logically, your respect for culture should cause you to be against them. Your respect for the well-being of immigrants and intercultural couples should influence you towards being for these two things.

No, but if that stranger is a group of people protesting against a cultural element on the street, it will incite the politians you vote for to discuss the matter and take stances on it. The fact that they will be all over the news will make you think about it more, and given that you'll have to vote for politians who are either for or against it, you will have to think through what your stance on the matter is.

When it's just some stranger outside of your country preaching his way of life, you are more likely to feel like it doesn't concern you and not give it as much thought.

You have a really good point here. But who is to say that a minority's voice is heard louder (received positively) in group? It could incite frustration and shunning by the majority.

It could, but the chances that people are going to respond positively are still higher than if it's some stranger preaching his way of life in some other country. You might shun the protesting people from another culture if you don't know them, but if you go to school with them, see them at the mall and have personal relationships with them (as you are likely to with immigrants), you will have a more humanized image of them that is likely to make you more sensitive to their issues. You can't shun a friend as easily as a stranger, even for the same problem.

Progressive change versus radical change. A culture changes over time. We both agreed cultures aren't static. Why not let the culture go through gradual change.

Because while the culture is "gradually changing" towards accepting female circumcision less, plenty of little girls are being victimized. It makes sense to want to accomplish the change of a cultural element as quickly as possible so that it harms the least people as possible.

Also, to add to my previous post in rebuttal to your previous post, immigrants seeking safe havens from their country undergoing civil war and the likes can be granted asylum for the time being.

Yes, but people don't want to be safe just "for the time being", knowing that they could be sent back to their country of origin at any moment. People want full citzenship so that they can have a stable situation to build the rest of their life on and that's a legitimate concern.
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5/22/2014 2:35:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 10:44:58 AM, Questionner wrote:

"The point of this statement is highlighting that working towards preserving culture is not necessary to foster understanding..."

I think our message (or mine) was misinterpreted throughout our many postings. You conclude with what my original comment was on coexistence in the first place. We preserve our own culture through our own will and desire, protecting it from the influences of the other culture. This does not require an understanding of another culture, simply the drive to protect your own. If two cultures are able to peacefully coexist, then there must be a level of mutual understanding between the two groups.

I will refrain from marrying into another culture. I want that culture to stay true, to stay alive. I might want to take part in that culture because I love it so, but that selfish desire ultimately destroys what I originally loved and found beautiful and one-of-a-kind.
I don't know where you got the other stuff from. I am a man who advocates freedoms of many kinds, and that includes marrying with whom you wish. But when I look at two different peoples getting together, I just look at it the way I've been trying to explain throughout this thread. Just like a gay couple marrying. I don't advocate it, but i'll accept it.

"You might shun the protesting people from another culture if you don't know them, but if you go to school with them..."

Piers Morgan is not/was not alone with the debate. The reason why he was a hot addition to CNN was because there already is a schism concerning gun control in the US. He was simply a figure head for the standpoint in the controversy. It could have just as easily been some American pro gun control politician running the show on CNN. If an American was running it, though, i'm sure the american populace and those who concern themselves with the second amendment would think differently and take the opposing view more to heart. Piers Morgan being an outsider creates, in the opposition, a sort of preconditioned bias against whatever he supports. This same thing can apply to groups of foreigners looking for change that fits their agenda. In stead of "who is he to say such a thing," just change it to "who are they to say such a thing?"

The example you use (circumcision) to illustrate the necessity of immigration as a tool to speed the process of altering values/customs/identity is case-specific and only applies reasonably to countries that actually need it. Is immigration to France necessary according to your reasoning? If you realize, immigration doesn't really work well the way you would use it. Immigrants don't normally come from developed countries or western countries. It's the other way around. A country locked in its cultural misconducts isn't going to be solved by sending immigrants from rich countries. The imperial era is over lol. On top of that, those very people who are responsible for their own cultural misconducts are the ones immigrating. And, in the end, the most dividing uncertainty of all restricts your argument fully. That is, is there such thing as moral objectivity? (Let's not debate this. It's not my intention).

Nowadays, most countries try and fight cultural injustices through other means. Economic sanctions and guidance from international institutions like the IMF and World Bank are two big methods that help to shape the path a country takes. "Philosophical reflection and cultural evaluation" in this way are indirectly imposed. Of course, beyond this we have GLOBALIZATION, which includes trade globalization which is logically followed by cultural globalization. Visiting other countries is also a method to help induce "philosophical reflection and cultural evaluation." No country that receives more immigrants than it sends need those immigrants as a tool to shape their culture (needs reference). That's primarily why the immigrants come in the first place.

"Yes, but people don't want to be safe just "for the time being",...."
You are being sheltered. You're in a safe environment and we've gone through the trouble of opening our arms to you. The least you could do is be in line with the host country.
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5/22/2014 9:09:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 2:35:31 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 10:44:58 AM, Questionner wrote:

"The point of this statement is highlighting that working towards preserving culture is not necessary to foster understanding..."

