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Thread: How do you feel about "cultural preservation"?

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    Default How do you feel about "cultural preservation"?

    I've been thinking quite a lot recently about cultural preservation. Reason why all the thought is that I ended up on a cultural preservation site and have seen some of the horrible and terrible things some people say about other races. But it also got my brain going.

    What do you think of cultural preservation not in a racial sense, but a respect for all ethnic cultures?

    Many cultures bring with them centuries of wisdom. Not only the Europeans (Scandinavians, Turks, Greek etc), but also tribes in Africa, the Aborigines, the Red Indians, the Chinese, the Japanese... need I go on? Each one of these cultures is equally important, even if its a small tribe in the Amazon which only has 150 members left.

    Anthropologists advocate for the preservation of these people.

    But at what point does cultural preservation end and racism begin?
    Is cultural preservation a vehicle for racists to justify their actions?

    Let's say that I am not particularly loved for my views there, but I stick around anyway because I get to see what these people think like and its quite an education for me.

    I have been accused of trying to destroy the white race with my "loony Left" viewpoints. But I do not stand for the destruction of any race, just a preservation of ALL cultures. Cultures bring with us history and a wealth of knowledge on humankind. This is not a bad thing. And I view ALL cultures as equally important.

    What I find extremely unsettling though, is when 20 years old's proclaim themselves fascist and advocate "ethnic cleansing" a la Hitler. I have seem some very disturbing comments being made there. And I am thankful that the whole Nazi era is over because these people would be extremely dangerous.

    So what is your stance on racial preservation? NOT racism, that's a given. But preservation of different cultures??

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    There is a certain truth to the idea that perpetuating the "noble savage" both misrepresents the data, and discourages people from investing in "civilizing" so-called "primitive people" whether they want to be civilized or not. The same can be said to hold true for any kind of cultural preservation.

    Nevertheless, what we should really do is encourage the disenfranchised within their own cultures to grab the reigns of power.
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    I support the defense of a culture from actively aggressive outside or native groups that wish to forcibly change that culture, provided that the culture in which the defense is for does not harbor abuses of human rights.

    What I mean by this can be summed up by this example:

    Let's say that there's this random town in Ohio, USA and all of a sudden a group as large as a third of the town moves there from Saudi Arabia and they are all muslim fundamentalists. One day, one of the town natives unknowingly breaks one of the rules of Shariah Law and the Saudis want to prosecute him in a Shariah court. That should be stopped, with force if necessary, as they are trying to impose a cultural set of rules upon someone.

    I don't know why anyone would disagree with this, as it's not a racist stance, nor is it a subjective judgement on what is good or evil, with the exception of agreed human rights abuses but that's another topic.


    This is honestly why I support a constitution to go along with direct democracy to ensure that these issues don't arise. That way, even if a group of people decides that they wish to violate someone's freedom, they cannot easily bypass the constitution. At least that's the idea.

    FYI, because I can see some accusations coming, I am not a racist. I never mentioned race at all; read it again if you don't believe me. At most, I mentioned an extremist religious group which I think deserves criticism.
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    Differences in culture come from isolation, we want the world to unite and so want barriers which divide us broken down. It's also important to realize that most cultures today are the result of a merging of different cultures whenever borders have been broken down ending the isolation of certain people. Wanting to preserve cultures is to be a slave to tradition and to stand in the way of progress, the true meaning of reactionary.
    However, there is a problem when two cultures collide and instead of merging one is forcibly imposed to the detriment of another. This is then not a merging but a forcible extinction of one culture in favour of another. Take two examples on the one hand the history of the USA where the state has tried to suppress American Indian culture and on the other hand Japan where allowing and embracing parts of another culture was in the interests of the people and helped them to advance. If we were to have a global revolution and destroy all borders then cultures would naturally merge taking the most beneficial parts and disregarding other parts which serve no purpose.

