April 2018 meeting -- Tokyo Socrates Cafe
dim. 29 avril à 06:30
The topic for this month is: "Which equality should modern societies aspire toward: the equality of individuals, or equality between larger social groups and belief systems?" In multicultural societies, various social groups often have a distinct set of cultural values, which may be opposed to those of the majority and/or existing laws. To what extent should these nations’ laws treat every citizen equally and impartially, and to what extent should they make exemptions for said cultural differences? In short: what should we consider within the bounds of reasonable accommodation, and where should we draw the line? Specific examples of this debate include whether Sikhs should be forced to wear motorcycle helmets or hardhats on construction sites (or be allowed to carry their kirpan in schools, courts, or jails), whether women should be permitted to wear a niqab in passport and driver’s license photos, whether public pools should be required to offer gender-segregated bathing times and public schools to allot time for prayer, whether public servants have the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, and even whether companies should be allowed to give five-minute smoke-breaks to cigarette smokers but not provide breaks to people who aren't. We can see one sort of attempt to mediate this issue in the “Canadian values test”( https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/how-much-diversity-do-canadians-want/article32314865/ ) for immigrants that Canada’s Conservative Party has been drafting, or more theoretically in the suggestion that we instead expand the scope of multiculturalism ( https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/media/WP-2007-053-Vasta_Accomodating_Diversity.pdf ). Keeping our tradition of an annual outdoor meetup, this month's event will be held at Shinjuku Gyoen. We'll meet at the Shinjuku gate (street view here ( http://goo.gl/maps/erH3X )) to the park, which is the gate closest to Shinjuku and Shinjuku-sanchome stations. A few notes: 1) There is no charge for the meetup, but the park requires a 200-yen ticket to enter. 2) The start time is earlier than our regular time. Around 1:40pm we'll head into the park to find a place to sit, so please make sure to arrive on time and not be left behind! We'll probably try to sit somewhere in the open area just past the gates (upper left portion of the map at http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/2_guide/map.html ), but the exact spot will depend on what's available. 3) Everything is "bring your own", including food, drinks and something to sit on. 4) Please keep your RSVP as up-to-date as possible, even if you're updating on the morning of the meeting.