Those who claim that culture is inherently good, I believe, are mistaken. The function of a group custom is definitely helpful for survival and altruism, but that doesn’t mean that all of its manifestations are morally good. We live in a culture plagued by sexism/wealth inequality/corporatism/racism/religious fanaticism/violence/military industrial complex/etc. There’s no way this is a superlative ideal. Some may shy away from criticizing appalling cultural practices due to the fear of cultural imperialism. It is true the US is much like a global empire, but the fact is I may be living in a unified people’s republic of Korea or Japan’s satellite state if nothing had happened. This obviously does not justify many of the awful bullying the US indulged in, but we have to be able to quantify the varying degrees of moral culpability even for the oppressors. Both cultures I inhabit, Korean and American, are not Good. They are racist, power-hungry, and nationalist to varying degrees. The list goes on. If we cannot bring Culture or Religion or any significant factor of our lives to the table of constructive criticism, I believe we’re heading towards disaster. There are honorable aspects of our Culture, of course. My question is, how would we further improve it when we avoid careful examination?
Culture on the table