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    what do you mean by cultural preservation? as in doing what to preserve culture?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zeekloid View Post
    what do you mean by cultural preservation?
    For example various African traditions like ritual circumcision, or elaborate wedding ceremonies. Scandinavian folk music. The complex tradition of making Samurai swords in Japan. These are all part of a certain culture.

    I think it is important that these traditions are not lost.

    EDIT: you added on "as in doing what to preserve culture?"

    I would say to document it as far as is possible. Document the languages so that they are not lost. Perhaps ensuring and protecting small tribes on the verge of extinction. Encourage people who are from a certain culture to keep certain practices, for example cooking particular foods. This is a small list, but I think you get what I mean.

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    That's a good list to show my point Samurai swords are no longer uniquely Japanese they can be made anywhere because they have been absorbed into world culture. Scandanavian folk music to a lesser extent but then again I'm not sure it's particularly unique in the first place, though that may be ignorance on my part. Regardless it is not unique just to Scandinavian culture, you'll find people in other places who love Scandinavian folk music and practice it regularly. Elaborate wedding ceremonies are also not unique in any way to any place they are a part of global culture. Ritual circumcision on the other hand is a harmful tradition which while global serves absolutely no useful purpose and should and will eventually be disregarded. Culture which is worth anything will not need to be saved as it will become universally useful.

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    Do you think culture is limited by ethnicity? E.g. do you think only Irish people can truly have Irish culture? THAT is where cultural preservation begins to turn in to racial or ethnic discrimination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nox View Post
    Do you think culture is limited by ethnicity? E.g. do you think only Irish people can truly have Irish culture? THAT is where cultural preservation begins to turn in to racial or ethnic discrimination.
    Agreed. Thank you very much!

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    Cultural preservation can mean a lot of things. I don´t have a problem with cultural preservation or cultural revival as such, as long as it´s not linked to aggressive nationalism or racism, I even tend to be quite sympathetic to it. I think cultural revival tendencies can be very progressive in art, for example. A lot of really innovative and excellent work has been done in various artistic mediums when folk art traditions are mixed and integrated with modern art forms. I´m generally for co-existence of different cultures, and even think mutual influence between them can be a good thing. I absolutely don´t consider that globalized western culture (or whatever we want to call it) to be the pinnacle of worlds cultures which everything else has to bow down for or adapt to. That said; I´m not for the preservation of violent and oppressive customs just because they are a tradition.
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    Thank you.

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    If a culture is not vital enough to preserve itself without external aid, it's hardly worth preserving. One mustn't oppose progress and modernity where it's required. Either way, culture is dynamic, it's always changing. To oppose this change is stubborn conservatism.

    Regarding "leftist" causes like "something should be done to preserve the dying culture of this tribe in the Amazons" or whatever, how about fuck that? How about let's help these people get out of the fucking forest or jungle so they can live normal, comfortable lives, instead of running around half-naked in the wild? Should these people continue to lead their primitive lives in the middle of nowhere so Westerns can pat each other on the back and say "well, we've saved a culture, we're so great!" or should something be done to improve their standards of living?

    What about patriarchy, female circumcision, slavery? These things are inherent to many cultures in the world, Mauritania is pretty keen on slavery too. Bride kidnapping, etc...

    I wouldn't agree with "every culture is equally important". That's not the case at all.

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    usually this means keeping some culture immune from 'outside' influence so the people of the culture can be viewed like animals in a zoo, or a real life temporary escape to the past, by Westerners

    cultures come cultures go, whatever

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    sure why not. as long as people recognize that it pretty much means keeping a record of 'how things used to be done'.
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    Maybe we should preserve Wall Street in socialism so future generations can see how the bourgeois man and his culture used to live and thrive in his environment

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borz View Post
    How about let's help these people get out of the fucking forest or jungle so they can live normal, comfortable lives, instead of running around half-naked in the wild?
    An unsurprisingly disparaging tone you're taking here. I would ask what you consider a 'normal' life to be (and why you have such a problem with people 'running around half-naked in the wild,' for that matter) but I frankly couldn't care less...

