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AztecInca

Oppressive Cultures: Take Action or Leave Alone?

20 posts in this topic

Debate suggestion by Stellar.

Should oppressive cultures be allowed to thrive, not interfered with or should they be denounced with action taken against them for their oppressive practices?

I`m looking for two members to debate this topic. One member will debate that they should be allowed to "thrive" and left alone, and one will debate that they should be denounced with action taken against them for their oppressive actions.

This is a formal, 1v1 debate. Each debater will post one introduction, five body posts and one conclusion. Posts will need to be made within 7 days of the last reply.

If there are any questions, please PM myself or Lottie.

Edited by Lottie

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Yeah why not. I'll take this debate. I'll argue that we should leave the culture alone.

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Thank-you PA.

Paranoid Android will be debating against interfering with oppressive cultures.

We need one more member to debate for interfering with oppressive cultures.

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I would like to register my interest in this debate (with a view to making it more interesting than my last one <_< ) however, as some of you may know I only have internet access at work and am out of the office all of next week. This means it would be October 3rd at the earliest that I could next post.

Therefore I ask that should someone else wish to debate that it start without me, however if no one wishes to before October then I shall post upon my return.

Many thanks :tu:

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Very well barman. If no one else registers to debate this topic before October 3 then you will be debating for interfering with oppressive cultures.

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*waves hand* Me teacher Me!

However if barman really wants this one I'll let him have it.

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No it's OK, it's all yours. I'm back early but I'm off to another clients soon and I don't want to hold back the debate, all yours Novo :tu:

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Thank-you Novo.

Novo will be debating for interfering with oppressive cultures

Paranoid Android will be debating against interfering with oppressive cultures.

Just a quick reminder that this is a formal, 1v1 debate. Each debater will post one introduction, five body posts and one conclusion. Posts will need to be made within 7 days of the last reply.

Any questions please feel free to PM myself or Lottie!

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Posted (edited)

It looks like I’ll be starting off. Firstly I’d like to wish Novo well on this debate. As this is my first debate, I’ll probably need it more than him though :P

Introduction

This debate is not about whether we should interfere in other cultures or not, it's about who is right and who is wrong. How can one say someone is wrong, except to infer that they are right! In this debate, I shall be arguing that we should not interfere in oppressive cultures. I will argue first the relativity of what it means to be "oppressive". I will examine, through psychological analysis, the mentality behind the need to interfere in other cultures, oppressive or otherwise. Then, through a study of history - of dominant cultures imposing their ideals on others, of minority cultures rising up against the dominant, and also of subcultures within one's own society - it will become apparent that interference, no matter how pure the motives, has irrevocably changed the culture, often to its detriment.

Once again, good luck Novo. Over to you.

Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Introduction

Oh but to the contary friend, That is precisely what this debate is about. Where as "Right" and "Wrong" are merely concepts wich differ from culture to culture. Oppression is the enforcement of ones belief unwillingly on another individual. To simply invade a country because they allow, say gay marriage would be contradictory because there is no one being oppressed. However if say there was a culture where all african americans were forced to do menial labor tasks and not allowed opportunitys on a equal playing field action against this purported "oppressive" culture can be justified. What you speak of is the enforcement of differing moral ideaologies, What am trying to justify is the interferrence in the soveriengity(sp) of another nation based on "Oppression" not a different merely a different belief or value system.

Good luck.

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Post 1 - the subjective nature of being "oppressive"

The concept of tolerance is a fairly new belief, which today pervades Western thought. Looking therefore at cultures that happen to be less tolerant, or even intolerant of something or someone is often anathema to this outlook. We certainly do not have a tolerant past.

What does it mean to be "oppressive"?

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition:

1. Of the nature of oppression; unjustly burdensome, harsh, or merciless.

2. Characterized by oppressing, disposed to oppress.

3. Having the quality of oppressing or weighing heavily on the mind, spirits, or senses; depressing; overpowering

Of similar note, "Oppress" has many definitions. The definition most relevant to this debate is:

4. To keep under by tyrannical exercise of power; to load or burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints

It seems fairly simple, right? An oppressive culture is one that uses tyrannical power to impose on a group in some fashion. The problem with this is that the answer is determined by each individual's sense of right and wrong - a thoroughly subjective concept. What is tyrannical oppression? To draw from a banal example, imagine for a moment that a woman walks outside wearing a medium-length skirt (or perhaps shorts) and tank top. Now imagine if a woman walks outside in the 1920’s wearing the same clothes… *shock!* *horror!* SHE'S SHOWING ANKLE!!!! I guess our recent past was very oppressive - you can certainly make that argument. But you can also argue that it was simply the convention of the times, a phase which society needed to progress through to reach its current state of "enlightenment" (though "enlightenment" is also a debatable and subjective term, but that's for another argument methinks :P). Would interference have been helpful, or even wanted?

