Is your culture/country in your eyes better then an other and if yes: Why.

In an other thread

on page 1, I asked a similar question in the course of the conversation. Yet since this started a hijacking of said topic, I made this one to continue the discussion.

I think such a discussion can offer a learning experience.

Salaam. A.

Well, No offense Aldebaran, but yes, I believe a democratic culture IS better than say, an oppressive middle eastern (or oppressive European) culture. I base this upon the fact that If I lived in, say, Saudi Arabia, I would have lost my head a long time ago for mouthing off to a cop, listening to rock and roll, or just being an all around non-conformist. Also, any culture that practices religious totalitarianism can not, in my atheistic mind anyway, be a good thing. I’m not just speaking of Islamic states either. The christian culture that, say, Pat Robertson would have me live in would suck as well.
I complain about my country all the time. The USA is far from perfect, but the beauty of it, is that I CAN complain about it. I can call our President a retarded piece of shit, and nobody will come and arrest me. I can walk up to a cop and call him a pig, and…ok, well, depending on the cop, I might get bonked on the head with a billy club, but I’d be able to sue for my injuries :). I like the culture of freedom that I live in, and for all its faults, i consider it to be better than any culture of oppression and totalitarianism.


Are some cultures better than others? Let’s compare America today to America before the Civil War.

I think American culture today is better than American culture in the days of slavery. First of all, I think slavery is wrong. Second, slavery based on treating a race of people as not being human is wrong.

These beliefs should be obvious and widely shared, of course. But, if all cultures were equally valid in their own terms, then it would follow that ending slavery merely made current American culture non-comparable with the anti-bellum South; one couldn’t say that ending slavery resulted in a better culture.

I think it’s fair to say that one might favour certain aspects of one’s own culture above others; but that does not mean that the culture itself is inherently better.

Why the emphasis on racism? Do you mean to say that slavery, as practised by the Greeks and Romans isn’t ‘wrong’?

Just curious why you phrased it like that.

Wouldn’t that fall under his first statement that ‘slavery is wrong’?

Perhaps an overly broad question, but I’ll give it a shot. Is the US culture, whatever that may be, superior to some other cultures? Undoubtedly; for one thing, why do more people seemingly want to emigrate to the US than any other country? Is the US culture ‘better’ in some fundamental sense, than all other cultures? I think not.

Of course this was not always the case, but I think most European countries since at least WWII have cultures that are more compassionate toward the poor, better appreciate the arts, and are far less violent than that of the US. OTOH, it is clear that in some European countries the class structure is much more evident than the US, with seemingly much less career and social mobility.

We are told that certain Asian and African cultures tend to place a greater emphasis on the family. On the other hand, can anyone look at the political and/or social cultures of countries such as Liberia, North Korea and Libya (to name just a few regional examples) and argue that there is much worth emulating?

Some of the things I think may contribute to an assumed superiority of US culture: more or less democratic political system (shared by most European and some Asian countries), broad internal freedom of movement, freedom of career change, flexible class structure, entreprenurial spirit, relative lack of political corruption, generally secular political and social system, economic structure that rewards individual initiative.

Some things that take away from that potential superiority: high level of violence, increasing militarism, relative lack of compassion for the less well-off, poorly-structured social support systems, anti-intellectualism, relative lack of understanding of other cultures, economic structure that tends to marginalize large social or ethnic groups.

Hope this is the sort of thing the OP was looking for.

I’d rather live in Canada than in the United States.

I’d rather live in the United States than in the United Kingdom.

I’d rather live in the United Kingdom than in Brazil.

I’d rather live in Brazil than in Russia.

I’d rather live in Russia than in Syria.

I’d rather live in Syria than in North Korea.

Maybe those preferences are based on “culture” and maybe not - I’m not sure political oppression is “culture” - but some countries are definitely better than others.

There aren’t many cultures/countries today that can’t legitimately point to some other culture/country as being inferior to theirs. I suppose somewhere on this planet there’s a place that is as bad as you can get.

Are you really asking if it’s legitimate to pass judgement on other people’s values and mores? My short answer is hell yes, but before I get into it I want to make sure that that is what you’re asking.

Just out of curiousity, what makes the UK third on your list? I would think that the things that make you like Canada better than the US would also be present in the UK.

Unless the trump card is access to wilderness or something.

No, I don’t think you can say that one country or culture is categorically “better” than another. There are too many factors involved and most of them are subjective and / or in constant flux.

I do believe that, say, Germany is a better place to be than Liberia right now, but that won’t necessarily be true fifty years from now, and in any case there are probably lots of Liberians who would be miserable if they were suddenly transplanted to Germany and told they had to spend the rest of their lives there living as Germans. All in the eye of the beholder.

Hey, we have wilderness! It’s a bit smaller than that of North America. Just a little bit smaller…

Glasgow pubs do not count. :slight_smile:

The UK is substantially more crowded, not quite as wealthy, and quite a bit more class oriented. And I hate soccer. It’s still a subjective call, but I find the USA far more similar to Canada than the UK is. Frankly, though, it’s a pretty thin call. I’d gladly live in either place.

Of course you can say that one culture is better than another! Just because there is some subjective judgement involved doesn’t mean that a culture that stones non-believers to death on the village square is just as good as any other.

Even is something as purely subjective as musical talent, I think it’s legitimate to say that, for example, some of the no-talents that get the boot after the first 20 seconds of the American Idol audition are inferior to the Kellys and Clays (or whoever they were that won).

By using the term “catagorically” perhaps you are saying that there are no objective criteria to make a judgement on, but that strikes me as going off into the metaphysical stratosphere where you will find debates such as whether reality is real.

I see your point, but stoning non-believers to death on the village square is not, presumably, the sole attribute of the culture in question. And I’d be hard pressed to think of a culture that hasn’t been guilty of one atrocity or another (or that hasn’t produced individuals who protested against said atrocities), so it’s pretty hard to rank them on a scale of “best” to “worst.”

I think the term “culture” is too broad a term to begin with, as there will always be members of a culture who believe in freedom and ethics, my only criteria for judging other humans.

So, to the extent that the culture in power in any given society encourages those practises, I would say it is superior to those that do not. This is not a blanket value judgement of the constituent persons involved, for although on average they would certainly tend to embody the values of the culture (since they make UP the culture on average,) there will always be exceptions.

Thank you for your contributions.
I know those are broad questions but this gives the opportunity to a wide range of possible answers.

bnorton asked

No, this whas not my question.
Yet it is an interesting input from your side to the discussion.

Why do you find it normal to judge other people’s values and I presume “mores” =s an other word for “habits”? (my online dictionary seems to disfunction and I’m not at home to get the real one.)

Salaam. A

Thank you for your contributions.
I know those are broad questions but this gives the opportunity to a wide range of possible answers.

bnorton asked

No, this whas not my question.
Yet it is an interesting input from your side to the discussion.

Why do you find it normal to judge other people’s values and I presume “mores” = an other word for “habits”? (my online dictionary seems to disfunction and I’m not at home to get the real one.)

Salaam. A


I’m a bit puzzled by your answer.
I can easily see where your comment on ME regimes comes from, but I can’t see what you find “oppressive” in European ones.

Salaam. A