I owe Xeni Jardin an apology. Earlier, I wrote,
So, isn’t the culturally relativist, liberal respect for marginalized conservative cultures somewhat paradoxical? How is it possible to be someone like Xeni Jardin, who passionately and nobly champions modern liberal causes like women’s equality, yet defends the cultural value of obvious hangovers of Islamic repression? Isn’t the cognitive dissonance unbearable?
The existence of the modern liberal appreciation for marginalized conservative cultures contributes to another paradox, one step deeper. Why don’t modern liberals have an appreciation for the conservative culture of poor, rural whites? Is it because those white conservatives are not marginalized, and modern liberals only wish to demonstrate their commitment to uplifting those groups that have been historically marginalized? Is it because those people are viable political opponents? Modern liberals are condescending to conservatives in the U.S., but if modern liberals are not condescendingly accepting towards those poor, rural, conservative, whites in the same way that they’re condescendingly accepting of African tribes practicing female genital mutilation, their revealed commitment to moral cultural relativism might actually be pretty weak.
Well, Xeni posted about what looks to be a fascinating documentary about some impoverished West Virginian outlaws. This is a strong datum to disprove my hypothesis of the modern liberal inconsistency from failure to appreciate American conservative culture. The datum is strong Bayesian evidence against my original hypothesis, at least for Xeni personally. This doesn’t reflect respect necessarily, nor should it, but it is acknowledgment, without shrill demonization, of alternative cultural values. I stand corrected.