Culture bound is culture blind

This is from Tim Blair which he puts under the heading, It all makes perfect sense.

The UN recently decided that Israel was the number one violator of women’s rights in the world today. And then the UN appointed the Islamic Republic of Iran to the executive board of the UN’s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

I, of course, understand Tim’s point perfectly well. The West set up the United Nations in the 1940s under the assumption it set the standard for the rest of the world. But there were a large number of cultural assumptions built into the creation of that organisation which have been unravelling for quite some time.

Being culture bound is an unfortunate circumstance, although inevitable. The reality is that while we in the West think one way, other people think quite a different way entirely.

At the very minimum we should understand that people from different cultures do not share Western values, nor do they seek to emulate our way of life. They would like the goods and services our economies invent and produce in great abundance, and their political and social elites have more wealth than we can even begin to imagine. But they also have their own values, and these are enduring. Their societies will not become like our societies, not ever.

The Republic of Iran has, without any doubt, strong views on gender equity and the empowerment of women. They just don’t happen to be the same as ours. Why should that difference of opinion exclude their being a member of the Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in the one-nation-one-vote structure of the ironically named United Nations?

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