Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ramana » 13 Jul 2014 02:04

If you take the long view Descartes liberated Western Europe from Church but same time sowed the seeds of the massive exploitation of resources by Western/ Modern man. This is unsustainable in nature.

He is Alpha and Omega of Western Universalism as he broke from the Judeo-Christian past.

The two great wars of the last century should be seen in a different world view. They ended the Roman Empire heirs: Kaiser, Tsar, Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Ottoman Sultanate.
They ushered in the Anglo-Saxon dominant world via the British, French and Americans.

WWII ended British and French colonial empires

The Cold War and the GOAT are ending American dominance.

A famous Italian Luigi Barzini once wrote America is extension of Europe and should be considered together.

Thus Europe is returning to pre-Christian Europe with a glue of God/Church less post Descartian secularism. The Pope is facing a crisis of confidence in the Church as big as at the time of Martin Luther.

Right now we are seeing the effects of the unraveling of the Ottoman Empire and its successor states in West Asia and North Africa (WANA).

So we are seeing two successor systems of Abrahamic covenant doctrine in philosophical tatters.

Will they go back to Socrates and Plato or move forward.

Western Universalism is essentially dead. Yet like a great beast its still tottering.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Cosmo_R » 13 Jul 2014 02:12

shiv wrote:Arun can you answer this - because this is where I get stuck

What is religion?


I'll give you my two cents:

cent 1. A jersey that allows us to identify members of the opposing team
cent 2. An enabling mechanism that makes it possible for us to love ourselves for what we are by hating what we are not.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Cosmo_R » 13 Jul 2014 02:17

svinayak wrote:
Who said they have changed, The homosexuality is a direct threat to the church system of social control. To break the Church system in there society the community is using laws and other means to get accepted but conservatives know that it is a social engineering. But the Church system needs reforms.

For Indians homosexuality is not a problem and Hindus are not opposing the religion using homosexuality and Hindu system does not create a contentious issue out social norms.
The elite and city folks are making a big issue out of the laws of homosexuality to ape the west.


The western cultural revolution of the 60s created the pop culture. So it cannot be called as the culture but conservative culture before that is the true culture of the west which is hidden


"homosexuality is a direct threat to the church system of social control. "

Given the number of pedophile priests preying on choirboys, it would seem a fundamental lay 8)

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Cosmo_R » 13 Jul 2014 02:21

Somebody I am sure already said this but I could not find it. So here goes.

Western universalism is the selective application of values deemed universal.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby KrishnaK » 13 Jul 2014 02:29

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Last edited by KrishnaK on 13 Jul 2014 02:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby KrishnaK » 13 Jul 2014 02:31

shiv wrote: Delicious :D
Indeed

This strikes me as a reaction that can only come from one or both of two ways of looking at the question.
Oooh, very certain of yourself doctor saab aren't you.

1. The hypothetical westerner admonishing the Indian who questions western views on homosexuality with the response
"Well WE gave you democracy and if you don't like our views on homosexuality how come you are eagerly sticking to the democracy we gave you"

2. The Indian chiding a fellow Indian: "The west gave us democracy and the west is showing us the way about homosexuality. If you don't like the latter give up the former as well"

It is the latter viewpoint that I find "delicious". The west "gave" democracy to a lot of countries including Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan even Thailand. And Iraq of course - the latest recipient of western democracy. Democracy is failing in all these states. It did not even take off in a whole lot of other countries. Surely India and Indians require some credit for muddling along. But No. Wag the finger and say "What? You don't like western views on homosexuality? Then give back democracy as well" Amazing. What a convoluted route to take for the same ol' Indian self criticism and permanent apologetic state - taking a question about homosexuality and saying that democracy needs to be discarded.

Why do Indians think in a way that makes them feel forever indebted to the west? Perhaps this is the biggest success of western Universalism - the "co-opted Indian". And the most difficult thing to change for those who disagree with that attitude.


Way too much pop-psychoanalysis doctor sahab.

The reason I brought up democracy is precisely because Indian success at democracy only highlights that certain thoughts are *universal*. Because it applies equally to all human beings like gravitational acceleration or yoga. Indian success at democracy was cemented the moment the independence movement leaders decided not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and adopt the british form of governance wholesale. To not make grievance or past glories the thread around which Indians would unite. Yes the west came up with the form of governance that we copied without feeling inferior or worrying if we were doing this to earn western praise. It was too good of an idea to pass up on. All of humanity stands on the shoulders of someone else's good idea. At least the ones that are around now. The ones that were too proud to do that, have been bred out of existence.

The west's argument on homosexuality is just as universal. It's not the state's responsibility to adjudicate on morality. Universal enough of a thought that an Iraqi Arab shiite politician feels no shame saying, the state should provide electricity to mosques, churches and dance clubs. Different context, same principle. If past hindu understanding was similar, well and good, else junk it. Just like we junked (or at leastr tying to) the caste system, child marriage or sati. Or encouraging women participate in the workforce. Not doing that would result in a severe disadvantage for India and Indians. What the west thought or said of it couldn't possibly be more irrelevant.

By the same token saying homosexuality wasn't an issue in India and hence anybody arguing for gay rights is just kissing western ass is just as absurd. This urge to constantly poke to see if we're merely aping the west or feeling indebted to them or badly wanting to earn their praise is just inferiority complex at play. And of course that's always followed up the salve of past greatness and current defiance.

I'm sure as India continues to progress and grow, she'll come up with a lot of ideas worthy of others copying them as is, doctor sahab. And I'm sure there'll be plenty of people that recognize the advantage in doing so, in spite of their own inferiority complex ridden manure bubbling up like this

The bharatiya Indian does not have to worry about the west. The current west is a socially engineered manufactured image which pretends universal ism.
They need Indian to accept it to show that there is something called western civilization


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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 13 Jul 2014 06:10

KrishnaK wrote:The reason I brought up democracy is precisely because Indian success at democracy only highlights that certain thoughts are *universal*. Because it applies equally to all human beings like gravitational acceleration or yoga. .
<snip>
The west's argument on homosexuality is just as universal. It's not the state's responsibility to adjudicate on morality.