I think our message (or mine) was misinterpreted throughout our many postings. You conclude with what my original comment was on coexistence in the first place. We preserve our own culture through our own will and desire, protecting it from the influences of the other culture. This does not require an understanding of another culture, simply the drive to protect your own. If two cultures are able to peacefully coexist, then there must be a level of mutual understanding between the two groups.

Okay, but I was only responding to your statement that fostering understanding was a reason to preserve culture. My point was that it isn't a valid reason to preserve culture because understanding is fostered even without preservation of culture. Do we agree on this point?

The only reason for cultural preservation is that cultural differences are fun.

"You might shun the protesting people from another culture if you don't know them, but if you go to school with them..."

Piers Morgan is not/was not alone with the debate. The reason why he was a hot addition to CNN was because there already is a schism concerning gun control in the US. He was simply a figure head for the standpoint in the controversy. It could have just as easily been some American pro gun control politician running the show on CNN. If an American was running it, though, i'm sure the american populace and those who concern themselves with the second amendment would think differently and take the opposing view more to heart. Piers Morgan being an outsider creates, in the opposition, a sort of preconditioned bias against whatever he supports. This same thing can apply to groups of foreigners looking for change that fits their agenda. In stead of "who is he to say such a thing," just change it to "who are they to say such a thing?"

That's why it helps that outsiders (foreigners) don't remain on the outside, but mingle with the natives. What you're saying supports the fact that immigration helps stirring more productive philosophical debates. When foreigners mingle with natives, the "we-they" polarization is diminished (thus lowering the chances that they will make statements such as "who are they to...?") because the foreigners become part of the "we". When foreigners remain on the outside, the opposite happens.

The example you use (circumcision) to illustrate the necessity of immigration as a tool to speed the process of altering values/customs/identity

I did not say that speeding up cultural change through immigration was a "necessity" (a necessity to what?), I just said that immigration can speed up the cultural evolution

is case-specific

No, it is a general truth that gradually letting go of negative cultural elements will allow these negative elements to harm more people than radical change will.

and only applies reasonably to countries that actually need it.

What are "the countries that actually need it"?

Is immigration to France necessary according to your reasoning?

I haven't spoken about "necessity" in my reasoning, so I am not sure I undertand what you're asking me.

No country that receives more immigrants than it sends need those immigrants as a tool to shape their culture (needs reference).

Same thing. What are you basing whether a country "needs" it or not on?

If you realize, immigration doesn't really work well the way you would use it. Immigrants don't normally come from developed countries or western countries. It's the other way around.

Yes, I know that it's the other way around, but I don't see how the conclusion that immigration won't "work the way I'd use it" follows from that premise.

Unless you think that "the way I'd use it" is making countries open their borders only because immigration stirs philosophical discussions, in which case you misunderstood me. The reason why countries should open their borders is that people from poor/dangerous countries should have some other country to flee to. Increasing open-mindness is simply another positive effect immigration can have.

Also, everyone can learn from foreigners, it's not just people from rich countries who should go out there and teach foreigners how to be civilized like people believed in imperialist times.

A country locked in its cultural misconducts isn't going to be solved by sending immigrants from rich countries.

I'm not so sure of that. Like I said, a protesting immigrant population could still encourage the natives to rethink their views.

On top of that, those very people who are responsible for their own cultural misconducts are the ones immigrating.

Yes, I didn't say the opposite of that either and I don't really see how that matters.

Nowadays, most countries try and fight cultural injustices through other means.

Yes, I know, but the fact remains that immigration can help fighting them too and immigration is particularly more powerful than outside action.

"Yes, but people don't want to be safe just "for the time being",...."
You are being sheltered. You're in a safe environment and we've gone through the trouble of opening our arms to you. The least you could do is be in line with the host country.

That doesn't refute my point in any way.

Yes, they are sheltered and safe, but they aren't animals, they need more than that bare minimum to be satisfied with their life.

Given that your being born in a rich country was the result of sheer luck, not personal merit, the least you can do is going through the trouble of opening your arms to someone who happens to have been less fortunate than you.

These immigrants didn't do anything to deserve living with no more than the bare minimum than you did. Trying to provide immigrants from poor countries with a stable foundation they can build their life on goes hand in hand with treating these people like the human beings worthy of respect that they are. Nobody is at peace with the idea that they can't make any secure long term plans because they know they can lose their job and be kicked out of the country they reside in at any moment.
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5/23/2014 5:01:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/22/2014 9:09:08 PM, Questionner wrote:

Okay, but I was only responding to your statement that fostering understanding was a reason to preserve culture. My point was that it isn't a valid reason to preserve culture because understanding is fostered even without preservation of culture. Do we agree on this point?

Agreed.


The only reason for cultural preservation is that cultural differences are fun.

Just for "Fun" belittles the reason for cultural preservation. It's also to respect others' ways of life. And again I think that the ability coexist is virtuous - to be able to live your life while another lives his life. Yes, we fundamentally disagree here because you then rebuttal that some cultures have bad elements that need changing. And then you say that immigration is a key ingredient to cultural evolution, particularly as a means to eradicate particularly negative elements.



