The many countries around the world practice traditions that

The question of whether cultural relativism has any true validity
results in many different opinions and arguments among individuals. Cultural
relativism is the consideration for a culture’s customs and beliefs from the
point of view of another culture. The idea of cultural relativism is supported
by the fact that a person should not judge another culture for its moral
values. However, James Rachels regards this idea as inaccurate by analyzing and
providing explanations as to why the principle of morality is unbiased. As
follows, I will clarify Rachels’ argument by providing an example of another
country’s customs and traditions that we as Americans may find morally wrong.

Furthermore, I will give two instances where other countries may have found
American society immoral as well. Both of these instances describe the
foundation of what the cultural relativism argument is built upon.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

            As expressed in
Rachels’ argument, many countries around the world practice traditions that
Americans would think are horrific. For example, a small town in Indonesia has
a common practice where villagers dig up dead people within the community and
return them to their original residence. In this society, digging up and
returning the dead is a symbol of reuniting the deceased with their family
settlement. To the typical American, the act of carrying a corpse anywhere
besides a funeral would be appalling. This is because Americans are culturally
inclined to bury people who have died and leave them in the ground to rest and
be at peace. According to cultural relativism, an individual is not allowed to
judge a culture for what they believe is right. Why can’t they judge??  In other words, if a person believes in cultural relativism,
they cannot say that the act of exhuming the bodies of the dead is wrong, and
they would have to support these decisions.

            Based on cultural
relativism, an American citizen cannot attack the choices that their society
decides to make. For instance, almost one-hundred years ago, the United States
experienced The Great Depression. This was a dreadful time for the country
since the stock market completely collapsed and the rate of unemployment
drastically increased. United States’ citizens recognize this as one of the
worst events in American history. If a United States’ citizen believes in
cultural relativism, they cannot judge the downfall of the United States
economy and criticize how the government handled the situation. Another example
is the Ku Klux Klan and how they created extreme terror throughout the country.

This group was based on white predominance and was founded in the 19th century. People who support the premise of cultural relativism
would neither encourage nor prevent the nefarious activities that occur within
the Klu Klux Klan. If cultural relativism is valid, then those who accept it
cannot view these two occurrences as wrong. Therefore, people who support the
notion of cultural relativism are unable to make changes that will better the
American society.

            To summarize, the
concept of Rachels’ argument was discussed through examples of what another
country does that we may find morally wrong and vice versa. One of the main
points that Rachels tries to get across is that a person is considered ignorant
if they do not understand that ethics vary between each culture. Although
cultural relativism may appear appealing to some, it would be extremely
difficult for a culture to improve without realizing their faults. This theory
indicates that a culture is able to act immorally and wrongfully without any
criticism. This is due to the accepting nature embedded within cultural
relativism that results in a passive environment where none have the jurisdiction
to indicate what is wrong with society.