Wrong on both counts KrishnaK

Democracy is hardly universal. Claiming that democracy is universal is simply a balloon launched by the west to show that their ways are right. This is a time in history when the west is at the top (ecnomically and militarily) and they happen to have democracy. Several thousand years ago, other civilizations were at the top and it could have been claimed that their system of government was the best. With less than half the people in the world having democracy, and with democracy never having covered the entire human population it could rightly be claimed that "Ram Rajya" is the universal ideal. You know there are people who do that. Giving them the argument that democracy is universal carries no more water than Ram Rajya being universal.

Using this faulty "democracy" argument as a lever to claim that western views on homosexuality are "universal" is a claim that simply apes the west's views without an iota of thought having been put into it. The west's views on homosexuality are not universal and many cultures already have their own views on homosexuality. My question was "What is the Indian view?". You have merely parroted the western view and claimed it to be universal. I did say that Indians do that along with my question. Do you or do you not know of any Indian view on homosexuality? If there is more than one view on any issue, no single one of the views can claim "universality". What makes you insist that the western view is universal? You have simply been co-opted to blurt out a western view with no recognition or acknowledgement that otter views can and do exist. It is typical of claims of western universalism to display this blinkered attitude. "What I don't know about is wrong. What I think is right"

The idea that the state should not dictate morality is a fine one if it is put into practice. Are you trying to tell me that "western democratic states" are not "adjudicating" morality? Do you believe that creating laws by which homosexuals can marry and adopt children have no bearing on morality at all? When social freedoms that are at odds with existing religious mores are written into the laws, the state is adjudicating on moral matters. What is universal about this?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RamaY » 13 Jul 2014 07:20

Those who have questions on Indian Democracy should check this chart: http://democracyranking.org/?page_id=14

Do an experiment please. Select Top5 and compare India with them. Add Uk/US. Add Singapore. Add Pakistan.

Watch the fun. (Zakir Naik voice) Indian democracy is closer to Pakistani democracy than Singapore democracy and all these browns are much much lower than white UK/US and they too are worse than top 5.

Is it worth getting tizzy about such a nonsense?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby svinayak » 13 Jul 2014 09:25

The End of History and the Last Man is a 1992 book by Francis Fukuyama, and he figures that something has changed in western history.
He did not know in 1992 that it is the end of the western history which is manifested in the form of western universalism.

The end of linear western history is being replaced by medieval like history and non linear history.
countries have to protect itself from all forms of foreign concepts of the medieval period.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of ... e_Last_Man
"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."[1]

Fukuyama's position contradicts that of Karl Marx, who imagined that antagonistic history would end with communism displacing capitalism.[2] Fukuyama himself identifies on some level with Marx, but identifies most strongly with the German philosopher Hegel, by way of Alexandre Kojève. Kojève argued that the progress of history must lead toward the establishment of a "universal and homogenous" state,[3] most likely incorporating elements of liberal or social democracy; but Kojeve's emphasis on the necessarily "post-political" character of such a state (and its citizens) makes such comparisons inadequate, and is irreducible to any mere "triumph" of capitalism.[4]

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby svinayak » 13 Jul 2014 09:46

Cosmo_R wrote:

"homosexuality is a direct threat to the church system of social control. "

Given the number of pedophile priests preying on choirboys, it would seem a fundamental lay 8)


Laity, from the Greek word laos ("people"), is the name for the members of the Church who are not in Holy Orders.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... re1242.htm

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ramana » 13 Jul 2014 10:01

svinayak,
Read my post with Fukuyama's description in mind.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby svinayak » 13 Jul 2014 12:59

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... dy-ashdown

The end of western hegemony
If we want a more ordered world, we have to provide a space at the top tables for nations that do not share our culture or values

Paddy Ashdown
theguardian.com, Monday 25 May 2009

We are on the edge of one of those periods of history when the gimbals on which the established order is mounted shift and a new world order begins to emerge. And these are, almost always, the most frightening and turbulent of times.

This recession will be different. This time, we will not plummet down and then bounce back comfortably to where we were before it all started. This is about something much deeper. The tectonic plates of power, in this case economic power, are shifting and when it is over we in the Western nations will, relatively speaking, be weaker and those in the Eastern nations will be relatively stronger.

Arguably most important consequence of this new shape to world power is equally dramatic; we are reaching the beginning of the end of the perhaps five century long period of the hegemony of western power, western institutions and western values over world affairs. We are soon going to discover – no, we are already discovering — that, if we want to get things done, such as re-designing the world economic order, or intervening for peace, we cannot any longer just do them within the cosy Atlantic club; we are going to have to find new allies in places we would

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 13 Jul 2014 17:33

We need to frame a proper context to this idea of universalism from the folks who propound such concepts. Attached is the UN version of such "universal" human rights.

Universal Values
The core principles of human rights first set out in the UDHR, such as universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination, and that human rights simultaneously entail both rights and obligations from duty bearers and rights owners, have been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. Today, all United Nations member States have ratified at least one of the nine core international human rights treaties, and 80 percent have ratified four or more, giving concrete expression to the universality of the UDHR and international human rights.


PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.



There are 30 articles in the UDHR document.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby chanakyaa » 13 Jul 2014 18:52

shiv wrote:
KrishnaK wrote:The reason I brought up democracy is precisely because Indian success at democracy only highlights that certain thoughts are *universal*. Because it applies equally to all human beings like gravitational acceleration or yoga. .
<snip>
The west's argument on homosexuality is just as universal. It's not the state's responsibility to adjudicate on morality.


Wrong on both counts KrishnaK

Democracy is hardly universal. Claiming that democracy is universal is simply a balloon launched by the west to show that their ways are right. This is a time in history when the west is at the top (ecnomically and militarily) and they happen to have democracy. Several thousand years ago, other civilizations were at the top and it could have been claimed that their system of government was the best. With less than half the people in the world having democracy, and with democracy never having covered the entire human population it could rightly be claimed that "Ram Rajya" is the universal ideal. You know there are people who do that. Giving them the argument that democracy is universal carries no more water than Ram Rajya being universal.

.....