That's why it helps that outsiders (foreigners) don't remain on the outside, but mingle with the natives. What you're saying supports the fact that immigration helps stirring more productive philosophical debates. When foreigners mingle with natives, the "we-they" polarization is diminished (thus lowering the chances that they will make statements such as "who are they to...?") because the foreigners become part of the "we". When foreigners remain on the outside, the opposite happens.

What I said does not help stir more "productive" philosophical debates. Piers Morgan being fired means that people were tired of his rants. The public at large clearly did not recognize his positioning and thought it was illegitimate. And if anything, now people will associate gun control as "non-american," possibly prolonging efforts to make changes to gun control. Having said all this, it's important to note, once again, that there had already been a divide concerning the gun control controversy (in fact proving that a culture by itself can undergo significant cultural evolution). I claim that Piers Morgan, or a body of immigrants, would not speed up the process of cultural evolution.


The example you use (circumcision) to illustrate the necessity of immigration as a tool to speed the process of altering values/customs/identity

I did not say that speeding up cultural change through immigration was a "necessity" (a necessity to what?), I just said that immigration can speed up the cultural evolution

A necessity for speedier cultural evolution. It's in the sentence -__-. Are you saying that you want culture to evolve quicker? Why does it have to evolve? Because some cultures hold negative cultural elements? Not only are cultural differences subject to moral subjectivity, but how is one to tell what which elements to remove or change. You talk as if immigration is important to speed up the cultural evolution in order to remove bad cultural elements at a faster pace. Why would France need to pander to the cultural elements of the Arab world? What about Japan? They're the most homogeneous people in the world. Is it necessary to send immigrants there to "fix" that? Again, i'm not here to say that cultures must stay the same forever; we both agreed cultures change over time. So, let those countries change in their own fashion. Let the culture itself change its identity. It is totally unnecessary and unwarranted to rewire a culture using another group of people. They'll pick and choose the elements they wish to remove/change/add. Cultural autonomy is good: the people choose their own course.

is case-specific

No, it is a general truth that gradually letting go of negative cultural elements will allow these negative elements to harm more people than radical change will.

How do we know where immigration by itself (as a motor for cultural evolution) stands compared to civil war and world war? And where's your proof? Major revolutions that changed the identities of countries happened by some other means (as in, immigration had nothing to do in profoundly shaping cultures). A culture by itself is often capable of going through radical evolution. That's my point.

and only applies reasonably to countries that actually need it.

What are "the countries that actually need it"?

I don't know, you tell me? You're the one that insists that immigration is best to help remove the so-called negative cultural elements. I'm just assuming you're thinking of the relatively backwards cultures found in the middle east.


If you realize, immigration doesn't really work well the way you would use it. Immigrants don't normally come from developed countries or western countries. It's the other way around.

Yes, I know that it's the other way around, but I don't see how the conclusion that immigration won't "work the way I'd use it" follows from that premise.

Unless you think that "the way I'd use it" is making countries open their borders only because immigration stirs philosophical discussions, in which case you misunderstood me. The reason why countries should open their borders is that people from poor/dangerous countries should have some other country to flee to. Increasing open-mindedness is simply another positive effect immigration can have.

I'm pretty sure somewhere along this ride you advocated immigration as a means to promote cultural evolution. The "aid" argument you have is a relatively new one here...not to mention irrelevant.


"Yes, but people don't want to be safe just "for the time being",...."
You are being sheltered. You're in a safe environment and we've gone through the trouble of opening our arms to you. The least you could do is be in line with the host country.

That doesn't refute my point in any way.

Yes, they are sheltered and safe, but they aren't animals, they need more than that bare minimum to be satisfied with their life.

Given that your being born in a rich country was the result of sheer luck, not personal merit, the least you can do is going through the trouble of opening your arms to someone who happens to have been less fortunate than you.

These immigrants didn't do anything to deserve living with no more than the bare minimum than you did. Trying to provide immigrants from poor countries with a stable foundation they can build their life on goes hand in hand with treating these people like the human beings worthy of respect that they are. Nobody is at peace with the idea that they can't make any secure long term plans because they know they can lose their job and be kicked out of the country they reside in at any moment.

Okay...sure, you can come to my country. Just assimilate. I'm not against helping out poor people/war torn refugees, etc. I never said that. The whole premise of this thread is cultural autonomy. In the OP I even mentioned that the number of immigrants accepted could be huge. I have no problem with you coming to my country, as long as you assimilate! If you're immigrating for a limited period of time due to war or something, then I can understand the limits of integrating into the host's culture. But if you become a resident, be part of us!
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5/24/2014 8:08:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/23/2014 5:01:00 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 5/22/2014 9:09:08 PM, Questionner wrote:
The only reason for cultural preservation is that cultural differences are fun.

Just for "Fun" belittles the reason for cultural preservation. It's also to respect others' ways of life.

