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Relativism, Obligations & Values

When speaking of relativism in the realm of Modern values, the argument on the part of the right has been an ill-conceived opposition, but for good reasons. ‘Cultural relativism’ has been used as a tool by Cultural Marxists at home, while these very same people have utterly rejected it abroad (in select cases of course). I want to first describe how Liberals use relativism in a selective and insincere way, followed by a primer on the true place of relativism in a Traditional outlook.

To illustrate what I mean about Western interpretations of relativism, let us take the example of the burka, the most obscuring garment for Islamic women, which covers the face entirely. This article of clothing is banned at the national level only in Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, with other European countries featuring either local or in many cases no restrictions. This despite the fact that what the garment symbolizes is clearly at odds with the narrative of the radical Feminist agenda in the West, which seeks to tear down all symbols of ‘patriarchal domination’. The reason this contradiction is possible in countries such as the UK is that Liberals want to make life comfortable for Muslim migrants above all else, as part of a broader cultural agenda which has very little to do with Islam itself.

Liberals do not see culture as organic, but rather as a designed phenomenon, something they can mold and change as they please. The primary challenge to this notion is existent cultural monopoly, that is to say societies in which the culture is illiberal, homogeneous, and resistant to change/design, especially from outside. To be clear, every nation in the world had a cultural monopoly within its borders or demarcations at one point. Only in such a setup can a culture replicate itself, and a people be privileged with a shared history that they feel a profound connection to from generation to generation. However, because in every case of civilization, the unique and organic culture of a given people runs counter to Liberal beliefs about the world (concerning liberty, equality, morality, religiosity, etc.), it stands to reason that the Liberal project is to eliminate these cultural monopolies, muddying their waters with ‘different perspectives’ or some other such sugar-coated concept, and thus circumventing the cultural development of the next generation in a bath of choice-based molasses.

From its perch atop the superpower status of the post-Cold War West, Liberalism has different tools which it deploys depending on if its enemies are foreign or domestic. The domestic enemy is the shattered remains of Traditional culture, native culture in the West. To destroy this, a domestic relativism must be deployed which deliberately deprives the owner of the house from protesting against his replacement, protesting those who rape his daughters, protesting those who threaten his safety, protesting those who undercut his wage, protesting those who change the very fabric of a community. If all is relative, then he should simply adapt to these changes as his world is destroyed, or as National Review demanded of its blue-collar audience: he “just needs to die”.

For the foreign enemy, this tactic simply will not work. It would be impossible to engineer the movement of Europeans, or indeed East Asians to the Middle East and North Africa, because currently, these are not desirable places to live, either socially or economically. It is impossible to water down such illiberal cultures with migration and relativism, so instead an active, hard-line Liberalism is needed, a fanaticism of the political left every bit as potent as it was in 1790s France or 1920s Russia. The leftism which smashes, which destroys, which kills without conscience. The treatment of girls by Bangladeshi migrants in Rotherham was just fine with the British government, but the Taliban’s treatment of Afghan girls is still used as reasoning for the “good war” in Afghanistan, and all the misery it has caused. Do you see the hypocrisy?

The West has become endemically multicultural, and so relativism is a very useful tool in preserving this status quo and fighting against those who would undo it in favor of any sort of homogeneity which could resist Liberalism more effectively by way of existent cultural monopoly. The rest of the world is not multicultural, and so relativism is abandoned in favor of neo-colonial and chauvinistic Liberalism which demands the world obey its morally obtuse notions of ‘human rights’, ‘democracy’ and a cavalcade of other Enlightenment demands.

But where is the truth of the matter? To understand where relativism fits and where it doesn’t, we need to be very precise about morality, for when it comes to judging cultures we are speaking about moral questions.

As I have said many times before, in ancient times, there were no such notions of ‘rights’ as there are today, meaning the metaphysical and immutable properties of victims. Instead, issues of morality rested with violators. The center of morality’s metaphysical manifestation was in the murderer, not the deceased whose rights had been violated. It is the murderer who has broken a moral law binding upon him, and it is for that he ought to be punished, not because someone else has had their rights trampled upon. This is a subtle difference, but it is important, because it leads the discussion away from universal rights, and towards a moral understanding that revolves around obligations.

Now, moral obligations are distinct from moral values, and the distinction is key in understanding where relativism plays a role. I believe that moral obligations can only be relative in any kind of practical sense. They depend on the situation, preconditions, and personal particulars. Only I am morally obligated to provide for my child, and it would be foolhardy to expect someone else to do it under pain of moral sanction. Yet, does this relativity in moral obligation imply any lessening of moral weight? Absolutely not. Being the anti-secularist that I am, for me culture and spirituality are inseparable so that when there does not exist some inescapable conflict with conviction, you should engage with the Traditional culture and fulfill its expectations of you.

When it comes to moral values, these only allow us to judge an action or belief as either good or evil. No matter the outcome, we are not morally compelled to do anything about it. This somewhat relates to the points I have made on the issue of abortion. I have solid reasons for considering any act of child-murder to be evil, but am I morally obligated to do everything in my power to prevent every single abortion in the world? No. A man who says he loves the world loves nobody. I am reminded of the terse words of a German jurist: "Whoever says 'humanity' lies."

Child murder by other races, in other cultures, is ultimately an issue for heroic and good men in those groupings to combat, and I wish them sincere success, believing that they will understand where the responsibilities lie. Moral values are absolute, there can be no relativism here which does not lead to nihilism and hedonism. Moral obligations, however, are, while just as important, relative to the given context. Not only is this moral understanding integral to a realist outlook on geopolitics, but it will also help undermine the ethics-based lies used by our enemies to manipulate us into either accepting relativism at home or enforcing faux absolutism abroad.

Editor's note: this article was originally published on the authors blog

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