Slight OT, but, Shivji, in addition to "showing their way is right", "proposition" and "spread" of democracy is used as a powerful tool to arbitrage the system and slow economic progress in the target countries. There are "near perfected democracies" and "in-process of perfection/messy democracies". Western countries who have nearly perfected (relatively speaking) their democracies in which all institutions in their country government/public-private sector is well integrated where they are leveraging their strengths to advance their interests, not only at home but abroad. Other messy democracies, including India, in which not all aspects of democratic society are perfected (voting is one piece of the puzzle), you end up with a lot of side effects that can be exploited by well-oiled democracies for decades. And, when you have countries like India that are diverse on several dimensions of language, faith/beliefs, regional history the process of perfecting their democracies can take forever. In such cases, strong countries have all the incentives in the world to ensure that weaker governments rule in such countries and then these weaker governments (naturally ruled by power hungry thugs) themselves make sure that the perfection never occurs, thus resulting in an endless vicious cycle. Lost 5 decades from Kangress rule is a perfect example of how the pursuit of "democracy" mirage can result in incompetent leadership at the top and no real improvement. I doubt Chinese would have made the progress they have achieves in the last 30 years with a "democracy". Promoting democracy in Eyerak has lead to weaker governments, as a side-effect and/or by design. Those who are benefitting from it are taking all the oil out for cheap. So, promoting democracy is good as long as your own house is in order, it seems.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 19:17

johneeG wrote:The simple definition to good and evil is given by Vyasa:
para-upakaraya punyaya, papaya para-peedanam

Helping others is the good(dharma/punya), hurting others is sin.


Just a minor point about this. "Sin" is a loaded word. In Christianity, everyone is burdened with the "original sin" and no amount of good works can free one from this; one has to accept Jesus Christ as the Savior, and that he accepted crucifixion as penance for our sins.

In the Abrahamic religions, "sin" is disobedience of the Will of God/Allah. God, through Revelations in the Holy Book, has revealed His Will for humanity; follow it or be damned.

The Hindu has no "original sin". A Hindu is burdened by the paapa accumulated from all previous karma, including that in previous lives. In the language of Vyasa, hurting others adds to that burden. By proper action and speech (not "proper belief") - by doing dharma/punya or by doing the appropriate penitence - Hindus can work off the burden of paapa. "Paapa" can lead to "naraka" which is translated as Hell; but for Hindus, finite causes lead to finite effects; once the "paapa" is worked off, one leaves naraka. There is no eternal hell-fire for Hindus. "Paapa" has to do with the way the universe operates, and not with the Will of a God or Gods.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 19:26

ShauryaT wrote:We need to frame a proper context to this idea of universalism from the folks who propound such concepts. Attached is the UN version of such "universal" human rights.


Yes.

I'm going to quote again, from Balu.
Let us begin with the passive notion of rights. If human beings have moral claims (e.g., the claim to be respected as a human person), where do they come from? How can the existence of some other human organism impose duties on me? It is only as an individual rights subject that one individual imposes a duty upon the other. Where lies the justification for this imposition?

There are but two answers. Either some ethical system imposes these duties on me, or someone above me has done so. Regarding the former, I have to recognize its authority before I can consider it binding upon me. But why should I do so?


The “someone” who has imposed these duties on me as an individual, is not only ‘above me’, but is also unquestionably so. His authority is self-evident, unchallengeable, and that does not depend upon whether or not you recognize His au- thority. He is the Lord and Master of all, the Creator, The Sovereign. His Will is Law (because He is The Sovereign) and He has imposed duties upon you .

The Biblical story of the genesis explained how this came to be. God created earth and all that is in it. As a creator, He is the dominus (the Lord) of His creations. What precisely did He give, when He gave earth and everything in it, to Adam and his descendents? Did He give them the “rights” to enjoy whatever was there in His earthly domain? Or did He, perhaps, transfer His dominion itself to them?

The medieval jurists who debated these questions were divided in their answers. Those who favoured the passive notion of rights believed that God created ius (plural: iura, cognate to the term ‘rights’) in His dominion. These iura are the ‘claim-rights’ that human beings are supposed to have. Only a domi- nus can create iura in his domain and the earth cannot be said to be the dominion of any except The Sovereign. The identity of this Sovereign was never in question.

When put this way, the story is intuitively satisfying within the ambit of a cultural tradition inclined to believe in the story. Adam and his children have claims in the Lord’s domain (which includes every- thing), and, as a servant and creature of God, I cannot but accept His Will. Quite obviously, the me- dieval theologians were disturbed about identifying Adam’s children: Do the heathen, pagan and the philistines qualify as well? What about the servants of Satan, or those who were non-believers? Fascinating as these debates discussions are, we need not concern ourselves with them.



If, on the other hand, you find the idea of “claim-rights” intuitively worth defending, but make no reference to God, etc., (as it suits the modern-day sensibilities), and come to tell me that I have a duty towards other human beings, you will be hard-pressed to give answers to my questions about the ori- gin and ground of my duties. No doubt, you will devise fine and ingenious answers but they only make the very idea of claim-rights mysterious. In the process of trying to convince me that I have such duties, all the problems you face are of your own making: each of these problems has arisen be- cause you are trying to provide a secular version of a theological belief.

What make some beliefs theological is not merely its reference to God. There are some basic structural constraints, imposed upon them in this case at least, which make ‘God’ play a vital role in answering my questions. You cannot take a theological concept and try to make it secular by referring to, say, an ethical theory instead of God, as though it is merely a question of substitution of appropriate variables.

If you do so, you run up against problems which do not arise in a theological belief. Because you have interpreted some ‘variables’ differently, you are faced with questions the original version was not “designed” to handle. An appropriate punishment, you may want to say if your Gods can take humour, for the heretic who looks at God as a variable!

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 19:35

More on universal human rights - the "active rights" theory -

Recall that in the story of Genesis, God gave earth and everything in it to Adam and his descendants to enjoy. Also, recall that God is the Sovereign and that He is the dominus of all things by virtue of being their creator. The controversy amongst the medieval jurists-theologians, as I mentioned earlier on, turned on just exactly what God gave to Adam and his children.

The issue, as instanced in the polemics between the Franciscans and the Dominicans, is also familiar to us from the previous pages: did the Sovereign merely create the rights to use the produce of the earth (as some claim-rights theorists maintained), or did He transfer the dominion over earth to Adam and his descendants?