But fun is the reason why you respect other people's way of life, so it means the same thing. It's not belittling, it's a fact that fun is the reason.

And again I think that the ability coexist is virtuous - to be able to live your life while another lives his life.

Yes, you do, but except for fun, there's no reason why that's "virtuous", especially when the other is brutally honor killing his daughters while he "lives his life" and you turn a blind eye to it while you live yours out of respect for his murderous ways.

And then you say that immigration is a key ingredient to cultural evolution, particularly as a means to eradicate particularly negative elements.

If by "key ingredient" you mean "ingredient that isn't indisposable, but can help a lot" then yes, that's what I say.

What I said does not help stir more "productive" philosophical debates. Piers Morgan being fired means that people were tired of his rants. The public at large clearly did not recognize his positioning and thought it was illegitimate. And if anything, now people will associate gun control as "non-american," possibly prolonging efforts to make changes to gun control.

But that doesn't refute my point. Piers Morgan is one dude, he's not a group of immigrants who have learned the natives's ways to the point that they consider themselves more American than the other country they come from. There's no reason to consider gun control non-American if even many Americans (including people who have immigrated and become American) support it. But there is a reason to consider it as such if only non-Americans preach gun control from the outside.

Having said all this, it's important to note, once again, that there had already been a divide concerning the gun control controversy (in fact proving that a culture by itself can undergo significant cultural evolution).

That note isn't important. I never said that cultural change is impossible without immigration.

I claim that Piers Morgan, or a body of immigrants, would not speed up the process of cultural evolution.

The idea that many immigrants against it would not speed up the process of evolution does not follow from your premises at all.

I did not say that speeding up cultural change through immigration was a "necessity" (a necessity to what?), I just said that immigration can speed up the cultural evolution

A necessity for speedier cultural evolution. It's in the sentence -__-.

No, because then the sentence would be "speeding up cultural change (through immigration) is necessary for speeding up cultural change". Circular statement. Speeding up cultural change must have a goal to it that differs from the means of reaching it.

Are you saying that you want culture to evolve quicker? Why does it have to evolve? Because some cultures hold negative cultural elements?

I guess eliminating negative cultural elements in the world is the goal then, yes.

Not only are cultural differences subject to moral subjectivity, but how is one to tell what which elements to remove or change.

They can tell based on how it harms people. There's nothing in the world that justifies the forced circumcision of little kids. If kids want circumcision they can choose to do it when they're older and then nobody will be harmed, both those who are for the benefits of circumcision and those against it should be happy that way.

The key is choice. If people could easily leave a culture they disagree with, then cultural change wouldn't be necessary. Instead of changing the culture, people would just change the country they live in, but in reality, it's not that easy. Many people don't have the means to leave a country and settle in another, so if there's a point we should all agree with, it's that people shouldn't have irrevocable things done to them without having the choice (hence why the circumcision of little girls is so wrong, no matter the culture).

That morality is not "objective", but it almost is, given that it's based on something all humans do: avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure. Any person who disagrees that minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure in people's lives should be the moral foundation is pretty much telling others that it's okay to disregard their pain, in which case their views can just be disregarded too.

Why would France need to pander to the cultural elements of the Arab world?

First of all, nobody is asking France to "pander", it's not like all the Arabic cultural elements are inferior.

France should take account of the views of the Arabs who are immigrating there because there's no reason why their views should be ignored any more than those of people who were born in France.

What about Japan? They're the most homogeneous people in the world. Is it necessary to send immigrants there to "fix" that?

No, I never said that the homogeneity of a group, on itself, is necessarily a bad thing. Just the harmful ideas and practices they may have have is.

So, let those countries change in their own fashion. Let the culture itself change its identity. It is totally unnecessary and unwarranted to rewire a culture using another group of people.

You keep insisting that cultures change "in their own fashion" without the help of another group of people without providing any reason as to why cultural change should happen that way. There's no reason why it should and I provided reasons for why it shouldn't so it makes more sense to not support your standpoint.

it is a general truth that gradually letting go of negative cultural elements will allow these negative elements to harm more people than radical change will.

How do we know where immigration by itself (as a motor for cultural evolution) stands compared to civil war and world war?

We don't. Why are you putting up immigration and civil war against each other like these two things are mutually exclusive or indepent? They aren't. A civil war can include immigrants.

And where's your proof?

You mean what is my proof of the fact that the more people carry out a harmful cultural practice, the more they harm? That's a basic fact of reality, isn't it?

How could more circumcisions (harmful practice) possibly not lead to more circumcised people (harm)?

A culture by itself is often capable of going through radical evolution. That's my point.

And I've never contradicted that point. Of course it's capable of it, but a priori radical changes are more likely to happen when the natives have to live with another group of people with different views, because there's a greater incentive for it.

and only applies reasonably to countries that actually need it.

What are "the countries that actually need it"?

I don't know, you tell me? You're the one that insists that immigration is best to help remove the so-called negative cultural elements. I'm just assuming you're thinking of the relatively backwards cultures found in the middle east.

