Liberalism: Cultural Encounters and Cultural Exemptions

Which side has the stronger argument? Liberalism is a belief system, a system which is open minded and supports fairness and equal moral values to all human being and believes all human being have the right to live freely and happily with their way or choices In life. Liberals hold that every human being is of equal moral value, and that justice is a matter of treating people equally. (Cultural Encounters and Cultural Exemptions, Jon Pike, peg 93-98) Liberalism is against certain kinds of discrimination like religious, ethnically or gender discrimination.

It promotes tolerance and diversity In all aspects of life such as cultural, religious and human rights for freedom and equality. Liberal theorist believe that liberalism gives the right to an individual to be free and equal and that all men/ women are equal in the eyes of the law and they must be treated fairly and equally regardless to his or her skin color, religion, cultural background, preferences, appearance or beliefs. Cultural Encounters and Cultural Exemptions, Jon Pike, peg 93-98) The term difference-blind liberalism is used to describe people who hold the view that laws and public policies should treat everybody in the same way, gender, ethnicity, culture or religion. No one should be excluded weather they are from a minor or majority group or have a different way of life. Cultural Encounters and Cultural Exemptions, Jon Pike, peg 91-116) Liberal philosophers should support cultural exemption and promote autonomy and not fail to recognize cultural identities and differences when that cultural exemption is not oppressing individual or having a negative impact on the wider society and also that it is not going against the law of safety and health. Obligated to wear a crash helmet as required by UK law during 1972-1976, because they will take into account a Sikhs religious belief, culture practices and identity. A

Sikh male is required to wear a turban (cloth tied around the head) at all times, as a code of conduct following the religion Schism. A crash helmet will be difficult for a Sikh male to wear as it will require removal of the turban or to be worn on top, which will be very difficult as turban differ in size and mostly come in long material making the overall size large around the head for a helmet to fit. So a liberal philosopher will find it unjust and discriminating not to take into account Schism way of life when arguing the exemption law.

Philosopher Buckish Parker I believe will argue for this exemption as he has a strong pinion on not brushing all individuals with the same brush and not treating everyone with the difference blind liberal way. He goes on in his interview stating that the law should take into account individual identity and treat them with that identity or solving an issue or problem in court will be difficult using a uniform method, which is meaningless to some individuals and therefore the issue in hand, will not be solved. Buckish Parker, speaking in ‘Discussing Cultural Exemption’ 2009, Track 3-5). Liberal philosophers should not support cultural exemption and promote autonomy ND not fail to recognize cultural identities and differences when that cultural exemption is oppressing individuals or a group of people and affecting the wider society and is going against the law of safety and health.

Some liberal philosopher may argue against the religious exemption of Sikh male passing the exemption on being allowed to wear their turban and not needing to wear a crash helmet, as some laws are made for all individuals and groups and when it comes to exemption it should be overruled because the case comes under the health and safety law and therefore exemption should be overlooked and denied. A philosopher called Barry Brian argues against this exemption on the bases of health and safety. Proof.

Barry says: “Cultural exemption cannot be applied in all cases, for example giving the rights to Sikhs men to ride a motorcycle without a crash helmet; it is simply not practical to wear a turban and a crash helmet together. The law of physique and human anatomy overrule the cultural exemption. The helmet has to be worn in order to protect people from death and serious injuries”. (Brian Barry, speaking in ‘Discussing Cultural Exemption’ 2009, Track 3). Wearing a crash helmet. I think against argument is stronger and has more of a value point.

The against argument has stated a health and safety issue which illustrates that Sikh men are putting them self and others at risk by wearing the religious head gear a turban and not a crash helmet, which will protect them against accident and injuries. When it comes to a ruling based in the public eye and may involve other individuals and risk lives or put them under danger. Then a law needs to be placed to prevent future incidents occurring and by doing so it will prevent these accidents. In my opinion Liberal philosophers shouldn’t support all cultural exemption.

It is not possible to support cultural difference in every situation. Cultural exemption can be overruled when the threat of safety or health care are concern. In this case it is difficult for liberal philosophers to support cultural exemption and to promote autonomy and to give right to a group of individuals. When the life of an individual is in danger or by practicing his or her cultural differences the individual is putting himself or other in danger indicates that the cultural exemption has to be rejected.

Looking at Buckish Parser’s and Brian Barras arguments, it is clear to say that all asses of cultural exemption have to be individually studied in order to give an answer for promoting autonomy. It is clear to say that a line has to be drawn on what is the limit of that autonomy. (Buckish Parker & Brian Barry, speaking in ‘Discussing Cultural Exemption’ 2009, Track 1-6). The ruling governmental system has the right to either accept or reject the cultural exemption, and people regardless to their cultural identities have to abide and obey the rules of the country they are living in either they like it or not.

In the case of the religion exemption for Sikh men not wearing the crash helmet hill riding a motor-cycle due to wearing the religious head gear a turban, I feel the exemption should not have passed and exempt Sikh minority in this law, as it involves ones health and safety and as a turban does not safe guard an individual from an accident and can still cause a serious injury then it is not as effective as a crash helmet. So to allow Sikh men to wear a turban is like allowing any individual to ride a motor-cycle without helmet allowing them to cause harm to them self if an accident should occur.