At first sight, it was a theological question about apostolic poverty. Could the Church own property or was it forbidden to do so? If the Lord gave earth’s dominion to Man, then Man is its dominus. By definition, a dominus is a Sovereign. In such a case, we end up with two sovereigns both of whom, qua sovereigns, are each others’ equal. Jean Gerson, one of the best known theologians of that period, did carry such an idea through and almost ended up proclaiming the heresy that God and Man were equals.

Like most theological questions of medieval Europe, this was also a political and social question. It was a question of property-rights. Was the owner of property the Lord and sovereign in his domain, or were ‘property-rights’ merely claim rights created by the sovereign? Was there a multiplicity of sovereigns or merely a multiplicity of right-holders dependent upon the will of one sovereign?

In any one domain, there cannot be more than one dominus. That is so, because the only law which can hold in a domain is enacted by the sovereign in that domain (after all, law is the will of the sovereign); a sovereign acts in perfect freedom in his domain (there is nothing higher in that domain than the sovereign); a sovereign is the creator of objects in his domain (even when he hires someone else to do the job for him, as embodiments of his will they belong to him); the sovereign can do no wrong in his domain (again, you can only wrong other sovereigns), etc. These are the notions which one has to bring into play, when one explicates the meaning of the word ‘sovereign’.

These are the notions that capture ideas associated with active rights: power, capacity, autonomy, freedom, agency etc. Appropriately, therefore, theorists of active notion of rights see the individual rights subject as a sovereign: each individual human being is a sovereign in his domain. Whatever the domain (in terms of ownership-of-objects) an individual human being may or may not have, it is axiomatic that any human being who is a rights subject also happens to be the sovereign of his moral domain.


All of this works well as long as there is but one Sovereign. Consider why this is so by asking your- selves why God can do no wrong, as the Christian tradition has it. It is not even logically possible that He could do wrong. By definition, whatever a Sovereign does in his domain is Right (Das Recht, Le Droit, the Right). Wrong (Unrecht) involves the violation of someone else’s rights.

If we have only one sovereign, one who is the lord and master of everything, and to whose domain belong everyone and everything, then we cannot possibly have a situation where this Sovereign could violate someone else’s domain, and thus someone else’s rights. One dominus, One Sovereign, One God (and One Logic!). Because all of them fall together (not the bit about one logic) and are coextensive terms, the meaning of the term ‘sovereign’ can only be explicated by using the predicates ascribed to God. These are sensibly ascribable to God only from within the framework of the Christian religion.

Problems begin to arise though, when one attempts to secularize this essentially theological notion of sovereignty. The early theorists of private property rights, for example, argued that one became a dominus of what one creates by virtue of being its creator. If the producer did not have dominion over his creations, it was asked, who else could possibly have it?

Notice though that this question really becomes intelligible, if one asks: if God does not have dominion over His creations by virtue of being their creator, who else has it? But, secularization of this question results in any number of rebuttals: why should dominion over the creation be the self-evident relation between the product and the producer? Why not social fame, or glory? Why should the product belong to anyone’s domain? Why do we need dominii?, etc. None of these rebuttals are possible with respect to the theological version.

By secularizing a Christian notion, one ends up with problems the original version was not meant to solve, namely, the problem of multiplicity of sovereigns. If there is but one sovereign, it is senseless to say that there could be violation of rights and the problem does not even arise. In its secularized versions, by contrast, the existence of indifferently many sovereigns raises, but cannot answer these questions: why ought I recognize others as sovereigns? Why can I not violate their rights? Why ought I not do so?

It cannot answer any of these questions, because it does not have the conceptual resources to do so. The rights that others have function merely as a boundary to my rights, drawn from the outside as it were. Others’ domains are limits, constructed from the outside, against which I am supposed to run up in the process of exercising my rights. That means to say that others’ rights are not internal to and not constitutive of my rights. Because others’ rights do not enter into consideration positively, and because my rights pick out my capacities and powers without referring to anything or anyone else’s rights (that is what sovereignty is all about), the rights that others have are not binding upon me. There is no internal reason why I ought to respect others’ rights.

Consequently, my respect for the rights of others is proposed as an external, i.e., an additional con- straint. It is introduced as a statement in the form of, say, a precondition: the exercising of your right presupposes the existence of other rights subjects. This presupposition itself is justified quite independently of the fact that you have rights. One appeals to all sorts of empirical considerations, or moral arguments as the case may be – to a philosopher’s fiat, in other words.

This fiat in a theory is mirrored in the real world by the presence of a coercive legal system, which is supposed to punish those who violate the moral (or physical) domain of other rights subjects. While it is possible to defend the existence of such a punitive legal system, by pointing out the consequences that would ensue from the absence of such a system, etc., it is not possible to do so by showng how such a system can play an essential role in constituting my rights.

Those who are able to are the legal positivists, and they do so by recognizing only those ‘rights’ that are granted by the given legal system. At this point, they cease being “rights” in any serious, fundamental sense of the term, i.e., they are not moral rights anymore, but just legal rights. As such, they are merely privileges which the legal system grants to individuals, and by virtue of this they can be abrogated, abridged, withdrawn or extended without raising any moral issue whatsoever.

As an illustration and for the sake of argument, consider the following thought: I ought to respect the rights others have because if I do not, others will not respect mine either. Such a situation would result in a deprival of my own rights. To prevent the occurrence of such a situation, it is advisable that I respect the rights that others have. This appeal to prudence or, as the case may be, to self-interest is not very convincing: I can always not recognize others’ rights, and make nevertheless sure that others recognize mine (e.g., by hiring a gang of thugs). Why ought I not to do so?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 19:37

Sorry, making you read long tracts of text. But I think it is worthwhile.

Both the notions of rights are thus essentially and non-trivially bound up with Christian theology. The plausibility of these secular versions depends very much upon the presence of their theological or religious original in one’s intuitive world model. By saying this, I do not want to imply that all theorists of human rights are Christians, much less theists. I do not even want to suggest that all Christians have a uniform understanding of their God. And yet, I suggest, it is only from within the framework of such a culture that one can provide intelligibility to the concept of rights. Outside of it, both the rights doctrine and the notion of sovereignty remain unintelligible.

