Thursday, February 09, 2006

Libertarians, One-Worlders, Co-Religionists, and Americans.

Do we have a right to have a culture? The anthropological answer is that every group has a culture. Every group decides how the young are to be educated, how goods are to be distributed, how rules will be enforced. If we encounter a cluster of Amazonian tribes, we expect them to have distinctive ways of doing things: our sons must marry someone from the same language group, but a different clan; we may keep all birds we kill, but must share fish. The hidden complexities of such arrangements are the province of the anthropologist.

Does this tribe have the right to forbid gay marriage?

Now go back to the title, and just run through the questions within questions this raises. Where is this decision located? Are there rights of humanity which supercede group rules? Who owns the group identity? Is it part of American culture to leave culture up to the individual? Please know in advance that nearly every theoretical premise will lead you somewhere you don’t want to go. Discuss. Do not attempt to write on more than one side of the paper at a time. (Quick, what’s that from?)

3 comments:

jw said...

Can I turn the paper into a Mobieus (sp?) strip?

Wacky Hermit said...

Dang, JW beat me to it! I was gonna ask the same thing!

It doesn't matter if we have a "right" to have a culture, we'll have one no matter what we do or try to do. Clashes are inevitable as people come up with different answers to the question "how ought we to live?" That's why the "culture wars" are referred to as such.

Now, a more pertinent question would be "how come a certain group of people would believe that just because this tribe comes from an untouched area of the Amazon that they have a 'right' to forbid gay marriage, but simultaneously believe that Christian people who come from predominantly-Christian areas don't have such a 'right'?"

Assistant Village Idiot said...

wh, you anticipate much of my thinking. To expand the question in both directions, for the sake of argument: If the Brazilian govt permits gay marriage, does the tribe lose its right forbid it? What are they authorized to do? Similarly, if the US govt permits say, euthanasia, do the Amish have the right to forbid it? What are they allowed to do if one of their members advocates or performs same?

Now play the whole game over again with slavery.