When Cultures Disappear

let them dieOn an episode of The Atheist Experience, I’m hesitant to say “recent” and certainly not “most recent” because by the time anyone reads this, that won’t be remotely true, but on episode #866, a caller wanted to argue that people should pay attention to various cultures that may fail, especially in this case Mexican cultures, but I think the idea applies to any culture anywhere.

I just don’t agree with the caller, I think that cultures that fail and disappear is a good thing.  It’s the same thing with evolution, those creatures that are more fit to survive, do. Those cultures that are less fit to survive, don’t.  Let them die.  If our goal is to improve, to get better, to do more and to do it more efficiently, then cultures which fail those tests ought not survive.  It doesn’t matter if people get emotionally attached to those cultures, it doesn’t matter if these cultures make people feel good despite their failure, they’re still less worthy of continuing than others and thus, into the waste can of history they ought to go.

This goes back to liberal multiculturalism, they think that all cultures are equally important and equally valid. They’re wrong.  We ought to be trying to maintain the best cultural elements and get rid of those that don’t work. Sure, there are some things that are neither a positive benefit or a negative detriment and like neutral biological mutations, they can stick around or go extinct as the culture determines.  However, when you have a negative element, something that harms the society more than helps it, that’s a different story.

Russell and Tracie brought up a really good point, there are those primitive cultures that don’t like western medicine and discourage their members from using it.  We see the same thing with anti-vaccers or faith healers and the like.  Those are not something to be encouraged, they are demonstrably harmful to the society and individuals within the society in general.  Advanced medical treatment is something to be encouraged, not ignored.

Therefore, we need to start looking at the cultures and sub-cultures that are problematic and trying to move those that live in them to a better system.  I’ve talked many times about the various downsides of the black ghetto sub-culture and while I’m sure there are some elements that may be worthwhile, the majority harm those who live within the sub-culture and stop them from being self-sufficient and upwardly mobile.  I’d honestly say the same thing about many of the numerous Native American sub-cultures.  The reservation is a ridiculous idea today and while some Native American tribes have moved on, building fantastically successful casinos and tourist attractions, there are still those who remain tied to their parcel of land, living under their ridiculous religious beliefs, refusing to go live life like the “white man” and those are the people who make nothing of themselves because they’re unwilling to deal with the real world.  Those people need to either do something with their lands or sell it off and move to the cities or anywhere else that they can get an education, make a living and be successful.  If their cultures vanish from the face of the planet, so be it.  So what?  The idea that these cultures deserve to be preserved for future generations is absurd.  They may have been successful once, then something better came along and they were supplanted.  It happens.  The mainstream American culture of 50 years ago largely doesn’t exist anymore.  So be it.  The culture we have today will almost certainly be gone in another 50 years.  So be it.  People who only care about tradition and emotion, over function and success, need a swift kick in the side of the head.  We don’t need change for the sake of change but we do need change when it leads to better outcomes.

Too bad most people don’t understand that.

One thought on “When Cultures Disappear”

  1. " We don’t need change for the sake of change but we do need change when it leads to better outcomes."

    I am curious: what criteria are to be used in determining if the change you speak of "leads to better outcomes"? Who decides what these criteria are to be?

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