Back to the present and we see something similar in Muslim culture. A woman must wear the hajib out in public. Is this being oppressive? Women are clearly being treated differently to men. Some will say that this is being oppressive. Some will say not. Whatever the case, it must be handled with care - for where does liberation of oppression end, and the encroaching on freedom of religious expression start?

Oppression is the enforcement of ones belief unwillingly on another individual. To simply invade a country because they allow, say gay marriage would be contradictory because there is no one being oppressed.

To interfere in a culture is to become as oppressive as the culture in which you are liberating. Using the aforementioned definition of oppress as "to press down by force", how can interfering in another culture be considered anything less than this?

This debate is more in the line that if a country does NOT allow gay marriages, should they be invaded? There is clearly an oppressed group. You seem to be saying yes. At this stage of cultural development, very few countries allow gay marriages - should they all be invaded (or liberated if you will)?

Over to you Novo

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Just a reminder Novo that by the end of tomorrow it will have been 7 days since the last post in this debate and points will have to be deducted from your final score.

Please let myself or Lottie know if you are enable to post.

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Novo has informed both myself and lottie that he will be unable to post within the alloted time and as he has a valid reason, he will not be penalised.

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Post 1 -

The concept of tolerance is a fairly new belief

Actually, While it may be new to western thought the concept of tolerance has been around for millenia. A excellent example of this is Bhuddism a religion based almost centrally on a belief in tolerance. During its peak a miniumum of 70% of the population of Asia were followers of Bhuddism.(However dont forget to take into account that the population of the continent of Asia has more then Quadrupled since this time)

(Oxford Dictionary)

4. To keep under by tyrannical exercise of power; to load or burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints

I have learned from experience, That it is very easy for a definition to be taken out of context. Not to mention, That many words have very different meanings to different people. However I'm in agreement with the context the definition of this word is being used in, So I will neglect expanding upon it. Rather, I will show how you are misinterpreting it.

Oppression is the enforcement of ones belief unwillingly on another individual. To simply invade a country because they allow, say gay marriage would be contradictory because there is no one being oppressed.

To interfere in a culture is to become as oppressive as the culture in which you are liberating. Using the aforementioned definition of oppress as "to press down by force", how can interfering in another culture be considered anything less than this?

Lets look back at the definition of Oppression.

(Oxford Dictionary)

4. To keep under by tyrannical exercise of power; to load or burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints

Well in the case of something like Homosexuality in the united states, There is not tyrannical force or sadistic punishment being used to afflict this group. While there are certainly twisted individuals within the social structure of the united states whom would violently attack a homosexual, the majority of Americans are apthetic to the situation.

But kets look at a country like Iran. Iranians regulary hang and torture homosexuals, Using "Tyrannical Force" To oppress this group. These people can not petition for equal rights, Because there voices are being oppressed with the use of force. Hence interference could be justified. The oppressers would not simply change hands if the purpose of the violent actions against this state were truly motivated by a belief in equal human rights and helping a oppressed people. However, We dont see this in examples such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Both are wars justified by claims in liberating a people, But in reality economic and power related motivations.

Using something such as fashion is completely out of context, The concept of peer pressure differs greatly from the violent or "Tyrannical" oppression we see in some cultures .

Slavery for example, Went on for several centuries in the United States. Countries such as Canada evantually began harboring runaway slaves, And over time the country was divided and a civil war was fought over the matter. Had Canada avoided interfering, And returned the slaves to the United States then most probably the slave populace of the country at that time would never have gained the support from other individuals it required to relinquish itself of the bonds placed on it by other individuals.

I suppose the point im trying to convery, Is that circumstances like women dressing differently are completely different from circumstances like women being beheaded for it. The woman can still feel safe in doing it. Hence she is not being oppressed, Simply mocked.

Edited by Novo

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Paranoid Android has informed myself that he may not be able to post within the 7 day time-limit and has provided a valid reason so he shall not be penalised.

The debate will go on.

PA has now informed me the he will post by the end of wednesday.

Edited by AztecInca

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Post 2 – The Psychology of Moral Development

Before I address the psychology of moral development, I would like to address a few issues that Novo raised.

The concept of tolerance is a fairly new belief

Actually, While it may be new to western thought the concept of tolerance has been around for millenia. A excellent example of this is Bhuddism a religion based almost centrally on a belief in tolerance. During its peak a miniumum of 70% of the population of Asia were followers of Bhuddism.(However dont forget to take into account that the population of the continent of Asia has more then Quadrupled since this time)

I was of course speaking from a Western viewpoint, and as most of those reading this debate (and those participating in it) are from a Western culture, we all have roots going back to slavery and oppression. But for argument’s sake, it might be interesting to point out the animosity and violence between Buddhist Temples. Buddhism in itself may be a religion of tolerance, yet those who would claim to follow it have not always been so peace-loving. Debates between which temple was the best often led to bloodshed and death.

Well in the case of something like Homosexuality in the united states, There is not tyrannical force or sadistic punishment being used to afflict this group. While there are certainly twisted individuals within the social structure of the united states whom would violently attack a homosexual, the majority of Americans are apthetic to the situation.

