Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Battle of Cultures

Last night I had an interesting dinner conversation with someone I hold in high regard.

The comments sprang from 9/11 and Afghanistan and why were we there...etc..

My dinner partner essentially had adopted a live and let live approach to world politics. I.e. they want to have an islamic regime, or they want to live under communist rule let them.

The gist was "How can we impose our culture or way of thinking on the rest of the world?"

I pointed out two flaws with this logic:

1) Live and Let Live only applies if the other guys are game. 9/11 and a slew of radical islamic terrorist bombings around the world pretty much imply that they are of the Live and Send your enemies to be judged by Allah as soon as possible camp.

2) You assume that this "they" of whom you speak actually want to live under these conditions.

I then added I felt our "western liberal" culture was superior for the following reasons:

1) We have the rule of law that treats all persons equally under the law.
2) We have freedom of religion. No one is being persecuted (by the state) because they do not follow the teachings of one or the other.
3) We have freedom of speech (and while sometimes I wish we could shut some people up, this is fundamental) and will not be prosecuted by the state for expressing opinions (except where such opinions are slanderous or libel to another person)
4) Ultimately, we are about tolerance. The state does not forbid one part of society from enjoying the freedoms any other part does. While this has been hard fought (minorities and women), and continues to evolve (i.e. gays), it is generally accepted that the state is not going to deny rights based on your race, creed, beliefs or religion.

That is why I think our culture is better. It is made better by the diversity we embrace.

Q (feeling pretty self-righteous on a gloomy Tues morning)

PS Election update: democracy will prevail in my ward. It seems my ward-mate and I are being challenged in the upcoming election. I remain cautiously optimistic at my chances for reelection, but I can appreciate why dictators run their countries the way they do.

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