I wasn't specifically targetting one culture actually, I'm assuming that every culture has its issues and people with different views can provide new insights to help solve or improve them.

Okay...sure, you can come to my country. Just assimilate.

But what is meant by "assimilating"? If it means learning the language and obeying the law, sure.
If it means conforming to any cultural norm of the host country, without expressing disagreement or fighting for cultural change, that is a problem.
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5/24/2014 8:11:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
To illustrate my point, I'll take that national debate France has had some time ago about prohibiting the burka, which originates from Arabic culture.

In the West, showing skin is often viewed as a sign that a woman is modern and "liberated", so the opposite, the burka, comes across as a negation of women's freedom to wear revealing clothing and is considered "oppressive" or "anti-feministic". The French government considered this a good reason to ban it.

The burka wearing women protested and argued against the idea that it's oppressive because, as a result of their cultural background, they view the burka as a protection against sexual predators for women and as a statement against sexual objectification of women (because it encourages people to judge them by their personalities instead of their looks). To them their beauty is something that should only be seen by their husband (and family) and they consider it just as oppressive to force women to reveal their bodies than to force them not to.

France has enforced the prohibiton against the burka anyway, which is wrong IMHO and the immigrant women who think so too have a right to call the French out on that by protesting against that law.

Going by your argument, these women should just accept without a fight that they can't wear what they want or go back to their country where they can wear it (because "we've provided them safety and shelter. They should be grateful instead of asking even more of us"), but I disagree.

The muslims who are carrying out demonstrations in protest aren't "assimilating" but it's for a good cause. There's no reason why they shouldn't be able protest against the cultural norms as much as a native can.

The "they should go back to their country" argument is extremely popular in debates about conflicting cultural elements, hence why I think it's so important to expose how enormously invalid that argument is.
ben2974
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5/24/2014 3:14:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
"But fun is the reason why you respect other people's way of life, so it means the same thing. It's not belittling, it's a fact that fun is the reason."

Fun is one reason. I think we're just at an impasse here. I say that coexisting is virtuous, but you don't agree because you think some cultures deserve changing; having the power to change something should require action, otherwise its like turning a blind eye. I agree with that, but I do not believe this necessitates/validates immigration. It can be done through other ways, which we've already discussed. And as long as two cultures find their separate values worth keeping, there is no reason why either should accommodate for the other. The example you give perfectly illustrates a lack of respect and disregard for French culture. There is no justification for the French to accommodate them.

"he's not a group of immigrants who have learned the natives's ways to the point that they consider themselves more American than the other country they come from."

So....are you saying that immigrants should first integrate more wholly into the host's identity before imparting their own views on the issue? From the quoted sentence it seems that you find it appropriate for immigrants to first integrate and then contribute...which goes against your standing so far. Smithereens posted something rather important. If individuals migrate then they're more likely to integrate. But if communities migrate, that will likely lead to faster unanticipated and unwarrnanted cultural evolution.

"That note isn't important. I never said that cultural change is impossible without immigration."

It is important because it illustrates that immigration cannot be argued for on the basis as a tool for cultural evolution (i.e, immigration is necessary because it aids in cultural evolution which you say is good, and i'll take that as meaning necessary). Yes, you say that immigration will lead to faster evolution, but then I rebutted by questioning the power immigration poses as a force for change. If immigration as a means for quickening cultural evolution was fastest, or optimal, then sure, maybe. But it's not. History has proven that cultural evolution - even radical evolution - was done so through other means, be it civil war, war (conquest), world war, and imperial domination. And these events were not primarily catalyzed by an immigrant populace, if not partially. Just because an immigrant population can catalyze cultural evolution doesn't mean it should.

"I guess eliminating negative cultural elements in the world is the goal then, yes." They can tell based on how it harms people. There's nothing in the world that justifies the forced circumcision of little kids. If kids want circumcision they can choose to do it when they're older and then nobody will be harmed, both those who are for the benefits of circumcision and those against it should be happy that way."

Again, how do we know which cultural elements are negative? The question of moral objectivity ultimately questions the validity of claiming any value as good or bad. We can rationalize actions based on our own interpretation, but another person just as easily interprets something that we think is negative as positive (and vice versa, though here i'm playing the devil's advocate because i'm not sure if moral objectivity isn't true).

According to your logic, parents should stop parenting. Parenting intrinsically involves guidance. Guidance may be subjective, but the parent is no better to let the child follow its own path without its own compass. By letting the child choose for itself you're risking the child adopting values that may be detrimental and conflicting. As a parent, you have the responsibility to make sure that that doesn't happen. It's also simply completely illogical for the parent to let the child choose whatever the hell it wants, in the hopes that it'll develop positively.


"That morality is not "objective", but it almost is, given that it's based on something all humans do: avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure. Any person who disagrees that minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure in people's lives should be the moral foundation is pretty much telling others that it's okay to disregard their pain, in which case their views can just be disregarded too."

