Let’s bring back the term “barbarian”

A court in Saudi Arabia has condemned the victim of a gang rape to 200 lashes with a whip. Her seven assailants were sentenced to two years in prison, but she is also being punished for being out with a man not her relative.

There was a time when we acknowledged certain culture’s practices as “barbarian,” “savage,” or “uncivilized.” Now that we are supposed to be multi-culturalists, we are not allowed to use those terms. I hasten to say that many if not most cultures in less-developed and non-western parts of the world are highly civilized, full of restraint, courtesy, and a finely-tuned sense of what is appropriate. In fact, we postmodern westerners are often the ones who behave most like barbarians. So I prefer to use the word for individuals. But societies that legally punish not just the criminals but the victims are, literally, lacking in civilization.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Manxman

    Then “barbarians” are in charge of many of our government school systems. With zero tolerance for violence school policies, if a kid fights back when he/she is assaulted by a bully in school, he/she gets suspended just like the bully. This failure to make the distinction between perpetrator and victim by public school administrators isn’t really much different than the Saudis punishing the rape victim.

  • Manxman

    Then “barbarians” are in charge of many of our government school systems. With zero tolerance for violence school policies, if a kid fights back when he/she is assaulted by a bully in school, he/she gets suspended just like the bully. This failure to make the distinction between perpetrator and victim by public school administrators isn’t really much different than the Saudis punishing the rape victim.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    A striking fact, Manxman! Excellent point.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    A striking fact, Manxman! Excellent point.

  • fwsonnek

    News reporters seem to feel they need to do the same. someone discovers the earth is round, and then, for “fair and balanced reporting” the reporters need to dig up a flat earth advocate and treat that person with the same seriousness as everyone else where both should be treated professionally with a healthy attitude of skepticism that would obviate the need to dig up the flat earth guy.

    It amazes me how my liberal epíscopal friends feel the need to be non-judgemental towards islam and homosexuals in EVERY aspect, yet have no problem seemingly whatsoever with slamming anti abortionists or anyone in western civ who does not treat females as exact equals complete with gender-neutral language.

    I have to confess that I just don´t get it. and it is not because I am not asking deferentially for them to break it all down for me .

    what is going on here really? I am not sure that I understand.

  • fwsonnek

    News reporters seem to feel they need to do the same. someone discovers the earth is round, and then, for “fair and balanced reporting” the reporters need to dig up a flat earth advocate and treat that person with the same seriousness as everyone else where both should be treated professionally with a healthy attitude of skepticism that would obviate the need to dig up the flat earth guy.

    It amazes me how my liberal epíscopal friends feel the need to be non-judgemental towards islam and homosexuals in EVERY aspect, yet have no problem seemingly whatsoever with slamming anti abortionists or anyone in western civ who does not treat females as exact equals complete with gender-neutral language.

    I have to confess that I just don´t get it. and it is not because I am not asking deferentially for them to break it all down for me .

    what is going on here really? I am not sure that I understand.

  • allen

    And don’t forget about the 15 girls who were burned to death (and the 50 injured) when the Saudi Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice pushed them back into their burning school building because they weren’t dressed correctly back in March of 2002. Let’s don’t let them live that one down just yet.

  • allen

    And don’t forget about the 15 girls who were burned to death (and the 50 injured) when the Saudi Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice pushed them back into their burning school building because they weren’t dressed correctly back in March of 2002. Let’s don’t let them live that one down just yet.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X