The Principles Of Liberal Universalism And Cultural Relativism Essays

The Principles Of Liberal Universalism And Cultural Relativism Essays

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Jack Donnelly, Alison D. Renteln, and Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim all have different opinions when it comes to human rights and the exact way we should go about discussing human rights. The debate between the scholars and me come from the debate between the two principles of Liberal Universalism and Cultural Relativism. In my own opinion, I believe that it discussing human rights has to involve both theories and a cross-cultural discussion between us all so that we can come to an agreement when looking for a solution in certain cases.
The first case to discuss is the whipping of a British school teacher in Sudan for allowing her class of seven-year-olds to name a teddy bear “Mohammed”. From a United States point of view, there is nothing wrong with this at all, but is considered a major crime of blasphemy under Sudanese law. The teacher was whipped forty times for her punishment, even though she did not name the bear Mohammed herself or have any intent of talking bad of the prophet. Since the people of Sudan may not completely believe in the idea of proportionality, there is a lot to discuss on whether or not the punishment is justified and understandable.
Jack Donnelly and I share a similar opinion in this case. I believe that Donnelly would want to abolish this law completely and adopt more of a Western view of the punishment. I am not saying that I believe Sudan should pick up on Western crime and punishment laws, but should at least look into the idea of proportionality. Donnelly would say otherwise though, and would suggest gradually adopting the concept of human rights that the Western societies have come to believe in. He might also say that although the Sudanese people understand human good and dignity, they do not understan...


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...l nature rather than just toleration, even though some of the religion’s practices may be a bit extreme. As long as they aren’t harming a community’s group rights, I believe that the practices should be completely allowed. We as a worldwide community have to open our eyes to other people’s customs and be more culture-conscience. If we don’t recognize that there is naturally less power in a minority group, how can we ever find a way to even the playing field for everyone? Just like everything else in the world, we have to recognize the problems and the circumstances of our situation before we can go about solving them, and I think that the Cultural Relativism is the model to use. Liberal Universalism seems too much about toleration and going off an interpretation of “reason” rather than working to understand each other’s cultures and discussing what needs to be done.

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