The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

1664 Words Sep 19th, 2016 7 Pages
The concept that morals are not inherent or universal but are developed by the necessities of a given society at any certain time, as presented in William Graham Sumner’s Folkways, is inadequate and displeasing. While some moral practices are relative to particular cultures, that does not mean that there are no rights that belong to everyone, nor does it mean that just because an activity is practiced that it is morally justifiable. Each human being is entitled to a certain set of liberties, which are outlined in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” All individuals are supposed to have equal access to these rights, but according to Sumner, all rights are cultural and none are universal.
In Folkways, Sumner conveys his belief that the proper way of doing things is based on the culture of the surrounding society and the practices they are participating in at the time. “In the folkways, whatever is, is right” (5). The idea here is that if a group of people are taking part in particular actions and behaviors, those actions and behaviors must be morally permissible because they are doing them. Whatever they do is morally correct; whatever they do not do is morally incorrect. Because these practices have been passed down through generations, they must be right because they are still practiced. This varies for each individual culture or society and it is not the place of any one group to judge or criticize the moral practices of another group because everyone is following…
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