We children of the European enlightenment think that respect for other cultures is a higher human value. But what do we make of cultures that don’t share this value? How does cultural democracy deal with cultures that are intolerant?
When William Penn decreed that Toleration shall be the Law of the Land in the City of Brotherly Love, it was an act of political expediency. It was no more than a prescription for harmony in a colony that was uncomfortably diverse. Never for a moment did he entertain the idea that other religious philosophies were the equal of Quakerism.
But as a diverse city became the capital of a new and more diverse nation, the need for toleration became deeper, and the need for cultural relativism deepened.
Do you really believe that your values are as arbitrary as mine? Or is cultural relativism a stance that we adopt in order to feel morally superior to people who are narrow-minded and provincial?