Multiculturalism, cultural relativism and economic development.
It is true that all cultures are equal and none is superior. In the recent past there has arisen the concept of multiculturalism. This is where the people accept all the different ethnic and religious cultures without promoting a specific culture.
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This has come about because of the cultural diversities of many countries in the west as more and more people from developing countries settle in the west. The practice communicates that there is no superior culture. This ideology helps different cultures to integrate easily, avoids conflict and no particular group of people feel left out or isolated.
There have also been calls for the widespread acceptance for cultural relativism. It is the ideology that an individual’s activities or beliefs should not be considered or judged in isolation but in relation to their culture. This shows that all over the world people have realized that all cultures are essentially equal and none is superior.
Marx and Engels had a similar concept as they advocated that all cultures are equal. At that time there were many scholars teaching on the importance of Christianity or theology, natural science and other forms of self-consciousness. Marx and Engels felt the scholars were directing their focus on the non-essentials.
Whether one had attained this self-consciousness or not, Marx and Engels maintained that all cultures were the same. Marx and Engels stated that liberation of man was not a mental effort rather it would be brought about by economic development and the advancement of man.
The culture of man is essentially about the means of production for survival on the earth and division of labor. Since men are social beings, out of social interaction arises the interests and beliefs in God and the importance of Christianity.
They also criticized Germany for not recognizing the history of other nations. Herr Vereday, a scholar supported Germany’s plans to conquer other nations to ensure universal dominance of Germany.
All men, pagan and religious are equal since the true history of man is about means of production, ownership of property, social interaction and interdependent for survival.
Imperialism, human rights and nazism
The hypothesis that all cultures are equal has been contested and in examining historical events, there have been events that suggest there are cultures that are regarded as superior. There are cultures that have embraced civilisation faster than others.
When the Whites went to Africa they found a different kind of culture that was highly superstitious with practices that are now considered inhumane such as female genital mutilation. There was a need to subordinate them and mould them into following the White man’s culture that was considered to be superior.
There have been repressive acts in the Islam communities against women in the Middle East that have caused people to reason that other cultures are superior. The concept of cultural relativism and multiculturalism is still bound within moral guidelines.
There are acts that are allowed in some cultures that go against international human rights and therefore show that certain cultures are weaker. Multiculturalism is not the ideal and it has given rise to a lot of arguments or controversy in its application in the legal and political field (McGoldrick, 2005)
The Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler did not think true of the statement all cultures are equal. In his Mein Kamph, in the chapter on Nation and Race, he highlights the superiority of the Aryan race. He believed that the Aryan race had led the world in its inventions in different areas such as science and production.
However, the creative gene in them was under attack of extinction through intermarriage. Intermarriage caused a pollution of the Aryan blood that lead to offspring that are inferior. They would match the inferior spouse capabilities but will never reach the level of the Aryans. Adolf compared the Aryans to the Jews.
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These were people with no nation of their own at that time. They would be foreigners in a country, engage in money lending, stock exchange and other businesses and rise to the top. They have never had a culture of their own. They always imitated the people’s culture in the countries they have been hosted in (Hitler, 1943, 300).
Adolf Hitler called for the extermination of this race, which he sighted, had no culture and were parasites. Hitler used these teachings to incite deep hatred for the Jews leading to his evil plans for them that culminated in the Holocaust (Dunning and Mennell, 1998)
Dunning, E. and Mennell, S. (1998) “Elias on Germany, Nazism and the Holocaust: On the Balance between ‘Civilizing’ and’ Decivilizing’ Trends in the Social Development of Western Europe” The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 339-357.
Hitler, A. (1943) Nation and Race, Mein Kampf. (Manheim, R., trans). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Marx, K. and Engels, F. (2008) “The German Ideology” in Michael Ryan (ed.) Cultural Studies: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell.
McGoldrick, D. (2005). “Multiculturalism and its Discontents.” Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 5, No 1, pp 27-56.