Problems At Home And Abroad

One of the most frequently-cited arguments against western feminists is that we are overly concerned with the (allegedly-minor) sexism problems of our home countries and insufficiently concerned with the True Suffering of women abroad (specifically in majority-Islamic countries).

Now of course, the obvious problem here is that your problems don’t become any less legitimate because someone else’s are supposedly worse. But more generally, I would add that: Critiquing someone else’s society is easy but mostly useless; critiquing your own society is difficult but worthwhile.

There are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, there’s your motivation for critiquing other people’s societies. Speaking as a recovering Nationalist, these motives are almost never altruistic. When I was critiquing America’s history of slavery and ongoing racism (shameful though these undoubtedly are), I was not doing so out of any especial regard for the well-being of African-Americans, but as proof that US culture was morally inferior. And when it comes to critiques of sexism in Islamic countries coming from people in the West–particularly men in the West–more often than not these are intended not only as cultural posturing, but as deliberate pretexts for imperialism. In short, likely motives for critiquing other societies range from trying to silence domestic opposition (at best) to blatant war-mongering (at worst).

Moreover, I sincerely question the extent to which it is even possible or desirable to externally impose change upon societies to which you do not belong, and which (let’s face it) you don’t really understand–at least not without provoking a hornet’s nest of resentment from the locals about foreign interference, or even making things worse.

When you critique problems in your own society, however, this is different; you have a much intimate understanding of your own society, in general, than you do of anyone else’s, and you are actually in a position to help address these problems.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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2 Responses to Problems At Home And Abroad

  1. This man is an utter failure and he’s grabbing at every chance to trash the Republicans. He’s angry that everyone is against this dumb Obamacare fiasco. If this health care mess ever begins, we are all in trouble. You think we are struggling economically now? Just wait and see what this really does to our economy. Obama just cannot stand that his “signature” health care plan is unacceptable to the majority of people. We have chipped away at his super ego.
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