Be warned. In this article, I’m presenting an opinion which is widely held in society, but which may be shocking to you. If you don’t like hearing opinions which don’t represent the politically correct (left) order, stop reading now, or at least try to minimise the damage to your permanently sunny and optimistic view of life.
Niels Hunck (1991) studies at EUR and at TU Delft, was chair of the Hague Youth Organisation for Freedom and Democracy and grew up in the Laakkwartier in The Hague.
You see, I want to talk about an article that was published here on EM. LHBT lobby association Erasmus Pride wants ‘gender-neutral’ toilets, something I had to read again in disbelief. In what is the most egalitarian, tolerant country in the world, an American battle cry is being imported, and from one of the more conservative states too. I nearly fell off my bike.
So Erasmus Pride, gender-neutral toilets, “going to the toilet without being judged”… really? Isn’t there really anything better to get behind? Particularly in a city like Rotterdam, where in some districts it’s difficult to be LHBT, let alone come out? It’s fine having a gender-neutral sticker, I’m not against it. To be honest, I couldn’t care less.
But what I’m really against is having a politics of cultural nihilism imposed on me whereby, if you holler loudly enough about something, that also has to change in the name of so-called progress.
The Erasmus Pride request thus reflects a much broader social phenomenon, which is particularly common at universities, among newspaper editors and certain talk shows on the public broadcasting channel, and in certain districts of the larger cities. This phenomenon consists of an imported frame that sees everything through the lens of social justice and equality. Every progressive innovation from the American cultural struggle is brought to the Netherlands, from Black Lives Matter to gender-neutral toilets. This is generally preached by the type of people who also want to decolonise street names, change the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of De-escalation and Reconstruction, and still demand compensation for the slavery past of the Netherlands.
Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), a fairly old Dutch tradition, has already been transformed into camouflage Pete and even Biscuit Pete. And that’s fine. Ideas evolve and it’s good to change things where necessary. However, we are gradually slipping towards a dictatorship of the minority, in which every little grumble (or, as solicitor and Forum for Democracy MP Theo Hiddema would say: complaining public which is never satisfied) has to be addressed, including the usual costs and bureaucracy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud to have a very diverse group of friends, not all of whom can be put into a certain category. I have the greatest respect for every individual, hetero or gay, white or black, atheist or religious. I’m a member of merit of the Hague Youth Organisation for Freedom and Democracy, whose current president was recently one of the drivers behind the Hague march against violence against gays following the violence in Arnhem. And I’m proud of that!
Obviously, I’m not against empathy for ethnic minority groups and of course equality in the eyes of the law is one of the greatest gains of our liberal western society. Period. But what I am against is that our society is gradually being sent in a direction that the majority of people don’t want in the name of political correctness.
And yes, to preclude the argument: I’m an autochthonous white young man studying here at EUR. And yes, I hear these social justice warriors cry in chorus: because you’re ‘privileged’ (a Sunny Bergman-ism), you don’t understand these people and you can’t have a well founded opinion about it, let alone talk about it. And I reply: so because of my ‘white’ background, I can’t build up a more or less logical reasoning? Isn’t that just bias?
I don’t have a monopoly on truth, but neither do these social justice warriors. We can only offer a perspective on the reality we observe. In other words, this disqualification from participating in the debate (because of a ‘privileged’ and ‘white’ background) is nothing more than a product of identity politics: reducing people to their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. rather than just seeing them as an equal individual.
If you want to categorise me as a racist, misogynist, fascist, supremacist or anything else: I don’t give a damn. What’s important to me is that we as a university and a society don’t become a place where everything is blown up out of all proportion as long as it’s in the name of equality, modernism and change. This has now brought us to the point when even urinals are no longer allowed at Erasmus University College, for example. Via this article, I would therefore like to enter into a debate about measures like the gender-neutral toilets. Because, according to ancient wisdom: explore everything and hold what is excellent.