Buddhism.

"France should take account of the views of the Arabs who are immigrating there because there's no reason why their views should be ignored any more than those of people who were born in France."

Except that in France, we have an identity. You have yours, I have mine. Respect mine, and I respect yours. The fact that there is no inherent superior cultures means that France has no obligation to serve another culture's interests.

"We don't. Why are you putting up immigration and civil war against each other like these two things are mutually exclusive or indepent? They aren't. A civil war can include immigrants."

Because they often have been. They "can" include immigrants (i.e, immigrants are partially or primarily responsible for catalyzing civil war), but they usually aren't. And, once again, civil wars are only one way in which rapid cultural evolution can occur.

"And I've never contradicted that point. Of course it's capable of it, but a priori radical changes are more likely to happen when the natives have to live with another group of people with different views, because there's a greater incentive for it."

Proof?

"If it means conforming to any cultural norm of the host country, without expressing disagreement or fighting for cultural change, that is a problem."

Nope, it's no problem at all. Once you've assimilated, then you can express concern. Both of our arguments have been expressed about this fundamental question. We're definitely at a standstill.

To your follow-up post with the burka example, all I really have to say is that it's a matter of cultural difference. France has its views and the immigrating Muslims have their views. Allowing the Muslims to fundamentally change French culture is the same thing as saying that current French culture is unacceptable. You're only judging the situation in one way. If the French say Muslims must do it their way then it's immoral. If the Muslims say the French must do it according to their ways, it's not immoral. Where, then, can the French freely express their French culture if not their own home?
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5/24/2014 7:01:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/24/2014 3:14:20 PM, ben2974 wrote:
And as long as two cultures find their separate values worth keeping, there is no reason why either should accommodate for the other.

Yes, but there is no instance where everyone in a culture finds the values worth keeping. There are always people who disagree with the popular views.

So....are you saying that immigrants should first integrate more wholly into the host's identity before imparting their own views on the issue? From the quoted sentence it seems that you find it appropriate for immigrants to first integrate and then contribute...which goes against your standing so far.

No, it doesn't go against my standing at all. I don't know why you think it does. I said from the beginning that foreigners should learn the language and the ways of the natives to avoid conflicts.

Now I'm saying that natives will be more receptive to the protests of immigrants if they view the immigrants as one of them. Like I said, often coming in contact with these foreigners (at school, work, on tv, etc) and having personal relationships with them will help them viewing the foreigners less as outsiders. Seeing them adopt other more petty aspects of their culture (eat the same foods, wear the same type of clothes, etc) will too because that shows that they respect the native culture and don't view it as inferior. If they respect it, it means that it's less likely that they're protesting as a result of a bias in favor of their own culture, but rather because of an impartial evaluation of the arguments from both sides.

Smithereens posted something rather important. If individuals migrate then they're more likely to integrate. But if communities migrate, that will likely lead to faster unanticipated and unwarrnanted cultural evolution.

What cultural evolution is "unwarranted"?

If immigration as a means for quickening cultural evolution was fastest, or optimal, then sure, maybe. But it's not.

Proof?

History has proven that cultural evolution - even radical evolution - was done so through other means,

The fact that most radical evolution happened without being catalyzed by immigrants does in no way prove that immigration isn't the optimal (moral) way to trigger cultural evolution at all (conquest and imperial domination aren't possible options nowadays, they're immoral because they don't allow for philosophical debate, they're about imposing one's culture through sheer force, not dialogue.) because you still don't know that these evolutions wouldn't have happened faster with the help of a group of protesting immigrants.

Immigration was far less common in the past than in our globalized world. From what I know, when a large group of people immigrated, they usually came from neighboring countries, so the cultures weren't extremely different and the chances of demonstrating the power of immigration were few.

Just because an immigrant population can catalyze cultural evolution doesn't mean it should.

I never said the opposite.

Again, how do we know which cultural elements are negative?

I gave an answer to this question when I explained this whole thing about how people should have the choice in what happens to them and the fact that we should minimize the harm we cause to other people.

We can rationalize actions based on our own interpretation, but another person just as easily interprets something that we think is negative as positive

I don't agree that any negative thing can be positively rationalized, because girl circumcision (for example) has no valid positive rationalization to it.

According to your logic, parents should stop parenting.

Of course not. That's a strawman. I didn't say parents should let their kids choose everything on their own (I said that these kids should choose circumcision when they're older if that's what they want, not when they're kids). Parents need to guide their kids and choose for them when it's necessary for their well-being, but some things aren't necessary. Circumcision of little girls isn't because it does absolutely nothing but cause these girls pain for the rest of their lives.

"That morality is not "objective", but it almost is, given that it's based on something all humans do: avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure. Any person who disagrees that minimizing pain and maximizing pleasure in people's lives should be the moral foundation is pretty much telling others that it's okay to disregard their pain, in which case their views can just be disregarded too."

Buddhism.

So? You're not refuting or addressing the point I made at all.

