reply to Fillitz

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Mon, 5 Dec 1994 11:32:21 CST

Your point on relativism potentially justifying NAZI atrocities is well taken,
and one we have recognized for some time. There is, of course, a difference
between ancient cultural practice and political ideology of fascist type, but
we can ignore that for the present. I think you have hit on an important point
that was inevitable--absolutism and relativism are both very tricky and have
their limits, particularly when you're trying to formulate public policy that
you want to somehow enforce. Do you want to explore this area or just leave it
as is?

To point out the ramifications of a cultural practice is not to justify sexism
or anything else. For brevity, I did not adumbrate the cultural axioms that
are the constants of the Yanamamo situation. They do indeed see females as
little more than sexual animals, as you probably already know from reading
Chagnon. They also see men as fierce, i.e., natural born killers and war as
the connective tissue of social life. Does this politically incorrect view
of the world make the reporter sexist, racist, etc.. If so, then should we
not discuss such cases as Yanamamo? Should we suppress data? Do you favor
censorship of anthropological findings?

Mike Lieber