One could, without problem, grant Christians their God; but why accept a doctrine, which crucially requires their religion to make it intelligible? The “Asian gods” are not the least like their Christian counterpart: our gods are not “sovereigns” and their will is not law. Our gods cannot own what they create just because they have created it. Our gods are not ‘good’ and they do inflict injustice upon men. And yet, all of us are Christians: or, at least, we talk as though we were. To this day, the world over, the Christian God rules us!
Last edited by A_Gupta on 13 Jul 2014 19:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 19:41

Final long quote for now :)
What would constitute the foundation of Law within our world models? Which concept would do the job for us that ‘right’ does in the Western jurisprudence? Obviously, the key notion will be that of “self-assumed obligations”. It captures both the active and passive dimensions of ‘rights’, I believe, without being subject to the difficulties that plague either.

Let me begin with the ‘active’ dimension. To be a ‘self’, as I said before, is to assume and discharge some obligations voluntarily. The construction of one’s ‘self’ is an active process and it is possible only insofar as one performs positive actions. In our cultures, all obligations are determinate or specific ones, i.e., they are specific actions one performs, while being directed towards some definite others.

To use an analogy, these obligations are promises: one cannot make a promise without specifying either the content, or the person to whom such a promise is made. One promises, for example, to return a book to someone the next day or come back to visit one’s aunt within a week’s time or promises a child that it will get sweets after it has taken the bitter medicine, etc. We cannot think of promises which are absolutely empty of content, and directed towards no one in particular.

Such promises as, for example, ‘I promise to obey’ or ‘I promise to be good’, etc., are literally senseless and, really speaking, no promises at all. That is why, in such cases as these, it is as difficult to say whether a promise has been broken as it is to ascertain exactly what promise has been made and to whom.

A promise, in this sense, can serve as the paradigmatic example of just what it means to speak of a voluntarily assumed obligation. Thus, the dimensions of both freedom and activity are captured by our notions of obligation.

With respect to the passive dimension, I have already had the occasion to notice that that which is constitutive of the ‘self’ can hardly be considered coercive. To give another illustration of the constitution of ‘self’: in some non-Western societies, a “good hunter” means a person who not only hunts well, hut also shares its fruits with the members from the group. One who can hunt well (technically speaking) but does not want to share is not a “good hunter” at all. Again, here, the notion of promising provides us with a handy analogy: ‘promising’ means assuming and discharging obligations. To ask, as Hume and following him many others did, ‘why ought I keep my promise?’ is to ask a senseless question.

The active conception of rights, could not tell us why the rights of one individual are binding upon the others. How does our notion of obligation fare in this regard? The answer must be obvious: because of the reciprocity of actions involved in the construction of ‘self’, it is extremely crucial that others be allowed to perform (are encouraged to do so, in fact) their obligations.

Again, some examples might be illustrative. One can be a pupil, a son, a doctor or a householder, etc., insofar as two actions (or two sets of them) are performed. A doctor, for instance, can discharge his obligations as a doctor only to the extent the patient cooperates. It is, therefore, vitally important to the doctor that he persuades the patient to participate in the therapeutic process so that the former may cure him, if a cure is possible at all. That is, the doctor requires that the patient discharges his obligation as well. The same applies to being a son, a pupil, a husband, a householder, a ruler, etc.

To hinder the other in the process of fulfilling his obligations is to prevent oneself from discharging one’s own obligations. Needless to say, such reciprocity is possible because of the specific nature of the obligations involved.

One can always refuse to recognize or accept any or all obligations. In such cases, unlike rights, it is not possible to enforce them. Obligations, as I said before, are not enforceable. The function of “education” or “culture” is precisely to train you to recognize and assume obligations. The action is dependent upon institutionalized rules and the presence of the ethical community. Despite this, it is as far from the legal positivist tradition as anything can possibly be.

In this sense, I would like to suggest that our notion of obligation is more adequate than the notion of rights to tackle the issues we face. But, is it sufficient for the task? Obviously not. All I am saying is that it requires to be developed into a theory: a theory of law, ethics and politics. Such is not the case today. Compared to the extremely articulate and sophisticated theories and institutions of the West, we are nowhere. Or, better said, we are about a thousand years behind. Nevertheless, I put to you, we are better off trying to do this rather than repeat ill-understood and half-baked ideas, borrowed uncritically from the West, which make no sense to us anyway. A task of ‘decolonizing’ the theories of law, or at least the ‘decolonizing’ of jurisprudence, in other words.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ramana » 13 Jul 2014 19:47

Retweeted by Sushupti
Chitra Subramaniam @chitraSD · 1h

RT @Independent Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals are paedophiles http://ind.pn/1riwzpO @thenewsminute


At time of Martin Luther the Church had similar loss of confidence.

Rakshasa ideology is coming to the fore.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 13 Jul 2014 20:28

A_Gupta wrote: A Hindu is burdened by the paapa accumulated from all previous karma, including that in previous lives.
One can believe in the concept of one's karma, who's effects can span multiple time spans and generations. However there is an issue when many Hindus use the above as a deterministic idea to explain the unexplainable or not understood, seemingly indiscriminate, random occurrences due to natural or man made events. The idea that one's actions can have an impact on future lives however is a great idea to control one's actions in current life along with the idea that you shall not escape the consequences of your actions one way or the other. This Brahman will get to you. It is a powerful idea and reenforces Dharma's stand of refusing to look at the individual as a self contained unit.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 13 Jul 2014 21:20

I agree with the above position of Balagandhara that a framework of obligations is needed and in fact one of my chief objections to most western rights "only" based frameworks, including the Indian constitution. SD is largely a framework of such obligations. Reevolving this framework into modern institutional structures, which are enforeable is the task at hand.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 13 Jul 2014 21:50

Couple of brief points - will post some detailed ideas later:

  • Democracy is not Western: ancient pagan societies including India had working ideas to provide representation - it is to the West's credit that they made it their idea and resold it as a Christian/Secular value system. A long and logical argument can be made on why pagan system promotes democratic ideals and in turn democracy makes monotheistic societies more pagan...
  • Karma (action) confusion: per Mimamsa one cannot predict its outcome, that is it is impossible to predict if a given action is paap or punya, therefore no way to say if one gets moksha or not, or if indeed there is moksha... Given this there seems to be a dissonance with the evolution of Karma into fate, rebirth,etc may have all been Jaina ideas that may remain unresolved in SD - perhaps some one could clarify this more... I"ll post my own ideas in a bit...
  • Indian constitution being rights based: there are other constitutions that I've read that are more confused than the Indian one, that said the Indian constitution is more Dharmic than the "English Vinglish" edumacated crowd suspect, and a secular Western imposition as per others... Truth is stranger!