Fun is one reason. I think we're just at an impasse here. I say that coexisting is virtuous, but you don't agree because you think some cultures deserve changing

We wouldn't be at an impasse if you elaborated your standpoint. You say that fun is "one reason", but then you don't cite another reason. You haven't refuted that it really is the only reason.

You say that coexisting is "virtuous" but you don't give any reason why, so I have no reason to agree with you and no reasons to argue against and the debate becomes stale.

You said that coexisting is "more difficult", but that shouldn't be a reason why it's virtuous. Walking on one leg is "more difficult" too, does that mean it's "more virtuous" and we should all do that even though walking on both legs is more practical and beneficial? Should we strive to make life as difficult as posisble then?

The example you give perfectly illustrates a lack of respect and disregard for French culture. There is no justification for the French to accommodate them.

There is no reason for the French to not accomodate them. Please provide one if there is one.

"France should take account of the views of the Arabs who are immigrating there because there's no reason why their views should be ignored any more than those of people who were born in France."

Except that in France, we have an identity. You have yours, I have mine.

So what? How does that refute what I said?

Respect mine, and I respect yours.

Why? If murdering innocents is part of your "identity" why should I respect it and not protest against it to protect my life of that of the people I love?

The fact that there is no inherent superior cultures means that France has no obligation to serve another culture's interests.

Non-sequitur. It doesn't matter that there are no "inherently superior cultures", what matters is that there are negative cultural elements (there's no point to talking about cultures as a whole, there's good and bad in all of them).

It's not about serving another culture's interest, it's about serving people's interests (people who happen to be from another culture).
you're making this a cultural issue when it should be a philosophical issue that culture is irrelevant to. Circumcision of little girls is wrong no matter what culture it comes from or where it's done in the world.

"And I've never contradicted that point. Of course it's capable of it, but a priori radical changes are more likely to happen when the natives have to live with another group of people with different views, because there's a greater incentive for it."

Proof?

There is no proof for or against this. The only thing we have is suppositions based on what we know about human psychology and these suppositions support my point.

"If it means conforming to any cultural norm of the host country, without expressing disagreement or fighting for cultural change, that is a problem."

Nope, it's no problem at all. Once you've assimilated, then you can express concern.
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5/24/2014 7:05:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Why?

So they should conform to all cultural norms without expressing disagreement or fighting for some time and then start fighting? What is the point to that? There is none at all. Whether they fight from the beginning or stay silent for a year and then fight changes nothing about the fact that they ultimately fight for cultural change and ask the native culture to accomodate them.

Both of our arguments have been expressed about this fundamental question. We're definitely at a standstill.

But we wouldn't be if you elaborated. Some of the things you defend (such as the point above this quote) have no arguments to support them (or, at least, no arguments that you give).

To your follow-up post with the burka example, all I really have to say is that it's a matter of cultural difference.

No, it isn't. That's the big problem: people analyze it in terms of culture when they shouldn't. It's a matter of being logical.

There's no reason why it should matter that the burka is of Arabic origin, it's completely irrelevant to whether it's oppressive to women and it obviously isn't if women choose to wear it. The French position on this makes absolutely no sense ("liberating" women by removing their freedom to wear what they want? Isn't that an obvious contradiction?) and there's no reason why they should be able to defend nonsense just because "it's in their culture". So what if it's in their culture, seriously? "It's our culture" in that case just sounds like an easy excuse to not have to stop doing something wrong.

You're only judging the situation in one way. If the French say Muslims must do it their way then it's immoral. If the Muslims say the French must do it according to their ways, it's not immoral.

Strawman. I never said that at any point and I don't agree with that at all. I'm saying that both should take account of the other person's views and discuss it out. The one that provides the best arguments, no matter what culture he is from should get his way.

Where, then, can the French freely express their culture if not in their own home?

They shouldn't be able to express the nonsensical part of their culture anywhere.
Bread and wine is part of their culture and they can express that because that's not harming anyone, but forcing women to dress a certain way because it's "liberating" shouldn't be "expressed", neither by the French or Arabs or whatever other ethnic group because it's harmful and has no logical justification to it.
ben2974
Posts: 767
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5/24/2014 10:37:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
"Yes, but there is no instance where everyone in a culture finds the values worth keeping... "

I never said otherwise. Political parties do exist. And recurring differences in values are namely what cause this gradual cultural evolution.

"No, it doesn't go against my standing at all. I don't know why you think it does. I said from the beginning that foreigners should learn the language and the ways of the natives to avoid conflicts..."

Great, so in essence you agree that immigrants should adopt the host's culture. Once adopted, then changes can be wagered.

"What cultural evolution is "unwarranted"?"

changes in culture made by aggressive waves of immigrant influence.

"Proof?"

I'll be honest I don't have the credentials to point this out explicitly, but as far as I know immigration's role in influencing cultural evolution (the rate of evolution) should pale in comparison to all the other methods that have influenced cultural evolution.

"The fact that most radical evolution happened without being catalyzed by immigrants does in no way prove that immigration isn't the optimal (moral) way to trigger cultural evolution at all...."

