I’m curious: we’ve had some interesting discussions around here and elsewhere on whether or not it’s appropriate for one culture to use its own value system to judge another culture. I’m a cosmopolitan, and so I believe it is indeed appropriate in certain circumstances to compare cultures in a normative sense.
Thus, I think it’s fair to call the Saudi regime barbaric for planning to lash an elderly British man for having bottles of homemade wine in his car. And, objectively speaking, I believe my society’s values are better than those of a society that would sanction such activity.
What do you think? Another question: does this situation in Saudi Arabia have anything to do with Islam, or is it a coincidence that countries with questionable human rights records and countries where Islam is the dominant religion tend to overlap?