    Any approach to the question of culture/s which doesn't address power and ideology is fundamentally lacking. Example: the centralisation of power in the emergent (nation-)state and the homogenisation of disparate cultures within said state's territory, and the interplay between these two currents. Example again: (post-)colonialist utilisation of culture in asserting/legitimising dominance and ensuring the submission of subjects. Etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loony View Post
    For example various African traditions like ritual circumcision, or elaborate wedding ceremonies. Scandinavian folk music. The complex tradition of making Samurai swords in Japan. These are all part of a certain culture.

    I think it is important that these traditions are not lost.
    oh.

    African ritual circumcision is horrible. as for the other things, I don't "support" them. people can do them if they want to, or not do them if they don't want to. it's really not an issue I have a certain sway on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BroLeon View Post
    I support the defense of a culture from actively aggressive outside or native groups that wish to forcibly change that culture, provided that the culture in which the defense is for does not harbor abuses of human rights.

    What I mean by this can be summed up by this example:

    Let's say that there's this random town in Ohio, USA and all of a sudden a group as large as a third of the town moves there from Saudi Arabia and they are all muslim fundamentalists. One day, one of the town natives unknowingly breaks one of the rules of Shariah Law and the Saudis want to prosecute him in a Shariah court. That should be stopped, with force if necessary, as they are trying to impose a cultural set of rules upon someone.

    I don't know why anyone would disagree with this, as it's not a racist stance, nor is it a subjective judgement on what is good or evil, with the exception of agreed human rights abuses but that's another topic.


    This is honestly why I support a constitution to go along with direct democracy to ensure that these issues don't arise. That way, even if a group of people decides that they wish to violate someone's freedom, they cannot easily bypass the constitution. At least that's the idea.

    FYI, because I can see some accusations coming, I am not a racist. I never mentioned race at all; read it again if you don't believe me. At most, I mentioned an extremist religious group which I think deserves criticism.
    I don't think you need to apologise for defending a western, liberal cultural tradition. Just understand that this is what you are doing.

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    I think "cultural preservation" is a loaded term. First, it implies that there is one "natural" culture based on a region or ethnicity when I think most of us here would recognize culture as being a mixture of older custom and the social relations of that society at that time.

    So the customs which are "preserved" as culture in any era or location are those past traditions or customs that have be adapted or are some kind of use to the present society. In other words, it's not neutral - some parts of culture are preserved within a society and some die off because they no longer serve any purpose or they even go against the interests of the rulers of that society. So in general after a revolution, I think the effect on culture would be that workers would retain the aspects they like, such as food, musical, artistic and literary traditions and so on but the kind of imposed cultural ideas would at first be neutralized (by the sense of real solidarity that a revolutionary period would no doubt create) and then fade away as the divisions of capitalist society and the reality and concept of nation-state are eliminated. Then culture would develop under its own sort of "use-value" logic - whereas now culture is constantly being shaped and re-shaped by the logic of the capitalist system.

    That being said, how would a hypothetical revolutionary proletariat relate to small groups of non-capitalist non-proletarians in (for example) remote or provincial areas? This is a tough question, but I think in general it would be disastrous to impose behavioral or cultural mandates from above even if done by the vast majority of workers through fully democratic means. If people were being oppressed within these groups, then workers could obviously form an alliance which would give the oppressed majority much more power and isolate the small provincial ruling class. But if it was a small community somewhere who weren't a threat to worker's democracy, then I think it would be in the interests of the working class to make an arrangement for autonomy for say, a group of rural individual use-based producers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ridethejetski View Post
    Maybe we should preserve Wall Street in socialism so future generations can see how the bourgeois man and his culture used to live and thrive in his environment
    We'll have plenty of crazy artifacts from capitalism to put in museums so future generations can gawk at mock-US prison cells and sexist advertising the way tourists today go to museums of feudal armor and torture devices.

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