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 13 Jul 2014 22:59

^^^ Democratic ideas in ancient India:
http://www.indicethos.org/Archives/Demo ... India.html

I wouldn't take that essay as the final word, there is work to be done here.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RamaY » 13 Jul 2014 23:32

Pulikeshi wrote:Couple of brief points - will post some detailed ideas later:

  • Democracy is not Western: ancient pagan societies including India had working ideas to provide representation - it is to the West's credit that they made it their idea and resold it as a Christian/Secular value system. A long and logical argument can be made on why pagan system promotes democratic ideals and in turn democracy makes monotheistic societies more pagan...
  • Karma (action) confusion: per Mimamsa one cannot predict its outcome, that is it is impossible to predict if a given action is paap or punya, therefore no way to say if one gets moksha or not, or if indeed there is moksha... Given this there seems to be a dissonance with the evolution of Karma into fate, rebirth,etc may have all been Jaina ideas that may remain unresolved in SD - perhaps some one could clarify this more... I"ll post my own ideas in a bit...
  • Indian constitution being rights based: there are other constitutions that I've read that are more confused than the Indian one, that said the Indian constitution is more Dharmic than the "English Vinglish" edumacated crowd suspect, and a secular Western imposition as per others... Truth is stranger!


+1.

1/ One saying India got democracy from west is proof that the person doesn't know Indian history and doesn't have time to read at least Bharatiya epics.

2/ People are confusing between two karmas; one meaning action (itself) and another karma (as in result of one's actions). The first karma as action gives the individual 100% freedom in making choices in a given situation. The second karma as a result is nothing but the initial conditions an individual is in before one takes the next action based on free-will. Given the fact that Haindava Dharma is not limited to one Janma/birth/life, there is no possible way for an individual (unless one has divyadrishti) to find out why a given set of initial conditions are for what they are. Every individual of every religion has this initial conditions in any given moment. These initial conditions are a function of time, place, social role, social status, relationships with other stake holder a in the decision and so on. This is similar to the 'transactional analysis' that modern sociology and emotional intelligence subjects deal with.

3/ one needs to do a little study to see the lies the self-declared liberals and secularists say even on open forums. I a' appalled to see even senior members of this forum spread such lies. Truth is stranger indeed and it requires constant and assertive rebuttals. Unfortunately such consistent rebuttals are branded as trolling and discouraged; to our own detriment.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby member_23692 » 14 Jul 2014 02:57

RamaY wrote:1/ One saying India got democracy from west is proof that the person doesn't know Indian history and doesn't have time to read at least Bharatiya epics


Can you or someone else, whoever is knowledgeable about these things elucidate on the following.

1. The concept of democracy and its theory, as explained in our Hindu scriptures

2. The differences between ancient Hindu concept of democracy and the concept of Greek and even the modern democracy in the West(which the West claims as its own conception)

3. A list of states in ancient Indian history that practiced various different forms of Indian democracy (for example, the Western republics, during Alexander's invasion) and the main features of their democratic systems. Did ancient India also have different variations of democracy and if so, please explain the differences.

4. The difference between actual practice of democracy in ancient India and the way democracy is practiced in the West today

5. Is Indian democracy as practiced today closer to the ancient Indian conception of democracy or the Western conception of democracy

6. How Indian democracy as practiced in India today different from ancient Indian conception of democracy

7. If we were to start over and are restricted to only democracy as a system of governance in India, what would be the main features of an ideal democracy for India today, in your view ?

8. Before you do any of this, please start by defining democracy and the top 10 essential features that makes any system a democratic system, eastern or western (in other words, after defining democracy, please explain if the conception of western democracy is the same animal(different individuals, but same species of the animal, called democracy) as the ancient Indian conception of democracy or we are merely calling them both democracy and one is a racoon while the other is a cayote ?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby RamaY » 14 Jul 2014 04:39

^ Sir,

We have discussed this thing before on this forum.

I already gave you the references. Please read Ramayana and Mahabharata and get the answer first hand to all your questions.

Pls read these epics in your mother tongue if possible.

Once you are done, I will be more than happy to answer any remaining questions you might have.

P.S: I strongly believe YOU will gain more from reading those books than me giving you a simple answer.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Cosmo_R » 14 Jul 2014 04:53

svinayak wrote:
Cosmo_R wrote:

"homosexuality is a direct threat to the church system of social control. "

Given the number of pedophile priests preying on choirboys, it would seem a fundamental lay 8)


Laity, from the Greek word laos ("people"), is the name for the members of the Church who are not in Holy Orders.

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articl ... re1242.htm


Yes and it is a pun

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Cosmo_R » 14 Jul 2014 04:56

"A_Gupta wrote:
A Hindu is burdened by the paapa accumulated from all previous karma, including that in previous lives."

Only during the last 60 years of INC rule.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby member_23692 » 14 Jul 2014 05:35

RamaY wrote:^ Sir,

We have discussed this thing before on this forum.

I already gave you the references. Please read Ramayana and Mahabharata and get the answer first hand to all your questions.

Pls read these epics in your mother tongue if possible.

Once you are done, I will be more than happy to answer any remaining questions you might have.

P.S: I strongly believe YOU will gain more from reading those books than me giving you a simple answer.


Sir,

I have read Ramayana and Mahabharata in my mother tongue, Sir, but I read the interpretations available to me. I suspect the the editions I read may not be "complete", since I do not recall finding too many references to democracy. I did find some references to village headmen and some village "sabahs", but thats about it. I dont recall reading about even a single kingdom or political entity not having a "naresh".

With all due respects, Sir, and speaking as a devout Hindu having great faith and belief in our Dharmic thought, Ramayana and Mahabharata are mythological books and it is very difficult, at least for me, to separate facts from myth when I read Ramayana and Mahabharata.

I would therefore appreciate, not necessarily a simple answers, but a historical perspective on the above questions about democracy in India, Sir.

