Cancel culture and coercive progressivism are a threat to our democratic ideals
TROY MEDIA VIEWPOINT: Progressivism, by its very definition, implies a forward-looking vision – embracing social equity, justice, and empowerment for all. It heralds voluntary social evolution, relying on the spread of ideas, dialogues, and education to persuade society to adopt more equitable ways of living.
However, when the methods used to enact these changes become coercive, the term “progressivism” starts to lose its essence. The concept of “coercive progressivism,” then, is not only contradictory but also damaging to the ideals it purportedly supports.
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A functioning democracy treasures the freedom of thought, speech, and association, using them as cornerstones for both individual and collective progression. Coercive progressivism, on the other hand, enforces its ideals without regard for these freedoms, often employing public shaming, cancel culture, or even legislative force to silence differing opinions. While the intention – to create a more equitable society – may be noble, the means to achieve it are antithetical to democratic values.
This strategy can be alarmingly counterproductive. Forcing people to adhere to certain ideologies or social norms creates resentment, hardening stances and deepening divides. True change comes from a change of heart, an internal acknowledgment that evolves naturally through exposure to new perspectives rather than from external pressures to conform. The ancient proverb, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,” rings true in this context.
Moreover, coercive tactics oversimplify complex social issues into black-and-white narratives. By stifling debate and discussion, we miss out on the nuanced approaches that may offer more effective solutions. For example, social issues like income inequality, racial disparity, or gender discrimination can’t be effectively solved through one-size-fits-all mandates. They require open dialogues, comprehensive research, and collaborative efforts, where a variety of voices are heard and acknowledged.
Additionally, coercive progressivism can also result in unintended negative consequences. One such issue is the risk of “performative wokeness,” where individuals or institutions publicly espouse progressive views primarily for social recognition rather than from genuine belief. This superficial form of activism can hinder real progress, as it diverts attention and resources away from actions that could lead to meaningful change.
To be genuinely progressive, society must reject the oxymoronic concept of coercive progressivism and instead foster an environment that values open dialogue, respects individual freedoms, and appreciates the complexities of social issues.
It’s crucial to realize that the pathway to progress is a journey, not a destination, and certainly not one that can be rushed through coercion. By embracing the true ethos of progressivism – patience, inclusivity, and democracy – we can work together to build a more equitable future.
| Troy Media
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