Neither does the fact that immigration hasn't catalyzed effective cultural evolution mean immigration works -__-. Other methods have proven themselves. Immigration hasn't. You just think that because it's "moral" (which I obviously disagree with anyhow), it's optimal. Even now, modern globalization (a relatively modern culmination of factors) as a trigger for cultural evolution has proved itself more effective than immigration already (think of the last 70 years or so, with the cold war and the creation of international institutions like UN, NATO, WB, WTO, IMF). And don't tell me that increased immigration (I actually don't know this, i'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here), as a product of our increasing globalization, is/will be primarily responsible for any cultural shifts experienced. If anything, it's the effects (political and economical) of the domination of the Western world order led by the United States, Japan, and the EU that has been dominating the world political scene since 1945.

"Of course not. That's a strawman. I didn't say parents should let their kids choose everything on their own (I said that these kids should choose circumcision when they're older if that's what they want, not when they're kids). Parents need to guide their kids and choose for them when it's necessary for their well-being, but some things aren't necessary. Circumcision of little girls isn't because it does absolutely nothing but cause these girls pain for the rest of their lives."

What is necessary and what is not necessary to teach your child is totally dependent on the culture. That's clearly what you don't understand. You obviously believe in moral objectives. How do you know the circumcised girl is in pain the rest of their lives? What if they asked for it? What if going through the process leads them, in the long run, to live happier lives? You have absolutely no authority to claim the effects of things that hold subjective significance. For example, I find that engaging in physical activity is fun and is worth the high risk. I train in the martial arts, and I absolutely love fighting opponents. The physical injuries that I consistently face are well worth the risk. In exchange for this high-risk activity, I gain immeasurable utility: feelings of invigoration, self-satisfaction, friendships, etc. etc. From an outsider point of view, does beating each other up and risking great physical injury - even permanent injury or death sound sensible? Rational/logical? No, not really. I advocate an activity that often results in serious injury. And if/when I have children, i'm certainly signing them up for this. I'm signing them up to be potentially permanently injured or killed. How does that sound, hm? Parents start their children at super young ages in the martial arts.

"So? You're not refuting or addressing the point I made at all."

Yeah, I am. To my understanding, you said that it "almost is" that there is moral objectivity. and that all humans seek avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure. Buddhists do not seek to maximize pleasure and they do subject themselves to forms of pain. Through this, they claim, Buddhists achieve higher levels of spiritual development and higher enlightenment.

"You say that coexisting is "virtuous" but you don't give any reason why, so I have no reason to agree with you and no reasons to argue against and the debate becomes stale....."

Coexisting implies an understanding, a level of respect held for one and another's differences. That's virtuous. To say that that isn't virtuous is to promote intolerance, which we know, as history proves time and time again, incites violence and other bad things. This does not mean that all cultures should refrain from "cultural evaluation and philosophical engagements." Whether or not another culture accepts the critiques is up to the culture itself.

"There is no reason for the French to not accomodate them. Please provide one if there is one."

1. Cultural preservation, duh!

"If murdering innocents is part of your "identity" why should I respect it and not protest against it to protect my life of that of the people I love?"

Because my identity is not yours. Not that I have ever heard of society that works by "murdering innocents." However, sacrifice is a different story, and if self-sacrifice is how a culture functions, then so be it. Again, though, I am 100% for philosophical discussion and cultural evaluation. In an anime called One Piece, there was a story told: on an island lived a tribe of peoples who resorted to human sacrifice in order to "please the gods," in order to save themselves from what actually was a disease found by a type of tree that was abundant on the island. A group of botanists arrived at the island to find this horrible practice in action. In stead of inhabiting the island and demanding changes that suit their ways, the head botanist decided to resort to "philosophical discussion and cultural evaluation," a.k.a studying the island and figuring out what was the source of the disease and how to cure it. Succeeding at this, he then communicated his findings to the tribe people, and, eventually, with some initial hesitation, changed their ways and stopped their sacrificial practices.

"It doesn't matter that there are no "inherently superior cultures", what matters is that there are negative cultural elements (there's no point to talking about cultures as a whole, there's good and bad in all of them)."

You claim that cultures are subject to good and bad elements and then are satisfied that cultures can't be superior to others? Jeeze, that smells of contradiction. What if you find that a particular culture holds more cons than pros? It's still equal to another culture that you find has more pros than cons? I may have misunderstood you...

"No, it isn't. That's the big problem: people analyze it in terms of culture when they shouldn't. It's a matter of being logical."

A Buddhist would shatter your concept of logic, as explained earlier in this post.

"I never said that at any point and I don't agree with that at all. I'm saying that both should take account of the other person's views and discuss it out. The one that provides the best arguments, no matter what culture he is from should get his way."

Who's to say one's arguments are better, or right? Majority vote? That's bandwagon, and that's wrong. Besides, I agree we can discuss things out. Just that it's ultimately up to me to decide what I want for myself.