But kets look at a country like Iran. Iranians regulary hang and torture homosexuals, Using "Tyrannical Force" To oppress this group.

Thank you for most eloquently making my point :tu:

According to you, the United States do not use tyrannical force, but Iran does. Who decides this? You. Those in Iran would disagree. It’s tyrannical to hang and torture homosexuals. Is it tyrannical to imprison them? Is it tyrannical to stop them from having relations? Is it tyrannical to not allow them to marry? Is it tyrannical to allow them to be together but not give them the same rights as heterosexual couples?

I hope you are seeing my point. I am not disagreeing that what happens in Iran is not tyrannical, or that there is more to oppression than just this extreme example. But your ideals and morals on tyranny is just that – your ideals; and based purely on your own subjective experiences.

I suppose the point im trying to convery, Is that circumstances like women dressing differently are completely different from circumstances like women being beheaded for it. The woman can still feel safe in doing it. Hence she is not being oppressed, Simply mocked.

Actually, I do not know how American society did things, but in England and Australia, women who went out in “indecent apparel” were arrested. Hmmm.

Now, to moral development: Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg suggests six stages of moral development. Not all stages are relevant to this debate but for your information you can find an overview of these stages here:

Introduction

Stages 1 and 2

Stages 3 and 4

Stages 5 and 6

Kohlberg asserts that most people live within stages 3 or 4, what he calls “Conventional Morality”

It would seem appropriate to at least quickly look at these conventional stages

Stage 3 – Good boy, nice girl orientation

Good behaviour is that which pleases or helps others and is approved by them. There is much conformity to stereotypical images of what is majority or 'natural' behaviour. Behaviour is frequently judged by intention. 'He means well' becomes important for the first time. One earns approval by being 'nice.'

People at this stage of development aren’t so much worried with moral standards as they are with currying favour from the majority. It often involves self-sacrifice and can appear to be morally right, but the rationale behind this action is a psychological need to please others. “The concern is ‘What will people think of me?’”

Stage 4 – Law and order orientation

Right behaviour consists in doing one's duty, showing respect for authority and maintaining the given social order for its own sake. A person in this stage orients to society as a system of fixed rule, law and authority with the prospect of any deviation from rules as leading to social chaos.

This stage puts the wellbeing of the whole before the wellbeing of the individual. No one group or individual is above the law. Indeed, the Law goes beyond loyalty to your peer groups. “The concern now goes beyond one's immediate group(s) to the larger society ... to the maintenance of law and order.”

Obviously both these stages have possible pitfalls and traps to fall into. The foremost of these is that morals are based on personal ideals and experiences and not on a universal constant. But since I’ve already discussed subjectivity in my first post, I will let this slide. Instead, stage 3 poses the difficulty of being torn between 2 (or more) peer groups, for example a teenager being subject to his peers, and to his parents. Stage 4’s inadequacy lies in unquestioning obedience to the Law.

So with that background out of the way, how does this relate to oppressive cultures? Beyond the obvious, which I already stated as being at the heart of each and every stage, even the highest stage 6, it is based entirely on our own personal experience, our own culture, and our own situations, according to Kohlberg, no person can understand more than one stage beyond their own current level. A person in Stage 3 cannot understand stage 5 or 6 for example.

In its simplest form therefore, in regards to less developed, oppressive cultures, would they even understand why they are being invaded? To them, their actions are completely justified, and (I must stress) whether they are justified or not, how can they learn, if they do not understand?

Of course, there are those cultures that simply have a different set of morals and values to us, and may fit into the conventional stages of morality. The problem with judging a society is that each society thinks they are right. Who knows, one day 80 years in the future, people will look back on us today and say how oppressive we were, just as we look back on society 80 years ago and think we have developed. Most countries do not allow gay marriages. Most countries do not allow polygamy. Democracies and Republics have a majority rules vote, whether the majority is right or not. Sports matches are highly segregated and an “enemy supporter” who attends a home match can often be subject to curses, yells, screams or even violence. How will society in the future view us? Are we any better than the oppressive cultures of which you are advocating invasion?

Thank you.

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We are awaiting your reply Novo.

Edited by AztecInca

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Novo, you have 48 hrs to reply otherwise I am afraid a 2 point deduction will be issued from each day forward that you remain silent. I know this is unlike you so If you are having problems please PM myself or Aztec who will happily give you an extension.

Edited by Lottie

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Novo the 48 hours has expired so I am afraid your first 2 point deduction will be incurred.

Please pm myself or Lottie if you are enable to post.

Novo you have 7 days from from the 22nd to post if you do not you will be disqualified.

Edited by AztecInca

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As Novo has not contacted myself or Lottie at this time I must disqualify him. Two weeks has now passed since PA`s last post and therfore an instant disqualification for Novo is incurred.

Paranoid Android is the winner by default.

This debate will now be closed.

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