It’s what friends are for
Billy Beck, having returned from directing stage lighting operations for performances in Singapore and Jakarta, caught my entry on Culturism. He gets it, agrees with the essence, but pounces right down on an error, just like any good friend would.
It was just over four years ago when I came up with that term. At the time, I was enamored with the inflammatory potential of it. Still am. Nothing teaches like showing someone how ignorant and/or stupid they really are when they hold wrongly some position with "certainty."
Of course, what I’m talking about is how culturism is somewhat analogous to racism. Someone unable to make critical distinctions will immediately equate the two. They’d be wrong, and I’ll have a chance to point out how sloppy their thinking is.
Quite nice & tidy, eh?
Anyway, I never really got around to formulating the thing, and then when I read that column by Sowell and wanted to blog it, I thought it might be time to put some thought into what I mean by "culturism." But then, afterward, when I read over it a couple of times, I became increasingly dissatisfied–primarily because no individual should be prejudged, regardless of their culture. But I didn’t quite know how to work it out and I set it aside.
Billy nailed it though. The root error is in my enthusiasm to make it inflammatory rather than objective. It’s the word prejudice that’s the culprit. That’s the the error that leads to the derivative error of collective judgment of individuals as a result of their cultural heritage.
Prejudice is a perfectly fine word. It describes an act of pre-judgment, in advance of obtaining relevant facts. People who are unable to make critical distinctions, who allow themselves to be spoon-fed by "intellectuals" and media who are just as incapable of genuine thought come away with the silly notion that prejudice is always improper (just life the term discrimination–same thing). Acts of prejudice are just fine, so long as such acts are limited to morally insignificant judgments. You’re prejudice against action films. Hey, knock yourself out.
So, to get back on track, once I get rid of the word prejudice (because judging cultures and individuals is not morally insignificant) in the definition, it all falls into place.
Culturism: 1. The judging of one or more cultures as morally superior to one or more other cultures; 2. The establishment of a hierarchy of moral standing from ideal to evil with respect to human cultures; 3. Holding that a culture does not determine moral standards, but rather that the good standing of a culture is determined by objective moral principles by which all cultures should be judged.
So there you have it. The next time anyone–from regurgitator on a barstool to professor emeritus–tells you that cultural diversity is an intrinsic value, you can shove it right down their throat with total and complete authority.