Progressive Fundamentalism: How Progressive Have We Really Become?

Progressive Fundamentalism: How Progressive Have We Really Become?

Abuja, Nigeria: Man is a social being. And in this need to fulfil his nature as a social being, man lives in a society. A society is a people in general, thought of as living together in organized communities with shared laws, traditions and values. The hallmarks of society are its norms and values. These are established ways of behavior. These norms are often not subject to question and are usually not regarded in the light of right or wrong.

As we have progressed, there has been greater need to question these norms.

In our march towards progressiveness and enlightenment, in our quest to scrap the antiquated ideologies of the past, there is a note of warning to hearken to. That we do not become what we are fighting. One of the biggest arguments against the norms of the past was that no none could question them. Anyone who did was labelled a deviant and shamed. This might be where we are headed once again. Any person, company or institution not seen to accept wholeheartedly the current progressive views are labelled as backwards and derided in the media; social and mainstream.

In December of 2016, Lewis Hamilton the race car driver uploaded a video where his nephew was wearing a princess dress. He said that he was very sad that his nephew had wanted a dress for Christmas and he went on to state that “boys don’t wear dresses”. A few days later, he issued a retraction and an apology. It is my strong view that it is unacceptable to “shame” a child under any circumstances. However, Hamilton would not have received that amount of backlash in relation to any other issue.

Over the past week, Kanye West, the award-winning American Rapper has tweeted his support for the American President, Donald Trump. This has earned him much backlash from various quarters of society, particularly the Black Community who see his support as an attempt to undo the progressive achievements of America in regards to race. This is despite the fact that Kanye West has said that he does not completely agree with the policies of the President. An article has even called for Adidas to cut ties with him.

Related Post: Toxic Politics: Whatever Happened to Civility in Political Discourse?

Kanye West tweets support for Donald Trump. LOS ANGELES - FEB 08- Kanye West & Kim Kardashian arrives to the Grammy Awards 2015 on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES – FEB 08: Kanye West & Kim Kardashian arrives to the Grammy Awards 2015 on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles. Credit: Shutterstock

This overwhelming need to nuzzle opinions which do not seem “progressive” has shown itself in the backlash against Kanye West and people who have shown any support for him. Chance the Rapper, another American rapper, from the same home city of Chicago as Kanye tweeted support for Kanye. However, after a deluge of backlash, he tweeted an apology and retracted his support. If Kanye were to be any less Kanye, he would have crumpled and retracted his posts. If that happens, we would have succeeded in nuzzling his opinion and viewpoint. Mind you, the viewpoint has not changed, rather, he would have been forced to hide it under the cloak of “progressiveness” out of fear.

What this has accomplished is to put a veneer of progressiveness, acceptance and diversity of people and issues alike. The best representation of this veneer is the 2016 elections in the United States. While the whole country appeared to be caught in a frenzy of increased diversity, acceptance of LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter and everything liberal and progressive, a candidate who is anything but, was elected. This shows that even though many people did not agree with Trump ideology, a lot more people believed it and were willing to vote for it.

Some people would argue that those norms are wrong and therefore should be destroyed entirely; if possible, with the people who subscribe to them. The argument would also be that such views are wrong and therefore should not be heard. But the question is, who determines wrong and right? Two hundred years ago, it was the norm for the white man to buy and sell blacks. Sixty years ago, it was normal to have separate toilets for whites and blacks and for blacks to seat at the back of the bus. This was wholly accepted as normal. The issue is really neither here nor there.

In Nigeria, same-sex relations are criminal offences and are punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment. Same-sex marriages are totally banned and do not even come up for discussion. I personally do not agree with the criminalization of same-sex relationships because I believe we have better things to legislate on and regulate than the activities of two consenting adults. However, I understand that this law comes from a deep bias against LGBTQ activities. So, for now, these are the country’s values. These values are not as deeply held as they used to be. This is mostly because of Western influence, especially in entertainment. A look at any of the top-rated season movies will show you that all have strong LGBTQ themes or sub-themes, and this is totally fine by most of the youth in my country.

However, we still hold on to our beliefs on gender as it relates to dressing, sexual relations and marriage. And I believe that it is the right of anyone, any people to have theirs. Aristotle once said that it is the “mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. Scott Fitzgerald stated that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”. I believe this is true of society as well.

Eventually, we will let go of these beliefs and eventually fall in line with the West. I know that this is coming and I welcome it wholeheartedly. But until such a time; boys don’t wear dresses.

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