Thanks in anticipation of your response. Besides, most answers to my questions above, are not to be found in Ramayana and Mahabharata anyway, such as comparisons between Indian and Western concepts of Democracy and comparisons between Indian and Western practices of democracy. These can only be elucidated by someone like you, Sir,

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ramana » 14 Jul 2014 05:58

rsangram, Dhritarastra is forced to appoin Yuddhistir as the Yuvaraj due to the peer pressure from the citizenry or janasamudhayi. Please read our RayC uncle's book "From Parkishit to Latter Guptas" by Hemachandra Raychaudhri about the importance of the populace for affirming the coronation. An India raja was a head of state. Yes it was dynastic. The book is in archive.org.
However HRC provides examples of what happened when there was no janasamudhayi.

They lost their head short answer.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 14 Jul 2014 06:52

Pulikeshi wrote:[*] Indian constitution being rights based: there are other constitutions that I've read that are more confused than the Indian one, that said the Indian constitution is more Dharmic than the "English Vinglish" edumacated crowd suspect, and a secular Western imposition as per others... Truth is stranger![/list]
Enlighten please. I have taken much pains to read up on the evolution of our constitution but fail to reach a similar conclusion. Continue to interact with some major luminaries of the Indian constitution and they agree with the view that largely our traditional learnings, systems and laws were junked. This is reaffirmed directly by many in the constitutional debates itself.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby KrishnaK » 14 Jul 2014 07:29

shiv wrote:Wrong on both counts KrishnaK

Democracy is hardly universal. Claiming that democracy is universal is simply a balloon launched by the west to show that their ways are right. This is a time in history when the west is at the top (ecnomically and militarily) and they happen to have democracy. Several thousand years ago, other civilizations were at the top and it could have been claimed that their system of government was the best. With less than half the people in the world having democracy, and with democracy never having covered the entire human population it could rightly be claimed that "Ram Rajya" is the universal ideal. You know there are people who do that. Giving them the argument that democracy is universal carries no more water than Ram Rajya being universal.


How does democracy not being universally accepted take away from the fact it is the only way we know how to have a billion+ people with 22 languages, multiple religions and every possible schism known to man participate in the governance of a single state ? How does democracy not being universally accepted negate the fact that democracy is the only system we know of that institutionalizes change of power in an orderly fashion and demonstrate people's acceptance of the same ? How many other forms of governance do you know of that derives legitimacy directly from the mandate of the people ?

The west being at the top has nothing to do with democracy is universally the best form of governance known to man. The same way yoga having known and established health benefits has nothing to do with India's position on the world stage. I'm sorry your argument has not a shred of logic. Given your obsession with wanting to debunk western claims, it's hardly surprising.

Using this faulty "democracy" argument as a lever to claim that western views on homosexuality are "universal" is a claim that simply apes the west's views without an iota of thought having been put into it. The west's views on homosexuality are not universal and many cultures already have their own views on homosexuality. My question was "What is the Indian view?". You have merely parroted the western view and claimed it to be universal. I did say that Indians do that along with my question. Do you or do you not know of any Indian view on homosexuality? If there is more than one view on any issue, no single one of the views can claim "universality". What makes you insist that the western view is universal? You have simply been co-opted to blurt out a western view with no recognition or acknowledgement that otter views can and do exist. It is typical of claims of western universalism to display this blinkered attitude. "What I don't know about is wrong. What I think is right"
Multiple views being around doesn't mean all of them are equally rational. You can chose to believe 2+2 is 5. Nobody can stop you from doing that. You can choose to claim I've been co-opted and am parroting western views as long as loudly as you want. That's not quite going to change the answer.

The idea that the state should not dictate morality is a fine one if it is put into practice. Are you trying to tell me that "western democratic states" are not "adjudicating" morality? Do you believe that creating laws by which homosexuals can marry and adopt children have no bearing on morality at all? When social freedoms that are at odds with existing religious mores are written into the laws, the state is adjudicating on moral matters. What is universal about this?
It doesn't matter whether western democratic states are "adjudicating" on morality. That doesn't change/negate/detract from the advantage in having the state not do that. Homosexuals marrying and adopting children has bearing on morality how ? Why not stop infertile people from marrying then ? That social freedoms *should* not be subject to religions mores is the whole point. Not doing that is what results in a Pakistan. You can chose to go that route, only no good will ever come of it. That's what makes it universal.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 14 Jul 2014 07:59

KrishnaK wrote:How does democracy not being universally accepted take away from the fact it is the only way we know how to have a billion+ people with 22 languages, multiple religions and every possible schism known to man participate in the governance of a single state ? How does democracy not being universally accepted negate the fact that democracy is the only system we know of that institutionalizes change of power in an orderly fashion and demonstrate people's acceptance of the same ? How many other forms of governance do you know of that derives legitimacy directly from the mandate of the people ?

It does not take away any of these things. But it is hardly "Universal". It has not been accepted or does not work for over 2 billion people. Judging anything by its successes tells only part of the story . You need to look at the failures as well to be really honest

It is considered the best by those for who it works, but those people who claim that it is the best are unable to say why it works for some and why it does not work for others. No crime in that - but calling such a system "Universal" is a lie. The problem is calling things "universal" when they are not. There are a lot of seemingly "good ideas" that are not universal. Democracy is hardly universal.

Multiple views being around doesn't mean all of them are equally rational. You can chose to believe 2+2 is 5. Nobody can stop you from doing that. You can choose to claim I've been co-opted and am parroting western views as long as loudly as you want. That's not quite going to change the answer.

Either of us can choose various things. But neither of us can claim that only what I choose is universal, if other valid views exist in other parts of the world. It was your claim that western views on homosexuality are "Universal".

Homosexuals marrying and adopting children has bearing on morality how ?

Let me answer this by a counter question. Why is paedophilia immoral? How does sex with a child have any bearing on morality? If you stop to think before unquestioningly agreeing with western views, you might notice that "morality" is different in different cultures. In Hindu culture men do not marry men. That constitutes immorality. It laughable for you to claim that men marrying men is a "Universal" phenomenon.

