Conservatism: Friend or Foe?
Good tidings from this African brother. I have been really busy of late but saw it fit to share my insight on something and try spark feedback from you guys. I want to know your views on the arguments surrounding the conservative approach to life that seems to be heightened in this age considering the rapid change in culture due to the increased cultural interactions brought about by globalisation and increased and improved intercontinental communication.
This passed week, I witnessed the conservative approach to life first hand. Mid last year, I pulled out of formal college to pursue my love of business on one condition from my parents: that I continue through an online study program CIMA has. That was perfectly fine with me, reason being is I know the importance of knowledge and the role it plays on one's level of maturity and open-mindedness. Now to most people the idea of self reliance is not very familiar, most people live their lives depending on a system; either policies set up by law-makers or from people around them. Telling someone that, you're pulling out of full time school to start a business and you're going to study on your own is setting yourself up for some criticism and not just any kind of criticism but the kind that attacks your character and your decision making abilities.
Reason? ONE WORD: CONSERVATISM.
People believe the old approach to life: go to school, get a good job, get married, have children and retire, is relevant in our society in this age. Each stage would guarantee you the next, going to school got a job, with a job you can afford a family and with a well fed happy family you can live long enough to retire (hopefully).
There's only one problem with that picture, school doesn't guarantee employment any more. The unemployment rate in all regions of the world except Asia is at its highest in 50 years. Such facts are gloomy to future graduates, in a world where employers are subsidising their human capital to make a profit and only recruiting experienced CVs, fresh graduates don't stand a chance. So finding alternative approaches to life is only natural considering Darwin's theory that only the fittest survive. The difference between the fittest and unfortunate ones is the ability to adapt. I don't believe in Mr. Darwin's theory of evolution to the fullest but I do acknowledge God created humans to adapt to their environment, that's why we have variations; tall, short, fat, thin, dark, light. So it's only natural to see a young undergraduate like myself trying to find an alternative to a flawed approach. We all know the saying, "if it ain't broke don't fix it," well that means if something doesn't work we are obliged to fix it. And that's what I did, something that some people didn't approve of.
Now this is something that affects every aspect of our lives; take for example career choice. We live in an age where arts provide an adequate living, actually better than most. If someone is really talented they do make money from their art, be it music, painting, drawing, sport or film-making. But we still have parents with immensely talented children convincing their kids to pursue, what I call "Grown Folk Business"; law, medicine and finance. In turn we surrender the job market to the market forces of demand and supply. This leads to a lot of redundant misdirected unemployed youth. Now that's when our conservativeness is a foe, a foe to our progress as a species.
However conservatism is a two sided coin like any other socialist perspective. Conservatism helps uphold societal moral fibre, which tends to get lost with the cultural transfer. I do accept culture is dynamic but certain cultural norms are in place to help restore order and once we forfeit those norms and beliefs we have civil wars and genocides (two of the biggest tragedies on the African continent).
What am I saying? NOTHING REALLY. Rather I'm asking, is conservatism a friend or a foe? What do you think? Give examples, let's share what we think on this topic that has the power to make or break our society as Africa.