|Subject:||"Insidious Evils of Relativism."|
|Date:||Fri, 24 Jul 1998 10:43:33 -0500|
Suite 18 #368 1950 East Greyhound Pass
Carmel, INdiana 46033-7730
|To:||Washington Times <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Dear National Weekly Editor,
We read Robert Stacey McClain's July 20-26, 1998 article with interest: Author throws the book at insidious evils of relativism.
From our perspective Robert H. Knight's hatred of relativism is appropriate and deserved. Allowed to continue, it will destroy our nation. Cultural relativism is indeed evil. However, one must also consider what it wishes to replace, which is only slightly better from our Western cultural viewpoint.
Let's try to distill this problem to crux, and see where we arrive. On careful examination, one observes three major Western cultural models of reality. First, our current as-practiced philosophy; second, cultural relativism; third, a new philosophy which appeared on the horizon within the last 25 years. Let's compare them using Knight's measures truth and value:
1. Current philosophy says truth is absolute and value
2. Cultural relativism says both truth and value are relative.
3. The new philosophy says value is absolute and truth is context dependent.
Comparing the three side-by-side, it is easy to see why we should hate and dismiss cultural relativism. It is facile and inept. In it, there are no values and no truths. In it, chaos reigns. We see the results of its use in our schools and in the highest levels of our government. Fortunately, it cannot survive. Its strategy is not evolutionarily stable. We do not wish to go there, even on an interim basis.
Our current philosophy, exemplified by the words in item one above, does not work because it puts truth above value. It also asks that all people and all cultures adhere one absolute truth system. However, whose or which truth system do we adhere, and how do we impose the selected truth system on those who do not wish to abide it? Do we use force? Is that moral?
Clearly, the new philosophy is better. It is about value. It is about quality. It admits perceived reality. It accommodates many cultures and belief systems co-existing with more harmony than either our current philosophy or cultural relativism. It seeks value as the apex of good and declares that the pursuit of value is moral, ethical, aesthetic, noble, and righteous. It tells us that truth may be determined as a local absolute, dependent upon local context.
Sincerely, and with great respect,