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It is for this reason that Liberal philosophers should support exemptions to the rules and norms of society for minority cultures: by promoting cultural exemptions, they will also support autonomy and equality.
Before proceeding further with an argument for the importance of cultural exemptions to Liberalism, it is probably a good idea to define some terms and make sure that the concepts of Liberalism, autonomy and cultural exemptions are fully understood. Liberalism, as describe above, basically espouses the idea that everybody should be treated equally. As we saw in earlier chapters, like the one on the art of Benin, this is not always the case. In regards to Benin, they were seen as less “civilised” than the British, and this led to their being abused and mistreated when the two cultures clashed. This would not have happened if the British at the time had followed Liberalism, because it accepts that different cultures have “differences in moral values; different tastes in art, literature or music; differences in social customs and traditions; and differences in belief” (Pike 97).
However, Liberalism itself has varying traditions. Two of those which are discussed in this chapter are difference-blind Liberalism and the Liberalism which accepts “rule and exemption approach” (Pike 106). The first of these seems fairly straight-forward. It basically means that the philosopher ignores any sort of difference whatsoever between any two people. The “rule and exemption” idea, on the other hand, involves creating rules for all people and then giving people exemptions based on cultural, social, or religious differences. In this case, then, the philosopher would acknowledge some that differences are important and need to be taken into account.
On the surface, difference-blind Liberalism seems perfectly reasonable when your philosophy is “that every human being is of
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