Please do not deviate from the subject. Neither democracy nor western attitudes on homosexuality are "universal" as you claimed. They are only claimed to be universal by people in the west. I repeat, such a claim is a blinkered one like saying "XYZ is known to be world famous all over Bangalore". The claim to being "world famous" does not extend to the whole world. Just Bangalore.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 14 Jul 2014 08:06

ShauryaT wrote:
Universal Values
The core principles of human rights first set out in the UDHR, such as universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination, and that human rights simultaneously entail both rights and obligations from duty bearers and rights owners, have been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. Today, all United Nations member States have ratified at least one of the nine core international human rights treaties, and 80 percent have ratified four or more, giving concrete expression to the universality of the UDHR and international human rights.


PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.



Shaurya, this is one of the most insincere and fake documents I have read. The concept of "nation" itself is divisive where one nation as an entity competes to take resources away from another, or deny the people of one nation entry into another.

It is fake universalism for the UN to define "Universalism" and "get signatures of ratification" from many "nations"

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 14 Jul 2014 08:12

shiv wrote:One of the biggest conflicts I see between an Indian thought process and western universalism is the inability to define an Indian viewpoint on contentious issues.


The opinionated Indian is mere myth :)

Islam is much better. There are good and firm opinions that appear from Islamic sources.


Fatwa (opinion) is such as useful thing for them :)

But Hindus are wishy washy. We are always balancing what tradition says with what we want the westerner to feel about us. This is part of our constant psyche of apology.


Well, Hindus should always use their minds. We should understand what we're talking about. Just because it is Western doesn't make it wrong.

Take homosexuality for example. In terms of dharma, homosexuality fails on some counts. Homosexuality was looked down upon in the west in the past. They have now changed. Homosexuality was discouraged in India in the past now. Have we really changed our views or are we simply aping the west and saying things that will earn us western praise as a modern society? What is the Hindu view of homosexuality?


Excellent question. But more important is how we assimilate new information and ideas today, and reason out our views. The western treatment of this subject is now based on the idea of universal human rights.

i deliberately ask about this contentious issue. there are other issues where we in India have no problem projecting and Indian or Hindu way. For example hunting is banned in India. All hunting. Not just endangered species.


There is a substantial amount of hunting in the old Hindu books and stories and history. The ban on hunting in India dates to 1972. This is probably a recognition of the ecological problems caused by population pressure on the land.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 14 Jul 2014 08:20

udaym wrote:Slight OT, but, Shivji, in addition to "showing their way is right", "proposition" and "spread" of democracy is used as a powerful tool to arbitrage the system and slow economic progress in the target countries. There are "near perfected democracies" and "in-process of perfection/messy democracies". Western countries who have nearly perfected (relatively speaking) their democracies in which all institutions in their country government/public-private sector is well integrated where they are leveraging their strengths to advance their interests, not only at home but abroad. Other messy democracies, including India, in which not all aspects of democratic society are perfected (voting is one piece of the puzzle), you end up with a lot of side effects that can be exploited by well-oiled democracies for decades. And, when you have countries like India that are diverse on several dimensions of language, faith/beliefs, regional history the process of perfecting their democracies can take forever. In such cases, strong countries have all the incentives in the world to ensure that weaker governments rule in such countries and then these weaker governments (naturally ruled by power hungry thugs) themselves make sure that the perfection never occurs, thus resulting in an endless vicious cycle. Lost 5 decades from Kangress rule is a perfect example of how the pursuit of "democracy" mirage can result in incompetent leadership at the top and no real improvement. I doubt Chinese would have made the progress they have achieves in the last 30 years with a "democracy". Promoting democracy in Eyerak has lead to weaker governments, as a side-effect and/or by design. Those who are benefitting from it are taking all the oil out for cheap. So, promoting democracy is good as long as your own house is in order, it seems.

When you have a system that cannot function uniformly across the globe; when you have a system that one can "rank" and say "I am bigger/higher and you are smaller/lower" we are not talking about a "Universal" system.

Of course you can redefine "universal" as something that incorporates inequality, deprivation and poverty in some places and for some people with excess and dominance in other places, for other people. That in fact would be more of a "Universal" design than faux equality. But saying that one pocket of people have wealth and equality with each other and are higher than the other group and that is "Universal" while another pocket without that is "not Universal" is dog-poo of the stinkiest kind. It illustrates a complete inability to understand the meaning of what can be "universal"

One can claim, "Hey lookee here - what I have is universal and everyone should be this way". But someone with some other standards can do exactly that no? So claims of "universalism" coming from some parts of the world are nonsense. This is like saying "I am famous and I have a concubine so get a concubine and you can be famous."

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 14 Jul 2014 08:24

shiv wrote:It is fake universalism for the UN to define "Universalism" and "get signatures of ratification" from many "nations"


I would put it this way - per the European 20th century theory of nations, India with its multiple languages, religions and ethnicities is not a nation. Nor was Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia - they have disintegrated. The union of Scotland and England may yet break up. So might Belgium with the Flemish and Walloons. This is a case, that Indians (but for Pakistan) did what they wanted and didn't listen to Western theory. Indian skepticism of Western theory has been well justified. In fact, some of the problems India has arise from trying too hard to be a nation in the Western sense - divisive issues pop up when language or culture or law uniformity is attempted to be imposed in the name of being one nation.

PS: so is India a nation? I would say India is a political unit of the kind the world has not seen before.
Last edited by A_Gupta on 14 Jul 2014 17:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 14 Jul 2014 08:42

A_Gupta wrote:Sorry, making you read long tracts of text. But I think it is worthwhile.

Both the notions of rights are thus essentially and non-trivially bound up with Christian theology. The plausibility of these secular versions depends very much upon the presence of their theological or religious original in one’s intuitive world model. By saying this, I do not want to imply that all theorists of human rights are Christians, much less theists. I do not even want to suggest that all Christians have a uniform understanding of their God. And yet, I suggest, it is only from within the framework of such a culture that one can provide intelligibility to the concept of rights. Outside of it, both the rights doctrine and the notion of sovereignty remain unintelligible.

One could, without problem, grant Christians their God; but why accept a doctrine, which crucially requires their religion to make it intelligible? The “Asian gods” are not the least like their Christian counterpart: our gods are not “sovereigns” and their will is not law. Our gods cannot own what they create just because they have created it. Our gods are not ‘good’ and they do inflict injustice upon men. And yet, all of us are Christians: or, at least, we talk as though we were. To this day, the world over, the Christian God rules us!

Super stuff - and many thanks for taking the trouble.


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