Sunday, October 21, 2007

Long Panic Blog with Foreign Policy Considerations

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Culturism will temporarily take longer for Amazon to ship when you order it. This perhaps boring blog will tell you all the gory details concerning why that is so. If you want a shorter and more controversial blog go to the one below this now!!!

The delay results from a last minute panic over the definition of culturism. In writing the book, it didn’t occur to me that my original idea had taken on another nuance: that of having a right to define and defend majority cultures. I mentally tossed and turned for days over whether or not to add this right to the philosophy and practice of culturism already in the definition.

It meant that I really had to ask myself if I believe in culturism all the way down. I got to this question by way of the use of the word “right” in the possible definition amendment. As culturism, the book, explains, rights only exist in countries that believe in them and can afford them. Having “right” in the definition seemed to undermine this nuance. It seemed to create a metaphysical obligation. The problem is that it implies that there is a universal value that we have to defend. That is very unculturistic.

Worse, this meant that the definition gave sanction to some completely unsavory behaviors. If there is a right to defend cultural majority behaviors we have to say that at some level honor killings and female genital mutilation have the sanction of culturist rights. This impass caused deep soul searching and remembering of arguments.

In fact, the people who do honor killings and female genital mutilation think they are upholding morality. We have fundamentally different morality. As a secular progressive American, I cannot stomach such things. But that is due to my cultural programming. YES! I reaffirm that they have a right to do such things IN THEIR COUNTRY. NOT HERE. Yes, deep down and all the way, I recognize that there are others, there is diversity, and no one has a metaphysical hold on who is right.

But saying they have a right to defend such behaviors still means that I could be called upon to defend them. This brings us to international relations and Iraq. Does giving people the right to defend and define themselves give aid and comfort to those who are currently attacking our soldiers in Iraq? For many hours I thought about whether I could write anything that implied that I would ever root for our enemies or against the U.S. Mercifully, two solutions came to mind.

First of all, for clarification, we are not at war in Iraq, we are on a peace keeping mission. They are bombing each other and we are trying to stop them. That said, honestly, I do not hold up much hope of Iraq’s stabilizing as a democracy. Yes, to be honest, I think isolation is the culturist way and we should not have gone. I am willing to try and hope that I am wrong. But, as a culturist, I feel they hold too many values that run counter to the ideal of peaceful co-existence for it to work. If I pull punches on that now it won't help us to understand this culturist lesson in the future.

Secondly, my saying you have a right to define and defend yourself does NOT MEAN YOU DO NOT KICK ASS. If part of your culture is preparing and carrying out Jihad, our defining and defending ourselves means stopping you. Also, stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons is part of defining and defending ourselves. Nukes are not a part of Iranian culture. But, here the culturist message is that a strike (ala Israel on Syria) is enough. We do not need to go and reform your culture. Apart from having nukes and training camps, culturism says go ahead and do what you will with your country.

Pragmatism was the final reason I decided to include the right to define and defend yourself in the definition of culturism. Other countries already believe they have a right to define and defend themselves. We do not. Ultimately, I am not concerned with what is happening internationally. I worry about America and other Western nations. We, of all cultures and nations, need to realize that we have a right to define and defend ourselves. This book is for America. We will be safer if we have a value that makes us pause before we try to reform others AND makes it clear to us that we have a right to define and defend ourseles! Nuances concerning rights aside, changing the definition serves a pragmatic purpose.

Anyhow, that is why Amazon shipping now takes longer. When the book arrives it will have the newest version of the definition and - hopefully - have more impact.
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