There was a time when being a progressive was proof of good manners. Unfortunately, that time has passed. More and more, self-styled progressive forces are becoming enemies of the open society. Their munition: their vulnerable, tender souls.
Progressive rock bottom was hit this year in ‘unsafe’ and ‘barbarian’ England. The “big ogre”, Iranian human rights activist Maryam Namazie, was supposed to give a lecture on islam and islamism at Warwick University. Atheists of that university had invited her to speak. But what happened? The local student union forbade her to appear on stage. Because of her so called hate speech. Students’ tender souls might be hurt!
Later, Ms. Namazie spoke to a similar group of students at Goldsmith, University of London. There, she was intimidated and shouted down by muslim students. Apparently, more forceful means were thought to be necessary. Feminists of the Goldsmith students’ union gave these actions their ‘progressive’ blessing.
modern safety on British and American universities is simply a continuation of the tyranny of political correctness
The basis of this act of silencing other people is the doctrine of safe places. This doctrine was developed in the Anglo-American world in the sixties and seventies. Women and GLBT’s claimed safe places where they could talk about themselves and their actions. Nothing wrong with that.
However, eventually this idea has been hijacked by fundamentalists at universities who call themselves progressives. They now demand that the entire university should be a safe place. And this safety has nothing to do with being able to walk safely on the streets or through the campus at night in the absence of loudmouthed blokes or obscure pickpockets. Ofcourse not, modern safety on British and American universities is simply a continuation of the tyranny of political correctness, as is the case everywhere.
The poor student’s soul is hurt so easily. The student trembles and shakes. But that happens only when scholars and opinion makers speak freely about islam, political correctness or the big spaghetti monster. ‘ Mater, alma mater,’ the student begs, deliver me from islamophobes, racists and right wing politicians. They hurt my racial, religious and ethnic identity. Offer me a safe haven, lead me to a better place.’
Surely, safe places are meant for everyone. Except for Maryam Nmazie
And thus student unions are allowed to refuse the stage to critical thinkers. And thus students are allowed to switch off beamers. And thus muslim students may force human activists to stop speaking. Surely, safe places are meant for everyone. Except for Maryam Nmazie.
So called ‘progressive’ students and scholars eagerly feed upon the trash of identity fundamentalism. This concept is about the idea that the most important characteristic of a human being is his identity. These students and scholars are not referring to the personality one develops during one’s life, but to group identity: one has an islamic identity, a black identity, a LGBTQ-identity, etc.
Critical response to the ideas associated with group identity are considered to inflict injury on the individual. In this view, it is no longer necessary to refute criticism or to learn from it. In the progressive psychological universe one is allowed to respond with a reproach: you are hurting my feelings, with all due consequences.
They fear critics who question their group dogmas and ideals
Now it becomes clear what the fear of ‘progressive’ people really is. That is not the hurt inflicted on their identity. They fear critics who question their group dogmas and ideals. They are scared to death of political debates. Scared that human right activists like Maryam Namazie will show them reality as it is.
That is why everything which is not consistent with their views must be put to silence. Their sly approach is drenched in psychological babble: you hurt me, shame on you, so shut up! Only then can I be safe.
We should prevent those would-be progressive hypocrites from hijacking the concept of safe places!
Over de auteur
Managementboekenschrijver, leiderschapshistoricus en veranderkundige.
Werkt op dit moment aan drie projecten:
1. Onderzoek naar Leiderschap in veranderingsprocessen (met de Kring Andragologie en de UvA).
2. Intellectuele geschiedenis: Leiderschapsadviezen in de Westerse cultuur, van Homerus tot Johan Cruijff.
3. Het boek: ‘Wijvenstreken’, het politieke spel van vrouwen in organisaties.