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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 177)...

    It seems that there is in fact a right way to live for a particular group of people. The Huron Indians could not live the same way as the Navajo do and vice versa. So the cultural possibilities for a group of people is not endless. It would seem to depend on the ecology of a place. The ecology affects the options that the people have to choose from on how they live. I surely agree however that in many societies today we are to narrow minded as to what the possibilities are for how to live. Do you agree with my elaboration of your answer?

    ...and the response:

    You seem to be trying to argue that "what is right" is synonymous with "what works," that, for example, because the Navaho way suited them, it was "right" for them. Although this is certainly permissible language, you should be aware that you're using the word "right" in a different sense than I am when I say that there is no one right way for people to live. You argue beyond the facts when you say that "The Huron Indians could not live the same way as the Navajo do and vice versa." We know that they did not; we don't know that they could not. I doubt that tribal differences are related primarily to ecological differences. The fact is that neighboring tribes---sharing virtually identical habitats---may be wildly different in cultural traits.


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